Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting a Manicure in Brazil

Just got back from one of the most aggressive manicures I've ever had here in Rio.  Manicures are a very interesting experience.  Nothing like your tender, relaxing manicure from home (at least in my experiences they have always been a relaxing experience).  That's not to say you can't find that kind of experience here too, but when you enter into the salon that says "Mão e Pé: R$20" you know you're not going to get the tender relaxing experience.

You're gonna get the 'let's do this as fast as possible so we can push more people through the salon' experience.

My toes are burning!  Bitch cut my skin off!  Lol, sorry for the foul language, but really.  That was one of the sloppiest mani/pedis I've ever had.  She really went to work.

A little advice if you're going for your first (or millionth) time, I really really stress that you need to keep a completely open mind.  In the beginning, it will seem like a giant mess.  Plus, everyone does it a little differently.  They really go to work hacking off any little tiny speck of cuticle (even the invisible specks) causing you to bleed occasionally (and then they put some sort of anti-bleeding foam on the wound).  You can see they are prepared for bleeders.  They don't always put your hands and toes in water.  Especially at these 20 dolla places, they usually just spray your tips and put a glove on you.  Haha.  Even as I write this I can't believe how cheap it sounds.

After you've gone through the wet, cut, and file period, they SLLLOPPP on the nail polish of your choice.  Whatever colour you want.  Slopped right on there.  Everywhere.  Then they sllloppp another coat over top of that.  Next they remove nailpolish at the tip of the nail with their thumb, leaving an ugly little white line at the top, sort of like a french manicure but ugly.  Next they remove their messy work using a pointy little stick and some cotton and polish remover.  Seems a little backwards, but ok.  I don't see why you didn't just put it on neatly in the first place, but alright.  Finally, a little oil to dry you up quick and pull the whole thing together.

This was my first impression of manicures here.  Now.  Funny story.  I went back to Canada last Christmas, if you recall, and had a manicure there.  Guys.  It was terrible.  I see the benefit to slopping on the polish.  That way you cover the whole nail.  I see the benefit to massacring my cuticle.  My hand looks so light and skinny after.  I see why you leave that ugly little line.  It helps keep my nail polish from chipping!  The oily substance in the end really does dry the polish faster.

So all in all, my verdict for best manicure goes to BRAZIL!  I guess once you go bloody massacre, you never go back.


  1. mani pedi is something I can afford on a regular basis and mine is the R$20 for both variety. However I go to the same salon (little hole in the wall place), but I am a regular and they let my son come and keep him entertained for me. I got a French manicure in the US and they slap the white on and then even it out with nail polish remover - very different from here. However, those pedicure chairs in the US are sweet! Definitely felt pampered! But I guess at $55 I should be.

  2. Sounds rather scary :-/ I've never had a violent Brazilian manicure, but my question is how long do they last before you have to get another one? I'm reluctant to put myself through the torture unless my nails will stay pretty for at least a week :-p

  3. Bloody massacre made me lol! 'm still washing clothes by hand, so am sticking with the all-natural look.

  4. I was also alarmed when I got my first manicure here and they slopped the nail polish all over my fingers! Now, I team up with my sister-in-law and we have someone come to her apartment to do our nails - R$40 for mani/pedi in Sao Paulo is not so bad.

  5. Sorry to reply so late on here guys! Thanks for your comments!
    The little hole-in-the-wall place I went to definitely let kids in too - except they were running around the (tiny tiny) place batting a balloon everywhere. I didn't even go into details of the actual environment! It was terrible!

    Brasilicana - the nails didn't even last 4 days! I will never ever go back there. Now I've found a place right in front of my house that's great. Almost as good as having them come right to my house.... :)

  6. I would be concerned about bacteria. Whenever the public is involved and certain sanitary conditions need to be maintained you should be concerned. First especially when their is blood involved. For the mere fact that people have AIDS, Hepatitis, etc. If they are making you bleed using equipment on you then using it on others I would be concerned. I wouldn't expect some hole in the wall nail salon to be the most up to date when it comes to following sanitary code. I would be careful.

    Some information for you. Brazil has a high rate of Hepatitis A compared tot the US and Canada which is transmitted human to human. Brazil has a high rate of Hepatitis B which is transmitted through blood higher than the US or Canada.

    I am just saying be careful people rarely do a good job keeping things sanitary.

  7. 4 days, ack! The only reason I put myself through the pain of depilacao is because at least the results last me a month :-p

  8. @brasilicana i second that. i spent months freaking out about depilacao and finally i said okay. i'm doing it. i spent about two weeks talking with the lady at the salon that i had chosen and finally decided to go. i think i actually cried a little bit (both from sheer embarrassment and from the pain) but regardless, it was the best decision i have ever made! now i just wince and laugh at how big of a deal i had made out of it before, all those months talking to my girlfriends... you really do WHAT?! haha ooh cultural differences!

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