I was woken by this Dove ad this morning. OK, so it’s trying to get us to buy Dove stuff, obviously, and that means that, of necessity, it’s talking about outer beauty. But is it? By the way, the next paragraphs talk about women, but I truly believe that these issues apply to men too.

I think the striking thing is that so many women don’t see themselves as beautiful. Now, being beautiful is of no interest whatsoever to a lot of women, and that’s fair enough if it doesn’t float your boat, but perhaps those women who don’t want to go through the beautiful door DO find it desirable to be beautiful and find themselves not worthy.

I wonder why that is. Is it cultural conditioning? Maybe some cultures feel that women should behave in a modest and humble way. This was how I was brought up and I know it’s affected my self confidence over the years. Or perhaps there’s the notion for some women that they should refuse to classify themselves as beautiful because that could denote that they aren’t intelligent or serious. This is how I dealt with my life for many years and my rebellion against cultural norms meant that I cut off my nose to spite my face. Not literally.

One woman from the video doesn’t even want to go through either door. Who can blame her?

Obviously inner beauty is important. Do we think that the women who push themselves through the average door are commenting on something in themselves that does not live up to their expectations of their personality? I don’t know. But it’s food for thought.

Which door would you choose?

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Short nails: casualties of a 2 week manicure 5 weeks ago. Never mind. They’ll grow in the Indian sunshine next week.

Nails Inc is shooting itself in the perfectly manicured hand – a marketing strategy case study

I have terrible fingernails. Decades of biting have rendered them weak and flaky (this sounds familiar.) Whenever I try to grow them, which is always, I get to a certain point and then one or two of them break really low in a painful place and then I self-consciously bite off all the rest.

I lived with this for many years and tried to remedy it at times in a half-hearted way. It’s hard;y a priority, after all, for a serious-minded woman. I’ve tried to do home manicures, sitting there for ages waiting for them to be properly touch dry then smudging them on keys or child or dog paw. I’ve had primitive acrylic nails applied for special occasions that have pinged off at the airport on the first day of my holiday. I’ve had all different sorts of gel nails, which have caused varying degrees of nail damage.

The best gel polish I have found is Biosculpture. Note well that this post is not sponsored. Yes, it does cause some nail damage if it peels, but the peeling and brittleness is usually limited to a couple of weeks and I can live with that, given that my nails would naturally start chipping and breaking in that time anyway.

I stumbled on Biosculpture years ago when my gym included a spa that offered the treatment and more recently discovered that Nails Inc in Bluewater offers Biosculpture in its 3 week manicure. Now, the staying power of gel manicures is dependent to a huge extent on the skill of the nail technician. It’s important to find one competent enough to do them properly because when you do the manicure can last for four or five weeks by which time the polish starts in the middle of your growing nail and you have to have them replaced. (ALWAYS have them soaked off properly: peeling them off will damage your nails.)

I’ve been having these manicures for a year now and my nails feel naked now when they aren’t polished. In the times between when I can’t get to Bluewater or Amy is unavailable, I feel self-conscious and badly-groomed. Shallow? Moi?  In that time, however, I’ve noticed that Nails Inc are depleting their range of Biosculpture colours and they’ve now diminished to only three or four, with the assurance that the Nails Inc Bar is going to have a delivery of new colours, SOON. But it never seems to happen. In the meantime, the range of Nails Inc colours for 2 week manicures widens every time I visit. The latest range, of two colours – white and red since you ask – is by Victoria Beckham at £25 a bottle! I ask you. At that price it should stay on for months!

The idea is that you combine a Nails Inc colour with clear Bioscupture Gel to form a sort of two week hybrid. I’ve tried these and they rarely last two weeks because they are neither one thing nor the other: a combination of formulas that is not supposed to interact in this way.

Of course, Nails Inc is trying to promote its own colours for two week manicures, at the expense of three week Biosculpture manicures but how many people have the time, the inclination, the spare cash to have a £35 or whatever it is manicure every 2 weeks? They’ll go and spend half an hour for a soak off and another 45 minutes for a re-application of polish every month or so perhaps, but anything more seems like air-headed self-indulgence.

I’ve thought of writing to Nails Inc to highlight their shortsightedness: if they bought in more Biosculture colours. more people would come for manicures because they are coming for the services of the particular technician, for a manicure that lasts a reasonable amount of time. Apparently it’s been done already. A woman customer emailed them, highlighting all the things I have said and they explained that they were phasing out Biosculpture in favour of their own polishes. They even helpfully sent her a list of competitor salons in her area that could supply Biosculpture manis!  I ask you! So much for customer service marketing strategy!

It turns out that my favourite nail technician is pregnant and going on maternity leave later in the year. This coincides with my 3 for 2 loyalty card expiring. I discover, also, that there’s a spa local to me that offers Biosculpture manis. If they offer more than three or four colours, I’ll take my custom there. Sorry Nails Inc, but the customer is king. Or queen.