Soak Off: OPI Axxium Gel Mani Removal

by Janine on 25 May 2010 · 86 comments

Really I should have done two OPI Axxium Gel posts in the first place, one on the application and one on removal. “Much easier to digest the info,” chided Staff. And damn if she isn’t gloating now that I’ve essentially split them up for newcomers to Axxium info.

You’ll need a 30-minute salon appointment to have the Axxium gel removed. Expect about a $5 charge, which is the rate at Tips Nail Bar & Spa where I had my application. (There a removal is technically free if you have a regular $25-manicure afterward. If you go for another Axxium session, it’s $5 in addition to their $50 fee for that service.)

Above are my nails post Axxium removal and a little reshaping (it had been four weeks). Tips owner Leeanne Colley first lightly buffed the colour surface to remove the topmost protective layer of gel, a non-soak-off formula (it’s what allows the application and removal of regular polish over Axxium without harming the Axxium shine). After that, I soaked my fingertips in a bowl of acetone, which Leeanne had warmed by placing the bowl in another bowl of hot water. It felt like water unless I lifted my fingers out, at which point they felt weirdly cool. You know, like they’d been soaking in nail polish remover. (The foil method described here is an alternative and just as effective; it’s how technicians remove soak-off gel pedicures, too.)

After a few soaking minutes, Leeanne used a cuticle pusher to slide under the gel layers to flake them off. While she worked on one hand, the other fingers soaked. It took a few cycles — about 15 minutes — to get all the layers off. And note: while the process felt like it was scraping the Axxium off my nails, once the cuticle pusher hit the bare nail surface, it slid. My nails weren’t scraped up in the least. Nor did they feel tender or sensitive afterward.

I couldn’t resist. I went for a new application of Axxium Gel, this time with just one coat of custom shade You Don’t Know Janine — a whisper, if you will. Dark shades are tough to do sheer, so Leeanne had to work a bit harder to make it look even.

We weren’t sure how this mani was going to hold up because it has one less coat of gel. According to the OPI website, Axxium is really only supposed to last “two weeks and beyond.” Plus how well it lasts without peeling or chipping off is down to how good your technician is.

But guess what? I’m two days shy of three weeks and have the most miniscule of chips (a chippete, really) on the corner edge of my thumbnail and at the corner edge of my pinky nail. My nails grow crazy fast, though, so the regrowth is really visible (if I were wearing a standard OPI Axxium colour, I could touch up with the matching nail polish). If yours grow at a normal or slow rate, you’ll get even more out of a well-applied Axxium mani than I do.

To find an Axxium salon in your area, contact OPI via this link.

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry 10 June 2010 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for the review… I have been an OPI addict for about 22 years, first with acrylic nails, and about the last 10 on my natural nail, but though I’ve tried every top coat, and as gentle as possible, I chip, peel at the most inopportune time. I first thought Axxium could be a “do yourself” (I used to do my own acrylics ages ago). But want to give it a shot before I do the $400+ investment on something that is going to damage my nails. I found a salon in Chandler, AZ does it, $16 for just the polish, or $33 for an Axxium manicure. I’ve already made my appointment!!! Here’s to chip free nails for more than 2 days..


Janine 10 June 2010 at 5:15 pm

Let me know how you like it, Terry! I think you’ll find the damage quotient is ZIP, especially if you start doing it yourself!


Courtney 4 October 2010 at 10:31 am

Hi! Can you tell me where the salon in Chandler AZ is that does it? And how did it turn out?? Thanks!!


Laura 15 November 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hey Terry……..I too have been an OPI addict for about the same length of time as you, and also like you, I did my own acrylics for years in the 80′s. I am a hairdresser by trade, so, I decided that I wanted to try the Axxium gel nails, and thanks to getting a great deal on the UV lamp, I went for it! And I just have to say, it was worth EVERY PENNY. I did a french manicure with the clear sculpture gel and the luminious white sculpture gel for the tips, and WOW. What a great product. I did not build any length to my nails at all, just did the overlay. The product stands up to my nails in shampoo, conditioner, water, etc. Took me a couple of cracks here and there to realize that preparation of the nail bed is of the UTMOST importance though. But, because of this product’s uniqueness, you can have a beautiful gel nail that looks like you just did a french manicure! I HIGHLY reccomend the product! I havent tried the laquer colors yet, but, that is next on my to do list!

Maple Ridge, BC, Canada


Aimee 23 August 2010 at 1:14 pm

Can anyone recommend a good salon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that does the OPI Gel Manicure and what it costs? I know of one place on 90th and Lex that charges $50 – was trying to find it for a little less. Thanks!


Janine 27 August 2010 at 11:02 am

Hi Aimee,

Might be easiest to email OPI for a list of salons in the area and give each a call: Good luck!


vanessa 26 December 2010 at 8:09 pm

I just came across this site & in response to Aimee I work on the UES & I go to forever nails on 1st ave b/t 62 & 63rd, it’s $40 there, Liu Mah is my girl, I’ve heard of these places that charge less but in a lot of those cases you get what you pay for. I’ve always felt like some things are worth paying extra $ for once you find the right place, hair, clothes etc but nails I didn’t think so until I got an infection at a place that was really cheap then I added nails to the list of things worth paying a little extra for (can’t beat clean, sanitary places & $25 for axxium Idk if clean, sanitary & knowledgeable techs are at that cheap place) $40-50 seems to be the norm, anything higher is ridiculous unless you’re at a spa or something


Janine 26 December 2010 at 9:11 pm

Awesome, thanks Vanessa! I emailed Aimee with your recommendation. Happy holidays!


Kay 28 August 2010 at 11:49 pm

I go to Dyana Body and Nail Sap on 21st Street between Park and 1st…I think. They have a website,just google them. They are the most affordable at $25 for a manicure and $35 for a pedicure. Not everyone does it, so most people make an appointment. I travel from Harlem and it’s worth it, but I am definitely investing in the starter kit because it will pay for itself in two to three visits.


Chandra 3 October 2010 at 8:43 am

I tried axxium for the 1st time. Having trouble with the top coat. It keeps peeling. I’ve been back to the salon and had the topcoat reapplied. Put them under the UV for 5 min.
Any thoughts as to why it’s peeling?


Janine 3 October 2010 at 9:49 am

Thanks, Chandra — that’s a question for my expert, Leeanne Colley. I’ll see what she thinks!


Leeanne 3 October 2010 at 8:02 pm

Hi Chandra!

That should not be happening. I have a few questions for you.

Is the bottle of the top coat they are using blue?

Did you notice if they wiped off the nail with a lint-free pad before applying the top coat?

When you went back to have the top coat applied did they just apply top coat or did they buff the nail, re-apply another coat of clear base and colour before applying the top coat?

I look forward to helping you with this dilemma, I’m sure we can get to the bottom of this!


ulrike howells 7 October 2010 at 1:58 pm

My salon ruined my nails with the Axxium product. I loved the manicures and the first one lasted almost 3 weeks. The first removal went well too. I soaked in acetone for about 20 minutes and the product just released. But I think the girls were encouraged to hurry up and the next time the removal was painful. They used a dremel to scuff up the nails and then soaked them and then rushed to pick off the product. Then more with the dremel. I should have learned but I let them put the stuff back on. I just had it removed on Friday and honestly my nails look horrible not to mention they are totally soft. I love the product but you need to have a salon that knows what the heck they are doing with it.


Janine 7 October 2010 at 2:04 pm

Oh Ulrike, that’s terrible! Your first sentence really is “my salon ruined my nails.” The dremmel has ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE in an Axxium application, and removal should not hurt!

Please tell me you’ve switched to a new place or plan to!


Kristan 4 April 2011 at 10:21 am

I’ve never kept polish on for more than two days until I had Axxium color gels applied a little over a month ago. After two weeks, my nails still looked great. The third week they started to chip and the new growth was obvious. I went to have them redone and she used a dremmel for removal. I’m two weeks into the second application and while the color gel is holding up, my nails are not. Four nails bent and broke. The gel actually held the nail together until I could get a pair of clippers and a file.
I have an appointment on Saturday to have my nails done again and I’ll absolutely ask them to soak off the polish and leave the dremmel out of it!!! Thanks for confirming that this was just not right.


Janine 4 April 2011 at 10:41 am

Omigod, honestly — that makes me so angry! I want to break the damn Dremmel in front of that technician’s face. Soak-off formulas can’t hold up to aggressive power-filing! They aren’t as solid as standard gel — that’s why they can be SOAKED OFF! GAH!

I’m sorry you had to find out the hard way :-( Glad you know now. Your story is an excellent reminder that being informed, at least this time around, will prevent mishaps.


Melissa 8 October 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hi All,

Has anyone purchased the Axxium kit to do their own nails at home?? I got it done at the salon and there didn’t appear to be anything going on that I couldn’t do myself at home. Any professionals have any reasons why this would be a bad idea? I looooove my Axxium nails and would like to be able to do it myself rather than pay at a salon…Thanks for your input!!


Janine 8 October 2010 at 8:48 pm

Well I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to DIY Axxium. If you’re so inclined, why not?

I’m not much of a DIY girl, though, plus I’d miss my visits at Tips. They’re always the highlight of the day because we have so much fun!


Melissa 12 October 2010 at 9:32 am

I did my own Axxium nails last night! They turned out decent considering that I’m not a trained professional – but I did run into a couple problems…the curing times listed were not nearly enough to fully harden the gels. Did I put them on too thick? How thin should the layers be? They ended up kind of tacky feeling and not as shiny as when I got them done at the salon…I also had issues with the gel drying on my brush – how can I clean it during the application process?

Thanks so much!! :)


Janine 12 October 2010 at 2:10 pm

Wow, good for you. Re: the little issues, it might be a good idea to pop back into your salon for another pro application or two so you can dissect the process. I know the ladies at Tips do fairly thin coats of product, and cure the nails for two minutes between each coat except the final top coat, which they cure for four minutes. Then they wipe the top coat clean with a bit of rubbing alcohol, I think, to get rid of the stickiness on the surface.

I’ll ask whether Leeanne might have a minute to add a few words. But I think maybe having another couple of pro applications will teach you everything you need to know.

UPDATE (now that I’ve seen Leeanne’s answer below): Oopsie, my bad — looks like I have to get the scoop on what can go wrong if you’re not a trained technician.


Leeanne 12 October 2010 at 4:32 pm

Well, Axxium is a professional product. Really not a DIY kind of thing unless you are a trained professional. There is way more to it than just layering product on your nails. Incorrect application and insufficient training could lead to bigger and more expensive problems than paying for a manicure once a month. I do not recommend you continue to apply this on yourself, I have seen disasters happen.

Infections and loss of natural nails are not fun.


Jodene Hertko 18 October 2010 at 10:35 pm

Thank you for all the useful info. My first experience with OPI gel was wonderful! The second salon I went to damaged my nails with lot’s of dremmeling and rushing the whole process. My nails are cracking and breaking ( 4 so far in 1 week) far into the nail bed leaving me with very painful fingertips. OUCH! NEVER going back there again. Hopefully I can find a reputable salon and tech in my area that knows what they are doing.


Janine 26 October 2010 at 12:24 am

Ohmygoodness, Jodene! There has got to be someplace to report horrible salons — as a public service!

To find another salon, contact OPI through this link:

And good luck! Please let us know when you’ve found a salon that knows how to do Axxium properly!


Colleen 26 November 2010 at 1:26 am

I have a lot of trouble with my OPI gels peeling within the first few days of having them done. My nail salon has redone my manicure 3 times now for no charge and here it is, only 5 days into my latest redo and they are peeling and chipping again. I’m embarrassed to go back again! It it just me and my nails! Any thoughts ?


Janine 27 November 2010 at 1:47 am

Hi Colleen,

That’s not been my experience, but a friend of mine had chipping issues with Axxium that I have not. She also has other reasons for not enjoying Axxium, mind you (she hates not being able to remove it quickly herself, and her nail beds are small, so she’d need to be at the salon more often for fills or replacement Axxium).

You might need to try another salon so you can figure out whether it’s technician error or a disagreement with your nails specifically.


Leeanne 28 November 2010 at 10:01 am

Hi Colleen!

Janine is right! You should try another salon that offers the axxium service. They have to be doing something wrong or they are missing a major step. Trust me it’s not you. Do you know of other salons in your area that you can try?


Janine 1 December 2010 at 2:09 am

Salon finder: Good luck!


Jenn 30 December 2010 at 6:25 pm

I recently had my nails done with the OPI Axxium Soak Off Gels. Although mine didn’t quite last 2 weeks, I was impressed and purchased the system myself. I already had a generic UV light (four 9-watt bulbs) from years ago, although I never really used it because my clients all wore acrylics, and I never worked with gels. I have followed the instructions and even increased each curing time a minute longer than stated. However, after the final wipe with the NAS 99, the nails are still tacky, become smudged and look dull. I am wondering if I am not curing them long enough, if I need to purchase new bulbs for my lamp or if I need to just buy a new lamp. I hate to buy new bulbs and then still have to buy a new lamp. All suggestions appreciated!


Janine 9 January 2011 at 11:47 am

Hi Jenn,

Sorry about the delay in replying to you! I wanted to check in with Leeanne first.

It sounds as though the bulbs are the most logical place to start. The standard these days, confirms Leeanne, is the four-bulb lightbox; if you’d had a single-bulb lightbox, a new one would definitely have been your starting point.

A little extra curing time doesn’t hurt, but you shouldn’t always need to add it. You may also need to make some application tweaks. Are you using too much gel? Are you using enough top coat? This Axxium stuff can be a bit finicky. But it’s worth the effort :-)


Leeanne 9 January 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi Jenn!

I find it strange that you are getting smudging. I have a couple of questions for you.

Are you having problems with a specific colour?

Have you tried more than one?

Are you using the correct U.V sealer at the end? It is a blue bottle not a black one.



Kristin 12 January 2011 at 12:43 am

I recently went to a salon to get a gel manicure and found out about the OPI Axxium. So I decided to try it out. The next day (Friday, Jan. 7th) after the manicure the edges of my nails started turning a brown-yellow color. Now it’s more of a purple-ish black color. It’s around the sides and at the bottom of my nails too as well as streaking across my nails. I’m gonna take it off at home, but I want to know if it was the nail tech or happened. Any information you have would be great! Thanks Janine!!!


Janine 12 January 2011 at 1:01 am

Omigoodness, Kristin. How do your nails feel??

I need to check in with Leanne on this. It won’t take long to get her input, but in the meantime, you need to get to another salon to remove the Axxium — attempting removal at home could too easily make things worse!


Leeanne 12 January 2011 at 8:17 am

Hi Kristin!

I’m hoping that this discolouration is on top of the product. If you are wearing a light colour sometimes it can be dyes. Dye from hair, newspaper print, indigo blue jeans, or a new black top. I have actually had someone’s nails become curried from dinner the night before, sounds funny but I know it’s not.

The best thing to do in this case is to go back to the salon and have them wipe the nail with acetone. If this doesn’t work, just get them to fix it. Most salons will do that free of charge because you’re a newbie.

If it’s under the product, it’s a bad sign. You should be able to tell though. It doesn’t sound like that to me. If so, go and get it removed ASAP! It would mean that proper nail prep was not done or the product was not applied properly and the product has lifted.

I hope this helps. Let us know what happens will you?

Good Luck!


Kristin 13 January 2011 at 12:45 am

It’s under the product. Thanks ladies, I will make sure to get it professionally removed.


Kristin 13 January 2011 at 12:57 am

Could it be that she filed the nail on top before she applied the stuff? (I’m getting some of it off now and under the gel my nails are rough and I remember that she filled my nails first.)


Janine 13 January 2011 at 1:05 am

I don’t like the sounds of that, discolouration under the Axxium. And, um — whaddya mean you’re “getting some of it off now”??

There does need to be a little buffing across the top of the nail to help the Axxium adhere, but it should be light enough that rubbing the nail smoothes it out. Improper removal, though, could actually cause long-term damage to the surface of the nail; be careful :-)


Jennifer 25 January 2011 at 11:28 am

I had my nails done last Wednesday and they started to get hairline cracks almost immediately. Now, it is Tuesday and the first bit has broken off of my thumb. I went to a new salon for this (had Shellac before and loved it) and am wondering if they just didn’t properly apply everything. Once she was done with me, she made me sit under the UV for 10+ minutes. I’m thinking maybe I should have cured a bit more between layers??


Janine 25 January 2011 at 2:18 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I’ll ask Leeanne about this — did you have Axxium this time?


Jennifer 25 January 2011 at 4:03 pm



Leeanne 27 January 2011 at 9:43 pm

Hi Jennifer.

I’m a bit confused. Each layer should be cured for 2 minutes including the top coat. If they cured for 10 minutes just at the end it’s clear to me that they aren’t following the instructions.

Axxium should be applied along the free-edge (tip) of the nail before curing as the product begins to shrink when it comes in contact with the lamp and can cause chipping or cracking pretty quickly.

These could be the reasons for the hairline cracks.

I think you should search for another salon that does Axxium. It’s a really great product and pretty much works for everyone.

I hope this helps


Ali 27 January 2011 at 5:44 pm

i just got the brisbane bronze and it came out completely clear. 2 coats (1st moderate pressure, 2nd light pressure), cured 2 minutes, then 3rd coat (light pressure) cured 2 minutes. I am shocked, the color is CLEAR with a hint of sparkle. I’m so upset as the color on the box is NOTHING like the color that came out on my nails :(


Leeanne 27 January 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi Ali!

Did you use a metal spatula to stir it up? The sparkles tend to sit on the bottom. With Brisbane Bronze you really have to mix it well.

Hope this helps!


Jessica 21 February 2011 at 9:16 pm

I just had the same problem with this color. I suspected that might be the problem, so I asked her to mix it up really well. She ended up doing 3 coats, and it still looks nothing like the color on the bottle. :-(


Elaunda 28 January 2011 at 3:01 pm

For the past few months I have been wearing gel nail polish (OPI and Shellac). I decided to give my nails a break and I took off the polish using OPI laquer remover and a nail file/cuticle pusher. Now my nails are damaged with ridges/lines at the top of my nail bed near the tips. My nails seem to be pretty strong but they look pretty bad. What can I do to repair the damage? Should I give my nails a break before trying the gel polish again?


Janine 21 February 2011 at 9:28 pm

Hi Elaunda,

Just realized I’d missed answering your comment; I’m sorry! Did you take the polish off yourself, or did you have a skilled technician do it? I never risk removal on my own, and I inspect my nails after each pro removal. No hint of damage to my nails whatsoever.

Whatever’s happened to your nails, the upside is that it’s the tips, so should grow out quickly. You can give your nails a break if you like and perhaps layer on nail strengthener, like perhaps OPI Nail Envy.

When my nails were damaged by Shellac (it peeled and took layers of my nails with it), I found going back to Axxium really helped because it protected my more-fragile-than-usual nails until the peel-y parts grew out enough to be filed away at my next colour-change appointment.


Felecia 1 February 2011 at 9:00 am

OPI recommended by my sister is simply awesome! Loves it!


Shawna 14 February 2011 at 4:14 pm

I’ve been getting bio sculpture for a while now and I absolutely love it, but I do have great nails to begin with – strong and grow quickly :) Would love to switch to Axxium as it seems like everyone is loving it! Can anyone tell me the main differences between Bio Sculpture, Axxium and Shellac? These seem to be the three that everyone talks about, but I haven’t seen a comparison anywhere :( Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!


Janine 14 February 2011 at 5:15 pm

Hi Shawna,
I haven’t tried bio sculpture, but hear it’s quite similar to Axxium. Here a couple of links to posts on how Axxium and Shellac are different:

Anya at I’mTheItGirl has had bio sculpture as well as Axxium; she may have input on the differences between those two.


Noel 16 February 2011 at 10:19 pm

I also recently bought the starter kit and started doing my nails at home. I have watched several tutorials, observed the pro’s a couple of times and left myself some room for trial and error. This is definitely something that can be done at home, although you do have to have the eye hand coordination and practice of painting your nails in general. It’s a great system and I would recommend it to anyone!


Janine 21 February 2011 at 9:29 pm

You are rare among DIY non-technicians, Noel. Too many others miss nuances in the application and also risk damage via removing the product themselves.


Ruby 25 February 2011 at 3:12 pm

I have removed soak-off polish about a dozen times now with ZERO incident. If you leave the acetone pads (I use cotton balls and some aluminum foil) on for a sufficient length of time, the polish just scrapes right off with no damage to the nail. In fact, I use my thumbnail and little pressure. Easy peasy. :-)


Jenica 16 March 2011 at 8:04 pm

I AM IN LOVEEEE WITH OPI AXXIUM gels! However, I am scraping by as a college student (starting graduate school next fall) and have had to stop getting my monthly mani’s :( But I have been doing my own nails forever and I know I have the skill to do it on my own.

My past few salon visits, I have paid extra attention to the entire application and now I’m ready to attempt it on my own! I am looking to purchase both the starter kit as well as the UV light…..Any recommendations as to which UV light is cheap, but also works easily and effectively? I just want the best bang for my buck and would appreciate any feedback you DIY-ers and experts might have for a newbie :)



Janine 4 April 2011 at 10:43 am

Hi Jenica,

All I can tell you is that the OPI UV lights are not the best choice. Other than that, you might like to check with your own technician for light-box advice. There are hazards re: application of gel-type formulas without training. Please be careful.


Betty 13 April 2011 at 8:26 am

I need help! I have nails that peel easily. I have tried every product under the sun to no avail. Manicures last 2 days tops.
I decided to try the axxium gel manicure last month. The first manicure went well. (lasted two weeks). I then had the polish changed at my salon. The polish chipped in 2 days! It just popped off. Now I am left with the under coat,which would be fine, but now my nails have literally split down to my finger tips. It looks horrible and feels even worse. What should I do? I need a manicure for a weekend wedding!


Leeanne 13 April 2011 at 8:59 am

Hi Betty!

Polish popped off? Very strange. It sounds like they didn’t prep the Axxium correctly before re-applying.

Okay, the splitting usually is caused by cutting the nails with nail clippers. If they had done this to you instead of filing them, that would be why yours split.

The best advice I can give you right now would be to visit a salon for a full removal and manicure. Be sure they use acetone to soak the product off. They should NOT file it down to the nail or chip it off.

Axxium is a soak-off gel. The technician needs to lightly buff the shine away, then soak your nails in acetone for 20min.

I hope this helps!


Leeanne 13 April 2011 at 9:38 am


If after having the Axxium removed you decide to have Axxium re-applied, have them add a touch of glue to the splits before the application.

If you are going au-naturale, file the nails down nice and short so your nails won’t catch on anything.


Betty 13 April 2011 at 2:55 pm

I appreciate the help. No, my nails were not cut by a clipper, and the splits just don’t seem to stop!


Janine 13 April 2011 at 3:06 pm

You mean they’re splitting right up toward the cuticle? Yikes! How much rough buffing did the technician do before she applied the very first base coat of Axxium? It’s only supposed to be a light surface texturizing to give the gel something to hang onto.

Your technician will likely have to use Crazy Glue to try to mend the split, then file it gently so it’s smooth. I’d have Axxium put on again because it’s definitely stronger than regular nail polish. But splits are tricky, even crazy-glued — your manicure will likely only last a few days. Maybe a press-on type (painted to match your manicure, of course) might help until the nail grows out some more.


Trish Gunn 16 April 2011 at 12:57 pm

I have very healthy natural nails and regular polish will NOT stay for more than two days no matter what I try. I tried Axxium and let me tell you, the product stayed on for more than two weeks. It came off easily too. All you have to do is soak it in nail polish remover. I highly recommend this product.


Lisa 16 April 2011 at 4:42 pm

I have done the Axxium gel polish twice now and love it, however the soaking removal in acetone has dried the skin on my fingertips until they feel like sand paper. Is there something special that my salon should do? Are they using plain acetone as opposed to a specific OPI product?? Please advise.


Janine 30 April 2011 at 8:15 am

Hi Lisa,

Sorry about the delay in my reply! Acetone is the right removal product. But have your technician try a slightly different method of removal: place acetone-soaked cotton on top of the nail then wrap the fingertip in foil to keep the cotton in place to dissolve the gel. Get the steps here:
This method will be easier on your skin.


monisha 23 April 2011 at 12:55 pm

I’ve been doing the axxium nails at home for a few months and absolutely love them! I’ve been removing them completely after two weeks and reapplying. But this time I want to keep the same color and just fill them. Any idea how i should do this? I thought I’d file down the part of the nail that already has color and then put bondaid on the part that doesn’t. But then do i put base coat on the whole nail or just the part that needs to be filled? Thanks!


Janine 4 May 2011 at 8:44 am

Hi Monisha,

I think that’s a question for OPI directly. There are risks that come with home application if you’re not a trained technician; I don’t want to give you flawed advice! Try hitting OPI’s Facebook page or contacting them via Twitter; links available on the OPI website.


Michelle 15 May 2011 at 9:48 pm

I just had my first Axxium manicure and am obsessed! I’ve been doing my own nails for years, mostly because I’m a perfectionist and always leave a salon frustrated that I’ve paid for a manicure that I could have done better myself. I thought I would try the Axxium from a salon first before I buy my own products, and now that I know I love it, I’m wondering if anyone knows if/where I can buy the gels/base coat, etc? I’m in Ontario, Canada and have tried checking online, but the OPI site says the stuff is exclusively available as a salon treatment, but I’m sure it must be available somewhere….any suggestions?



Karen 20 May 2011 at 11:17 am

First off I adore OPI Axxium! Currently wearing Bogota Blackberry I think its called…but my question was towards the end of my two weeks they start separating from my nail. So much so that any little snag and they peel off. IS there anyway to prevent that? Also when they start peeling what should I do? I tend to just let them peel and pluck them off as they come..I haven’t had any damage though…I have had them soaked off and it left my nails so fragile and weak! Hated it! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks =)


Janine 21 May 2011 at 1:33 pm

Hi Karen,

Sometimes that happens, that it starts to lift. Could be a result of simply transferring oils from your fingers to the bare nails before the application. The best solution is to have them soaked off right away so you aren’t tempted to peel it off, because that absolutely causes damage by stripping the nail.

Axxium itself wouldn’t leave your nails fragile and weak, by the way. That all comes from how your nail was prepped for the gel. Perhaps your nail technician was a bit too enthusiastic with the surface buffing? Watch very carefully the next time you have it done.

My nails are naturally fragile and weak; a peely session with Shellac made the tips even worse. I dealt with the damage by going straight back to Axxium. By the next removal three weeks later, my nails were better, not because Axxium makes them stronger, but because it protected my nails while they grew enough for Leeanne to file away the damaged tips.


Shenan Reed 1 June 2011 at 9:05 pm

I have a few little questions/comments:

1) I have a question about the UV lamp. It’s so hot that I feel like my hands are getting sun tan – are these safe UV rays or am I basically sticking my hand in a tanning bed while the nails cure?

2) They soaked off my first set of Gels today and all they did was put a cotton swab with acetone on my finger tips and cover my fingers in foil to keep it in place. I sat with robot fingers for 20 minutes and used my knuckle to work my iPhone (all good) and then they pushed right off. No filing needed at all. My nails looked great underneath. But they only lasted two weeks before they started to lift up in the back.

3) My local salon charges $38 for the gels. But for a regular manicure they only charge $9 – so I really need to get some long term wear to cover this difference. Not sure that’s possible, might have to add in the “time saved” value as well :) I can justify anything if I put my mind to it.

4) I can’t seem to get a full rundown on the colors anywhere and I’m looking for the closest thing I can get to clear. I am currently wearing Bubble Gum and it is close, but not quite clear enough. Any suggestions?



Janine 3 June 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hi Shenan,

The strength of the UV bulbs in a manicure lightbox are a mere fraction of the strength of those in a tanning bed. Not enough to worry about.

Did you have Shellac or Axxium? Sounds like Shellac because the Axxium top coat is NOT a soak-off; it needs to be buffed off the surface before the colour below can be soaked off with acetone.

Some people get three weeks of chip-free wear from Shellac; others get three weeks of chip-free wear with Axxium instead. That should be equal to three appointments if you go weekly. Another consideration: you don’t have to wait for your nails to air-dry before digging through your purse.

CND has a complete list of Shellac colours on their website; OPI shows swatches of all the Axxium shades on their site.


Stacey 20 July 2011 at 3:32 pm

I love the gel nails and am currently on my second application. The first french manicure lasted 4 weeks, although my nails grow extremely fast so this is about the only color that wouldn’t look odd after week 3. I just had the gel re-done last week with the french manicure and when I woke up this morning, the white tips had started to turn purple??? I didn’t do any heavy cleaning last night, but did make fresh lemonade and cleaned a pot with a heavy duty dish cleaner. Would the lemon or heavy duty dish cleaner have done this to my nails? Thanks!!


Janine 20 July 2011 at 5:44 pm

My Big Apple Red went black at the tips because I wore a heavy-on-the-black-dye cardigan that transfered to my nails. I’m not sure whether the lemon or the cleanser might have discoloured your tips, but for certain new blue jeans or something like that would do it!


jen 9 September 2011 at 11:45 pm

I recently had an Axxium gel manicure and loved until 1 week in- it started to peel off and i was able to peel the entire polish off of my nails in one piece-any ideas why? When i get a regular manicure or paint my own nails, the polish usually peels off after a couple of days, which is why i wanted to try the Axxium. My mom, sister, and aunt had it done the same day and theirs still looks great, while i no longer have any polish left on any of my nails. Is it some thing with my nails? I lovved the way it looked, and as a nail biter, it was great since i couldnt bite my nails with it!


Liz 13 September 2011 at 4:40 pm

I have the UV light and was doing gel nails but never tried the gel nail polish. Can you tell me exactly what I will need to get started.


nicole 18 December 2011 at 10:01 pm

hey can you use OPI mgel manicure on short and thin nails?


Janine 18 December 2011 at 11:23 pm

Hi Nicole,

Depends what your end goal is. OPI Axxium soak-off gel can definitely provide a strong enough protective layer that would allow short, fragile and thin nails to grow longer. But the nails under the Axxium will still be fragile — nails themselves are not intrinsically strengthened by the manicure. An Axxium mani is like armour, but only as long as it’s on the nail.


nikki 31 December 2011 at 12:55 am

I love my gel polish. This stuff really does hold up. I get mine done for $20


Lisa Rae 22 March 2012 at 10:38 pm

Someone please help me with this. I just had my first OPI Gel Nail Manicure at my favorite Ulta store. The first color I chose was a wine color, that when completely finished, looked streaky and uneven. (Sort of like it needed another coat). I went shopping afterwards in the store and the assistant that was helping me pick foundation, noticed them and suggested I have them redone. I felt bad honestly for my manicurist, she was very nice and gentle and thorough. But, I bucked up and agreed. The second color I chose was “You dont know Jacque”, she ended up having to put 3 coats on and then applying the top coat. They looked nice, but now not even 24 hours later they are not shiny at all, they actually look like the “matted shades” that OPI sold for a while. This after 3 or more hours in the store and salon. Is this normal? And can I used a regular OPI top coat on them to make them not look so dull? Help girls, please. I have an important interview this weekend and this really is bumming me out. :(


K Falcon 29 October 2013 at 7:48 am

Oh no! I only just saw this!!

Um, Lisa Rae, it’s probably too late but they did it wrong.

Your first manicure wasn’t applied properly – some shades do indeed need 3 coats and they must be 3 even coats or you end up with streaks or dragging.

Your second manicure wasn’t cured long enough I think – Axxium is normally extraordinarily shiny. I can’t even begin to guess why it wasn’t shiny. I hope it all got sorted though and that you’ve tried again since then with a better technician.

So sorry for such a delayed response,


Kerrie 28 October 2013 at 4:39 pm

I am a new nail technician and had some questions about Axxium UV top sealer.What are you experienced with this product?
Mine are mixed and was curious if I could make this product work or not..


K Falcon 29 October 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi Kerrie,
Unfortunately, we’re not nail technicians. We know some stuff about Axxium (mostly from watching at the salon) but we don’t know the nitty gritty details. For that, you should look to a professional who has training in this arena and with this particular product. Sorry we can’t be of more help – wish we could.


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