Saturday, February 9, 2013

REVIEW: China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier aka attempting to resuscitate my poor destroyed nails

Today I'm reviewing a new nail product that I have just purchased. According to the Calcium Gel Fortifier provides a thick gel coating for substantial protection to weak, dry or splitting nails.
This is not a treatment that is designed for use under lacquer, China Glaze recommend applying 2 coats to bare nails every 4 days.

Normally I have quite strong nails, but in the last 12 months I have reignited my high school love of nail polish and the regular painting and removing of my nail polish (along with picking at chipped nails) has weakened my nails significantly, I used to use a cheap supermarket brand of nail strengthener underneath my base coat, and that was keeping the worst of the damage at bay, but when I ran out I didn't immediately buy a new bottle so they disintegrated very quickly.
Browsing my favourite nail-blogs one night turned up China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier as a possible solution. Michelle from All Lacquered Up has this in her regular nail arsenal and calls it a "...facial for the nails." After a little more research, I decided to ordered some.

Before using China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier
As you can see, my nails are peeling and splitting along the tips, they are discoloured and generally pretty horrible looking.

My pre-purchase research turned up a post by Erica (aka AlwaysCosmeticJunkie) and she suggested applying 1 coat 3 times a day for 7-10 days, based on her recommendation and the current state of my nails, I have decided to try this technique, rather than 2 coats every 4 days as recommended by China Glaze.

The first coat went on beautifully, the consistency is slightly thicker than a normal clear polish or basecoat treatment, but  not as thick as Seche Vite. My nails have a nice glossy look, they still feel a little rough, but considering where we started I can't expect 1 coat to cover the bumps and ridges left over from peeling. It looks like some of the discolouration is gone, but I suspect that might be the result of the faint pink tint of the polish.

(4 Coats)
This is the second day, after my first coat for the day
My nails feel beautiful and glossy, still a little bumpy over the worst parts. It feels like there is a good protective layer over the peeling tips.

DAYS 3-5
Around day 3, the gel fortifier started to chip, I kept applying new layers 3 times a day, but by day 5 it was chipping so badly that it was taking some of my nail with it, making the peeling on the tips worse.

DAYS 6-9
 I removed it and started again, this time applying 2 coats and leaving it for the 4 days as recommended by China Glaze, I found it had the same overall affect and didn't chip as easily.

DAY 10
After 10 days of using China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier 
I removed the Gel fortifier and gave my nails a good buff to help minimise the peeling.

Before & After (Click to enlarge)

4 out of 5 stars
Overall, the product is great. It promoted growth and strength in my nails. However, I don't believe I gained anything by following Erica's recommendation, and that it just wasted a lot of great product. It didn't fix the peeling on the tips, but peeling isn't specifically mentioned in the product information, so hoping that it would fix that was a long shot anyway. I do feel like overall it strengthened my nails and they feel a lot harder, even though they still lift and peel on the tips.
Essie Luxedo over China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier
with CND Stickey basecoat and Seche Vite topcoat
After my test period was over I was desperate for a little colour on my nails (I haven't been 10 days without nail polish in sooooo long!), so I decided to see what happens when you wear it under polish. It bubbled a bit when I applied the top coat (Seche Vite), and most of the large bubbles smoothed out, but there are a few pinprick sized bubbles that set in the top coat on most fingers, it is smooth enough that you can't really see it from a distance, however I know it's there so it bugs me. On my left hand I used the Gel Fortifier over the base coat (CND Stickey) and on my right hand I used the Gel Fortifier under the basecoat, I saw no difference in wear or appearance. I am still on the lookout for a nail hardener that I can wear under my nailpolish, but I think this is an excellent treatment to use overnight once every week or two.

Review Disclaimer: This review is for a product I purchased myself, but I am always happy accept gifts for review purposes, when I review those products I will state that they were a gift.
When writing reviews I will do my best to point out both pros and cons, but my overall rating will reflect my honest opinion, regardless of how I obtained the item.

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