The Most Terrible Nail Bar Manicure: I paid to get this done?

By Aisling | January 2 2013 | 31 Comments

So over the Christmas I was walking past a nail bar in a shopping centre and as I was going out that night I sat my (much bigger after Christmas) arse down on one of the stools and prepared to have my nails transformed.

Well they were transformed alright.  The pictures kind of speak for themselves?

The above image shows the nails on my right hand.  I scraped the big gouges in them myself with my nails quite easily SIX hours after the manicure just to show you how soft it still was.  All the little pits and scratches you see happened themselves.

Now I’ve had a lot of manicures in my day so I know what I’m talking about.  This should never happen.  I was ultra careful with my nails for about an hour or so after the manicure, giving it plenty of time to dry rock hard – didn’t touch anything, didn’t bump off anything.

I don’t know if you can see in the top picture but the girl doing the manicure actually cut the cuticle of my middle finger right down to the skin – and then painted over it thinking I wouldn’t notice.  She did the same to the ring finger on the other hand.

But I did notice later – because it hurt like hell.

And it’s a crap manicure quite apart from the chipping.  Look how she painted right down to the base of the nail on nearly every finger – and then had to clean up the mess with polish remover.

So your questions will be: how did the manicure refuse to dry?  And why did I allow her to do such a rubbish job in the first place?

Well in answer to the first question I think she got the topcoat and the base coat mixed up.  I specifically asked if they used quick dry top coat – “eh yeah” she said.  She wasn’t paying attention, she was one of those girls who couldn’t give a shit about their job or their customers and while perfectly pleasant she didn’t pay attention to what she was doing. And no they weren’t busy – I was the only customer.  I think she put basecoat over the top of the polish instead of topcoat.

And the second answer?  Well I was in a hurry myself, I was chatting to the person with me and I supposed as doing a manicure isn’t rocket science, I kind of presumed that she would be able to do the job satisfactorily.


Will I go back and complain?  You bet your ass I will.  Twenty quid for this kind of “service” is not what I’d count as good value.

What about you- any experience of bad manicures or tales from nail bars?  Tell all in the comments!

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31 Replies to "The Most Terrible Nail Bar Manicure: I paid to get this done?"

  • witchgirl26 says:

    Flippin hell that’s bad! I don’t mind if my nails look like that when I’ve done them myself but not if I’ve paid!
    Had it a couple of times where they’ve cut my cuticles & hurt like hell but was too young & naive at the time to say anything. Have to say, I’ve been fairly lucky with the whole getting nails done but usually go to places based on recommendations so tend to be ok.

  • Rosamaria says:

    Aisling, that’s mental! No, never as bad as that, although a bint in HoF in London did whine at me all through a French manicure because my nails were so short and so hard to do. And I had the best ever manicure in Space NK (also in London), felt so relaxed and pampered after it, and it lasted for ages

  • Hazie says:

    Wow, that’s brutal!
    Thankfully I’ve never been that unlucky.

  • Fifibelle says:

    Christ Aisling that’s shockingly bad!! There is nothing worse than a torn cuticle, so painful!!

  • gobo says:

    Jesus. That is a disgrace. I mean, some nail polishes do take forever to dry, but not six hours forever. Not unless the polish is loaded up in thick gloopy layers.

  • Emsie says:

    Had a pretty similar experience just before Christmas at a very new very hy

  • Louise says:

    Name and shame them Aisling!

  • miffyonline says:

    Ugh, that is a terrible experience :(

    I had two rotten manis – the first after my first baby was born, a friend gave me a salon voucher so I booked a French manicure. The girl was on her own and left me several times to go and do stuff behind the curtain. Then I actually had to ask to leave as my baby had started to cry (this was about 90 mins in!) and of course by the time I got to my car the manicure was ruined. Partly my fault for not planning more time but she could have paid me a bit more attention and we would have finished in half the time.

    The second was in a luxury spa in a luxury ‘resort’ in Kildare ;) and the girl filed my nails down past the quick – you remember when your mammy would clip your nails and you’d have that horrible feeling in your fingertips that everything was super-sensitive? That is how far she filed them and THEN attempted the requested french manicure. God it was woeful. I didn’t complain as I had a friend wither me (her mani was fine) and I felt responsible in that I had suggested we go there.

    Anywho, I have moved on from French manis (Thank God!) and now I do my own nails, and even better than most salons I think!

  • LynnieDoll says:

    Horrendous Aisling. I have also had the same experience, by the time I got to the car they were all smudged and chipped like yours above. I even said to her at the time that she was applying too much- eh like 2 thin coats please. And she just said it’s really gloopy in the bottle, ehget another bottle please I’m paying for this!!!!

    Needless to say never went back again and am now doing my own nails, not as good as Lynnie does them here on, but improving steadily :)

  • €20!! Jeez I was sure manicures were cheaper than that. That is shocking work. I haven’t had a professional manicure done yet but with quality like that I’m probably better off doing my own.

  • Robyn says:

    You did WHAT with your money, Aisling?!?!

    I’m surprised you paid for it in the first place. That is simply awful service, leading me to question if the person was properly trained in the first place. Give them hell when you go back to complain!

  • candi says:

    I think I know this nail bar – is it in a shopping centre with a very large boots perhaps?

  • Icaria says:

    OMG! This is my 1st time leaving a comment on your site. How horrible! The price but especially the pain, I don’t understand how she could hurt you like that. It’s good that you wrote about it for it’s a cautionary tale. Long drying time? I’ve had that recently with a essie top coat that that was quite horrible. I hope your finger gets back to normal soon.

  • Glitter Mama says:

    OMG would have gone mad, I worked in a salon where they diluted gone off polishes with nail polish remover. Needless to say I left, I just couldn’t eexpect someone to pay when the nail polish was gone off, all thick and gloopy and would no doubt never dry properly x

  • Aoife says:

    I had gel nails done years ago in a place in Galway. At the time, I did think the girl seemed really young (and I was in my very early 20’s!) and they chipped and peeled off within a couple of days…horrendous. I was too young and naive to go back and complain. My nails underneath were ruined too.

    I understand you not naming and shaming but I honestly wish people would when they have a bad experience so we can all avoid wasting our hard earned cash on cowboys!

  • sugar says:

    Wow that’s desperate! 20 euro! Hope you get your money back!

  • Sarajayne says:

    20 euro for your mani??was it basic or did it have anything special about it like hot towels or paraffin wax?..very expensive..looks like the polish was applied way to thick or oil wasnt wiped clean from nails after your cuticle work..very unprofessional

  • stephieshoenut says:

    €20 for that ,defintely should name and shame !!! Very bad service on their part ….. by the way off topic can anyone recommend the best topcoat that dries quickly and keeps nails chip free for a week or so ? :) TIA !

  • *Aisling* says:

    €20 was shockingly dear – and yes she did spill loads of cuticicle oil all down my fingers – well spotted

    Candi – yes!

    I don’t want to say where it was in case it was a one off and I ruin their reputation. But they don’t train their staff properly that much is for sure. However we will see how they treat me when I complain – that’s always the acid test

  • Evie says:

    35 euro for a manicure that started chipping 2 hours later..the standards in manicures really need to be raised in Ireland.I can paint my own nails and get four days out of my DIY job!!

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