Thursday, February 28, 2013

NaiLuv Haul from Hautelook!

So by now this is probably pretty much "old hat", but I still wanted to share the new NaiLuv gel polishes I got the last time they were on sale from Hautelook. 

Honestly, my haul was partially inspired by "Olivia's Blog", who posted a picture of the color "Hit the Jackpot" earlier.  Aaaand I've seen people painting their nails with sort of "opaque" glitter colors... or glitters so dense that they build up to opaque, and these colors looked like they would fit the bill. 

These colors aren't super complex (just three glitters and a creme shade), so I'll only post one simple swatch-like picture of each, and a video explaining them at the end.  But the pictures kind of speak for themselves, too!

Well, that's it for now... I'll have another post on my nails in this video soon, as well. :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

UPDATE on OPI Axxium Gels...

So I've written a few times before about using OPI Axxium gels. 

The first set of Axxium gels I ever bought was the Muppets' collection set.  They are all clear bases loaded with glitter.  I cured them using my general LED light from Nailuv that I cure everything with, and it worked just fine. I guess I must have lucked out on this...

So, thinking I had some new great options,  I bought some other colors of Axxium.  Today, I tried out "Here Today... Aragon Tomorrow" and "Lincoln Park After Dark".  Well, these formulas must be somewhat different, being that they are very dark, very saturated colors.  And, well, they did not cure with my LED lamp at all.  Bummer! 

I know CND's Shellac has colors that cure at different times and at different points within the UV spectrum of rays, but previously I had thought that OPI's products were more consistent in their curing.  I thought--well gee, if my Axxium glitter gels cure under the limited spectrum of UV that my LED lamp provides, than the other Axxium gels should cure under the same conditions.  WRONG!

OPI Axxium gels do not all cure under LED light, although I've had success with some previously. 

This is going to take some decision making... do I buy a cheap UV lamp to try out my Axxium with, or just let it go?  Luckily, I bought only a few colors second-hand for a great price.  Still, the OPI gelcolor equivalents of at least one of the colors I got ("Lincoln Park After Dark") reportedly has some streaking/shrinking issues as noted by other reviews online.  I was hoping that the Axxium versions would perform better.

Well, that's it for today... I have some pictures and video to gather for more posts soon, though!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Corporate-Controlled Day of Affection?

...Or, you know, Valentine's Day!

And it looks suspiciously similar to the nails I did for Halloween.  Oops! But angular manicures are so easy to do--just use the sides of your brush to make the angles, and clean it up a little if you need to with a paintbrush dipped in isopropyl alcohol.  It's easy to do with your non-dominant hand, and it doesn't even matter if you're not perfect, because you can't tell from a foot away.

I had originally planned on doing a manicure like this on pinterest, but I only painted my nails on this manicure is going to last long after V-Day, and I'd rather not look too corny afterward!

I used two polishes for this -- NaiLuv's "First Crush" for the lighter pink, and OPI Gelcolor in "Casino Royale" for the darker tips.  

NaiLuv "First Crush" is a creamy light pink with blue undertones, and it takes three thin coats to reach full opacity--it's kind of a streaky color with anything less. I warmed my polishes up before using them--OPI Gelcolors in particular mix better and lay down better when they're warm, but I found that this polish actually went on better when it was cold!  It became less streaky once it cooled down. 

The OPI Gelcolor in "Casino Royale" worked ok, too. It's a blue toned berry creme  that pairs great with the Nailuv color!   It required two thin coats to become opaque.  The only downside to this polish is that it bleeds soooooo easily.  I even tried curing it for longer than the 30 seconds, and when I put the top coat on I STILL dragged the color onto the lighter pink area if I wasn't careful.  Next time, I will probably try curing it for a full minute, and/or I'll have to wipe away the tacky layer with its pigments before applying the top coat.  It didn't permanently stain my brush or the top coat or anything, but it was still kind of annoying.

Here's two more pictures for good measure--one inside with flash, the other inside with yellow light.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How Do I Tell if My OPI Gelcolor is Real and Authentic or Not?

Hello again!  I received a comment before from someone who mentioned how risky it could be to buy gel polishes on Ebay rather than through a supplier or sales rep, especially since, well, how do you tell if they are the real deal or not?  I didn't think much about it at first, but then it got me thinking... how DO you identify OPIs to make sure they are real?  I know fake Gelish is pretty widespread on Ebay; some brands even call their gels "gelishes" or "gellishes" instead of "gels" or "gel polishes".  But I haven't seen many outright suspicious listings for OPI Gelcolors, at least not yet. 

That doesn't necessarily mean anything, though, since sellers can be tricky.  So I googled to find some information on how to identify OPIs, and (not surprisingly) there isn't really any information for identifying Gelcolors in particular.  But there's a lot of helpful information on identifying the regular nail polishes (RNP) that OPI makes, so I used that as a basis for figuring out identifiers for the Gelcolors.  Before I go farther, I believe all my OPI Gelcolors are real, but since I've only bought online, there is still a slight chance that they could all be FAKE, too! So you might not want to take this post as the final word, ok?

Anyway, to begin with, here are the sites I found for identifying OPI regular polishes; they're totally interesting even if you're not too much into "RNP" anymore, so I suggest you check them out!
"Comprehensive Guide On How To Spot A Fake OPI Polish" at Wonderlust Nails
"Fake OPI" at Meisie's Nails

As I've been doing, I made a correlating video on this topic as well; if you'd rather watch that it's right here:

So I'll try to to keep this post as condensed as possible (there's a lot of info to becovered). Remember to click pictures a few times to make them bigger, if need be.  Now let's get started!

  1. Look at the bottle, silly!  It's important to note that the text on OPI's RNP have changed a bit over the years, so even Gelcolor bottles may change a bit with time.  Currently, this is what the text looks like, and notice there is no stamped or engraved "lot code" on the bottle itself. The handle is white plastic with a colored shrink wrap "identifier"--this is not a "seal" to be removed!  At the top of the handle/lid, you will find "OPI" in raised lettering, as per usual with all OPI polishes. 

  2. There is a yellow, black and white sticker on the handle with a bar code and some important bold code at the top right side of the sticker.  This is the combination letter/digit identifier code. It should be five digits, two letters with a space, and then one more letter and two digits. TO MAKE SURE THIS IS REAL, GO TO, select "try on this color", type your color into the search box, select it, and then look at the code underneath the Gelcolor inset.  Apparently this coding is the part that the fakes mess up pretty badly, strangely enough.

  3. As with the RNP bottles, there are ridges or "ribbing" in the glass at the base that catches the light differently.

  4. The bottom of the bottle is currently the only place that has the lot code stamped onto it in a different font, as you can see. The bottom sticker also has the color code repeated, as well as the color and a "peel here" sign.

  5. As with the regular polish bottles, once you peel the first layer of the bottom sticker, you should not be able to just stick it back in place.   Underneath, though, you should see a list of ingredients on the top half, and then another color code, color name, and some contact information on the bottom half.

  6. Now let's open the bottle up! The brush on the inside should be OPI's usual thick brush, with the plastic being a kind of oval shape instead of round.  At the top of the brush near the handle is OPI in raised letters.

  7. By the way, did you smell anything when you opened the bottle?  OPI Gelcolors are pretty much scentless, unless you stick your nose up close.  Some gels smell, but these babies don't!

  8. Oh, in the same picture, you can also see that the glass itself is entirely black--it is not clear glass coated with a plastic/rubber to block out the UV light as some other brands of gels like Gelish do.

  9. Inside the handle, there should be a plastic "gear" mechanism below the threading that I believes help lock and seal the handle onto the bottle.  Just like all new OPI regular polishes have!
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY! I said it in point 1, but I'm reiterating it because it's important! OPI has always changed and updated their style over the years.  For a totally cool post on how OPI has changed the text and design of their regular nail polish bottles and stickers, I recommend you check out this post at Absolutely Ainnir.

But what does this mean for Gelcolors?  Well, obviously they're going to go through the same changes eventually--and Gelcolor bottles already have changed a bit considering this is a newer product.  I've watched as many Youtube videos on gel polishes as I can, and I've noticed that the same "authentic" bottles look different in some older videos from OPI's instructional videos on Gelcolors as well as some licensed nail technicians' reviews.  Noticeably, some of the original bottles were a clear glass with a plastic coating that stops at the threading.  These older bottles also had a lot code stamped on the side of the bottle with a yellowish mechanical stamp. 

If you want to see what I mean, I have links here that go straight to the minute/second mark where the the older bottles can be seen.  But I also suggest you watch the full videos, because they're very helpful, too!
For bottle color:
For printing:

Lastly! I know this post is long, but since most people will be buying gel polishes and Gelcolors online, I thought I should add something in about online purchases.  Never be afraid to ask a seller for some clarification, via text or pictures, if you feel a gel may be fake.  And if pictures are blurry, that may not mean anything, either!  Sometimes individual sellers may not be able to take close up macro photos. Finally, when you pay, ALWAYS pay with Paypal, who have a tendency to side on behalf of the buyer should a dispute arise once you actually receive the polish. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Nailuv's back on Hautelook again!

 You can buy Nailuv SOG polishes on Hautelook again!

Until Monday, that is.  I probably wouldn't have bitten this time around, but I did just get paid today.

I picked up a few glitters that I've seen rather great swatches of on Olivia's Blog; they look like they can be layered to be pretty dense, or I'm sure you could use a single coat to enhance another color.  And they have "Blinged out" caps this time!?!?   I'm sure I could live without that... but shiny caps for shiny colors just fits all too well in my book!

The only downside is that this time they are $8.00 instead of $7.50, so it's not quite as good of a deal when you add in shipping, unless you want to buy 4 or more colors.