Monday, September 10, 2012

Indulgent Intermission: (Mis)Adventures in Stain Removal and OrigiNails Bubble White

Since it's a rare day that you'll find my nails unpolished, I've never really bothered much with the staining that frequent polishing leaves behind. Sure, I faithfully use base coat. I even double up for colors that I know for certain will leave unwanted traces behind. But I've learned the hard way that not all base coats are created equal. My favorite still remains the Nail Tek Foundation II Ridge Filling base coat. I've gotten absolutely no staining at all when I was using it. The only problem is that it's not exactly cheap, nor is it readily available (as of this writing, you can only get it from the Shopping Channel or, with a lot of luck, at Winners). In a bid to find cheaper and easily sourced alternatives, I turned to Orly Bonder. Let's just say that didn't quite go well. Heck, I got massive staining after using it under another Orly - Orly Sweet Tart, to be exact! My nails have never been quite the same since. If you really think about it, it has become a vicious, seemingly never-ending cycle: use nail polish - get stained nails - use nail polish to cover stained nails. So in an effort to end said cycle and proudly sport my nekkid nails, I picked up this packet when I last hit up my local Sally Beauty at Carolina's suggestion.

As I was trying it for the first time, I went for the smaller 11g packet.

Ingredient list and directions for use. (Feel free to click to enlarge)

I'd like to point out that this does come in a larger size (I forget exactly how big, but I do think that if you'll end up using this often, the bigger size is definitely the more economical option). Because I wasn't quite sure how I'd fare with it, I went with the smaller, one use only packet. On hindsight, I probably should've gotten the bigger size as I might have underestimated my staining woes. Here's how bad it is (I swear, I'm not exaggerating):

*cringes* Quick, scroll down to see how I dealt with this!

What you'll need:

A 1/3 cup measuring cup, a small bowl and your packet of Bubble White.
(Not pictured: a timer to keep track of your progress and scissors)

Step 1: Place 1/3 cup of warm (not hot!) water into your bowl.

Step 2: Cut or tear the top part of the packet and slowly pour the powder into the bowl.

This is the bubbly solution you're left with once the powder mixes with the water.

Step 3: Immediately dunk your fingers into the bowl. Make sure that all the nails are completely submerged. Start the timer for five minutes. ***You'll notice the bubbles starting to subside over time and that's perfectly fine. The solution still works even without the bubbling action.

Step 4: At the five minute mark, remove your hand from the bowl and rinse with clean water. Use a nail brush to buff off any impurities, if needed. Wipe to dry and you're all done! Well, halfway done. Repeat the process from step 3-4 using the remaining solution with the other hand.

It isn't, by any means, a miracle product. But it works. I really think it does. Now, I didn't get to quite the level of unstained that I would have liked but I did notice a significant difference. This is the part where I'll be honest and say I was initially disappointed to see that I didn't end up with clear, white nails after one treatment. I didn't even really notice much of a difference until I saw the before and after photos I took during the process. Forget feeling disappointed, I'm now looking forward to using Bubble White more to (hopefully) reach an unstained state!

Same exact light set up and camera settings, just some 15 minutes in between.

Obviously not the best results, but any positive result is better than what I started with! I'm hoping that with more uses, I can finally kick staining to the curb. It'll also help if I can find a budget friendly base coat that works as well as my beloved Nail Tek. What's your favorite base coat? How do you deal with staining? I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments! And here's one that Hammie insists I ask: what's the most staining nail polish you've ever had the misfortune of using?


  1. I really like this product, I don't use it frequently but I think it works very well. My nails are stained and I don't care much about that. My favorite base is Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock, I was using Nail Tek before and I love it too.

  2. I use 2 base coats, both of which are under $5 for a 75mL bottle. It's called Pro-FX and I find them at Wal Mart, I use a treatment then the 'sticky' base coat.. my nails have never looked so good!

  3. I like the Color Club Stuck on You base coat but I currently use the one you gave me Seche Vite, love the drying but not so keen on the smell.

    As to stained nails, During the summer, I did a crazy week of home remedies from using a mixture of lemon juice/baking soda, to hydrogen peroxide/backing soda. Some people said to use Comet / toilet bowl cleaners or bleach but I was hesitant to use them because of the chemicals. Others recommend to use Denture tablets or toothpaste but I used left over Crest Whitening Strips instead.

    I really do not know which one worked or maybe a combination of all...but all that with a little of buffing did the trick. After that incident, I threw away the old base coat (don't even remember the name) so I really didn't have to do this ritual again.

    Other alternatives that I didn't try but has been recommended:

    -Rub a potato on your nails.
    -Rub your fingers with vinegar and cleanse them with water.
    -To a teaspoon of table salt, add a couple of drops of olive oil. Mix well and apy for 5-10 min.
    -Soak hands and rub in corn meal on your fingers for 3 minutes.

    P.S. I also put on the Witchcraft Nail Whitener after this and it lightened the stain on my nails.

  4. I got a couple more packets from a recent Sally Beauty trip so I'm hoping that'll take my nails to an acceptable level of stain, if not eradicate the stain completely (I wish!). I'm glad you urged me to try it, thank you! :D

    I've heard good things about Hard Rock but it's a little too pricey for me. I might give it a go when the budget allows for it. Thanks for the suggestion, Carolina! :)

  5. Thanks for the great recommendations, Julie! I actually just picked up the Pro-FX top coat when I saw Lindsay (fellow nail blogger) post about it on Instagram saying it was even better than Seche Vite. It was such a ridiculously good deal that I wanted to try it out and it does work really well! I've been curious about their base coat since so I'm really glad to see you like them. Which treatment are you using? Do you apply the treatment first, then the base coat?

  6. It's the toluene that makes it stinky. It *does* work pretty well but like you, I don't care much for the smell. I was going to tell you about Pro-FX which is a super cheap alternative that doesn't stink up the room.

    Did the lemon juice/baking soda help? What's the ratio for each? I'd like to try that. as I've heard it really works. Hahaha, I actually just did the denture tablets one. I'll do a follow up post on it some time soon. :P

    I think I'll try the potato, vinegar and table salt with olive oil. I'll report back if any worked. Thanks for all the suggestions, Achi! :D

    Witchcraft worked? I have their nail hardener from when I had a bad bout of peeling and I don't think it helped much with me. Still like Sally Hansen Miracle Cure best for peeling.

  7. I bought the mineral botanical strengthener base coat and the epoxy bond. The strengthener does have formaldehyde though so I try to use it every other mani or so and use Feed Me by Essie instead. So I start off by either Feed me or the Strengthener, then the Epoxy Base then normal polish application, and I find it's helped with staining A LOT! I hardly get any at all! :) Plus my nails are much stronger since using the strengthening base coat - such a good product for so cheap!
    The top coat is super good! But I've found that if you apply it a little too thick it bubbles like crazy, have you experienced that at all?

  8. Is Feed Me working for you? I've been using it under what other base coat I have on hand and I don't think it's really doing anything. :S I'll try to hunt these down then after such a glowing recommendation! The display at my local WalMart always looks ransacked so I might have to keep an eye out in other locations.

    Funny, I haven't had bubbling issues at all. I was just thinking it was strange that once I hit the halfway mark on my Seche Vite top coat (first time to use it), it somehow became trickier to apply. I've found myself reaching for the Pro-FX one instead!

  9. Ha yes, the two wall marts I typically visit always have a near empty display too. It took me weeks to find the top coat! I really can't say whether or not Feed Me is working... I think its all due to the Pro FX base coat that my nails are so strong now, but I like to think its at least doing something ;-) Good luck finding them, can't wait to hear what you think!

  10. For the lemon juice, I have tried both methods. One is to squeeze 1 lemon (actually lime - since P only eats lime) into a bowl of water and soak for several minutes. Supposed to repeat this treatment a few time a day.

    But then I got tired (squeezing the ONE lemon) so I bought prepared lemon juice instead and used 1 table spoon lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and mix it to form like a toothpaste and apply on nails.

    I did the same with hydrogen peroxide (1 table spoon) mixed with 2 1/2 to 3 table spoons baking soda and formed a paste to apply on nails. (I did this a few tries because I couldn't get the desired consistency, but I guess if it gets to watered down just add more baking soda).

    I do not know if Witchcraft work because I applied it after I got most of the stain out but you can borrow it if you want.

    But honestly I think the Crest Whitestrips did the most lightening because the others I tried a few times but Whitestrips I did only one time. Caution though that the Whitestrips might leave your nails a bit sensitive so maybe if yo do decide to do it, don't leave it for a long long time like I did. (30 min).
    I still have quite a few packets leftover so I can give them to you too :)

  11. They had lemons on sale at No Frills: 5 for $2 so I got some. I'll try it with baking soda to see how that works out.

    Whoa, hydrogen peroxide is scary strong, isn't it? I doubt I'd try that. I'll stick to the citric acid in lemon instead. :) I've been reading up and apparently the oil in lemons are also good for the cuticles (hence the proliferation of lemon based cuticle balm/cream).

    Thanks, Achi! I might give it a go if it worked for you.

    That Crest one is interesting! I have some samples I got for free so I can try that. What do you mean by sensitive tho? Does it hurt..?

  12. I'm glad that you had the chance to try it out.
    I know HR is expensive but for me it works excellent, I finally found my HG

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