beauty

I Got Super-Long Coffin Nails For The First Time. This Is How They Changed My Daily Life

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

Coffin nails might sound creepy, but they’re actually a beautiful way to rock long fingernails. They’re also known as “ballerina nails,” and as you can probably guess, the names come from the fact that they are shaped like a coffin or ballet pointe shoes.

As someone who’s always had a problem with growing my nails out naturally, I’ve pretty much always been obsessed with the idea of having super-long tips.

I remember stopping to stare at the options on display at my mall’s nail salon as a kid and begging my fifth-grade teacher to show me her perfectly painted acrylic nails every time she got a new set. I even used to put small pieces of gum on my nails and dream of being old enough to get the real deal for myself.

Although I’ve dabbled in getting acrylic nails a few times, I’ve never had any quite as long as the coffin nails I wore for 10 days.

Of all the warnings friends gave me before I headed to the nail salon, I was mostly only worried about how they would affect my work. Otherwise, I was totally excited to give them a spin!

To see my experience with coffin nails, keep scrolling down to read!

My Natural Nails Before Going To The Salon

natural nails before coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

As I said, my nails have always been on the shorter side. I used to bite them as a kid, but now they usually just chip away on their own. The length in this photo is, for me, actually a fairly long example.

I have also always been insanely jealous of people who can grow out gorgeous long tips on their own, like my mom. For some reason, that gene wasn’t passed down to me.

Picking Out A Color For Coffin Nails

picking coffin nails color at salon
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

I usually tend to go with more subdued shades when I paint my own nails, but this felt like a “go big or go home” situation.

This bright green shade was also requested by my friend and co-worker, Grace, who wanted to feature my new nails in a music video for her band, Shybaby, which happened to be filming the day after my salon appointment.

That’s right, I was cast as a hand model before I’d even got the tips on. My life was already 100% cooler just knowing my hands were getting an upgrade.

The Process Of Getting Coffin Nails

coffin nails in process at salon
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

The woman doing my nails at the salon was familiar with the design. She said they weren’t quite as popular in her shop as the “Lady Gaga nails,” or pointy stiletto nails, but close.

She also tried to talk me out of making them as long as I wanted. The woman explained that her process with the acrylic powder was a little different from what other salons tend to use. Rather than layering it on thickly, she would dip each of my fingers into the powder and lightly tap it away — meaning it wouldn’t be quite as sturdy as traditional acrylics.

I managed to convince her to make them pretty darn long in the end, but she wasn’t happy about it. She also sassed me about the tattoos on my left hand and the bright color of polish I had picked out. It was like getting a manicure from my grandmother.

Finished Look Of Coffin Nails

coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

I refused to let the judgey manicurist rain on my parade and walked out with a stunning set of long, bright nails.

I was thrilled with the way they turned out and couldn’t wait to show them off.

My Life With Coffin Nails:

cuticle cut with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

There was one hiccup — the manicurist accidentally nicked the cuticle on my left pinky. The woman even got mad at me for bleeding, as if I had done it on purpose!

I knew I’d have to keep an eye on the tiny wound as I went about my daily life, but otherwise, I settled into getting used to the drastic new length.

Observation #1: My Cat Really Loved Them

cat loves coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

Since it was the weekend, I didn’t have to worry about typing or the long nails getting in my way much at all.

My cat, Agnes, was definitely a huge fan of them as soon as I got home. She always loves when I scratch her chin and neck, but these clearly got the job done even better.

Observation #2: I Made A Great Hand Model

hand modeling with coffin nails
Grace Eire for LittleThings

As I mentioned, my buddy Grace wanted to feature my nails in the video for her band. It was like fate aligned for me to have amazing new nails exactly one day before they were scheduled to film!

But even before I headed to Brooklyn to be in the video, I got the sweetest compliment while I was out in search of a new outfit for the party.

When I walked up to the store’s changing room station, the woman gave me a huge smile and told me how much she loved my nails — especially the bright color! In fact, she said they made her day, which obviously made my day, too.

As you can see above, the neon hue also made a great impact while I held the glittery pink Shybaby logo.

Observation #3: Texting Wasn't That Hard

texting with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

I had a lot of people telling me I would hate texting or have to resort to using my knuckles in order to really hit the keys.

Instead, texting turned out to be totally easy. I was clacky — or, according to one of my friends, “wow you are so loud” — but otherwise never had any issue when it came to my phone.

Observation #4: Typing Was A Nightmare At First

typing day 1 with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

The downside of these nails was finally revealed during my first day back at work.

I tried typing with the pads of my fingers as I usually would, but that meant bending my fingers in a seriously awkward way to hit each key. It honestly got painful after a full day of typing.

My typos also got considerably worse, and I have to admit, I was tempted to tear them off my hands that first day — on more than one occasion.

Observation #5: Opening Soda Cans Wasn't So Bad

opening soda with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

This was another problem I was told I’d run up against before actually getting the nails done.

It was admittedly a bit more difficult than usual, but I had no issue cracking open a can of my favorite diet beverage.

Observation #6: Snacking Was A Lot Tougher Than I Thought

opening string cheese with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

String cheese proved to be trickier than I’d expected when snack time rolled around.

The flaps at the top of the tube can be difficult to manage even without extended nail tips, but my determination for stringy goodness prevailed. Plus, they were great at sectioning off the perfect slices of cheese.

Observation #7: Typing Eventually Got A Lot Easier

better typing with coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

Another friend of mine in the office, Ana, is a seasoned pro when it comes to having super long nails. When I complained to her about how much I hated typing, she told me I should use the actual tips of the nails rather than the pads of my fingers to hit the keys.

They were a little slippery, and the extra typos continued, but it was a much easier way to go about my day at the office. I was almost back up to my full-speed typing, so I was happy.

Observation #8: It's Not Hard To Fix A Broken Nail

fixing broken coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

After 10 days with them, the glue on one nail just couldn’t hack it anymore; it fell off after the slightest bump on a glass of water I was enjoying.

But I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them, so I invested in some nail glue to pop it right back on.

Sadly, that was the beginning of the end. Throughout the rest of that evening, other nails continued to fall away. When I woke up to one having busted too close to the tip for me to glue it back on, I knew it was time to let them go.

Observation #9: Getting Rid Of Them Was A Pain

removing coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

I followed the advice of a WikiHow article and trimmed the tips, then slathered some petroleum jelly on my cuticles before plunging my fingers into a bowl filled with pure acetone for 10 to 15 minutes.

The jelly helped to keep my cuticles from drying out, but the process was still a huge hassle. After soaking them for a good 15 minutes, I still struggled to pull away all of the glue and acrylic that had melted into a gooey texture.

Final Thoughts On Having Coffin Nails

after taking off coffin nails
Jess Catcher for LittleThings

This was how my nails looked when I showed up (late) to work after attempting to take them off. It was a far cry from the coffin nails I had grown so fond of over the past 10 days.

As frustrating as it was to have such long nails in the office on a daily basis, I actually miss them now that they’re gone.

I would definitely get coffin nails again at some point — maybe just when I’m planning to be on vacation and not having to worry about typing every day.

Check out the video below to see even more of my experience with the long fake nails.

Would you ever get coffin nails? Or know someone else who would?

Be sure to SHARE all the ups and downs of sporting a set of super-long nails with your friends on Facebook!

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