Extensions – A Dying Art?

You know, sometimes I think the invention of gel polish is more of a bane than a boon. It’s great and convenient, but maybe too convenient, because it makes nailists a little lazy and stifles their creativity.

For example, let’s say that a customer wants extensions done, with french tips. Before the advent of gel polish, nailists might have done french sculpture extensions, but with gel polish, many now simply do clear sculpture extensions, and then paint on the french tips with gel polish.

A more obvious contrast would be nail art on extensions. Previously, nailists might have done design sculpture extensions, building the design into the sculpture extensions. That would be a good test of skill and creativity, as the nailist would need to think about how to work the art into the extensions. Now, many just do clear sculpture extensions, then paint on a base colour with gel polish, then add art.

The end result? Extensions that just look thicker and thicker, because nailists keep piling on the layers.

It feels like design sculpture extensions is a dying art in Singapore – they’re certainly not offered in mainstream salons. I got mine done for the first time when I was in Tokyo this April. They were a beautiful work of art by Mina-San from the Ginza branch of Rounge Lash and Nail. She’s now the Director of the newly-opened Singapore branch of Rounge Lash and Nail, at Delphi Orchard. These were french sculptures with a marbled tip, with opalescent disco balls embedded, and sakura flowers drawn on with acrylic paint. She also added embellishments and sealed everything with top gel.


The sad thing is, I can do these nails but I don’t foresee any of The Nail Artelier’s customers asking for such nails ever. They’re simple enough as far as design sculpture nails go, but most customers are content with gel polish on their natural nails and don’t want extensions, or prefer shorter extensions and not stilettos. Maybe I need to embark on some personal projects to build up a portfolio and promote design sculpture nails. I don’t know how I’m going to find the time for it, but I must.


3 thoughts on “Extensions – A Dying Art?

  1. Laura says:

    I think this post has a lovely sentiment to it. I agree, I think extensions, especially acrylic ones, are not as popular anymore, though I’m sure they still have a huge following in certain parts of the country (America). I’d love to see what you think of at home gel systems and the like as well – I really love that the products have become accessible and democratized for the public, but I guess I’m romantic about the idea of a nail salon too, having never been to one.

    • Ying says:

      I think DIY gel is great for DIYers who know what they’re doing – with enough effort spent researching, plus watching Youtube tutorials, DIYers can do their own simple gel manicures. It may not be cheaper than going to the salon, unless you plan on using the same colour all the time though, because otherwise you’d have to spend a fair sum on buying various gel polishes! Also, most people aren’t ambidextrous, so it would be difficult to get the manicure to look like it’s been professionally done…

      • Laura says:

        Oh, I definitely agree! And I think with the at home gel systems, you usually see very few people doing art. I guess I like seeing regular people being extremely creative with their nails, rather than only seeing salon nail artists’ work (a bigger pool = new ideas, you know?) but there’s definitely a difference in caliber when it comes to acrylics and gels. I’d love to have a professional experience someday, as either the client or the artist!

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