One of the things on top of my list of to-do's before our month-long travel of Asia, is to get the nails did. Yep. Being a novice when it comes to anything professionally done, I had only recently learned about gel nails applications, and thought it was the perfect low-maintenance way to ensure a fresh mani/pedi while running around in Asia:
During a gel manicure, the gel is applied to the nail and cured under an ultraviolet light. The gel is durable and adheres easily to fingernails. Gel nails are removed only by filing them off. When these nails come off, the real nails are not damaged like when acrylic nails are taken off. The downside of a gel manicure is that it costs more than an acrylic manicure. [my notes; this is only in the US, where the market price is controlled by demand. In China, it is dirt cheap.]
Natural nails continue to grow under the gel, and a gel manicure can improve the health of natural nails. The gel acts as a shield against anything that might weaken or damage them, such as moisture or other elements. After this type of manicure, natural nails are stronger and more durable, as long as they were filed and maintained properly before the manicure. Gel nails can last up to a month without chip or damage.
So I found Nail Love online and decided to give it a try. It only costs 88RMB, equaling around $12USD. Pretty freaking sweet deal if you ask me. None of the girls there spoke English, but they understood what "gel" meant, and we did pretty well with pointing and nodding (there was 2 phone calls made to the bf to help with the trickier translation as well), but all in all it was a great first time experience for me. They charged me honestly, which made the whole thing even more pleasant. Highly recommend getting your nails done here. It's right by Xintiandi.

My nails are so freaking shiny and hard as a rock! They look amazing. I'm a little worried, now that I've had my first foray into the world of gel manicures, I'm not going to be able to accept any thing else.

Nail Love
717 Huangpi Nan Rd,
highly recommended! =)