Rinelda’s Diary: The challenges of acrylic nails

27 July 2018
Wearing artificial acrylic nails can make your hands look pretty fabulous. I think that they make my fingers look longer, sleeker and leaner.
They are the perfect ‘hand’ canvas for stacked rings and bracelets galore.  But the reality is that applying, maintaining and living life with artificial acrylic nails can be very difficult.
To have these nails and wear them properly presents many challenges particularly for most of us who use our hands a lot each day.  Breaking a ‘real nail’ is fretful (after all, it will eventually grow back and it can be re-shaped to still look nice), but snapping or chipping an expensive, decorative acrylic nail makes you want to weep.
Even before enjoying how nice your hands look when you are wearing them (fake nails), the first challenge presents itself:  the high cost. They are very expensive; it can cost around N$300 for all ten finger nails; more for the fancier and higher quality nails.
The next hurdle is applying them correctly at home if you don’t have (or cannot afford) a salon or nail artist.  This part is messy, cumbersome and exacting.  Maneuvering the oozing glue with its putrid, metallic smell and carefully handling the highly breakable or ‘scratch-able’ plastic nail tips can be very frustrating.  You need a steady hand to not smear the glue everywhere and to place the nail onto yours in the correct line.
In my case, once I get them on, at first, they feel funny on my nails.  It is not a natural ‘feel.’  Strangely, I get the image of a dog wearing socks and I laughingly imagine how that animal must feel with something on its paws that is not normally meant to be there.  Still, the reward is that my nails look great.
Acrylic nails are incredibly popular these days. I have been obsessed with getting them on for a while now, so I applied them.  However, just days later, I have realized how annoying they can be.  The last time I did my nails with acrylics was last year in November on my birthday.  I thought that doing my nails now would give me a better experience.  But, I was so wrong.   It was no easier than the last time – I am beginning to accept that acrylic nails might not be for me.
Celebrities make acrylic nails seem so comfortable, easy and amazing to have. But my experience is quite different.
With acrylic nails in place, my hands become incapable of doing basic tasks. Things such as typing on my computer, taking care of my baby with ease, texting, working with my smart phone or even combing my hair suddenly became a challenge for me due to the long acrylic nails.
If something is in my eye, then I better leave it, because the longs nails could do major damage as I try to remove the tiny obstruction.
I also hate the fact that everything gets stuck under the nails. I find food, lotion, shampoo and make-up under my nails. It is really disgusting!
Dressing myself suddenly has also become problematic. Something simple such as buttoning jeans and closing zippers are suddenly major problems for me when I am wearing the acrylic nails.
Think of something as easy as opening a can or picking up a one dollar coin.  With long artificial nails, these silly things now become super difficult.
With the artificial nails, you’d better not ever scratch your nose, because it will bleed.  Also, you cannot put in your contact lenses like a normal person; you will have to do it differently. Scratching an itch anywhere on your body is a no-no with the fancy nails.
Any woman who has worn fake nails understands the story I am recounting. 
There are plenty of things to think about before you decide to have acrylic nails.  There is no denying that they are fun, stylish and trendy.  I guess ‘suffering for beauty’ is not just a saying, when deciding to wear artificial long nails, it is a real thing!


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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