Tuesday, February 14, 2012

OPI LED Lamp - review

I know I'm a sucker for all things new for nails. I'm also a perfectionist and when I'm into something... I'm IN. The hefty price tag didn't deter me. Made in the USA, cures 5 fingers, sturdy design- the lamp had my name on it....
To find out more, click below:
For the longest time LED lamps didn't really interest me. I worked with Shellac and the CND lamp since Shellac came out in April 2010 and I had the timing figured out to a second. When one hand was curing, I was applying the color to the other hand...

What would be the benefit of a faster cure?
Well.... for sure the fact that the LED bulbs don't weaken as fast as UV bulbs is a big plus.. but to me, that was not a good enough reason to spend $600 on a lamp. I think when LCN first came out with LED lamp the price was $1200 USD? Actually considering this, $600 is a steal LOL.
Then I spoke with a distributor of Artistic Color Gloss and she told me that the LED in fact cuts her timing considerably.
Then I realised that in fact, some brands apply quicker. ACD was one of them. The products are thinner and somehow they glide on faster.
OPI GelColors (because the colors are 100% gel) don't start out thin (runny) and end up thickening up after few uses. Well, they haven't- yet.

So how much faster does the LED cure?

I don't buy "you can do a manicure in 1/2 time". First of all, a good manicure is not all about painting. You still have to remove polish/gel polish, shape the nails, detail the cuticles, I also buff the dry skin around the nails with an e-file (no, not a "drill") if needed. And it's needed more then it's not. I don't see many hand models in my salon.
Even if I didn't have to cure the product it takes me about 8-10 minutes to paint the nails. The dark colors, or clients with very stiff hands take longer (about 10 min). I don't see how I can cut my time by 15 minutes then. Applying and curing Shellac takes me about 16 minutes.
I estimate then that LED cuts my time by 6-8 minutes. I'm happy.

Going back to the lamp....

The lamp is made very well, it's super sturdy, has a very handy handle. The bulbs are positioned in a shape of a letter C. The lamp has a ledge inside (I will take a picture soon). When touched, the lamp lights up.
I wish that the lamp would have a motion sensor like the Harmony lamp has.
I found that the clients are little confused at the beginning. They are usually not placing the hand far enough to touch the ledge. After few tries they do get it though.

The lamp has a set of "feet" that you can pull out from the bottom so you can use the lamp for the feet as well. Well... I tried it and knowing very well where the ledge was I STILL managed to stub my big toe and mess my polish up.
I will continue using Harmony 6G LED lamp (with a motion sensor) for the feet.

My manicure set up:
I work at a desk with 2 UV lamps (1 CND UV, 1 generic UV). I cure Shellac in the CND lamp. I cure classic gels in both UV lamps and I cure NSI Polish Pro in both lamps as well.
I keep my OPI LED lamp on a side table and after I apply base coat (to both hands) I pull the LED lamp out, place on the table in the middle and cure the base coat. When the first hand is curing I shake the gel-polish.

My pedicure set up:
For Shellac/Polish Pro I use LE Smart Cure lamp. For OPI I use Harmony G6 lamp.

Overall, I'm happy with the OPI lamp.
If you are reading this..... would you mind to share if you are using OPI LED lamp? If so, how much time are you actually saving?


  1. Thank you for sharing! I found the answer to (almost) all my questions in your blog :) I was wondering though; if I buy a generic UV lamp, can I use that for ALL gel nail polishes? Like Shellack, OPI etc?

    Best regards,

    Thea (Norway)

  2. Hello Thea!
    I attended a fabulous seminar by Doug Schoon over the last weekend. He explains in great detail why it's impossible to cure all the gels with a generic lamp.
    Here is the link to the articles and his website:
    I would HIGHLY suggest buying his book "Nail Structure And Product Chemistry" and "friending" him on Facebook.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Awesome LED gadget! I'd like to have one! this LED lamp is also too classically designed using led lights bulbs. Cool stuff!

  5. Hello!! I am currently using shellac in my salon, but I am VERY interested in OPI gel colour. Would you say CND lamp cures OPI gel Colour just as good? I am in two minds as only recently bought CND lamp and don't want to spend more money on a LED lamp if gel colour works as good in CND lamp.

    Liverpool- UK

  6. OK, am I the only one who thinks all these lights are over priced! Not one of these nail polish companies will say what exactly is the necessary light spectrum is needed for curing and then they put up for sale nail curing light with what looks to be about $20.00 dollars in material, plastic and lights with some reflective tin and want anywhere from 60.00 to 200.00 dollars for these things.

    Just saying, they really need to bring these lamp prices into line with cost of materials and make a reasonable mark up.

    1. Yeah, you made some good points! The companies should post what light spectrum is needed to cure their gel polish. I do understand that companies like if we use the whole "system" but that information should be available.
      The OPI lamp does have a very solid design and I do love the metal handle. I don't use OPI gel color anymore but I'm now using the lamp to sure IBX nails system (which works with any UV/LED lamp interestingly)