What a Trip to the Nail Salon is REALLY Like


Nail salons. Ah, yes. Good ol’ nail salons. I feel like we all have a love/hate relationship with those things. Anyone who has ever had the “pleasure” of visiting one of these places knows that a nail salon isn’t just a nail salon. No one shows up, gets their nails painted in 10 minutes, and then carries on with their day.


While I was at one of these torture chambers yesterday, I got inspired and realized there was an opportunity for a good blog post out of this. I snapped a few pics, scribbled down a few thoughts, and began writing.

I’m here to tell you exactly what a trip to the nail salon is like because somehow you only end up spending about 25% of your time getting your nails painted.

So what exactly goes on in that other 75%? What exactly goes on at all? Read on to find out. More likely than not, you’ll relate to most, if not all, of these.

1. Trashy Magazine Time


What would a trip to the nail salon be without some classic trashy magazine time? No one wants to be caught dead buying one of these, but hey, if I have 20 minutes to kill then I guess I’ll read it….
(Of course, we tell ourselves, if Moby Dick was sitting there we’d choose that instead.)
Seriously though, the more trashy the better.

2. “Pick colla”

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One of the first things your manicurist will say to you is the much-anticipated “pick color” (pick colla). I don’t know about you, but I’ll go to the nail salon planning on getting my nails painted blue and leave with fricken’ fuchsia.
Choosing a nail color is a SERIOUS decision. This color and I will be spending some serious time together over the next few days so I better like it. It certainly doesn’t help that there are literally hundreds of colors to choose from. Every time I go to the nail salon I see a new color I didn’t even know existed…

3. The Thrones

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I would just like to take the time to ask if anyone else feels that the pedicure chairs resemble thrones. I always feel so ridiculous for sitting on these thrones chairs and honestly, the whole dynamic makes me feel so uncomfortable. As women are sitting below me, scrubbing and rinsing my feet, I feel like a cross between Jesus and King Arthur III. And I don’t like it.

4. Beauty is Pain

Whoever coined the phrase “beauty is pain” definitely frequented quite a few nail salons in her day. All I can say is: those damn cuticles.
I’ll pretty much alternate between these 3 facial expressions…

…but when my manicurist looks up at me I’m just like:
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“Me? In pain? God, no! Not at all!”

5. That Look

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As your manicurist works away on your nails, a very distinct look comes across her face. Is that concentration? Dedication? Oh wait. No, definitely not. It’s a look of disgust. Which instantly makes me feel self-conscious. Are my fingers too long? Too wide? Do I have weird-shaped hands? AM I AN ALIEN? At this point I have to resist the overwhelmingly strong urge to pull my hands from her kong-fu grip and retreat.
(Photo creds to my mom BTW. Lol. It was originally a snapchat of me getting my nails done but I zoomed in and, sure enough, there was that look of disgust…)

6. The Massage Lady Leech 

I would like to take the time to comment on the fact that at my salon, there is always a lady leech going around, randomly giving massages. Many people might love this, but I HATE it. All of a sudden I feel these hands on my back, digging into my bones and I don’t know whether I’m about to throw up or cry. If I wanted a massage I would’ve asked. And now another $5 goes down the drain, as I feel obligated to tip this leech.
(Sorry I don’t have a picture of the leech. And no, she doesn’t actually look like a leech. Lol.)

7. “Oooh special finger!”


I don’t know what it is about the ladies who work in nail salons, but they all seem to be exceedingly blunt. Be prepared to be hit with about 8 insults per visit. And I don’t mean cruel, pernicious remarks. No, not at all. With charming smiles and hard-to-understand accents, the ladies deliver these insults in such a way that half the time I’m left thinking their question as to why my skin is a weird color was actually a compliment.
My personal favorite is “ooh special finger!”
For those of you who don’t know, I have weird thumbs. It is a curse. For whatever reasons my thumbs look, well, special. And 9 times out of 10 my manicurist makes a comment. And 9 times out of 10 she says, “Ooh special finger!” Yup.

8. Becoming a Prisoner

“Oh no, I think they’re dry.”
“Really, they seem fine.”
“I’ll be extra careful. It’s all good.”

As soon as my nails are done being painted, I can confidently say that I become a prisoner of war. My captors are the nail ladies. I am the hostage. And the war is the harsh reality of being a female.

No matter how convincingly I assure those ladies that I do not need to sit for another 20 minutes drying my nails, they refuse to let me go.

So I wait…
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And wait…
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And wait some more…
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…until finally my captors tell me that an armistice has been declared (my nails are dry) and I am free alas.

9. Time to Fork Over Your Lifesavings

Now it’s time for the fun part.

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I’ll really never understand. They have all of the prices prominently displayed throughout the salon, yet for some reason, I always find myself shocked by the grand total. With waxing (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do), add-ons, and God-knows-what-else, I always end up paying a fortune. Forget about that fancy restaurant I was planning on dining at for lunch; I’ll be living on Ramen for the next week.

10. Beautiful Nails! (that will probably chip in a day)


And then BAM. You have a fresh set of claws and can now conquer the word. (Am I the only one who suddenly feels like a new person after getting a manicure or…?)

And after the first chipped nail, the countdown begins until your next trip to the salon!!!! Yay……..

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