Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a mani that gels

all i can say is "where have you been all my life, axxium?" this is a gel manicure from OPI that lasts with ZERO chipping, cracking, feathering or peeling for...wait for it...TWO WEEKS. i've been dying to tell you all about it because i know how you feel about manicures, but i had to wait the full two weeks so i could be thorough.

here's what happens - the manicurist applies two different gel basecoats, and you dry under the uv dryer after each coat (i advise taking your rings off - they get kind of hot). then she applies a few coats of the gel color you've chosen (in pots with a long brush, not bottles like usual), and again, you dry after each coat. and then she sprays your just-finished nails with a spray bottle filled with an alcohol solution and wipes them down. i almost screamed at this point, so foreign was the idea of wiping down nails within a 24 hour period of a fresh manicure.

and then you reach in your bag, take out your money and your keys and walk out. no drying needed. they are perfectly done, perfectly dry...just plain perfect. they don't even ask you to pay first like they normally do before they polish you, because there's no need.

speaking of place charges $40, though i know of other places charging closer to $25. at the $40, it's definitely more than two regular manicures (two weeks) here...but don't freak out...just keep reading.

so here are my feelings about're not surprised i have feelings about nail polish, are you?

quality: perfection. the only aesthetic issue i sort of had was that it didn't have that mirror-like shine that a first-day regular manicure does. but by day 2, the shine was what it would be on day 2 of a regular mani.

it took a few days to stop nervously checking my nails after doing certain things - peeling off labels, washing dishes, showering, even getting tape stuck to my know, all those things that kill a mani in a second. but each time i did, they were just as perfect as day one. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

maintenance: there really isn't any maintenance. after the first week or so, my cuticles looked like they could use a refresher, the same way they would when you'd be due for your next weekly mani (not overdue, just due). but i'm told they sell a cuticle balm that really helps with that.

removal: though they call it "soak off," i found that the polish very easily peeled off in whole pieces once the first started to peel. then a quick swipe with nail polish remover wiped away any residue. so easy.

colors: when i got the axxium manicure done, there were only about 18 colors to choose from since it's special polish and not the standard bottles, though there were some good old OPI stand-bys. but i felt there was a certain color genre missing - dark but not too dark with no shimmer. BUT, since then, they've already added nine more colors which seem to fill the gap nicely, so i'm excited about that. they have a nice array of lighter colors too, which is great.

price: clearly, the price can be pretty steep. getting regular manicures is already a luxury, so this is an extra luxury which, in my life, can't really be the standard. but i do think it's absolutely perfect for a two week period where i have lots going on - wedding, party, maybe a vacation, etc. for that, it's perfection because you simply don't have to worry about it. now if i try out a place where it's closer to $25, then maybe it could become more of a standard thing.

overall: A-MA-ZING. but i do have to say - i missed the ritual of going each week. it's something i look forward to all week and i felt its absence. so i'm comfortable with it being a sometimes-thing. an amazing sometimes-thing.

update 3/17/10: i had the color gel manicure again recently, and it only lasted a little over a week. partially, i think it was because i chose a lighter color (passion, which was pretty much clear, annoyingly) and it started to look a little tired right around the time i'd normally go for a fresh mani - about a week. so i think my feeling now is that if you need a guaranteed perfect mani for a week, go for it, but i can't vouch for any longer than that. for me personally, i'm in the process of seeking out a cheaper place to get it done, which would make it more worth it in my opinion.

photos from,,


Maria said...

Sounds AMAZING. Would totally get that for a vacation and definitley for a wedding which then leads to a honeymoon. I bet you can get it on your toes too! I'm going to call around today and ask some local places if they offer it, I'm going to Florida in a few weeks and would love a no-fuss mani. Thanks Carla! xo

Maria said...

I found it for $30 at Millenium Nail and Spa in Syosset. And they do the Pedi for $20. I'm so there!

Kelly said...

Burts Bees makes a lemon butter cuticle balm that’s not expensive and works very, very well. It’s rich, can double as chap stick if needed and smells heavenly. They also sell a bottle of oil that is great too. Just fyi.

honey living said...

nice detective work maria. i also heard ruby nails in alberston has it for $22. i'm just so hesitant to leave my place cause i love it so much.

Danielle said...

This is a little late - but I agree that OPI has really done it right with this Axxium line. I've been getting a French manicure with Bubble Bath and I love how my nails look (and stay) put together for at least 2 weeks. You can actually go longer with lighter colors (I'm on 3 weeks with no chips or breaks). Hopefully they'll add other colors to the line and more salons will start carrying it!

Thanks for posting about this!

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