Swoon Time - The Healthy Gel Manicure
For many, being a woman is hard work. All the buffing, preening and gleaning of a manicure can be utterly exhausting - so it comes as no surprise that many resort to longer lasting beauty treatments such as gel and acrylic nails. But, such treatments can take their toll, leaving us with brittle, weak nails - a very unattractive end result. Thankfully, Glasgow nail-guru, Lianne Clark of Swoon Nails has the answer to all our broken nail dreams - a healthy gel manicure.
The Healthy Gel Manicure - Calgel
Calgel is a cutting edge formula armed with the mission to put standard gel nail polish out of business. Tackling the gap in the market to achieve healthy, long lasting manicured nails, the system utilises natural looking colour overlays (applied directly onto the nail) and length is added through either sculpting with the gel or with use of a tip. Nail health is maintained by avoiding a buff-off.
Serving as Calgel's very first UK brand ambassador, Clark elaborates:
"The distant lack of buffing Calgel requires significantly reduces the risk of damage to the natural nail. It is a porous system which means it allows moisture to pass through the layers of the gel so nails don’t become brittle or dehydrated over time. Calgel also allows the gel to move with the natural nails which is another reason nails won’t bend or snap.
As it can be soaked off, and doesn’t require the use of electric drills or harsh buffing you don’t have to worry about the risk of over buffing or forceful removal which is the most common cause of painful nails after application. If removed correctly, the nail should remain strong and healthy- even if you don’t take a ‘break’ between treatments."
Calgel treatments are on the pricier side of the market, with a manicure setting customers back anywhere from £30 up to £65. Nevertheless, quality triumphs over cheap, low-grade materials as with the correct care such as wearing gloves when doing housework, avoiding harsh chemicals and applying cuticle oil, an application can last up to six weeks - a reasonable investment for die-hard gel fans.
An application takes as little as 30 minutes by a trained technician, thanks to the "one-phase approach" of the formula as base and top gels are not required.
Clark reinforces the importance of quality over price, "Our product is great but without talented technicians we wouldn’t be where we were today. We offer follow-on training and additional workshops which encourage nail techs to develop their skills. We believe their training and qualifications mixed with their passion for the brand and for their work enables them to charge prices they feel reflects the quality of the product and their service.
I would steer clear of places that are extremely cheap: if a salon is using quality products, good technicians, and has a fantastic reputation, there's no need for them to charge next to nothing. If you find a salon that is, I would ask yourself why. Don't be afraid to ask how they sanitize their tools, and if the salon seems dirty it probably is...trust your gut. Also, manicures should NEVER hurt, if your technician does anything remotely painful, ask them to stop immediately."
Swoon Nails - Manicure Up!
Those based in Glasgow, can visit Clark herself at Swoon Nails to get their own set of Calgel nails - but be warned, due to a surge in popularity, new clients may be faced with a wait of up to six months.
"I've finally decided to bite the bullet and expand my business." Said Clark, "I've been working solo for the last 5 years. I'm very happy to be busy, and giving people great manicures. I love seeing smiling faces when customers leave, it makes my day!
I intend to find some talented nail techs to join me in my bigger 'Calgel only' salon. We love seeing how supportive the Scottish Calgel Pros are of each other and how fantastic the community spirit is- this may be one reason the brand has developed so well in Scotland."
By the summer, Swoon Nails will have relocated to larger premises to accommodate demand. For those who may find healthy gel manicures unsuitable due to lifestyle factors, all is not lost:
"Calgel suits most clients but a very small percentage will find they need something slighter harder wearing, some prefer to use ‘hard’ (non-soak off gels) or acrylics. This can be due to the nature of their job, or their hobbies. It is for this reason, we use a new soak-off gel call iZ Gel with a unique keratin bond which gives slightly stronger adhesion and is less porous than Calgel so can be more resilient to products and chemicals. Like Calgel, it’s a soak-off gel though it takes slightly longer."
But, if there's one product that has a special place in Clark's heart, it's Calgel:
"Being appointed as Calgel's first UK brand ambassador absolutely means the world to me! I've never wanted to use any other product since I started doing nails, and my clients will tell you how passionate I am about it. I'm honoured that the lovely people at Calgel, saw something special enough in my work to ask me to do this."