Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! NaiLuv Soak Off Gel Polish in "Hard Core Rock" Over "Love Power"

I used two new polishes in one manicure this time! It's a Halloween themed take on the half-moon manicure with a triangular base instead of a semi-circle.

This is actually really simple to  DIY without any "guides" to help you out--since it's just two angular lines forming a point, you can use the side of your nail brush to guide you--and it doesn't look so bad if you aren't 100% even or accurate with your shape.  So I have about two reviews in one for you; I say "about" because I wasn't really able to assess "Love Power" on its own.  We'll start with that, though.

NaiLuv's "Love Power" is an orange-creme color.  It's hard to describe, because here's the thing: it yellows over time thanks to the UV rays present in your everyday life.  It starts out this nice red-tinged creme color, almost a little coral in quality.  It is mostly a creme, but under very yellow indoor lighting, somehow the milkiness in the color disappears and it kind of looks jelly-like. Here's what I mean:

How different does that look from the orange in the finished product up top?  The top pictures with it under the black gel--taken with natural lighting--are much more representative of this gel color, but I figured I should include this tidbit anyway.  Your lighting really changes the look of this polish!  I used two coats before putting the black on top, and it was opaque except for when I looked close up in yellow light (again, where it suddenly turned jelly-like).

The only reason I noticed this polish yellowed was because I had to redo a nail about 5 days after my original manicure.  Yes, by five days this polish had yellowed.  This comparison photo, however, is after about 9 days on my nails, and a few days without any sunlight on my "swatch":

They are two pretty different hues of orange! One is a nice red-orange-almost-coral, the other is a definite yellow-orange.  It's a nice color, but this yellowing is something I'm going to have to keep in  mind if I ever decide to pair it up with another color--what may look great on day 1 may look disastrous by day 5!

As for NaiLuv's "Hard Core Rock", on the other hand, I have nothing but glowing praises.  Sadly the best part of this review will probably also be the shortest--because really, how much can I go on about a great polish?  The first coat goes on looking sheer as normal, but the second coat?  The second coat is like MAGIC.  It's like liquid latex suddenly enveloped your nails, and they are completely opaque.  No matter what fashion mags may say about what's in style or not, I think a black polish is as much of a staple as a nice pair of black heels.  You never know when you will want to wear it, and I'm glad I picked this color up. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Removing NaiLuv Polish...How Long Does it Last?

A little while ago I uploaded a video about my first experience removing NaiLuv's soak off gel polish (or any gel polish, for that matter). It's a little fragmented, though, since I misplaced some of the pictures I had taken of the process...

For a short recap, though, here's my nails the day before I took my polish off... this was day 11 of my manicure--not too spectacular, but considering my nail polish usually lasts 3 days, I was in awe!

There's definitely chipping--mostly from where my gel polish had adhered to the cuticles and started to lift off.  There were probably two small chips on the tips of my nails from actual wear and tear. 

Removal took at least 20 minutes with a warm pure acetone bath and some work with an orange stick and my opposite thumb to get off stubborn bits.  I'm not sure what happened, but there were a few parts of the gel that seemed to have crystallized onto my nail!  Those can be filed away (especially while they are still soaked in acetone), but they may leave a few spots of color on your fingers or may be visible as a different texture upon close inspection of your nails.  I have a few theories as to why this happened to me:

  1. It's the polish itself.  Could  be true, but I'd like to eliminate other possibilities first.
  2. Applying the polish too thick?  I tried to use nice thin coats, but it is sometimes hard to see when you're working with a clear polish!
  3. Over-curing? So it went from a "gel" consistency to a "crystal"?
  4. Considering the spots that "crystallized" onto my nail seemed to be on the whites of my nails, I'm wondering whether it isn't a very specific type of over-curing.  My light has mirrors all around to bounce around the rays--is it possible the UV rays hit the "overhang" of my nails twice as much due to the mirrors and made them overcure?  Does this idea even make sense to anyone but me?!? 
Either way, I have already used my NaiLuv system again, with slightly better removal results the second time around.  So again, maybe it's all just my error and I will continue to improve. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaiLuv Soak Off Gel Polish in "Hollywood"

This was my first SOG manicure... keep that in mind as you read my review and see the pictures!

First things first, though; let's start with the base coat.  NaiLuv's dual base/top coat is great for giving you  a high gloss shine that lasts and lasts. However, I find the formula a bit thicker than the polishes, for some reason!  It's hard to get all the excess gloss off of the brush aplicator, and since it's clear, it's also kind of hard to see that there's too much on your nails until your cuticles are flooded... I've mentioned this in a video review (I'll link below), but I just wanted to reiterate it again.   I feel like I could have less problems chipping at the cuticle area if I had a more precise application with this.

But as for the polish! NaiLuv "Hollywood" is a classic wine color... it looks like a deep brownish red in low-light, but in sunlight it has subtle berry tones that come out.  I've been wishing for a nice really dark brown/black tinged cream color with no blue tones, and this is not it.  From all the blogs and sites I've lurked on though, I'm not sure a color like that exists in a gel form yet.  Boo!

The application?  Hollywood goes on a bit streaky... I have also heard this can be common with similar shades in other SOG brands, too.  I would have needed three coats for a nice opaque finish, but I only used two in all these photos, since I was kind of hurried.  If you have superb application skills, you could get away with two coats, but then the color might be a little transparent and jelly like in bright light.  If you used two thicker coats (as I did on my thumbs), well, then, you risk having the color peel!

This manicure stayed on for 11 days... I could have lengthened that if I was more careful and did a few more touch ups with the top coat, but my nails were growing out a little too much by then, and I felt like my thumbs were getting a little too chipped. 

And now... Pictures! First in daylight, then two in inside lighting.

Also, a video review for you as well:

It All Started...

Hello again, Internet!

I'm going to use this blog to keep tabs on my foray into the world of Soak Off Gel (SOG) polishes.

It all started a little while ago when I ventured onto while they were having a sale on "NaiLuv" gel polishes and LED lights.  I had heard about gels a little bit, and knew they were supposed to last a long time, but it all seemed quite confusing and expensive, what with all the brands and kits and types of lights. Plus, I am not the best person at nail polish application, and I know gels require a lot precision.

I tried doing some Google searches for reviews and swatches for this NaiLuv brand, and didn't find much, unfortunately! Being an internet savvy beauty lover, I really hesitate to buy things online without swatches and reviews first.  I did find, though, that their LED light that they were selling on Hautelook was the optimal type for most gel polishes-- LED lights cure gels faster using a more limited spectrum of UV rays, so there's less chances of damaging your skin as well as getting a faster manicure.  So whatever, I hopped on the bandwagon, and got my first order from Hautelook:

And after my first (somewhat subpar) manicure, I was pretty hooked!  But more on that in a next post...