Monday, 22 August 2016

Everything you've ever wanted to know about acrylic nails

Acrylic nails. A simple term, but one that undoubtedly conjures images of chunky French tips and long tacky talons. Well, in December 2015, sick of peeling nails, broken tips and frantic pre-party paint jobs, I bit the bullet and decided to see what this plastic business was all about.
I'd heard that acrylics would break easily, cost me a fortune, and be a problem if I was booked to film something last-minute. LIES! But more on that in a moment. Let's make like Fräulein Maria and start at the very beginning, shall we?


So you've worked up the courage to walk into a salon and boldly declare, "I'D LIKE A FULL SET OF ACRYLIC NAILS, PLEASE." The worst is over! You'll be there for about 2 hours, but I honestly enjoy that pamper time. Pick your colour (I'm currently feeling Jennifer Lopez-esque browny mauve shades) and most importantly, know what shape and length you want. Better yet, peruse Instagram or Pinterest for some inspo images to refer to, so you can show exactly what you're after. I ask for an almond shape with a slightly pointy end, and after initially showing screenshots, I now show a photo of my own nails following one particularly good infill session. 
The nail technician will buff your nails and then glue on the longest, craziest plastic sticks you've ever seen. These are cut to a less insane length, then painted over with acrylic powder, which will harden. The technician will then start the drilling process, using various head sizes to shorten, shape and thin the the nails down, in order to avoid the dreaded "chunky" look. This part is the most time-consuming, but then it's on to painting (cue a last-minute crisis of colour choice) and drying. Et voila! Babey babe nails are yours.
You'll need a whole new set every 3 to 4 months, and an infill appointment every 2.5 weeks. Getting infills is a little cheaper and is a shorter session, as the technician will simply grind off your polish and some of the acrylic powder, paint a new layer of acrylic powder, reshape the nails and paint them.

Now, on to more complex matters.


Prior to acrylics, my nails were yet another constant grooming concern (similar to my pre-lasered legs and underarms). I'd have to set aside two hours to give myself a manicure/wait for it to dry on the day of a red carpet event, because if I did it the day before, the polish would have already chipped by the time those flashbulbs went off. If I wanted nice nails for something else two or three days later, I'd have to find time to re-do them. But re-doing them too frequently weakens nails, causing them to break, which means you have to cut them all shorter to keep them consistent. And on and on it went. Now, with acrylics, they look absolutely perfect for at least 12 days, when the nail beds start to grow out and the polish wears off the tips slightly. In order to extend my time between infill appointments (you only NEED infills done every three weeks), I take off my polish with an acetone-free remover, then wash my hands, swipe each nail with rubbing alcohol and apply the polish of my choice, going right to the nail bed (darker colours work better to hide the sometimes-visible tiny ridge where the acrylic nail begins).


I am always running late, rushing around, raking through make-up bags and fumbling with jewellery. I assumed acrylic nails would not be up to this task, and that the delicate treatment they'd require would slow me down significantly. MYTH. I wash dishes, hand-mix food and rummage for keys with reckless abandon, and far less care than I'd take with a regular manicure. There can be slight wear of polish around the tips of the nails, but they don't chip or peel or look any less perfect than they did when you skipped out of the salon.


It varies depending on your location, but here in Aus$$$tralia, a new set costs $45 AUD (approximately $58 USD). You need infills every 3 weeks or so, at a cost of $30 ($38 USD), and a new set after 3 months.


I never thought I could have these sort of "permanent" nails, given that my job as an actor requires me to be available for last-minute auditions (and sometimes even days of filming), oft with less than 24 hours notice. In these situations, there are three options:
1. Hit up any nail salon to spend $10 and 20 minutes having them removed.
2. Nix the polish with acetone-free nail polish remover (they pretty much look like regular - albeit rather long - nails under there).
3. Cut and file the nails down to a more plausible, average length.
I've already had them removed last-minute for a couple of projects, and it was relatively painless. As soon as the words "that's a wrap!" were uttered, there were April-shaped holes all over those set walls, such was my haste to reach a nail salon. I missed my babies.


... IF THEY KNOW ABOUT THEM. In my experience, most boys appreciate a well-groomed girl who takes care of herself (it works both ways; I prefer males who, at the bare minimum, are well-acquainted with showers, toothbrushes and washing machines!). This extends to neat, polished nails. However, I've noticed a pattern of mild disgust occurring once the plasticity of my claws is revealed. One guy even bitchily remarked, "um, I prefer natural nails." As a girl who does not dress for boys, I don't really care. But seriously, most straight guys wouldn't know "natural" if it walked by with ombre bedhead waves, eyelash extensions, fake tan, lip filler, hairless underarms, coloured contacts, Spanx and a padded bra. Add acrylic nails to the list of secret "I woke up like this" tricks and move on. 


Pushing small buttons (e.g. certain toilet flushers, TV remote buttons, laptop keys)
Opening zip-lock bags
Clasping necklaces
Scratching yourself (unsatisfying due to the dull edge of the nails)
Picking coins and hairpins up off the floor


As promised by this xoJane article I nervously devoured before obtaining my first set of nails, I immediately felt like a sexy '70s Barbie. My nails look simultaneously sassy and elegant. They are old Hollywood glamour and new Hollywood Tumblr girl. And they make the MOST satisfying clicky sound when I type on my phone (an activity which is not hindered by the nails at all).

I hope all of this information was helpful! Did I leave anything out? What do you girls love/hate about acrylic nails? Let me know in the Comments below!

April xx

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Aladdin opening night

DRESS: Manning Cartell  |  HEELS: Manning Cartell  |  EARRINGS: Vera Xane

As someone who knows all of the words to 'Prince Ali' (including the many different voices and accents), I have been eagerly awaiting my chance to see the live musical since its Broadway inception. This week, my dreams came true as I was invited to the opening night of the show in Sydney. It exceeded all of my expectations and then some. I already want to see it again!
I picked out a look inspired by the outfit Princess Jasmine wears when she is enslaved by Jafar, wearing some new Resort collection pieces from the Manning Cartell show I attended during Fashion Week. 
The performance was followed by a swanky after party in the Sofitel Hotel ballroom, complete with a buffet spread heaving with Middle Eastern delights and huge platters of jewel-toned macarons. Salaam, sweet tooth!

April xx

Saturday, 6 August 2016

David Jones S/S 2016 Collections Show

DRESS: Ginger & Smart  |  HANDBAG: The Daily Edited
HEELS: Christian Louboutin  |  RING: Ona Chan

Peachy keen, jelly bean! I aimed for pretty prom steez at this week's David Jones Spring/Summer 2016 collections show, emphasising my lifelong favourite colour, baby pink. Torrential rain wreaked havoc on us all (note my bedraggled hair and the splashes of water on my dress), but the show was super fun, featuring glimpses of the new David Jones-stocked designer collections and closing out with a rad performance by my pals The Preatures.

April xx

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Absolutely Fabulous premiere

JACKET: Sass & Bide  |  TROUSERS: Sass & Bide  |  TANK: Sass & Bide
EARRINGS & RING: Matthew Ely 

Sweetie, darling. 
This week I attended the premiere of the new Absolutely Fabulous movie! The incredible Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley were in attendance, while the dress code of "Fabulous, darling!" prompted me to select this hectic flared suit for my stumble down the red carpet. I hope that Eddie and Patsy would approve!

April xx