Monday, April 18, 2011


One of my friends recently asked me what I knew about the new gel polish craze. Even though it's something I'd been meaning to look into, I hadn't had the time to research them.. so I figured now was as good a time as any to learn something new and share it with you! Here's what I found out:

The PROS of gel nails are that they can be applied to natural nails and provide added strength and durability that promises to be chip free for 2 weeks without any drilling to your natural nails like you would experience with acrylics. And when you take your hand out from under the UV lamp, you are 100% DONE. You won't have to worry about smudging a nail before you even get into your car.

The CONS are that the colors are not true to their descriptions and if you get a dark color, you will have a definite line as your nails grow out. However, I think it actually looks kind of like a half moon mani, so you might be able to get away with it. I'll post a picture from below so you can see what I mean. Another con is that the gel has to be completely soaked off and removed each time you have your nails re-done and unless you want to buy a UV lamp (which can be pricey) they are impossible to do at home. The two brands that I researched were OPI's Axxium and Harmony's Gelish line.

OPI Axxium, week 3. Photo Credit:
From the way it appears, Axxium is applied more like regular acrylic, with separate brushes and jars. It's also a decently thick gel. You'll get a base gel, 2-3 coats of color and a top gel layer. After each layer your nails will get cured under a UV lamp. To remove the nails, it takes about 10 minutes of soaking in acetone and another 10-15 minutes using a tool to push and peel the gel off.

Here are a few of the colors that Axxium offers:

Gelish is applied out of a bottle with a brush just like a regular polish and consists of a base coat, 2 coats of color and a top coat. Like Axxium, it is also cured under a UV lamp after each layer. From what I understand, Gelish is easier to apply, thinner and stronger, longer lasting, chips less, and is easier to remove... all with less damage to your real nails, as it is a "soak off" lacquer and shouldn't need to be peeled off. And if you want to actually try a color out on your nails before committing to it, Gelish is a lot easier to do this with compared to Axxium.

Here are Gelish's colors:
As you can see, Gelish also has glitter options. Axxium had a limited edition holiday glitter collection, but it wasn't widely available.

Always keep in mind that the colors are not true to their descriptions. If you want a medium blue, you might want to pick a navy instead. I know my nail salon only offers Gelish, but they have practice wheels pre-made with all the colors so that you can see what they look like before they apply it to your nails. I think that's really helpful. 

Also make sure that your nail tech doesn't get any of the gel onto your cuticles. If they do, your polish will end up peeling off well before 2 weeks.

Axxium seems like it would be very difficult to apply at home, even with a UV lamp because it needs to be evened out like acrylic. I don't know if you've ever tried to do acrylics at home, but from my experience they are nearly impossible to smooth out.

Lastly, from what I was able to research online, the average price for a gel manicure seems to be between $25-35. Considering that the average life of a gel mani is about 2-3 weeks, it's more expensive than an acrylic fill, but much less damaging to your nails while still being much more durable than a regular manicure.

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So have you already tried Axxium or Gelish? If not, would you consider it? I'm definitely interested in trading in my acrylics to see how I like Gelish once my pinky nail has completely regrown. Let me know your thoughts!

♥ M


  1. Thanks for the review! I had gotten a groupon last year that I am going to use for an Axxium mani this week, and was having a hard time finding the colors...I'll write a review here for you in a few weeks!

  2. You are so welcome! Yes! Please let me know what you think of them, I'd love to hear your opinion. I can't wait to try them out myself! ♥

  3. i had the gelish red polish manicure and it lasted for 3-4 weeks instead of the 2 its known for. the downside was that i had to pay to remove the polish and that sucked. other than that it was a great and long lasting polish! no chips at all!

  4. Carolinefolds---you can remove it yourself!!! I buff the shine off, then soak for 5 minutes then push it off with an orange stick. Voila!! Done, no damage to nails. I get the "KISS All or One" soaker from Walgreens, I got 2, then I refill them with    
    Acetone each time fresh. No need to waste money paying someone else to do what you can do at home

  5. Thanks for commenting, Jennifer! Somehow Caroline's comment got lost in my commenting system and I couldn't find it. Ahh! (Sorry Care Bear, you know I ♥ you!)

    Jennifer's totally right though: It's SUPER easy to remove gel manis at home, and you'll usually be more careful about not damaging your nails than a nail tech would. Just make sure to moisturize your cuticles and nails after soaking them in the acetone!

  6. I think you mean that it looks like a ruffian mani, not a half moon mani.