Having a manicure and pedicure is one of those little treats that I really miss when I’m broke. As soon as I have a little money to spend on myself I head out to have my feet scraped and my cuticles trimmed by a professional. (Unlike many of my friends, my own manicures are a joke. I can apply liquid eye liner with a steady hand and paint fashion illustrations, but painting my own nails is nearly impossible. I don’t know why.)
The last last time I went to the nail salon the lady at the front desk asked me if I’d like to have the “gel” manicure. “What’s a gel manicure?” I replied. She then explained that the gel polish didn’t chip and could last anywhere from two to three weeks. I’m pretty hard on my hands. As a result normal nail polish usually chips in two days. If I really work at it and apply top coat and touch up bad spots I can keep a regular manicure going for about four days, but that’s it. So I decided to try out this exciting new polish.
Gel Nail Polish
Gel nail polish is officially called “Axxium soak-off gel lacquer” and it’s made by OPI. The colors all have the usual fun OPI names. The color below is called “Strawberry Margarita”. The photo was taken about one week after the gel was applied:
Yes, IT’S ALMOST PERFECT AFTER A WEEK and it looked great for another two weeks. I was amazed. The problem is when it does start to peel the color won’t come off unless you soak your hands in nail polish remover for at least 15 minutes. I’m don’t like the smell of nail polish remover anyway, and the thought of SOAKING my hands in the stuff really makes me unhappy.
Here’s the manicure at 4 weeks of age:
Amazingly IT STILL HASN’T CHIPPED! Instead, it peeled from the cuticle up. Also, my nails had not torn, broken, peeled or snagged. The polish protected them from all harm. They were LONG. I’m one of those people who’s nails are always breaking. My new 1/8 inch long nails seem almost miraculous.
Back I went to the salon to have it removed and reapplied. In the end I think the benefits of having my nails looking great for three weeks outweigh the problem of removing the stuff. Because a gel nail polish is applied differently than regular polish I thought you might want to see the process, so I photographed it.
First the old polish is soaked in a special solution (that I believe is sold on Amazon) and then scraped off. (I forgot to get a photo, but after just a couple of minutes the old polish goes white and peels up.) Your cuticles are then trimmed and nails filed as usual. Because my nails have ridges they’re usually sanded down a bit. Mittens are pulled over your hands, (more on that later) and your nails are prepped with a special adhesive.
Next a base coat is applied. Between each layer you stick your hands in these ultraviolet cookers. You wear the mittens to keep the rays off your hands. This is probably the creepiest aspect of the whole process.
The polish has to be carefully mixed because it tends to separate. The second time around I chose a pale pearly sheer taupe called “Cosmo, not now honey” so the eventual peeling wouldn’t look so obvious.
The polish and top coat is applied as it would be normally. Your hands are massaged afterwards as the polish dries completely in the ray soaking devices. Here’s my new manicure, a few days after application. That was last week, and they still look great!
I’m not the only one of my friends who’s thoughts have turned to manicures and nail polish recently. If you haven’t seen it yet check out Beautifully Invisible’s “History of Nail Lacquer” and Grit and Glamour’s “Nail Polish: Faves, Tips and Tricks”.
What do you think of this? Have you or would you try “Axxium” soak-off gel lacquer?
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