OPI Gelcolor

OPI Gelcolor - Icelanded a Bottle of OPI

To date, I own two OPI Gelcolor polishes.

  • Bubble Bath – because I am boring practical it is pretty and simple.
  • I’m Not Really a Waitress – because it is a classic. As soon as I knew it existed in the OPI Gelcolor formula I had to buy it.

I’d own more if it weren’t so damn difficult to get my hands on. Like full-sized Gelish bottles, OPI Gelcolor is officially distributed only to professionals. You know, so us plebeians don’t destroy their reputation or something.

OPI Gelcolor Key Points (Mini-Review)

My experience with OPI Gelcolor has been overwhelmingly positive. The two colors I own:

  • apply with relative ease. On a five point scale, I’d rate it a 5
    (for reference, I’d call China Glaze Gelaze a 4 in ease of application, Red Carpet Manicure a 3, and Gelish a 2)
  • cure properly in both my original and new Sensationail LED lamps without issue
  • wears gracefully and with longevity – I usually get 12 solid days with my application.
    (important note: I don’t have the full OPI system – I don’t use their base and top coat when I DIY!)
  • soak-off removal is easy

The bad news:

  • INRAW isn’t quite the same as the classic, regular nail polish formula.
    This isn’t uncommon with gel versions of existing colors.

In short – I really enjoy the product even if my classic favorite is a bit different.

Deviating from the Norm

Read moreOPI Gelcolor

Cuticle Oil & Pedicures

Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift. Content is the same but may have been edited for clarity, flow, and with some thoughts from 2017.

In retrospect, this seems really obvious. Maybe it already occurred to you, but it only occurred to me recently.

Good Riddance to the Remnants

I was removing the remnants of my last DIY pedicure (China Glaze I’m With the Lifeguard; a delightfully obnoxious shimmery lime green). I didn’t do a full pedicure with callus removal, but I did file the nails into a more respectable shape and length, gently bullied the cuticles back to where they ought to be, and cleaned up the errant bits of the eponychium.

Normally, at this point, I’d throw an AHA lotion on them (like Alpha Hydrox’s 10% lotion), some cotton socks, and go to bed.

2017 Update: I don’t bother with an AHA lotion for my feet anymore with my foot care routine. Instead, I just use any thick lotion I have lying around – right now, that’s this Hawaiian Tropic After Sun lotion. It smells like lime and coconuts and summer – which is great when October is in denial about what season it should be.

Cuticle Oil + Pedicure = No Brainer

This time, I skipped the lotion because (lazy moment) it wasn’t in arm’s reach. Instead, I slapped some of my Josie Maran Argan Oil Light on them, massaged it in, and went about my evening.

Read moreCuticle Oil & Pedicures

Holographic Glitter Gel Nails (aka Rockstar Nails)

This legacy post was one of my favorites to do. I’ve given it a bit of a facelift for flow and clarity, but the content remains the same! I shared these easy-to-reproduce glitter gel nails before the holo and chrome crazes took root – so take that, trends!

Glitter gel nails, also referred to as rockstar nails, is a glitter-dense style is used both for accent nails as well as full manicures. This form of nail art is commonly considered a premium service (and is, therefore, more costly!) at salons, but glitter gel nails are easy and (to my surprise) fast. If you are so inclined, you can wear them all the time with minimal effort.

glittergel_11Glitter Gel Nails

If you’d like to learn how to achieve these glitter gel nails / rockstar nails, continue past the jump for details and a tutorial!

Read moreHolographic Glitter Gel Nails (aka Rockstar Nails)

A Bit Shady: OPI Swatches

Nail polish was my first (beauty) love. Even though my nail polish wardrobe is smaller these days I’m lame, I still feel a rush of completely ridiculous excitement when I spot a majestic shade. (Zoya Dream, can you stop haunting me? Thanks.) OPI makes my longest-loved (still manufactured) shade, I’m Not Really a Waitress. I don’t really wear it year-round anymore, but it is pretty much the only thing on my nails from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It makes guest appearances throughout the year as the mood strikes. It was on one such mission to plan repurchase and admire swatches of this polish that I noticed that OPI swatches are inaccurate, computer-generated garbage.

OPI Swatches aren’t Swatches

Not in that they’re low-quality, shoddy lighting, on ugly nails. No – OPI swatches are flat-out digitally whipped up lies. Not retouched, nay; a fabrication in their entirety.

My beloved, beautifully swatched by Elegantnails.com:

Then, the ridiculous embarrassment provided by OPI themselves:

Read moreA Bit Shady: OPI Swatches

Sensationail Express Gel Application & Wear

Sensationail Express Gel

A few months ago, a commenter asked if I had tried Sensationail Express Gel ($6) At the time, I had not yet heard of the product and was left baffled.

Getting my Hands on Sensationail Express Gel

I was surprised to see that Sensationail Express Gel has such mediocre reviews; after all, their original line is pretty solid. It was my first gel polish product and although I wouldn’t call it the best ever, it is reliable and I repurchase. I endeavored to try and judge Sensationail Express Gel myself; I eventually picked up a bottle with the few dollars I had remaining on a Target gift card.

So far, I’ve only seen the product in Target.

About Express Gel

Express Gel, which first launched in the UK, seems similar in concept to their ill-received Fuse product. Sensationail Express Gel claims to be a base coat and top coat free product featuring no cleansing. It supposedly requires less application effort than China Glaze’s Gelaze product.

Sensationail Express Gel may be cured with their old or new LED lamp and cure times are similar to their classic product. Cure times may vary slightly from color to color, so be sure to check the packaging. Sensationail suggests that darker colors may take longer to cure.

Application

Like every gel polish, I prepped my nails with a quick buff and wash. Next, I applied the dehydrating primer to each nail. Then, I applied the colored gel polish to each nail and cured.

The color I chose, My Cherry Amour, was nearly opaque in two coats. I could have stopped there but decided on doing three for super-full coverage. It applied easily and without a fuss.

Wear

Applied as-intended, I got six days of wear without any chips. It isn’t bad, per se, but I have higher expectations when it comes to gel manicures. I removed and reapplied with a single coat of Sensationail’s top coat – and got 12 days!

Twelve days of wear is definitely acceptable for a gel polish by my terms. I was satisfied.

Removal

Application was easy, but removal was another story. Unlike most other gel nail polishes, including Sensationail Classic and Gelaze, this required some work to remove.

I’m a bit of a punk and don’t remove my gel the intended way. For the most part I can get it to pop right off (yes, without damage – otherwise I wouldn’t do it) without soaking.

Express Gel, however, required the whole nine yards; buffing the top layer. Soaking. Scraping away with their metal removal tool (though an orangewood stick would do just fine).

The Bottom Line

Even though removal was annoying to me, I think Sensationail Express gel is a nice addition to the line. Apparently, there are colors that are full-coverage in 1-2 coats. I personally wouldn’t wear without a top coat, but a total of only 2-3 coats vs. the conventional 4-5 makes the process much faster.

At this time, I’m uncertain as to whether or not I would buy more colors in this formula. I think if the color were unique to me, I would – but otherwise I might pass because the extra steps don’t bother me.