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This is a guest post by my lovely friend Mai from Portrait of Mai. I was offered a free spa experience at Bellacures Salon, but since I don’t live in the area, I asked Mai if she would like to go in my place. So Mai went to Bellacures Salon for a spa experience!

Last Saturday, I took the scenic route down Pacific Coast Highway to Balboa Island in Newport Beach to the Bellacures salon to get my nails done.

I decided ahead of time to get the Awesome Threesome Manicure which included a Gelish manicure (they call it a Gelicure) followed by a paraffin treatment, and then a 10 minute hand massage. I’ve had manicures and acrylic nails done before but I had never gotten gel nails so I thought it’d be the perfect time to try them out. My nails were and are in a state of woe because I’m still trying to kick the nail biting habit so the gel manicure gave me the perfect opportunity for a deterrent for my pesky habit.

I’ll admit that I was a few minutes late to my appointment because I completely missed the salon the first time I walked by. When I came into the Salon, I was greeted by the receptionist who confirmed my appointment and showed me the set of colors available for my gel manicure. I decided to pick the Gelish polish in Red Roses. I was guided to my station and the receptionist asked if I wanted either water or green tea. The salon was nice and cool which was a contrast to the sunny and hot weather outside.

The chairs were really comfortable and squishy, each with their own pillow to relax on.

Now I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to talk when I’m getting my hair cut or my nails done but my manicurist Kelly was very easy to talk to. Throughout the entire process, she was giving me helpful advice on how to keep my fingers soft and to deter myself from biting (Vaseline in both cases) and explaining her reasoning for each step of my manicure as she was doing it.

For the Awesome Threesome Manicure, she first filed my nails down and explained how she was going to shape my nails (they were in woeful shape because I am still trying to kick my nail biting habit) and then pushed and trimmed my cuticles. After buffing my nails, she got started by applying OPI Bond Aid then the Gelish base coat. It got cured in the UV lamp and we got started on the color.

I noticed that she was applying the gel color to each nail and curing them individually and she explained that my nails are naturally a little oily so it meant the gel color would shrink if she didn’t do it otherwise. I really appreciated that she took notice of how my nails are and she altered the process to help the gels last longer on me. I also liked that she wrapped my tips (applied the gel color to the free edge of my nail) to help try to prevent shrinkage.

After all that was done, it was time for my paraffin wax treatment. I’ll admit, I was a little confused when I saw Kelly coming out with the two plastic bags with the paraffin but then I realized that it facilitated me sticking my hands inside the bags. Having never had a paraffin treatment done before, it took me ages to get used to the warmth of the wax. Slowly but surely, she wrapped the paraffin wax around my hand, wrapped the bag around my hand to keep the heat in and then got working on my other hand.

After my left hand was done in the treatment, she removed the wax and got started on my 10 minute massage, 5 for each side. She wasn’t too firm, applying the right pressure and asking me periodically if the pressure was too much for me. When that was done, she cleaned my hands and applied cuticle treatment and repeated the removal of wax and massage on my right hand. When we completed everything, I noticed that the gel on a few of my nails had shrunk more than I had liked it so she redid three of my nails to have them nice and even.

Here’s what my nails looked like before my treatment

and afterwards.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. I don’t get the chance to pamper myself often with a manicure so having it done felt great. My manicurist Kelly was attentive without being overbearing and it certainly made the experience that much more enjoyable. If I had to criticize anything, I would say that the edges of the gel color near my cuticle aren’t as neat as I’m used to from normal polish. It isn’t obvious from far away but if I look real closely the curve isn’t perfectly even (I think you can see that the most on the index nail). Something I did appreciate though was that she wrapped the tips of my nails with the gel color to give a smoother feel to the nails.

I’ve been tapping on my nails and examining them because the shine looks so unreal. Usually my nail polish wears away right at the edge of my index finger first but it’s been looking good. These are supposed to last three weeks so I’m especially looking forward to testing that out.

If I had the money to splurge, I would love to go back and get another treatment done.

Spa services were provided for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are Mai’s own.