I told y'all a couple of weeks ago of my intrepid trip through end-of-the-world type rain out to Urban Beauty in Ranelagh, where the lovely Etain sorted me out with a set of OPI Axxium Soak-Offs - an "everlasting" gel overlays manicure with a difference.
There was no painful prep where my natural nails were buffed until they bled, which means your own nails are damaged as little as possible from the get go. And when it comes to removal, these bad boys aren't savagely filed off like some of their counterparts: nope, they just soak off (the clue is in the name, I suppose) and lift away from the nails, so there's a minimum of wear and tear at both ends of the process.
That's the theory, anyway - how does it pan out In Real Life?
Well, for starters I should tell you that I got a full fortnight out of my mani without any whisper of chipping or lifting of the overlays. That certainly wasn't because I was minding my nails, because as usual I was doing all the terrible things you're not supposed to do with your talons. You know, ripping up old carpets, washing the dog with no gloves on, that kind of thing. The one concession I did make was that I used the little mini bottle of OPI Avoplex cuticle oil that Etain sends home with every client each night before bed, literally just brushing a few drops on before my head hit the pillow.
On day 15, though, I decided that their time was up. And I did something that I really, really don't recommend you try at home. I took out a bottle of acetone from a salon supply place and soaked 'em off meself. Which meant it took feckin' ages and the house stank to the high heavens, and I did need to get a buffer at them too. Now, I absolutely don't expect that my nails are in quite as good nick as they would be if I'd had them removed by a pro but, despite the home hack-job, they are still in impressively decent condition! There's none of the paper thinness or splitting or any of the usual tell-tale signs that you've had some class of falsies attached to your fingers, so I can only imagine that they would be practically perfect if I'd gone in-salon to have them removed. I'd definitely recommend the OPI Axxium Soak-Off system to anyone looking for a long-lasting mani.