For some, people watching is observing others and their exchanges from a discreet, preferably al fresco, perch. Shamefully, for me, “pretty watching” would be the more apropos term; I’ve been known to hone my steely gaze in on the color of one’s lipstick, the crop of one’s ‘do or the hue of one’s mani.
Last week, while indulging myself in some harmless pretty watching, I noticed a stunning woman, immaculately dressed and groomed right down to her naked, unkempt nails. I felt an immediate sense of kinship with this nearly-perfect creature because, what mere mortal, after all, has time for the twice weekly manicures needed to keep traditional polish looking perfect?
Enter the No Chip Manicure, an in-salon mani quickly gaining popularity amongst the too busy to get to the salon weekly but must have great nails set. The appeal includes the promise of no chips or dings for several weeks, the time saved from not going to the salon weekly (or more) and longer nails that won’t break as easily as natural nails.
What Is It?
There are several companies that manufacture the products used in what is commonly referred to as a “No Chip Manicure” including Axxium by OPI, Bio Sculpture and Shellac by CND. The Axxium line includes some of my favorite OPI colors such as Lincoln Park After Dark, a blackish-purple, and Bubble Bath, the nude pink that I am sporting with my French No Chip Mani below.
The No Chip Manicure is a gel overlay that is applied with a small brush to your natural nail. The process takes longer than a traditional manicure, 45 minutes to an hour, and also promises to last longer, think up to four weeks.
There are many shades available for No Chip Manicures although, unlike a traditional manicure, you can’t choose any hue under the sun. And don’t even try bringing in your own nail polish, a No Chip mani can only be done with s special gel “polish” meaning you have to choose from the colors your salon has on hand.
How is it done?
A No Chip Manicure begins much like a traditional manicure until it’s time to apply color. To apply color, the nails are usually slightly roughened and then the gel product is applied in stages. First, a base coat is applied and cured under a UV light for up to two minutes. Next, the color itself is applied in two coats with each coat left to cure under a UV light before a top coat is applied.
One of my favorite things about No Chip Manicures — because I detest waiting and have been known to dash out of the salon before my nails are dry thus ruining my $15 manicure — is that the second the manicure is done, nails are completely dry; like dig around in your purse for your keys, put on your seat belt, apply lip gloss dry.
The No Chip Mani promises not to chip, however, depending on how quickly your nails grow, even a manicure without a ding starts to look bad when two weeks later there’s a line of demarcation from your No Chip color of choice to new nail growth. To remove the color you’ll have to go back to the salon where a 15 minute acetone soak promises to have polish lift right off. In fact, even if you opt for a new No Chip mani in the same color, your previous No Chip will have to be soaked off.
Also available as a pedicure, No Chip Manicures are done exclusively at local salons and spas for $35 to $45 $50.
And while you’ll pay more for a No Chip Manicure, the return — pretty, shiny nails that look perfect for weeks — make this treatment a grooming investment worth considering.
Do tell — Are you going to give the No Chip a whirl or stick with polish that may chip but can also be changed easily?