The P180 gel nail polish to love: The Solique x Agoo Collection

While I love all kinds of cosmetics, I confess that one item in particular still intimidates me: nail polish. I can wing my liner and draw on a sharp red lip with practiced precision but having to paint on polish reveals my lack of left-hand coordination (odd for a guitarist). Having someone else do it helps, but only so much: I inevitably get into an accident with my still-wet nails and end up either having to redo the whole thing or just giving up. And if my manicure manages to last all the way until the “dry” stage, my lifestyle (which includes handbag-digging, keyboard-smashing, and guitar string-plucking, among other things) means that they often chip and crack within a day, if not - and this is no exaggeration - within a few hours.

Considering this, I am usually the least likely member of the PV team to be reviewing nail polish, but in this case, exceptions must (rightfully) be made. See, Solique’s line of brand new gel nail lacquers - curated by none other than beauty guru Agoo Bengzon - are not only gorgeous, they also promise to be extremely hard-wearing, a fact that I was keen to test out!

We've previously covered Solique’s other collections but for the uninitiated, Solique is the sister brand of Girlstuff, a line of polishes that are free from the five harmful chemicals found in most nail lacquers: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, and formaldehyde-resins. While Girlstuff carries “regular” polishes, Solique’s specialty are no-UV, no-soak gel polishes, which deliver on all the longevity of the gel finish without the “unpleasant” drying requirement of direct UV light exposure. Solique gel nail polishes are supposedly comparable to the “OG” gel polish treatment in terms of staying power, but at a fraction of the cost. They also cure in natural sunlight, meaning over time your nails will (supposedly) get glossier and stronger over a day or two. And, finally, when it’s time for them to come off, you need not soak your fingers in an acetone bath as with regular gel nails. Instead, Solique comes off like normal polish: with a quick swipe of nail polish remover!

 From left: Cloud, Smitten, and Posse

From left: Cloud, Smitten, and Posse

The Solique x Agoo capsule collaboration has only three shades, but what the collection lacks in range it makes up for in impact! Smitten is a rich magenta-pink that dances on the edge between edgy and classic. Cloud is this lilac-gray with a touch of mauve: a color I’d honestly never seen in a polish before. Finally, my personal favorite, Posse, is a rich hue somewhere between navy and royal blue, which fans of the British TV series Doctor Who might call “TARDIS blue.” As one such fan, I was determined to try this one on in particular, and see if it could pass my wear test.

 Ingredients of Posse

Ingredients of Posse

Solique’s polishes come in a three-step system featuring a base (anchor) coat, the actual pigment, and a gel top coat. While I initially dreaded having to layer multiple coats on my nails, I was pleasantly surprised to find each layer dried extremely fast! Solique’s instruction card suggested waiting two minutes between coats, and I literally used a timer to test out that claim. True enough: within two minutes, my nails were completely dry and ready for the next coat! Since I applied my polish at night, there was no sun to “cure” the polish once the final coat was applied. I gave my fingers a good soaking in ice water instead - a hack I heard helped lock in the polish. While this wasn’t recommended by Solique, it helped me feel a little more secure.

 The first day of wear

The first day of wear

By the second day - which is usually when my polishes are tapping out, if they hadn’t already fallen apart by day one - my nails showed some chipping around the cuticle area, but were still more or less intact, down to the still-glossy tips. On several occasions (while securing a necklace clasp and scratching an itch) I expected to damage the pristine gel surface, but nope! My deep blue nails were strong, shiny, and showing no signs of backing down just yet!

 Day two, and still going strong!

Day two, and still going strong!

The verdict? While I probably won’t be subjecting Solique x Agoo’s polishes to the tender mercies of my steel string (guess I’ll need to learn to use a pick), they’ve certainly lasted through everything else I’ve thrown at them, while keeping their gorgeous color. Quick-drying, long-wearing, and extremely comfortable, they might just have made a manicure convert out of me!

How about you? Would you give these polishes a try? Which one is your fave?

Girl Stuff and Solique nail polishes are available in SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM San Lazaro, Glorietta 2, Alabang Town Center, U.P. Town Center, and through the official website of the brand, Girlstuff Forever.