beauty

TRIED AND TESTED: What it's actually like living with hectic "influencer" nails for a week.

Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your weekly review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellness. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Senior Lifestyle Writer Amy Clark went from being a nail biter to having long, pointy “influencer” nails.

For my last Tried and Tested road test story of 2019 (don’t worry, I’ll be back ready to put my face and body on the line in 2020), I wanted to do something extreme.

So, I decided to get a really long, really pointy, really hectic manicure.

Side note – here’s how to remove your own acrylic nails at home. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

You see, I’ve been a nail biter for as long as I can remember and often say I’ve got the worst hands on the planet. If you’re a regular reader of Mamamia beauty stories, you’ll recognise my short, scrappy, sore-looking nails from my product shots. Oh, and apparently my nails are so “bad”, a complete stranger once told me in a Facebook comment featuring multiple vomit emojis that the very sight of them scarred her for life. (Yes, this really happened!!!)

For context, this is what my nails normally look like. Don’t worry, they won’t make you vomit but it’s also not the chicest manicure around.

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Cute, right? Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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It's quite frustrating because, even though I've tried every nail biting hack out there with no success, I envision the best version of me in an alternative universe would be rocking what I'm calling "influencer nails".

When I say influencer nails, I'm talking about gorgeous, long, neatly-manicured nails with fun patterns, geographic colours and festive designs like these manicures I've been lusting over on Instagram.

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Rainbow jelly tips ???? inspo: @tres.she

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Aside from looking really bloody great, I've always wondered what it's actually like living with long, pointy, hectic nails a la Kylie Jenner. How does one... do things?

To find out, I thought I’d go from zero to 1,000 and get the brilliant celebrity Sydney-based nail artist Miss Betty Rose (who most recently did Dua Lipa’s nails for the ARIAs) to sculpt me the longest, pointiest set of nails I’ve ever had.

Keep scrolling for my recap of what goes into creating these kinds of manicures and what it's actually like living with them. Hint: it's a lot.

How to get acrylic nails like mine.

My manicure 'before and after' is pretty incredible. As it should be considering it took Betty TWO AND A HALF HOURS to transform them. The whole process was fascinating to watch and I will never stop marvelling at how Betty literally sculpted my nails into existence from nothing.

First, Betty tidied up my crusty, scraggly natural nails before using sticker guides to build the structure and shape of the nails with acrylic from scratch. This is different to how you may have had nails done before, when the technician will glue plastic tips or fake nails to your real nails for extra length.

Once the actual nails were done, Betty then hand painted on a leopard print pattern (just using her artistic eye, no stencils or pattern guides here) and finished them with a glossy top coat. You can see my before and after photos below.

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Here's what my nails looked like before Betty worked her magic. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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These are the Edward Scissorhands stickers she used to mould the acrylic. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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AFTER. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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These are the leopard print nails of my dreams! Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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Oh, and here's my attempt at an influencer-style steering wheel shot. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

How long do acrylic nails last for?

Some people will tell you acrylic nails can last up to a month before you need to go back into the salon, but Betty said you should have them refilled every three weeks at the latest. This is because the longer you let them grow out, the more you risk damaging your natural nails underneath.

How much do acrylic nails cost?

A standard set of acrylic nails at a walk-in salon can cost anywhere between $30 and $70 depending on where you go, but nails like the ones Betty created for me are more expensive.

This is because a) they're fully hand painted, b) they are made completely from acrylic (no plastic or stick-on tips) and c) you're paying for the artistry and the nail artist's time. My manicure cost $210, simply because of the amount of work that went into transforming my short AF nails.

What long acrylic nails are really like IRL.

I'll be honest, I walked - strutted - out of Betty's nail studio feeling like an absolute 10/10. I stood in the middle of the road and took several photos of my nails. I sat in my car for at least 20 minutes trying to capture the perfect influencer shot with my hand on my sh*tty, non-sports car steering wheel.

Then, I drove away and the reality of what it's actually like living a normal life with these nails set in. And you should know, they are hard work.

It’s now been over a week since I’ve had my long acrylic nails and we’ve been through a lot together. While they look effing extra and make my former sausage fingers look like dainty twigs, they’ve also caused me a lot of pain. Literally. If I bang them on something, say while rummaging through my undies drawer, the pain lasts for HOURS.

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WHAT HAVE I DONE?! Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Sure, there are some upsides to having these nails, but a lot of life's everyday tasks also become really... difficult. For example, just hours into having these nails, I found myself trapped in my bra. Legit, I wrestled with the clasps for a good 30 minutes, covered in my own flustered, overheated sweat. I also had to ask a random but lovely woman in Priceline if she could please take my necklace off for me.

To keep things simple, I've summarised exactly what I could and couldn't do while having these long acrylic nails. Let's just say, thank God I didn’t have my period.

Things I couldn't do with my long acrylic nails:

  • Unlocking my car.
  • Driving.
  • Winding down the car window.
  • Typing. (This is important when you're a journalist...)
  • Texting.
  • Posting on Instagram.
  • Eating.
  • Putting on jewellery.
  • Taking off my bra.
  • Finding things in my handbag.
  • Opening and consuming snacks.
  • Wiping my arse.
  • Flushing the toilet.
  • Doing my eyebrows.
  • Tying my shoelaces.

Things I could do better with my long acrylic nails:

  • Scratching.
  • Tickling my boyfriend's back.
  • Picking my nose (sorry).
  • Annoyingly tapping my nails on any and every surface.
  • Taking photos of beauty products.
  • That's it.

Final thoughts on my influencer nails...

It's important to note what I did for this experiment - going from having almost no nails to really, really long ones - was always going to be ridiculous.

But from those I spoke to who normally have nails like these, you do get used to them. By the fourth or fifth day of having them, my nails had really grown on me and I loved how refined and elongated they made my hands look, but in the end, I decided to have them shortened.

Would I get nails like these again? Sadly, no. But I have a new-found respect for the people who rock them (yes, even Kylie Jenner) and the incredible nail artists who craft them.

Feature image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Have you ever had a manicure like this? How did you find them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Mamamia's Tried and Tested series will be back in 2020. Want us to trial and review a product or treatment you've seen everywhere? Easy, just send an email to [email protected] 

You can catch up on more from our Tried and Tested series here:

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