Review: Formula X Prime and Shine….my new at home manicure must haves!

*Note: All links provided are strictly for my readers’ benefit. This post is not sponsored, and only contains my own thoughts and opinions. I purchased these products personally.**

So in the world of make-up, there is always one product that I know I always am spacing on. And its nail polish! Personally, I get distracted by all the new pretty packaging and new release from the hundreds of make-up companies out there that nail care and nail polish fall to the wayside. Which is sad because with all the fun colors, nail polish is just as exciting to play with as the eyeshadow palettes that are always coming out.
Besides my short attention span, another issue I have with nail polish and the DIY manicure has been chipping and wear time. I keep my nails very short (nothing like putting a contact in your eye and jabbing yourself with a nail) and I wouldn’t even be able to go 24 hours without a chip in the nail polish….urgh :/

I tried everything out there to get that professional manicure look without having to shell out $30 every two weeks. Plus my nails were not happy with the constant wear and tear. So I was determined to find something at the drugstore that would give me the look and the wear-time without breaking my bank: Revlon, Sally Hansen, Essie, OPI; pretty much you name it I tried it. I even had one of those at home gel manicure kits that came with the light….and it lasted barely a month before being given away. I hated putting in the time to make my nails look nice, only to end up with a chip an hour later. So there were months where I just rocked the naked nail look…boring and plain but what else was I going to do?

**cue heavenly choir sounds play in background** Enter Formula X Prime and Shine Xcel.

formula x detail.jpg

I had seen the Formula X brand at Sephora on previous shopping trips, and while it looked nice I had lost faith in finding a product that would solve my nail woes. Plus I didn’t really want to spend $10.50 on a nail polish top coat.

But I finally took the plunge this fall at their sale, I think it was maybe September or October. Anyway, Sephora was selling a combo pack that had the priming base coat and shine top coat and since I was getting 20% off I figured why not.

It took a few weeks for me to get in the mindset and test out the new products at home. DIY manicures are something I have to be in the right frame of mind for and be able to devote a fair chunk of time to the process.  Finally I was able to set aside the time to do the 3 step process: prime, nail color, and shine. And boy am I glad!!!

I couldn’t believe how well the first experience went. My manicure last for a solid week before any chipping and everything went on smoothly. Mind you still a little messy because I am a mere mortal and my nail polish application skills are rudimentary. Just last Friday I pulled out the kit and did another DIY manicure with my Formula X Prime and Shine featuring Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Branch Out, a nice dark brown color and again I am blown away by this combo and the final results.


  • The brush design is one of the best I have seen. It’s just wide enough to cover the nail in 1 or 2 strokes and evenly distributes the product
  • It is fast drying, and having the Prime base coat gives the nail color an even surface to grip on. The Formula X site says it “creates a tacky surface to help polish take hold”. Don’t let that alarm you, because it’s not the type of tacky where it feels wet all the time.
  • The Shine top coat gives that salon gel manicure like shine and chip resistence but is so much easier to remove at the end of the manicure. No need to use 100% pure acetone and soak the nail. It easily removes with regular remover and doesn’t tear up the nail like the gel manicure.

Pricing:  Each bottle individually retails for $10.50 (exciting news at the time of this post, they are on sale for $5 each at sephora!!)  This may seem excessive for a nail base and top coat, but when you compare to other nail polishs available its pretty much on par. OPI retails for $10-1$2.50 a bottle at ULTA while Essie polishes are $9.
And when this is compared to the average cost of $25-$30 (not including  tip) for a gel manicure at a salon every 2-3 weeks, its really not that expensive at all.

Final Thoughts: I am truly impressed that so far Formula X Prime and Shine Xcel have actually lived up to their claims. If you can get the products while on sale or in a combo pack, it is certainly worth it. I have only used them in combination with my go-to Sally Hansen Complete Salon manicure polishes, but I would imagine they perform the same way on any other nail polish you may prefer.  I would really suggest this product to someone who is driven mad by nail polish chipping and wants a good DIY manicure to last more than 48 hours.

What are some of your nail care favorites? What polishes are you using for at home manicures?

See you all soon,
~Caitlin of Beauty and Bullet Journaling

One thought on “Review: Formula X Prime and Shine….my new at home manicure must haves!

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