I'm hard pressed to say that I like my natural nails. The biggest issue being the fact that the middle and ring finger of my right hand were slammed in a door in my college years and after the trauma have never grown properly since.
I used to love going and getting my nails done. Usually always a basic french manicure because that's what I could get away with in uniform (I'm a traditional reservist in the Air Force and was active duty for three years). Now that I'm currently unemployed I have the opportunity and the time to have more fun with my nails but obviously not nearly the amount of money I would like. I have treated myself here and there with a new polish but that's been the extent of it.
I have really wanted to do something with my middle finger on my right hand. It's the worst, growing about an eighth of and inch and then separating into two layers that quickly get grime between the layers that I can't clean no matter the scrubbing and of course, the overall weakening it causes the nail. I usually just end up keeping it cut almost to the quick.
Browsing about YouTube nail tutorials gave me the idea that I could get a cheap-o acrylic nail kit and fix my nail so it is stronger and give it the length of my other nails. So off I trundled to Walmart. I brought home the Kiss acrylic kit which for fifteen dollars seemed very comprehensive. It contains white and natural tips as well as nail forms (which is what I used). A masking formula to make the acrylic liquid smell like green apples, the powder and primer, nail glue, the brush, a buff block, dappen dish, a nail file and a manicure stick.
The instructions were easy to follow but I quickly learned that the pro's make it look much easier than it really is. I managed to get my first ball of acrylic ok but it did not want to flatten down to the nail so I ended up with a big shelf that needed a LOT of filing (actually ended up using my dremel tool). Eventually I got a reasonable nail applied and applied my base coat and painted my nail.
Here is where something happened that I wasn't expecting. I didn't see it happen, it was hidden from sight until I took a cotton ball soaked in polish remover to my nails. Any nail tech could have told me it was inevitable. When you use cheap materials you get what you pay for and I got a nasty, ugly yellow nail. It wasn't just a superficial yellow that I could file off, but a deep, through the whole nail smokers yellow nail.
As nice as getting everything in a convenient kit was, I can't say I'd recommend it. I personally would much rather just go to Sally's and pay for the individual items knowing that I'd be getting a quality product.
I do like having a "real" nail though, so until I can afford that trip to Sally's, the nail is staying on but is well covered with several coats of polish.