Getting rid of tough polish: Target Dip-it vs Nail Aid Power Gel No-rub
Some glittery polishes I've been wearing lately have been a little more stubborn than others - Art of Witchcraft was challenging both for the richly saturated color (that I knew would stain my cuticles) and the tons of microglitter. Battle of the heavy-duty removers: COMMENCE!
First up: the Nail Aid Power Gel No-rub. This product took the nail world by storm a couple of months ago, so much so that my nail-oblivious partner felt the need to post a review to my facebook page (I have NO IDEA where he came across this). It sounded amazing enough that I ran off to dreaded Walmart (being the sole purveyor thereof), and used it within the week.
The Power Gel is exactly what it says: acetone polymerized into a gel thickness. As a scientist, I'm actually kind of amazed that this stuff is legal, since it's kinda ready-made napalm (both sticky and flammable as hell). There are theoretically 2 formulas, one for glitter and one for dark polish, but the only difference at all is the addition of pink coloring to the glitter gel. The instructions indicate that you should dip one nail at a time, let sit for 45 seconds, and wipe off with a paper towel. The first time that I tried it, I ignored most of the instructions: this sat for a good 2-3 minutes on all 5 fingers of one hand at a time, and I removed it with a paper napkin. Boy, was that a disaster. The napalm-like stickiness meant that the napkin disintegrated into paper fragments that were now bonded to my sticky but still halfway-on nail polish. Much rubbing was necessary to remove the no-rub product, along with serious soap & water scrubbing to get rid of the residue. This time, I paid a little more attention, still using it for 2-3 minutes on all 5, but using an actual paper towel. While this did result in way less sticky mess and no bonded-paper mishaps, the polish was still on my nails more than halfway (you're going to have to trust me despite the lack of photodocumentation, as I was disinclined to risk eating through the finish of my camera when my fingers were coated in
napalm acetone gel).
Dip-it to the rescue.
The Target store brand (up & up) remover tub says "delete & repeat" on the label, and that's exactly how that stuff works. Upon opening the very well-sealed screw cap (which, btw, closes tightly enough to not leak during travel), you find a circular nest of pink plastic bristles around a central chamber of acetone - the Sarlacc of acetone, if you will. Dunk one finger in at a time, let it sit for a few seconds, then rub the nail up & down against the bristles. This means that it's great if you've somehow messed up one nail and need to start over without damaging the rest of your mani. This thing has never failed to remove the chunkiest and most stubborn of glitter, or dark vampy shades that would stain my cuticles if I used my standard cotton ball & acetone method. The only drawback is that you really can't do more than one finger at a time, so it will take several minutes to get all 10 nails done. Moisturize like you do any time you use straight acetone - it's the physical design of the container that's the real miracle here, not the chemistry of the solvent.
When the liquid turns black from all the multitude of polish I've dissolved into it, as seen above, it's very simple to dump the old and refill with new acetone (shake first with the lid on to dislodge the glitter settled into the bottom). This particular one has been in use for over a year now with several acetone change-outs and NO deterioration in the bristles.
Verdict: the Dip-it is a clear winner. Both are very cheap ($2.50 for the Target model, and $4 for the Walmart one), but can be found only at their respective stores.