OPI gel nails review

Remember this? The brilliant time I had getting my hair cut and coloured in a local salon in September? Well they only invited me back to get my nails done! #excited? I think so.

When Russell Eaton told me I could try any nail finish I fancied at their swanky nail bar, I didn’t know what to choose. Minx? Amazing, but no special occasion to show it off. Acrylics? Bit scary and not very me. Shellac? Well I had heard good things… My point is, there are so many options available in the realms of nail art these days, it’s difficult to know what to pick. In short, you have to do your research and pick what’s right for you. For me, a nail colour that last 3 weeks with no chips and allows me to keep my natural nail shape and a length that I like and feels practical is a nice idea. But how do I choose a colour that will go with everything I wear for 3 whole weeks?

That’s part of the reason I went for OPI Gel Color over Shellac. Though I’ve heard great things about the latter, the colour range seems slightly limited. I don’t know if that’s technically true, as I’ve discovered that Shellac offer quite a few shades after doing some research (36 to be precise) but at least in the salons that my friends and I frequent, there seems to be fewer shades to choose from, and most of them seem pretty traditional (pinks, reds and nudes). I can tell you for sure that there are LOTS of OPI Gel Color shades to choose from – in fact, most of the normal OPI Nail Polish range is also available in Gel Color, even the recent Skyfall collection. I went for something I’ve seen on many bloggers and that I thought complimented my skintone: Brisbane Bronze.

The Treatment: The treatment at Russell Eaton was welcoming, relaxing and truly a treat. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working pretty hard lately and a post-work Friday evening at the salon was just what I needed. I was spoilt with lots of tea and nail technician Rose talked me through every step as we went. So here’s the technical bit: Gel manicures were brought to the market to improve the longevity of a manicure. Both Shellac and OPI Gel Color claim to be chip resistant and shiny for at least 14 days. Rose told me mine would probably last somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks. The gel factor is what makes the manicure long wearing, and is set by “curing” under a light. While Shellac is made from a mix of gel and traditional nail polish, OPI Gel Color is entirely gel, apparently boosting the qualities of a gel manicure even more.

Rose asked me what shape I would like my mid-length nails. I went for a rounded square tip. She then gave my cuticles a little TLC before applying a base coat. After each coat was applied I stuck my hand under the OPI branded light with a built in timer. Another plus of OPI Gel Color versus Shellac is that each coat “cures” in a record time of 30 seconds. That’s super speedy drying. That being said, my manicure didn’t feel rushed or short. The process took around half an hour , with 2 coats of colour plus a top coat applied once the base was on to protect my nails from getting stained and to provide a clean, flat surface for the gel to cling to.


My Verdict: It took me a while to get used to the manicure. It is thicker than normal nail colour, so my nails felt a little bulky and close up look a bit bumpy at the ends (presumably the ends are thicker to prevent chipping at the tips). Also, as someone who loves nail polish, sticking to one colour for 3 whole weeks feels like a challenge. However, once I’d stopped scrutinising my nails close up and rationalised that they don’t always have to match my mood, they actually look fantastic at normal distance. 11 days in and there are no chips whatsoever. I have flaky nails anyway and now with going to the gym more often and showering more, they seem to get more wear and tear and a normal polish won’t last more than a day without looking shabby. The OPI Gel Color is shiny, thick and looks like it’s on new every single day. Plus, I picked a colour that would go with everything I wear, so that hasn’t been a problem at all.

In regard to regrowth, 11 days in and it’s only just starting to show. I had been worried about it, but my cuticles actually look pretty fabulous, possibly as a result of the treatment, and it’s not really something anyone would notice until they got up close. Here’s a picture of how they look today. Still pretty snazzy, right? It’s also worth noting that with professional removal (prices at the end of the post) your nails will not suffer at all, and there’s less chance for them to break or flake will you’re wearing the manicure.


Would I do it again?: All in all, I’m 75% loving it. I love the idea of getting my nails done every 3-4 weeks, it’s a nice little bit of me time. A first application costs £27.50 (Russell Eaton treated me to mine – thank you guys!) and removal with reapplication costs £32.50. In relation to acrylic nails which I had and maintained a few years ago, I don’t think that is bad value for money. Sure, it’s an extravagance and it’s hardly cheap – but it’s a lovely bit of luxury that I wouldn’t mind treating myself to when payday rolls around. It’s also a quick enough treatment to not intrude too much on your day to day life; you can easily book in on your lunch hour, or on the way home from work ready for your Friday night out. What with Russell Eaton being right in the centre of town – I think that’s pretty damn convenient! Book in with a friend and ask to sit side by side at the nail bar – a great way to catch up if you’re time is limited or you don’t fancy the usual drinks or dinner!

I’ve already booked in to go and get them removed and reapplied for the festive season (which I’m paying for with my hard earned cash, just fyi). Though I don’t know if I will commit to these year round (what about when I fancy some neon green in summer time? Can I commit for 3 weeks?!) all the travelling around and festive parties going on during December and early January can make it hard to maintain chip free nails – OPI Gel Color will take all the stress out of that for me and my nails will look great everyday, hurrah!

You can book an appointment with Russell Eaton in Leeds City Centre by calling 0113 2469162 or find them at  4-6 Boar Lane. You can follow their tweets @RussellEaton_ too! Book in with Rose for nails and Rob if you fancy your hair doing too. Don’t forget to tell them who sent you!