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Caught myself: Keeping up with upkeep

It happened. I fell into the shellac hole - a long stretch of baking long-wear nail polish onto my fingertips in an effort to make my hands to look tidy and professional. After the last few sessions, I’ve left feeling, no other way to put it, silly. What with the weird polish colours that never seem quite right after the fact, clashing with my skin colour and making me feel like a nasty TV series Housewife. Yesterday was the tipping point. With my fingernails wrapped in acetone-drenched cotton, the toxic juice seeping through the sliver on the side of my thumb from the knife mishap at breakfast, I swear I felt shockwaves running through my bloodstream. I am calling off shellac and nail polish on my fingernails until further notice.

 The tipping point: Ridiculousness

It just doesn’t add up for me. The garbage in my favourite local nail bar was spilling over with latex gloves, tin foil and cotton pads soaked with old polish and acetone. Every chair was filled with women prepping for the long weekend by absorbing a crazy cocktail not of the variety that one enjoys on a sunny patio surrounded by friends, but by chemicals, some of which have been proven to be hormone disruptors. This article even suggested wearing sunscreen on your hands because of the part of the process where you stick your hands inside a little UV oven intermittently to bake on the shellac. It's the same concept as a sunbed which has proven to be a hazard to your health due to exposure from cancer causing rays.

Chemicals and waste aside, something else has been niggling at me. It was a comment made by a man on CBC radio I heard a month or so ago (can't recall who or what show) to the effect that, women, in the morning because they put on make-up, are already "behind" men. Horrible reality. This nail thing, as fun as it can be to have pretty decorative fingertips, for me anyway, needs to moderated for that reason as well. What could I be doing in the hours spent sitting in the mani-pedi place breathing in polish fumes and acrylate dust from the drilling of fake nails?

Will I paint my nails again? Likely, but I will aim for this activity to fall back into the “special occasion” category, definitely holding off on the shellac and will also explore the natural polishes out in the market that I previously shunned due to my love affair with mani pedi pals Essie and Opi.

In the meantime, to heal my nails during this hiatus, I am honouring them with Neem oil from India blended with Lemon and Frankincense essential oils.

I happily share this with you on your shellac hiatus.


5 ml neem oil

5 ml coconut oil

2 drops lemon essential oil

2 drops frankincense essential oil

Pour into clean container. At bedtime, apply one to two drops across fingertips and rub in. Repeat with the other hand every night for two weeks.


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