The trials and tribulations of acrylic extensions

Claws out

  • 23.11.2021
  • By Emily Heng

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As I’m typing this, I am making a concentrated effort to press down only with the pads of my fingers. Funnily enough, this isn’t a convoluted attempt to better my wrist strength — rather, it is a form of adapting to my new circumstances. This involves acrylic extensions attached to my nails; a possessing of 10 curved, almond-shaped daggers at my fingertips. Yes, literally.

Far be it for me to claim credit as one of the individuals spearheading the charge. Long, extended talons have been in vogue for a considerable period of time, with Hollywood bigwigs such as Cardi B and Lizzo fronting the style. Not only does the look exude glamour, it is known for having an elongating effect on one’s fingers; an illusionary effect utilised by anyone hankering for graceful, pianist-like digits.

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Beyond that, extensions come with the added benefit of being attached to your nail. Meaning: You’re not actually applying toxic chemicals onto any of your anatomical parts. Weakened, peeling nails — a common side effect of one too many gel manicures — aren’t an issue, which thus allows for more creativity with regard to design. There was an instance where Elle Fanning pierced her extensions, for one, showing off a series of dangling charms on the red carpet.

As it is, there appear to be minor cons to this entire enterprise. And so, I enlisted the assistance of a friend to attach acrylic stilts onto my fingers. The process didn’t differ too much from what you’d expect: UV light; base coats; continuous hemming and hawing over colour choices. In fact, it was more of what came after that proved to be a surprise — the alteration of my lifestyle to adhere to said new additions in my life. Without further ado, a list:

1. I stopped wearing anything with buttons
Do you know what’s more humiliating than emerging from the gym’s bathroom, butt-naked, to swipe a towel post-workout? Emerging with your jeans unbuckled and having to beg a stranger for assistance. The one silver lining from this situation is that you’re likely to expand upon your current circle of workout buddies, seeing how nothing cements a bond faster than witnessing someone in the throes of humiliation.

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2. I stopped drinking sugary sodas
Or anything that comes in a can, really. Instead of giving random folks an ego boost by pleading for assistance, I have elected, simply, to stop consuming sugar in its entirety. My doctor would be very proud of me.

3. I had to buy applicators for my skincare products
No one talks about how gross it is to have moisturiser caked under your nails. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this more? I resorted to tiny spoon applicators from Daiso, which, admittedly, do help me distribute product on my face more evenly.

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4. I had to become more self-reliant with regard to athletic endeavours
It’s fair to point out that there aren’t a lot of people out there who are willing to let you latch onto their arm while in-line skating when you have deadly weapons glued onto your fingers. Yes, this applies to even the closest of your friends. On a side-note, those that are probably keepers.

5. I touched my face a lot less
For fear of scratching and mangling my complexion, at least. If anything, this proved to be an advantageous lifestyle change. The reduced groping of my mien meant breakouts healed faster, too, seeing how I wasn’t tempted to pop fresh whiteheads the second I spotted them push through skin. Small wins, truly.

6. I became everyone’s appointed back-scratcher
The sharp points of my nails do make for a very satisfying scratch. I won’t lie. I’m aiming to capitalise upon this at some point and start charging people for it.

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