When she first started using nail hardener, it was to protect her nail polish while gardening when she first picked up the hobby in middle school. But these days, one UA student uses hardener to protect the nails, rather than the polish, from the harsh conditions to which she subjects her hands.
Junior Rhiannon Rosa reapplies her Cuccio Horsetail Nail Strengthener every two weeks or so in the busy season, but only once or twice throughout winter, she said.
“I would recommend nail hardener to others involved in agriculture and horticulture,” Rosa said. “I feel like it makes my nails less brittle and when I’m weeding around rocks, it protects my nails from scratching – the protective coat takes it instead.”
While some students use polish to protect their nails, others use it for creative beauty purposes. Junior Eleanor Henry has been getting her nails done at salons since she was around 6 years old, she said. Since starting college at the UofA, Henry has confidently put the fate of her nails in the hands of Nikki Lee, owner of Fancy Nails on College Avenue.
“I always come in, sit down and she does the rest,” Henry said. “I never pick a color or style. She does what she wants to my nails, and I love it.”
Other students have taken an interest in Henry’s love for bright nail colors and intricate designs, she said.
“It has become such a part of who I am over the past two years,” Henry said. “People always come up to me and want to see what I have done with my nails this time.
Though manicures can be good stress relief for college students, they can be expensive. In 2017, nail services were an $8.52 billion industry in the U.S., according to NAIL Magazine. The average price for a nail service was $33.23.
To have pretty nails on a budget, Henry recommended that students get their friends to paint their nails during a spa night or ask about student discounts at their nail salon, she said.
Though Henry has developed a reputation for her dazzling nails, all the creative credit belongs to Lee, she said.
Lee, whose parents opened Fancy Nails in the late ‘90s, took over the business 15 years ago with her husband, Tony Lee. Recent nail trends have included dip powders and gels, as the no-drying time makes it more convenient for customers, Lee said.
Modern, simple nail art is dominating the 2019 nail trends, along with matte nails, Lee said. She knows it will not stay that way for long, so she uses social media to stay up to date on up-and-coming styles.
“There’s always something new,” Lee said. “We have to keep up with the times, so we follow nail artists and celebrities from bigger cities on Instagram to bring the latest trends to Fayetteville.”
Senior music education major Gustavo Ortega began using nail hardener around 10 years ago when he first started playing the classical guitar, he said.
“Nail hardener helps to shape the nails with a proper curve on the tip of the nail, which helps to enhance tone and produce a more consistent sound when strumming the strings on a classical guitar,” Ortega said.
Ortega does not use nail hardener permanently because it is important to let nails breathe from time to time to keep them healthy, but he recommends nail hardener as needed for musicians, he said.
“We work so hard to achieve a unique tone with our instruments, so it would be a shame to let a broken nail mess with that,” Ortega said.