If your go-to manicurist does any of these 4 things, find a new one.


This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty show, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Manicures got confusing all of a sudden, didn’t they?

One can’t simply stroll into a nail parlour and ask for a coat of red polish these days. No, you’ve got to choose between gel, acrylic, shellac, OPI colour, SNS nails… it’s confronting.

One decision you can lock down is where to get your nails done. Sure, there’s no shortage of nail salons in most cities, but finding a reputable one that will give you a lovely manicure without damaging your nails too much is really important.

“Your nails are the same as your hair, they’re dead, so [how healthy they stay] really depends on how much you take care of them,” Leigh said on the latest episode of Mamamia’s You Beauty podcast. (Get it in your ears below, post continues after audio.)

“Quality and how much your nails will be damaged really depends on the manicure you choose and where you go.”

Although she started off by prefacing that every type of manicure will damage your nails in some way, Leigh reckons there are four specific warning signs to look out for in your nail technician or manicurist.

If they’re doing one (or heaven forbid, ALL) of these below, you might want to think about finding somewhere new. ASAP.


If it’s too cheap.

As with a lot of things in life, you get for what you pay for.

If you’re not sure whether a place is great, check out the price list. Gel or SNS manicures can start as low as $30, but be warned, you might not be entirely happy with the finished product.

“You can get it done cheaply for $30… going to a cheap place is affordable, but they often do it quite thick,” Leigh said.

She noted she pays up to $70 for a shellac manicure, which is on the exxier side, between $50-65 is pretty comparable.

If they’re still using UV lamps.

“Recently, there was some concern about the lamps salons use to cure the colour of gel manicures as they were UV, but now they’re not,” Leigh said.

If your salon is still using UV lights instead of safe LED lights, request a LED lamp. Or go elsewhere.

If they scrape your nails to remove shellac or SNS.

Both gel and SNS nails are hard to remove at home. If you’ve ever picked off an SNS manicure, you’ll no doubt have been horrified to see the bits of broken, dry, flaky nail left underneath.

Leigh advised a good technician will soak your nails to gently lift the product off, before gently buffing the rest off by hand.

She added, “If they scrape your nail like a mad person to get it off, it’s extremely damaging.”

If they use electrical tools.

You know that mini power tool manicurists might use to chisel away at your nails?


Leigh reckons that’s the ultimate nail sin and you should hightail it out of any salon that uses them.

“If they’re using that filing machine that’s plugged into electricity, walk the heck away. That is so bad.”

There you have it, folks. Keep your eyes peeled.

Side note – Mamamia is dedicated to road testing the weird and wonderful beauty products splashed all over your feed. Check out our verdicts below. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC


You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘What’s the difference between gel, shellac and SNS nails and which is best?’

  • The difference between gel and shellac = nothing.
  • Gel is the general term and shellac is a brand name of gel, just like OPI colour is a brand of gel – it’s kind of like saying tissues and then Kleenex.
  • SNS is a coloured powder that’s cured on the nail, there’s no drying time and no UV lights – it’s marketed as being better for your nails, but in Leigh’s opinion it’s not.
  • All manicures (other than a straight polish) are going to damage your nails, regardless what the marketing says.
  • If you’re having something adhered to your nails almost permanently, it’s damaging your nails and dehydrating your nail bed to cling to the nail.
  • The extent of damage will vary greatly between technician and brand.
  • Although SNS lasts longer (it’s like a nail version of glue on your fingers), Leigh’s top pick is shellac applied very thinly.

“Are cream bronzers and blushes better for ageing skin? What’s the best way to apply them?’

  • Cream bronzers and blushes are more youthful because your skin is not powdery, it sinks into the skin more whereas powders sit on top and can sit into the fine lines on your face.
  • Cream blushes are particularly lovely – a tiny amount on the apple of your cheek will give a truly flushed look.
  • In defence of powders, if you’re finding them really ageing, you’re probably using not a great powder, or too much powder.
  • Powders have come along way, they’re very finely milled now.
  • You should always tap excess off your brush after you’ve swirled it in your powder, and then dust.
  • For more mature skin, try avoiding powders around the cheekbone area – if you’re trying to highlight there, use a cream or liquid because powder will sit in the fine lines around the eye area right near the cheekbone.
  • A small amount of quality powder to set your face is fine for mature skin.
  • Do not follow the YouTubers and ‘bake’.
  • Using a cream based bronzer requires skill, watch videos and then use a buffing foundation brush to brush it in.

Kelly’s Savey: The Morphe Highlight and Contour Sponge, $11.

Image: Morphe.

Why she loves it:

  • Kelly love sponges, but so many of them are ridiculously priced.
  • She uses this one to do foundation because it sinks the product into the skin and makes it look more natural.
  • Use wet, not dry so product doesn't sink into the sponge - hold under the tap and squeeze four and five times under the running water, then squeeze and pat dry with a towel.
  • 'Pounce' (between press and bounce) all over your face and down the neck.
  • The moisture in the sponge makes the foundation look dewy.

Leigh's Savey: MooGoo Skin Milk Udder Cream, $16.50.

Image: MooGoo.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh tries to choose natural products for her body because your skin is your biggest organ and it's absorbing everything.
  • This body cream comes in a 200g tube for $16.
  • It's quite thick but it sinks in almost immediately, it's the Goldilocks of hydration and sinking in.
  • Really nice all-rounder body cream that's natural and doing something.

Kelly's Spendy: The Linda Hallberg Infinity Glass, $50(ish).

Image: Linda Hallberg.

Why she loves it:

  • This is a very under-the-radar product.
  • Kelly loves the look of wet editorial skin but it's not always practical for everyday.
  • Linda Hallberg Infinity Glass works like a primer to make areas of the face gloss.
  • Use only on the areas you want glossy, not whole face - great on cheekbones and on eyelids for a wet eyeshadow look.

Leigh's Spendy: Christophe Robin Temporary Colour Gel, $51.

Image: Christophe Robin.

Why she loves it:

  • Made by a French hairstylist who did Linda Evangelista and all the OG supermodels.
  • Robin's whole premise is that the scalp can't breathe because we use so many products, so he created a natural (expensive) range of shampoos and styling products.
  • The Temporary Colour Gel is a bottle of hair colour that you can re-use, unlike normal home hair colour you have to throw out.
  • Use for when you want to disguise greys in between colourist appointments.
  • Works like a tint and comes in four shades- Leigh used the medium brown, whack it on the part and wash off 40 mins later.
  • Saves time and money - there are four uses in each bottle and it comes with gloves and a brush to do your roots.

Until next week, stay lovely.

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