Sunday, November 18, 2012

NAILed it!

I have been meaning to write this review for a while now but every time I thought I was ready, a new sub-topic would come to mind and I preferred waiting until this post was as comprehensive as possible. 

Because you know, beauty and nails and stuff are highly critical matters that require meticulous analysis and deserve the most detailed reporting. Ahem. Moving on. 
(Hey! Quit judging, if you're here, it means you care too! And as a mom of two with the craziest of schedules, days of screamings, poopings, feedings, I know I need some me-time just to keep my sanity but the only way I'm going to get it is if I cheat and the kids are around. Yes, during my me-time. You'll see, it's pretty simple).

Going to salons is a chore to me. It used to be a hassle before I had kids and now, well, they're just the best excuse to completely ignore my horrible witch nails, bushy eyebrows or hairy legs. OK, fine, I do not really look like that; but still, some beauty care is always welcome, right? Well, I am way to lazy to make the effort. 

In Lebanon, technicians used to come to our home and I always thought that was perfect. Those freelancing fairies are life-saviors! 

Finally, they are in Dubai now. Well, to be fair, they have been in Dubai for a while, I just did not know about them (being the ultimate anti-salon freak and all). 

Source

Recently, a friend introduced me to the Beauty Bus and recommended Layola, "their best technician" she said. And indeed, Layola has magical hands!

My very first appointment, I did the whole shebang. I figured, if I was about to try their services, I might as well try everything once and for all and decide if they were going to be my BFF's forever and ever. I even got hubby to try their pedicure. You think I am kidding? Fine. Here we go, photo:

Layola at work: Hubby's feet are about to shine any moment now!
Photo: R. Abouzeid

Everything is sterile, as legally required in the UAE
Photo: R. Abouzeid

Indeed, Layola is highly skilled. She did the best eyebrows design and since I came back to Dubai I had been meaning to make them a little thicker which takes time and is not easy as in the process, one might look a little weird. Well Layola did it, minus the weirdness which was awesome. Yesterday was my last appointment and I confirm: the eyebrows now have the thickness I want and their shape is perfect.

Essie colors
Photo: R. Abouzeid

I also had a mani-pedi. The Beauty Bus uses Essie products. We all know the brand and I am glad to report the pedicure lasts about 20 days! Tested and proven by yours truly. And I am in the sun every day in sandals and three times a week in the pool (i.e. hello chlorine bath). Yet, I really change the polish only because the nails grow. 

Layola's work, simply beautiful
Photo: R. Abouzeid

The manicure is also excellent. It lasted about 5 days but I have to be honest and confess I am not kind to my nails. At all. I clean, cook, wash, even bleach without wearing gloves. I bathe the kids. I change the kids. I wash my hands a zillion times a day. Needless to say, I am very pleased with any color that lasts more than 2 hours!
Beauty Bus Bill: 
Manicure:    60 Dirhams
Pedicure:     70 Dirhams
Eyebrows:   25 Dirhams
Upper lip:   15 Dirhams

Meticulous work: Layola leaves nothing to chance
Photo: R. Abouzeid

With each 100 Dirhams spent, The Beauty Bus will add a point on my Loyalty Card and soon, I will be able to redeem these points against a complimentary service. Nice.


Then one day, I saw on Facebook a company that offers at-home services and, wait for it, long-lasting mani-pedis. A miracle, any mother will attest to that!

So I asked Layola about this breaking news and she told me The Beauty Bus was working on getting "gel" nail polish but that they did not have any at the moment. 

When I heard Sephora had a range of such "gel" to use at home, I decided to try it out. But because I am an accomplished failure at applying polish, I asked Layola to do it for me. Which she did, at an additional cost. So that time, my manicure cost me 95 Dirhams (60 Dirhams standard price, plus 35 Dirhams extra). Well actually, it cost a little (read: way) more than that because I had purchased all the gear myself. 

Bill? Sure:

Photo: R. Abouzeid
Source

Yep, that was quite a substantial purchase. I have to say I was a little disappointed with the salesladies at Sephora. I came in with a simple request: "Gel nail polish". At first, none of the two I spoke to knew what I needed, then one said something along the lines of "Wait, this is it". She walked with me literally three steps (I cannot believe it was this close to them and they did not know what I was enquiring about!) and showed me two kits from the same brand: Red Carpet. When I asked what the difference was between the two, she said she did not know but she advised me to take the cheapest just to try. Ok then. It turned out I probably should have taken the other one as the LED light I got was really small and not so powerful leaving the nail polish quite sticky even after the drying time was up. I also discovered later on that the person who told me about "gel at Sephora" meant another brand, but then again, I do not want to blame anyone as they had gotten theirs from London and maybe (or not) the Dubai branch did not have it. 

Aside from that less than mediocre shopping experience, I have to admit Red Carpet is an excellent product (not their small LED light though; I do not know about the bigger one). I got one color only in my starting kit but it was a very sexy red, which I absolutely loved. And most importantly, my nails lasted two weeks. No chipping. No trailer-trash peeling. Everything looked spotless. Including the white nail part that started to show as my nails grew and which reminded me if Red Carpet can stand the test of time, I still need to move it and remove it anyway. Yes, I am big on lame play-on-words today, post title included. 

Red Carpet nails: Day 1
Photo: R. Abouzeid
Red Carpet nails: Day 10
Photo: R. Abouzeid
Red Carpet nails: Day 16
Photo: R. Abouzeid


Impressive, right? But we all have heard about the "dangers" of gel manicure so just to be safe and to maintain healthy nails, it is advisable to go manicure-free for a week or so in between gel sessions. Actually, it is advisable with any kind of manicure, even with regular polish. 

Finally, when I decided to remove the gel (while my family was waiting for us to go out), I did not have enough time to apply the remover, cover the nails in foil (!) and wait for 10-15 minutes as directed in the kit manual... So... I peeled them. I had "plastic" red strips all over the floor. A red carnage! The top of my nails looked like they were filed. But after I washed my hands, they went back to their normal texture (and almost normal look). This confirmed to me that any sort of "gelish" polish will indeed affect the quality of nails. That and, probably, it is not advisable to peel? Oh well. 


My two cents on this story:

As a mom, and probably as a human being who has to use her hands daily, gel can be an easy, sustainable solution (provided there is a break every once in a while). I am definitely going to have them done whenever possible (it takes more time than regular manicures).

BUT, purchasing this kit might not have been the best of decisions. I definitely do not advise you to do the same. First of all, it is a little expensive for what you would be getting. Do not forget, you would have to purchase more colors, base, top coat, purifier and polish remover when the (quite small) ones are empty. Also, the LED light is a big disappointment. Then again, I used it on batteries although an adapter can be plugged to it. But it should be purchased separately as it was not included in the kit (yet another bummer). Regardless, it remains a small LED light which fits only 4 fingers at a time; thumbs must be dried separately which doubles the "drying wait time". It also does not fit a foot so it can only be used for manicures. 

But this story is far from being over!

Following this experience I decided to try that other at-home servicing company. Considering my gel manicure cost me 95 Dirhams (if I forget that kit price tag) and their long-lasting manicure is at 100 Dirhams, I felt it was worth it. After all, I would be using their wide array of colors (instead of purchasing new ones) and most importantly their huge LED light which not only fits an entire hand (and foot) at a time but also has a timer. The light goes off when the drying time of each layer is done (it is a different duration for each: base, color and top coat) and you can actually see the countdown on the screen. And, the light is powerful enough not to leave the nails sticky after all is done.

Trying them made complete sense as it costs the same as using my own gel polish... And so I had that mani today! Yes, I do not waste time. I am now waiting to see how long it will last. 

Here is a sneak-peak just for you, blog post will follow as soon as the wait-time is over:



TO BE CONTINUED ;)

Should you wish to book the talented Ms. Layola (and I highly recommend her), call The Beauty Bus on +971.4.4474470. Note that you will be charged a minimum of 100 Dirhams per home visit, regardless of the services you request.




Mamma Mia

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1 comment:

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