single mom

OPI GelShine Review

I’m hard on my nails.

On my hands, nail polish might last a day or two before it’s too chipped for me to stand it any longer. Because I really like having my nails painted at least most of the time, this meant I was painting my nails two or three times a week. That’s just too many times, especially with a toddler. Way back in January, I started researching gel polishes, and finally settled on the OPI GelShine kit from Sephora.

My first instinct was to run quickly in the other direction. The Gel Nails at-home kit retails for 189.00 plus taxes. After thinking about it, I realized that I could pay $200 and change to do manis at home whenever I want, or I could use that money to have four – maybe five – shellac manis at the salon. It’s a big investment right off the hop, though. The cost includes your base and top coats, gloves, removal pads, acetone, a cuticle oil, cuticle pusher, “finishing spray” (aka alcohol), the UV light and your choice a colour.

I chose I’m Wired – a pinky coral shade.

Curing between coats.

My first manicure took about an hour to complete. Now it takes about half that time. The key is to use thin layers of the polish, curing between coats. While it’s not *quite* as hardy as a professional gel colour set, I can usually get at least a week to ten days out of my colour. Not bad, considering the time investment and the abuse my poor hands undergo daily.

Unlike regular polish, if I do get a single rogue chip I can’t simply patch it up with a drop of colour. This is a bit of a drag, but not a deal breaker. Chips do still happen, just not as easily or as regularly. For this reason, I actually prefer not to use a gel mani when I’m going away for a few days and need my nails to look nice, unless bringing the full kit with me is an option. It’s pretty awkward to travel with though.

4 days of wear – no chips. Colour, I’m Wired!

If you don’t cure your nails, the colour will never dry and you will regret ever having heard of GelShine. Seriously. Make sure you don’t forget to cure well and finish with a spritz and a rub of the finishing spray for shine and to remove the tacky feeling.

I used the GelShine kit religiously for about 2-3 months after initially purchasing it before I slowly moved back to using regular polish. The gel is hard on your nails, and the removal is less than fun. I don’t have time to sit with acetone on my nails for 15-20 minutes every week. It’s just not feasible. Looking back, I might not have purchased it, but I do still pop it out occasionally for a mani (I did one this week!) when the mood is right. It’s great for pedicures, because the colour stays on FOREVER.

I’m largely disappointed by the selection (or lack thereof) of GelShine colours. They don’t even have black! UGH. I purchased four additional colours: It’s All About Me (a punchy pink), Already Famous (a shimmery, champagney taupe), Bare to Be Different (a sheer, warm ecru) and Caffeine Fix (a dark plum). At $21 a pop, the price is pretty steep so it’s been a while since I purchased any and I likely won’t again for a long time to come. I’ve found that, if you use a good polish (OPI, China Glaze or even Essie) you can get away with regular polish covered with a gel top coat but the removal is messy!

I imagine you could use other brands of Gel polishes but I haven’t tried… yet.

I wouldn’t be quick to recommend the OPI GelShine kit. It’s my understanding that Sally Hansen has a much more affordable option, and unless you absolutely need to be wearing the same colour polish for 7-10 days the whole gel polish thing is a bit overrated. That said, I do love my kit. It gives a great manicure that lasts and once you get the hang of it, it’s no more difficult than painting your nails AND you don’t have an hour of drying time.

Next week, I’m reviewing a product I don’t like. Stay tuned!

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