Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sharon and Cynthia ~ Removing the Dam Polish!

Click to see The Big Picture

First, let me say I loved my manicure.  My nails have never looked so good, ever.
I had an uneventful drive home, and, as it was late, I didn't stay Meg very long.  I was trying to decide if I should take off my polish that night, or wait until the next morning.  I decided, since I didn't know how much time I'd have in the morning, I had better do it that night.

After removing my other clothes and makeup I put on my nightgown and started looking for nail polish remover.

I couldn't find any.  I knew I had some.  I thought I knew I had some.  Or maybe I knew I thought I had some.

I did have some, but I didn't know which bag or box it was in, and, as I said, it was late.  I was pretty sure I knew where my wife's remover was ~ under her bathroom sink.  I knew this because of the many times I had to remove everything from the vanity so I could remove the trap and retrieve a contact lens or an earring.

I hoped it was the acetone remover.  It worked so much better than the "gentler" one.

I found the remover.  It was the "regular" formula (acetone ~ yay!).  There was about a half-bottle.  That was enough.

I'm no expert, but here's what I do:

I put some remover in the cap.
I put a finger in the cap.
I wait fifteen or thirty seconds.
I remove the finger (from the cap, not from my person).
I rub the nail and most of the polish comes off.

I do all ten nails, then I tackle bits of polish in the cuticles with a q-tip dipped in remover.

Total time: ten minutes.  Fifteen minutes tops.

I admired the beautiful job she did ~ my nails looked perfect.  I wanted to keep the polish until it came off on its own.  I was so tempted to do that.  I knew I couldn't.  I imagined what my son would say the next day and how I couldn't explain it, really.  I imagined what the people at work would say.  That I could work through, but I didn't think I was ready for.

I put some remover in the cap.
I put my left thumb in the cap.
I waited maybe fifteen seconds.
I removed my finger (yes, from the cap).
I sadly rubbed my nail to remove the polish.

I looked at my thumbnail.  Not a drop had come off.  It was as perfect and shiny as it was a minute ago.  So I added one more step:

I panicked.

I grabbed a small metal nail file and started scraping the top layer off ~ I figured there was something in the top coat that was resistant to the remover.  I scratched it a bit (and I scratched my nail too) and tried again.  I now had a shiny red scratched nail.

I tried a couple of other brute-force things and then stopped panicking.

I went downstairs with my near-perfect nails and started googling.  I don't remember exactly what ~ "nail polish won't come off" "removing stubborn nail polish" ~ and I started wondering what I was going to say to the kid in the morning.

I found out about gel nail polish: you put on a coat, then "bake" it in with a UV light.  Bake in each coat and it is on to stay.  That sounds like what I was wearing.

Panic returned.

One of the sites said "do-it-yourself gel nail kits, usually include a remover."  OK, I can go to the CVS with my bright red nails in the morning and see if they have a gel remover.  But I still didn't know when the family would be home so I'd prefer to take care of this tonight.

More than one of the sites said "gel nails stay on for about two weeks and then you must remove the polish completely before putting on a new coat."  At least they had the hopeful words "remove the polish completely" as if this was a possibility.  I read on.

I work with computer problems.  Often, I'll find the same solution to the same problem over and over again with some others offered as well.  Usually, the common solution is not the best ("recycle the computer") and I have to figure out which of the uncommon solutions is the right one ("delete the registry key HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Templates") and which are stupid ("remove the CPU and rotate it 90 degrees").

So I looked at some different solutions and found one that was Just Crazy Enough To Work.

Ten minutes later, I had five strips of aluminum foil lying on the vanity.  I had others wrapped around each finger of my left hand.  Under each layer of foil was a cotton ball I had soaked in nail polish remover.

It looked like my fingers were growing into silver bananas.

I don't know WHY I didn't take a picture!  Dam dam dam panicky feelings.

I can still see in my mind's eye how weird my fingers looked.  I wish I could show you all.

The final bit of the formula: wait fifteen MINUTES (not seconds) and rub off the polish with an orange stick (HA!  got one!).

The soaked cotton for fifteen minutes was the key.  The foil was to keep the remover from evaporating and hold them onto multiple fingers.  I suppose I could have poured the remover in a bowl and sat with my fingers in it for fifteen minutes, but this way I could sort of do something while my fingers were soaking.  And I could crumple and toss each foil ball so I didn't have the remover smell in the bathroom.  Or I could have soaked each finger for fifteen minutes, but it was already after 1AM and that would stretch this exercise out to about three hours.

It worked.  I needed to go over a couple of fingers a second time, I needed to use the wooden stick to scrape off the polish in some spots, I used the metal file in some other spots, but it worked.

And my fingernails were now officially a mess.  They won't take a buff, they have gouges from my first attempts and from when the manicurist scuffed up my nails.

They still have the nice shape she cut them in to: flatish top, curved corners.  It's very subtle, unless you're looking for it.  And I am.  And, even ten days later, I do.


  1. Bless your heart... maybe she misunderstood you and thought you said your polish always comes off in one or two days rather than will be coming off. Your legs look amazing in those stockings btw!

  2. Meg,

    You look great in the photo.

    I do not mean to be picky but I am not sure that vertical striped pantyhose work that well with the design of the dress. I think it would have worked better with non-patterned black or off-black hosiery. The dress is great but it has a lot of 'action' and adding the patterned hose may be a bit much.

    Great story about the gel nails.


  3. Pretty funny, Meg. Pretty darn funny. Ping.

  4. Sounds like quite an unsetting night, just as well you had the whole night to yourself otherwise it could have been embarassing. You look great in the picture that dress definetely suits you ~ although I do tink I agree with Pat on the hose.

  5. I can sympathize! I got a gorgeous set of full nails on a trip to Seattle. I enjoyed them so much for the week and then prepared to soak them off before traveling home.

    Well, same story! No soaking for me! I had to go back to the salon first thing in the morning in Boy Mode with beautiful french nails and have them removed. All the tech did is pry them off. My nails were a mess for well over a month. Sigh... At least that gave me memento of my great week in Seattle! Now I know to pack aluminum foil, pure acetone, cotton balls and a Dremel tool.

  6. what a story! you look absolutely fabulous in the photo!!!great outfit!


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