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  • Writer's pictureDani Sauter

All About Acrylic Nails

Pinterest Nails. This is something I’d been wanting for as long as I could remember. I’m the type of person that can sit and watch nail tutorials or skim Pinterest nail boards for hours. The entire technique and art of Pinterest-worthy nails is something I admired and strived to have.

The problem is here in the DC area it is very hard to find a salon that is good enough for Pinterest-worthy nails. When I first got acrylic nails in 2016, I wasn’t educated enough in nail techniques so I went to a salon in Old Town, and they did an OK job on my nails. I experimented with glitter here and there but they didn’t offer a ton of cool designs and struggled to get the perfect coffin or stilleto shape. I went to them because my nail tech was nice, but ultimately they weren’t skilled enough to really take my nails to the next level. So I bounced around. I tried probably 10 different nail salons, none of which could REALLY do Pinterest nails. I was stumped and about to take my acrylics off, when I was introduced to Sabrina.

Sabrina had just moved back to the DC area and had been doing nails for years. It was perfect fate that we met. Its now been one year since I’ve been going to Sabrina and she has taken my nail game up to a whole other level. I now can’t imagine life without my “extra AF Pinterest” nails and they have become a part of who I am. I’ve also learned A TON about nail care from Sabrina, who has her own salon, Paix et Amour and is also a Nail Tech Trainer/Educator.

One of the first things people say to me when I meet them, is usually a complimentary comment about my nails- followed by “I could never wear those.” But, I’m here to tell you today that you CAN wear acrylics, and I’m dishing all about what to expect if you’ve never had them before! So here’s the dish:

1. If you are tempted like me to have Pinterest-worthy nails, do your research in finding a QUALITY nail salon. In other words, don’t do like me and just go somewhere hoping they can do your nails like your Pinterest inspo images. It takes a lot of time and a lot of skill to do amazing nails, and chances are they are not at your neighborhood “chop shop” (lol, a term I learned from Sabrina) where they want to turn clients around fast. Find a person who specializes in acrylics or gel and who has a cleanly salon- and more importantly, is licensed. If you are in DC, there is no one better than Sabrina. Her salon Paix et Amour is located in Tyson’s and it’s worth the trip.

2. Be prepared to spend some time in the salon. If you want quality, it’s going to take time. My nails on average take 2-3 hours depending on the design. If you’re going all in like I did, do it right and don’t expect to be in and out fast like a chop shop.

3. Find an educated and licenced nail tech. Again, do your research and go to a quality salon that uses the best tools and techniques and are healthy to your nails. Do not go to a salon that files down your nail bed with a drill. I repeat, do not go to a nail salon that files down your nail bed with a drill. Sabrina has never once drilled down my natural nail bed, which can be very damaging to your natural nail. Find an educated nail tech who can apply the acrylic to your nail, sans nail drill, and who sculpts the acrylic into the nail shape instead of using fake nail tips for the length. Acrylic nails have a stigma of being "awful" for your nails, but when you go to a high quality, educated salon who cares about the health of your natural nail, it is not harmful. In fact, using gel nail polish or dip powder is essentially the same, when then acrylic is applied correctly.

4. It isn't cheap. Again, if you're going to go all in, you have to be prepared to pay a higher cost. You can't be expecting Mercedes level nails for a Hyundai price, period. My nails average between $80-100 every 3-4 weeks. This may seem really high, but I also take into account all the time I am saving not doing my nails myself every 3-4 days. I can't stand chipped nail polish so when I was doing my own nails, I was literally painting them every few days out of habit and to ensure they were freshly painted without chips.

5. There is significant upkeep. Like any other luxury beauty investment, you need to be prepared for maintenance and upkeep. The one negative about having your nails professionally done is that if one chips or breaks, you can't always fix it yourself. I try to be as careful with my nails as I can be and I do not use my actual nails to open or hold things in fear the pressure could crack or break a nail. There have been times that I've chipped a nail, or broke a nail off, and I still go in to have it repaired if its bad. Its a pain when it happens, but its part of the process. The acrylic nails can sometimes lift also over time, so I always keep nail glue at home so I can temporarily fix a nail or get by until my next appointment.

6. There will be some adjustments in getting used to longer nails. I still remember when I first had my acrylics put on, I couldn't type or text on my phone! However, in time I got used to it and it is like nothing to me now. I can text, type, and do anything else with my nails! It does take a bit of time to get used to, but ultimately you will figure it out, make alterations where needed (for example, I still have a hard time opening cans, so I use a spoon or a knife to get the tab up), and it will become second nature to you!

7. Figure out what works for you and play with different shapes or lengths. I am totally into trying new nail shapes and lengths to see what I like best and what works best for me. If you try one style/shape and don't love it, give it another try and change it up! Finding the right shape and length can take time, but once you find it, stick with it. Amazing nails come in all shapes and sizes, so find what is best for you and what you love to wear and can realistically maintain.

7. Lastly, have fun with it! I look at my nails as a form of creativity and personality! I love being able to sit with Sabrina and have like 3 different ideas that we talk about and end up combining into one. It is truly an art form and its amazing what can be achieved when you have the right nail tech!


Blonde in the District


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