When it comes to manicures, there’s a golden hour. It starts after the last lick of topcoat is put on and your nails start looking like shiny vinyl. For a certain category of women, the golden hour condenses into a golden minute, over even before you leave the salon, the gleaming surface wrecked by smudges. I fall into that category, and after every manicure I vow that I’m not getting another; sitting still for an hour, waiting endlessly for base and topcoats to dry, just doesn’t seem worth it. And if the manicure does stay pristine, daily wear and tear starts taking its toll by the end of the day.
So OPI’s new Axxium soak-off gel lacquer seemed too good to be true for jaded fingernails. This hi-tech turbo nail polish treatment is supposed to last perfectly for two weeks and more, and it won’t let you suffer from chips and smudges.
Currently, Nail Bar outlets in Mumbai offer this salon-only service. Krutika and Rose at the Khar outlet got working on my nails—we decided I liked them short so there was no need for stick-on falsies. The beginning of the process was quite nerve-racking—my nails were rubbed with an industrial-strength buffing file which seemed like sandpaper, leaving deep scratches. After that, a few stinky liquids were applied to the nails—one of them to balance the PH level of the nails. So far, not very glamorous.
Then Krutika opened a jar of a shell pink powder. That was the acrylic which when painted on my nails with a damp brush, set in a thick layer. My fingers were put into a UV light box for a minute, for the layer to set.
Then the nails were painstakingly filed down to the required shape. The girls measured each nail with its corresponding one on the other hand to make sure each were the same length. After a special topcoat was painted on and “cured” in the UV box, two coats of the lacquer were applied. All the products for this manicure are specially formulated—regular nail lacquer, base and topcoats cannot be used and all the products are painted on with a stiff flat brush. OPI has released some of its most popular shades in gel form—I tried Strawberry Margarita. There are also a couple of reds, a bronze, a few nudes and pale pinks, as well as Lincoln Park After Dark (“Bipasha Basu’s favourite”, the girls at the salon tell me).
After the topcoat is cured, my super-shiny, two-week-long mani is ready. The hot pink colour is perfect for summer. Because of the acrylic layer, it looks as if there’s a thick coat of paint on my nails. The paint is so perfect it’s almost cartoon-like.
I’m currently on Day 2. With a regular paint job, at this stage, typically, there would be a few chips, a smudge or two and the feeling that I wasted an hour on something that doesn’t last a day. With this one, the tips of my nails are looking as pristine as when I left the salon, though there’s a slight dulling of the original mirror-like shine.
The service costs Rs3,000. After a fortnight, when the growth in the nails starts showing, I can choose to have a touch-up (Rs1,800) or have it removed. I can’t remove the lacquer at home, it will have to be done at the salon. Also, if I get bored of the colour, I can paint over it with regular nail polish, or paint on a regular topcoat, to get the shine back.
It’s perfect for working women or anyone who needs perfectly groomed nails without the hassle of painting them twice a week. Also, consider getting it before going on a long vacation.
At all Nail Bar outlets in Mumbai—at Khar (022-26045317), Pali Hill (022-26052641), Vashi (022-67934581) and Colaba (022-22151108/09).