Sunday, March 4, 2012

My OPI Gel Color Experience

Thursday afternoon I headed to the closest Ulta near to me in Chicago for a OPI Gel Color manicure. I will tell you right away that I did not have a good experience. I have no plans to go back to Ulta for manicure services and frankly will not be going there for hair services either.
Picture when I got home. Click to see full size. I have white fuzz stuck and tip wear.
My appointment was at 3pm and I arrived 10 minutes early. When I go into the check-in desk one of the hair dressers was splayed out in the chair away from the desk smacking her gum and calls over, "what can I do for you?" Talk about a nice first impression. She sends me over to the chairs where I wait for my appointment. Which conveniently is right next to the manicure table. Where the manicurist is just starting a client's nails! She just starts filing her nails... 10 minutes before the appointment starts. If you were following my tweets that day I was basically live tweeting my wait since I was bored. Needless to say my appointment started 20 minutes late.

So now it's 3:20pm and I'm finally in the chair getting my nails started. This is of course the time they finally offer me something to drink. She asks me how I shape my nails and she files them. The main reason I went to get Gel Color was because I've been having trouble with breakage so my nails are really short. So while filing she is really hurting me since she's using a really thick nail file. It's pulling the skin on the tip of my fingers. Not fun... plus I hate anything but a glass or crystal nail file. After that she put on the Bond Aid and started the base coat. Did I mention how she did nothing with my cuticles!? Yeah not impressed.

Since she didn't do my cuticles she didn't get the color close at all. So here it look like I have a week's worth of growth when really it's only a two day old manicure.
Base coat time... this salon had the light placed really awkwardly so you had to cross your arms to get your hand under. Whenever I've had Shellac the light is placed in front of you. Here they had it placed to the side so that you're reaching to get your hand under. She applied the base coat on and I put my hand under. Except that I'm 90% sure now that the light never went on because she never told me till halfway through that it's sensor activated when you put your hand all the way back. Plus, she wasn't paying attention to the light!

Now on to the color... I chose Pink Flamenco. It's a blue based fuchsia pink creme. First coat she bumped my one finger and we had to start over. This is when I start to realize that my base coat was never cured because when I put my hand under the light it burned. It never burned during the base coat so it never went on! Yes, the light hurt the tips of my fingers. It hurt really bad too. I've had Shellac done and the light never hurt like this.

At least I like the color.
Again, during the color part of the process she is never paying attention to the light. She had it set to an automatic 60 secs. Which, if you do any research on OPI Gel Color it's only suppose to be 30 seconds! And for only one cycle. She had me doing two cycles for 60 seconds each plus I accidentally triggered it a third time.

Now to the second coat of color... This is where I'm so close to walking out. She is getting the polish all over my ragged cuticles and on the sides of my nails. She tries to clean up with just an orange stick. Except she is just pushing and pulling really hard around my nail. It really hurt. For the longest time I thought I was a bit rough while fixing up my nails but she was just evil. She also stained my thumb so pink that she had to remove and start over. Two fingers also got black fuzz on them, I have white fuzz stuck to the edge of my one finger,and my index nail has a huge bump on it.

Click to Enlarge: see the bump on my first finger to the right. Plus the white fuzz on the tip of my nail.
Black Fuzz
Then the top coat is put on and she puts some cuticle oil on. The whole process took an hour since she had to keep correcting her mistakes. I ended up paying $25 for this. It is the introductory price and then it's going up to $35. Plus, I tipped... Which in theory I shouldn't, but it's so ingrained in me to tip that I did anyway.

Needless to say I will not be going back. I get that occasionally you're running late, but that was just too much waiting for me. I get that occasionally you make a mistake, but I was having constant mistakes which add up to a disgruntled client. I feel like I did not get the proper protocol for an OPI Gel Color manicure. So if you really want to try out OPI Gel Color make sure you go to a properly trained salon.

Here she flooded the side with polish and didn't clean up before sticking my hand under the light. So it was stuck up and I had to pull part of it off.
 My thumb started lifting up on day two and on day three came off completely.

The reason I will not go back to Ulta for a manicure even with a different person is because the atmosphere sucks. It's bright fluorescent lighting and ugly tile stuck in the back corner of a beauty shop. It's not relaxing and it's not calming. There definitely isn't any soothing design.

I don't think I will be getting the OPI version done again. This type of service I only get done occasionally and I want to get what I payed for. I will probably stick to Shellac since that is what my salon specializes in. Frankly, I'm too scared to try a service out anywhere else, especially near my new home in Chicago. So my closest place to get my nails and hairs done is three hours away.  I'm dedicated to my salon!

If you're from the Chicago area and have a great place to get your nails done I would love to know!

Edited: To add this since Reality doesn't like my pointing out the my technician was poorly trained on the OPI Gel Color system. I did contact Ulta two days after this. I'm not a total coward... I just don't like confrontation. Who does!? I then contacted them again when I took the product off. Because low and behold the base coat was cured wrong and I had staining on 8 of 10 of my nail beds. Bright pink hard core staining that took lots of work to get off.

See for yourself here.

They replied back that it was forwarded to the Market Trainer in my area. So hopefully all Ulta's in the Chicago with have some restructuring on teaching soon.

I truly write reviews because I want everyone to be aware of what is going on. I could of just posted my pictures and said look at what I got done. But I'm not a liar and want to give an honest review. See you all again sometime soon!