Gel Color by OPI “A Grape Fit” with “Princesses Rule” as a top coat
Price: $30+ at a salon
Where To Buy: salons, search on Yelp!
NO CHIPS FOR TWO WEEKS
Perfect nails, like car paint
You might be sick of the color by the time it comes off
Time consuming removal process
Not DIY friendly
Packaging: Isn’t relevant in this particular review!
I have had gel manicures before as well as purchased the Professionail kit from Walmart to do my own. I felt like treating myself to a salon manicure and started searching on Yelp. The salon I went to had iPads in the pedicure chairs and offered “OPI Gel Color” and patrons were raving. Salons I’d been to before had such a sad, sad color selection (pink, red, berry, peach) and I had hoped for something simple like dark navy blue (OPI Russian Navy) or dark dark purple (OPI Purple with a Purpose/Butter London Marrow). I figured that the salon having OPI meant they had more than 4 colors to choose from and the 2 weeks would probably definitely come and go before I started seeing chips. I’ve never had a gel manicure chip from the tips (like conventional polish), it’s only ever at the base, where the grow out occurs.
So gel manicures use a UV (or LED) light to cure the polish. It’s kind of time consuming because you do a base coat, cure, polish, cure, polish, cure, top coat, cure along with everything else at a manicure (shaping, filing, trimming, etc) so it ends up being a lengthy process. I’d say about an hour.
When done though, the manicure is flawless! The polish looks like car paint. Thick, glossy, super shiny and super professional. It also dries instantly, so no more “dentable” polish. I chose a light purple (their navy looked like of dull and there was no dark purple, aside from vampy reds) but asked to take the creme up a notch with a shimmer silver top coat. My two colors were “A Grape Fit” and “Princesses Rule!” And I’m very happy with the results. I work in the medical field so I’m washing my hands all day, I do dishes at home (no dishwasher and no gloves) and if a polish makes it through the day, it’s cause for celebration. This is going on a week and absolutely no issues. The grow out is very minor at this point. I suspect around 2 weeks will be time to soak them off (using pure acetone after first roughing up the gloss and wrapping tips in tin foil with cotton balls).
I’ve never found gel to harm my nails. I think because I’m so rough on them at work, the gel actually protects them and lets them grow out stronger, rather than being water logged most of the day (which leads to soft, bendy, peeling nails).
There are a few drawbacks. The price is a factor. I certainly could not sustain this process, $60+ a month for gel manicures. Also, even though the color doesn’t chip for 2 weeks, you might find that to be a con! After a few days, I am usually bored with my color and itching for a change. This polish isn’t going anywhere until you force it off, so pick a color you love and can incorporate in most outfits. And finally, it’s a UV light. You are essentially tanning your hands, minutes at a time. I don’t like that part of it. I want my hands to stay young and healthy looking.
Overall, it’s worth doing for events or as a treat to yourself. It has no calories and will keep you happy for two weeks. That’s a pretty good deal. But it’s not something I will ever integrate into my life wholly.