A nail-challenged beauty editor discovers the power of a perfect manicure

Kristen Vinakmens

Kristen Vinakmens

As a chronic nail-biter, well-groomed, polished tips have always eluded me. You’d think that, as a beauty editor, my nails would always be perfectly manicured, but no: my fingers have betrayed my nervous-nelly habit, exhibiting frayed cuticles and nails bitten down to the quick. I’ve envied my beauty editor comrades, whose digits are always dazzlingly bedecked with the latest “it” lacquer shade.
Nothing has ever worked to kick my shameful addiction – not even Sally Hansen’s horrid-tasting Nail Biter – until now. Since Axxium came into my life, the biting has stopped. For the uninitiated, Axxium by OPI is a salon-service gel lacquer that’s fused to your nails with UV light. (The drill: a base soak-off gel is applied, followed by coloured lacquer and then a top-coat, and in between, each coat is bonded with the UV light). The result is a chip-free manicure that lasts for two weeks, or until your return visit to the salon to soak off the formula. I had my first Axxium experience two and half weeks ago at Toronto’s Tips Nail Bar (where all the beauty editors in the know get their nails did). I wanted a half-moon mani similar to the one at the Vena Cava Spring 2011 show, so nail pro Leeanne gave me a light-grey Axxium base (OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques mixed with white, coined “You Don’t Know Janine” after beautygeeks‘ Janine, for whom it was named) and a dark-blue moon with regular nail polish (Victoria’s Secret’s limited edition Midnight Glamour). My mani lasted well over two weeks, with nary a chip (except a small one on the side of my middle digit, which I admittedly tried to coax off). The best part (aside from the almost-nil drying time) is that my nails have grown out and now feel thicker and stronger than before. I’m not at all tempted to chew, lest I ruin my gorgeously gleaming nails.
I’ve since gotten a new, non-Axxium manicure (a black ruby base of Essie Masquerade Belle with Deborah Lippmann Nefertiti gold moons) but on my next visit I plan to get Axxium-ified once again. OPI now has 42 of its most popular shades in the Axxium line and the colours can be mixed so you can find your perfect mani shade.
Lesson learned: I’ve come to realize that a perfect manicure is quite possibly more important to looking and feeling “done” than a perfect crimson pout.

Cost is $50 at Tips Nail Bar & Spa. For more information, call 800-341-999 or visit or