Seeing advertisements showing women with thick, flowing locks and perfectly manicured nails leads us to believe that the ad is reality and our culture is simply falling short. This feeling of inadequacy apparently resonates throughout our culture because millions of women spend serious time and money on hair and nail extensions. Reportedly, Miley Cyrus spent $24,000 on one set of extensions. And what exactly are we paying for? Some hair-pieces are acrylic while others are human hair (ever wonder who that comes from?) and nail extensions can now be acrylic, gel, fiberglass, etc. With so many options out there just waiting to be bought by your hard earned cash, I thought we should explore the options a little more closely.
I am no stranger to hair extensions. I received my first set for free while filming ANTM. They were “Fusion” extensions, which is a type involving a bonding of the extension to your real hair with an adhesive and heat. These are especially good if you want thicker hair, but the extension is not reusable and once it falls out, it’s gone forever. Acetone is used to remove these from your hair, which is extremely damaging (especially when your hair is already bleached blonde!). Also, these extensions fall out in chunks, which is particularly embarrassing if you are out dancing or really anywhere with other people. Chunks of hair falling out is not cute. One way to avoid this from happening is to instead get “Sew-In” extensions. This is when you have little rows braided into your head onto which the stylist can literally sew tracks of hair. It is time-consuming, but no more so than “fusion” and at least the hair in the braids isn’t getting damaged. Also, the hair used in “sew-in” is reusable (hair can be costly as well). Both of these processes can cost several thousand dollars (typically between $2500 and $3500). I understand better than anyone that waiting for your hair to grow can be such a bummer and though extensions seem like an easy out, paying thousands of dollars a year, risking serious damage to your hair follicles, and never being able to run your fingers through your hair are absolutely not worth it. Your best bet is to wait it out. If you have thin, mousy hair, try a product like Viviscal ($40 for 60 pills) that ensures hair growth and added fullness. If you just want stronger hair take a vitamin like Biotin ($7.00 from any drug store). This will also aid in nail growth, though not as drastically as Viviscal.
I remember being in high school and thinking that acrylic nails were “so chic”, but I was never allowed to have them as a model and I could not understand why. Eventually I was able to get them and I quickly realized that I had been missing out on nothing! Acrylic nails are a lot of work, they feel clunky, smell bad, and covering your real nail with acrylic leaves them susceptible to fungus and bacteria! Some argue that polish stays on acrylic nails longer but I am a huge fan of no polish or "naked nails". As a supermodel, you must arrive with clean, light pink or nude nails. If naked nails are good enough for a supermodel, then they are good enough for my supermodels! There is nothing better then shot-cropped nails with healthy, natural tips. It may be embarrassing for a bit, having to show off freshly stripped nails but they will grow back (take Biotin to help). You need to march down to the nail place ASAP and have those bad-boys removed. You think Giselle has acrylic nails? Absolutely not. No one in fashion does anymore and if you do, then you are allowing others to give you a label that you do not want. I will, however include a disclaimer here that older women (50’s and up) who do not have naturally healthy nails can still get fake nails and not look cheap, but try to go with something a little lighter like a fiberglass nail. The bottom line is that you will not be able to grow strong, healthy nails forever and you want to show them off while you still can!
Remember, you are beautiful just the way you are and there is no reason to spend your time or money trying to look like someone from an advertisement. I can’t think of one model whose hair isn’t completely fried from working. Those models might get photo-shopped to look like they have healthy locks, but in real life, you have got them all beat! Celebrate your features as they are: naturally!