Last Thursday, I battled through gale force winds that banjaxed my brolly and unrelenting rain that threatened to cause my trusty patent boots to spring leaks, all in pursuit of the perfect ten. My destination was Urban Beauty in Rathmines, where I was trying out OPI's version of the 3-week or so-called "everlasting" mani.
OPI call it the Axxium Soak-Off Nail Lacquer system, €70, and it's another paint-on gel system minus the tips. A base coat, three coats of your chosen colour and a super mega glossy top coat are applied, and each layer is cured under a UV lamp, which is the most time consuming part of the whole operation. You'd need to allow just over an hour for application of a full set.
Now, I know a couple of girls who've had the 3-week manicure and whose nails were left in a fairly sorry state afterwards. However, the OPI system is far less abrasive than others - for starters, rather than reef half the nails off with over-enthusiastic buffing to create a key to which the gel can adhere, there's just minimal, feather-light, whisper strokes of a gentle buffer that barely remove the nail's natural shine.
The other particularly cool thing about OPI Axxium is that each gel colour comes with a corresponding nail varnish. Currently, that's because most of the 18 Axxium gels are classic OPI shades like Russian Navy and Big Apple Red (I plumped for Lincoln Park After Dark myself), but the plan for the future is to release a regular nail polish with each new Axxium. This means that (a) you can match your toenails to your gel-ified fingernails easy peasy on the cheapy, and (b) you can get maximum wear out of your investment by keeping your cuticle line topped up as the manicure grows out!
Urban Beauty, 189 Lower Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6. Tel: (01) 497 8656. Web: www.urbanbeauty.ie