I can’t stop staring at my feet. I’m obsessed with them, distracted by them like a crow attracted to shiny, shiny objects. It’s like I have a disco ball living on my big toes. When people ask me about them (and they do), I begin coherently enough but am soon distracted by the glitter. ‘Oh these? Well that’s metallic minx nails and my big toes are done with the Swarovski crystals and… it’s just so shiny… pretty shiny… my precioussssssss’.
This started two weeks ago when I tried the new Swarovski Crystal Elements treatment at Glow American Salon. The nail treatment, which can be applied to either hands or feet, involves genuine Swarovski crystals of various sizes being set onto your nails with semi-permanent gel polish. And I’m not the only woman in Doha suddenly spending a lot of time gazing at my pretty, pretty toes.
‘Ladies love these nails! Clients are going crazy for them,’ says Hillary Kozma, the owner of the salon and one of the first crystal guinea pigs. ‘It’s a new service that has only been around a few years in the States and the UK, and we are the first and only salon the country to offer this. Ladies who have seen our photos in our email newsletter or on Facebook are tempted to try this – but it’s the ladies who have seen it on a friend, or a co-worker who are calling us to book the crystals the most. Photos just don’t do it justice. You have to see it in person to appreciate it. One of our very good clients Erica went to a yoga class with her new crystal toes, and the next day we had all sorts of ladies from that class calling.’
That’s how I wound up in the pedicure chair. Typically, my feet and I have a silent agreement. I ignore them, they ignore me, and peace reigns. But there was something about those glittery photos on Glow’s Facebook page. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the full set however: I don’t even wear polish on my toe nails, so could I pull off wearing crystals on all of them?
Thankfully, the stylists at Glow had some suggestions.
‘One fun thing to try is adding minx on the other toes or fingers. Also, clients like to use individual crystals for nail art. We have many different crystal colours, and a couple of different sizes. You can opt to do hands or feet: one statement nail, two ring fingers, two big toes, or a full set. Most women opt for the feet as it lasts longer. The second most popular thing to do is two ring fingers,’ says Kozma.
I decide to go for the metallic minx paired with my big toes studded with gems. Minx is basically a sticker, applied to the nail that lasts for several weeks – longer on the toes. Mixing crystals and metallic stickers seems like a more ‘subtle’ way to go. Glow offers several colours of minx that match the crystals available, and since there’s no point holding back when you’re bejewelling your body, I go for the bright red. After the minx is applied, it’s on to the main event: first, a matching colour of their semi-permanent gel polish is applied, and then the stylist carefully places row after row of crystals on my toe. We’re going for a solid wall of crystal effect, and since my nails are smaller, she uses many tiny crystals. Depending on the size of your nail and the effect you’re going for, they have various sizes of crystals available.
‘Some clients like to space the crystals out so the colour of the polish comes through the spacing. Some clients prefer the crystals jam-packed. We can also create patterns with the crystals, alternating colour placement to make stripes and checker boards,’ says Kozma.
The whole thing, from minx to crystals, takes just under two hours, and I leave with the polish set and ready to roll. At first, I’m nervous that I will spend the next several weeks stabbing myself – aren’t crystals pointy? But beyond being continually distracted by my foot-level shimmer (it’s just so very very pretty. It almost makes me love my hobbit feet), I don’t feel a thing. I was warned when leaving the salon however that I may lose one or two crystals with wear: Kozma says they can’t guarantee how long it lasts, as it all depends on how gentle clients are with their new bling. She tells me it lasts really well on feet, usually over three weeks. They also offer five free replacement crystals, should you lose one or two.
After the first week, only one has popped off (fallen victim to my workout sneakers). I barely notice the gap however, as the red polish underneath keeps the nail looking even. And although I’m someone who’d skip most manicures and pedicures, this is one I can see myself trying again – I spied a set of bright blue minx that would pair nicely with their shiny blue stones. Or maybe a shiny checkerboard… stripes… my precioussssssss.
Swarovski Crystal Elements at Glow American Salon for approximately QR350-400 for a full set on hands or feet, or QR160-200 for accent finger or toe. Salwa (4458 9945) West Bay (6686 4221)