Chink in the no-chip armor
After seeing how well the girls from Coupleskate rocked their no-chip manicures, I was dying to try one out. I got my chance recently at Spa at Trump (401 N Wabash Ave, 312-588-8020). The $70 manicure started off rocky, as the light pink O.P.I. polish was virtually unnoticeable after three coats. Belia, my supercool nail tech, layered on two more coats of the gel polish in a darker color and I left (two hours later!) feeling good. It looked great and, unbelievably, lasted nearly a month, but the euphoria ended when the polish needed to come off.
When this stuff finally chips, a cotton ball and nail polish remover will do you no good; and if you try to peel it off, you'll trash your nails. You need to have it professionally removed. With a blow torch. Well, not exactly, but it's pretty hard core. And at Trump, it'll cost you $35 (unless you get another manicure). Most salons charge a “soaking” fee to remove the gel, but Dynamic Studio (2346 N Clybourn Ave, 773-772-2772) will do it for free.
The process itself is bizarre. Belia soaked cotton balls in pure acetone, placed one on each nail and wrapped my fingertips with tin foil. I felt like a Thanksgiving turkey. After I sat like that for 15 minutes, she chipped away at the polish with a blunt metal tool. She said I could do it myself, but warned me not to put the acetone in a plastic cup since it would eat through it, and said if I used a glass dish I should never, ever eat out of it again. Um, duly noted. It’s all a bit high maintenance for me, but if you’re going to get professional manicures on a regular basis anyway, the no-chip is probably worth it. Just don't say we didn't warn you.