Beauty Part One
Most of the treatments I get done in beauty places is really down to laziness on my part. For instance I love it when my nails are painted but because I shower everyday and with the work I do the varnish is chipped before I have had it on 24 hours which means I would have to paint them everyday, who has the time and patience for that? not me.
So yesterday I visited one of the local nail bars that I used to frequent a year or so ago called Crystal Nails. Going to a nail bar in the U.K is a bit like stepping up to a conveyor belt. You have barely stepped a toe in the door and through the wall of pungent varnish odor when your pounced on and ushered into a seat semi politely. You are also swapped between technicians and shunted from one seat to another so frequently that when you leave you feel like a newly assembled piece of furniture.
When I say nobody who works in a nail bar has English as a first language or in fact any language is not an understatement. Mostly customers communicate with nail technicians using charades and pictures but luckily this time I had a woman who could speak a bit of English except I am crap with accents and she had a hygiene mask over her mouth and nose, presumably so she didn’t get an unwanted high off the varnish fumes, so I mostly stared gormlessly at her thinking I should really learn Chinese if I insist on getting my nails done.
Anyway while I sat with my fingers in some pink liquid, at which point I discovered a little painfully I had a cut on my finger, I browsed the many colours I could choose from displayed on white sticks with plastic finger nails stuck on the end, I never knew there were so many shades of pink (the colour I was contemplating).
After an age and ten wrinkly fingers later my old nail tips came off at which point manic filing commenced. Next she gets out a little box with lots of ridiculously long plastic nails in, selects one and glues it to the tip of my nail while all the while talking non stop in Chinese to her fellow nail technicians. She cuts down my nail to how I want it and files into a rounded shape, I think it looks more natural, while she also translates for the technician and her customer next to me who is shouting ROUNDED with the mistaken idea that a foreign word spoken loudly is more likely to be understood than the exact same word spoken normally.
I get this gel powder, it’s supposed to be better then acrylic for you nail’s but who knows, put on which is basically powder molded onto you nail with a brush that turns to plastic and then dipped into more powder (pink in my case). The customer next to me is now pointing to my technicians hand wanting what she has which after getting her to repeat it approximately ten times and both of us staring at her wishing we had brought a Chinese dictionary with us I come back with “umbray” which I think is meant to be “ombre”. How on earth the woman is going to make her technician understand that word after the rounded debacle is beyond me.
After I am ordered, twice because I had no idea what she was saying, to wash my hands I turn around and my seat has been taken by a new model and a man is now insisting I sit down in a different chair where he puts a couple of coats of gloss on my nails and instructs me to stay for two minutes.
While waiting I notice there is a bowl on the table next to me with some kind of weird moldy plant in which I fear may have legs and one of those waving cat things that has a sinister looking smile constantly painted on it’s face.The man comes over and demands £30,00 and hands me a loyalty card which I grab and dart out the door sharpish to fill my lungs with relatively clean air.
It is a long and slightly scary process but I do love my nails when they are done and at least I only have to go every three or so weeks!
By Lucy Williams