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Gel Nails- OPI Axxium Gels vs Harmony Gelish

I have recently become obsessed with gel color nails. Not the typical gel like they used to do like acrylic. I decided to do gel colors because my nails were getting weak and breaking alot and my nail polish would chip just the first day. Thats no bueno when you are wearing dark colors and it’s chipping. These gel systems include colors so I was really attracted to that. With gel nails, you get them done and they are supposed to go at least 2 weeks without chipping or peeling. Now here is the downside– you don’t get them filled (because its color). You have to get the previous gels taken off before getting a new gel system.

I got the OPI system- Axxium Gels done first. Of course, OPI has all your favorite colors such as Lincoln Park, After Dark. (All colors that are avail are not listed below)

There system applies more like Acrylic with a separate brush and jars of the product as you can see to the left. They do the base gel, 2 or 3 layers of the color and then the top gel layer. After each layer is applied, you put your nails under the UV lamps.

One con was that the colors on the box are not true to the shade that will end up on your nails. I wanted a soft brown (I tried Cosmo-Not Tonight Honey (right) ) and I got barely any color, even after 3 layers. It literally almost looked like I had clear on with a very light shimmer that you could only see if you looked closely.  The plus side of that was when it grew out, you couldn’t tell because it wasn’t much more color than my natural nails. A friend of mine tried another color that was supposed to be dark purple and it ended being a fuchsia toned color.

I did get 2 weeks of NO chipping or peeling. Once it started to peel, I kinda helped it along (only because the color was so light and you wouldn’t be able to see it). There was no damage to my nails underneath. After the 2 weeks, it started to lift a little bit which is I’m sure normal. I didn’t have any expectations for it to last months.

On to the take off- I soaked my nails at the salon for about 10 minutes and she used an instrument to kind of push/peel off the gel. The whole process took about 20 minutes to get ALL the gel off.

I actually made the switch to Harmony Gelish system because the OPI colors weren’t true to the box and I couldn’t find a place that had any glitter gel polishes. (After research, I see that OPI Axxium does have a Holiday 2010 Limited Edition Showstopper collection which includes an all glitter line but I haven’t seen it at any nail salons in my area)

On to Harmony Gelish. I found this system online and happened to walk into a place that offered them. This system is much easier to apply. Everything is applied like a regular nail polish. The base, the color (2 layers) and the top gel coat with your nails under the UV lamp after each layer.

Firstly, I loved the fact that I could try the color on first to see how I liked it. (The nail salon must’ve gotten complaints about the colors not being true the pictures…With OPI, the gel is thicker and not like a polish so its not as simple to let you try out the color because they would have to take off all layers). I have the same Con with this system as OPI- the colors are not true to the box.

At first I tried Star Burst which appeared like a dark violet. When she tried it on my bare nails, it was waaayyy too pinky-purpley and not what I expected. She told me after 2 coats it would be darker, but there is no way another coat would have made it that much darker! So I opted to try a Dark, dark purple Bella’s Vampire assuming it would make my nails the dark violet I was looking for. It definitely was what I was looking for. I will keep you posted on if Harmony Gelish lasts as long as OPI Axxium.

What I learned with both systems? Always go darker. Colors aren’t as they appear. If you want a medium purple, go for the dark purple. Unless you are using obvious dark colors like Lincoln Park After Dark..then you really want to watch out for colors.

Would you do it at home? OPI Axxium – Definitely not! It takes more skill to do OPI Axxium because of the application. You have to make sure the gel is even etc…Harmony Gelish- Absolutely would do at home! It is much easier to apply. I actually have the system and 3 colors in an online shopping cart right now. The only thing stopping me is the expensive UV lamps. If I can find one for under 50, I will go for it.

How much were they? In ATL- OPI Axxium was $28 for a manicure and then the gel system ….. For Harmony Gelish it was $28 for the Axxium take down, a manicure, and the gel system (for some reason I don’t think they charged me for the take down).   Remember, in between each one, you have to get the previous gels taken off which is a bummer to me. Both systems should find a easier way to get them off.   $28 every 2 1/2 weeks isn’t bad at all. I stopped getting my nails done awhile ago because I hated that I had to go every 2 weeks. Now, I am going to be a nail salon junkie again! I may switch in between OPI and Harmony.

Thanks for checking this out.