Oh OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer, how I love thee (product review)

Between sports, washing dishes (a constant if you have hypoglycemia), constant hand-washing, and general wear, my nails get beat up pretty bad. About a year ago, an extended family member (thanks Jess!) suggested I try OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer and I’ve been addicted ever since.

What is it?

OPI Axxium is a gel lacquer system where the gel is actually put on your nails vs. fake nails. The gel is “baked” on your nails using a UV light.

Is it the same as Shellac or OPI’s Gel Color?

No!!!! It’s not. OPI Gel Color lasted on my nails about two days before it peeled badly. I tried it three times and had the same results each time. I’ve only had Shellac once, but it chipped pretty bad. I’ve seen my friends get it and they have had the same results.

Nails showing no chips
These are my nails after 2 weeks of martial arts, rock climbing, washing dishes, etc. Not a single chip! And look how shiny they are!


  • Good luck chipping this stuff! It rarely ever chips! The above photo shows my nails after two weeks of wear including martial arts training, 2 times of rock climbing, etc. Not a single chip on them. I usually go three weeks with it on and rarely have a chip.
  • Unlike regular nail polish, it stays shiny the whole three weeks. Other than the natural growth of your nails at the base, it always looks like you just had it done!
  • My nails grow like crazy with this stuff on because it makes them strong and chip-resistant.
  • An hour at the nail salon every three weeks=three weeks of gorgeous nails. I’d take that trade any day!
  • You can get some of the same colors in OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer and in OPI regular polish. For example, my favorite color is “I’m Not Really a Waitress.” I get it done on my fingers in Axxium, but usually just paint my toes the same color (if I want to be matchy-matchy like that) with regular polish.


  • Nail salons HATE doing OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer, so a lot of them either won’t do it at all or will keep a very limited selection of colors to try to persuade you to go with Shellac instead. They will swear it’s the same thing, but it’s not. I point-blank asked a manicurist why they discourage OPI Axxium and they said it’s because it’s slower for them because they have to use a paint brush vs. just the brush in the bottle.
  • The reason OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer stays so much better on your nails is because they rough them up pretty badly before putting the gel on. So, if you want to go without the gel for a while, your nails look pretty bad after the gel is taken off.
  • Speaking of taking the gel off, you pretty much have to pay a salon to get it off. You have to rough-up the polish, then soak cotton in pure acetone (Note: OPI recommends using acetone-based remover which has emollients to prevent drying out your nails and skin), put the soaked cotton on each finger individually, wrap each finger in aluminum foil for 10 minutes, and then scrape the rest of the gel off.
  • For some reason, light colors don’t work well in OPI Axxium. They turn pretty much clear. The bolder colors, like reds and purples, however, stay pretty dark through the process and for the 3 weeks.

Additional note:

  • If you happen to live near my hometown in Battle Creek, Michigan, I recommend getting OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer done by Denee at Jessica’s Salon and Spa. She’s really good at it!

Changes to original article (October 22, 2012):

At the request of OPI, I got more specific on the name. I originally used just “OPI Axxium,” they requested I use “OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer.” There are two products in the OPI Axxium family, so I needed to be more specific. Also, they requested I add a note saying they do not recommend using pure acetone to take them off.  Happy to oblige OPI! Thanks for reading my blog!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Co workers recommended this to me but I haven’t tried it yet – makes me a bit nervous but seems that you are satisfied with it! Might have to take the plunge.

    1. nfinkbeiner says:

      You should! It’s great! Just make sure you have a good manicurist who knows what they are doing.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Laura says:

    We have a department in-house called OPI, which is a new name. I keep calling it by the old name because to me OPI will always be nail polish.

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