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Lacquered Up

If you’re anything like me, you’re a woman about the house which, of course, involves, cleaning, cooking and child-rearing. This all results in much hand washing which in turn leads to dish-pan hands and what? That’s right! chipped nail polish…and I hate it.

In my quest to be less of an apparent tomboy aside from my love of sports, I’ve been polishing my fingernails more often for the past two years.  I’d never been consistent with it if I wasn’t receiving a gel overlay at the nail salon because the polish wouldn’t stay on for long without chipping, cracking or peeling.

On Monday, I had my first experience with what has quickly become a major trend in nails and I must say that I’m on this wagon charging full speed ahead!  For months, my gal pal, professional nail care specialist and proprietor of Sole Elegance, Leah Little, had been singing the praises of nail care industry leaders CND’s Shellac and O-P-I’s Axxium Soak-off UV Gel Nail Polish (what a mouthful!).

What’s Soak-off Gel Polish?
Unlike traditional nail polish, this gel lacquer is “cured” under a UV light to dry after each layer is applied. And much like traditional polishes, soak-off gels come in a variety of colors and finishes. The pretty color on my nails below is O-P-I’s “Russian Navy”.  I’m in love!

Now, this is day 5 and it still looks as fresh as day 1–not a chip in sight.  I’ve washed dishes everyday (sans gloves) and washed my hands countless times since Monday.  Usually, my traditional polish would have started chipping and peeling during the second dishwashing session. I’m very impressed.

Two weeks ago, I had a beautiful royal purple applied in the classic lacquer but it only lasted from Saturday to Wednesday before the first chip appeared (and that was with wearing gloves and all) but by Thursday night, there was no hope.  Next time I will get that color with the Axxium.

The Benefits
Dry TimeLiterally the minute I was out of the chair, I was able to stick my hand into my purse to get my keys without worrying about knicks, smudges or dents.

Stands the Test of Time – It lasts for up to 2 weeks (maybe even longer) with no chipping, peeling or cracking.

No Filing or Drilling –  You can forget about filing and drilling that leaves your natural nails thin and brittle.

No Fake Tips Needed – A definite plus is that it can be applied to the natural nail, it even strengthens the nail when applied which leads to healthy nail growth.

The Drawbacks
Cost – Soak-off gel lacquer is only avaliable as an exclusive professional salon service and at many salons, the service costs more than a traditional manicure.

Obvious Nail Growth –  If you choose a solid dark polish, by week two, growth will be very obvious. To me, that’s minor if you’re keeping up with your nail care and no different then needing a fill-in with traditional nail enhancement sets.

Removal – Unlike other enhancements, if you want to change your polish color, you will have to completely remove the gel and then reapply in another color. 

The Brands
There are a plethora of companies that have jumped on this wave but the most talked about brands would be OPI Axxium (featuring 41 oh-so-gorgeous shades including 6 Holiday limited edition shades), CND Shellac (featuring 12 glamorous & girlified shades) and CalGel (over 80 fun & fashionable colors).

The Verdict
There isn’t much I can say except that I’m sold, I’m a fan and I’m hooked.  Soak-off Gel Lacquer will be my “go-to” for long lasting, high shine nail color. If nothing else, soak-off gel lacquer is the perfect choice in polish for a pedicure in the winter. 

Have you tried the Soak-off Gel Polisht?  If so, tell me about your experience including which brand was used.  I’d like to hear from you.

If you haven’t had the chance to try it out, ask your nail care professional if they offer this service at your next visit.  If not, you may contact any of the companies named above to find out which salons near you are using their products.

And if you would like more information on how to maintain your manicure & pedicure between salon visits, head on over to Leah Little’s Simply Beautiful blog.

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