Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Abstract Tree Design with RCM

Hi again!  I said it would take me a few days to get photos of the nails I did a tutorial for in my last post, and it did.  But I finally come bearing pictures!

For these nails, I started out with  one coat of Red Carpet Manicure "So Icey" as a base.   This is a really fine, sheer, packed silver micro-shimmer with intermittent flecks of a silver holographic glitter.  It's definitely sheer at one coat, but it is so dense that I think you might be able to build it up to opaque with three coats! The holographic glitter kind of becomes lost when I put nail my nail design on top of it, but I tried to capture it in a photo:

Then, on top of that I used three coats of Red Carpet Manicure "Behind the Scenes" to make a triangle/tree shape.  Behind the Scenes is a gorgeous emerald green with slight blue undertones, which also has a small warm-toned shimmer to it.  This shimmer reflects gold and orange, with a few hints of green.   Unfortunately this gel polish is dark enough that it absorbs light, and looks almost black in some lighting--so the shimmers that it carries kind of become lost in some light, too. The best representation of this color, therefore, is probably in the first photo with flash or the close-up macro shot I'll post below.  

But it still is really beautiful, and it applies really well--unlike the somewhat similar green Gelish shade "A Runway for the Money" or "Dear Johnny Green", or the RCM equivalent "Diva in Disguise".  So if you don't like troublesome gel shades, I'd go for this one any day. 

Here's my attempted macro shot on the left--which shows mostly gold and green reflective shimmers--and an outtake from a picture with flash on the right--which shows some of the orange-gold reflects as well.  

Lastly, the gold glitters I used at the top of the trees are from the "Born Pretty Store".  I'm still perfecting my method to get those large glitters to stay encased in gel easily. 

That's all for today, I guess...see you in 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tutorial: Holiday-ish Mani That You Can Wear into the New Year

Hello again!  I'll have better pictures of the look for this tutorial a bit later, but I wanted to post it while there's still a few days before Christmas--it's Christmas tree inspired, after all, but not your usual flashy holiday nails.  I wanted something I could wear into the New Year.

I just want to add that it was nice to take the time to do my nails today, too.  Everyone has been out shopping this last weekend, and rushing to get presents sent or wrapped or what-have-you.  It was a nice way to take some time for myself, and not in a way that involved spending money while I should be spending money on others. :)

The colors I used for this tutorial are Red Carpet Manicure's "So Icy" and "Behind the Scenes".  The green looks almost black in the video, unfortunately, but you still can see everything that's going on--and there will be pictures soon.

Once again,  I mainly wanted to show that you can do almost anything you can do with regular polish with gel polishes, too.  Sometimes it's even easier than with regular polish!  So this is just a simple holiday take on a tape-guided manicure, but it would work just as well any time of the year, with any color combo you choose.   You could also spruce it up more for Christmas with some red stripes for garland or some more glitter ornaments--take some time for yourself and have some fun!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Glitter + Glitter (Or: NaiLuv + Red Carpet Manicure...again!)

I feel kind of repetitive today...for this manicure, I used the same two brands I used for my last nails.  But I REALLY love these new sparkle gel polishes that Red Carpet Manicure put out this season, and I was finally ready to break out the festive nails, sooo...

This is NaiLuv's "Super Freaky" with Red Carpet Manicure's "Adorn Me" on top.  Once again, I wasn't really able to get nice sunny pictures, but with glitter polishes I notice that's not too important--the color of the glitter transforms just as well with angle the glitter hits the light at as with the type of light. 

First of all, I used three coats of Nailuv "Super Freaky" for a solid wall of cherry red glitter on my nails--this is the color on my middle nail, by the way, where I refrained from using the gold glitter topper so I could try to get some swatch pictures.   When I first got this shade and posted a "haul" of it early this year, I thought it looked like a red glitter in a red tinted jelly base--boy, was I wrong.  It's actually just a ton of tiny red glitters in a clear base--and it's so jam packed with glitter that it looks opaque on your nails in 3 coats.  It's a super fun shade; although it's not pair of colors that screams "CHRISTMAS!", it's surprising how just some red glitter can make everyone comment on your festive nails.  One down side, though: because of all its glitter, this gel may feel a little thick or a little more uneven on the surface than your usual gel polish.  In particular, I had a rough spot or two when I capped the edges of my nails--but that wore itself down in a day or two. 

Even though it's not a "jelly" shade, you can layer glitter between it for a neat effect similar to jelly polishes.  For example, on my thumbs I put a layer of Red Carpet Manicure "Adorn Me" underneath the third layer of "Super Freaky"--I still got a little of the gold and holographic reflectiveness of the "Adorn Me" shade, but the perceived "texture" of the surface of my nails looks quite different than just layering the polish on top:

This would be much more fun with some larger sized glitters, too!

Over the other three nails, I applied one coat of Red Carpet Manicure "Adorn Me", which is basically a dupe for Gelish's "Twinkle".  Overall, I found this glitter a much better performer than the last glitter shade I used--it applied much more evenly over the nail with one coat.  That may be due to the fact that it's a much simpler glitter gel, though.  There are just three types of glitter I can discern: there are teensy tiny yellow gold flecks of glitter, and slightly larger hexagonal yellow-gold glitters, some of which are also holographic--all suspended in a clear gel base.   Since my nails are red, the base color kind of appropriated all the warm-toned holographic reflects.  So although sometimes I could catch an orange-ish reflection, most of my photos show the holographic glitters reflecting a blue/purple shade.

I did really bad at getting some bottle pictures this week, so these are the few shots I could get of the RCM shade. Luckily I got a pretty aaaah-mazing macro shot of this glitter--just look at the right side of the picture with the green background above! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

RCM "Put Some Bling On It" & NaiLuv "Rum Cola"

I don't have too many pictures to bombard you with this time, but I wanted to share one of the new holiday Red Carpet Manicure colors that came out recently (I picked mine up late in the day on Black Friday).  It's a whole collection of silver and gold gel polishes, with glitters and metallics! I can barely ever pass up glitter gel polishes at the right price, so three of the gels came home with me that day.  And one went on my nails shortly thereafter!

Of course, also in this post is NaiLuv's "Rum Cola", which I picked out because it reminded me of the dirty slush on the roads and the ugly skies after the recent snowstorm we had.  I'm so poetic, I know, I know.  It's definitely winter now, but I wasn't quite ready to break out the jewel toned holiday colors yet. 

Red Carpet Manicure "Put Some Bling On It" is a simple silver glitter in a clear base.  What makes it unique from other gel polishes is that it has four different sizes of glitters--three hexagonal sizes and one teensy size that is more irregular shaped.  I couldn't pass this up because it reminds me insanely of Essie's "Set in Stones"; however, it is more like Essie "Set in Stones"'s wimpy cousin!  Here is one coat of Essie's "Set in Stones" as seen on another blogger, PolishAholic.  In contrast, the RCM gel, which I also used one coat of, is a little more sparse--there are less large and medium sized glitters to bulk it out.  But it still provides a nice extra element of sparkle to your nails, and looks a little bit like a mini snowstorm on them! In the close up it looks a little like one of the largest glitters is about to lift off my nails, but I'm happy to report that the glitters stay firmly secured in this gel--unlike some other glitters I've encountered, where the larger glitter can lift off the nail after a few days.

Nailuv "Rum Cola" is a simple "greige" - a grey creme color with slight brown undertones.  Sometimes NaiLuv's names confuse me, because I don't really see "cola" in this at all!  But regardless, it's a great neutral color that covers perfectly in 2 coats, making it one more great NaiLuv shade.   It does have slight brown undertones, but when light floods onto it, it looks more like a true grey--pairing it with a silver added to this effect, too. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sephora by OPI Gelshine

Hello again!  Happy December!  Now that the days are getting MUCH colder, at least in the northern US, I wanted to start my post off with a reminder/tip:

When the weather gets cold, make sure your gel polishes are at room temperature (or warmer!) when you apply them.  Gels may thicken up and become harder to apply in the cold! 

I tend to keep my polishes boxed up below a window sill, and while this means that they stay out of sunlight, they certainly don't escape the cold drafts, and tend to be colder than anything else in the room.  I forgot about this when I applied this manicure, and as a result my lasting power was awful--the gel thickened due to the temperature, which made the polish shrink back on my nails and feel goo-y instead of laying out smoothly.  Worst of all, I only lasted about 3 days before I had gel lifting off my nails.  Fail!

This color is Sephora by OPI  "I Only Shop Vintage". There are a few unique Sephora-only gels in their collection, and this is one of them.  It's  got a brassy yellow-brown base overflowing with warm yellow-gold flecks of glitter.  If you've seen "Golden Eye" by OPI, this polish has flecks exactly like that--it has irregular shaped yellow-gold glitters that reflect yellow, orange, and light green in the light--but this was hard to capture in photographs.  It creates a unique polish that can look more brown, yellow or tan depending on the light.  It kind of reminds me of gold polymer clay, or gold-colored plastic you might find on a toy--actually, I just found out that this color would make a great "dupe" for the plastic used in the original Pokemon Gold Gameboy cartridge!  Not always something you would want on your nails...but it's an interesting shade.  Anyway, I used three coats for strength, but you may only need two if you apply under better conditions than I did. 

Sadly, this was the first time  I tried out a Sephora by OPI Gelshine gel polish, and since my application wasn't ideal, I feel like I'm unable to review the formula itself.

OK, finally there are pictures!

Here's my attempted closeup--you can kind of see some flecks of green and orange in the middle of my nail on the top left side, right?  The color shifts were hard to capture on camera!  You can also see the horrible shrinking that was a result of my bad application.

Next time I'll have better pictures, I promise!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday Gel Polish Deals

Hello again!  The weather's been awful this week, leading to an awful manicure and awful chances for photo taking in natural lighting.  I'll be back with some pictures in a day or two, but in the mean time, you know what day is coming up!


Redcarpetmanicure.com also has 50% off their entire site.   I just saw some new colors make an appearance at Ulta--and all of those and more are already on the RCM site for only $5.00!  The code MYREDCARPET will get you a further 10% off, but shipping is not free, unfortunately.

 SensatioNail.com has SOME of their gel polishes on sale for $5 each this weekend as well, but colors are selling out fast!  You also need to spend $50 in order to qualify for free shipping.

Drugstore.com has 15% off everything with free shipping this whole weekend.  They sell SensatioNail, Red Carpet Manicure, Sally Hansen Gels (which are also buy 3, save $3), and NaiLuv gel polishes.

Speaking of Red Carpet Manicure.... they are still on sale for $8.00 at Ulta.com for the rest of the month, as mentioned in an earlier post.  The code JINGLE13 will get you free shipping, and of course, any Ulta member gets coupons in their inbox (like $3.50 off $10--106757 is the current code for that deal) every week or so. 

And speaking of Nailuv--I'm hoping they have sales on their original site, but their manufacturers site currently has some not too shabby deals, too.  Their 12 piece kit WITH an LED light, full size base/top coat and 5 mini color shades (plus extras) is only $29.99 at the moment.  That's about the same price you could pick them up for at Costco months ago!  And their gel polish shades are currently $8.00 each, although they don't seem to have the full range with the newest colors available.   Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a low threshold for free shipping--but Black Friday/Cyber Monday is still not quite here yet, so things may change, hopefully.

Even better than all that, though: Red Carpet Manicure is $7.49 at Walgreens.com; they have Sally Hansen Gels on sale for $7.79; certain NaiLuv Polishes are $9.99; and they also have certain SensatioNail gels on sale for $8.49 or $9.49.  The best bonus on top of all that?  The code TURKEY25 will save you 25% through Saturday!  Oh, and did I mention shipping is FREE once you spend $25?  That makes these gels crazily cheap!  Unfortunately, selection is limited--but at prices like that you may want to try out some new brands.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peace & Love & OPI Gelcolor

After my last post, we had the first snow of the season...and the day after  that was the sunniest day in a while, so I finally got to take a lot of pictures of my "Peace & Love & OPI" Gelcolor!

There are quite a lot of pictures to just show you ONE polish.  But this polish is that amazing; it can look like 10 different polishes in the right lights.  Sometimes, metallics in Gelcolor version are not as amazing as their regular nail polish versions, because they create more depth rather than looking like a foil on your nails, as RNP does.  Luckily this polish is amazing any way you apply it!

You see, in some lights, the dark steely-grey metallic base predominates:

And then in some the polish my reflects mostly forest green metallic:

Or mostly hazy purple metallic:

In some lights, you may get the teeeeensiest hint of  interplay of purple and green reflects above that steel grey base:

In other lights, it looks like a neat transitional fade (like an ombre look, almost) between green and purple:

And then in some lights....well.  It kind of looks like Harley Quinn and the Joker had a baby on my nails and IT IS AWESOME:

If I had to sum up the color, I'd say it was a highly-metallic dark grey base with purple and green reflects.  The size of the reflect glitter/shimmer is varied slightly, so that you can get little intermixed sparkles of silver, green or purple in most lights, for example on the sidewalls of my nail, outside of the main "stripe" of direct sunlight here:  

The beauty of this gel polish is that it looks different depending on your lighting and your angle in relation to it, and I find that multi-source lighting is the best to bring out both shifts at once--lighting like you would have in the grocery store, in an office building or anything like that. 

The formula of this gel polish is pretty good, too, as usual for OPI Gelcolors.  I used three coats, but you may be able to get away with two depending on your nails--I needed some extra strength, because as you can see my nails are not quite uniform at the moment, and I need to grow them out!  Since it is a metallic, you can see brush strokes in nearly all of my pictures.  Of course you can also see those in real life, too, but the color shift of the gel and the shininess inherent in all gels is so distracting that I don't even care!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Red Carpet Manicure and Sally Hansen Deals

Hi again!  Long-time-no-see once again, huh?  Unfortunately, the end of October/beginning of November has been really busy, and now the weather has been yucky for days--the moon might shine, but the sun sure isn't.  I've got OPI Gelcolor "Peace & Love & OPI on my nails at the moment, and I can't even get a picture with good natural lighting to show the world its awesomeness!

Anyway, this post is about deals, and 11/10 through 11/30, Ulta and Ulta.com has their Red Carpet Manicure polishes on sale for $7.99.  That's not as good as the BOGO half off sale during the summer, but still pretty good considering sales on gel polishes don't happen often.  They have a few unique grey-tinted jewel tones and red shades available for the fall right now, and they may still have a few colors from the summer collections on clearance at your local store, too!

Sally Hansen also has some of their gel products on clearance for half off at multiple stores, too.  Ulta.com has two polishes listed for half price, but I was able to find some gel polish strips with neat patterns as well as a few more colors on sale at a local grocery store, of all places!  The colors on Ulta's site are "Black Tie Optional" and "Troublemaker", but you may want to browse around locally for some more options.  If you've been wanting to try the gel polish strips or this brand in general, now is probably the best time. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bloody Nails with "Skyfall" and "Fake Bake"

Last post, I had a video tutorial for a drip-style Halloween manicure, and now I have the pictures!

I posted two inside photos--one of each hand--so maybe you can get an idea of just how easy this manicure is.  Unlike my last manicure, where my spider webs looked just a little more wonky on my left hand (painted with my non-dominant right hand), I think each side looks pretty good this time!  That's how easy everything was to do!

The only minor problem is:  since you're doing nail art with gels, and darker colored gel polishes tend to carry a lot of pigment, the darker color can bleed a little bit if you're not careful when applying a top coat.  You can see where this happened on the pointer finger of my left hand a little bit.

Anyway, as for the colors:

I used just one coat (albeit a bit of a thick coat) of OPI Gelcolor "Skyfall" for the blood drips.  This is a highly pigmented creme color--the perfect "oxblood" type of color that has just a few hints of brown to darken its red base.  The flash pictures make it look a little more blue-toned, but in real life it usually comes off as the color in the naturally lit picture posted first.  On its own, I think this color would be a perfect two-coat gel polish!

Too bad I can't say the same for Red Carpet Manicure "Fake Bake".  I used FOUR coats for this gel, because each coat was very streaky.  There are still one or two spots of streakiness--although luckily most got covered up by the designs I made, you can still see one such spot on the ring finger in the sunlit picture.  It is a nice nude creme color--a bit more yellow and peach based than the previous RCM gel polish I used, "It's Not a Taupe", but four coats isn't worth it!  It also was a rather thin gel, and it snuck into the side walls of my manicure pretty easily, even though I was very careful. 

Either way, I still really like the end result, and I'm trying to think of other color combos I can do to make this drippy nail art look awesome all year round!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Nail Tutorial - Blood Drips with Gel Polish

Hello again! I'll have the pictures for these nails up in a few days as well as information on the gel polishes here, but I figured I would post the tutorial first this time.  After all, Halloween is in 10 days, and you know gel nails can last much longer than that!  I'll probably have still have this design on for the party I'll be going to next week (which required some DIY costume making, so I'm sorry if my hands look a little worse for wear here). 

Have fun painting! :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nailuv Deals on Hautelook

So I don't know if this is just a two day sale or not, because I was just on Hautelook and didn't see this at all.... but Nailuv is back on Hautelook again until 10/17 (that's tomorrow!)

I feel like it's been a while since I've seen Nailuv on sale on the site, so I wonder how long it will be until I see it again after this.

Fortunately, though, Nailuv kits have been popping up at Costco for about $30, for those of you who would like to try out an entire system--it comes with 5 mini polish bottles, the base/top coat, the light, and the cleansers and stuff you need to do an entire manicure!

Happy shopping, if you choose to do so! :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tutorial: Spider Webs and Mummies - Gel Nail Art & Sharpies!

Ok, so I just posted the photos of my spider web and mummy nails, and now, here's a video to show you how I did it.  It's a little long, but hopefully not too boring! 

All you need to do this type of nail art is a Sharpie marker! Of course, with gels you will already have the other required item handy--91% isopropyl alcohol, that is.  If you make a mistake, Sharpie erases easily with the isopropyl alcohol.  This is a concept that has been really popular for easy DIY nails with regular nail polish, but there's no reason you couldn't use the same method for gel polishes, too.

If you're a newbie like me, I suggest trying out the designs on your "old" nails first, before you soak off your old gel manicure.  You can keep erasing with the isopropyl alcohol and retrying until you find a technique that works, and then you can finally draw on the manicure you want to keep for the next two weeks.  Remember, you don't have to get too detailed either, since most people will only see your nails from at least 2 feet away!

The only potential problem with Sharpie for nail art is that it can bleed when you apply a top coat--perhaps you saw a little bit of smearing on some of my nails.  To combat this, make sure you wait a little for the marker to set in, apply your top coat liberally, and use a light hand--pushing down on the brush too much was the biggest problem for me.  But since gels self-level before they're cured, I found that I could gently coerce the smeared area back a little with my brush, without ruining my nails. 

All that information and more is in the video, so feel free to watch!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Deals? A Giveaway at Chickettes Blog!

I'm always kind of out of the loop when blogs and sites host giveaways, but this is one I found out about before it ended!

"The Chickettes" are giving away a Gelish light, a Gelish Mini starter set, and three Gelish gel polishes from their recent fall "Under Her Spell" collection. 

 If you haven't yet gotten into soak off gel polishes but have been thinking about it..  or if your light is hitting the end of its days, you should definitely sign up. :)

PS: Red Carpet Manicure colors from the summer collection have been making their rounds through Ulta's clearance, too.  It's not posted on their website, but I've seen about 5 colors in clearance bins at the local Ulta for half price, so $4.99.  And you can always use an email or mailer coupon if you spend over $10 to make it an even better deal!

PPS: I just noticed that Walgreens has both the Kiss gel polishes I just reviewed on sale for $8.99, and SensatioNail gel polishes on sale for $7.99! I think their sales last until the 12th of October. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish & My First Halloween Art of the Year

First of all, I have to say I'm overwhelm(ingly pleased) at the number of new gel polish brands I've seen popping up lately.  Essie just released their line of gel polishes, and China Glaze is getting theirs on the way.  Finger Paints released theirs over the summer along with Sally Hansen's gel line, and now Sally Beauty is selling another new brand called "ASP", too.

And NOW... now there's another brand you can get at the local pharmacy!  I spied the Kiss brand of gel polishes just the other week at Walgreens, although I'm sure they've been out for a little while already.  If I remember correctly, they were about $10--and although they are only the 9mL or .30 fl oz size (so basically, 3/5 the size of a full polish bottle), that's still the same size as every other pharmacy or Ulta brand gel, and it's the same or cheaper in price, depending on what brand you're comparing to.  I was also immediately taken in by the bottle's shape, too--obviously, Kiss is going for a parallel to CND's Shellac with their bottle shape.  Until now, I've only seen that with dubious foreign Ebay gel polishes!

Of course I had to pick the brightest and greenest color out of the bunch, and although summer's over, I decided to spice up the color for Halloween time. 

This is my first time doing Sharpie nail art, and it's not too great...but not too bad, either, in my opinion!  I'm left-handed, by the way, and I think you can definitely see a bit of a difference in the quality of my work depending on my hand, but I still think this nail art is easy enough to do with both hands!

Now, the review:

Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish in "Sweet" has a surprisingly great formula; despite it being a lighter, creme-formula color, two coats covered amazingly--however, I did go for a third due to some staining I wanted to cover up.  The color itself is just another spin on the popular mint color; it looks pretty bright in my photos, but it does have an ever so slight grey undertone, and it can look more blue or mint green depending on your light source--so cyan would be pretty apt of a color name for it. It is very, very similar to Gelish's spring release "A Mint of Spring"--maybe just a tad greener and greyer.

Oh, and I can't forget my thumbs!

For these mummies, I used Red Carpet Manicure "It's Not a Taupe".  This is a basic khaki colored creme gel polish.  The grey and yellow tones actually worked well to hide the redness of my fingers and blend in to make a "nude polish" on me.  And I'm not sure I ever thought of likening my skin to khaki.... but I think I just did!  Three coats did the trick for this one.

The nail art on my thumbs was done with Sharpie as well, except for the mummies' eyes, which are made with dabs of Red Carpet Manicure's "White Hot".

I'll be posting a video tutorial for this in the next few days, so hopefully I can encourage some others to attack their nails with permanent markers, too! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gel "Skittles" Manicure

I wanted to do one more fun, bright manicure before fall arrived--I wasn't quite ready to let go of the summer weather, you see.  But I've been in the mood for Halloween candy already, too... so I came up with this really bright "Skittles" gel manicure!

My orientation of colors kind of makes it look like a rainbow manicure, as well!

Here's everything I used:

For the thumb and pointer finger, I used two notoriously sheer neons, so I used as a base Red Carpet Manicure "White Hot".  I should have known the neon colors would be sheer, but I didn't think--so I didn't shake and prepare my white color well.  As a result I had to use 2 coats for a base of creamy white that was just a tiny bit streaky.  This base color helped to ensure that the neons I put on top of it would not be sheer at all. 

On the thumb, I used Red Carpet Manicure "Show Me the Money" (which is pretty much the same as Gelish's "Amazon Flirt") over "White Hot".  As with regular nail polishes, neon colors in gels can be kind of tricky--applying semi-sheer to the nail and having a different finish due to the pigments used (luckily this isn't a problem in gel, as you'll need to top it off anyway).  Over a base of white, "Show Me the Money" was a semi-sheer highlighter-green creme color even after three coats, and looked rather splotchy when viewed up close in some lighting.  You can kind of see this in my indoors picture where I was holding my cheap-o headphones, although I couldn't get a head-on view picture of my thumb.  However, from arm's length and in sunlight, this color doesn't look so uneven, probably because it's so NEON I'm distracted by the glow!

On the pointer finger I used Gelish "Copacabana Banana".  Again it's a bright highlighter-yellow neon creme that is semi-sheer, so I put it over the "White Hot".  Luckily this one was much nicer--I think I only needed two coats to achieve a great, even color over the white with no streaks or unevenness like the green!

The middle finger has the only shimmery shade, Gelish "Orange Cream Dream".  It's a great bright orange filled with gold shimmer.  The shimmer is fine enough that it doesn't look too different from the cremes from far away, but the gold still pops out nicely in sunlight--you can see this best in the second photo.  I used three coats, and there seemed to be a teensy bit of visible nail line up close, but nothing so noticeable I could even capture in a photograph!

On my ring finger, I have the only new brand of gel to me--that's IBD JustGel "Molly".  It's an awesome almost neon fuchsia creme shade.  I need to do all my nails in this color sometime!  Three thin coats applied smoothly and evenly.  Once again, with these bright shades, I felt like I saw a bit of visible nail line, but there was nothing so drastic I could even capture it in a photo. 

My pinkie finger has the darkest shade, which is Gelish "Sugar Daddy".   Only two coats needed on this one, because the polish was pretty thick on its own!  It applied nicely even so, and it came out a bright blue creme color--like a cobalt with just a teensy bit of grey to tone it down.  A color like this will work for any season, really. 

The only major disappointment here was RCM "Show Me the Money", which I expected to be sheer, but not streaky! Luckily this past summer (2013, that is) Gelish reformulated some of their neons and released another neon collection, and with it is another green shade called "Sometimes a Girl's Gotta Glow".  Hopefully that one applies better than this one--and maybe that will trickle down to the RCM line of gels. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Gel Polish Picks!

Hello again!  I've not really been into video-making lately, but I decided to do one for my gel polish pics for the fall season, as I've done with all the other seasons this year. 

Unfortunately my nails for this video are not very fall-like, but I wanted to do a "Skittles" gel manicure before the summer ended--and as a bonus, Skittles also remind me of Halloween candy, haha.  But I'll have a post on that later!

The colors mentioned in this video are:

OPI Gelcolor - Skyfall
OPI Gelcolor - Casino Royale
OPI Gelcolor - Eurso Euro
OPI Gelcolor - Lincoln Park After Dark
OPI Gelcolor - Every Month is Oktoberfest
OPI Gelcolor - Deutsch You Want Me Baby
OPI Gelcolor - Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok Fine!
OPI Gelcolor - A Good Man-darin is Hard to Find
Red Carpet Manicure - It's Not a Taupe
Red Carpet Manicure -  Toast of the Town
Supernail Progel - Baltic
NaiLuv - Rum Cola
NaiLuv - Hollywood
NaiLuv - Hardcore ROck
NaiLuv - Love Power
Orly SmartGels - Naughty
Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish - Troublemaker
Gelish - A Runway for the Money

The colors I don't have, but am really looking forward to getting for the fall (because they're pretty unique!):

OPI Gelcolor - Peace & Love & OPI
Orly GelFX - Yellow-Gold Chrome, Magenta-Violet Chrome, Rose-Bronze Chrome, and Pink-Blue Chrome
OPI Gelcolor - Here Today... Aragon Tomorrow (I'm hoping this is less yellow-grey and has a better formula than the mentioned Gelish color)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Carpet Manicure Deals! (Online Only?)

Hello again!  I'm quite shocked that this next deal lasted almost the entire month of September, and I didn't realize it was going on until just NOW! 

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polishes Buy-One-Get-One %50 Off at Ulta.com.

If you're looking for some cheap gel polishes, this sale only lasts 5 more days (until the 28th of September).  Remember that Ulta always has $3.50 off $10 coupons that you could stack up with this offer for an even better deal--that'd be two gel polishes for under $7.00 each! 

I think this sale must be online-only, though, because I was in Ulta earlier this month and definitely didn't see any RCM polishes on sale, unfortunately. 

I think Ulta is catching on to the fact that we consumers like sales on gel polishes as well as everything else--hopefully they'll continue offering more. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Every Month is Oktoberfest!

....Or so says OPI!

You know how some nail colors are "duds" because they look so complex and great in the bottle, but on your nails they turn kind of flat?  IE the duo-chrome shimmer kind of disappears, or the glitter overwhelms the base color (or vice versa)? 

Yeah, this polish is NOT one of those colors!

I mean, just look at it!  I hope my sub-par photography skills did it justice.

OPI Gelcolor "Every Month is Oktoberfest" is a perfectly balanced mix of a dark, navy blue base filled with rusty red colored shimmer.   These colors play off of one another so that they create a glowing finish in all but the dimmest lighting.  Some colors as dark as this may get confused for being black, but you won't have that issue here; the interplay between the base and the shimmer creates sort of a purple "raisin" color (to use the words of one girl who complimented my nails), and the red shimmer ensures that the lighting won't just make it look flat black. On top of that, in daylight the navy undertones really shine through and even kind of glow like blue glass--which you can really see in my macro shot.  I could go on and on about this polish, but I'm not sure how to describe this in a way that will do it justice. And only two coats worked great for this gel polish. 

I only have two small caveats.  One, there was a sneaky, tiny amount of "shrinking" from the edges of my nails that was unnoticeable until I was all finished.  My polish actually did wear away faster and create a few tiny chips within a week because of this, but I recapped the edges and was OK for another week.  In the future, I think capping the edges and curing that before painting the rest of my nails may help out my problem a bit.  And two, the color ran just a little bit, hence why the cuticle area of my nails looks a little jagged--it also snuck into the sidewalls of my nails in a few spots.  But that's nothing that wouldn't keep me from buying this gel again if I had to!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Red Carpet Manicure "One of a Kind"

I haven't updated in a while, but I wore this color for what felt like forever, so I had nothing else new to post about!

I like lavender, but lavender is a hard color for gels.  The problem is that, from what I hear, purple pigments are more UV sensitive or "unstable" than other colors, so over time your manicure may change color to a more yellow, green, or grey shade.  Red Carpet has a beautiful lavender color called "Violetta Darling" which is similar to "One of a Kind" but in a creme shade, but since I heard that it had that weird ugly fading issue, I opted for this color instead.

Honestly I was not to happy about this color when I first painted it.  Red Carpet Manicure "One of a Kind" is a very metallic light purple shade that seemed to have a slight mauve undertone at first.  And I do mean very metallic--you may see brush strokes, and may I suggest capping your tips first unless you want to end up with unsightly smudges like you can see on the tip of my middle finger.  Any wayward strokes will mar the look of this gel!  Although in my macro shot you can see that sometimes the metallic finish diffuses the light to reflect slightly purple, blue, or yellow spots of "sparkle", this is not something you will be able to see from more than a foot away--it just looks like it shines a silvery metallic.

I wasn't too happy about that kind of mauve undertone, though; I felt like it made me look older and didn't provide a nice contrast with my skin tone.  But that brings me to my next point: the fading! Since purple gels, especially light purple ones, may tend to fade, I wanted to test this out to see what it would do.  Happily, "One of a Kind" pretty quickly faded to just a shade or two lighter, which I felt just enhanced the metallic properties of this gel.  I tried to grab a photo of a comparison with two nails that had been sporting this gel polish for two weeks, and two nails that were newly painted.  The fading is only very slightly noticeable, and honestly it probably wouldn't be a big deal even if you liked the original color, unlike me!

Lastly, I found this gel polish to be a bit on the thinner side, so I used three coats, and my manicure lasted for about two weeks with a few touch-ups.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NaiLuv "Merry Mermaid" & OPI Gelcolor "Suzi Says Feng Shui"

I want to apologize, first of all, for two things: the lack of posting, and the lesser quality of these photos.  I thought my pictures looked ok... until I got to the computer!  I had to do some editing to spare you guys from how dead my hands looked last week.

But even so, I thought my nails were a little fun!

The darker color is OPI Gelcolor's "Suzi Says Feng Shui", which is a jewel-toned teal creme color.  I used two coats, and I did suffer a little bit of "shrinking" as you might be able to see at some angles, but it was nothing too drastic or noticeable in real life, and was probably caused by my error.

The lighter color is NaiLuv's "Merry Mermaid", which is one of the brand's more popular colors, I think.   It's a great turquoise shade with lots of scattered micro silver sparkles.  What you might call "Tiffany blue" or light teal/turquoise colors have been really popular for at least the last two or three summers, so it isn't too surprising that I hear about this color a lot!  Even though the sparkles in this gel are silver, thanks to the dimension gel polishes give your nails, sometimes sparkles "hidden" in the turquoise gel shine through and give off a more green-blue light as well. By the way: the flash on my camera in the first picture definitely made this look rather neon; the second photo is more true to life! The first picture does, however, give you a bit of an idea of how the shimmer in this polish scatters the light that hits it a little differently than a creme polish would.  Overall, though, the shimmer is pretty muted, so this color can easily play along with creme shades or even pass itself off as a creme from far away.   I used two coats of this as well.

Oh, and just for the sake of it, I tried to get a macro shot of "Merry Mermaid" so you can see the glitters in it close up.  All those little speckled spots are glitter flakes suspended in different layers of the gel:

For the nail "art" on my thumb, I just used the long end of my nail brush to swipe a diagonal line across my nails.  Once again, the great thing with gels is that, if you're wobbly like me, you can easily clean up your lines with an extra brush dipped in a little isopropyl alcohol.  You will never have to worry about making a mistake that you can't fix without redoing the whole nail!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


So finally I'm back, and I have another gold glittery color--however, I think you'll find that this is a lot different than the last one!

OPI's Golden Eye (is it Golden Eye or GoldenEye, anyway?  My bottle definitely has a space between the N and the E) is a great gold glitter.  Now I have to say, I used three coats--you can still kind of see some visible nail line in some pictures, but overall the jam-packed glitter totally distracts from that when your hands are moving about in real life. 

Golden Eye is nothing but irregular flakes of a bright yellow gold glitter packed into a clear base.  The thing that elevates this gel polish, though, is that the glitter is sooooo dimensional!  Some of the glitter has an opalescence to it that will make spots shine orange and spring green when your fingers move in the light. I tried to capture this in my macro shot at the bottom, and you can see tiny little spots of green and orange if you open it up to full size--but trust me, this is much better in person.  And there's also another layer of dimension that comes with the 3D surface of your nail--as you can see in my first picture, the gold transforms from almost a bronze to a bright brassy gold depending on how the light hits it.  Sometimes (and only a very small amount of times) when the glitter shone only bright yellow with more profuse lighting, I felt my fingernails may have looked a bit yellowy, like "smoker's nails". But that was only a passing thought before I looked again and remembered how amazing this gel polish was!

There's only one slight downside to this gel: and that is, because of the sheer amount of glitter packed into it, when trying to cap the edges of my nails, the glitter did not want to lay down  flat and instead caused a bumpy ridge.  That was easily filed down, though, and it did not affect wear time at all.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ulta Deals - Free Nail Polish Remover!

This sale started a few days ago, but I just found it in my email today, and the sale is going on until July 27th, 2013. 

What is it, exactly?

Basically, Ulta is offering one of three types of nail polish removers (pure acetone, or one of two kinds of remover wipes) free with your nail purchase of $15 or more. You don't need any coupon if you purchase through the website, but if you want to purchase in-store, you may want to sign up for Ulta emails or check your inbox for a unique coupon code. I'm sure you could also combine this with their usual $3.50 off $10 coupons, too. 

If you're running low on acetone and are lemming for some new Red Carpet Manicure or Sally Hansen gels, you might want to check this out!

Just add items from the sale in your cart until you reach $15 or more, and on the shopping basket page, below your items, you will see a drop down box that lets you select which free item you want. 

Acetone runs for about $3.99 on its own, so it's not a terribly great steal, but it is still a fun and unique offer! And acetone is essential for removing your gel polish.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gelish "Naughty List"

Long time, no see, internet!

Sorry about the absence; I haven't been doing anything exciting, although I've been really busy.  But I finally have another picture post!

Gelish's "Naughty List" is a great black shade jam packed with flecks of gold glitter.  Actually, there may be some silver glitter, too, as in the right sunlight it will reflect both colors (and I DID think it was silver the first night I painted my nails!), but overall the glitter comes across a nice champagne gold color.  Usually, I see black paired with silver, so this is somewhat unique--and there's so much glitter that you definitely will not mistake this shade for plain old black gel polish.

If the glitter doesn't look very gold to you in those photos--my lighting varies, after all--may I present you with a blurry outtake photo for evidence:

That's a lot of bling!

The formula was fine and went on with two coats, although if I wasn't careful, there was some patchiness.  You might pick up on that my pinky...oops!

The other thing you might pick up on is that this color had considerable tip wear.  You can see it in the pictures, and this manicure is only a week old.  Once again, I'm going to blame my spur-of-the-moment color decisions--I felt like this color required lots of mixing to get all the glitter and dark pigments dispersed well.  If I hadn't decided on this color at the last minute, I could have shaken it up a few hours (or the night before) to get those pigments and glitters mixed in without the fear of there being too many bubbles.  

This color is from Gelish's 2012 holiday collection, which contained a bunch of gel polishes packed with glitters.  I know, I know, it's July--but don't you just want to do something different sometimes?  "Christmas in July" movie marathons were on TV this past weekend, anyway!

Hopefully next time I'll be back sooner rather than later. :)