When Nicki Minaj was photographed wearing a top full of pom-poms at Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2012 show, I remember thinking to myself, ”since when did the kindergarten look graduate into Fashion Week?”
Little did I know that a few years later, the balls of fluff would be everywhere – hanging as attachable charms from the handbags, totes or adorning shirts and sandals. It didn’t stop there. The pom-pom elevated to haute couture when Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele added the accessory to his first women’s collection last fall.
Now, we’re seeing the puffy trend, once reserved for arts and crafts, making a statement in new—and bizarre—ways. Pom-pom nails are now a trend. Yes, that is a thing and it is exactly what it sounds like: colorful balls of fuzz adhered onto the nail bed.
Like many young Latinas, I’m busy balancing my long work days with cooking healthy meals in the kitchen and dedicating time to the gym. But when it comes to beauty, I make time to be adventurous with fun trends. The pom-poms, however, were a stretch for me. I was skeptical about how practical – and comfortable – it would be to wear an accessory on my nails. Curiosity won. ‘Why not try it,’ I thought. I reached out to Vanity Projects, a New York City go-to for creativity in the nail industry to book an appointment and surprisingly, the nail salon was open to the idea.
The entire process took a little over an hour. Joey, my nail artist, had never done a pom-pom manicure so with my prepared screenshots from Google, she relied on her own experience to figure out how to affix the pom-poms on my nails with acrylic. Staying true to my preference for subdued colors, I opted for lighter pastel colors on top of a nude-pink gel manicure.
After leaving the salon, I headed for the subway and immediately noticed the puzzled look on one woman’s face as she tried to figure out what was going on with my hands. I opened my book and exposed my explosion of fun to everyone in the car.
Back at the office, some activities were more difficult than usual. Expected. Taking something out of my wallet took an extra two minutes. Tying my hair was nearly impossible. The struggle was real. When lunch hour came around, I realized I couldn’t eat anything that would dirty my hands so I opted for a salad, which made me further realize I wouldn’t be able to cook at home. “Takeout it is,” I thought to myself.
Everyone in the office would do the eyebrow lift when they saw my hands and although, some found them to be obnoxious, “Oh-my-God, aw,” was the usual response. Oddly enough, everyone wanted an update on how it was to use the bathroom, and when it was time— it wasn’t as bad as expected. You do have to be extra (seriously, extra) careful and use a little more toilet paper than usual but it was manageable. (TMI? Too bad.)
When I washed my hands, the pom-poms did absorb the water but dried up in less than five minutes. The second time, I used tissue paper to absorb the water, which sped up the drying process.
Then came the breaking point. At the end of the day, I felt like I would be able to last with the pom-poms for a couple of days. They weren’t that much of a hassle and they were stuck and sturdy to my nail bed. However, I had to get ready for a dinner and began applying my makeup. I decided to not use my hands—for obvious reasons—and stuck to brushes.
As much as I tried to avoid it, my pom-poms created havoc. At one point, I felt like I could use the fluffy balls to blend in my concealer. But when I tried to remove the stains with makeup wipes and remover—unsuccessful. I knew I couldn’t go out to a dinner with pastel pom-poms covered in nude-brownish makeup. It looked gross and unhygienic. That’s when I decided it was time.
I didn’t know how to take them off. Sh-t. With desperation, I took my toughest pair of scissors and cut them off one-by-one. This now left me with a blob of acrylic on my nail beds. So I hid my nails for the most part and ran to the nail salon the next day. With buffing, the acrylic came right off and my nails were left undamaged.
Although fun, this trend isn’t for anyone who seeks ease. If you have a strange event— or even a photo shoot, then by all means go play. But if attracting bacteria to your hands for the sake of beauty isn’t your thing. Hey, I have to admit, it was the best conversation starter of my career.
Note: Thank you to Vanity Projects!