Have you ever wondered why there is a nail salon on the corner of every major thoroughfare across America?
Big city, small town.
Metropolis or Main Street.
Elite, high-end shopping or the mini mart with pork rinds on sale, 2 for $4.
Nail salons are taking over the commercial landscape of America.
And I’ll tell you why: it’s because, for $15-$40, you can go in with gnawed-to-the-nail-bed fingers, shaggy, overgrown cuticles, and hangnails on every finger and come out with a set of perfectly shaped, buffed-to-perfection, polished set of fingernails.
It’s like, in this one instance, the perfection we see on TV and in magazines is literally at our fingertips! It’s cheap, easy, and undoubtedly close by (wherever you are!). And it’s totally doable in an hour!
I call it ‘the extreme hand makeover.’
What’s more, for about the same amount of money, you can also have your buried-in-socks-all-winter, calloused, and crooked toes spit shined and polished, too.
And thanks to some serious marketing and a well orchestrated PR push by the nail industry over the last 20 years, all things nail—lotions, potions, polish, and flare—have become big business. No longer an afterthought, finger and toe nails are now, at the very least, what many consider to be a necessary complimentary fashion accessory and sometimes, even the focal point of an ensemble.
Case in point, a few months ago on one of the red carpet specials preceding the Oscars, one show staged a ‘finger cam’ complete with a mini red carpet for stars to strut their elegant fingers across and provide shout-outs regarding what they were ‘wearing’… as in ‘Hotter-than-you-Pink’ by OPI or ‘Le Vernis Rouge Noir’ by Chanel. Anybody who is anybody made a stop at the glam-cam.
As an on-again/off-again mani/pedi patron, I can totally relate to the fingernail love fest. Your nails are like the shoes you never take off. Or the gorgeous ‘statement’ earrings you love, but that give you a headache because they’re so heavy. Or the purse you never put down at a party.
They’re always with you; always visible.
And even if you don’t go in for the whole fake nail routine, the impact a simple polish change can also not be understated. Take the 9-5 corporate woman—by day, she sports a proper, minimalist French tip look, but come Friday afternoon and a switch to ‘Va-Va-Violet’ or ‘Rhapsody in Red,’ and she takes on another, decidedly more carefree, style.
Same thing can happen with the ‘carpool crowd,’ too. Want to see a middle-aged mama throw caution to the wind? Try a bit a ‘Black Magic’ or ‘Shocking Fuchsia’ on her fingers and toes after she drops the kids off at soccer practice. The transformation can be amazing!
And the fascination starts early, too. Watch a little girl get her teeny, tiny fingertips dotted with ‘Cinderella Pink’ or ‘Star-kissed Glitter,’ and you’ll see a little lady suddenly have to do everything with her pretty, pretty fingertips on display.
It’s a crazy, crazy phenomenon—this preoccupation with our fingertips and toenails. But the unbelievable number of salons that cater exclusively to the scrubbing and buffing of these little bits and pieces of protective protein shooting from our fingers and toes says to me it’s obviously meeting a perceived need. The marketing masterminds of the fingernail industry have done an amazing job of making us feel incomplete and less-than-our-best without their goods and services.
Well done, OPI.
Nice work, Cover Girl.
Fait accompli, Essie.
Your work is done…
I wouldn’t consider slipping on my sandals without a bit of ‘Cajun Shrimp’ or ‘Red Hot Rio’ smiling back at me.
Am I the only one who loves a good pedicure or a relaxing manicure? What? You too?
Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net