Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trying out OPI GelColor - the aftermath

Have you missed me?! I'm sure not as much as I have missed polishing my nails. But going a full week without a change was worth it, now that I can post this update to my OPI GelColor experience.

I was rather determined from the beginning to try to keep my GelColor manicure for a full week, and even thought about wearing it even longer - until it just fell apart. But then the day came, when I felt I could not stand the following: wearing the same color any longer, not being able to do my no 1 choice of meditative chore, watch a missing corner on my middle finger nail. This is what my gelicure looked like just before I began getting rid of it:

Except for the obvious, it's not that bad, huh? And the obvious flaw is there courtesy of my Chroma kitchen knife, not because the gel broke. (I have this unpleasant habit of accidentally chopping off my nails while making dinner, or in most cases, thankfully, only the polish protecting them.) You can tell the very sharp corner of my index nail is starting to wear off, but considering that my nails are painfully flexible and their corners roll here and there, it lasted much longer than I expected it to. The other hand looked just as good despite being my dominant one, and the only actual chip I could find was only about 1 x 2 mm on the edge of my left thumb nail tip, and I'm positive it happened because my nail started to tear in that spot prior to chipping.

Here's a summary of the strains this gel manicure had to endure through the week: more than seven hot showers, three hairwashes, one hot bath, endless handwashes (some with the use of a nailbrush) cooking and cleaning the kitchen (with the presence of chemicals), doing laundry, digging dirt in my balcony flowerpots, putting on jeans too tight to really fit, putting on shoes... And the list goes on. All these things are normally potentially hazardous to my nails, but the only nail usage that proved to be lethal to this manicure was chopping vegetables - and that's not really the GelColor's fault.

Then, the hard work of getting rid of this. Like I mentioned in my previous post, this manicure turned out rather thick here and there, and I dreaded soaking all of it off, so I surrendered to my laziness and filed it down first (using a 150 grit file):

Then, I soaked the nails in tin foil wrapped pads using pure acetone. Here I have taken the first wrap off, and the photo was shot by my five year old daughter:

You can see how the gel cracks and begins to fall off in sheets.

The nails where I had filed down more of the gel were clean in about five minutes, while nails with thicker gel layers took quite a while longer. Since I'm not very patient, I took the wraps off from time to time to check on the progress, and as gel pieces were falling off, I was left with little islands of it that was still stuck. Where I had the most trouble of getting rid of all the gel, I think I re-wrapped three times, with soaking for a total of maybe 15-20 minutes.

And finally, this is what my nails looked like after it was all gone, in a less flattering angle:

You can clearly see where the acetone sucked the moist out of my unpolished outgrowth area, but the surface where the gel used to be looks fine. You can also tell that I have a shitload of peelies, most obvious on my ring finger nail. This is usually the natural state of my nails - the quality is shitty, thin, bendy and peeling. The peelies I got during this week is most likely the result of the strain from my everyday wear and tear, more than the GelColor. The difference here is that I naturally take care of my peelies while changing polish, and that I wrap my tips while polishing every two days or so. A week with no TLC except for some moisture and oil, and no new tip wrapping after wearing off the gel wrap, has taken its toll.

To summarize my experience: a week with this gel manicure went far better than I expected it to. Since the condition of my natural nails makes it difficult to maintain a happy manicure for more than a day or two, I expect everything to just peel off, break and chip. The GelColor manicure lasted despite the fact that my nails curl, it stayed put on damaged nail areas, and the surface wasn't scratched at all. For me personally, or anyone who might have the same nail status I do, changing more often is preferable to maintain a healthy nail, but for a weekend trip full of activities, this could be ideal - if you can stand spending the time needed to have it done and then removing it. And anyone with stronger, harder nails could easily wear this until the outgrowth starts looking ridiculous.

After the gel was removed, I couldn't wait to do a more advanced manicure, and ended up with a six-coater glitter jelly sandwich. But more on that in a future post.

Swedish word of the day:
testköra -verb test drive
Sometimes you have to.


  1. Excellent review! I've been doing my own soak off gel mani's. I usually wear a manicure for about 1.5 - 2 weeks, and usually end up polishing another color overtop whenever I feel the need to change.

    1. I actually did that too - like I always do: when bored I just put a coat of INM Northern Lights over. :D