American Classics Yellow Stopper: Really Useful… For a Problem that No One Has

During The Great Gelous Scare of 2012 (about two weeks ago when everyone freaked out because Gelous was OOS everywhere), I went to Sally’s to do a CP for Jeanette from The Swatcholic. The whole nail community was in nailapocalypse (Jeanette’s words, haha) hoarding mode thinking that this beloved basecoat/topcoat had been discontinued. WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT GELOUS TO SMOOTH OUT GLITTER POLISHES!?!?!?!? So, obvi, I went to Sally’s to stock up the fallout shelter. When I got there, to my horror: no Gelous, anywhere. Dejected, I looked around at the nails section of Sally’s Beauty Supply and my inner monologue went something like this: “hmm… I’m already here… Husband’s waiting outside, no need to waste a trip to Sally’s and walk out empty-handed, right? I mean, I have to buy SOMETHING, right????? Of course I do, it would be weird not to.”

And, there, like a glowing beacon next to the wasteland that was the empty Gelous display, was a full display of Yellow Stopper (which should have been my first tip-off), a treatment/topcoat made by the same company that makes Gelous, American Classics.

“Perfect!” I thought. In my constant battle against the horrific yellowing of my nails, I’m always trying new products for the affliction. And I’ve pretty much tried everything, nail bleaching products, denture tablets, scraping, buffing, color correcting basecoats, trepanation, hex-bags, bloodletting, leeches, ritual sacrifice, even using real bleach. (Ugh, no bueno, highly unrecommended… don’t judge me.)

In any case, I got home, super excited to try this out. I read the instructions: “Apply daily to natural nails or over a French manicure to prevent yellowing. Do not use over colored polish.”

Hmm… okay. Maybe I’m crazy, but I read that and thought that it was a basecoat. So I applied a thin layer to my nail, the same way I would with any basecoat. It visibly and immediately improved the appearance of yellowing on the surface of my nail. The clear liquid has a bluish tint to it. It’s not a shimmery pearlescence like the blue tint in Barielle Nail Brightener, the liquid itself has an inner brightness (if that makes sense). Excited, I painted my usual 3 coats of color polish over the Yellow Stopper and topped it with Seche Vite. The mani was Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine. I usually do my nails right before bed, so I finished, waited about 15 minutes, did my usual nightly beauty routine, and went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning to find terrible tip wear on every finger. I was seriously confused – that has never happened before, ever. Had I just woken up from a two-week coma? Had I been sleep-typing? I looked over at my husband. Oh no… did I claw him to death during a nightmare? Whew. He was still alive. My computer was nowhere in sight and I didn’t have any muscle atrophy (rather, I didn’t have any more than usual). It was like I had been wearing my polish for 7 days while typing out Moby Dick cover to cover, nonstop.  I didn’t want to go out in public that way – but, of course, the endless cycle of the yellow curse is that you wear polish, so your nails begin to yellow, so you wear more polish to cover the yellowing. I couldn’t remove it and go to work with naked, yellow nails so I let it be. Less than 20 minutes later, just in the process of showering and blow drying my hair, my polish peeled completely off. We’re talking like peel-off base coat style. At that point, I cut my losses. I removed the remaining polish and went to work polishless. Boy, after not doing that for a while, it sure felt weird.

After that I read some reviews online. Everyone had similar experiences without regard to color nail polish brand. Apparently, Yellow Stopper is really meant to be used solo or as a top coat over a French Manicure as per the instructions. (Although, I really can’t imagine wearing polish for so long that it turns yellow – does anyone really have that problem?). Most often, smokers reported it being very useful to correct yellowing from smoking cigarettes. That’s great… that accounts for maybe 5% of people with yellowing problems. And kudos to those people – this is the perfect product for them. But what about everyone else? This product seems entirely useless for anyone who wants to wear nail polish all of the time. It’s like the classic infomercial product that is really great for solving a problem that no one has. I think I’ll keep my bottle around in case I’m ever forced to go nail-naked again since it did a good job masking the yellow. But, with that said, this product was a pretty big let down, I don’t think I will purchase it again.

Thusly, the search for a product to help me cope with the yellow-plague continues. I’m currently trying out Bubble White, also from Sally’s. So far, so good. I want to use it a few more time before I post a review. I have been reading about at-home remedies as suggested by a few lovely twitter ladies too. I’ll definitely try that soon.

What about you guys – do you have staining issues? If so, what do you do for it?

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18 Responses to “American Classics Yellow Stopper: Really Useful… For a Problem that No One Has”

  1. Katherine Says:

    Loved your review on it, I looked at this during my last trip to sally’s I’m glad I put it down and walked away from it! But you’re right what a pretty useless product for the most of us, hah look at us being so judgey… hah i be there is a little niche of people who love this and it has changed their lives…. hah nah….

  2. fishgirl182 Says:

    luckily i have never had an issue with yellowing nails, even though i wear a lot of nail polish. i thought this post was really funny though, esp the part about possibly clawing the hubs to death in the night. glad he’s safe. :)

  3. Rea Says:

    Aaah, thanks, finally someone refers to it lol! Some german drugstore brands have released polishes like this in the past, their only goal was to prevent polishes to develop this weird yellowness (that no one has and there are only rumours about); it seems to originate from UV light in contact with polish. Well, that’s atleast what those drugstore brands told us.
    But seriously, I’ve never ever in my life had a problem with polish turning yellow or something and never ever met someone who told me so. I don’t think this is a problem for people who wear the polish less than two to four weeks… And who wears the same polish four weeks anywanys?

  4. Chaosophia Says:

    I just cover the yellowing up with more nail polish! ;D

    When it gets really bad, I usually buff my nails a bit, but I’m not really fond of that. Too lazy to try something new though, but I’d love it if you’d share your experience with those things that actually works for you!

  5. Aly MaiSenzaSmalto Says:

    :D So funny (leeches…Sounds very “A game of thrones”)!
    Anyway I cope with my yellow nails as most polishasholics do: covering them with polish. Luckily I don’t like sheers so I always have bright/dark/whatever opaque polish on.
    I heard about lemon juice/essential oil has whitening properties and I added a couple drops to my home made nail oil but my nails tends to be always yellowish. They improve if I don’t wear polish for a while (couple days), but then they tend to get weaker (sounds crazy, but my unpolishes nails tend to peel much more than lacquered ones, as if polish somehow worked as a shield).

  6. Meghan Says:

    Ironically I just bought my first bottle of Gelous at Sally’s two days ago, and on sale! Perhaps the Gelocalypse had passed, or maybe it never came to Canada, who knows…

    Before my nail polish addiction I had perfect nails, like I could put on a coat of clear polish and it looked like a french manicure. Today, not so much, and yes, I’ve had a lot of staining from wearing polish. My solution like others is to wear more polish – it’s a never ending cycle.

    I read on one blog that Orly’s Cutique works wonders, but I’ve never tried it. I have also heard that baking soda and hydrogen peroxide works, but again haven’t tried.

  7. Mireille Says:

    I have yellow nails too, and I bought this product also thinking it was a base coat. In fact, before reading your review, I was already using it as base coat, but only on my toes (and using solo as well – I also have yellow toenails). Never tried in the hands (and probably after your review I never will).
    But the product that has been very useful in removing the yellow tone for me is the Cuccio Sicillian nail whitening paste. It’s similar to a toothpaste, don’t know if you’ve tried in your search.

  8. Cathy Says:

    Thanks for your great review! I’ve a new bottle in my stash and now I know what to do about it. My nails are stained for years but some months ago I started using Jessica Nail Whitener. It works! It doesn’t have a strange blue tint like other nail whiteners so it is fine to be used alone. Usually I use it under my basecoat and yes, you may say that I double up my basecoat so that’s why it works. But I don’t care, coz it really helps me to whiten my nails.

    And welcome back!

  9. beachgal Says:

    Good review. I have seen this at Sally’s and took it for what you found out – a topper – but I thought it was to keep sun from turning a French mani yellow or no color. That seems to have been more of a problem for some back in the late 90′s, early 2000′s when French and Am. manis rocked to almost exclusive rule. I don’t find I personally ever had this problem – but I do recall when I did have manis done back ‘then’ everyone was using these non yellowing toppers. I don’t have any staining issues anymore even with blues and reds. I started to use Orly Nail Armor as my base. I put on a good 2 coats of it. It’s a neutral light beige shade. It’s also a ridge filler but I don’t have ridges. Seems to be a bit of a sleeper but then with so many Orly treatments other than Bonder (which does not work for me – my polish pops off like a press on nail when I use Bonder)…who really gets through all those Orly treatments? I just stumbled on Nail Armor when out of town a # of yrs ago and got stuck having to stay 1.5 months post op when not expected…Since then I don’t want to use any other base coat. As I said – I use at least 2 coats of it making my nail almost opaque with Nail Armor before putting on any color polish. It works great…I used it on my toes too – I do get some yellowing on toes but only because I often will leave my polish on them for 3-4 weeks. If I change it more often and use the Nail Armor I don’t have yellowing.

  10. Zayra Says:

    Hi..I had the same problem with yellow nails but now i don’t..thank goodness..someone over at MUA posted that Sally Hansen Triple Strong base coat (green bottle with white cap) helps with yellowing nails..and it truly does..after using it for almost 2 weeks i could see huge improvement on my nails. It turns out that by using that and OTD top coat my manis are lasting 5 days..So for me it was a win-win. BTW, love that you are back! Your posts are always funny <3

  11. SwatchedNails Says:

    I’ve experienced yellowing only once. I applied my usual sticky CND base (which has never let me down), applied newly-purchased Zoya’s “Jules” and an hour later went to bed. The next morning I decided on a change of heart and too of Jules. It left behind a nasty, horrible stain of yellow on my nails. Never before had I experienced a polish who worked its way past a healthy application of my base and stained the nails so horribly I will never wear it again. That’s the only yellow story I have.

  12. Bunny Says:

    Whenever I would get yellow stains on my nails, I would break out my trusty whitening toothpaste with bleach, and polish, polish, polish! Although I was tempted to use Soft Scrub with Bleach I resisted. I even tried Crest whitening strips on my toenails, however I made a startling discovery about colored nail polish: when it chips off, the nail underneath wasn’t stained! Clearly, it wasn’t the polish doing the damage. After careful experimentation, I deduced that the cause of those awful stains was the removal process. Dark colored polish diluted with acetone will act like a dye! Now, whenever I change polish, I moisten a cotton pad with acetone making sure it doesn’t drip, press it against the nail, and then slide it off so that no acetone diluted polish comes in contact with my nail or skin. For the next nail, I take a new cotton pad, and so on. Using this method, I haven’t had stained or yellow nails in ages. I hope this is helpful.

  13. Scallion Says:

    I bought this a couple of years ago I think. I only liked using it when I didn’t have time to put on a color. It didn’t work as a base coat and it didn’t help my nails turn whiter, it just masked the yellow. Once I finished the bottle, I had no desire to re-buy. I still don’t.

  14. ocelot1 Says:

    i was using revlon trauma nail treatment or something or other…cant remember the name but it was a pink bottle. it is always out of stock at walmart, cvs, target, so i have no idea if its still sold or not :/ great stuff tho.

  15. Mara Says:

    Wait, I read a blog post about using this product as a peel off base coat for glitters and apparently it works!!

  16. Steph Says:

    Katherine – LOL. My thoughts exactly.

    fishgirl – : D Thank you, thank you – I’m here all week, make sure to tip your waitress. haha.

    Rea – Exactly, a friend on twitter pointed out that it may be for people who wear acrylic nails – but even then, will polish last that long? I don’t think it would.

    Chaos – LOL me too! It’s the only solution. I’m planning to do a series on the yellowing problem. : ) I also dislike buff – it just feel so weird.

    Aly – : P Loooove Game of Thrones. I’ve heard the same about lemon juice – I plan to try it too. And I also have the exact same experience with polish – my nails are way stronger with polish than without for sure.

    Meghan – I’ll definitely check out Cutique, also planning to try the baking soda/ hydrogen peroxide solution. Some people swear by that combo.

    Mireille – Nooo I’ve never even heard of it – that’s great. I’ll definitely check it out, thank you so much for the heads up.

    Cathy – Thank you! Yes, I’ve seen a lot of girls say that doubling base coat layers really makes a difference. I’m hesitant only because I wear a lot of layers already, I’m worries my nails will never dry. But I hate the yellow – might be time to pick the lesser of two evils.

    bg – Ah you’re right, I hadn’t heard of that one either. I’ll definitely check it out, I’ve been on the hunt for a new holy grail base coat. Right now I’m using Nail Tek Foundation III – I like it a lot but I’m open to trying Nail Armor. Thanks for the heads up.

    Zayra – Thank you : ) It’s good to be back – honestly, I love Sally Hansen products. My previous HG BC was Nail Quencher and I think Triple Strong was one of my first base coats ever – maybe I need to revisit.

    SwatchedNails – Wow. For me, I don’t think I can identify one offender – it seems to be a build up over time.

    Bunny – That’s a pretty good theory – that really might be it. I’ll have to try that method of removal – and tooth paste as well. lol.

    Scallion – I’m probably going to use it the same way you did – just when I can’t wear color. Totally agree all around.

    ocelot – <3!!! I’ll try to hunt that down, although I doubt my luck will be any better.

    Mara – Really?! lol that’s actually not a bad idea. : P

  17. Deborah Says:

    I have one of those whitening basecoats and the blueish wash it has is always visible. Too bad this doesn’t work the way we’d like right?

  18. Carolina Says:

    My nails have actually gone yellow from polish before.
    Zoya – Jem and Deborah Lippmann – Good girl gone bad are both very evil polishes when it comes to that.
    I usually wear polish 2-3 days before taking it off.
    The yellowing was mainly in the middle of nail and it looked awful. =(
    Very paranoid to use those polishes again until I find the most amazing base coat ever.

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