Erghhhh maintenance! If getting a bikini wax isn’t torturous enough, knowing that you’ll be back there in 6 weeks will certainly piss you off. I hate regular maintenance; which women does?! Waxing, plucking, pedicure-ing, root-ing. Ok fine – I made up a few of those words, but you catch my drift. If only I could channel my inner Beyonce and simply awake to a beautiful exterior, BUT, unfortunately, I have a multitude of grey hairs sprouting from my head and a mono brow that won’t quit.
I try to do most of my maintenance at home. Actually, that’s a lie. I only do one of them at home; which is my nails. I’m an avid gel colour fan. I’m rarely seen without a lick of paint on my nails; which can result in a pretty expensive up-keep if I was going to the salon every two weeks. Luckily, by the power of YouTube, I’ve learnt to do my own gel nails at home and I’ve invested in some pretty snazzy tools to do so.
After experimenting with various brands, I’ve now uncovered a sick obsession with OPI’s GelColor range. It’s not that easy to source in the UK, so I often scour the page of eBay to get mine. However, despite using a reputable brand, I found that my gels weren’t lasting as long as I hoped (or at least the 14 day benchmark that most gel colours suggest). I couldn’t get why. My nails are pretty healthy and I performed each step of the application meticulously, but yet somehow, my nails would always result in a chip (or two) by the end of day 3!
I took to the internet and stumbled across the OPI Bond Aid; which, in fairness, I had heard of before, but never knew what its purpose was. After reading through many forums and discovering that I wasn’t alone in my gel colour woes, I realised that many nail artists and other at-home enthusiasts, like myself, were incorporating the OPI Bond Aid in their application process to enhance the longevity of gel nails. In fact, it was used as a nail preper. Well what the hell is a nail preper, I thought?! Clearly I was out of the loop, until now…
Nail prepers, like OPI’s Bond Aid, enable the nail plate to adhere to whatever cosmetic enhancement goes on top. Whether it’s extensions, gel colour or regular polish – the nail plate needs to be in top form in order for the enhancement to work at its full potential. OPI’s Bond Aid is a dehydrator; which balances the pH levels of the natural nail plate for optimum adhesion of artificial nail products. Acrylics, tips, wraps, gel colour and regular nail varnish can last almost twice as long if using OPI’s Bond Aid to initially prep the nail.
I picked mine up from Nail Polish Direct, for the very reasonable priced of £14.95. There’s a variation of sizes available depending on how often you wish to use it, but for a home user like myself, the 30ml version lasts a very long time.
The container itself comes in a very snazzy glass bottle; which shouldn’t make a difference if you’re not as superficial as me. The brush applicator, all be it small, actually glides on the nail plate pretty well without the need for multiple dipping. The application is pretty simple – prep your nails as you normally would (file, shape, cuticles, etc) then apply a thin coating of this solution over your bare nails. It’s almost like applying white spirit to your nails (sorry I couldn’t think of a nicer analogy), whereby the solution almost dries to a powdery/dry/matte surface. Sounds like an awful thing to do to your nails, but I assure you that no damage is being done. In fact, it’s worked so well at keeping my gel nail on that I’m not having to re-do them as often as I was which is obviously a lot healthier for my nails.
Luckily there’s no drying time, so as soon as you see your nail turn semi-matte, you’re good to go in with your nail enhancement. So far, I’ve gone as long as 2 weeks without a chip in my gels or any of that dreaded ‘lifting’ around the cuticle that you normally get with gel varnishes; which, in my eyes, is a flipping miracle!