The first nail-focused beauty blog

Let’s Talk Soak-off Gel Nail Polish

By on January 22, 2010
in Dashing Diva, Nail Art, OPI, Trends
sakura-gradation-calgel-uv-gel-nails-nat Last February I had my first experience with what is now becoming a major trend in nails; Soak-off UV Gel Nail Polish.  You see my pal Heather Park from SeoulDiva had been raving for months about this NYC salon Sakura and showing off her wicked cool nail art designs using the CalGel brand of soak-off polish.  Heather has managed to get more than a few of her friends hooked on Sakura including MAC Artist Keri B. who has posted some her designs on Twitter. You can read about my experience and see some more CalGel designs HERE.

Since that time Fanatics have emailed asking about CalGel and the other brands of soak-off polish on the market, including OPI’s new Axxium product so I’m giving you the 411 on the whole soak-off phenomenon after the jump.

soak-off-uv-gel-nail-polish-opi-axxium-calgel What is Soak-off Gel Polish?
Unlike a traditional nail polish, soak-off gel polish is painted on with a brush and each layer is “cured” under a UV light to dry. Soak-off Gels come in a wide array of colors and finishes and like our “frankenpolishes” they can be mixed to create new colors. The purple on my tips (above) was a custom blended shade.

What are the benefits?
Dry time – The UV light dries the polish within minutes which means no dry time, no smudging, no dents. Talk about the perfect winter pedicure choice
Long lasting – Soak-off Gel lasts from 2-3 weeks with no chipping.
Less damaging – Unlike traditional enhancements you don’t have to fear the drills or filing down of your nails.
Works on natural nails – While you can add length if you choose, Soak-off Gel Polish can be used over a natural nail like traditional polish.
You can layer polish on top – If you want to change your color mid-manicure, you can. Paint right over Soak-Off Gel with regular nail polish and remove it with non-acetone remover.

What are the negatives?
Cost – Soak-off Gel Polish can only be applied by a professional and the service is more costly than a traditional manicure. If you are really skilled, you can buy a UV light and gel polish online but it’s not a cheap set-up.
Removal – While Sakura offers fill-ins, if you want to change your color, you must completely remove the polish every time. You can either pay to have the polish professionally removed or do the soak-off process (or to the MUA nail board “foil method”) at home. Soak a piece of cotton in acetone and then wrap the nail with aluminum foil. For me, even after soaking, I still had to file some of it off.
Nail growth shows – One of the reason’s my pal Heather tends to wear CalGel designs with a clear base is because it makes nail growth less obvious. If you choose a dark, solid color, by week two, growth will be very apparent.
Time – Getting a Soak-off Gel manicure can take longer than a traditional manicure. Especially if you are getting a gradation, nail art or using a dark color. I’ve heard with the darker shades, you need quite a few coats to get it the right color.

Several brands make a soak-off product with a wide array of colors. The most talked about brands include Akzentz, Bio Sculpture Color Gel, CalGel, Dashing Diva Gelife, IBD, and OPI Axxium.  Akzentz, Bio Sculpture, CalGel and IBD come in a range of colors and finishes including glitter. Gelife is currently offering sheer, natural shades to enhance the nail’s natural beauty but I hear they intend to offer additional colors.  Axxium comes in 26 colors based on existing OPI polish shades including You Don’t Know Jacques, Russian Navy, I’m Not Really A Waitress, Lincoln Park After Dark and Bubble Bath.

Where can I get a Soak-off Gel Manicure?
I suggest contacting the companies to locate a salon near year using their products but make sure you investigate the salon and ask how long they’ve been using the product.  If you are interested in nail art or gradations, ask about their experience doing those as well and inquire about a website or online gallery of their work.

I emailed CalGel and found a salon on the west side of Cleveland and my salon John Robert’s Salon & Spa just started offering OPI Axxium.  The last time I was there all the stylists I talked to who were wearing it, were really pleased.

And if you’re in Rhode Island, I suggest you check out the Nail Gallery from Gel Essentialz and book an appointment with Gina Silvestro ASAP. My friend, Celebrity Manicurist Elle, told me about Gina and she creates some sick designs.

So how many of you are curious about Soak-off Gel Polish?  Have you tried it?  Tell us about your experience, including which brand you used, in the comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There Are 566 Brilliant Comments

Trackback URL

  1. Jessica W says:

    I would LOVE to try this! I live in downtown Pittsburgh so I’ll have to find a place. I’m graduating with my bachelors soon…. this could be the perfect excuse :)

  2. fancylady says:

    Bio Sculpture gels have changed my life, at the risk of hyperbole! My natural nails have always been hopelessly thin, weak, and prone to peeling, and I’ve had gel and acrylic extensions in the past–which of course made my nails even worse…

    I’ve been wearing the Bio nails for several months now, and I love them! There’s minimal filing or damage to my existing nails, and they’re growing longer and stronger than ever. A weird side effect is that my cuticles and hangnails have improved markedly as well.

    I’ve had the darker and lighter colours, and visible “grow out” is a bit of an issue by the end of the second week. Usually I just slap a coat or two of my favourite polish on top and tough it out until week three.

    Bios aren’t the easiest to find, but based on what I’ve read online, they’re one of the best. I live in Vancouver BC and go to Vanessa at the Spa at the Madison in Burnaby. She kindly told me the first day I walked in, “It’s okay, you’ll never had bad nails again.” Man, was she right. Can’t wait to get my toes done next month!

    • Debbie says:

      Sat reading this with my poor old thumbs in tatters again – all my nails peel really badly but the thumbs worst of all and they take soooo long to re-grow. Had considered something like this but hate the feeling of “thick” false nails, do the Bio nails feel thin and natural like your own? When you finally soak off the Bio’s will your own nails be nice and strong underneath or are you just planning on sticking with the Bio’s permanently? Sorry about all the questions but would love to know what someone with similar problems thinks – Michelle has such fab nails I can hardly ask her!

      • fancylady says:

        Hi Debbie,

        When I first got them put on, my natural nails were so short I had them do extensions with the Bio gel. Because they basically built up the layers on a removable form, they looked and felt pretty thick! Now I just get the overlays, and they’re fine in terms of thickness. I mean, they’re definitely thicker than my own nails, but given that my naturals are about the thickness and strength of a piece of tissue, that’s a good thing!

        After Vanessa soaks off the gel, I always take a moment to examine my bare nails. They’re still thin, but they don’t seem to be getting any thinner. They feel relatively flexible and strong–NOT the feeling I’ve had after traditional gels or acrylics. (The Bio gels site says the product is free of parabens, phthalates, toluene or formaldehyde, which I’m sure helps.) It also helps that there’s no weird power tools or bonding agents involved, just a light buffing before the new application. So I plan on staying with the Bio gel until my own nails indicate that it’s not a good thing.

        Candice, I can gently clip and/or file mine as they grow out. It’s usually necessary by the end of week two, especially since I’m not used to having nails come past my fingertips EVER. But I love that bit of length now, and I love how, no matter how busy I get, my hands always look well-groomed and ready to go. It’s a financial and time commitment, but the results are worth it to me. As my father-in-law used to say, “They’re not cheap, but they are expensive!”

        • Debbie says:

          Thanks for your detailed reply, I like the idea of having something strengthening over the top of my natural nails that could be there til it grows out taking all my nasty flakes with it but I am not sure that bio sculpture is exactly what I am looking for as I don’t want them on permanently. Glad you are happy with your nails though and they are working for you, its such a nice feeling when your hands look nice isn’t it! Thanks again.d

    • ReaderRita says:

      My nails have always been hopeless, too- so I have wondered about these! I decided never to go with acrylics after seeing the damage done to friend’s nail beds. These sound much healthier. Thank you for your post, it was very informative, and you had the same concerns that I did, so you really helped! The Bio Sculpture gels sound pretty great. I’ll be looking into them!

      • RT says:

        Hi ReaderRita:
        I do the Bio sculptures myself and absolutely love it. It is the only safety rated soak off gel out there, and have been around since 1987. They have the edge. Yes they are expensive, but well worth it, considering that they contain nutrients to strenghten the natural nail.
        In my personal experience, and humble opinion, Bios are best on the natural nail, without any extensions. Just wait a couple weeks for your natural nails to grow out with the gels on.
        I generally do 3 fills ($25) after the 1st overlay ($35), and then remove them. You can change the color with each fill (going darker, not lighter). Removal is a pain….takes about 20-30 minutes. But doing this once every 8-10 weeks is fine – customers dont seem to mind! Try t find them around you. Also beware of gel with powders…they are not the same as soak-offs.

  3. Aurora says:

    There are some gels from Light Elegance that I definitely want to buy, but I don’t have the UV lamp..

  4. grace says:

    Nah, I keep my nails pretty short and I actually enjoy changing my polish up about twice a week, or so. I can see the appeal, but if you’re going to commit to always using them and paying to get them filled I don’t see how it’s much different than acrylics (what difference does it make if your nails are getting damaged if they’re never going to see the light of day anyway?). I get that it’s like semi-permanent polish, but when I wore acrylics (about 10 years ago) I never had a problem with polish chipping.

  5. Tara says:

    I have been doing my own gel nails for about 2 months now. They are so great! My pedicures last for about a month, and my colored gel manicures were great for going on vacation and not wanting to worry about chips. Yes, it can get a little pricey, but with the right research, you can find some great deals. I have been using IBD brand and I plan on giving the Opi gels a try too.

  6. Jen says:

    Michelle – Thanks so much for doing a post on Axxium! After you wrote me regarding it, I found out my favorite salon DOES Axxium but they charge $30-35 the first time and $40 each time after. My nails grow too fast and I am too picky about growth to spend the money for Axxium but it’s always nice to know there are other clear alternatives that won’t show growth as much. I’ll have to do more research, thanks again!

  7. Jessica says:

    Thanks for this review! I emailed you last week about it. I love the soak off nails. I am thinking about investing in my own UV lamp and I already bought the axxium starter kit. I’m hooked! I work in the dental field so I’m always using my hands and fingernails as tools (gloved of course) My nails look so natural and strong. Can’t say enough great things about OPI axxium

  8. Vixxan says:

    I have been wondering about these. I don’t think this is something that I would been into. The whole going to the nail salon thing is not me. They look really nice.

  9. Candice says:

    Can these be filed down as they grow out?

  10. AkashaGermaine says:

    The really great thing about the OPI Axxium is that the colors are based on the nail polishes. If your wearing LPITD, for example, and are having a really obvious grow out you can get a bottle of the polish viola, it’s hidden. My sis is a nail tech and works with the Axxium shades. But they are not guaranteed to work for everyone, just like real gel and acrylic. I have never been able to keep nail enhancements on my nails, they lift, chip, etc. So I have given up on them, much to the chagrin of sis. good luck

  11. Kirsten says:

    When I bought my gel kit to do gel overlays myself I also bought some of these. Unfortunately I am apparently allergic to gels so I never got to try them.

  12. Jacie says:

    Another vote for Bio Sculpture. Amazing quality gels.

  13. amy says:

    Gel nailpolish is something I would love to try one day, once I find a salon that have this service. Your gradation manicure looks great! I love the colour tips and the natural nail base.

  14. Jen says:

    I do plan on taking a class to get more informed. However clients have come in with damaged nails after having a “gel manicure”. They come in feeling disappointed about how they interpreted the service, the results, the “soak off” time, and the quality of their nails in the end. I feel this service in being misrepresented …. These nails are enhancements not a manicure.

    • sonya says:

      Hello Jen
      I have been a tech for many years. If your clients have come to u with damage nails from gels it was something in addition to them. The soak off time in comparison to acrylics is awesome 20-30 min max, you cant beat it. My clients have never had any damage so it just may be the OTHER nail tech before you made an error in application. Finally, gel nails are not enhancements. If that was true then I guest nail polish is considered enhancements also.

  15. I love the Axxium product. When it was launched, I worked at a beauty supply so we all got to be hand models for the education class. It was awesome!
    I would love to get my own UV light and do it myself because it was super easy for me.
    Then again, the cost is an issue if you are not a professional. I still say it’s best to see a pro however. I was lucky and got to participate in a class but that doesn’t make me a pro!

  16. Meika says:

    The nail spa I go to offers the OPI Axxium and they are always trying to get me to try it. I thought it was like acrylic but I guess not. I may give this a try.

  17. Sounds too complicated for me. I change my polish daily or more than that, so that wouldn’t really work for me!

  18. Abidi says:

    I have tried Axxium Soak Offs and absolutely loved the fact that my nails looked respectable for a full 2 weeks. A regular polish manicure won’t last on my nails for more than 48 hours without chipping.

    • crazychef tx says:

      i had the opi(axxium) applied 3 weeks ago today. my daughter was getting married and i really didn’t have time to spend getting re-polished. just this weekend, i had a bit of lift on one nail on my right hand(dominant). yesterday the gel polish rolled off after shower and lotion, just on that one finger. yes i can see growth, and i have an appointment for saturday, but i think i’ll give it more time! btw, the nailbed on the naked nail looks pretty good!

  19. sonia figueroa says:

    I would like to try it on my natural nails to prevent nail color from chipping. I’m pretty sure they have a clear formula for a more natural look.

  20. Mary says:

    I’d love to try this in a mannequin hands shade, given that you can paint and remove polish over it. That would give a clean elegant look when I don’t have time to repolish before going out.

  21. Diane says:

    I tried the Axxium – did not like it at all. The removal process was harsh and definitely weakened my nails. The chemicals during removal also completely dehydrated not just my cuticles but my fingers! Likes it when it was on – but hate hate hate the removal process.

    • sonya says:

      hello Dianne I really hate that you did not enjoy your complete gel process. With my clients I used vitamin e oil around the nail skin prior to soaking so that it will not deplete the skin of its natural oils

  22. Lydia says:

    Oh wow I want to try this! I’m sure they have it somewhere in Chicago, I am gonna check into it :)

  23. amber says:

    If you are looking for a great gel polish product check out En Vogue Nails. There is a new distributor in the chicagoland area. they are having a product launch were you can go test out the products for free.
    IBS 1800-338-3809

  24. Meghan says:

    I didn’t see any contact info for Gina Silvestro? I live in RI and would love to be able to make an appointment with her.

  25. Arrianne says:

    Yeah, I’ll just stick to the old fashioned way of painting nails. Nothing beats huffing those good old fumes. I’ve never gotten my nails done anyway, too overpriced when I can do a better job myself.

  26. Wow what a great thread and Thanks Michelle for mentioning me!

    Gel polish is in fact gel, it is just a pigmented gel so it looks like the nail is polished. Some gel polishes are soakable and some are not. The main difference between soak-off gels and file-off gels (besides the fact that one soaks off and one doesnt) is that soak off gels are much more flexible, so you are able to apply the gel very thin and natural looking without it chipping. Because the file off gel is very hard, if it is applied too thin it will chip at the edges if it is not sculpted with proper structure.

    I see alot of people who are talking about purchasing the gel to do at home, but the gel should be applied by a trained and certified professional. There is alot more to it than it seems, and gel is a chemical no matter what people say about it being “healthier” if it is not cured and applied properly the uncured gel could lead to an allergic reaction. It is also very technique sensitive, which is why there are not many salons already offering the service. Gel has been around for a long time, Its just not as easy as it looks so techs try it and give up and stick to what they already know how to do.

    The gel does not strengthen you natural nail or damage it. It will seem stronger with the gel on the nail because it adds a protective layer that makes the nail seem stronger, but under the gel the nail remains the same. If it is applied and removed properly there should be little to no damage. If you are trying to soak off gel at home be sure to apply cuticle oil to the skin and under the free edge of the nail, and saturate the cotton ball thoroughly and wrap. It is best to thin out the gel with a file prior to wrapping, the thinner the gel is the faster it will soak off. If you remove the foil and the gel is not completely ready to flake off, rewrap it and give it more time. The gel should practically fall off. If you have to file it off then it is not done soaking yet. The time will vary depending on how thick the gel is applied and also certain gels might take longer etc.

    The best prt of gel polish is that it dries instantly. For me, time is $$. If I have to waste and hour waiting for nail polish to dry I am wasting time that I could be making $$!! or doing something more productive. It also doesnt smudge and the shine and beauty lasts right until your next appt. So you may pay double to triple what you would pay for a regular manicure, but it will last 3x as long, that means if you spend an hour getting your manicure and an hour for it to dry completely, you are spending up to 6 hours for 3 manicures plus travel time to & from the salon. You can save time and have beautiful nails all the time and walk in & out with waiting for your polish to dry. That is priceless to me!

    In my salon, once people have had gel polish they can never go back to nail enamel.

    And the design nails are our biggest seller. People go nuts over them!

    There are many gel companies that offer gel polish, it is good to research whatever product is being used on you. As a nail tech I prefer a gel that is “salon proven” meaning it has been out for a while, it is manufactured by a company that specializes in gel products, and all the kinks have been worked out. As a consumer, find out what is being used and do your research.

    If you are looking for a salon that uses Akzentz or any other gel company mentioned, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help!

  27. Nailtech says:

    Recently an OPI rep. came to our salon and demonstrated the new soak off gel. 4 of us Techs were so excited we went in and purchased 2 lights and supplies to start doing this system. Now we wish that we would of investigated other soak off systems prior to purchasing the OPI gels. We invested over $600 for 2 lights and all the other things needed to get started.

    Now the story begins…..yes there is very little filing on the nail beds, so it is not as damaging as an acrylic prep. It takes at least 1 hour to do the service because of the cure times for each layer. You do 4 nails on each hand, then you have to do the thumbs separately…this is why it takes so long. We are finding the clients who are use to just getting a quick manicure or polish change get very antsy but, the end result is indeed no polish dry time or smudging. I do wear them myself and as a woman who has worn acrylics for 20 yrs. and am a nail biter to boot, they do give my worn down old nails strength and I do love them. It sure is easier to apply the gel polish on myself than to do acrylics! The down side to all of this is that the soak off time is horrible. Filling down the gel in the middle of the nail to the base coat (OPI”s manufacturers suggestion) it is still taking at least 20 minutes using the soaked cotton ball in acetone wrapped in aluminum foil, with plastic bags on hands in heated mitts! So, now we are talking approx 1 1/2 hrs of time to do a soak off and re-applying of the product. Hmmmm…clients are not finding this to special, and for that matter neither are we! They do love the way the end result looks for sure and the fact that they do last for 2-3 wks and they feel almost just like a natural nail w/polish….thin feeling not bulky like acrylics.
    I chatted w/a rep from OPI on some question I had about the gel lacquer and was informed that they do have acrylic in them. So beware that people who are allergic to acrylics can be allergic to the gels lacquers!
    I do agree with Gina anything you put on your nails even polish over time can damage them. Let us realize here that women who are getting enhancements usually do have weak nails to begin with, so it’s all in what you want. I will agree that if applied properly and taken off properly there is very little damage. I think this is a great system for someone going on vacation but, as a long term commitment like acrylics it will weaken the nails. Agreed that this should be done by a professional and not at home. Like any other enhancement that is applied if done at home w/o proper training you can severally damage your nails! Especially doing acrylics if to much primer or liquid is used and it seeps under your cuticle you can do some serious damage. So please go to a good reputable salon and have them done. Yes it does cost money and it is a commitment but, in the long run if you want beautiful hands like anything else us women do to ourselves, it’s best to let a professional do it for you.
    We have been investigating into other soak off gel systems that have a faster cure time as well as soak off time. So now after our BIG investment we are finding that these newer soak off gels need a 36 watt UV lamp which OPI’s is only 18 watts!!! Now what! We have 2 lamps that cost us $500!
    So the moral of this story is for all professionals DO YOUR HOMEWORK before investing in any products!!! Educate yourselves and then take a step back and see what system is best! Ask the suppliers questions. I am now asking the question if the soak off gels have acrylic chemicals in them.
    Compliments to you Gina on a good blog, you gave a lot of info in it for consumers to read! I don’t think I’ve heard of the company Akzentz yet, so if you’d like to give me some info on it I would appreciate it.
    Beautiful hands do complete your look!!

    • RT says:

      look for self-leveling gels. I dont think Akentz is. i know bio sculpture is, and perhaps calgel is too?

    • Hi there,
      After reading your blog I completely empathize. I have experienced the exact same thing. I purchased OPI Axxium Soak Off for 2 reasons, #1 Well know product line, customers are familiar with colours and #2 accessibility, being able to pick it up in several suppliers without having to have it delivered if I ran out of one colour. I think the system is great, looks great, not thick but…the soak off time is not worth me doing the service. It also took us 1 1/2hrs. (RIDICULOUS) Anyways, I have now brought in a new line called AKZENTZ. Couldn’t be happier-base and top coat is the same product. 90 Second cure for each layer. Looks thinner than OPI and very durable, 120+ Colours. Best Part- SOAKS OFF COMPLETELY IN 10 MINS no FUSS! OH and I heard that Jennifer Lopez is now wearing a colour called CHAI! Get it…it will solve all your problems. Oh I forgot also bigger pots also approx. 1/3 cheaper in price! Good luck

  28. Pauline says:

    I am looking forward tying OPI

  29. Melissa says:

    After several costly applications at the salon I decided to make the investment and try it at home. At first is was an awfull disaster. Nothing would cure. I called the uv light guy and he said to put the nails right up there by the bulbs. I have tried 3 more times and each time it gets better and better. I did my nails last night with opi soak offs and it looks 95% as good as the salon application. I am very happy. The investment was almost $300 but I have 12 colors at home to choose from. This is 6 applications in the salon.

  30. sandra says:

    Tried the gels recently when I was in London. Loved it. Especially how long the product stayed on my nails. Regular nail polish usually chips within a couple days even if I am extremely careful. The gel lasted 2 weeks with no chips.

    • sophie says:

      I realize you posted this quite a while ago, but I was wondering if you could tell me where you had the soak off gel done in London. I’d really like to try it but I can’t find a place. thanks

  31. nj says:

    Hi all
    I was at a nail salon in nyc (oasis on 6th ave and i think 24-23rd st??) last week and the nail technician convinced me to try the OPI Nexxium “big apple red” color. Well 40 bucks + 7 tip and about 35 min later i was in awe. The color was a bit too bright for my skin color but i quickly got used to it. Now, 10 days later my manicure looks pretty much flawless. Yes there is a bit of growth on the nail bed but absolutely NO CHIPS!!! Im a dentist so i am constantly washing and using my hands and wear gloves all day long…i cant belive how great they look. Im notorious for picking and peeling at my fingernails and ive been really good this time….maybe paying 47 bucks for a mani has influenced me?? haha
    Im still not sure if i have to completely get them soaked off to reapply a different gel color?? A few of you suggested applying a regular nail color over the gels to cover the growth, do these start to chip?? I think im just going to wait it out another week or so and return to Oasis for another mani.

    Overall im very happy with the results, i cant recommend them enough. My nails also used to chip and were very weak in general, with the gels they look 100% natural, not too thick, and feel much stronger.
    Pros- LONG lasting mani, natural looking, low maintenence
    Cons- you’re married to a color for 2-3 wks at a time (unless of course you can paint over them w/o consequences), cost, technique sensitive (go to a well known reputable salon!!!)

    Hope this helps =)

  32. NailtechToo says:

    To Nailtech re OPI Soak-off Gels: You can actually shave off some time in curing the base layer and the color layers as long as you let the sealer cure for the proper amount of time. Also, try curing four fingers with the thumb of the opposite hand at the same time, this will save some time too.

    Let’s face it no one can wield an electric file like a seasoned professional and that’s what it takes to get these babies off quickly. Just take off that top layer of sealer and soak from there.

    I’m averaging about 1/2 hour to apply and 1/2 hour to remove.

    And when I tell you that people don’t just love these gels, it’s no lie. They become raving fans. I’m a raving fan too. I love working with it. It’s so much fun, we’re like little kids at Christmas playing with this stuff in the shop.

  33. Chelsea says:

    i just bought the Star Nail eco soak off uv gel kit (finishing wipe, and small pink builder white builder, clear and shimmery) — I am usually not a fan of star nail, but decided to try this, as i am always a fan of color

    anyways, my questions are, has anyone tried this brand of soak offs? and because the pink and white are builder gels can i fill them i the same fashion as regular uv gel and acrylic? and if i do the soak off pink builder first and then apply a layer or 2 of soak off color, would it be all right to just file off the soak off color, fill with more pink builder and put another soak off color on (the same way you would do a gel or acrylic fill and then put polish on?)


  34. Christine says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am a nail tech here in Las Vegas! I have always done acrylics but this last year I got into doing Young Nails regular Gels! Then I heard about OPI Axxium Soak off Gels. I ordered one of the kits with a few colors and then did it on my friends first after watching the DVD training. I am getting 3 calls a day from people asking for them and they are so happy with them and so am I. Yes you need to keep up with them, however most of my clients who wear them like having there own nails but, can’t keep regular polish on them. This will fix that problem. I offer my clients to get it with a manicure or just the gels. My clients who have worn acrylics for years and there nails are damaged love them even more because there own nails can grow with out peeling and splitting. You do not have to wear them forever your nail grows as you wear them and with time your nails will heal. With that being said they are so addicting that most people just stay with it because they love them so much. If any one is looking for a place to get them done in Las Vegas feel free to go to my website and all my contact info is on there. I hope this helps all of

  35. Antanette Polsitena says:

    I swear by it! love love love. I have been cleaning my house up and down Bleach, Windex, Pledge, Mr clean, Pine etc. you name it I have used it already, and nothing zip! and I have been with the same color for over a week more like 2. I look like I just came out of the nail salon. And after soaking for Ur next 2 weeks of happiness that you don’t walk around like a moron cause you can’t get to the salon till Fri cause Ur busy working or with kids. Your nails are nice no cracking from cheap acrylic or wraps or whatever you choose to use. Girls it a must use.

    • Paula says:

      I got my first set of Gels and although I did not get the exact color that I wanted, they were beautiful. They were shinny, stayed on two weeks without chipping. I noticed that at the end of two weeks, my nails had grown out and they were a bit rough around the attachment near the cuticles. So I bent my nails a bit and gently Pealed them all off — NO soaking or filing. It was great. Since they are gel and flexible, once you can force you nail under the gel, they release without too much trouble. I hope this was not a fluke, but I plan to remove them that way from now on.

      • I do nails says:

        By peeling them, you are slowly thinning out your nail plate. It may seem like the easiest way to do but keep a watch for your nail plate.

  36. Antanette Polsitena says:

    oops! cleaning.

  37. Karen says:

    I tried to get gel nail polish several times and for some reason they just pop off. They kept telling me that was impossible but I tried two different technicians and they just came off within days. I was disapointed because I really liked them. They felt just like natural nails with polish not like other methods. So after giving up for about a year I went someplace else and I haven’t had any problems. They last for about three weeks. So if you have a problem try a different person and a different product. One of the technicians told me I was too old for them and that’s why they came off. I’m 51….that wasn’t the issue…

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for this post! I had the same thing happen to me with technicians and friends looking bewildered. I had my nails done and loved how they looked until 4 days later while on a plane my thumb split (just the gel part). I arrived at my destination, found a nail tech and they were amazed that they could just peel the rest off without any trouble. The thumb nail that was redone is not quite peeling but definitely looks like it is separating from the nail bed. Additionally, four other nails have peeled off, with two more threatening to. I will try another tech and see if that helps. I really do like the look and for the first four days loved not having to worry about chipping nails.

      BTW, OPI AXXIUM was used both times for a basic french nail look.

  38. Elita says:

    I haven’t tried these yet, but just found out about the OPI system at my salon this weekend. They are offering the manicure for $18 and they have 20 colors available. So if you’re in or near Ft. Lauderdale, you can try Nail Concepts at Oakland Park Blvd. & Federal. I love this salon, too. They do a great job on natural nails, it’s very clean and everyone is friendly and professional.

  39. Bev says:

    I recently got my first gel manicure and absolutely love it. It’s been two weeks and they still look good. There is a bit of “grow out” but by buffing a bit they still are presentable. I picked a light pink and it is pale enough that you don’t notice the outgrowth. I am purchasing my own bottle of remover as they charge $26 at the salon to do it for you, but am planning to return to the salon for another manicure very soon. I think this will be the greatest thing for my weak, brittle nails.

  40. Katie says:

    If you’re in Dallas go see Pontice at Halycon Days Salon and Spa inside Neiman Marcus in the Northpark Mall. She does great OPI Axxium soak off nails and has all the colors. I loooove her!

  41. Barbara says:

    Had the OPI no chip for 4 months. Loved it for the first 3 months, after that the product had thinned my nails so badly that they chipped and took the polish with it. It’s great for the first while, but I would alternate with regular manicures, because the product still leaches the strength out of your nails.

  42. Judie says:

    Does anyone know where I can have this done in the Portland, Oregon area?

    • valerie says:

      Did you ever find a place in Portland, Oregon that does the gel polish overlays? I just had mine done out of town and love them

  43. Linda says:

    OPI Axxium Gel Polish is offered at Venetian Spa in Monroeville, PA (Monroeville Mall)

  44. ARM says:

    I love OPI Axxium, but I hate the removal process. Someone today told me that there is an OPI Axxium ‘SOAK OFF’ solution specifically for OPI Axxium soak off lacquer. Does anyone know of this solution? ty so much

  45. Betty says:

    I loved the OPI Axxium gel manicures initially, and my nails grew nice and long. But after a while, as a result of the acetone soak-off, my nails started breaking and peeling. It also seemed that the gel was peeling off my nails quite easily. It has taken a good couple of months of not using the stuff for my nails to become healthy again.

  46. Lori says:

    I got the OPI Axxium’s while on a business trip in Lincoln, NE. I have had the solar pink & whites for years and my nails were scary thin. I was so thankful to find these as a transition back to my natural nails…although if I can find them around Dallas I may continue with the OPI Axxium solution!

  47. Liz says:

    I was having a love affair with the OPI Axxium gels for about 8 weeks (soaking them off and replacing them every 2 weeks). But my nails were getting weaker with each successive soak. By the end of the 8 weeks, my nails were the consistancy of tissue paper. I’m letting them rest now, and it’s going to take a couple months to grow out the damage. It could be an allergic reaction to the acetone soaks, but my advice is to stay away from this product.

  48. Jennifer says:

    If you work in healthcare the OPI axxium is a godsend. We are not permitted to have acrylics for infection control purposes and are allowed to have only nude or clear UNCHIPPED polish. Such a hassle with my finicky nails to keep the polish unchipped that it wasn’t worth it before the OPI. Love the natural colors they offer and that I can put on a coat of color if i’m going out and just take it off with non-acetone remover.

  49. Amy says:

    Used to wear linen wraps for about 20 years. About 2 years ago I took them of just because. I have ok nails & I keep them at a reasonable length. My son graduated on May 29th, so on May 28th I went to a local nail salon in Rice Lake, WI to have this new technique applied. I loved them until today. I am preparing for my appointment today at 3:00 pm because the nail tech charges an additional $5.00 if she has to take them off. So I started at 9:00 am this morning & have been soaking in Acetone for 1 1/2 hrs and don’t even have one hand complete. I had a french manicure done so I can’t imagine trying to a color off. I just canceled my 3:00 p.m. appointment.

    • Jen says:

      The problem is probably not the gel, but how you tried to take them off. did you dipped your hand in a sponge soaked in acetone? You won’t get anywhere with that technique.. that’s for acrylics.. you need to put a piece of cotton soaked in acetone on the nail, wrap your fingertip in foil and after 10-15 minutes unwrap and scrape the loosen gel GENTLY with a wooden cuticule pusher, and repeat if needed. Don’t blame it on the gel if you tried to go cheap… I get frustrated when people go for nails, then for some reasons want them off and try to do it themselves to save 5$ and 15 minutes.. you’ll most likely do more damage, get mad and blame it the product/nail tech. There is a reason why they’re called nail TECHNICIAN, they have training, they are PROFESSIONALS!

    • KNS says:

      I’m totally with you Amy!!! This is not a question of wanting to be cheap as someone else mentioned. It’s a matter of how this product is marketed and it’s a bit deceptive!!! This gel laquer is billed as being so great and easy to take off. The reality is, it isn’t easy to take off, even at a salon–I had that experience and it SUCKED!!!! And before anyone starts on me going to some cheap place, I had it done at a salon that is home to an NFL team’s cheerleaders. The fact of the matter is Axxium is a great idea in theory, but if you are a weekly mani person or you want to be able to change colors whenever this isn’t the product or nail polish technique for you.

    • ethan says:

      sorry your bad experiences :) hope you’ll find a better salon to serve you. Majestic Nails, Alpharetta, Ga …google us! :)

  50. Elyse says:

    Hi, so glad to have found you and info about color gels. I have had OPI gels applied to my nails and love it BUT I am concerned about how they remove it when I come in for a new manicure. They use the drill machine rather than soaking them. I asked and she said “my customers don’t like the soak method, their hands become so dry”. She files my nails pretty thin and I am concerned that this will lead to a horrid nail base if and when I’m done with these. The results are astounding. I never could keep nails, they are weak and peel but I want to remove them correctly. Is she telling me the truth or just seeking a quick way to remove old polish to get a new manicure going? She charges only $30 for the entire process. Now I also ewant to go to permanent French with UV gel and wonder how that is different and how that comes off because I understand there are “fill ins”? Comments on both would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    • Sharon says:

      Do not use drill not remove. request the Acetone!!! I love the product but would never let tech use drill to remove. It is unnecessary and potentially damaging.

      • marla stolp says:

        no drilling is necessary at all… You can also recieve a french gel polish manicure and not have to have gel/acrylic placed.. actual gel/acrylic do need to be kept up with fill ins or back fills… Gel products are a form of acrylic, only the polymer mix is a couple chains different making it a liquid and needing cured in a UV light.

    • Cindy says:

      I agree- She should never use a drill. She should however buff or file the clear sealer coat off before soaking as this will help speed up process.
      She should never file on your natural nails for a soak off gel polish manicure as it is not necessary and the main idea to the product (natural nail health).
      As far as permanent french gel nails, this is considered artificial nails and are also amazing but will effect natural nail as with any artificial nail. They soak off as well in a little longer time.

      • andrea says:

        when i went to get them “filled” she used the drill… i asked her if they were meant to be soaked off…and she said “no that makes the nails thin”…. i thought the whole point of SOAK off gel…was to soak them off…not drill

  51. Teri says:

    I too have tried OPI Gel once. I felt the salon overcharged me and was a couple of towns away, so I called around my town and found a salon that *said* they had the OPI Gel-I was super specific and even asked for Bubble Bath color. I had called a few salons and most said ‘no’ – so I believed this salon, and I had a reccomedation from a friend it was a good salon. When I got there the tech still acted as if they had OPI. This was only the second time I was getting it done and I knew about soaking off but had never had them redone. Sow when she started she was drilling, not soaking- I asked her why she wasn’t soaking it off and she said that filing was better–she filed the old gel all off and then got out the ‘OPI Gel’ which was NOT OPI gel it was regular Gel for, I assume, Acrylics. I stopped her, tried to explain what I wanted and she assured me it was the same, and knew what the OPI gel was. I wanted to wak out then, but she had sanded down my nails and I had a meeting in the am, I could not leave my nails like that. She said shed do one nail and if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to have them done. So with not much choice, I agreed. The nail came out ‘nice’ – thinner than the previous gel, but ok. She did the whole set and they were nice. Now 3 days later a couple are showing cracks!! What’s happening– is the Regular Acrylic Gel bad for my real nails!? She assured me it was ok. I don’t trust her. Also since this isn’t ‘technically’ soak-off Gel, how will I get this off??! Please reply back! Also can you tell me the average price range of a set of Soak-Off Gel and is it OK to fill them if you are using the same color Gel as before? The orig place I went said they soak off EVERY time. Thanks for any advice!! ;)

  52. Rebecca says:

    It’s my understanding that you can use the clear gel and then polish with any color regular polish just like the acrylic and it will last just as long as the acrylic. I will be trying it today to see.

    Also, nail tech’s should NEVER use the drill on your real nail or to remove anything from your nail. It is only to be used for smoothing out the acrylic & for filing down the length of the nail. They are only doing it because they are in a hurry or are just plain lazy. This is very dangerous & you should never allow it. Don’t be afraid to say NO…It’s your nail!

  53. Karen says:

    I started using Axxium 6 months ago and love the “on” and the look. I do my own nails at home. I love OPI and have been their biggest cheerleader for years. However, “soak off” is a stretch, bordering on a lie. After an hour I can soak 90% of it off. But prying the 10% off for 6 months left my nails in baaaaaaaaaaaad shape. I go to a big time salon for my pedis and they say they grind off Axxium because nobody will wait an hour for the soak and they end up grinding off some anyway.
    Well 2 weeks ago I tried CND Shellac. My nails grow quickly so they only looked good for a week, but they stayed chip and peel free for the 2 weeks promised. And HORAY, they soak off in 10 minutes. You dont need the expensive wraps, just cotton and acetone. I feel like a cheating spouse, but I love this CND product.

  54. Ms. Blue says:

    I have the OPI gels. I’ve had them almost three weeks now and they hold up pretty well. I went to a salon to have the color changed and they wanted to file them down with the electric drill file, I said “no way”. They will not tell you that you can paint over the gel surface with regular polish and top coat, because they want to make more money from you. Fact #1: You can remove the top coat and repaint them with a regular polish. Fact#2: You can soak them off, use a acetone remover, cotton ball/foil method. Fact#3: The gel will stick to a natural clean nail, you do not need excessive buffing or filing that will destroy your natural nail. Fact#4: The gel needs a top coat, it makes it shine and hold the product better. Be aware that for all salons, time is money and money is time. Get a lincensed tech, who speaks english (communcation is key in getting what you want)and knows his or her profession. That way you come out happy, they make the money they deserve, both party’s win.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thanks for sharing your tips and experience with us. It is nice that you can polish over the gels. Just make sure you remove it with a non-acetone remover and the gel underneath won’t be harmed.

  55. Julie Harty says:

    HELLOOOOO….did everyone using the OPI Axxium take the class? You have to BUFF the sealer down befor soakinnnnngggggg… will sit for hours if you don’t buff the sealer off…hence the name ‘sealer’. I have used pure acetone and hated it…a mess, smells and drys out finger even if you put a few drops of oil in acetone…spend the $7.00 and get the OPI remover…It works so much better and the client is happy. The client should only be soaking for approx. 15 minutes…you will need to help the gel glide off with a plastic pusher. I only use approx. 2 oz of remover in a small finger bowl….and I have no problems.

    • DJ says:

      Julie – THANK YOU! What a concept – take a class and learn correctly – mmm!! I am so frustrated! 3 years ago I was introduced to Gel Nails (OPI I am sure) when I visited Hawaii. I have been trying to find a qualified tech ever since. Everyone has a different ‘take’ of how to do them and remove them. 4 different techs and 4 different techniques – I’d think they’d all be required to take a class to learn how to do it properly. I’d also think OPI would want to know tech were using their product properly as well …. wish you lived near by me!

    • Ellen H says:

      I totally agree with what you have said I do glitter toes with this product and so soaking those off takes a little longer but its because the glitter is thicker!!! All these people saying it takes an hour are doing something wrong I can soak off a set and put a new one on in an hour.

  56. Loretta says:

    My daughter and I tried the shellac, loved that, but the price is high in our area. Other salons offer the gel nails, but my daughter says they ruin your natural nails. Is this true? After reading all the comments about getting it off, I’m concerned about that process, too. Regular polish always chips very soon after application, so I’m looking for a better product/method to keep my manicure longer. Gels seem to fit, but the issue of damaged nails bothers me. Thanks!

  57. Darlamaria says:

    I love the look and durability of the OPI gels. However, after 4 months of wear (approx. 5-6 color changes) the removal process weakened my nails. Even after buffing off the sealant, wrapping the nails in foil blanket (with the acetone-soaked cotton ball), it was the process of scraping off the loosened polish that stripped my natural nails. My natural nails are normally rock hard, but now they’re thin, weak and my nails are extremely sensitive to temperatures (hot water, especially). Now, I’ll let my nails rest for a few months. I’ll miss not worrying about my chipping polish. But I’m not certain I’ll try the soak-off gels again.

  58. Michelle says:

    I’ve been getting my nails fine by the same girl for 6 years. So, when she recommended this opi treatment I trusted her. I asked if it would damage my nails she said no and that it could be removed with over the counter remover or by peeling it off gently after a few weeks. 2 1/2 weeks later I tried remover on one hand and it didn’t work. I than googled how to remove it. I buffed the other hand and tried the foil treatment and it still didn’t come off easily! No one else in my area does this treatment and I do not trust my nail lady to try to remove since she obviously didn’t know what she was talking about. I have been able to remove the gel in layers after soaking in acetone ( I’m not able to purchase the opi remover since I’m not licenesd nail tech and no one sells around me anyway). It took all day! My nail lady also used the drill lightly before applying the soak off gel and told me this was not a product that could be filled in. After my Internet search I saw she should have never used the drill on my natural nail (which are usually just manicured) and that it could have been filled in if I wanted. I’ll never do this again. So much easier and cheaper to just get a manicure or polish if you have nice nails. I wish I would had researched this before I said yes. That’s what I get for trusting someone that didn’t take the time to properly educate herself on the product she was trying to use.

  59. Jeanie says:

    I tried soak off polish when I was in New Jersey, and it is fantastic. The Nail Salon is owned and operated by a very experienced technician who is always up on the very latest techniques. If you are in New Jersey, you have got to try Nbg Salon in Dunellen, NJ. See Ginny!!

  60. Kimberly says:

    I highly recommend you only get the OPI nails from an OPI Certified nail technician. Julie was absolutely correct, you do need to take the class. My nail gal is the only one in our town certified to do the OPI gel and she is swamped! Everybody loves it, no complaints. They are a great option for people like me who cannot wear acrylics because of work, or for people who like a more natural look.

  61. Michelle says:

    I got OPI Axxium gels done one week ago. It took over an hour and cost me $35. Well, four days later the sides were bubbling up and catching on my clothes and hair. I had to peel it off. Three days later, am cutting it off as it bubbles up enough with nail clippers. My nails are so thin and brittle and I wonder if there isn’t a product I can brush on to give them some shine and luster and assist in restoring their natural thickness.

    Does anyone know of a product that would help? I am assuming that I shouldn’t wear any polish until they’re healthy, but I at least want some shine.

    • Cindy says:

      This is product application problem. the key product is base gel coat

      • Sarah says:

        The gel base coat might not have been applied uniformly enough, to the edges of your nails. Some people are better at Axxium than others – the girl who did yours might not have been so experienced.
        As for strengtheners, I’d go with Witchcraft, it’s a product so old that even my mom used it when she was my age. I have REALLY thin nails, so after every Axxium service I have to let my nails rest and treat them with a hardener.
        I love Axxium, but can’t wear it all the time because of the stripping that happens when they soak off.

  62. L Olson says:

    Is there a way to do gel polish without using harmful UV light? I have had skin cancer.

    • Tina says:

      Go for the LED cured gel polishes like Gelish. They are becoming more readily available and cure in 10 to 30 SECONDS! Other option I’m using for my Shellac clients is 50 spf sunscreen on hands and I have fashioned gloves with just the nail cut out. And…since it’s dry immediately the glove can be removed right over your fresh manicure!

  63. Denise W. says:


  64. Wally says:

    I just got my nails done with OPI Axxium. The jury is still out with my manicure. The “shine” I’m use to isn’t there with the gel. I normally use “bubble bath” and I’m very happy with the finish look, but with the gel polish the bubble bath color is a “clear” finish on my nails. I will have to seriously consider doing gel again.

  65. Beata says:

    I got the OPI gel, and it had bubble and started peeling after a week. I don’t think I’m particularly hard on my nails. Was there something that could have gone wrong with the application to cause this?

    I was also able to peel almost everything off myself- no soaking or filing needed.

    • Rachel says:

      Beata- This is a problem with the application. Whoever applied didn’t prep the nail correctly. I also received the same treatment and a week later they are still perfect.

      Also, some people have a naturally thick cuticle. (the cuticle is more than just the skin at the bottom of your nail bed- it also covers the entire nail) If cuticle is not removed correctly then it leaves a waxy buildup on your nail that decreases the ability of the gel to stick. Hopefully you don’t give up on this treatment! I would search for a new nail tech that has experience and who has also taken the class. Good Luck!

  66. dianne frank says:

    i had beautiful natural nail, they were talking about the poi gel polish, i asked would it damage my natural nails, they said no. the first time it lasted 3 weeks, i new i was in trouble the first time i went to get it done again, he soaked my nails in remover, the he got the drill out. i question him about thois and he said it would not damage my nail, well after about the third time with the drill my nails hurt so much from him using the drill to get it off. i finally had it all removed this week and my nail are so thin that you see pink and they are paper thin, i questioned the owner of the salon and her reply was that i had week nails to begin with. so my advice is to stay away from opi color gel

    • Naildoc71 says:

      Dianne- Please don’t give up on the OPI soak off gel. It is not the product that is to blame. It is the tech and the technique they used to apply and remove. I am a professional nail tech for the last 18yrs. I LIGHTLY buff the sealer, soak the nails in remover solution and then gently slide the product off with a plastic cuticle remover. I ALWAYS work to maintain the integrity of the natural nail. That is the main focus of producing a product like this for the nautral nail. I hate to hear that you had such a bad experience with this product. Talk to friends, get referrals or best to contact OPI by phone or email for a list of quailifed techs in your area. Good luck in your search for long lasting manicures.

  67. Kim says:

    Had OPI done for second time today. 1st time nail tech was not as experienced as the tech who did my nails today. I was happy 1st time but I keep my hands in water a lot and they starte to lift but NEVER chipped. The nail tech that did them today did a better job and I’m sure they will last 2 weeks if I take better care of them. I will be sure to use gloves when in water other than bathing and put a top coat on when I get home today. I like the result and removal was painless. a 10-15 minute soak in acetone and a push with a cuticle pusher is all it took.

  68. Cece says:

    It really depends on the nail technician on how great or not the gel soak off experience can be. I loved it the first time I got it. Lasted two and half weeks and I didn’t have to wait for my nails to dry. The tech did a fab job.

    My second and third experience at a different salon has been horrible. Why you ask?
    Their were brush hairs left on my nails (not apparent until after they were dry), nails did not dry completely. Had to go back the next day because they smudged. She says her uv light is strong enough. Huh? And it took almost two hours to get the polish off.

    The next visit she offered to give me $10 off. Great! I tried the Gelish Polish. It’s been three days and I already have tiny cracks through the nailpolish and I still found little brush hairs on some of my fingernails.
    I return the next day and my fingertips were soaked in acetone for and 1 1/2 and I’m sitting there wondering about the side affects of this. The process of changing color just takes entirely too long..2plus hours!

    I”m on the fence about getting this done again. I really like the soak off gel because I type a lot and I don’t have to worry about chipping. I don’t know what to. Ugghh!

    • Cindy says:

      The brush hairs are unacceptable but other problems are easily solved. She should not rush curing time- Buffing or filing top sealer off will help w/soaking time- cracks are from application process-
      Hang in there before jumping over the fence as this is the biggest thing in our industry since artificial nails. Keeping polish on natural nails is a multi-billion dollar industry and gel polish does work.
      It has blown up on the beauty industry making it impossible not to offer these products, however just like everything- even w/the education classes technique takes time. Odds are your girl has learned more from your experience than she ever did in a rushed, over booked product knowledge class. Patience will pay off as gel polish is the biggest thing in natural nails ever.

  69. Mel B says:

    It really makes me sad to hear of some of these soak off gel expiriences. I’m a nail tech who offers this service and the product that I use really does release from the nail in 10 mins.

    A lot of you guys are dubious as to if you were actually recieving the OPI product that you requested! I choose not to use axxium but I’d never tell a client that they were getting an axxium mani.

    I’m not sure as to where these services are being performed but I will say that a lot of discount nail shops (similar to ones that you may find in Walmart)are notorious for this type of thing in general.

    It’s sad that this great service is getting a bad wrap from less than great techs.

  70. SallyK says:

    I’ve been a nail tech for 15 years, in April started using the cnd shellac. It’s wonderful, easy to use, stays on for 2-3 weeks, and it’s easy to remove with no filing at all. Our clients are raving about it.
    We have tried the OPI Axxium, it’s not a product for natural nails, even though it claims to be, you cannot get it off without tons of filing, ruins the natural nail, as does a brand called harmony. I’ve been wearing the shellac for months now and it’s the first time my nails have grown without acrylics or gels.
    Only problem now is shellac is nearly impossible to get.
    I’m trying the geleration soak off tomorrow to see how hard it is to get off, will keep you all posted!

  71. Diane says:

    tried opi gel six weeks ago…amazing! Not only did my manicure last three weeks, but my nails grew!! The removal process was a little time consuming(15 minutes)soaked in acetone and the gel was easily removed with a cuticle pusher. My nails are still healthy and strong. Had my second mainucure the other day and can honestly say I’m thrilled with the concept and will continue.

  72. Dee says:

    I’ve tried everything over the years but hated acrylics and gels and wraps. Regular polish takes forever to dry and chips in no time, but while on vacation at Myrtle Beach, I had an OPI gel manicure, and I am in love. It dried quickly, looked fabulous for a long time despite my yard work and dish washing. My nails started to grow out, and so I removed the gel polish today. Many peeled off with no apparent damage to my nails and the others I soaked and then pushed off with a wooden cuticle pusher as “C” suggested. Took 10 minutes tops. Stories of an hour or more – I don’t understand. I need to find a tech in my area that does this. I love it.

  73. Eve says:

    I’ve been a nailtech for 20 years. I’ve probably seen almost every product out there.Plain and simple if you think about it,soaking in acetone is not good for anyones nails.I have tried OPI’S soak off gel and Shellac. The end result is, you still have to soak it off.I always try to educate my clients when it comes to new products.I dont recomend these products,because I already know after a few polish soak offs my client will not be happy with the condition of the natural nail.

  74. Claire says:

    CND “Shellac” DOES soak off in 10 min or less

    Nail Harmony “Gelish” DOES soak off in 15 min or less

    I offer both at Scottsdale Strands Salon
    7000 E Shea Blvd # 170
    Scottsdale, AZ 85254
    Salon 480-948-0007 Direct 480-251-3209

    • Nails by ALISON says:

      I have been a professional nail tech for over 18yrs. I offer Opi Axxium soak off and it does remove in 10-15min with NO DRILLING! I also offer CND SHELLAC and it also removes in less than 10min. I have pictures on my Facebook page to show what my work looks like. Please feel free to take a look.

      FACEBOOK – Nails by ALISON
      6920 S. 70TH E. AVE
      TULSA, OK 74037
      SALON 918-523-9797
      CELL 918-269-7467

      • Amy says:

        Alison…do you prefer Opi Or Shellac? The wait time on the Shellac product is so long that I’m looking into something different. Everyone I talk to says that there is nothing comparable to the Shellac. Should I wait?
        ps…I tried to find you on Facebook with no luck!

  75. Liz says:

    Hello guys. I have had about 2 manicures with opi axxium nail gel. You have to be careful to get the right process done. This is a gel polish. goes on your natural nails. My nail tech buffed my nails very little. She put a base coat of clear biulder then under UV light for 1 min. Then she put the gel color. she added 2 coats under the uv lamp for 1 min each coat and then put the sealer on it. Then under uv lamp for 3 min. that’s it. It makes my nails stronger and they are now growing. I am very happy with this product. I am trying to get the stuff to do it myself at home.

  76. Roxanne says:

    Someone please help me find an Akzentz nail tech in NYC or Rockland/Westchester area!! Thanks!

  77. K says:

    Tried the shellac polish for the first time and fell in love. BC prices are much higher in NYC than Florida (where I had it done originally) I decided to try O.P.I. Axxium soak off gel. axxium does not even compare to shellac, I will spend the extra $$ for a better, longer lasting manicure!

  78. Mz J says:

    I tried the OPI Axxium for the first time today. I am trying a new salon because my old one didn’t understand how important it was for me to keep my nails natural and healthy. The nail tech that I had today suggested this method saying that it was the best thing for my natural nails. The manicure took a while, starting with her lightly buffing my natural nail. She then did one coat at a time with me putting my hands under the UV light for a while in between.

    I am reading this and seeing horror stories as well as good things about removing this product. Since I only change my nail color twice a year (light red for summer and dark red for winter) I am hoping that there is a fill in method for this.

  79. annnie says:

    axxium take off sucks. If you have nice nails to begin with, dont do it. Its not worth it. I just got mine taken off and now my nails are so sensitive and thinner. Please listen to me- if you have nice nails, dont ruin them with axxium.

  80. Kim says:

    I have used all three, professionally applied:
    OPI: A little thick, harder to remove
    Shellac: Beautiful, easy to soak off (using the foil/acetone soaked cotton method for 5-10 minutes). Lasts 2-3 weeks with pale colors.
    Harmony Gellish: Beautiful, long lasting. Easy to soak off.

    I am thrilled with this revolution, but you DO need to find a trained technician who will not destroy your natural nails. Many salons of the inexpensive “$20 pick a color” salons do not train their staff! They grind, drill, and buff your natural nails within an inch of their life and it WILL ruin your nails.

    I have purchased the Gellish products and use them at home now. I can gently remove the old gel and re-apply with no damage to my nails. I get at least 2 weeks between changes, and plan to experiment with regular color polish OVER the gels.

  81. Lynz says:

    im also a licensed nail tech but in NY.. I also am having trouble finding the LED light. I did see something about getting a LED lamp instead of the UV because its safer and healthier and it also takes less time for the gels to cure. I also found a site where I can buy 12 of the gelish colors and receive and 100 voucher toward the LED lamp however that site doesn’t sell the LED lamp.. so im left confused as well.. Im concerned about not bringing the gels into my salon and doing them as a service seeing as though they are so popular now and everyone is asking for them. When gels first came out I jumped the gun and got the Axxium OPI gel polish

    • Tina G says:

      Nailtech at Phenomenails in Philly…..Not to mind your business, but I invested in the OPI soak off too and was REALLY disappointed when Creative Shellac was so well received. The only reason I stuck with it is because I can’t imagine that you get more out of a Shellac bottle than you do an OPI Pot and the stuff’s not cheap.

      So instead of RE-investing in ANOTHER new product line, I modified treatment…I don’t let anyone get it more than 3 times in a row without an OPI Manicure. This replaces the moisture the acetone is taking away. And if you use the foil method for soak off (also great for Rock-Star Glitter Toes) it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to remove and it’s much less drying to the skin.

      Also, on the UV light front, Nails Magazine is featuring an article on them in their November issue, which I’m curious to read too. If it’s informative enough I might make copies to put in the salon for our clients to read…Because if one more person asks me if they should put sunscreen on they’re hands like the news is saying, I might go crazy :-P

  82. RBStorm says:

    I just had my first gel manicure last night. After taking off my acrylics in April and only having ‘regular’ manicures done, I wanted somethign to last longer and was ready to go back to acrylics. My nail tech said they started to do gels and I should give it a try. I’ll know better when I got back in two weeks how the removal procedure goes and I’ll be getting the french tip done then and going forward. I’ll keep an eye here tho for updates.

  83. tish says:

    So glad I found this blog… Love nail polish! I got a gel manicure 2 weeks ago and it was just today that I’m seeing I need to have it redone. I love it, though I’m a little scared about the removal process!

    But I want to get my own light and polishes so I can do this at home. I have looked on ebay and they have many to choose from. What is everyone’s opinion on IDB?

    Also, what will I need to start out with? A brush, the color, a base coat and a gel top coat/sealant? I have seen some kits come with a “remover” that seems more than just acetone nail polish remover and it makes me wonder if that might be why so many people seem to have horror stories about the removal process — perhaps the remover that comes with a kit is where the difference comes into play? Thoughts?

  84. Catherine Margaronis says:

    I had the CND Shellac done on my strong, natural nails. Had it in combo with a mini-mani (cuticles worked on and light shaping to nails) in Hot Chili. I had it done four weeks ago right before leaving on vacation for Cancun, Mexico. I cannot keep regular polish on my oily natural nail beds for a darn–maybe two days with professional mani. The Shellac lasted the entire two weeks with nary a slight chip. I didn’t protect my nails with gloves, and my hands saw ocean, pool and hot tub water/chemicals the entire 8 days on vacation! I’m a converted gal–I’ll be getting my next set of Shellac done next week. I love painted nails, but have always gone natural look, paint-free as there’s nothing more hideous than someone with beautiful natural nails with a chipped-up set of polished hands! UGLY! Btw, cost in Oregon for mini-mani and Shellac was $32. Polish change only is $19.

  85. Pat K says:

    I had the CND Shellac done before leaving for a ten day vacation that was ending with at a wedding. Normally a regular manicure would never have made it till the wedding. I read about the CDN process and found a salon in my area. They only had six colors which I didn’t like so chose the clear finish. Well, it lasted six weeks and would have gone longer. I filed my nail edges as they grew and because it was clear, the grow out was not so apparent. I just had a second polish done in a pale pink. Two weeks now and still perIect, even after a week at the beach. I found this site while doing research on other brand products because I’m looking into buying myself the setup. I was leaning towards OPI because there are more colors and it is less expensive. But my technician remarked that OPI was taken off the market because there were problems with it. Is this true or is she just pitching her own product?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I haven’t heard anything about Axxium being taken off the market. I would ask her where she gets her info. OPI is releasing more colors in the Axxium product line for the Holidays so its certainly not recalled

  86. Paul says:

    I have been doing the soak off gels since it came out and would have to say that the axxium eventually does thin out the nails. I would suggest using Shellac as it comes off the nails the easiest and this is why the product is so hard to buy right now because of the ease of use for the nail tech and the fact that it does not damage people’s nails.

    Pat k: Opi is still on the market and the colors are still coming out. I am sure they will come out with a better product soon though.

  87. Paul says:

    I also do the Gelish Harmony nail polish with the led light that just came out. I wish the people who created this stuff would create more ergonomical hand dryer. The gelish is a great product too if anyone is getting into the soak off gel business. Twice the product for price of shellac.

  88. Kim says:

    Someone HELP! I have purchased the OPI soak off gels and CANNOT seem to cure them. I am using the thermal spa UV light 35 watt and kept my toes in there for over an hour?! What am I doing wrong? I have had the OPI soak offs done many times and they cure so fast (and all different types of UV lights have been used and never the OPI UV light which is why I did not purchase that one). Anyone with any advise???

  89. Vivian says:


    I absolutely love this product. I am using OPI Axxium. No complaints. I go every 2 weeks to get a new color. My nail tech soaks them in acetone for 10mins or so, it is easily removed, not all nails go perfect as expected but it is ok, i can deal if one or two nails need another minute or two.

    basically, if ure changing ur nail color constantly this product is not for you…OBVIOUSLY.

  90. conj says:

    Has anyone tried the eco soak off gel by star nails? THANKS

  91. Barbara says:

    I have very strong,nice nails and many nail techs have commented on them. 15 yrs ago I tried acrylic nails and wore them for 6 yrs. When I realized how damaged my nail bed had become I had them removed and it took a year of patience and a highly professional and knowledgeable nail tech to restore my fingernails to what they are today. I found a salon close to my house that I tried just yesterday for my simple manicure. All nail techs there were really pushing me to try the Shellac…because of my experience with acrylic I held my ground for a plain maincure with plain polish until I could learn more about Shellac/Gel Nails. After reading these comments, I am so glad I did not put on the Shellac. Thank you and thank you for your comments and saving me and my nails!!

  92. Toronto Gal says:

    Just a note. If you’re looking to try the OPI product, ask for it by name (Axxium). OPI has a gel nail product (similar to acrylics) and I’ve had salons try to use that on my nail instead of the soak off polish. The gel nails definitely are harder to remove than Axxium.

    I’m not a huge fan, in general, though. It’s great for before a vacation when I want nails to stay the same colour and chip-free for 2 weeks or so, but it’s not great if you like changing nail colour often.

  93. canadian nails says:

    opi axxium soak off NEEDS to have the top coat/sealer filed off to remove the gel by soaking off.
    this should take 5-15 min…depends on how thick the color is applied, yes you still need to file a little to prep for the next application.
    IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR NATURAL NAIL… DO NOT APPLY ANY GELS, it can be a vicious circle… you want better looking nails but without the damage.
    opi axxium Soak off also has white/clear to achieve the french look with the soak off benefits.

    Just like when you paint your walls you must sand to prep for the paint to stick— Gel is the same!

    ITS an easy choice… do i want awesome looking nails? OR do i want the healthiest natural nail possible?

    Look for a nail tech that can clearly explain your choices at their salon…

  94. Deanna says:

    We just opened the 42nd Marinello school of beauty in Victorville, California and we’re offering the OPI Axxium Gel Soak Off. In the 2 weeks we’ve offered it, we’ve had an amazing number of sales & successes!!! Clients LOOOVE the new “everlasting nailpolish” and are pleased to see something so new and exciting in our school. They really are great for those who want a break from the damage of acryllics but still want that freshly polished & manicured look. I highly recommend them!

  95. jojo says:

    Axxium is easy to take off. I did it myself. Just buff them lightly to abrade the top coat so the acetone can get to the layers. Soak a cotton ball with acetone and place it on your nail. Lifts right off in 15 minutes…no damage to nail.

  96. lalee says:

    I have used both Axxium and Shellac. Removed both myself with no problem or damage to nail. I tend to like the Shellac better.

  97. gotlucky says:

    Axxium is the brand of OPI gels — they make a traditional Axxium gel, and an Axxium Soak-Off Lacquer Gel. If your tech is not using the Soak-Off Lacquer Gel, they aren’t going to be able to remove the product no matter how long you soak, hence the drilling/filing. A traditional gel is “filled”, a soak-off gel is removed, then reapplied. They should have named them something different, no?

  98. angelr says:

    I just had french manicure with Axxium by OPI done last Saturday. Nails still look nice. No chipping (like a normal french). I might try again. It’ll be interesting to try the colors (which are limited).

    • lls says:

      What color white did you use? I am looking into a french manicure with axxium soak off and want a soft white…and not OMG white.

  99. Carolyn says:

    I have been having the OPI Axxium gel polish done on my nails and they have been ruined. Due to the inexperience of the girls applying it, they soaked my nails the first time for almost two hours and then used the “drill” file right on the natural nail. Needless to say my nails are now extremely weak and all are breaking in one place or another. Then they blamed it on my nails saying they were weak in the first place. How do you find out who REALLY knows how to apply and remove this product. And maybe it shouldn’t be sold to just anyone until they go through the proper schooling to apply and remove. We are at their mercy and our nails are headed for disaster!!! OPI, you need to be more responsible about who you sell your product to.

    • Kathy says:

      I have had a exact same experience. My nails are ruined. I have to keep them filed down to my finger tips. They are now so thin they are pliable.

      • Ali says:

        Did they apply the first base clear gel coat? I was told when they don’t do this, and proceed to only put on the color your nails will be ruined.

        • Killion says:

          I had the same experience this time last year when Axxium was brand new. The pros can’t get it to soak off completely and end up grinding some off.
          CND soaks off completely, but GAG so few colors.

      • Just_Nails says:

        You nail tech is doing something wromng. The only filing that should be done is to “break the Seal” of the gel before you soak it in acetone. After soaking for 15 minutes the gel comes off using an orange wood stick to remove it. This does NOT damage the natural nail. Sorry ou had a bad experance this product really is worth the money and does what is asys it does. Your nails should look good for a full 2 weeks! I would inquire with salons in your area to see what there removal process is if you want to try the manicure again. Hope this helps!

        • kat says:

          i totally agree with you. you should not have to soak your gels for for more than 1/2 hour….2 hours? i would have said something!! the nail tech checks on me every 10 minutes or so and and it all comes off very easily. i’ve been doing this since the summer 2010….although the color choices are very limited, the french is very lovely and not OMG white. very soft…they use a pinkish top coat. i love it and my nails looks great for a full 2 -3 weeks.

      • Debbie says:

        I had the same problem. I had my first process done and loved the color and duration of the polish. When I went in for a color change, no soaking was done, instead they filed it all off. The new color didn’t last as long because my nails didn’t. When I returned, they did soak my nails but I think it was in straight acetone and then filed off the remaining. My natural nails are ruined. They break off way down into the nail bed and my fingers hurt. I will NEVER use this product again.

    • roxy says:

      to put this in a nice way if you think their going to send them to a school to learn how to do this your dreaming; the retailer just wants to sell product. i think the bull that the salon told is wrong blaming it on you for their incompetence. their using you like a guinea with a unfamiliar product until they get good enough to use it properly. they must not think anything of their customers if they treat you that way then blame you. shame on them. i won’t go to them any more if i were you.

    • Sheri G says:

      If your nails are still weak, I’d really recommend buying the Barielle nail strengthening product (around $15). You can buy it in salons, or usually at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for much cheaper. It works wonders for weak nails, and is shiny too :)

    • linda says:

      My nails have been ruined as well since I started using this product. All of my nails are flakey and weak; I have absolutely no nail above the tip of my fingers. I had been using the OPI Color Gel since August and by January my nails just starting pealing off. I will never use this product again. Although they looked great for a few months in the long run they destroy the nail.

      • trish voss says:

        I am a licensed nail tech and am just now researching this product because I am wanting to practice again soon. From my researching, it seems to be recommended to take at least a two week brake between applications. As well with artificial nails if you leave them on constantly once removed the natural is need of lots of care because they were unable to breathe and become brittle and weak. If you get your nails healthy and try again from a person qualified, try to take a week or two brake between apps. might have a better turn out. Good luck.

    • Alex Ellis says:

      You have to be a LICENSED nail tech to buy any chemical nail enhancement from the opi website or a catalog. But anyone can get it off ebay. Make sure you see your manicurist’s license before starting a service. It is required by law that they have it displayed in clear view in the salon.

    • Libby says:

      I have had it done multiple times, and no matter what it is going to hurt your nails. The reason it last so long is because the gel adheres to your natural nail. So just like an arcylic it strips off a thin layer of your nail when it is removed. Your best bet is to remove them yourself. I soak mine in a gentle nail polish remover and slowly peel them off. Its less harmful.

  100. Cyn says:

    OK… now I am terrified reading all these comments.

    16 days ago I had Gelish put on for a wedding/vacation. The color was great and it looked great the whole time.

    Today, I needed to change. I went to a different salon to remove the Gelish and they have the Axxium product. I soaked for awhile, and they did use the drill very carefully to remove the color. Then I soaked some more. I had French done, and it looks beautiful.

    When I was doing Solar nails, it took almost an entire year to get my natural nail healthy. I don’t want to do that again. But I love the look of the Axxium product.

    Any comments on the differences between Creative Nail’s Gelish, and Axxium. And should this be a temporary treatment. Not one to be done as a regular routine?

    • Dani says:

      Well there are different name brands that have come out with their own line of gel polish and they all pretty much work the same way and are all very good. As far as doing any gel polish versus acrylic, is that with gel polish there is no abrasive drilling or hand filing, no offensive odor, soaks off easily with acetone within 10 minutes, and should not destroy your natural nail plate when applied and removed properly by an experienced nail tech. Using a gel polish does not have to be a temporary treatment. You can remove and re-apply every 2 weeks if you like or have it done once as to last for a special occasion or vacation maybe. Just be sure you are getting, and specify “gel polish”, because one of my clients that had Gelish done by me, went to another nail salon when she was on vacation and needed them done again and told them she had gels on and the nail tech applied the real gel over her gel polish. Ughh!! I had to spend a long while carefully buffing her gels off as gel does not soak off in acetone. When it comes to gel products it can get confusing to the client since there are different types of gel products, like gel top coat, gel polish, pure gel and U.V. top coat (which is not a gel), but I have had many clients come in and tell me they have a gel top coat on because they went under a U.V. light, when it was a U.V. top coat. So what I’m saying is. gel polish is definitely a great and safer alternative to acrylic, gel and regular nail laquer which chips days after you have it done.

      • Diana Brwon says:

        I’ve been using Gelish on myself, and I like it. The down side is removal, if there is a lot of buildup it takes more time. The object of this polish is, not to have to file on natural nail or use a drill. Its for natural nails, I found peeling it off the natural nail, takes some top layer off. On my own nails not my clients. I do need to talk to some one who has experience, so I can ask questions. Have a chip free day………

        • stephanie says:

          Hi Diana,
          I am a licensed nail tech and I have been using Gelish and Shellac soak of gel polish for about 6 months. You should not peel this product off. Instead, take a file and lightly dull the topcoat with a file. This will break the seal and help acetone dissolve the product. Take a small piece of cotton and dip it in pure acetone so it is completely saturated and place it on the top of the nail. Then take a small square of foil, about 3 inches be 3 inches and wrap the nail and fingertip in the foil to hold the cotton in place on top of the nail. Leave the nails wrapped for 15 minutes, then unwrap each nail, and with an orange wood stick, lightly push the softend product off the nail. Then massage oil into nail and manicure cuticles. The nail should look healthy and moisturized and none of the top layer should be disturbed.

          • Stacie says:

            I used this method for my wedding/honeymoon. I normally don’t have my nails done, as my job is very hands on, and they always chip. This was awesome! Last much longer than 2 weeks. The only reason I took it off was my nail growth.

            That being said, I wanted to remove it at home and it took forever! I soaked them and finally got them off. They looked fairly healthy, I didn’t notice any damage. Now that I know to break the seal first, I’m sure I will get this done more often.

            Thanks for sharing!!

          • Vicki says:

            Thank you so much for sharing this information! The relish came right off! I barely had to try to gently scrape with the orange stick. The gel practically peeled off by itself! Thanks again!

          • Brooke says:

            Hi! Thank you for a more detailed process for removal. Was wondering if u or anyone knows the proper way of preparing the natural nail prior to having the gel polish applied? Mine were buffed with the drill prior to the application. This made me a bit leary n I’m concerned that the drill might have harmed my natural nail.

          • Bea says:

            Thank you for this description of the correct way to remove the 2 week manicure. The first place I went used the dremel just like with the original gel nails. The second place used a snazzy bamboo bowl to soak my fingers- a towel over it helped mitigate the fumes. However she proceeded to file and scrape with a metal implement. I think I’ll visit some other shops to see if I can find one that uses the foil wrap method next time. I love the look but am pretty sure that my natural nail will be somewhat damaged. They never came back completely after years of the original gel unfortunately.

  101. faye says:

    Is anyone allergic to gel nails? I broke out like hives on just my hands. dermatologist feels it could be my nails. Has anyone heard any downsides to the products?

    • Allergy (or overexposure) to the gel (any enhancement for that matter) usually would appear as a red, swollen, itchy skin around your nails. Little blisters might even appear.
      It’s pretty rare, in my 15 year being a nail technician I have only seen 1 clients develop that.

      It usually takes a while to develop, months-years.

      • wanda says:

        I’ve just started doing opi axiumm gel nails I understand the whole concept but I am getting dimple like surface what am I doing wrong? Help!!

    • Jo says:

      The same thing happened to me when gel nails first came out, but my whole body was covered in a rash and tiny little bumps. I went to the ER and was put on antihisamines. I’ve never touch gel since.

    • CindyBrown says:

      Yes, I am also allergic. I was very excited when I found out about the gel nail polish as I knew I was allergic to getting the acrylic nails. But the same thing happened once again, hives and then peeling of the skin surrounding the nails. I am having the gel polish removed and am going back to ugly nails boo hoo.

    • Korey Jones says:

      I am allergic to the shellac product. My cuticles become red and puffy then itch like crazy and finally Peel a bit until I remove the product!!!!! Its very sad because I love it so much and can’t use it!!!!!!

  102. Candy says:

    I tried this manicure at a salon near me about 6 months ago and LOVED it. Stays on forever, looks shinier than regular polish, and hardens up my otherwise weak nails. However, what I didn’t love was the removal process, which still involved serious filing, both manually and with that drill that everyone despises. After a few months of that, my nails were shot.

    I did the unthinkable. I invested in my own equipment and do it myself at home. It’s not nearly as hard as you think, and when I remove them, I take the time to properly soak so I don’t completely destroy my nails. The whole system has paid for itself already.

    • Patricia says:

      Would you mind sharing with us what you bought and maybe a link? I’m thinking you just need the lamp and “polish”, but I’m still not sure how to take the polish off. I want to take off the gel on my toes. How long do you soak at home?

      • Donna says:

        I had the CND gel put on serval times at the salon and it stayed forever, when they remove it they bring a little dish with two bowls and warm water is inside the bottom of the dish base, then they fill the bowls with acetone and I soak for about 10-15 min. It comes off and what little didn’t come off she used a orange wooden stick to get the remainder off. It didn’t damage my nails.
        I bought the stuff off of Ebay and am going to do it myself. I got the base, a couple of colors and the top coat and one of the UV lamps to cure them under. I probably spent about $100. But if you figure $45 per visit it won’t take long to pay for itself. I love it and it does make your nail stronger.

        • Killion says:

          I did the same. Bought on the Axxium which I now never use. I use CND (sweet heavens they need more colors) and it works like a charm at home.

          • Julie says:

            where do you get the cnd brand, I am looking to set myself up at home as well. are you using the gel or shellac at home? I would love to to the shellac, but not sure if I can buy it.. thanks!

  103. Gelish is made by Harmony. Creative Nail Design’s product is called Shellac. Axxium is made by OPI.

    Gelish and Axxium are gels. Gelish comes in a bottle, Axxium in pots.
    CND’s Shellac is a hybrid- it’s a mixture between a polish and a gel. Personally I like Shellac the most.
    It soaks off in 5 min, the nail doesn’t have to have the shine taken off (huge plus!) before the application of the color.

    The removal process can be little drying, so I strongly recommend applying a good quality cuticle oil few times a day (and not filing the nails AT ALL- it’s not needed). Also the oil seems to prevent chipping, peeling.
    My clients get 2 weeks+ of wear (on their hands) and 4 weeks + on their feet.
    In fact in my experience of using Shellac since the end of April (so almost 6 months) non of my clients experienced any chipping on their toes. Shellac had to be removed due to a grow out only.

    Gelish takes little longer to soak off and it has to be soaked off in their “remover” (the rose smelling one) for best results. By soaked off I mean small piece of cotton placed on the nail and finger wrapped in aluminium foil.
    The warmed up acetone in a bowl method takes forever, seriously.
    Also it’s recommended with Gelish to file off the top coat and then use the cotton wrap method.

    I wore Shellac on my nails for about 5 months to test it out and removed it about a month ago and now I wear just polish.
    I haven’t noticed any damage on my nails. Honestly.

    Another observation:
    I noticed that Shellac’s removal process can dry out nails that are overfiled (eg. traditional gel or L&P aka. acrylic taken off)
    I think that overfiled nail is exposed to the acetone more and it absorbs it more drying the nail (creating white spots).

    I can’t stress though how important is the proper application, proper cure (only CND’s lamp is supposed to be used with Shellac) AND proper, gentle removal…. and the cuticle oil use (seriously- it helps!)

    PS. You can become allergic to UV gels. The allergy is due to overexposure usually and improper cure…
    For more info check out this:

    (and click “7 Secrets to Curing UV gels”)

    • Dani says:

      I am also a nail tech for 10 years and just read your post and wanted to note that we use Gellish at my salon and have taken a pretty informative class about Gellish. I only buff the top coat to break the shine so the acetone can properly penetrate and break down the gel. My client only soaks in “Acetone” for 10 minutes and i then lightly and carefully scrape off remainder of the gel polish. “No special soak off solution is necessary”. We’ve been using this product on ourselves and our clients for two months now with no problems. The difference between Gellish and for instance Shellac, is that Gellish doesn’t have laquer in it, thus it holds up a little better being that laquer breaks down easily with acetone,and gel mixed with acrylic (Gellish), takes a little more to break down, i.e.,
      Shellac = 5 mins. to soak off
      Gellish = 10 mins. to soak off

  104. janice r says:

    I added soak off gel mani’s to my menu about six months ago.. Began with Shellac, and still prefer it, but am branching out in order to give my clients the greatest variety of colors. I’ve worn acrylic the whole 30+ yrs I’ve done nails, and this is the first product to come along that I gave up my acrylics for! My only ‘give in’ was to go shorter, as my own nails are very thin and weak, so wanted them to have the best chance. Today I bought two bottles of Gelez.. looking forward to trying them!

    I always take my file (not the efile) across the nails lightly before soaking off, as it just helps to quicken the process a tad. I usually end up having to buff very lightly before reapplying the product.

    Not a week goes by that I don’t receive new calls for the soak off gels! Everyone asks for ‘Shellac’, and I tell them yes, and then show them the other options as well. I think the Shellac is easier to work with, better brush in the bottle, a bit thicker..etc..but am happy to work with any of it!

    Loving it…

  105. Beth says:

    Has anyone had the Lechat brand gel polish? I have been using CND’s Shellac but fustrated that it’s on back order.

    • Carla says:

      Yes, I use LeChat. I used Shellac but there not enough colors to satisfy my wide range of client taste. IBD was ok, but the packaging alone is a BIG turn off. Looks like elementary school project, and more so there was a limited amount of colors.It works just as well as Shellac and has a lot more colors. More colors to come January 2011. The application process is the same as the others. It removes in about 10 minutes. I wear it myself and it last me 1 1/2 weeks even with my acetone use. I also love that LeChat offers polish (Dare to Wear) to match the colors (Perfect Match). This allows clients to have the same colors on nails and toes. I havent had a problem getting any of the colors I need. So, far the customer service team is great. I am truly becoming addicted to this product.

  106. LSJ says:

    i did the unthinkable,too, and purchased my own home system ;-)! And fully agree that it has completely paid for itself. If you are interested in going this route, i suggest you definitely get you nails done with the gel first by a professional who uses the soaked cotton ball wrapped in foil to remove the gel. Pay close attention to the process and then do some research online. there are several videos on utube that show the process (having it done professionally just helps to have experienced it first hand – at least it did for me). Lots of products to choose from, but don’t skimp on the UV light. I have the opi axxium one and it is great. it runs upwards of $250 but i purchased mine on ebay for less than half of that – brand new, sealed in the original packaging. I am using OPI’s brand and couldn’t be happier. I haven’t yet tried another brand, but understand from my research on the UV light I purchased – it works on all brands. that is something that you will want to be careful about as well – not all UV lights work on all brands. that is why i think it best not to skimp here because you will give yourself more freedcom re: product selection if you just splurge on a good one. I skipped a few mani/pedis and the $$ i saved from doing that purchased my entire home system……

    hope this helps!

    • Melissa says:

      I have been a nail tech for over ten years now. I am about ready to give it up because people are buying PROFESSIONAL products and using them at home. OPI, Creative, some of the others, are a professional brand, in which was meant for licensed professionals only. Sally’s Beauty has cheap products that the public can buy. Don’t blame nail techs for ruined nails if you do them yourself. I’m sure a dentist wouldn’t be responsible if you tried to repair your teeth and them send they were irresponsible. I do not charge that much for my soak off gel nail polish services..$25.00 This is reasonable. I do NOT use electric files at all. They were never intended for natural nails, anyway. In this economy, I realize people try DIY on things, but just be prepared for the consequences if you are not licensed in that profession!

      • Dannielle says:

        Yeah! to Melissa, I also am a nail tech and have been for 16 yrs. I have gone to school and taken classes and “speak english” too, I rent a space and buy my own products and LEARN how to use them properly and sanatation is #1!! How many “Discount” salons that are on every corner can say that? And belive me, I have walked into a few, just to see how they service people,omg, there aweful,dirty,they don’t even say “hello” to you! Yes, Professional products are supposed to be sold ONLY to Professionals that are licensed in the beauty business ONLY, you don’t know how to use these products and watching a YouTube video is not the ansewer. Don’t you think we have a right dto make a little money too? This is our job, we have bills/and whatever to pay too just like the next person. I charge the same price for gel polish as what the discount places charge $25, it’s like come on people…I need a JOB too.

        • Antoinette says:

          I must say I agree with you not only for the fact of the DIY aspect but because it is in my opinion and experience can be dangerous after all they are chemicals! I have been in the beauty business for over 25 years and in that time I have seen products come and go from when Mary Quant was around in the 70′s. I have clients who have tried various treatments at home and then come to me to fix it. Or in a lot of cases, some one does a gel nail two day course and proclaims they are Nail Techs.
          The reason why I had to pay upward of

      • dt says:

        Hang in there Melissa. There are plenty of us who will always go to a professional for nails! I just don’t have the skills, time, or energy to try to do this at home.

        Your pricing is reasonable, but do you charge more for removal? The salon I go to charges $30 for the manicure and I’m okay with that. The problem is the $15 to remove the old gel. All that plus tip means $55 every two weeks. So, as much as I love the gel manicure, I’ll probably just use it for special occasions, vacations, etc. instead of every day. I just can’t justify spending over $100/month on my fingernails alone. :(

  107. SC says:

    Another vote for CND Shellac. My daughter works at a hair salon and they have both the OPI Axxium and the CND Shellac…however, the consensus from the stylists is that they prefer the CND. A skeptic, I had my daughter give me a manicure over a week ago and I was amazed by several things: a – it really does dry immediately after curing!, b – it’s very shiny, c – my nails still look like I just got them done, and d – no ‘thick fake nail’ syndrome. I’ll be going in to get them redone shortly (due to regrowth) and will be able to comment directly on the removal ease. However, my daughter also uses this product, and has done her own pedicure twice and raves about the product.

  108. Trish says:

    Ok – so I also purchased the OPI Axxium kit for home… but I’m having a problem.

    I cannot for the life of me get it to dry! I’ve tried twice and followed the directions (I had read all the directions and watched the dvd).

    I have the OPI Soak-Off polishes & the OPI Axxium UV light.

    Anyone have any insight to what the problem might be ?

    • Crystal says:

      I just got my Axxium manicure done today. My tech did the base, polish, and then top coat. After I was done curing in the UV light she took my nails and squirted acetone on them and then rubbed it off all nails with cotton. I asked her what she was doing it for and she said to get rid of the stickiness. I haven’t had them done before, but this might help.

      • Nikki says:

        it prob was not acetone she used to remove the stickiness…i use the OPI Axxium soak off gels and if you read the ingredients on the N.A.S 99 nail cleanser…its just rubbing alcohol! i also “flash cure”(uv cure 20-30 seconds)each layer of gel. i love love this system, its so simple and easy to use, and my nails look fantastic, and it saves me alot of money. to all the “nail techs” who are upset about people buying these supplies doing nails themselves…we arent doing anything wrong… if the manufacters make their products available to us to use why shouldnt we buy them?! i do have to say that if you are inexperienced and screw up your nails, thats your own fault and these products are used on an “at your own risk” bases. so for you ladies that have a salon do your nails…do not allow them to use drills or harsh filing…its not needed and will damage your nails. the clear shiny top coat does need to be gently filed to take the shine off in order for the acetone to break down the gel, other than that no filing! dont be afraid of these gel products if done correctly and the proper materials and processes are used gels are a great safe alternative to harsh acrylics etc etc.

  109. Alex says:

    Well, I LOVE IT!! had a great experience with my regular manicurist LYN at Vogue Nails, Broadway in Portland, OR. She has never failed me and recommended the gel last month.

    I chose a LIGHT color – just a pink tint really – no drilling, filing etc. She used a PH adjuster, and base, 2 coats of color – dried UV in between.

    Because of the pale shade, growth hardly shows and I have topped it twice with a regular top coat . I am back next week – it will be one month – my nails are VERY hard now and a few that split always in the past are hard and much longer having been protected by the gel . . .it was OPI brand.

  110. Niki says:

    I have been getting the CND Shellac manicures since September 2010. I get regular pedicures using OPI colors. Has anyone tried to match the Shellac colors with regular nail polishes.

  111. ny_laura says:

    Could anyone help me pls? I want to do my nails at home,but I am not sure what my nail tech is using. It’s not Soak-off UV Gel or acrylic(that won’t stay on my nails never). I just go for refills and she’s using the UV lights.I don’t want to ask her cause I don’t want to be rude. Pls help me! Thanks! My email is ny_laura at yahoo.

    • Nikki says:


      shes prob using regular uv gel…it is not the soak off kind. there are diff kinds of gels…soak off is just one type and it is not what you have. you should prob ask your nail tech for the soak off gel laquer the next time you go in so you can be sure you like it etc etc and also do a little research beofre you just jump into something new…you def dont want to damage your nails

  112. princess of polish says:

    I need to know what is the best brand? OPI Axxium,CND Shellac,GELISH,IBD GELAC,LECHAT PERFECT MATCH? My guess so far without using any of the products is IBD GELAC since they already kind of specialize and is known or gel nails and LECHAT who has an awesome clear gel topcoat that i already use!! HELP…NEED TO KNOW.

    • Carla says:

      You are correct! I use LeChat myself and one of the reason for choosing the brand was it’s wear obviously and the wide range of colors. Shellac didnt offer this for me. LeChat also comes with a bottle of nail polish to match the gel polish…..great for matching mani/pedi.

  113. Lisa says:

    I just got the Soak Off Gel Nails for the first time on yesterday. I LOVE the color Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI Axxxium. After reading all of the blogs, I am now very concerned about the removal process. I was told my nail technician in New York that the removal process would consist of the drill for filing. However, I just want to make sure that I understand that these nails can be completely removed using pure acetone nail polish remover? If this is the case, how long should the nails soak (i.e 20 mins)?
    Thanks in advance for the great information on this blog!

    • Niki says:

      My nail tech has never used a drill for removing my gel polish!! I soak my nails in acetone for about 10 minutes. Any polish remaining, she uses a wooden tip stick to push the rest of the polish off. My nail bed is not damaged at all.

  114. sarah says:

    can i use a gel base coat with a normal polish and a gel top coat with the same effects? and which brand would allow this i heard somewhere gelish might work. does anyone know please cant aford the gel colours yet

    • Carla says:

      Im not sure if gelish works, since I havent tried it yet. There is a product called Naked Seal that can be used on top of any nail polish. The polish must be dry before you can apply the gel so be sure to apply your polish as thin as possible. Naked seal is pretty thin so you need 2 coats and make sure to cap the free edge. It removes with acetone. Allows foe endless color possibilities.

      • Joyce says:

        Can you please tell me where you can purchase this Naked Seal. I have done a search and cannot find it. Who is the manufacturer?

  115. Jeanette says:

    The OPI Gel System ruined my natural nails. I had them professionally applied and removed for color change. After 3 application (6 weeks) my natural nails were ruined. They used to be hard and strong, now they are thin and constantly breaking. I could just cry. Don’t do this to your nails. OPI should issue a warning in the salons of the possible dangers to natural nails.

  116. Debbie says:

    I had a Christmas party to go to on Tuesday. I was in the mall getting some last minute things. I figured I’d get a quick manicure done. I expected to have the usual problems with denting, smudging, etc. as I was in a rush and running behind. The salon offered the gel and explained it, although they never mentioned I’d have to go back to have it removed. Anyway, I LOVE it! It was the OPI brand. My nails have never looked better. I am going to check into buying a light and some gel myself. Well worth the $27.00. The regular manicure would have been 15.00

  117. siok oey/young says:

    I’m a nail tech for almost 5 years. I work for sakura, n I love calgel product then anything else. when we remove the calgel soak off, just use the calaway on nail bed then the calgel will wrinkle itself. NO NEED TO DRILL… .n the nail tech in sakura has to learn calgel first n PASS THE TESTS FIRST before handling costumers. so we know how to do n we have equal skills there.
    sakura new york…

  118. beth says:

    I tried Shellac and though it was worth it in terms of staying power I did not want the same color for 2+ weeks. I soaked it off at home using regular nail polish remover by wrapping each nail with a soaked cotton ball covered in tinfoil wrapped around the to ‘hold’ it down on the nail. Took about 15-20 and it came off very easily. I am not paying $10 – $15 to have these removed when I can do it easily at home. I have heard the OPI product is brutal to get off and will never try it.

  119. Krystine says:

    Hello I live in GA and I get my nails done at a salon in Roswell I just had the OPI gel put on in the dark blue color and I LOVE it! I used to have the pink and white done on my real nails and I hated all the drilling and filing. Before I had my done I watched her take off another customers gel nail and she soaked the nails for about a min and then took a tiny file and poped the gel off and her nails looked normal and no damage! I got an eye brow wax and the gel manicure and it was on $28 so it was worth the extra $10!

  120. Barb says:

    I’ve had the OPI gel manicure done. I had a French polish done but wasn’t happy as the white tip they did was actually a ridge of the product. You couldn’t tell from looking at it but I could feel it with my other fingers and I felt it wasn’t a good quality job. Is this normal to have a ridge of white tip product with the gel manicure? Plus I can totally see the “grow-out” and they need re-doing. It has been 21/2 weeks.

  121. We have a new brand called Angelic Nails that has taken South African ladies by storm. This system is cost effective and hygienic. You can create as many colour gels as your creatively allows you without carrying hundreds of pots of gels in stock. Easy to mix, easy to apply and easy to remove. In total a user friendly product.

  122. alessia bruni says:

    i just got them done today they where so easy they are red for the christmas sesson
    so cool.

  123. Judy says:

    I got sculpted gel nails done in Hong Kong. I have had them long enough that its time to remove them. I tried to file it down and remove the sculpted gel. I did 2 nails so far and my nail plate is very thin and sensitive now, which originally was very healthy. What is another good way to remove it without going to a salon or damaging the nail plate?

    Also can anyone please tell me what is the difference between standard gels and soak off gels remove process?

    • Melissa says:

      I am glad you asked this question. I think people are getting confused because they are not nail techs. Soak off gels will soak off and shouldn’t tale more than 20 minutes. The traditional gels are not able to be soaked off. They need to be filed off, which can ruin the nails definately. Also, the acrylics that contain MMA, which is illegal, but used in “discount salons” will ruin your nails also. Granted they do not come off, but your natural nail can if you hit the acrylic nail hard enough!!! Then you are at risk for infections!!

      • Alex Ellis says:

        I’m so glad you’re telling people the truth about nails on here! I’ve only been doing nails for about two years, but it amazes me how many people are trying to work with these chemicals at home! They don’t know which monomers go with which polymers, which gels to cure with which lights, or the risk of developing contact dermatitis or an allergy by applying the product wrong!

        Thankyou for trying to educate those diy-ers.

  124. MAL says:

    I got gel nails 8 days ago, just today I started to see some ‘lift’ from one of the edges and I was able to pull the entire polish off in pretty much one tug – I’m thinking this isn’t normal for gel! I was happy about that until I started doing some reading about it here. I’m going back tomorrow for a re-do, and am honestly quite happy about the results this first time around – no chipping or flaking at all, instantly dry, very shiny for over a week. My natural nail after I pulled all 10 off (rather effortlessly once the ‘seal’ was broken) seem as healthy as before.

  125. jenny says:

    I ‘m a nail tech, so the OPI axxium ‘re not really shine as I expect, how ‘s CND?how to make the nail shiny after clean with alcohol,and why the nail ‘s not shine, or the product like that.

  126. Shamita says:

    So I have has both the CND Shellac manicure and pedicure and Axxium Gel manicure in the past few months. I know that they are slightly different products but in my opinion CND is much better and more gentle to your natural nails. When I had the CND manicure it truly did last almost 3 weeks with very minimal chipping. With the Axxium french manicure I experienced cracking of the polish within a day. I am not sure if this is normal or if was due to the inexperience of the salon (FYI…if you are in NYC NEVER go to Diva Nails on 6th ave!). The clear polish and white tips had visible cracks in it the next day and progressively got worse. They were basically ruined within a week. I didn’t even want to get Axxium but apparently this is all that the salon had for french manicures.

    Anyway, when I had the CND manicure, the polish was VERY easy to get off (at home) with remover. The polish basically peeled right off. I think this is because the manicurist did a very good job of only applying 2 very thin, even coats while applying like it’s supposed to be done. My natural nails looked very healthy with a bit of light buffing. I got the Axxium manicure almost a month ago and I still can’t get the polish off by myself. I tried the foil method and literally nothing came off. And I can see that the area underneath the polish that has chipped off is very worn down and ruined.

    Again I am not sure if I just had a bad experience, since it seems like many people like the Axxium. In my opinion Axxium needs to go on much thicker than Shellac to get an even color/coat and is much harder to remove with soaking alone. I hate that my natural nails look ravaged after 1 Axxium manicure. Back to Shellac or traditional polish for me!

  127. Jan says:

    I had my nails done it cost $45. I was told it would last 2 weeks. The next day one nail was chipped. I went back and they removed the gel on that nail and replaced it. Two days later 3 nails were chipped. I went back again and got those three removed and fixed. She kept telling me I was doing hard work with my nails. That was not true. I now have another nail that needs fixed and it has been 8 days. I don’t think this was worth $45.

    • Gisela says:

      I got it done (french) for $22.00 and the only thing I noticed is that this second time the girl rush and it definetly look different from the first time…so far my nails look beutiful!

  128. Tee says:

    How did your nail techs prep your nails before the gel lacquer applications? Did they do a dry- manicure or a wet- manicure?(soaking nails in water.) Would this effect on how long your gel lacqer stays on? Inputs are appreciated.

  129. Chelsea says:

    Hiya, firstly want to say that heating acetone is extremely dangerous and should never be done. to soak the nails, you should use individual parcels, that was also you won’t waste alot of acetone and your clients know you’re not reusing it from someone else’s nails.
    Also the drills themselves are bad and no properly trained nail technician will use them, if the ‘salon’ you are going to has drills, say goodbye to any good condition your nails may be in, because you are opening yourself up to a whole range of deseases and nail conditions.

  130. Lisa says:

    very happy with my gel pedicure….was able to put socks and boots on right after without any smudging.

    Now worried how I will ever get the polish off!

  131. kitten says:

    Is it possible to put the decals and ‘bling’ jewels when using the soak off gel nail? My manicurist got me into this ‘habit’, and I really don’t want to give up my cool designs and bling.

  132. julia says:

    Anyone looking for a more gentle way of removing Gel Polish should purchace OPI’s Expert Touch or Zoya’s Remove Plus. These products are more expensive than pure acetone but the benefit to the nail plate and surrounding skin is worth it. I have been using Shellac, Gelish and Axium. All of these dissolve easily with minimal buffing to break the seal initially. Heat is a great way to accelerate the process and warms the client. A heating pad coverd with a towel works wonders!

  133. Sara says:

    I’ve been getting th OPI Axxium for the last three months. I LOOOOOVE it! This last time I’ve experienced some cracking so I’ll definitely be making why. That isn’t normal until about three weeks in. I usually get them done abt every three weeks. I get the French tip with bubble bath with a painted design in one finger on each hand.

  134. Yeahitsme says:

    I’m in Chicago and I’m loving the no chip manicure. Believe me… It does not chip!!! I’ve tested the product throughly. I’ve been going to the No Chip Manicure Boutique and (Vernadine)is wonderful… Your nails keep it’s shine and are always looking perfect (at least for the 2 week period). After (2)weeks your new growth will begin to reveal the need for a fill in or re-application. The product used is Bio Sculptur and they have over 160 colors… And the removal process is easy (file off top shellac, soak cotton in acetone and place on nail, then wrap your nail with foil for 15 minutes). Then take a nail stick and scrap it off…it comes right off with no damage to the nail. However you will need to moisturize nail with some type of oil… the Acetone is a drying agent.

  135. Noirin says:

    I had this done on Dec 31 – by Jan 8 two nails peeled off on their own, and then another one, and today another one. I’ve used regular nail polish on top of the gel so I can color the peeled nails. Don’t think I will have to soak anything off, they seem to be falling off on their own. Not sure if it is worth the money.

    • Melissa says:

      They probably didn’t use the base gel. This will happen if you don’t. Also the light they used could have needed new bulbs. It wouldn’t cure properly if they were too old. Try again, but maybe somewhere else!

  136. Jessica says:

    Can any soak off gel polish be used with a soak off base and top coat? Like a Gelac brand soak off gel polish with a CND Shellac base and top coat?

  137. Barbara says:

    I am going to get my firt nails removed. My daughter is a hairdresser and turned me on to this. I love it as I have no nails (weak) and love the fact that it stays on for 2 – 3 weeks. Now as to the removal she does NOT allow them to use the machine on her. They try to rush the process. The soaking procedure takes at least 15-20 minutes then they kinda scape it off. Sometimes she said it still needs a soft hand file to smooth out some spots. She stopped getting nail tips because of the harshness to the nails. Salons try to rush the removal with the electric drill. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO DO THIS. Tell them you dont want it used. You can get straight acetone in Sallys and start the soak process yourself if you want. I am just about ready to sit down and do that. Will post the results. BUT I LOVE THEM. I prefer a more natural look on my hands and love the fact that it stays on. I overdid it and they have been on for 3 weeks and still dont looki too bad. Would probably not be noticeable except that the person talked me into a dark color. I prefer more natural.

  138. Janet says:

    I had profinish gel polish applied. It was great until about the fourth application. My nails are so thin and breakable now but the worst part is that my nails hurt. We tried all the removal methods but you just can’t keep filing your nails and not have them get thin.

  139. Kim says:

    I had the gel nails 4 times in a row. 1 out of 4 lasted 1 week and every other time lasted the full 3 weeks. It did take longer to remove adding maybe 45 min to the appt. I was happy with how long it lasted and how my nails looked. The negative – after 4 applications in a row (10 weeks total), my nails are trashed. They are now thin, flimsy and peeling. For that reason, it wasnt worth it. If anything, I would do only a couple times a year for a special occasion.

  140. Gisela says:

    Few weeks ago I went for regular mani and pedi and the girl who did my nails introduced me to this product…well I usually dont color my nails because when you are a working mother the color usually last for a very short period of time. For my surprise three weeks later my color was perfect! The only problem with using color is that after a while you can see the growing nail. So this time I went for a french look, and so far so good. My nails are strong and long, and when the product was removed the nails were not weak. LOVE IT!

  141. madster says:

    If you have nice strong nails AVOID THESE PRODUCTS!!! No matter what, your own healthy nail is better than submitting to this expensive and tedious process. You’ll like it for the first week then become a slave to the process and find that your nails have suffered the consequences. There will be ridges, there will be chipping, there will be painful breaks. Remember that your nails need to breath and this process is debilitating and weakens nails. Better to buff, buff, buff your nails for shine. Save your money and time. Go natural!

  142. Rita says:

    I used Axxium product twice. The first time it was great, lasted the two weeks and only had one minor chip. The second time was awful (same salon, same technician, etc). By the time that second application was removed (less than a week after it was put on because it wouldn’t stay on my nails) my nails were toast. Peeling, cracked, weak. Awful. In both cases, the product did not come off with just a soak. And, in talking to the two friends I know who did it as well, their manicures required the drill as well.

    So, six months later, after my nails have completely “healed”, I’ve decided to try again with Shellac. I had them done almost two weeks ago. I don’t like how thick they are (but I get that could be due to the technician who applied it). There are a few small chips and it pulled away from the top edge on many nails and I have been very careful with those areas not to catch them on anything and pull at them.

    I’m exploring buying the UV Lamp and products to do it at home for myself. But, not sure if I want to invest in Shellac products with how few color choices they have.

    For the previous poster who said that us non-”professionals” should stick to the cheap products at Sally’s, I have a few things. First, it’s not like nail techs are going to Shellac classes … most of them are watching the same You Tube videos we are prior to selling this service. Second, dentists? Going to compare yourself to a dentist? While I appreciate a great nail tech, they certainly don’t have the 10 years education it takes to become a dentist. Apples and Oranges in my opinion. To me, it’s like my toilet runs. Sure, I could hire a plumber to do the task, or I could go to Home Depot and buy a new washer and fix it myself. Yup the plumber might do it a little better, but unless it’s major work, I’m going to attempt it myself.

    • Dannielle says:

      Really! How would you know what we nail techs do and not do? Your NOT one! I am one and I do go to classes on products, in fact I just went to a Axiuum soak off gel class a couple of months ago. To keep my License up to date and to service my clients I must have 10 hours of classes a yr. and that varies state to state! I also work in a Grade “A” sanitation salon too, if you know what I mean. You get what you pay for, “Discount Salons” there the one’s that watch a video,don’t go to classes or if they do, there in the back of the class sleeping/not paying attention-how do i know that, seen it many of times myself, they show up for the class certificate, and thats all, does not mean they have to learn anything! Not being mean, but they don’t even speak english, just saying,no disrespect here, so were is the learning? I’m very proud of my job and what I do thank you very much.

  143. Pat says:

    Does anyone know where I can get Finger Paints “Gift of Gold”? Sally’s seems to not carry it anymore. Please help.

  144. Jen says:

    I have been getting the Axxium no chip for over a year. My nails are very strong. I go to the same technician every 2-3 weeks. I soak my nails in acetone for about 10 minutes. The polish comes off immediately.

    I am surprised at all the stories about weak nails afterwards, etc. I guess it doesn’t work for everyone. I am so happy it works for me cause I like perfect real nails and I am rough on them…cleaning, pet care, etc.

    • Victoria says:

      I’m really rough on my nails as well and I got the OPI Axxium gelicure last friday(a week ago). I have chipping at the tips of my nails. The growth part isn’t bad, I guess because my nails grow slow anyway. As far as weak nails, mine feel like they always do, but I’ll have to see what they are like after I get this color taken off. I may try a lighter color next time I go because I got Russian Navy as my first choice.

  145. Victoria says:

    I got the OPI Axxium soak-off gellicure a week ago to this day and I have experienced chipping at the tips of my nails. I got the Russian Navy color, because I love navy, and it is true that with darker colors, you have to get an extra coat (that’s what the nail tech said). It is only $31 at the place I go, but if you also want a hand/arm/neck/shoulder massage, it ends up being $56. Definitely worth the price. I think I’ll try a lighter color next time I go in.

  146. Alyce says:

    Where can I purchase Naked Seal? I have my own UV light

  147. Kim says:

    I got talked into doing the Axxiom SOG when I went in for a mani in September. Loved how shiny it was and even though after 2 weeks they were all lifting at the cuticle area I had them redo them. I should have soaked them off at home as I knew the proper procedure after being impressed by them, even with the lifting issue, however, when I went in for a redo, the tech started peeling the loose polish off my nails along with the top layer of my nail. I told her to stop and she put them into a little bowl of acetone, 20 or more minutes later and more pushing most was off and she hand buffed the rest with a white block buffer. I questioned the need for this and she said they’d be fine, no problem, don’t I trust her, etc. I had the product reapplied and went home and promptly bought all the supplies to do it myself. I started with the Shellac product because I wanted a product that was advertized to be used with NO buffing of the natural nail. The soak off process is also easier as the topcoat doesn’t have to have the “seal” broken with a file before soaking off, and it soaks off fast and clean for most people. I read all the company literature and used all the proper products, ie, CND’s scrubfresh for nail prep and my first home Shellac mani lasted almost a full two weeks with no chipping which was WAY better than my salon mani, and this was on nails that were now thin, peeling and damaged due to the filing from that one in salon Axxiom removal…Now obviously not all salon experiences are going to be as bad as mine, but I trusted my own research more than going to the hassle of finding a better salon to do them properly for me. If I had a great place in town where I could get a quality gel mani for $28 I would not have bothered, but I had a bad experience and paid $50 for mine, plus tip! While I appreciate that there are professionals making a living with this product it’s not much different than doing a home mani and there are always going to be DIY’ers and salon goers. I also agree it’s not rocket science and would say that I can do a very professional gel polish on myself. I’ve had beautiful nails since October. For those interested in DIY you need the basecoat, topcoat and color coat. You need 99% Alcohol to remove the tacky layer at the end of the mani. You need pure acetone to soak the product off. You need 9watt bulbs to cure the gel polishes. I’ve got a 36 watt tunnel lamp with 4 9 watt bulbs that works great, it’s not a name brand and cost me $60 bucks or so. You can use the alcohol to dehydrate the nail prior to applicaton also instead of a name brand product. Also have learned that Gelish and GELeration and Eco-so-quick stay on as well as Shellac for me with absolutely no natural nail buffing. I know many people have also had success mixing the base and topcoats from one brand with the color polish of other brands. I’ve even had success mixing colored regular nail polish with clear SOG polish. My nails are still growing out from the buffing done at the salon, but the grown out portion of my nails is very healthy and the SOG’s remove easily in 10 minutes using the saturated cotton wool wrapped with foil method.

    • judy ross says:

      hi kim, wondering where you are able to buy the polishes from. im having a bit of difficulty locating
      i had the axium, twice- both times they lifted, and in fact peeled right off in less that five days
      and though i live in a neighborhood filled with salons, they All do the filing off of gels,, even when you say stop, – i get arguments from them all
      my nails are weak, generally but after having spent a year growing them out the ‘hottest ‘ local salon just ruined them again
      im absolutely willing to give it an DIY shot,,

      • EdraAnn says:

        i purchased all the items needed for the Harmony Gelish system online at Amazon. The price for the product was about $62 but that is less than 2 mani’s at my nail salon.
        I really liked the Gelish and it lasted 3 weeks.

        • khrysrules says:

          I have had great results with the Shellac system. I have purchased all the products for myself and it was pretty simple to do. Just make sure you do push back your cuticles b4 applying the polish. Although CND, the maker of Shellac, claims that only the CND lamp can guarantee the product, I too purchased a generic 36W UV lamp from Ebay that has worked just fine. Visit CND website for some great tips and videos.

    • Linda says:

      THanks for all the info you provided. Question: does this gel polish require me also purchasing the base coat before I apply the gel polish and the top coat afterwards? Thanks

    • Kathy says:

      I am interested to using Shellac on my nails that are paper thin and peeling after removing acrylic nails. What is the best way to cure these if not using a CND light? Will the gel cure as hard and durable as acrylic?

  148. Susan says:

    Caveat emptor – It looked beautiful for about a week and a half before starting to chip – the manicurist did not soak them off but sanded them off and took the top layer of my natural nail with it. I questioned this several times during the process and was told not to worry – now I’m left with paper thin nails that disintegrate and tear – I figure it will take about six months for my natural healthy nails to grow back in. Make sure who ever is doing this knows what they are doing.

    • judy ross says:

      just want to tell you, i had the same experience. ‘maybe’ th gel itself is perhaps ‘safer’ but if the manicurist doesnt care about your nails and is only interested in how fast she can get them off of you, so she can get her next customer and her next, you are in the same boat, nail-wise
      mine PEELED OFF MY FINGERS THE NEXT DAY. two of them anyway. and by week 2, two of my nails tore off. the manicurist refused to soak them,andfiled.
      and the weak nails that i had been trying to grow for a year? back to where i started.
      id rather just use plain old gel- at least i know what im getting-

      • Cinnamon says:

        Wow, I find the comment about the manicurist not caring about your nails very offensive. I have been a nail tech for 9 years, and pride myself on absolutely caring about the health of my clients nails. In fact, this is what I base my reputation on, which is why I have loyal clients that trust me to not ruin their nails. I am sorry you found a nail tech who feels otherwise, but I assure you not all nail techs are out to destroy your nails to “get to the next customer”. I would recommend finding a new nail tech since the one you had may need more practice using the gel systems.

        On a side note, I don’t think it is ever a good idea for people without proper education of professional nail products to be using them.

  149. Marlene M says:

    I have OPI Axxium and they last beautifully for 3 wks plus. I have light colors to minimize issue of nail growth lines. The removal process worries me — my salon worked so hard to get the polish off and also did a lot of filing. My nails had just recovered from peeling and splitting before this, so am worried that I just set myself back 6 months. Am wondering how healthy it is to have this solid seal on your nails for weeks at a time.

    • Katrin says:

      I wonder if the solid seal is the issue as well. My nails were ton I used to put a thin layer of acrylic over without filing much. Although it did last beautifly, my thin nails were left paper thin afterwad without having a chance to breath
      I also tried thay press on nail polish once which felt more plasticy than regular polish and it did the exact same thing. Even after only a day or two.

      • Audrey Lewis says:

        I have used this for years and it’s the greatest. It works, it works. “Revivanail” clear polish. Fast results. I get it from the beauty supply store.

        Revivanail is a powerful formula that restores weak, thin, split or slow growing nails. European Touch Co., Inc. Milwaukee, WI 53218 (800) 458-6824 or (414) 783-6616

  150. Danielle says:

    I have just started getting the gel process done at my nail salon. I have been fortunate enough that I found the right salon the first time. I have always had brittle nails. I can never grow them to any substantial length. With the gel polish, my nails are growing and seem to be very strong. When I do need a mani to change the color or style, my manicurist uses the tin foil method to remove the gel. It works very well and no damage to my natural nail.

    My advice, before doing the gel nails, talk with the manicurist. Ask how they remove the color, what is there process. If they say they file it off… don’t go!

  151. Elizabeth says:

    First and foremost I would like to address all of the professionals out there. What you do is a skill. I do my own gels and it takes ALOT of time, patience and much practice to achieve a quality finished product. I am a DIYer on most everything in my life so it should come as no surprise that the same would follow for my own nails.
    However, as a true, dyed in the wool DIYer, I advise a STRONG word of caution out there for newbies to this arena. You really, REALLY need to do ALOT of research on things such as what the matrix of your nailbed consists of, how they grow, what can damage them temporarily/permanently and much more BEFORE you even remotely consider outfitting yourself at home with your own shop. I am doing my own gels now and am doing a splendid job BUT it did not come without consequences. It is so VERY much more than getting your stoke technique learned.
    I was in Sally’s around 6 mos. ago and purchased a light and an IBD intro kit for file off gels. I didn’t even know the difference between FOGs and SOGs as the sales associate informed me that the FOG I was purchasing soaked off. I am certain you can only imagine the frustration I encountered when NOTHING I tried would soak off a NON soak off gel. It gets worse… I relied SOLELY on what I was being told by this associate such as how HARMLESS the bonder is as it won’t etch your nailbed like methacryllic acid which is used for acrylic nails. Right? WRONG!!! Even the so-called harmless chemicals in IBDs Bonder product can cause SERIOUS chemical burns. How do I know this? I accidentally dropped the opened bottle of Bonder on the top of my foot spilling roughly about half a teaspoon over the top of my toes. I simply wiped it off and continued merrily on with my mani. That was at 2 pm. By midnight my husband was about to flip a coin to see who was going to drive me to the ER. Long story short….if it had been fire instead of chemical it would have resembled an almost 3rd degree burn. No skin left at all, toes TRIPLE their normal size for more than 16 days and I won’t even begin to address the pain.
    The reason you are safe with a QUALIFIED professional is that they take precautions to protect you that you might not even be remotely aware of. The tiniest little step that they perform for you at just the right time in your mani is the difference between a beautiful, enduring, non-damaging gel application and a VERY painful reminder that you forgot to research every little ingredient in your product along with being uneducated about MSDS precautions and procedures.
    No, doing your own gels is not rocket science and can even be fun and relaxing if you are so inclined. There are always going to be those of us out there who seek out and thoroughly enjoy the challenges of DIYing.
    But REMEMBER…do not think that all there is to it is simply making a shopping list of products, ordering, reading the instructions/watching a DVD and then you’re a pro. You may do just that and have perfect manis for months only to find that you have irreparably damaged your nails, wake up one morning with burns or rashes due to improper application or even improper DISPOSAL of used wipes or sponges, over use of a product or worse an infection because you didn’t fully realize just when and how you should have been using antifungals, oils or cleansers.
    I do not write this to dissuade you from the experience of DIYing. Not at all. I only offer the advice that if you are truly serious about taking on the time and expense of this particular endeavor that you REALLY take the TIME required to learn as much as you possibly can about ALL of the pitfalls before you even apply your first stroke. Go to a QUALIFIED professional (someone good enough at gel application that they don’t need drills and are good enough at fluid dynamics that their application is perfect without even needing to buff) and TALK to them. Have them do your nails and explain to you not just the what but the WHY in each and every little step. Once you begin your own regimen, RETURN to that wonderful professional every 3-6 months and let HER do your gels. She can oversee your progress, check your nails and hands for signs of damage and make SURE you aren’t doing anything that could cause serious harm.
    Doing your own gels is not rocket science, no. But there ARE risks involved. Take the time to find that wonderful, QUALIFIED professional and make her your mentor.
    You can thank her by sending her the TONS of referrals she deserves as really REALLY talented, qualified and knowledgeable pros are hard to come by and should be treasured when found.
    To those artists out there that take their profession very seriously and work diligently to make sure that WE not only look good and feel good but that our hands are maintained in the best possible condition….I proudly thank you and humbly salute your work and work ethic.
    Remember, it’s less painful to find a good mentor than to graduate from my Alma mater; the school of hard knocks.
    The best of luck to all! Peace.

    • BLESS YOU! says:

      Thank you Elizabeth for your words! As a licensed Aesthetician/Manicurist, I have worked very hard for the past 25 years teaching my skin and nail clients how to moisturize, strengthen, wear gloves when doing dishes and treat your natural nails with great care and they will grow healthy! I am now finding I am fasinated with the gel nail polish as are some of my clients, but so worried how it is drying out some of those beautiful natural nails and how some are not being taught correct application. If they are applied and removed correctly and the client keeps those nails and cuticles moisturized several times a day and wears gloves when doing dishes I have seen good results. No drilling when removing! But it depends on the gel polish product used. They all vary!

    • Donise says:

      I really appreciate you taking the time to educate other about the gel soak nail polish trend. I tried it for the first time at the suggestion of the nail tech performing my spring “Get back to pretty” mani/pedi. I decided to look up the polish after blindly trying it out. I wanted to know if there was any trick to getting it off, which the tech failed to inform me. I am so very glad I read your words. Thank you for saving my nails. I do you have any tips for smoothly requesting your nailcare professional refrain from filing ridges, clipping cuticles and scrubbing non-existent dead skin? Pushing my cuticles back works better for me than trimming and ridgin smoothing only makes my nails week. I have very smooth skin and have never needed it sloughed and find that the scrubbing done in pedicures causes my skin to dry out. How do I convey my preferences to a professional without sounding like a no it all?

  152. Donna S. says:

    Kim and Elizabeth,
    Thank you for your first hand info. Very helpful.Just had my first gel application yesterday. Very happy with results but now alittle nervous about the removal.I have the OPI Axxium on. Tech said it was a soak off so hoping she doesn’t have to peal and sand! I too have just spent the last 6 months post acrylics getting my natural nails healthy. Tech even complimented me on strong nails! Hope I didn’t make a 6 month mistake!I am seriously considering buying the equipment to DIY.Thank you

    • Elizabeth says:

      First, I would do your FIRST soak off with your pro. Make sure before you make the appointment that she is using the FOIL method ONLY. I always advise folks to avoid SOAKING any body part in acetone. It IS a solvent after all. Using the foil method will always do the trick without the overkill of soaking and IMHO the best use of a solvent is the LEAST use of it.
      Watch her from beginning to end and ask lots of questions. If it is then something you feel you can do at home then by all means, go girl! …and have fun!

    • Christina says:

      If you choose not to soak the gels off yourself, (which i strongly advise that you do), make sure to let the salon know that you need extra time for you appointment. I found that my manicurist forced my soaking process along by soaking my nails in acetone, and then after a few minutes scraping my polish off a little and then putting them back into the acetone to soak again because she only had an hour for my appointment to soak off and then re-apply. Needless to say, my beautiful, classicly short nails were so thin and weak, and all broke before my next 2 week appointment. I now have tips on again for at least 6 weeks until i regain some length so that i can re-start my gel mani process a over again, that is, at another salon. Good luck!

  153. Ceci says:

    I had a gel French manicure done 3 weeks ago today and they still look great! I work on the computer several hours a day, so they really do hold up. After reading all of these comments, I think I will just trim my nails at the white tip and allow the clear to grow out. You cannot see the clear part at all. It is ok to trim nails that have the gel on them?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Are yours soak off or file off? I’ve never had not ONE iota of luck trimming gels or acrylics. Best to file down the length if you are doing it yourself.

  154. Teasha says:

    I want to go get gel nails tomorrow with my friend, but I want to know about how much it would cost? If i can get false tips or something with the gel nails because my natural nails are absolutely too short? And if there are certain colors you would have to get with gel nails or can you polish them with any color and type of polish?

  155. Pam says:

    You can find the pure acetone at C.V.S. in their nail care section.

  156. Cheryl says:

    Hi, I am a nail tech. The reason why nail techs file is because soaking takes along time and who wants their hands soaking in acetone, cuticles are already dry especially in the winter. If someone want their acrylic nails removed i’d rather just have them let them grow off and just keep filing the edge after and in a couple more weeks most will lift and fall off or easily peel off. The reason the nail bed is so soft is because it has a cover over it. If you cover a chocolate cake it stays moist. Take the cover off for two weeks. Oxygen makes your nails hard again. Even if the top layer was not tore off the nails will be sore for a couple weeks. I would think the gel polish is thick enough to keep moisture in the nail bed also. I would let them grow off and just polish although it will probably chip at the top in 3 days with regular polish. If your always going to have them done let her file them then buff very lightly when she gets to the nail bed and put more gel on.

  157. Hadassah says:

    I got my 5th gel polish manicure yesterday. I can’t imagine getting manicures with regular polish. My nail technician suggested I switch to gel polish when I started getting manicures every week. I am so happy with the outcome. I have a removal regimen that works for me. I put my hands in acetone for two minutes then remove them and lightly buff the polish. I repeat this for about 15 minutes or so or until the polish is completly off.

  158. Kim says:

    Ladies, I am wondering how to find an expert in my area. I had gels done at my normal salon and they were a a disaster. Any suggestions? I live in Largo, Florida so I could go anywhere from Clearwater to St. Pete to Tampa. I would love to find a salon who has experience working with gel polish as my nails are very weak and this past experience has made them very thin. The gal who did them used a nail file to rough up the natural nail and I really don’t like that. Then within days the gel literally cracked across the nail and lifted on most the nails. How do I know the next salon will know what to do? Help!

    • Joy says:

      Hey Kim,

      You need to go to A Totally Unique Nail Boutique for a true professional gel manicure. It is on Rt. 19 S., just north of Tampa road, in Palm Harbor (or maybe it’s considered Tarpon at that point, I’m not sure). 727-781-7600. Been going there for two years. All the techs are great; Heather and Angela are my faves. $35 for Shellac or Gellish manicure. Everyone speaks English and customer care is very important to them. You will not be disappointed. Tell them Jersey Joy sent you and they’ll know who referred you. LOL.


    • Dee says:


      Yesterday I had my nails done (gel polish) for the first time at Venetian Nail Spa at Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel. I absolutely love them! After reading comments on this site I am very worried about the removal process but as of right now, I am very happy with the outcome.

  159. Sara says:

    I had the CND manicure and I am on day 10 and already have lots of chips. I paid $58 for the french manicure and since it hasn’t even lasted 2 weeks – I’m not sure that it is worth it.

    • Sarah says:

      Sara, that is not normal. your technician did not adequately cure the gel. tell her about it and ask her about fixing it. she shouldn’t charge you.

    • Jennifer says:

      I would agree with Sarah your tech didn’t do something right. I had my first one done two weeks ago and it will last another week. I love it. I work in and out of gloves. So to be able to find a polish to stay on longer then a day or two was awesome!!

  160. SuzieDsouza says:

    Consumers interested in gel manicures should be on the lookout for these ten warning signs:
    Your salon uses bottles in unmarked containers,
    Your skin is being abraded or cut,
    Licenses for the salon and individual operators are not visibly posted.

  161. Jane-Marie Bloomberg says:

    I’m not sure what to do! I had an Axxium French Manicure put on by a salon in January while on vacation – loved it, beautiful, lasted well into 4 weeks. I went to a local salon to have it redone (because I thought that’s what you do once your nails start to grow out). She soaked my fingers in acetone but also filed them a lot in between
    soaks. She said this would speed up the process. So, after soaking, gently lifting and filing, she had removed the original Axxium. Then, she proceeded to reapply the Axxium right away (this time, it went much quicker than my original one – the original manicurist spent tons
    of time applying and reapplying the coats, this new person seemed rushed since she had a pedicure appointment come in while she was still applying and I think she was freaked out that the removal time was so long). So, she reapplied the French manicure (very thin white
    lines, you can see my original nail tip underneath it so it looks like I have dirt under my nails). Within two hours of having it done, one nail chipped and developed a bubble underneath it. Within 3 days, that same nail actually broke off all the way down to where the nail tip meets the skin. Within another 3 days (yesterday) another nail
    has broken all the way down to the skin and today I noticed that another nail has developed a “crack” in it and another nail has broken down to the skin!! I used to have strong, long nails and now I’m scared to death to know the condition of my nails underneath this product. What should I do? Should I soak it off? I think the manicurist should know that this has happened. Another post I saw said that you should wait at least 2 hours before reapplying the
    Axxium – well, she did it immediately after. Another post said that you just put a filler in rather than taking off the entire gel (if you are sticking with the same color) – is this what she should have done? I was doing a French Manicure again – couldn’t she have just filled
    them in??? I’m super upset and don’t know what to do next! Help!

    • Julie says:

      Yes, they could have been just filled. There are a lot of nail techs out there who are not very knowledgeable. Pick your manicurist wisely. Ask around, see where others go.

      • phyllis says:

        gel polish is different from gel nails, gel polish or gel laquer must be removed every two weeks not filled in. Gel nails should be filled in

  162. Sharon says:

    I had the gel manicure done, I am allergic! I am presently doing silk wrap, can someone tell me if the Shellac is the same as gel, or is it of a different chemical solution?

  163. Mary says:

    OMG !!! The things i am reading on this makes me ILL!!! For one this is NOT i diy thing ! This is for lic. professionals ! You do not buy acetone at a hardware store ! If you dont have issues with your nails now listen to these people you will after this !!! I am a nail tech of 23 years , and if you are going to a place or a person that cares about your nails they are not using drills nor METAL at all on your nails ! Its Illegal for one !!!! And if this process is done correctly then it should last 10-14 days on normal wear. Now there is many ladies out there that are very hard on there nails that this may only last 7 days on. But you should never at the least come on a website and complain about something you know nothing about . or attempt something you are not lic. for . please use your head . And sometimes saving money in the long run cost you more .

    • Devonne' says:

      Amen! I keep reading about all these negative comments. Gel polish, whether it OPI Axxium, Gelish, Shellac, Calgel etc. Are professional products meant to be used by professionals. Yes this can be expensive to have done in a salon but nail techs are trained to do this. If done correctly gel polish will not harm your natural nail and should last for 14 days. As for the people who are buying these products on amazon or eBay BEWARE! You may not be getting that true product. There is a black market for beauty products just like accessories!

  164. Murrah says:

    Make sure you use a sunscreen or cover up your hands before using the UV light. After prolonged use, you can get serious spots on your hands, like age spots, from “sun” damage!!

    • Julie says:

      They now make a protective glove to wear. Ask your manicurist.

    • nichole says:

      so i assume u wear spf on your hands when you go outside year round? prob not. so what makes u think its going to be the uv light giving you age spots in the future? lol

  165. keleve says:

    I live in Portland ME and the salon I go to use OPI axxiom. They last for at least 3 wks, are gorgeous and I have fairly long nails. They are hard and durable. The soak off process is long as the manicurists never, ever file as it ruins your natural nails. Overall, I think its an issue of the salon, not so much the product. The person has to be gentle or your natural nail will suffer the treatment. Good luck!

  166. Diane Tishkoff says:

    - Do u Gelish? I think Gelish rocks, it stays better than any other brand.

    Gelish = ‘permanent nail polish’ – stays on till removed: perfect manicures, shiny for weeks!

    Gelish is in a bottle, so it applies like polish but stays like gel. It’s awesome…

  167. Diane Tishkoff says:

    another Gelish comment: the LED lamp is better than UV, it makes the Gelish nails dry in 20 seconds!

  168. Dorothy says:

    I just had these done today and so far so good – but now I’m terrified to go get them removed. The salon I went to doesn’t have many English speaking nail techs. Does anybody know of a good salon in Dallas TX that does a good job on these?

  169. Heather says:

    I have had my salon in Anniston, AL apply a soak off gel manicure twice. The first lasted 3 weeks and she soaked it off today by applying the acetone to a cotton ball and wrapping each finger in tinfoil. After 15 minutes the gel slid right off. She then very gently filed off the little bit that was left on a couple of the nails with a block file. After I had her do a manicure and then reapply the gel manicure. She used the OPI Bondaid, LeChat Nobility Soak Off Base (2 coats), Gelish Nail Color, OPI Soak Off Gel Top Coat Sealer, and removed the tackiness with the OPI Nail Cleanser. She dried it with the UV lamp in between each coat. I found my nails were longer and stronger after she removed the first gel manicure. I would recommend applying sunscreen with UV protection if you are going to do this often before you start the process (the technician may find this odd but you won’t have brown spots or skin cancer later!). Also I am thinking of doing this on my own as at $45 a pop I could pay for all the supplies after 3 manicures and especially after I have observed the process and know what brand she uses and would buy those for home use. I wouldn’t do this at home without having first gotten this done professionally and being confident in my abilities.

  170. Molly says:

    Today, I had my 4th application of OPI AXXIUM & for the 1st time, the removal was downright PAINFUL! She soaked/scraped (no foil) & I couldn’t believe how sensitive my nails have become. I (stupidly) chose “Russian Navy” this time, b/c I always go with the bridal type colors & wanted a change.
    I love the way my nails look using Axxium, I think it’s indestructible, but I have a feeling my once strong nails are now tissue thin. I’m not sure what to do, I told the tech I was going back to regular manis for the summer because of the cost, but I’m wondering what they’ll have left to work with.
    You can be sure I’m grabbing some of the tips I gleaned from this blog & will remove the gel myself before going back in !
    Thanks, ladies !

  171. Danielle siegel says:

    My salon said they wont put the gel in my toes. But why not? if I can get my feet under the lamps? Why not? My toe nails and finger nail beds are very short and paper thin. They tear so easy. I need this gel in my feet! Can it be done??

    • Jeanette says:

      Yes you can do it on your toes. I have Calgel on my toes and I love it. It lasts at least 6 weeks. The only reason I need to go back is to trim down the length and for fills. Find a new salon.

    • phyllis says:

      yes it can be done on toes, dont know why your salon would say no…
      Its an additional service for them

    • Caity says:

      It can be a sanitary issue. If the bottom doesn’t come off of the lamp then they are not able to properly clean it between uses, at least that is what I have been told by my nail tech (luckily she has the type that the bottom comes off of so she does toes).

    • nichole says:

      sometimes spas aren’t designed to do gel on the toes. for example; my spa has custom stainless steel pedicure basins where the foot rest it is slanted and a. will not steadily have the uv lamp resting on it and b. do not have an outlet near buy to plug in the uv lamp, and an extension cord would be in the way. they also don’t do minx on the nails bc again there is no outlet to plug in the lamp or a place to put the lamp. everyone is different*

  172. Kimmie says:

    My manicurist soaks off the gel polish with pure acetone. It appears to be from a hardware store. She also asks me to come early and has me do it myself, while she finishes up with other customers. She has never mentioned the foil method, which I recently learned about in these posts. Given the acetone risks plus UV ray risks, I am considering returning to an au naturale nail.

  173. linda says:

    I’ve read several (but not all) of these comments with great interest.
    I will not be getting a gel manicure anytime soon.
    I have good natural nails & 10 days ago I had my first professional manicure & pedicure (regular – not gel)
    toes still look great & the shape of the nails too – though the polish chipped and had to be re-applied.
    But I would rather paint my nails every other day than wreck them!
    Thanks for the info everyone

  174. tina says:

    I am considering DIY also. I just had my 3rd no chip gel polish applied professionally last week.
    The first time I went, the salon used CND brand but they didn’t have alot of color choices. I think the tech was new a this because she left a large space between my cuticle and the color and it looked like a week of outgrowth when I just left the salon. I tried a different salon the second time and she was in a hurry and let me soak a couple minutes and then used the drill to remove the polish…I was NOT happy about this although she did do a nice french manicure.This time the OPI Axxium was used. 3rd try was at another salon that used OPI Axxium but I removed my own polish (all but the white tips came off with soaking) and this man used the drill to remove what was left too!!!!! I was not happy with this. From now on, I will be removing my own polish at home using this technique….file nail briefly to rough up the top coat, then appling acetone soaked cotton ball to nail and holding in place with foil for 15 minutes. This way my own nail will not be harmed. I will be keeping my natural nails in the condition they are now and not damaging my nice nails.
    Here’s my question….What is OPI Bondaid and is it necessary?? I thought a basecoat was the first coat, then color, then top coat, then wipe off with alcohol to rid stickiness.
    Thanks and GodBless!

  175. Marilyn says:

    I want to do the gel nails myself. What are the products I need to buy? What are the brand names esp. the UV light. Thank you so much. I am a true DIY’er.

  176. Angie says:

    I travel for a living and only go “home” about 30 to 45 days a year. I have a wonderful salon that switched me from Solar nails to SOG at my request. They truly do soak off the gel and don’t file or damage my nail beds. My gels last about 2 to 3 weeks and look amazing. Now for my problem…in my travels I was in a smaller metropolitan area, I called a dozen nail shops to try to find someone that did SOG’s. Ten didn’t know what I was talking about, one said they did, until I got there and then they didn’t know what was on my nails and one said they did & had some SOG product…not anything like I had seen before. In desperation, I let them attempt to take off the old and apply new SOG’s. The problems…they “peeled” off the old gel and a layer of my nails. What they put on was un-level, and “globby”. She didn’t have a clue how to apply it correctly. 2 nails popped off within hours and all the others were peeling up within a day. I am a professional business owner and my hands looking well manicured is very important to my work. I ended up going to another salon and had acrylic nails applied. The next time I was home, I had the acrylics removed and started the SOG process again. I am now into my 5th week and second set of SOG’s. I will be in the area for another couple of weeks…maybe…and then I’m back out on the road and far from home. I really need to learn how to DIY. Every time I’m home, I will likely go to my wonderful salon just for the pure convenience and pleasure of having someone else do it for me. The last time I was there I wrote down the brands they use to see what I could find out. They use GELeration and Gelish. I have not found anywhere that I can purchase these without a license. Any suggestions?? And where do I purchase the light?

    • Michele says:

      I used to have acyrlics because I loved how strong they were…until my salon suggested I try the Gellish Soak Off Gel Polish because they know I prefer the natural (not thick acyrlic) look. I have had them done at the salon four – five times and it usually lasted the full 2 – 2 1/2 wks…the only time I got a chip was because of me and working around the house. I cannot brag enough about how shinny and natural they look. I decided to do it myself. I found the Ph Bond, base, top coat, cleanser and remover all on Amazon…I found the 36watt UV light on eBay…and a friend in the business got me 5 colors for a total of $165. I was paying $35 for the SOG polish (with tip) so in about five visits it will have paid for itself. I have done two applications at home and my first one looked a little sloppy but not horrible. I just did my second application on Monday and it took me a total of 1.5 hours to remove and reapply… which is what it would have taken me at the salon with travel time. I did the foil soak off and it worked fine…although it is difficult to wrap your second hand with the foil on the one…lol.. I think next time I will remove one hand at a time. I used only Harmony Gelish brand and am very pleased.

  177. karen says:

    A tip for removing gel polish: soak a cotton ball with acetone nail polish remover, place on the nail and slip a rubber finger (the brown ones in a box you find at an office supply store – the ones you use to flip through paper). Leave on for 5 minutes. Remove the rubber tip and cotton ball and scrape with a wooden orange stick. Awesome!

    • Syrena says:

      I just had mine done for the first time ten days ago. The nails still look great, but removing the polish has been on my mind, troubling me a bit. Your advice sounds perfect. Thank you!

  178. Mel says:

    I was talked into an OPI gel manicure in Oct and foolishly was talked into a Shellac manicure 3 weeks later.It is now the end of March. 3 of my nails are still severely damaged.I am wondering if I have a nail infection.Both times,the product was professionally removed.
    Needless to say,I am not a fan and would not recommend these products to anyone.

  179. Tracy says:

    I recently had a French Manicure gel treatment. I love it, it has been over 3 weeks and is just now needing to be redone, mostly due to nail growth, having only one tip just starting to chip. I am amazed. Due to my work nail polish usually lasts 1-2 days, a french manicure can sometimes last 3 or 4 days but thats tops. I havn’t been through the removal process yet but I am a convert and fully believe the cost is worth it. My only suggestion is to make sure the tech takes their time and does a good job, since you will be stuck with whatever happens for a long period of time. I wish my lady had been a little better there were a couple of bubbles that have been bugging me, fortunately no one but me notice them.

  180. Helen says:

    My son completed Welding School. You ask what has this to do with nails? Acetone is used in welding. He learned in his studies that your body absorbs acetone and it can affect your liver. Just a bit of caution. Check it out for yourself.

  181. 1st Timer says:

    Ok, did the gel mani thing for the first time 3weeks ago. I am just now having to return the salon, and I soak off my own nails with the foil method. It works in about 10 minutes. My nails have been growing, but if one breaks with the polish on it you HAVE to clip it and file or the polish will start to peel up and rip your nail bed. Overall a great experience, paid $25 for mine.

  182. Katrina says:

    These lacqured nails are horrible! Will never do it again! When the polish chips it actually chips your nail. It looks aawful as the nail grows out and you can’t just simply take your polish off. You have to make time to go in for a long soak and file process and until you have the time your nais are hideous and nothing you can do about it. So not worth all the trouble and expense.

  183. Michelle says:

    I just got gel over my natural nails & feel like I was totally misinformed – or not informed at all – re: this procedure. I went for a pedicure & of course was asked if I wanted a manicure. I said “no” because my polish always chips so it’s not worth it (bathing a 5 y.o., lots of hand washing, digging in purse, etc.) and I just do it myself. I have always had great, strong nails. So the lady says “oh, we can do gel polish & it lasts 2-3 weeks.” so I’m thinking ok, a new type of special nail polish. Needless to say, it took forever, cost $40 + tip, & now I’m extremely concerned about getting this off & ruining my nails.

    Will soaking in acetone do the trick? Should I go to a reputable salon to have them removed when they start chipping? I’m so upset & feel totally ripped off – financially & emotionally! Thanks in advance for responses.

    • Nichelle says:

      Also, use cuticle oil daily x2 to keep your nails and cuticles hydrated while wearing the gel polish…put it under the nail tip also. If your polish starts to peel…don’t peel it off or a layer of your nail bed will come with it…I use HARMONY GELISH products and do it myself and am loving it…your salon should have informed you how to care for your nails with the gel polish on and how they will remove the gel polish…if they don’t do the foil (related) soak off method and ask you to soak in pure acetone…go somewhere else…or go to Walgreens or somewhere like that…get an “oily” acetone, some cotton balls and an orange wood stick and remove it yourself. The gels are wonderful if done and cared for correctly. (Again, this is gel polish I am talking about, not gel nails).

  184. Nichelle says:

    Michelle…Go to it will tell you how to soak off a true gel polish…I would not suggest soaking in hardware variety acetone…I did that the first time and my nails peeled. There are acetone blend polish removers available that are not as harsh on your nails…Be sure to scuff the surface, like the instructions say to do. Use an orange wood stick…to gently peel the already softened polish off…no need to use metal!

  185. Babette says:

    My nail lady tryed and tryed to talk me into Gels, and the nails..etc., but because i didnt fully understand her, i declined. I got my normal “pink and white” fill with acrylic, and THEN she did put a gel top coat on them. WOW…. i have NEVER ever had my nails last this long!!!.. its been 3 weeks, and normally by the 2nd week (sometimes the first week) my nails are already lifting. im used the acrylic “pink and white” nails…. so im keeping with what i know,… and i LOVE the gel top coat. what do you think of this idea, or do you have any advise or opinions. out of all these posts, i havent read any that have done this…. its worked out great for me!

  186. April says:

    I just recently got a gel Mani, I absolutely love the look, but after reading these posts, I wish I done more research. I figured this product was better, I did not realize there would be such a process to remove. I was a nail biter for a long time and had acrylic nails put on. I finally stopped and the last 3 years I have grown and maintained beautiful nails, I do not want to go through all of the filing and soaking and chance ruining my natural nail. I will see how the removal process goes when the time comes, but I think I will stick to the old-fashioned Mani and polish. This process is way to evasive for me.

  187. Laura says:

    My nails were not completely dried after 15 minutes under the light but the tech told me they were…within an hour two of my nails were full of ridges and the next day I had two chips. Certainly not worth the money! It also looks ridiculous after a week when your nails begin to grow out and you have bare area at the bottom of your nails! Now I can’t get the stuff off and it looks horrible!

    • Veronica says:

      Each layer of gel polish only takes up to 2 minutes to cure. The final top coat layer is then wiped with alcohol to remove the tackiness. If every layer of polish is cured, you’re only looking at 8 minutes. It doesn’t sound like your manicurist was using the proper products. I love having the gel manicure done. I’ve had the CND Shellac and Nobility LeChat done and both have been great. Stick to light colours if you are concerned with the grown out manicure look. A lot of companies also offer matching polish shades that you can use to touch up bare nails.

  188. Megan says:

    I just recently got my first gel manicure. It was suggested to my by the nail salon for the simple fact that in conversation, I had mentioned that my nails do NOT hold normal polish at all!! I take all the time to paint my nails, let it dry, put clear coat on, let it dry then later in the day, doing dishes or washing my hands, all my hard work is ruined. Literally, the polish will just peel right off my nails. I got a light pink gel color. I love it and counldn’t be happier. I am not worried about the removal process. If you have had acrylics on before then it is no different then the buffing and filing they do for that! Oh by the way, it only cost me $30 to get acrylics taken off and have the gel polish put on!! :)

  189. Jessica B. says:

    I’ve had good luck with gel polish. I ALWAYS do my own removal with the foil method.

  190. Meems says:

    After lots of online perusing I decided to take the plunge and get a gel polish mani. I previously and briefly delved into the world of acrylics , and solar nails , and HATED how thick they were , I could never get used to them. Im also notorious for chipping regular polish within less than a day. Tried going all natural , no polish just buffing and a good cuticle oil , but my nails were constantly peeling … long story short Ive only had the gel polish on for 2 days now , but thats a world record for me , I’m totally converted. I freakin’ love this stuff ! I do plan on soaking them off myself , but getting it applied professionally (for now , that DIY part of my personality is itching ) my only slight issue was the particular salon where I got my nails done @ advertised OPI axxium , but used gelish instead , but from what I’ve gathered online gelish is a better product anyway , so no biggie .

  191. Devonne' says:

    Ladies, as a nail professional, I do not recommend that you soak off your gel polish in a bowl full of acetone. Acetone is very drying to the nail bed and can cause it to peel. When you want to remove your gel polish, you should use the cotton ball soaked in acetone and then wrap your finger in foil. Only leave the acetone on for the minimum amount of time and push the softened polish off the nail with an orangewood stick. Do not force it and do not file. Filing will take layers of nail off and render your nails thin and flimsy. Gel polish is great and is less damaging than acrylic if applied corrertly.

  192. l giber says:

    Love the colors of OPI polish. However the OPI company itself doesn’t believe in customer service and never respondes to emails. I bought their product Nail Envy which is suppose to strengthen nails. It was $16 and didn’t work. Sent them 2 emails and never heard back from OPI. Shame on them.

  193. Angie says:

    I just had it done for the second time, and I love it so far. The salon used the Gelish brand. Today when I had the first one removed they soaked my fingers in Acetone for about 5 minutes. It did not just come off or disolve. They had to repeatedly scrape my nails as you would scrape off paint then resoak them in the acetone between scrapings. My fingers were very dry and my nails seemed very dried out as well. I almost cancelled the Gel and asked for a regular polish instead, but I really loved how ell they lasted, no lifting. The first one lasted almost 3 weeks and my nails have grown a little because they could not split and break as they do without this kind of polish on. I would really like more info on removing this Gel at home without the scraping part. Sometimes I just do not want to go to the salon.

  194. Kathy says:

    I got my first Shellac manicure about two months ago and I loved it. It lasted on most of my nails for the full two weeks, I had a couple of small chips on two nails within a week, but was able to fill it in with regular polish so it wasn’t noticable. This was a real milestone for me because I work in Healthcare and I am constantly washing my hands in a harsh antibacterial soap and manicures previously lasted 1-2 days max. My husband just lost his job, so spending $90 a month for my shellacing is no longer feasible. I located the Shellac on Amazon and purchased a UV lamp. Now I am really disappointed, because I prepared my nails this morning, put on the base coat and it never cured, I kept my hand in the lamp for 2 minutes, still tacky , so I repeated this again twice and still tacky. At this point I took a cotton ball with alcohol and applied this to my nails to see if that would remove the tackiness and it removed the entire base coat. I begin surfing the web for suggestions and found that I probably don’t have the correct UV lamp. My question is to any of you that might know, which UV lamp I should purchase or is the base coat actually supposed to be tacky, and if so–do you keep applying the color and top coat over this?

    • JeanG says:

      I had the same problem with the base coat not curing entirely. I used the Gelac system. I just went ahead and put the color on top of the tacky basecoat, didn’t want to do it, but it worked out fine! The polish cured perfectly with the tacky basecoat underneath. The top coat remained tacky after 5 minutes UV which was removed easily with alcohol. I know this isn’t the correct way of applying the Gelac polish, but in the end it worked perfectly and after 10 days, my nails still look great!

  195. Jenny says:

    I agree with Anne, don

  196. Trini says:

    Just wanted to share my experience of using gel with you. I have very good, strong nails that usually grow beautifully in summer but get dry and brittle in winter. I wanted a polish that would last longer than 3 days without chipping. I tried the gel thing. It was great! It lasted three weeks without chipping and two weeks before the new growth was really noticeable. Once I tried to go a fourth week before having them done. Big mistake! As my nails grow fast there was too much new growth and the nails started breaking down to the skin. One break was very bloody and painiful. I decided to take them off permenantly as this is something that you must keep doing every three weeks without fail. I must add that my nail specialist was very good with my nails but she used the file off system. She didn’t excessively file but she did file off some of the top layer as she said the nails needed to be a bit rough for the polish to adhere. I don’t know if the soak offs existed two years ago. Needless to say my nails were extremely thin for a few months after, as if they needed air to reharden and dry. They recovered in three months.
    The bottom line is that this is a product that you must continously use like acrylics if you want your nails to grow and look beautifully. I hadn’t had such long beautiful nails since high school when I used to do nothing but take care of my nails all the time as I had no house chores or kids to take care of. It’s an expensive investment. I was paying

    • stephanie says:

      That is why I only use shellac by C.N.D. no roughing up the nail before application and they soak off with no effort in 5 min or less !!! Only draw back is they need more colors . I have tried other gels that say they are soak off but have not found a product as gentle on the nail as Shellac . Shellac wears like a gel while keeping nails strong and healthy . ( with proper application and removal of course )

      • stephanie says:

        I only use orangewood stick to slide off the polish after soaking .

      • Sonia says:

        Shellac requires a 10 minute soak. Not “5 min or less”. Be careful what you are telling others, you can cause others to get the wrong impression of the product or cause damage to their nails if they think it isnt working properly.
        There is another brand of Gel polish called “Gelish”. Available in over 100 colors and can last up to 21 days. Depending on nail growth of course. When any of these “Gel polishes” are removed, you will find that your nails and skin around the nail are dry, mainly form the long exposure to Acetone. A basic manicure is recomended to rehydrate the nail bed and surrounding skin. Lotion and cuticle oil will help your hands and nails to resume to their healthy state.

        • Michelle says:

          I have used both Gelish and Shellac. I personally thing Shellac is a much better poduct. Gelish chips a lot easier and lifts where new growth is. All 4 of my Gelish manicures had the same issues.

        • nancy g says:

          Actually, Sonia, a lot of people ARE doing Shellac soak offs in 5 mins or less, generally by using a regular polish base coat before the Shellac base coat. That’s what I do. Check some of the DIY sites and you’ll see. It isn’t taught on the CND website but some CND educators speak of this method for easing soak off. Some feel that the downside of this way of making removal easier is that it chips and wears in less than two weeks, but some feel that it is worth it for a quicker, easier, and less damaging soak off.

    • Stephanie says:

      Cheaper product and she charged you more hmmm

    • Bri says:

      i think she gave you a gel set not a polish.

    • Erika says:

      I just had my first manicure ever, so I thought it would be great to get one with the gel polish. I was tired of my at home maincures peeling off after doing dishes. Not having any experience with manis, other than what I did at home, I couldn’t wait to see the results. After I had it done (with Shellac), I was a little disappointed because the manicurist didn’t paint right down to the base of the nail…it looked like it had already grown out for a week. So I went back (which I hated doing becuae I don’t like to complain). The next round was done by a different woman, and this time with Gelish. I definitely prefer the results the second time around, but I’m not sure if it’s the brand or the manicurist. Also, there still seems to be some separation between where the color begins and the base of the nail, as if it has already grown out quite a bit…and only after one week. Is this normal? Does shrinking of the gel occur during curing? Also, I love the shine and lack of chipping, but is this something I could do at home?

      • Sonia says:

        The product, whether Shellac or Gelish needs to be applied as close to the cuticle as possible. That way, grow out will be less noticible.
        These Gel Polishes can only be purchases by nail techs. I have seen them on EBay and such, but I wouldnt trust buying it from a sourse like that, you have no idea of you are getting a real product.

        • Nathalie says:

          Check out Ebay and the the sellers rating…you will find that many have outstanding scores and there is nothing to worry about. Harmony is plentiful on Ebay.

        • Olivia says:

          Gelish can be purchased,(as a kit) from Sally’s Beauty supply.

      • ms toya says:

        Its is suppose to be applied 1/16 inch away from the skin, it not that will cause lifting. Yes the gel does shrink when you cure it.

    • Tracie says:

      I had OPI Axxiom applied to my nails. It only comes off after filing, soaking, scrapping, more soaking and filing. So not soak off! After doing this 3 appointments in a row, my nails have been filed down to the nail bed & are very thin. I personally, would not do anything but the C.N.D. Shellac it comes off so much easier than the other gels & is far less damaging. At this time, my nails are so smooth nothing will stick to them. Instead of pretty nails, I have sensitive, smooth, matte nails — not pretty.

  197. Patti says:

    I did the gel for the third time and LOVE IT!!!
    It stays on, no chipping, and my natural nails are growing and staying healthy.I paid $32.00 in Chino Hills , CA.

  198. Tasha says:

    HI, I was just wondering do they mix colored powder in clear uv gel to get the effect? Also how is it different from regular nail polish? Thanks.

    • Jenn says:

      Any place that mixes in a powder with a gel is cheating you. Powders should not be mixed with a true Gel product. Most of those places will tell you it is a Gel and charge you the Gel price. RUN!!!!

      • Annie says:

        Finally! Someone verifies what I have been saying for 5 years! So many people in nail salons are just flat out liars! They sit there, nodding and nodding, smiling and lying through their teeth. Like Jenn says, “Run!!!”

        • Julie says:

          I had acrylic nails done for a wedding in June. I had issues with breakage so I chose to have them removed a few days ago. The price for removal at the salon is listed as $12. She removed them and, before I could say anything, went straight to doing a manicure with gel polish, without asking me first. I could barely understand her but she appeared to be very insistent that gel polish would help my nails be stronger. Long story short a $12 removal ended up costing me $35. I will never have my nails professionally done again.

  199. z says:

    I normally have beautiful healthy nails. I work hard and do all my own house work and have never been able to keep a color on for more then two days. When I heard about the gel nail polish I jumped at the chance to keep a beautiful manicure. The first time was perfect. I picked a pretty traditional red. It lasted for more then two weeks but the growth was obvious. The second time I chose a french tip but a couple of days after the manicure my nails begin to feel tender and a little weak. They began to bend in a way they hadn’t before. But, oh they where so pretty with the perfect polish. I tried a third time and now my nail beds begin to hurt. I had to go in and have the polished removed. Two hours after the manicure all of my nails begin to crumble and split into the nail bed. This really hurts! It has been a week now and the nail beds are very tender the tips of my fingers burn and the little nail growth I have experienced is coupled with more painful splitting and crumbling. This has been a terrible lesson in vanity. I spent over a hundred and forty dollars to destroy my nails and cause myself pain.

    • Patti says:

      I’ve done gelish and shellac with good results. My manicures have lasted 3 weeks. My nails are still strong, but I’ve decided to give my nails a breather and do this when I go on vacation, etc. I’ve paid $29-$32 in Parsippany, NJ. It all depends on the brand. It’s a possibility that you were allergic to the chemicals in the polish. My advice to everyone is to use gloves at all times for housework. I do, especially after paying so much for a manicure.

      • Tracie says:

        You are lucky. After having gel applied to my nails 3 times in a row, I now have nails that have been filed down to the nail bed to get all the layers of gel off. The salon I went to used the OPI brand gel polish & it is so not soak off. I do things with & without gloves around the house, nor do I think it is the chemicals in the polish. I think it is the removal procedure of the gel — filing, soaking, scrapping, more soaking, scrapping, soaking again followed by more filing. This is not gentle on the nail beds. I would not recommend the OPI, but instead go with the CND Shellac.

    • Lynnjake says:

      This is exactly what has happened to my nails. They are a painful broken mess after my third gel manicure. I heartily recommend against this procedure. The few days of beautiful nails are not worth this longterm outcome.

  200. Kathy says:

    Hate gel polish!
    I had acrylic nails that were poorly done. Went to a different salon to have them removed after three weeks, and the salon talked me into gel polish. Three days later it started chipping and separating from my now-soft natural nails. Nobody told me how much effort it would be to remove it! And my nails are so thin from the bad acrylic job that I can’t file it off.

    Back to regular polish once my nails grow out again.

    • ms toya says:

      Always give your fingers a rest after any enhancement. I give my clients a basic manicure and have them come back in 2 weeks. If I feel like their nails are rested enough than we do the enhancements.

      • Jenna says:

        Shellac and gelish work well with nails thAt are somewhat healthy and strong. Some clients experience weakness and splitting naturally in their nail. Some people habpve good nail genes. Ha! I used to bite my nails when I was young….now you would think my nails would be weak. Yes. Sometimes they get thin…but I think my nails are the strongest when gel polish is applied. Poi axxium destroyed 75percent of everyone I know, hence, why I stick with gelish and shellac. I’ve been a nail tech over 6years and I can honestly say….this is whe the nail industry is going. I’ve never used acrylic or traditional gel, due to the damage it causes. The only break I’ve given myself is 5 days top. It’s changing the way we do nails. Nail tech- pennsylvania

  201. Mel says:

    Biosculpture is one of the orignals and there is no roughing of the nail. My nails grow fast so I get two weeks, but my friend get three weeks. It is a good gel for people with weaker nails, some gels are better for those with already strong nails (Gelish).

  202. Judy says:

    I can’t seem to get the gel nails to cure?

  203. Sara says:

    I have been going for no-chip manicures for a while now. The first time I had this done, it was great but like people have been saying, the second time your nails begin to feel weak and chip/break more easily. I recommend taking a break between each no-chip to let your nails breathe and regain their strength. Doing one right after the other is not the best idea.

    • Jeannie says:

      Hi, I just wanted to say that nails do not need to breath. It is dead hair. Im a professional nail tech and have to say some salons are using acylic/gel which is not good for your nails. I always have checked out a salon to see if they have their certificates on the wall including their insurance one. I do not like e-files and anyone using one to clean the nail bed (cos the gel wont adhere to it!!) is not a professional and is using a bad product and needs to be struck off.

  204. Gelov says:

    Thank you for the advice. I’m gonna try it!

  205. Mikol says:

    OMG what horror stories! I am AMAZED that only 1 person has mentioned CND’s Shellac. There is NO other alternative! The fact that ANY nail professional would consider filing the natural nail gives me the chills. If ANYONE ever tells you that they need to “roughen up” your nail in order for any product to adhere, RUN RUN RUN AWAY! Shellac is a product that I have been using since it first came out in April 2010. It NEVER leaves your nat nail fragile, soft, brittle or damaged. It’s like a normal nail polish only it hardens under UV light. The removal process should ALWAYS be done with acetone. Yeah yeah I know acetone isn’t exactly the best thing to have on your nails/skin, but neither are half the products you probably put on your face and body (if you really know what the ingredients are and do). Ladies, find a reputable salon that offers Shellac manicures. Worth the price. I create long lasting, gorgeous results. They recently released 12 new colors so they are up to 24 in all…and more to come. You can even mix and match them. TRY IT! And just for the record, I agree…NEVER use ANYTHING on your nails that you purchase at a hardware store. Use an orange stick whenever possible to remove leftover polish after the acetone process. Your nails are NOT hardware!

    • Dino says:

      I have used CND shellac since December, 2010 and absolutely LOVE it! I have only gotten the french manicure (so as to stretch the manicure out a little longer), maybe I’ll try one of the new colors soon. I have had no adverse effects on my nails…they actually seem stronger.

      • Kim says:

        I love love love CND Shellac. In early Feb 2011 I came back from Paris and decided it was time to take my Acrylic’s off. I had them on for 22 years. My nails were destroyed. The only thing that save me was CND Shellac. It added a layer of protection. I am almost to my own nails after 4 months. CND never once damaged my nails. It has only made them better. I am so grateful for this product. On top of that my manicure lasts two full weeks.

    • JMM says:

      I’m an esthetican and I have worked with both the OPI and CND Lines. I have to tell you as professional its Shellac all the way!!!! Many of my clients came to me with weak, short, cracked or bitten nails. After even ONE application nails are stronger, longer and not bitten! No adverse effects for long term use either, and are harsh chemical free! CND makes its own special remover pads that limit exposure to the acetone. After 5 minutes soak time for each hand, loosened polish is gently scraped off with an orangewood stick.
      NEVER let anyone try to buff them off! Always go to a reputable salon. If you go to a chop shop (read cheap nail bar) they will damage your nails and sell you inferior products, and tell you they are a name brand.
      Go to the CND website for a list of all authorized Salon’s.

    • Jeannie says:

      I totally agree with you. Im just about to use the Shellac and have got CND as I trained with them in London. I cannot wait to use this and see what comments clients give afterwards.

  206. ParaPara says:

    I love Gel Polish! I wanted to try it after years of miserable acrylics and I love it! My nails aren’t super brittle, but with my job as a salon manager dealing with opening boxes for retail and constantly on the computer, combined with my love of cooking, I could never get my natural nails to a nice long even length without breaking. So I turned to acrylics….ugh.

    The gel gives my nails just enough resilience to not break, and feels natural instead of a hard shell on my tips. I can take it off easily at home with the foil method, and use an orangewood stick to peel up the rest without feeling helpless after a crack and having to go to the nail salon to fix an acrylic nail.

    I still have a little bit of peeling if I take them off and don’t have it reapplied immediately, but the damage is NOTHING compared to the drilling and filing required with acrylic/pink and white nails.

  207. peeachediva says:

    I would like to add my own experience with Nail Gel Polish. I am basically a person who does not like to repolish my nails often, so this treatment is PERFECT for me.
    I was very lucky my first time as I was wearing nailpolish when I went in to the salon. I had a wonderful woman who actually SOAKED the polish off to make sure it was all off. I got a full manicure as well prior to the gel treatment. I highly recommend this because she was able to clear my cuticles back and got the gel REALLY CLOSE to the cuticles. This woman was an ARTIST. There wasn’t that white space that you see on so many nails newly painted. This woman was truly a nail ARTIST who knew the leveling properties of the gel enough that she was able to place the polish SEEMLESSLY close to my cuticles. She also did several layers with the two minutes curing in between. She was conscious and my nails were stunning beyond belief. This was my first time, and I was lucky to have her.
    The nail gel lasted until my nails grew out all they way…..5 months. I was able to find a color that matched, so I weaned the treatment. The thing that is really wonderful about the nail gel as someone mentioned previously, is that you can paint over it. The nails STILL LOOK great, and if your person does a good job at layering and curing, the tips won’t chip off. I play the piano for a living, so, while I might not keep my nails long, they do periodically strike the keys.
    The gel is wonderful. If you get a woman like the one who did mine the first time, it will be an AWESOME experience. She DID NOT SAND my nails. She SOAKED my nails.

    My second time, a guy did them. Thin layers of Russian blue, tepid layers, SANDED my nailpolish off and HURT ME. Nail polish should NEVER be sanded off. WHY???? He wanted to get more customers in quickly for more tips.
    THing with the girl who did me the first time, is that because she took so much time to do mine, and they were So so beautiful, I tipped her 40%. Happy customers mean REPEAT customers and recommendations.
    If you are a nail person reading this, please try to get the nail gel close to the nails. The half grown out look with the white between the cuticle and the beginning of the nail lacquer doesn’t cut it. It IS possible to get really close to the cuticle. My first experience with the nail gel is testimony to this. I realize it takes practice, but many happy customers with glistening nails will be your reward.
    Once again, while the treatment can be expensive, you can wean the time between treatments by finding nail polish the same color that you could put in the space as the nail grows out. In this latest case, it is RUSSIAN NAVY by OPI.

  208. lori says:

    I am courious about the different brands of soak off uv nail gel.
    I am debating between Bella Forma and Opi Axxium.
    I already have the new Nailene System for home use so I have a 36 watt lamp. I really like it so far, but I need a larger color selection.

    Which brand should I invest in?

  209. Monica says:

    Just had first try with gel nails. Had no understanding prior to reading this so just sort of was talked into it in the salon. No filing to apply and the look is great. They used Harmony brand gel/shellac. Hopefully the product will remove without too much harm to my soft nails. Will let you all know!

  210. HAnnelie says:

    I just love the new UV Gel polish range. I am a nail tech and the people that saw it on my nails want it to. I use Magnetic and I’m very impressed.

  211. Dee says:

    I’m a nail tech with 23 years experience and while I think the gel polish is awesome I still am finding that with all nail products… the better and stronger the natural nail the better the wear. And, I strongly advise my clients to continue to try and wear gloves and not be in excessive water and NOT to peel the polish off as this weakens their natural nail.
    Also, has anyone ever heard of a clear you can mix with regular nail colors? A salon in my area is doing this and I found this site trying to research what it could be? Thanks!

  212. I am a new nail tech and have been asked for soak off gel, which is the best brand and is It true that it fades in direct sun? X

  213. Jo says:

    Which Gel nail system is the best?

  214. jan garner says:

    Hi I have had geleration gel polish put on last week, which is great. Next time I would like to try another range. Can anyone recommend a good one? Gelis looks good, also gelac has a large range of colours. Which is the best?

  215. Leon says:

    Other popular brands for Gel Polish are Gelish by Harmony, Shellac by Creative Nail Desgin, GP by Caccee

  216. robin borges says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I get my nails done 0nce a month. My manicurist is the best. My gel polish actually last an entire month. No cracking peeling chipping etc. I do heavy duty housework and yet it still holds out. I wish they had it for the feet as well. The best thing is that it doesnt ruin your nails at all. Within 15 minutes into my pedicure my gel polish is totally off and ready for a fresh polish again. My nails remain strong and undamaged. I must say though … if your nails are to long it wont last. Short sleek and clean is the way to go…. Its amazing and not to mention I ONLY PAY 25.00 A MONTH. Its so worth it. Try it. Robin from Staten Island New York

    • Laura T says:

      Hi Robin. I live in Staten Island too and I’m looking for a nail salon that does really good gel manicures. Where do you go to get it done?

      • robin says:

        Hi laura I go to Russo Nails on Maple pkwy. Its right off of Forest Ave. They r the greastest there. Their pedicures are to die for only 18 dollars but most importantly their nail polishes last on ur feet, about 3weeks out of it. Enjoy. :)

  217. robin borges says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I get my nails done 0nce a month. My manicurist is the best. My gel polish actually last an entire month. No cracking peeling chipping etc. I do heavy duty housework and yet it still holds out. I wish they had it for the feet as well. The best thing is that it doesnt ruin your nails at all. Within 15 minutes into my pedicure my gel polish is totally off and ready for a fresh polish again. My nails remain strong and undamaged. I must say though … if your nails are to long it wont last. Short sleek and clean is the way to go…. Its amazing and not to mention I ONLY PAY 25.00 A MONTH. Its so worth it. Forgot to mention the greatest part of it is it dries fully instantly. So the minute you run out of the salon you are totally dry. No worries about smudging. Try it. Robin from Staten Island New York

  218. Katie K. says:

    Had an OPI gel manicure (clear) for my son’s wedding – it was lovely, and my nails grew like crazy. I DID try to peel it off a bit as bits of it grew out – was unaware of methods to kind of “re-base” it with regular polish. I soaked in acetone at the salon 3 weeks later and she had a heck of a time scrrrrraping it off of my nails – and she did something many of you have mentioned, which is she roughed up the nails, etc. – yes, it hurt – and I didn’t know that was bad. Live and learn! I had her give me just a regular manicure that time and I think I shall avoid gels into the foreseeable future.

    • robin says:

      wow im totally baffled about ur experiences with opi gel. Maybe the places u all go to use cheap stuff lol i dunn0. But i’ve been doing it for two yrs now and i love it. It never ruined my nails. My manicurist put a piece of cotton on my nail tip with acetone then wraps each indivodual finger with alumiun foil. By the time my pedi is done the polish is totally off. I’m sorry for those who went for opi and didnt like it. I should be getting paid from opi company lol. all jokes aside i really do love it. Try another salon. If u get someone who knows how to do it u will love it.

  219. Meg says:

    I got 100% pure acetone artificial nail remover at walmart. I tried CND’s shellac for the first time a couple weeks ago and I love it. My nails are horribly thin and peal or tear easily. Along with having a horrible nervous tic of biting at my nails. The shallac has done wonders and my nails are actually growing. My mom does a lot with ibd gel nails. The origial hard gel nails and she has tried to have them work for me but It always ended the same way they would be too hard like acrylics and start popping off when my nails would grow because my natural nail would be so thin and it was made even worse by all the filing you have to do to prep the nail. She found out about about shallacing and soak off polish and I think she may have just found my new friend!! I finally have a way to have nice pretty nails that I can enjoy. They are also job friendly for me as I work in the health care field and am not allowed to wear fake nails for hygene reasons.

  220. jan garner says:

    I am visiting us next week. can anyone tell me where i can buy CND shellac polish over there please?

  221. Laura says:

    @Dee hi hun the system you are referring to is Young Nails ManiQ soak off gel. ManiQ have now also brought out ManiQ colour. HTH xxx

    • Dee says:

      thanks! I figured it out by having a client visit the salon…I haven’t tried it yet but will be this week…it may be time consuming to do, but I figured I could charge more for custom colors providing it works well!?

  222. Lauren says:

    How does shellac compare with Jessica generation? I’m looking at these two systems once I complete my nail course. Shellac looks good but not many colours, Jessica has more colours, but what is removal like? How do they compare in ease of application?

  223. Juanita says:

    I have had the CND Shellac in red polished on my nails since the week it came out. Every two weeks I soak my nails for 4 minutes in acetone and I use a metal cuticle tool to scrape shellac off of my nails just before I go for my appointment to have it re-applied. My nails are beautiful every day. My natural nails underneath are very healthy. My salon has priced the shellac cheaper than having artificial nails done, but more expensive than just a regular pedicure. I love this process and am delighted that there is finally a nail polish that is tough enough for me to forget about it, and I have never experienced a chipped nail.

  224. Pearline says:

    I use the gel polish but don’t know what kind. I was introduced to it by a friend. I love the way it makes my nails look. However, I have only one problem: It bearly last a week before it starts to chip. It is too pricey to do every week. Is there something I can do to make it last longer? I would love for it to last the minimum of three weeks.

    • Juanita says:

      I recommend you try the CND Shellac. When I stopped using “fake” nails that had to be refilled / or soaked off, I used nothing but clear polish until my natural nails had grown strong again (several months). Once my nails were healthy, I started using the CND Shellac. I have never had a nail chip and I keep it on for 2 weeks, then take it off, and do it again the same day I take it off. It only takes soaking nails in acetone 4 minutes, and it comes off easily with an orange stick or a metal cuticle tool. When I take it off, my nails are not damaged in any way. CND Shellac goes on your nails just like polish, and it is UV dry in 3 minutes. Base coat, 2 color coats, top coat. Twelve minutes each nail because you put it in the UV light after each coat. My hands are alternating in the UV light until the last coat is done.

  225. Erica says:

    Can I use base and top coats of Gelish with say a Gelation or a Shelac polish?

  226. Judye says:

    I just got my second gel manicure today. The first one was a gel polish and it lasted for four weeks. It was a beautiful French manicure. This time was a the powder (I wanted to avoid the uv lamp) and was supposed to be a “natural” color. It came out a horrible transparent hot pink color. Can I polish over this with another color?

  227. Vivian says:

    Wondering if it is ok to cut nails and file while the gel is on and the nail is growing. my nails grow fast and its hard to type with long nails. i just got for the first time the gel nails and they are growing after just one week. Pls let me know if it is ok to cut and file or do i risk the gel from chipping off. thank you

    • kt says:

      I trimmed my nails with regular old nail trimmers while I had cmd shellac and it worked out great.

  228. CathyR says:

    Interesting reading here. I thought I did my homework before getting an OPI Gel manicure I guess I didn’t get enough. I had finally gotten to the point of life where I was doing something right and my nails were looking great. I went to a salon who followed all the advised way to apply this but even then my nails will take about 4 months to come back to healthy. They started breaking and splitting almost right away. I was told they needed to “lightly” buff the nail for the gel to adhere, that was the end of my nice nails. Maybe I should have tried the Shellac brand but as it is I will never have this done again. Now to finish taking the damn stuff off:(

    • Dee says:

      If the product is applied and removed correctly you should’ve had very little damage done to your natural nails. However, if your nails are naturally very weak and soft there aren’t many products that will adhere very well including nail polish. However, I have clients with this issue and the gel polish is working great! I wasn’t very impressed with OPI, but have had good luck with Shellac and Gelish If that’s the case, my suggestion would be to wear nothing and just high shine buff the nail and use nail oil regularly and try taking the amino acid Biotin which can improve your natural nails. If that’s not the case, don’t give up on the product because it is great just find a better manicurist and protect your nails with gloves etc..:)!

    • Dee says:

      Also, I honestly think any product, including nail polish, changes the condition of your natural nail to a greater or lesser degree depending on your nails and the product used.

  229. peeachediva says:

    Ok, let me say something about the gel polish. First off, one should tell the manicurist NOT to use the drill sander. That is just TOTALLY to much. There are the little 3 sided sanders that anyone can get in the stores that they have on hand there when they do a regular manicure. That should be all they need to do.
    I understand that the nails to be rough because the porosity would offer greater adhesion, but they do NOT need to use the drill bit sander.

    Also, you should be able to tell your manicurist that you want the gel polish as close to the cuticle as possible. My FIRST time that I had it done, my manicurist did it really close to my cuticles. She was an ARTIST. My gel polish stayed on my nails for FIVE MONTHS. Really. The next time, a GUY did it. He didn’t layer it right, it didn’t look shiny after he did it. Looked like regular polish. He was crap. A good person TAKES THE TIME to really get it close to the cuticle. I HATE that grown out look when you just get your nails donw.

    With that said, a 36w can be purchased on ebay, sometimes as low as 33 dollars. It IS possible to get one. Just be sure it’s not from HONG KONG. That’s a long way to travel, you wait a million years to get it, and it’s a fragile piece of equipment and you might get broken lights. NOT GOOD.

    I just got some GELISH from Sally’s. I got the nail dehydrater, Ph bond, base coat, polish and top coat. I have a light. When I get the guts and the time, I’m going to try on my own and then let you guys know how I did.
    The whole stash of the Gelish stuff ( two colors as well as all the other layer stuff) cost about 68 dollars. In Columbus Ohio, getting a manicure PLUS the gel treatment is about 40 dollars.
    I love the gel because as it grows out, you can paint over it and STILL get the no chip situation. I’m a pianist so this is especially wonderful. We’ll see how well I do . I’m right handed, so we’ll see how well I paint with my non-dominant hand. Until then,…

    • Dee says:

      As a professional manicurist I just wanted to comment that while nail services may seem pricey to some people, my clients appreciate my cleanliness, knowledge and services. While some people have the ability to do there own nails well, most don’t have the knowledge to apply this product correctly without experience. I would NEVER recommend leaving ANY nail product on the natural nail (including nail polish)for 5 months with no maintenance. As this could be a great way for moisture to get trapped between the nail and the product and provide a good environment for fungus. I figured when this product came out that some people would try doing it themselves, but I strongly encourage those interested in gel polish go to a good licensed professional because in the long run the health of your nails as well as your time is worth the money spent!

      • mary says:

        I want to say Ditto to Dee!! you said all I was thinking!!

      • Mary Anne says:

        I loved my gel polish, which was applied at a salon. However, when I went to have it removed, the manicurist peeled off the polish with no soaking at all. When I asked, “How can this be good for the nails?” she answered, “Does it hurt?” I said no, and she continued to rip off the polish. She charged my $5 and I did not leave a tip!! My nail beds have random white spots on them. I am thinking of contacting the salon manager. What do you think?

        • Laura says:

          Absolutely contact the salon manager! Gel polish is never removed that way. Tell the manager your nails have been damaged (they have!) by having the product removed this way, and ask for compensation. I don’t know if you wish to have another treatment performed, if you do, that is what I would ask for but ask for another nail tech. I hate reading stories like this.

        • nancy g says:

          It says two things – first, it wasn’t applied properly, gel polish shouldn’t just peel off andl second it was removed improperly. Get your money back and then never go back there. The white spots are likely from dehydration. Did you use Solar Oil every day when you had the gel on? To get rid of them, use some warm Solar Oil or other cuticle/nail oil.

    • Dee says:

      Also, if you go to a good professional manicurist you won’t need to tell her or him how to do there job:)!

      • Colleen says:

        Hello Dee,

        How do you know if the manicurist is a licensed professional? I would like to try the soak off gel nails. I am going on a cruise and would like to have nice looking nails. I really don’t plan on maintaining the nails after the summer. Regular nail polish never stays on my nails and sunblocking my children kills the polish instantly.

        Would you happen to work in a salon close to Bergen County, NJ?

        • Dee says:

          I would contact CND website for a list of salons that use their product and then look for a local salon that is accredited with the better business bureau, doesn’t offer discounted services and has a good reputation with local patron’s (asking the local ladies wear they get their nails done when you see their nice looking nails). And, mainly look for a licensed picture showing proof and remember that word of mouth is a great way to find a good business!
          This product when applied properly is great to use…including for short term use! Hope this helps! Dee

          • Kelly says:

            Just an FYI… Even those listed on CND’s website arn’t the best. I got a terrible Shellac manicure from a salon listed on their website. I did let CND know about the salon and I even posted pictures for them. I do a better job of painting my own nails.

  230. As a MD state licensed nail stylist I offer CND Shellac to my clients. It’s very different from the “gel polishes” b/c yes it performs similarly but it’s NOT the same. Shellac is comprised of only 10% gel where as a lot of these other brands are comprised of 90% gel that is where the removal difference is apparant. Not all clients are gel manicure clients some clients are best fit with acrylic, traditional gel, or a traditional manicure. Jut like with All things everything isn’t for everybody. But I highly recommend you go to a licensed professional that cares an not these discount salons!

    • Mary says:

      Joy, I am licensed in Florida and just got Shellac. I know it is formaldehyde free. I have 2 clients that have had reactions to all kinds of artifical products. Have you had are heard of anyone having allergy problems with Shellac!

      • No Mary I have not but keep in mind Shellac is still made up of Monomers and Polymoers just like acrylic and gel to create te chain and bond affect. So if your client has had over exposure to acrylic/gel on the surrounding skin of her nail plate could cause her to react to anything except polish. Also if you are using a primer (acidic or acid free) that can be making her react. And also if you or another nail pro is mixing brands be sure not to use someone else base/top coat that could make her react as well. I don use a primer I just scub my clients nail with CNDs scrub fresh. I hope this helps! Great luck!

        • Mary says:

          Thanks Joy, I will let you know how it goes. She hasn’t had anything on her nails in years except polish. Her reaction is the nail bed lifts. I am not using a primer and will get the scrub fresh.

  231. Megan says:


    Hello all, I recently bought the new Nailene UV Curing Lamp with the Gel primer/top coat and the remover. The lady told me (this was at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Canada) that I could use REGULAR nail polish in between the Gel polish. So I would put the Gel primer/base coat on, then place on REGULAR polish (any brand) and then put the Gel primer/base/top coat on the top….. IS THIS TRUE? I have googled and searched EVERYWHERE and I see nothing about using a regular nail polish? The nailene “Gel colours” only came in pink and white. I don’t want to open anything and test it out if I have to buy special Gel colours. I only bought the system because I thought I could EXTEND THE LIFE OF MY REGULAR NAIL POLISH. Please ANY HELP would be GREAT!!!!!! -Megan from Ontario Canada!

    • I don’t know about that Megan. Typically if you put gel over polish the polish never dries so in turn the gel doesn’t cure properly so it doesn’t work. I guess unless the polish is COMPLETLY dry then maybe but that could take FOREVER.
      I use Sech Vite UV Activated Top Coat it works EXCELLENT @ extending the length of traditional polish you apply base coat 2 coats of polish sit under fan for a few min then 1 thin coat of the Sech Vite UV Top Coat (it’s in a blk bottle) cure for 3min. And your set. It’s not dry like Shellac or SOG but enough for you to function just no purse diving and it lasts about 1-1.5wks!
      Also be sure to apply oil to your nails nightly CNDs Solar Oil is excellent. Polish will not stay on Dry Nails. A hydrated nail is the best condition for polish to stay on the longest.

      • Megan says:


        So if I buy the Seche Vite UV I would still use the UV curing lamp with it? So apply a regular base coat, 2 coats of the polish of my choice and the seche vite UV top coat and let it sit under the UV lamp for 3 minutes or so?

        Thanks so much for your help!

        • Megan says:

          Here is the system I bought (minus the Gel colours)

          • Laura says:

            Megan, I’m a nail tech in the GTA – I don’t know anything about the Nailene line but I will tell you that the beautician in Shopper’s Drug Mart does not know what she’s talking about. You cannot mix nail polish and gel this way and cure it. There are all kinds of reasons why it won’t work, just trust me, it doesn’t. You will need to use whatever Nailene gel products you have in your kit with your lamp. Just make sure you follow all the instructions – and hopefully they’ve given you good ones. Good luck!

    • Dee says:

      Hello Megan, I’m a professional manicurist and I have tried using regular nail polish between the gel base and top coats and what I’ve found is…
      a. it’s a little difficult to put the regular polish on evenly but can be done…would be more difficult on yourself as opposed to having a tech do it.
      b. you really need to let each coat dry thoroughly unlike curing the gel colors which is dry instantly.
      C. i have noticed more chipping doing it this way and I’ve really only tried this on cleints with strong nails.
      Another option for you would be to just put on the base and top coat cure it completely and then just polish over it? It really depends on how good the gel is and since you bought it at a drug store I would question the quality. Are there licensed manicurists in Canada?

      • Megan says:

        Yes there are licensed manicurists here, I just saw the UV lamp at my local drugstore and was excited. I don’t really want the fuss and hassle of doing Gel nails myself (I would go into a salon to get them done) BUT the lady working at the drugstore said I could layer the Gel base/top coat between a regular polish (not a gel polish) and it would work. I didn’t want to open everything if it won’t work because if it won’t I will just return it. Here is more info on the system I bought:

        • Laura says:

          Just to clarify, we aren’t licensed here in Ontario. Megan, the gel/polish combination will not work, the lady in Shoppers is wrong, just take it back and get it done properly in a salon. If you are interested in a Shellac manicure, go to and use the salon finder to find a salon near you that offers Shellac. Depending in where you live you might end up with me :)

  232. Mary says:

    To all professional nail techs:
    I am licensed in Florida and just got Shellac. I know it is formaldehyde free. I have 2 clients that have had reactions to all kinds of artifical products. Have you had are heard of anyone having allergy problems with Shellac!

    • Dee says:

      I’ve had no clients with any allergic reactions to shellac or gelish to date. However, gelish takes more time to dissolve with acetone so I would definitely use shellac on any questionable clients as it is far easier to remove (less dissolve time).

  233. mthor says:

    I have excellent nails that are strong and grow very well without the gel polish…..I have been considering shellac because I hate to wait for the nails to dry…because my nails are real it takes at least an hour before they are completely dry and even then they are tacky………should I try shellac or will it damage my nails.

  234. Amanda says:

    I had my first Gellish pedicure on July 7th and I seem to be having an allergic reaction to it. I have demititis on my eyelids, which from what I’ve read is a common allergic reaction to nail polish.

    My question is do I attempt to remove it myself or do I go back to the salon that did my pedicure? As you can imagine, I’m very hesitant to go back there at this point.

    • Jenna says:

      You could be having a sensitivity to the gelish. I would go back to the salon to have it removed. Be prepared to pay a nominal fee, its the manicurists time….remember that and tip appropriately They are providing a service. Everyone is different. I know a client who only uses 1 brand of nail polish because she is allergic to everything. Interesting, right? It takes as little as 10 minutes. Then have them apply solar oil. I would recommend shellac maybe a few weeks later to see if if it’s soak off gel polish…or just the gelish system. Both are great…but have different chemistry makeup. Good luck.

  235. Jude says:

    My nails are so thin then bend if I let them grow even a little . I have read somewhere there is a gel a lil stronger then gel off colors I could apply under. Could you please tell me what it is and where I can buy it.. Also I still have a problem curing. I try putting gel off thinner and less coats still cant get it to cure . I bought another new uv lite 45 watts . I have alot invested just dont know why they wont cure . Im using opi gel off .
    Any suggestions


  236. Tara Radcliffe says:

    This website was so helpful! Thank you!

    After my mom told me about OPI’s new “gel” paints, I immediately began looking into it. I have always had very weak, brittle nails that do not grow long. I have tried acrylics and other gel-type fake nails and they have always left my nail beds hurting and severely damaged.

    However, I am an actor and it is important to have nice looking nails when going on print and commercial auditions. (Believe me, they often want to see them!) I wanted to hear that the OPI system worked, but when I read into this I found that there was a BETTER system, which is called CND. It doesn’t damage nails, but adds beautiful color that lasts for two weeks and helps protect the nail from normal wear and tear.

    I will post back after a couple weeks have past, but as of right now, I will be telling everyone I know about CND!

    • Jenna says:

      The opi version you were probably hearing about hasn’t been released yet! Stay tuned winter 2012. The older version is opi axxium. It’s awful. However, Shellac and gelish rock!!!

  237. peeachediva says:

    I got the OPI axium both times I had gel nails done. It really DOES depend on who does your nails. The woman I had who did them the firs time was wonderful. She did not sand, drill or anything. For the smoothing out she used a hand sanding paper, just like a regular paper nail file. She got the gel close to the cuticles and they did not peel. In fact, the gel lasted FIVE MONTHS on my nails and I painted in the spots that were grown out with a similar color. Painted over the existing gel and filled in the grown out part with nail polish. regular nail polish works GREAT and stays on longer . You can change colors with NON ACETONE remover and still get the good smooth results with the regular polish over the nails while they grow out.
    At the time of this writing, I have the gel from APRIL which has about an 8th of an inch to go yet before it is fully grown out.
    MY QUESTION IS, I am interested in doing some of this myself on my own nails.
    I got the harmony GELISH kit with nail dehydrator, ph bond, base coat , two colors, and the top coat. I only have a 9 w lamp. I have not had the guts to try to do it myself yet. Will a 9 watt lamp work? Does anybody have any idea how long I should wait for it to cure?
    I have heard such great reviews about the GELISH, that i am really curious to try it, but realize that I might need a higher wattage lamp.
    I’ve seen some 36 watt lamps on ebay for as low as $33.00.
    Should I just go with the 36 watt lamp??

    The GELISH looks too good to be true. I’ve had good luck with the OPI Axxium. SHould I go for it? I haven’t seen anybody say anything negative about GELISH. Is it really that great? I hope so. From reading these reviews, I spent about $100.00 on Gelish materials.
    I realize that I may not be adept at the actual painting of the nails.
    ALSO, if I have gelish base, top, ph bond etc, can I still use color from another system if I really like that particular color, and still use the coats/ products from the Gelish system?

    Looking forward to seeing more comments.
    Until then, I’m waiting to drum up the nerve to actually do my nails with the GELISH. :)

  238. Brenda says:

    i have had gel-polish done two times now and although i love it the last time she files my nails until they hurt.. there has to be a better why to get a great look with gel-polish

  239. Cathy says:

    Oy Vay…. I have read all of these comments and there is so much swirling through my head!!! For starters, we actually have to have MORE hours of training to be a licensed nail tech in Canada than most states : ) Anyway, the bottom line is this: ALL gel polishes will damage your nails if 1. you try to do this yourself. It is NOT an “at home” procedure. If you are not trained and then things go badly at home, it’s not fair to the product to say it “ruined your nails”. 2. It is removed improperly. 5min. vs. 10 min. I personally would never compromise the integrity of a gel by putting a base coat under it simply for a faster removal, not a good idea IMO. Hardware store acetone is NOT appropriate either, use things on nails that were intended for nails. And finally, I have used OPI Axxium for 2.5 years, IBD Soak off, and Shellac since it came out and I can tell you that there is basicly no difference between them all. It is not necessary to rough up the natural nail for any gel polish service. It is a CRIME that what is being done out in the field keeps happening! Unfortunately, Axxium has gotten a bad rap due to overzealous filing by techs when this is NOT necessary. The biggest probelm with gel polish is uneducated nail techs, not the product. Before anyone gets a gel mani they should ask how it will be applied ( will there be filing) and how it will be removed. If they say “file” anywhere in there, go somewhere’s else. Also, I just wanted to note that even with Axxium, Shellac, etc. it is possible to get a back fill and/or change colors without soaking off first, it just depends on what color you’re switching too. And finally, do not be tempted to do this yourself. It may “look” easy, but there are techniques. Obviously if licensed, trained nail techs are having this many issues, a DIYer is going to as well, and probably X10. There are reasons that we don’t apply gel to the cuticle etc, but that’s why we’re trained. I’m sorry if this is “rant-y” but the gel polish craze has come with a myriad of headaches too, and it’s good to clear the air. Gel polish IS and SHOULD be a beautiful, fast, and healthy alternative to traditional gels and acrylics. It’s the most popular service at my salon and I am 100% happy with it. Hopefully in time the kinks will get worked out. : )

    • Dee says:

      I agree completely with you, as I’ve been in the business 23 years and have had my own successful salon for going on 10…it’s good to know there are other techs who really care about keeping things professional as well as sharing experience and knowledge:)!

    • nancy g says:

      I must respectfully disagree. Gel polish is perfectly within the ability of most DIYers. I’ve been doing my own Shellac/Gelish/Gelac/Geleration for a year now. It does have its quirks and nuances, but nothing that a little practice and research can’t resolve. There’s tons of good information and instruction out there to be had by anyone. The chemicals used are fairly benign. And I know my nails better than any nail tech can. In fact, I believe that consumer use was the plan for gel polishes in the first place. After all, Gelish is now sold at Sally’s! That said, If you’re not willing to do the homework required of this nail technology, don’t go the DIY route- there are lots of competent nail techs out there who will do it for you.

      But let’s face it, ladies, the ones doing harm with gel polishes are not the DIYers who only do damage to themselves. Read these boards, or the ones at tPF. They are just loaded with stories of women who have had bad gel polish experiences and/or poor service at the hands of nail techs. These uninformed/incompetent “professionals” are the ones doing the real damage. There are lots of great nail tech doing great work out there. I have seen amazing artistry and skill from many of the nail techs I’ve met online and IRL. But, with all due respect to professional nail techs, there are a lot of butchers out there and the profession would be well served to push such folks out of the business.

      • Dee says:

        I agree with you also, but fortunately for me most people aren’t adept at doing their nails as efficiently as I can. As well they enjoy the entire salon experience that I provide.
        Unfortunately there are many salons that just care about the bottom line and not the personal service and condition of the natural nail…which infuriates me as I would rather lose money than perform a service on someone who for instance is allergic to a product. I wish STATE BOARDS were really doing there job and weeding out the bad salons, but as with anything the consumer needs to stay informed and report bad experiences to boards and better business bureaus.

        • NancyG says:

          You’re probably correct that I probably can’t do my nails as efficiently or as well as you. But since I’m not a hand model, I don’t require either that level of perfection or efficiency! : ) And the salon experience (not yours, I’m sure) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – getting an appointment, driving over, getting a parking space, going into a salon with the music blasting or some hideous show on the TV, with loud, obnoxious clients, 30 minute delay for your appointment, etc.

          But I think that many DIYers aren’t doing it themselves because of a backlash against professionals. Personally, I really enjoy doing my own nails; It’s great to put the kids and hubby to bad and have some quiet me time.It’s relaxing. I can sit at home watching TV (the channel of my choice!) in my pjs and take my time. I usually do it at around midnight. I can experiment with techniques and colors, wipe it off and start all over again. I know the cleanliness of my implements and I have all my favorite colors and tools. I still go to nail techs (especially when I travel), but I really enjoy the DIY experience.

          I don’t think I am at all a threat to good nail techs. Most women don’t want to DIY and I’ve referred dozens of people who’ve inquired at my Shellac/Gelish/Gelac/ Gelaration manicure to both the products and my favorite nail techs. I’m a walking ad for the products!

          I think the DIY/pro division is not helpful. I’d like to see pros and DIYers come together to demand more from the products and to move against substandard salons and techs.

  240. Nats says:

    Wow, so many comments!
    I’m surprised that not a lot of people are mentioning or praising Gelish and are instead considering Shellac to be the one and only brand for gels. Because of this I asked for a Shellac manicure at the salon. My nail tech told me that Gelish was actually made first, is stronger, lasts 3 weeks, and has way more colours than Shellac! So I changed my mind and went with Gelish, and I LOVED it! I must add too that no filing was involved either.
    Here is a picture:

    It lasted a month (nail growth was crazy but I was way too lazy to take it off and couldn’t bear to part with it). It wasn’t until 3 weeks in I had a couple of breaks in two nails from doing some heavy duty housework but the Gel didn’t lift, which was impressive.
    Throughout the whole period my nails were smooth and glossy, and if I hadn’t of taken them off, they would have stayed stuck on forever!

    The only draw back was removal- I should have gone to the salon but I did it myself. I had to file some off but I’m guessing it’s because I didn’t use pure acetone to soak off. But all in all Gelish is absolutely fantastic. I was charged

  241. Leyla says:

    I love soak off gel! I do my own nails at home and I favor gelish. I bought my uv lamp from ebay for 12 bucks and it works perfectly. I don’t rough up my natural nails first and I have never had any problems. No chips, peeling, or lifting. My nails have not been weakened at all(lotsa cuticle oil). I have also used star nail ECO soak off with similar results.

  242. Alex B says:

    Hi can anyone help me? I was wishing to buy a gel nail polish system such as shelac; gelish etc and I contacted BMNE direct in Australia. They talked me into buying a gel professional set including LED lamp. I am very disappointed because it includes very thick gel and no gel nail varnish like the Shelac; also I bought an IBD gel varnish and it will not cure under the LED lamp (12 watt). Where have I gone wrong? Have they sold me the wrong thing or am I just not understanding what to do?

    • Laura M. says:

      Oh, so many things wrong with this. First, it’s not your fault. I know you’re not a professional, and honestly that supplier should not be selling you professional products if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing….but that’s a whole other argument.

      Most gels currently on the market do not cure with an LED lamp and the ones that do are created specifically to cure with that brand’s lamp. They have sold you the wrong thing, perhaps thinking you were a nail professional?

    • nancy g says:

      It seems clear that you did not do your homework and got talked into the wrong thing because you didn’t know what you were doing. IBD is a soak off gel system that does not cure under LED. Ordinary soak off gel systems are really for professionals, they’re not that DIY friendly. You should be looking for a gel *polish* like Shellac or Gelish (although Shellac does not cure under LED). Although they are made for professionals, they don’t require special skills to do a basic job. Ulta has now come out with Red Carpet Manicure specifically for home use and Sally sells Gelish.

      I suggest you start from the beginning and study up on soak-off gel polishes and their application. It’s not hard, but there is a process that has a few quirks and nuances. There is plenty of information online on YouTube or The Purse Forum. You should make sure you thoroughly understand the product before you go shopping again.

  243. Jenifer says:

    I strongly suggest to use sunscreen on your hands before doing any uv servuce and drink vitamins for nail so theycan keep atrobg and healthy, and also drink antioxidants or eat a lot of fruits with anrioxidants like grapes, blueberries, to avoid damage to your nails and protect your skin. The constant use of these products can harm, prevention is the best…many have toxic chemicals….i use the shellac, i drink my nail vitamins to keep them healthy, my sunscreen before going and after it is finish i just a natural moisterizer lotion made of beewax with essential oils…

  244. Nicole says:

    I had one of the OPI Axxium manicures in a very light color–I think Bubble Bath–about eight months ago. Wore like iron. Unfortunately, it didn’t want to come off at removal time, either. Soaked FOREVER, more than 10 min, before it started to lift even a little. In the end, my nails were very rough. Spent months using moisturizers and nail oil to get them back in shape. Other women who go to the same salon I use didn’t have this issue. (My luck, I suppose.)

    Finally let my nail tech talk me into the CND Shellac for a French manicure, as the removal should be easier than the OPI. I noticed that when she did it, she used a coat of Seche Vite first, then Axxium Gel Base, then the CND, then finished with a coat of something OPI in an opaque navy blue bottle. Is this normal? Am I going to have issues removing this?

    I’ve never had any kind of acrylics, etc. My OPI Axxium experience was my first try at anything other than a basic manicure. My nails tend to be dry, so I don’t want to do anything whatsoever that might harm the natural nail.


    • anne says:

      she shouldn’t have been mixing formulas.. i’ve had issues with removal from mixing but it shouldnt be that hard to get off.

      • kris says:

        it is OKAY to mix brands if you know what you are doing. The only reason it may be harder to remove is if one of the brands is a non soak off. (typically the sealer or “top coat” is non soak off) Anyway removal should still be less damaging than removing acrylics

        Im a nail tech :)

    • Ellen says:


      sounds like your nail tech used just about every brand available on you. I wouldn’t worry to much this time about getting it off. Using a regular base coat first (the Seche Vite) really helps with removal. I think this is a poor choice for base coat though since it is a wonderful top coat, but tends to peel when applied directly to the natural nail. Also the OPI Gel sealer is less porous than CND Shellac topcoat, and needs to be filed a bit before attempting to remove. No worries, you won’t be filing down as far as your natural nail, but you (or a nail tech) should lightly file the top off so your nails no longer look shiny before you apply acetone wraps.

      Finally, use cotton soaked with acetone and wrap with foil. Don’t be soaking in a bowl of acetone. If you can get some heat on your nails while they are wrapped, (like putting them under a warm heating pad) it speeds things up. The removal of Soak off Gel is the most drying part of the processes.

  245. Catherine says:

    I use Bio Sculpture Gel for my clients and although I do offer Acrylics, Bio-Gel is so much better for the nail! I find that once I have convinced a client to try it out, they very rarely go back to acrylics!

  246. Christine says:

    What makes you think the acetone in a hardware store would be any different than the acetone in a beauty supply store? Just look at the ingredients.

    This stuff can be absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream in the 15 minutes it takes to soften these nails. I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather have them filed off by someone who knows how to do it without injuring my natural nail.

    • Lauren says:

      There are different grades of acetone. It’s not the same as what you would buy in a hardware store.

    • kris says:

      I buy it from the hardware store..when it comes down to it…would you rather be inhaling the filing debris into your lungs or let your nails sit in acetone? There is no long term damage to either of these methods…and in the long run isnt too much worse than smog..
      Also you dont think your nails absorb any of the product used for the enhancments?? i.e. monomers, primers, bonders, gels????

    • Juliette VAO says:

      I use to remove my poish with classic acetone, i dip my nails and it’s very efficient. After you just have to take care of you nail with oil and everything will be ok.

  247. Our favorite at Nail Tech Supply right now is Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony.

    They have 72 Core COlors to choose from and 12 Specialty colors (6 neons, and 6 Effect Colors).

    True 3 week No Chip mani.


    • karen says:

      I love the idea behind the gels but do not care for the soaking and scraping to get the gel off. also the gelfish colors do not look like the sample color nor do they match at all to the regular polish. the gel was cherry red but the regular polish was more of a wine red, that is the color i wanted but now i have mismatch toes and fingernails and they almost clash

  248. Christine says:

    What makes you think the acetone at the hardware store is different from the acetone at the beauty supply?

  249. felicia says:

    i just cant belive some of the questions here! where do you buy a pure acetone? lol come on ladies! u cant be for real now.and someone actualy responded :AT THE HARDWARE STORE?? WOW!also do your research first if you can buy gellish at Sally’s do you realy want to use that in your salon?? Sally’s is for customer do it yourself kinda store isnt it? real proffesional nail techs ussualy dont shope there,at least i dont lol. now about soak off gels,ladies come on all this back and forward betwen CND and OPI? realy? ok 3 words: bio sculpture gel,why? was rewarded 5 about their FACTS first,also OVER 170 COLORS ! Now who can claim that?! yes thats what i more thing please stop drilling and roughng up the nail beds.get a training from a professional first,then use the product on a client dont come up with your own creativity and ruin the name of soak off gels by your stupidity work.thank you

    • Tera says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. When companies make their beauty products available to chain stores, it cheapens them. Bio Sculpture is AMAZING! I have been in the business for over 12 years, and have primarily used CND Acrylic on my clients. Now that Bio Sculpture is here, I have changed my ways! No damage to the natural nail!!! Stays on super long, and the abundance of colors! It’s really a no-brainer if you like Soak off Gels.

      • NancyG says:

        Bio Sculpture is a great product, but I think you are wrong about making professional products available to the public. There are certain products that will naturally migrate from professionals to the DIYer – gel polish is likely to be one – after all, the first DIY gel polish (Red Carpet Manicure) has been introduced at Ulta. Secondly, this thread is about gel polishes, and BioSculpture is not a gel polish, it is a soak-off gel, which is different, both in its application and in its uses. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges.

  250. MsFredd says:

    I am going on week 3! (Haven’t had time to get a new mani) I am AMAZED at this product. I usually never bother with manicures because I’m rough on my hands, work, clean and do dishes, etc… and single, working mom so changing nail polish not on my radar! I’m on week 3 and don’t even have a chip!! Even after cleaning bathroom with bleach, etc… they still look great! The only reason I’ve gotta get them redone is the grow-out. Totally worth the $ ladies, especially if you’re just a “normal” person with work, chores, kids, etc… They look great for so long! It’s a nice “finishing touch” to your “look” and in the end is probably cheaper in the long run because it lasts so darn long! My only complaint is the tech rubbed them with alcohol at the end and two of them were “dulled” looking. I asked her why and she said it made them shiny??? well my rubbing over them for 3 weeks has taken that “film” or whatever off and they are shiny. I’d never been to this salon before & english was at least a 5th language so who knows what the purpose was… I’m hooked now! Sorry I don’t know the brand. it was a white, oval bottle with a little hole in the wrapper on front to see color. I got a purple-y wine color for fall. My friend got a french & it looks amazing as well.

    • Laura M. says:

      So glad you are enjoying your gel polish mani. Without getting too technical, alcohol is used at the end to remove the ‘inhibition layer’ which is a layer of uncured gel and is the normal procedure for ALL true gel and gel polish services. You never want uncured gel on your nails. It can cause allergies down the road. So your nail tech did the correct thing. The dullness on a couple of nails may have been caused by something else but not because of the alcohol. I’m a nail tech, I do know what I’m talking about.

      • felicia says:

        to your response LAURA:
        The dullness on a couple of nails may have been caused by something else but not because of the alcohol. I

  251. sara says:

    I used to get my gel manicures done in a salon until my boyfriend bought me the whole shabang…uv dryer, shellac top, base and color…etc. It worked just like the salom for the first few months but now it starts to peel just a few days after application. I thought my top coat was bad so I bought a new one but it’s still happening! Help nail techs! This is how I do my mani… I use a brush to put acetone on my natural nail, let it dry and apply base coat. Slowly to avoid bubbles and getting it on the skin. Uv for 2 minutes. Then coat of color, uv 2 min, coat of color, uv 2 min. Finally do top coat, uv 2 min and use the brush with the acetone to set. After that I apply cuticle oil. Am I doing something wrong?? My acetone is changing color from dipping my brush in it, could that be the problem?

    • NancyG says:

      At first glance, I notice a number of serious problems with your application. But you do not say what system (Shellac, Gelish, ACG, Geleration…) you are using, so it is not possible to give a precise answer. I notice you wrote shellac in lowercase, so I wasn’t clear if you were using it in the generic (kleenex) way or if you really meant CND Shellac.

      It looks like you are not doing the prep properly or using the proper solution (not acetone); most base coats cure for only 10-30 seconds (Shellac for 10 seconds); you use 99% isopropyl alcohol, not acetone to remove the final inhibition layer; if you are using Shellac, are you using the CND UV lamp? All of these could cause the problem.

      To be painfully honest, it just sounds like you really don’t know what you are doing and that you have not done your homework and research. Have you read the materials and viewed the CND videos on applying and removing Shellac Have you studied the DIY sites like The Purse forum? Have you read the many articles on the internet about gel polishes? You need to do all that to succeed with these gel polishes. Don’t ask a nail tech for help when you are using a professional product improperly.

    • nancy g says:

      At first glance, I notice a numbers of problems. Since you do not indicate what system you are using (Shellac, Gelish, Geleration, ACG…) I cannot give more precise information. Since you put Shellac in lower case and are on the soak-off, not Shellac, thread, I thought maybe you mean shellac in the generic sense rather than CND Shellac.

      Your prep is incorrect, you don’t brush on acetone for prep; no base coat cures for 2 mins, most are 5-30 seconds; You don’t use acetone or a brush to wipe the final inhibition layer, you use 99% isopropyl alcohol.

      To be painfully honest, it looks as if you really don’t know what you are doing. If you are going to get professional products and use them yourself, you need to do a lot of work. As A DIYer myself, I don’t have a problem with this, but you really need to do your homework. Have you read the materials and viewed the CND videos on Shellac application and removal? Have you researched each of the brands and their requirements? Have you consulted DIY sites like The Purse Forum?

      Finally, don’t beg nail techs for help when you’ve used professional only products.

      • Sara says:

        Wow. Thanks for the high and mighty answer. It’s friggen nail polish. I’m not trying diy surgery. “Finally, don

        • NancyG says:

          Wow. That’s an interesting take on giving you the information you requested. I am sorry that you’ve interpreted the comment that way. It was kindly meant.

          While it’s not diy surgery, there are significant health issues involved in using gel polishes that you should be ware of. I think it is useful to understand and be sensitive to the fact that many nail techs feel that we DIYers are taking money out of their pockets when we take products intended for them and use it ourselves (and often our families and friends). It is not an unreasonable sentiment especially given these hard economic times. To then turn around and ask them to correct our technique seems true “effrontery” and not sensitive to their valid concerns.

        • Runner1 says:

          That’s a really nasty response to someone who politely answered your question, pointed out your errors, directed you to other helpful sites and warned you about what would happened if you asked a nail tech the same question. Have you been on any of the profesional nail tech sites when diy people ask questions?! It is a huge gang up on the diyer.

        • Laura M. says:

          As a nail tech, the sense of entitlement here is really off-putting. Someone took the time to offer suggestions and solutions to the problem you are having with your application and you came back with this attitude? And you wonder why we don’t like to help DIY’s? Because it really doesn’t seem to be appreciated.

        • mimi says:

          Geez! That is possibly the rudest response to a helpful answer I seen here! Yeah, it’s not diy surgery but did you know you can *cause* an allergic reaction by having the shellac on your skin or by not curing your shellac properly? And that allergy is permanent?

          No wonder nail techs hate DIYERS like you – to use a product so ignorantly and then beg a nail tech to fix your bad technique is truly obnoxious.

        • Kymbo says:

          Sara, I thought the answer was a little snide, too.

    • Meesh says:

      Sara, I agree her answer was a bit “high and mighty”. No offense to anyone? Sara just wanted to know what she was doing wrong and to answer back with comments like “a number of serious problems here”.. “you dont know what you are doing” the end commentary was a bit offensive as well. I’m sure you can answer in a friendlier fashion rather than scold her like she is your teenage daughter. People seriously need more tact.

  252. Sharon says:

    My experience has been that the polish stays on for about three to four weeks. The worst part is haveing the Gel Nail polish removed. I do not like the idea of soaking my nails for five minuteeeeeees or more in Acetone. When the maicurist finished my nails were brittle, and thin and had a weird color. Maybe the color was just my imagination but I can’t imagine that soaking your nails in acetone could be good for you. I had beautiful nails before the Gel Nail polish with long beds. I now have thin brittle nails. I will let my nails breathe in the winter and let them recuperate. Also after the soaking and scraping my big finger felt a little raw. I ‘m not sure if that is because he used the drill to file some of the remaining nail polish off. My personal preference is not to use anything like the drill as it thins the nail.I had three sets of Gel nail polish. I hope that helps.

    • Linda says:

      Hi There, I’m hoping that everyone reads this post. I haven’t read all of the post about Gel Manicures, however, I will make some statements about them that I know to be absolutely true. I am not a nail professional, just a lay person that has had many experiences with gel manicures.

      1. They do last quite a while. 2-3 weeks.
      2. They totally wreck your nails.
      3. Removing them totally wrecks your nails.
      4. Don’t let anyone every use a drummel on your nails. Very few people know exactly how to use a drummel, and even if they say they are not going deep, the trauma to the nail is terrible.
      5. Your nails will be weak and thin after removing the gel.
      6. Soaking your fingers in pure acetone is very harmful. However, short of sandblasting that gel off, acetone soak is the only way to really get it off.
      7. Don’t let anyone scrape the remaining gel off. Soak until it is all off.
      8. Gel manicures totally damage your natural nails.
      9. When you stop getting gel manicures, and let your natural nails breath again, they will grow and get better/stronger over time. Unless you were already born with paper thin nails.
      I hope this helps.

      • Dee says:

        I’m sorry, I told myself I wouldn’t post on this site again since I’ve better things to do, but after reading this I had to respond. I’ve been doing nails for 23 years as a professional who really cares about the integrity of my clients nails and I somewhat disagree with you. As with all nail products and nail services it really depends on the quality of your nails, the products and how the product is applied and removed…whether it’s done by a “professional” or yourself. Gel polish is not for everyone, but it is a great product for the right nail conditions and you shouldn’t assume your experiences hold true for everyone. I’ve had great success with gel polish on some clients with NO damage to the natural nail, and there are some clients the product just doesn’t last on…the poorer the strength of the natural nail and the rougher the individual is on their nails is usually when the optimal condition of the natural nail is compromised. I think this is a good forum, but there seems to be a lot of inexperienced nail “product users” who post.
        Sincerely, Dee

        • Kate says:

          Hi Dee

          Nice response. My favorite nail salon recommended I switch from plain polish manicures (that always chipped) to UV Gel manicures. They have been great with my nails and were very attentive to me as a client. It is a process in which one would definitely benefit from a professional with experience in the application. The nail tech that did my gel manicure was amazing. The nails look great up to three weeks, even a month with care.
          There is a reason techs go through such extensive licensing and training. I don’t mind paying for quality work.

          Kind regards

      • Kymbo says:

        Hi Linda! Thanks for your post. I completely agree with you. I got the gel nails right before I went on vacation because the technicial promoted it as my color staying true for 2 weeks. Well, she was right, they did. But like you said, they totally wrecked my natural nails. They splt, cracked and were completely damaged and weak after those two weeks – even before. I’ll never get gel nails again!!

        • Renee says:

          I think there is a bit of confusion here. There are Gel Nails, Gel Manicures, Soak off Gels, UVGN etc. Axxium, CalGel, BioSculpture are examples of this. They usually come in a small pot and are a professional only product.

          Then there is Soak off Gel Polish – Shellac being the most known, but also Gelish, Red Carpet Manicure, Geleration, ACG, etc. These generally come in bottles. They are generally professional products, but some are available at Sallys and some are marketed directly to consumers. They should not be filed or drummeled off, nor should you have your fingers soaked in acetone. They should do not damage to your natural nail. In listening to these complaints, I think that many people are getting gel nails when what they want is SOGpolish like Shellac.

          These are very different products but this article and discussion tends to smush them together. Before you get any of these, find out what you are getting (get and brand name) and make sure it’s what you want.

  253. Lizzy says:

    I used schellac but it only lasted 5 days,
    Its came of bye sokeing it in a cotten bud of
    Remover on it and foil over it, you can use
    Acitone ao not i used non acitone and it woked.

  254. Sofia says:

    I have the OPI axxium pale pinks soak-off gel kit. I have done this 3 times now and I have the same problem. I follow these steps (fyi, i use the 45 watts UV nail dryer:

    -clean,buff and shape nail
    -spray nas 99 and apply bond-aid
    -apply clear gel base and cure for 1 minute
    -apply color gel and cure for 2 minutes
    -apply more color gel and cure for 2 minutes
    -apply soak-off gel sealer, cure for 3 minutes

    after the last step, the nail is still very sticky and when I rub a cotton ball soaked with Nas 99, the sealer and part of the gel polish comes off! the nail is left dull and with most of the color removed.

    What am I doing wrong? Please help!

  255. TLM says:

    I think since Michelle originally posted this story, prices have come down. I was surprised to see each Gelish mini was $14 at Sally in Sept. 2011, and the mini-UV lamp was around $25, and if you have a Sally Card, there are further discounts on these. $14 per polish isn’t cheap, but considering these manis last 3 weeks or so, and the price a salon would charge per manicure, it sounded like a less expensive route to me.

    My concern, though, is over the repeated UV light exposure. Gelish has a mini-lamp that mainly hits just the nails, but it still gets the skin around them. And some people have the giant lamps that look like a small mailbox, where you put your whole hand in. I know some people caution to use sunscreen, but I can’t imagine juggling that with the polish, trying to make sure your whole hand is covered, but not the nails.

    It may be only 2 mins. per coat, but if you multiply this per-coat and then per-week and per-year, especially if you like to change colors frequently like I do, that’s more of a risk and a hassle than I want to deal with. Plus, I have an investment in my traditional polishes, which I want to use up.

    I do, however, see this as possibly beneficial for people who have a serious nail-biting issue. The DIY woman who uses it claims it allowed her nails to grow out when they were severely bitten back. When nails are just tiny stumps, where there isn’t enough bed to really form an acrylic nail or attach a tip, then I think Gelish might be a good tradeoff as a temporary measure to allow some growth until acrylics or tips can be applied.

  256. Judy says:

    well I bought $100.00 worth of opi gel off polish and 2 lights . Opi will not cure, I have tried the lightest coat and cured for as long as 7 mins. what a waste.. Yes I’m a DYI but I have used BDI and cured wit no problem..Warning if you a DYI stay away from OPI Gel Off

  257. Vickie says:

    Hi Ladies – has anyone had any issues with allergies to the gel polishes? I was a professional nail tech for 15 years before I changed to doing web design so I’m very experienced in doing my own nails. Back when I was practicing I tried an artificial gel product with uv light and I had the problem of itching and little blisters on my skin and my nail beds were really sore so I could not use those. I just recently got some of the gel nail polish and tho my nail beds are not sore the very tips of my fingers are a cross between numb and painful. My nail beds are fine and look fine, love the product but the very tips of my fingers are number and somewhat painful. Could this be another allergic reaction – there is no itching or anything else. Am I allergic to the product or could it be one of the primers or the uv light? If anyone out there has ever had any experience like this?

    • Rachel Bowen says:

      I have had several applications of ‘permanent nail varnish’ – in France. The product was Beauty Nails.

      Yes, it lasted, but the growth left lots of bare nail with no colour. The finish was perfect – not a chip or split and everyone admired them, particularly at work where I am at a computer all day long.
      Then, the last time, a combination of cotton pads soaked in ‘something’ with foil ‘caps’ and then filing has left my nails in such a state that they are breaking and splitting.
      I have always had very strong nails, with smooth surfaces, and NEVER had a problem with breaking. My toenails, where I haven’t had the ‘permanent’ treatment, are in perfect condition.

      I am leaving the nails of my hands free of polish and using lots of cuticle oil and hand cream to try and restore them.

    • Maggie says:

      Did your fingers get worse? This happened to me 3 days later my tips of my fingers are so numb and now my whole top of my fingers are red. I am thinking I might have to go the doctor benadryl is doing nothing.

    • Mandy says:

      Vickie, I have worked with a few fellow nail techs who developed the same allergy to the product. They even got to the point of needing to wear gloves while doing gel nails. Unfortunately I haven’t heard of any way to reverse the reaction or even keep it at bay. I think you are S.O.L in the pretty nail department :(

    • NancyG says:

      It sounds like a full blown allergic reation. Unfortunately, these allergies tend to be permanent. If you look at DIY boards like The Purse Forum and search on allergies, you will find others with similar issues.

      CND Shellac is advertised as hypoallergenic and, although it is no guarantee, many people who could not wear the other gel polishes can safety and comfortably wear Shellac.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Vickie

      I have also started having severe reactions to the ibd gelac product. I have puffiness of the eyes, sore finger ends (numb, like when you’ve cut your finger nails too short) and a rash on my face. I have used the product for over six months with no problems…the allergic reaction is quite severe, I have tried medication from the pharmacy with no relieft. I have medication from the Docters along with cream for the itiness. I have emailed ibd direct to query wether or not the products should have an expiry date etc on them. I’m so disappointed with a product I only had good things to say about.

      • nancyG says:

        That is terrible. It does not sound like an expiry date issue, though. You can cause an allergic reaction to gel polish by allowing uncured gel to remain on your skin. So, after months of using the product, you suddenly get a severe allergic reaction. What light did you use? Did you use the IBD one? Improper curing is a big cause of allergic reaction. It is likely that the allergy is permanent. You can try CND Shellac, which is hypoallergenic. A lot of people who can’t use other gel polishes can safely use Shellac. You might go to the Purse Forum’s SOG Forum where they have a lot of information on allergies.

  258. peeachediva says:

    I have been very pleased with GELISH. I have used it 3 times now on my nails over the last 3 months. REGARDING SOAKING off , it is imperative to sand the top layer of polish off before soaking in the acetone. I usually do the cotton SOAKED in acetone for 15 minutes, and then the gel peels off pretty easily. A person mentioned that it was really hard to get the gel off. It’s easy to forget the sanding step. I did, and learned from that experience. I love Gelish. it takes a few times to really see how it levels out. You can get really close to the cutical, but then once it cures, you might see it goes a little further. It is important to use really thin layers. I have done several Gelish applications ( I’m a DIYer) and just LOVE ‘Good Gossip’. The good gossip is a rich read color ( like ruby slippers) and has glitter in it. Really sharp and magical.PERFECT for Christmas nails.
    I have a 36 watt uv lamp and it works fine. I got the instructions from the on line videos that you see on youtube. Really well done and informative. Pays to watch several times.
    Hope this helps.

  259. Jen says:

    I have been doing these color gel nails for a couple of months. I really love the way they look and last up to 3 weeks depending on the color. But, I do have to say that my nails are not as strong and healthy as they once were. I am getting splits in nails that never were a problem before. Usually my thumbs are the only problem that way. I think I am going to do the soak off myself and leave them alone for awhile.

  260. Bee says:

    I am new to UV Gel polish. I just got it done on Saturday and I am loving it so far. I’m praying for good soak off results. My nail professional has the Gelish line. So I’ll see in a few weeks.

  261. Tebbs says:

    Well I came on here to find out a bit more info about soak off gel nail polish and have found out loads of really helpful stuff….and the bonus…I dont need to watch any soap on TV tonight as the ‘heated’ and very comical discussions back and forth have made me laugh out loud at times! No offense meant to any of you any thanks all for your help. Also really sorry for pain encountered by some and also the people trying to help, perhaps not as subtly as they could have done, but with the heart in the right place. Im off to buy my CND Shell! Thanks All XX

  262. Donna says:

    why did my nail gel go soft ,I did bond it for 4 minutes .

  263. Annie says:

    My mom is a professional manicurist and she used Daisy Gel Lacquer for me– I decided with a French manicure since it’s cute and professional at the same time. Nail growth didn’t really show at the bottom, obviously since it was a clear coat, but didn’t show at the top until the space between my nail bed and the French tip became obvious.

    This was a breakthrough for me– I’ve never had a manicure last so long before that I could actually SEE that space. Usually after day 2, something has chipped. My first chip didn’t happen until after 3 weeks of heavy keyboarding, dishwashing in hot water, painting, bread making, and even furniture moving. However, after the first chip, subsequent chips followed.

    I can definitely say that the soak-off is probably the biggest downside to gel manicures. I hated the feeling of “dryness” that happened while soaking in pure acetone.

    If you can stand the soak and want your manicures to last long, especially French tips, I’m highly recommending it.

  264. karin says:

    I just got my first gel nails and they used a white bottle with a small circle/dot to show color…anyone know the brand? And can I use polish over these if i am bored with the color? or will i loose my shine? thanks!

    • NancyG says:

      Sounds like Gelish. Look at the Hand and Nail Harmony website and see if that’s what you remember. You can use regular polish and top coat over your Gelish, but it will not be as shiny as the Gelish. You can remove it wit non-acetone polish remover and not damage your Gelish.

  265. Becca Cooper says:

    I have a question. I have axxium soak off gel lacque by opi meet me on the star ferry which I bougbt in vegas at a salon I love the color. My salon has been using it on me but using a different base coat and top coat. It seems to work. I went to a different salon and they told me they could not use it because I needed the same brand for a base coat and top coat. Do I have to invest in gel base, gel sealer, and a mini gel brush and where do I get them from?

    • NancyG says:

      Most soak off systems insist that you use the entire system to maintain safety and prevent service breakdown. Generally speaking, it is considered bad practice to mix items among soak off gel brands, so most salons will only use axxium base with axxium color and axxium top coat.

  266. sam says:

    Has anyone ever had Jessica GELeration gel nails? I am qualified nail tech and want to offer Gel nails to my clients but not sure which product is best (apart from Bio!): Jessica GELaration, Gelish, Calgel or OPI Axxium?

    • nailmania says:

      Calgel is pretty amazing in terms of nail health and duration. Your clients will be pleased. Stay away from Axxium.

    • Renee says:

      I love Geleration. Jessica is a great brand with excellent customer service. It has lots of colors and all of them are also available as regular as regular nail polish which is a great retail opportunity, since clients often want SOGP on their nails and regular polish on their toes. They also like have regular polish for touch ups. Geleration polishes are highly pigmented and applies easily; removal is also easy. It also LED cures.

    • tammy says:

      We use Gelish and Shellac. Love them both. These are gel polishes verses the others are soak off gels. (harder to soak off)

  267. Mary says:

    Can anybody tell me how long I have to cure the OPI Gel Color with the shellac UV lamp?

  268. Tina says:

    So, reading through all of this, its answered a few of my concerns… I have PAPER THIN nails… they rip as easy as ripping a sheet of paper in two. I recently tried the gel technique before a vacation, I LOVE having my nails painted, but its not worth the time or effort to me when it comes off the first time I hop in the shower… I REALLY loved the added strength I had with the gel polish and even though it did start chipping in a week, I think it was from my natural nails normal ripping and tearing. HOWEVER when she took it off it hurt like hell. The scraping was BEYOND not comfortable and the end result was such a mess I had them redone just to get through the holidays. I am am thinking now, that it was because she ran the file drill thing over my nail to rough it up? They are thin enough, I REALLY wasn’t impressed with that. As of right now, they are REALLY a mess, I didn’t want her scraping it again so I got it off myself and probably didn’t get it all off since I didn’t use acetone it peeled right off which would be another indicator that it just ISN”T the place to go for this service. Will have to do some research and see what else is around my area, maybe splurge again around Valentines day.

    • NancyG says:

      It should NEVER hurt to get your nails done. And there is no need to use an efile for gel polish service. All any gel polish needs is a light buffing to remove the shine and many don’t even require even that.

      Do some research and understand what you want. Make sure you understand the difference between a gel manicure and gel polish. Pick a gel polish service that you like and ask for it by name – Gelish, Geleration, Shellac. Don’t let them do anything or put anything on you if you don’t know what it is. You don’t have to be aggressive or defensive about it, just curious. Your best bet is to find a CND Shellac certified salon; they have certain specific standards for application, tools, products and removal that they have to meet.

    • Sarah says:

      Part of the pain is probably because your nails are so thin. I have the same problem if I don’t soak mine long enough when removing for reapplication. I found that OPI’s Nail Envy has done wonders for my nails. Also using straight Vit E oil as a cuticle oil helped them to thicken up on their own. I also take a daily multi, 1000 MG of Biotin, vitamin E, calcium with Vit D and Vitamin C on a daily basis. I have found that this has also improved the health of my nails and hair.

      Nancy G is right, they should never need to use the electric file for the Gel polishes, A simple buffer block would remove the shine sufficiently for application.

      To remove them yourself, you want to break the seal of the top coat by filing through it and a quick file across the free edge. Then you can soak them off one of two ways. You can place them in a warm bowl of acetone that you’ve warmed by placing the bowl in a slightly larger one with hot water in it. The other way (which is what I use) is to soak cotton in acetone, place on the nail and then cover it with foil. I just recently got some things off EBAY that are supposed to fit over your finger tips for soaking off and they work like a charm. I don’t fill them with liquid but rather place the cotton in them and then slide my finger tips in. The point of them or the foil is to keep the acetone from evaporating before it is done softening the gel.

  269. Karen C says:

    I had shellac nail color professionally applied. I got home from the salon and the polish had already started to come off. Then getting the rest off was a tough job. I will stick to regular nail polish… which last me 3 weeks.

  270. Deb says:

    It is time for me to get my manicure again. I have very strong healthy nails with great nail beds. Right know I have my second gel polish on. I was discouraged at how hard it was for them to get the gel off last time. I love the way the gel lasts but I DON’T WANT TO RUIN MY NAILS. How can I be sure they do not ruin my nails. Last time they did use an electric file of some sort.

    • Sarah says:

      Opi axxium last great but wrecks your nails! Im applying Opi gelcolor now which is much kinder on removal and my nail strength has improved greatly but only lasting one week max with LED cure. .

  271. Calean says:

    got a gel nail polish application In Dec 2011. the first application was great, the second not so good. The nail tech, (oriental) pryed the polish off with a cuticle stick, a nail clipper and then a sanding instrument similar to a Dremmel. Needless to say my nails lost the top layer of nail, have become weak and fragile till this day. They are just growing back to the healthy nails that they were. This lesson here, make sure the tech is a licensed knowledgeble preson

  272. ANDREA says:

    how would one apply the polish featured in the top pic? I’m a DIYer and would love to know how to get this look. Love it!!!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Since the gradation was created using gel, it won’t look the same recreated with polish but you could try sponging the tip of the nail or using a nail art brush to drag the color down the nail.

  273. Sarah says:

    I LOVE the gel polish manicures. I’ve only had the Nail Harmony Gelish manicure but it looked so simple and easy to do that I picked up all the supplies to do it for myself since I’m a nail polish fanatic.

    It is so easy to do and lasts for such a long time. And the money you invest in purchasing everything, from the UV Light to the actual polishes, pay for themselves in such a short time. I spent about 30 bucks locally for my manicure. The supplies to start including the light cost me about 100 because I found a starter kit for the Gelish on sale at Sally’s. I’ve done my own manicures about 5 times now, which means I’ve already saved about 50 bucks and will save even more later.

    What I love about them is that if I don’t have the time because of work and school to polish my nails, I still have nice looking nails since I usually use a very light color so that I have a pale base that is easy to polish over. Add to it the added strength its given my thin weak nails and its a win/win. Before gels, I’d everything to strengthen my nails to no avail.

  274. Sue says:

    I’m no dermatologist, but I’d think that using a UV light on your hands would be horribly aging. Trust me, age spots on your hands are some of the hardest things to get rid of, and they really, REALLY make you look old.

    • Mimi says:

      The UV light that is used for soak-off gel is extremely low. Although it has been (wrongly) compared to a tanning bed, the exposure is, in fact, tiny. You might check out a couple of reports by industry experts about this which show that the UV light is minimal and safe.

  275. Lisa says:

    Hi – never was a DIY, but my nail girl that I love just closed her shop. I found another one but it’s an expensive spa so I’m trying to get a DIY once a month and a professional the next time. She used to use this base gel that was in a taller bottle with a pointy lid. It made taking the gel color off so easy that there was almost no scraping. Does anyone know what this might be or any other advice so I can tell my new girl? Also, can you use a regular (non-gel) base coat first then use the gel base coat to make removal easier? Once I find a new professional that is more reasonable then I’m done with the DIY….it looks Ok, but not professional! Thanks

  276. emily says:

    I got my color gel manicure about 4 days ago. Today I seem to have acquired several chips, one really big piece off of my thumb nail. Has anyone else had this problem? Is it just my nails? Regular nail polish chips off my nails easily as well.

  277. carla says:

    gelcolor polish does not use a uv lamp the beauty of this product is the ‘led lamp’

    • Mimi says:

      Actually, according to the instruction manual for GelColors you *can* use a UV lamp but you should use the OPI LED lamp.

  278. Tatiana says:

    HI, I have used opi soak off, just twice and it has totally ruined my nails. I don

  279. Shoana says:

    I have had Gelish gel polish applied three times at the salon I get my pedi’s at. Love the longevity of the color since I work in a lab and wear gloves which cause regular polish to chip quickly. First removal involved acetone soak off. Had a second application of Gelish applied immediately but noticed my nail beds felt a little tender and looked a little flaky after removal. Removed the second application myself at home in an attempt to avoid the bowl of acetone soaking process. I purchased Gelish Soak Off nail remover, soaked cotton balls in it, placed on nail bed, wrapped in foil, waiting 10 min, then pushed off with cuticle stick. Some weren’t coming off very easily so I soaked again until they did. My nails were extremely sensitive following removal, the nail beds hurt, and the nails seemed very thin and brittle. All my nails broke or ripped off. It reminded me of the way my natural nails looked 15 years ago after having acrylic nails removed. I did some research online and thought if I used some cuticle oil daily that would prevent this from happening. Purchased Gelish Nourish cuticle oil and returned to the salon after waiting two months for the application. I have been applying the oil to cuticle and surrounding skin daily now. Should this help moisturize the natural nail? Is this the right approach to take to prevent the problem I was having? Your recommendations would be most appreciated.

  280. Karen says:

    I had a CND Shallac french manicure a few months ago. It was my first time doing anything other then a regular manicure. I have really strong nails with a long nail bed and I don’t want to ruin that so I’ve never been a fan of acrylics. I’m not sure if the manicurist did something wrong but it lasted 3 DAYS! 50 bucks and it didn’t even last as long as a regular manicure. After about the second day my nails started to peel at the edges and you could see water getting under the paint.

    Needless to say, I did not see the worth and 3 days of wear is no where near the 2-3 weeks that everyone says. Personally, I’ll just stick to doing my own manicures at home. They look just as good and its WAY cheaper.

    • nancyG says:

      A Shellac manicure that lasted only three days was incorrectly done and you should have returned to the salon for a re-do or refund. No way a gel manicure of any brand should peel or chip after three days – not at $50 a pop!! Even Shellac I do at home last 10 days.

  281. Drod says:

    I am using the axxium soak off gel base and lacquers. I just bought 10 jars of the axxium gel base system not the soak off.
    This product is much lighter and thinner. I’m unable to return the product. Does anyone know if the axxium gel base system is compatible with the Axxium soak off gel lacquer.

  282. SUSAN ABOU says:



    • Dee says:

      Also, I use a heating pad in the winter months (sprayed with disinfectant and covered with a fresh paper towel for each client) to alleviate the product setting issues.

    • Stephanie Long says:

      Do you have her use an oil on her nails regularly for maintenance. It could be the dry winter air more than her cold hands.

  283. Miss-kitty says:

    I recently tried Gelish,,ya,,it was from Sally’s,,but I love the heck out of it. I’ve taken it off with no damage. The BEST part is no drying time. I can get back to my life right away. Even wash my hair. Next time,,I’m going to try a little art. It’s worth the work because it lasts so long.

  284. Kate says:

    WOW! very cool. I didn’t know you could do styles like this with gel polishes

  285. Kathyg says:

    I’m a bit confused with all the names for these nail products. I think some are types of polish, some are types of procedures and some are brand names. What are the categories of all of the ways of doing this and what are the differences and which one is the best?

  286. Mary says:

    Thanks for the advice on the different brands! This article was such a great resources. I’ll have to try out a few and see which ones work best for me.

    Also, this process is actually really easy at home (as long as you have some nail painting ability) and may be a chunck of change up front ($50), but ends up being cheaper than going to get manicures all the time.

  287. Jenn says:

    Just a warning ladies. I used to have long beautiful healthy nails. Then I got them gelac-ed at a reputable salon for 3 months. My nails are ruined and even after months of giving it up, they shred and peel. Stay away. It looks pretty but it’s poison and will catch up with you eventually.

    • nancyG says:

      I don’t mean to sound like an apologist, but if gel nail polish ruined your nails, it’s not because it’s poison. It’s because someone did them wrong – and it sounds like they did them wrong for a while. You *can* do damage with gel polish; you can over buff them, you can aggressively remove cuticle, and (most common) you can do terrible damage removing them. The salon may have been reputable, but unfortunately that’s no guarantee that they knew what they were doing. It will probably take 6 months to grow out your nails. You might try Gelish Vitagel Recovery or Salon Science Starting Over After Artificials in the meantime.

  288. Janner says:

    I have found so much helpful information here. While I respect the opinions of the nail professionals, not all DIYer’s have access to professionals. I do not have a nail salon in my country town and I cannot afford to drive over 1.5 hours to get to a nail salon. I cannot afford to take that much time out away from my job and my life to drive treacherous roads for manicures. So this DIYer is not taking money out of anyone’s pocket. Just safely staying home to have beautiful nails. I just wanted to say that the information is imperative to many of us that really appreciate the help and can’t get to a salon. Thank goodness I have a hair stylist or I would be sunk. Hee.

  289. Susan says:

    Thank you all for your comments which I have found very useful.I am anew user of uv gel polish and have watched utube etc trying to get all the info I could before I started doing it my self. I live on a 50foot boat in New Zealand and so cant easily get to a salon. I have been using CND base and top coats with any brand of uv gel polish in between these layers.This works well for me and I use acetone wraps to remove which I do VERY carefully as I have fragile nails.An other trick I do Is to use a soak off gel( UV cured )on ym thumb and first fingers to give me extra strength as I am a bit of a tomboy !

  290. janner says:

    If you are afraid of the UV rays then get an LED light to cure your gel nails. I have the Red Carpet Manicure Brand. If you want to stick with the UV lamp they sell gloves on Amazon or you can just put sunscreen on your hands.

    I really like the Finger Paints Gel Polish from Sally Beauty.

    I did see on Dr. Oz when he had a segment on gel nails. He said to use LED or use Sunscreen. I hope that helps.

    • nancyG says:

      Dr. Oz doesn’t know a thing about gel nails and misrepresented it abysmally! Both UV and LED lamps emit the same kind of light – UV. LED and UV are simply different mechanism to create the light. The difference is only in the wavelength. UV (or more properly CFL-UV lamps) emit from 300-400nn and LED-UV around 380-400nn. LED-UV lamps are no safer than CFL UV, which are already quite safe. You get more UV exposure driving to the salon than from a UV lamp!.

  291. charge89 says:

    First off, I will warn you all that I am a DIYer. I have watched all kinds of videos on youtube and around the internet and read through multiple forums so I’m pretty sure I’ve got the basics down.

    However, I have always had issues keeping nail polish on and gel nails only last a few days to a week. However that’s at least two and a half days longer than regular nail polish… The regular nail polish lifts and chips all over my nail, but the gel polish lifts near my cuticles and then comes off in one piece. After doing research, I thought it was because I was applying the polish too close to my cuticles and so I was more careful to make sure it was only covering the nail. But they still lift near the cuticles whether the gel is touching the cuticle or a centimeter from it…

    I do tend to have thin nails that often break off instead of growing long and the soak off gel has been a good solution to that, but it would be nice to get my manicures to last more than a week.

    The worst part is, I’ve gotten my nails done by professionals (I’m not sure they all really qualified as professional, but a few of them did) as well. Acrylics last about a week and a half if I’m lucky, but my nails get way to thin from all of the filing and they never seem to understand that my nails are already thin and that they don’t need to file them much more… I’ve been to several places. Gels done in salons also only last me about a week. Usually just slightly longer than if I’d done them myself. However, most nail techs I’ve used file my nails to death and so I prefer to do all of it myself so that I can only remove the shine and not half the thickness of my nail.

    From what I’ve told you, do you think the fault lies with my application skills, my nails themselves, or something else entirely? If it is my fault on the application, do you have any suggestions as to what I might do to make it last longer?

    I’ve tried using Gelish base coat, color, and top coat and it lasted a few days. If I use iBD builder gel to make it thicker and stronger, it lasts nearly a week so that’s usually my best bet. I later began mixing in FingerPaints GelPolish because it is a little bit cheaper than Gelish. Using the GelPolish base coat shortens the life of the manicure, but using the colors and top coat doesn’t. I also have an OPI base coat that I’ve tried, but it doesn’t do as well as the Gelish base coat or the Gelish Vitagel Nail Strengthener used as a base coat. I believe that might be because I am using a 9 Watt UV lamp. Everything fully cures, but perhaps if I used something more powerful or an LED, it would last longer?

    I appreciate any thoughts on the matter. I cannot find any good nail technicians in my area that are able to help me or who can even manage to do a much better job than I do on my own or tear up my poor nails in the process of trying.

  292. Kris says:

    I have had two gel (OPI — Bubble bath) manicures. The first lasted 3 days before it started peeling at the cuticle end. The salon has a 2 week guarantee and were very nice to work with. However, when I went in to have it fixed, they had me soak in a bowl of acetone in a double boiler (hot water in the bowl below it.) The gal picked and sanded on my nails and like one of the others, my finger nails almost hurt and burned. She put the second set of gels on and they were riddled with lumps and bumps from the sanding being done on the lady next to me.

    Over all I have been impressed with the gel itself — shine still remains, stayed on, made my normal peeling nails non-peeling, etc. I loved that part of the manicure.

    But I won’t do it again. Right now I’m in week 4 and the gels are still holding on. I’ve cut/trimmed my nails myself, took a buffing file to the edge closest to the nail bed and have sanded/buffed it slightly so it angles into the natural nail. I’m just polishing over it. I will continue to do this until the gel part has either come off on its own or grows out. Then it will be back to doing the natural nail with a buff and shine for me.

    I love the look of the gel, love its long lasting, etc. But I don’t want to go through the cost, time, and frustration of having it done again. What a bummer.

    • NancyG says:

      You probably already know this, but I feel compelled to say that the salon you went to did your gel manicures completely wrong. Peeling at the cuticle end is a sign of bad prep and/or that the gel was applied too close to the skin and lifted. Your nails should never be soaked in acetone, but wrapped with wrappers that keep the acetone on your nails and off of your skin. In fact, OPI GelColors should be removed with OPI expert Touch, not acetone. Your nails should not be sanded for a gel polish mani. If you like gel manicures, you might consider doing it yourself, there are many brands that have consumer lines and lots of resources out there for DIYers.

  293. Kim says:

    I recently graduated from nail tech school and had the honor of meeting the woman who brought CalGel
    to Japan and made it what it is today! AMAZING experience and talented beyons words. HOWEVER in school we used Trump. I am about to be a booth renter and am curious as to what Gel system you guys suggest? I could take the CalGel class at my school because my instructor offers the class and was actually trained by… oh I can’t remember her name… but my instructor said “she is calgel…” lol OR I could use Trump which I’m familiar with… my instructor is the only distributer of trump in the united states so idk how known it is in the states…. any suggestions on brands? Doesn’t have to be calgel Or
    Trump but those are the only two I am familiar with…

  294. Dee76 says:

    As a tech, I am always finding new ways to protect a gel manicure, with the prep and wear. I find by experience that prepping is what causing the thinning of the natural nail not the soaking off. We are so concern about about satisfying the customer and ourselves when applying, that we find ourselves prepping excessively and removing improperly. I just aim at getting all the skin off the cuticle, and side wall., patiently. Buffing is the main factor of thinning the nail. You only suppose to be smoothing the after math of moving the skin from the cuticle. A couple swipe of a the highest buffer should do fine, not sand buffing. For the best adhesive, make sure yours and client nail are thoroughly clean. I use a cleanser, dehydrator, and a non acid primer, or protein bond all the way to the free edge. before I even start the application, that’s even if I feel the client don’t have oily nail beds, or says she been having problems with lifting. DIY is always a challenge, because you don’t no if you want to do one hand at a time or do both hands with light curing as you go. Meaning cure to set 20 second to set then do the full cure in between layers. Remember doing both hand is faster but you risk the chance of your gel running back into your cuticle and side walls, so you have to be really
    Precise and fast. By doing one hand at a time you risk the chance of getting gel on the finish hand(OMG). Warning allergies comes from under curing and over curing. when you feel a burning sensation take your hand out, because you have gel somewhere on your skin, or you are over curing. Nail services should make you feel beautiful after the result, not the other way around. If you have thin or brittle nails to begin with, it very important that you use cuticle oil 3x a day. The thinness is just you DNA, sorry can’t be changed, but the cuticle oil will strengthen them. I make my own, which I use omega 3 capsules, jojoba, or grape seed, antioxidant capsules, beta-c cap, a fragrance oil of my choice like lavender, orange. Because the omega 3 doesn’t have a pleasant spell and only use a couple drops of the antioxidant and beta-C cause they consist of mineral so it’s not a oil base, and the oil will have a tent. But it still blends into skin and nails without staining. So, I combined all, trust it’s way better then the store both, because potency comes when you make it. I have no hate toward the DIY, because we have to understand the clients are frustrated, when they are charged for service and not rendered a happy moment with the results. However, it is sad that, chop shops are everywhere, and only worried about getting you in and out. But still, How many times your nails have to be damaged, before you find a professional that actually takes the the time to perfect their skills. It’s not the client fault, because they are tired of being Ginny pigs. Tech need to continue to research, and those that do will reap the benefits of always having potential clients repeats. Keep your heads up nail tech, that cherish this skill. You will see your blessing, for hard work put in, that’s if you’re not already seeing it. Have a great 2014.

  295. C. says:

    put warm pure acetone in a glass bowl (warm acetone by putting the bottle in a hot bowl of water, never microwave!) place fingertips (whole nail) into acetone cover hand with towl to keep in the warmth for about 5 to 8 minutes….remove fingers and use a metal cuticle pusher to gently slide gels off.

  296. Cindy says:

    The gel polish should be stirred well before application. I’m confident this is reason for sheer look. I use Shellac, Harmony and soon Gelac by IBD nail syatems as they are brush on gel polish- making faster, thinner and more polished look. Must try. Nothing against Axxium as it was the first soak off gel on the market, only used a little myself but price line and old fashioned jar and brush is not cost/time effective for me.

  297. Diane says:

    Where do you get pure acetone?

  298. Kim says:

    I got my first polish two weeks ago and loved it. It was beautiful and stayed that way for two weeks. I went in for the soak off and they soaked my nails and acetone and then pushed the soft polish off with a metal cuticle pusher. I looked at my natural nails after and they appeared healthy. I had the second mani with gel polish and again I am very happy. The mani is perfect. I am really pleased with the salon. They really took their time. It was pricey, but well worth having beautiful nails with minimal upkeep. The salon has my repeat business for their time and quality work. Overall I spent $35.00 for the soak off and another mani with gel polish. With a tip I am spending approximately $80.00 a month. I believe it is money well spent. Gorgeous natural nails.

  299. magoo says:

    watch your lungs! You don’t want to breath this kind of vapor

  300. nailmania says:

    yes, that method works but it is harsh to the nails and fingers. Foil method is definitely better, as acetone is concentrated gel nail only, so less damaging.

  301. Jane says:

    At any hardware store in the paint section.

  302. nancy g says:

    Any beauty supply store, Sally for example, will have lots of pure acetone in sizes from 4 oz to a gallon.

  303. Holly says:

    You can get it at Sally Beauty Supply.

  304. Stormie says:

    Sally’s beauty supply should have it :)

  305. Sara says:

    Walmart, Target, etc. By the nail polish removers.

  306. Anne says:

    Ladies please don’t put anything on you nails that you buy at a hardware store.If it is formulated for wall paint it will not be healthy for you natural nails. And be sure you wash it off with soap and watere when you are finished with it. You can buy pure acetone (salon grade) at most retail beauty supply store.

  307. mary says:

    Kim, what brand did you get?

  308. Bobbie says:

    I enjoyed reading the comments on soak-off gel nails which I have just started using. My only concern is the possible damage to your hands or system from the UV light. Does anyone have a comment from a dermatologist from the use of UV light on the hands? Also, what is the difference between OPI gel polish and SOG or Shellac?

  309. anne says:

    the only thing different about the acetone at a beauty supplier and acetone at a hardware store is the price. acetone is acetone whether you’re using it for gel removal, thinning paint or meth labs..

  310. felicia says:

    lol i just loved your comment :)

  311. NancyG says:


    OPI is a gel polish and Shellac describes itself as a “power polish.” I would say that Shellac is more like a regular polish and OPI more like a gel.

  312. Don’t worry about the UV light, it is special designed which is soft, harmless, the light will never penetrate into into your skin, and what’s more, the cure time is so short which is completely no damage. —- Feifan Cosmetics

  313. pleiades357 says:

    Some, most, acetone sold as “polish remover” is buffered with other chemicals, often alcohol. How much difference that makes in the long run… the idea is it will not be as harsh or drying to nails and skin.

  314. tammy says:

    there is no difference between soaking in a bowl of acetone and wrapping acetone soaked cotton in foil. I have done both ways and acetone gets on the skin no matter what.