A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to a nail salon to get pedicures. While we were there, the women were talking about “UV gel manicures.” They said that they are supposed to last for ages, don’t chip, stay shiny, and help to protect your nails. My mom knew someone from work who had gotten one before she went on a vacation to the beach and when she got back a week later, her nails still looked freshly painted. We decided to try it out.
I generally don’t paint my nails because I do a lot of work with my hands (ie: illustration work, computer stuff, photography, jewelry, etc.) and I don’t have the patience for the polish to dry. Somehow, even if I go somewhere to get a manicure, I always wind up with at least a smudged nail or two that same day, so it just doesn’t seem worth it.
The salon we went to used the UV gel polish by OPI. It looked like it was formaldehyde and toluene free, just like their regular polish. A lot of the colors they carried looked like they coordinated with their regular line of polish (same name and same color). In between coats, you put your hands under a UV light to “set” the polish. Once you are finished with your manicure, your nails are completely dry. No worrying about smudging! Another plus? No strong toxic smell!
The color that I chose was “Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie.” It was a shimmery light-medium pink color:
It stayed on for a good two weeks without any chipping. At the end of week two, it was also still shiny and looked freshly painted. However, after two weeks, it was noticeable that my nails were growing out and you could see the white crescent shape part of my nail. When I went to remove the polish, I discovered that there is no easy way to remove it yourself! I did read that you can paint over it with regular polish if you want to, so this was my solution in the meantime:
Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips. They have a bunch of different designs – you can see them all here. I chose “Cut it Out.”
I like them ok. The nail polish strips took about as long to apply as regular polish, if not longer, but there was no drying time. As soon as I opened the little package with the strips I could smell that “nail polish smell” and it took the smell quite a while to dissipate once they were on. Personally, I’m not a fan of that smell and it tends to get to me after awhile so I really had to air out my nails and later wash them with some lemon soap to try to neutralize it. If you are sensitive to smells, these might not be for you.
As a side note, it says on the box that these DO NOT have DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde, so that is definitely a plus.
I got a few compliments on them when I was out running some errands around town this weekend. People were really curious how I got the design effect. Would I use them again? Probably. They were a pretty fun change to switch it up a bit. I might try another design next time. Will I use them all the time? No, they are a fun novelty every once in awhile, but I will probably mostly stick with my regular polish (if I paint my nails) in the future.
Have you tried uv gel manicures or the new nail polish strips? What are your favorite polish brands and colors?