One of the self-care indulgences I had completely thrown out the window over the pandemic was getting my nails done.
It used to be routine, one that I started when I was a teenager and would tag along with my Mom during her weekly visits to the salon. I love the look and feel of clean and polished nails, so I carried the habit all the way into adulthood.
But with the lockdown from earlier this year, there was no one to impress (or at the very least, not offend with unsightly nails), and there were a lot of dishes to wash. I had also picked up the kalimba, a thumb piano, and the metal tines often filed down the nails of my thumbs into unsightly shapes.
There was just no point.
I kept my nails neat and trimmed as much as possible, though when the fancy strikes I’d whip out some polish I had lying around and paint my nails. They never lasted a week, with the first chip occurring sometime within the day of my self-manicure.
Let’s not even talk about my toenails. 😅
With quarantine restrictions easing up (because of fewer cases in Cebu, yay!), more establishments—including non-essential businesses—have resumed operations. Unfortunately, movie theaters still remain closed, but salons and spas are now open for much-needed pampering.
After being cooped up for so long at home, the concept of relaxing in my own house has since disappeared. I figured I could afford a couple of hours to unwind elsewhere, as long as new normal measures are in place.
I checked out Nailandia Nail Studio and Body Spa to get my nails done, as well as some eyelash extensions. The salon, tucked away in a quiet corner of Ayala Malls Central Bloc, had opened along with the new mall late last year—seems such a long time ago now, but it feels so recent because 2020 is a total time warp.
Upon entering, I was greeted with the service staff in full PPE: one-piece hazmat suits that came with a hood, closed shoes, face masks, and face shields (they also wore gloves when working); while the receptionist was in a face mask and face shield. The front counter had a plastic barrier, while seats were marked accordingly to enforce social distancing.
The place itself was spacious yet intimate at the same time. The interiors were well-lit and had cute decorative pieces to accentuate the cozy-looking chairs. I especially loved the counter, which had a mismatched cabinet thing going on.
I was led to a reclining chair at the far end of the room, so the staff could work on my lashes and nails at the same time. From there, I had a vantage of the entire salon, which I had a few minutes to admire before I had to close my eyes and let the staff do their work. They had nice calming music playing, and the Nailandia staff talked in low voices, asking from time to time how I was (answer: pretty good).
Eyelash extensions, I feel, are especially popular these days because hey, only your eyes can be seen with a face mask on, and lipsticks are so in the past (moment of silence for all the new ones I had just bought before the lockdown). I’ve liked getting them from time to time—in fact, I had them done just before lockdown was enforced in March, so no one saw my pretty eyes pfft because I was home.
I opted for the Cat’s Eye Volume because I love a good cat-eye lewk, and I’ve always thought the shape accentuated my eyes nicely (beauty experts, feel free to argue with me on this—I’m willing to experiment next time!). I also thrive on the drama of extra-long lashes. The technician had a very light hand that tickled my eyelids gently, and she also moved rather efficiently. The service didn’t take as long as I had anticipated.
When I saw my lashes in the mirror for the first time, I immediately fell in love. You couldn’t see the glue marks, and despite the length, they actually looked very natural because Nailandia uses mink lashes. My initial thought was that the extensions felt a bit delicate, but I’m writing this two weeks in, and with proper care, they’re holding up very well despite my oily eyelids.
Meanwhile, my manicure started with a paraffin treatment, which uses heat therapy in the form of hot wax to relax muscles and make skin softer. After a quick scrub, hot wax was brushed over my skin. The temperature isn’t scalding to cause burns, but hot enough to be really relaxing. The wax was left on until it hardened, then they peeled it off, gave me a quick hand massage, then proceeded to do my nails.
I figured since I was getting my nails done, might as well give them a fighting chance against washing the dishes and doing the laundry. I opted for gel nail polish—Cuccio Veneer, to be specific, in a neutral yet pretty shade. Again, two weeks in, and they’ve thankfully held up with no chips what-so-ever. I might pick up the kalimba again to learn a new song because I’m curious to see if the polish survives.
Going to the salon might seem like more of frivolity in these times, but after the year we’ve had, I think we owe it to ourselves to indulge in something every now and then—as long as we practice proper safety guidelines such as wearing masks and face shields, washing your hands regularly, and practicing social distancing. It is important to take care of ourselves in any way we can, whether that means taking a break every now and then, playing with the dogs, sleeping in, or pampering ourselves.
While self-care doesn’t necessarily have to mean going out, it also helps to find establishments that are allies in these measures and also enforce their own protocols for the safety of their customers. Nailandia Nail Studio and Body Spa is definitely one of them.
Also, as my queen Jonathan Van Ness once said, “It’s not vanity, it’s self-care. There’s a difference.”
Say it with me, folks: Self-care isn’t canceled in 2020… or ever.
Since it’s officially my birth month (hooray!), I’ve partnered with Nailandia Nail Studio and Body Spa for a cool promo. Get 10% off on services when you present this code to the receptionist before availing a service:
Promo code is valid for the month of November 2020. Book your appointments ahead of time! Contact details below.