Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Polka Dots with Red Carpet Manicure

Sooo... it's spring!  But is it spring-like for anyone else?  It's certainly not here! I feel like I always complain about the weather on this blog, but it seriously has been snowing or raining for pretty much the last two days.  I don't think the sun peeked out for more than a minute any day.  Hence, I didn't do to well trying to get photos of my current nails.

The more that I look at my nails, though, the more I realize they weren't such great colors for spring!  Considering all the snow we've been having, the polka dots I made kind of remind me of snow against a dreary grey blue sky....

The colors I used are Red Carpet Manicure's "Love Those Baby Blues" and "White Hot" for the polka dots.  The glitter I used is from the Born Pretty Store, it's one of the 12 colors I got in the pack of  1.5mm glitters. 

"Love Those Baby Blues" may look a little misleading in my pictures... since I had no sunlight to shoot in, my photos have either an artificial flash or a bright (but extremely blue) tint due to the snow outside.  The photographs show it as very bright, almost sky blue.  It does show that way in some lights, but it also has a lot more of a grey base to it, which you can kind of see in the second picture.  I think of it as kind of a periwinkle, but my photos tell me otherwise! It actually kind of looks the sky has looked lately--you know, when the clouds have blocked out any semblance of sun, and the sky takes on a very saturated grey-blue color?  I tried to get an indoor picture with no flash to show you, but it came out pretty blurry:

Anyway, as for the formula, it's very thin. It took me three layers to build up this gel polish, which honestly is about my usual for cremes, but the first layer was very, very sheer looking.  As I was painting it on my nails, I was forcing myself to remember, "it's gel, it's supposed to go on thin and build up".  It also took a lot of shaking and swirling my brush to mix up the color before I used it.  I'm not sure if all Red Carpet Manicure colors are the same way, although I have heard that they are a little thinner compared to the Gelish colors they coordinate with. 

I was pleasantly surprised with "White Hot", when using it for detailing this time, though! Considering the thinness of this gel polish, too, the polka dots looked great with just one dab on the nail, even if I happened to be wobbly with my hand.

I also did a video, which is kind of a "tutorial" to show you the two ways I accented my nails, although I'm still trying to work on my camera.

I must admit I love the polka dots, but next time I'll try to be a little more spring-like!

Update 4/14: I think this color may be the RCM "dupe" for Gelish "Up in the Blue", but I do not have the Gelish color to compare.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gelish, Sally Hansen & Nailuv Deals!

Sooo you're going to have to get off your backside for most of these deals, sorry!

First of all, Sally Beauty Supply has some of their Gelish colors on clearance.  At least the one I visited, select colors that were from the magneto collection and the breast cancer awareness collection were $4.95, selected colors from the holiday glitter collection were $7.95, and some of the colors from the fall runway inspired collection were $10.95.  They're all minis, of course, and the latter price ($10.95) is still a little too high, in my opinion, but I did pick up three colors from the cheaper sets!  There's also a year-long $5 off $25 coupon you can print out to help make your purchase a little cheaper.
(P.S.: Sally's is also selling a new gel polish by Finger Paints, if you're feeling a little adventurous.)

Second, I'm not sure why this deal isn't online, but in-store Ulta still has the new Sally Hansen gel polishes and strips on sale buy-one-get-one half off.  They may also still have some of their Supernail Progel shades on clearance for $6.95.  You can still get Progel online anytime for around the same price, but this way you wouldn't have to wait for them to arrive in your mailbox.   Ulta ALWAYS has two coupon codes going, too, if you sign up for their emails. Here's the $3.50 off $10 coupon that expires 3/30.

Lastly--you can sit back and relax for this one--on Wednesday the 27th, NaiLuv will be back on Hautelook.  This time they're featuring their "Bridal Collection".  Who knows what that means; it's probably not something I'll be interested in unless they throw in some semi-abnormal pastel shades or something!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will Axxium Gel Work with LED Light?

Hi again!

This is old news on my blogspot now, considering I wrote about it a little while ago. But I just did a video showing what happened when I tried to use a dark OPI Axxium gel with my LED light:

I have used clear-based Axxium soak off gels in the past with OK results, but I don't think I'll be buying any more since I don't know if they will cure in my light.   I'll probably still use the set of sparkles I got for the "muppet collection", though.

I tried to explain the science-y part about why your gels won't cure in your LED light, too, but it's been a long time since I've taken a basic science class, so I hope my explanations are still up to par!  I know my eloquence was lacking in this video!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Random... My Spring Gel Polish Picks!

I just want to say, first of all... I hope this doesn't come across as bragging!  Or as too embarassing.  Because, well, I have a LOT of gel polishes stashed away, many of which I haven't even posted swatches of yet.

Buuut seasonal nail polish videos are one of the many types videos I like to watch on youtube to pass the time.  You know, where people pick out their favorite colors for the upcoming season?  I don't know how much of a "trend" it is (not much, I think--I didn't see many videos for this spring), and I think it started out more in the fall, or as part of another "seasonal tag" type of video. 

Well anyway, I thought I'd do a polish picks video for gel polishes, for the spring-time coming up (it was warm for two days, and I was encouraged!  Unfortunately it snowed again 2 days after the 50 degree weather...)

I picked a lot of pastels, some bold blues, and some more bright (but a bit more wearable, I guess) corals and pinks.  I also think metallics will continue to be popular for a while... heck, even the fall/winter 2013 designer runways are still using metallic ombres/tips/etc!  There are a lot of awesome new collections coming out from Gelish, OPI Gelcolor, etc, but as I tried to show in the video, a lot of similar colors already exist, and you may already own some of them.  "Shopping" through my collection for spring colors was actually kind of helpful--I'm not so hyped up on some of the new colors as I was before.  Unless it's green; I don't know why, but I always want more green gel polishes.

Anywho, for ease, here's a list of colors I picked out:

Progel - Sea of Capri
Gelish - A Runway for the Money
Gelish - Seafoam
NaiLuv - Boracay Beach
OPI Gelcolor - Princesses Rule!
NaiLuv - First Crush
Red Carpet Manicure - One of a Kind
OPI Gelshine - Iris I was Thinner
SensatioNail - Coral Sunset
SensatioNail - Mi Amor
NaiLuv - Love Power
NaiLuv - Going to the Mauve
Red Carpet Manicure - What a Surprise
Red Carpet Manicure - After Party Playful
NaiLuv - Merry Mermaid
OPI Gelshine - Havana Dreams
Red Carpet Manicure - Love Those Baby Blues
Red Carpet Manicure - Who Are You Wearing
NaiLuv - Hit the Jackpot
NaiLuv - Diamonds R 4ever
OPI Gelshine - Almost Famous
OPI Gelshine - I Only Shop Vintage

Of course, I have swatches of some of these colors on my blog, but if there's more that any passer-by would like to see swatched better, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Green & Gold...for the Day on Which Everyone Drinks and Pretends to be Irish

Hello again! Before I get into this post, I wanted to say something: after the last manicure I did, I had to do some repairs if I didn't want to hurt my quick.  This was the very first time I did a repair with some fabric, and it's not too perfect.  I feel like some of my nails look a little like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I still want to share swatches, so here we go!

This time, I used as a base my gold shade from NaiLuv called "Hit the Jackpot"When I got this polish and opened it up in a video, I thought it was really thick because it was cold, and it would become less viscous as it warmed up.... Well, I was wrong!  Because of all the sparkles in it, it is a bit thicker in consistency, and I guess even my other glitter-packed gels are like that, too (for example: OPI Gelcolor's "Goldeneye").  So it's very thick, and doesn't "self-level" as easily as other gels, which you can kind of see on my swatch photo.  The color itself is a nice gold; it's not very yellow-based, more of a champagne-based gold, I would say, so in some lights it looks a bit more silver-like.  The gel base is slightly gold-tinged as well. I used only one coat for my swatch, so I think by three coats it would be opaque.

By the way, in this swatch my one nail looks transparent, because I painted the back of it, too... oops:

Then there's the green, which is Gelish "Polar Attraction".  I'll be honest here... for some reason, in my head I thought Gelish had suggested using only one coat of this gel because of its properties.  AFTER doing my manicure, I looked back on the videos I had watched a while ago and realized how wrong I was...that you should use two coats as normal, but only use the MAGNET on the top coat.  So my manicure looks a little bald in some spots, and perhaps a bit more sparkly because of the bald bits...

Anyway, the color itself is a very sparkly metallic green, more of a true grass green--although it can look kind of greyed out in some lights because of the metallic finish, in yellow lighting it "warms up" a bit.  Here's an interesting thing I noticed because I only used one coat: when you put the magnet on top of the gel, it redistributes the pigment a little along with the magnetized particles.  Even though I only used one coat, it DID look opaque before I put the magnet on it--honest, officer!

As for the main attraction--the ability to create "nail art" with a magnet, well, I found that both good and bad.  It did help camouflage the bald spots (albeit it also CREATED the bald spots, so whatever).  But it's a bit hard to make it look "perfect"; since it's gel you're definitely not stuck with a design you don't like, and you can always wipe it with your brush and try again, but it still takes some time to perfect your method.   You have to cure one or two fingers at a time to keep those self-leveling properties from destroying your magnetized design.  If you'll notice, a few of my fingers look blurrier than others because I wasted a little too much time before curing it, and a few are a little off centered.

Because of all of this, I think there's a few magnet designs that work better with this polish than others.  I bought my magnets online, so the magnets I used were originally for the China Glaze magnet collection.  This boxy/fishnet patterned one came out my favorite, I felt like it redistributed the pigment and the magnetized particles the best:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ulta Deals!

I mentioned a little bit ago that I never really discovered that brick-and-morter stores had sales on their gel polishes (although it makes sense, there's sales on everything else!)

Well I went into Ulta today, and I realized they had the new Sally Hansen gels--and not just the gel STRIPS, but also the gel POLISHES.  And to top it off, they also currently have a buy-one-get-one 50% off sale, too!   You can also use the $3.50 off $10 coupons with your order, to make things a little cheaper.  

I haven't tried this gel formula yet, but I did pick two up to try out.  There isn't a great color selection; they have mostly creme formulas and there are a few more unique greyed out colors.  Of course there are some nice berries and reds and pinks, too!

Since this is a new product, some of the boxes actually have misprinted sizes on them--the product size is around the usual "half-size" that most brands (Red Carpet Manicure, Gelish, SensatioNail) carry in store, so it's 0.25 fl oz or ~7.0 mL.   Some boxes falsely say it's smaller. 

Sensationail Take Two - Review!

I said I did videos for this, so here they are!  I split it up to my initial impressions video, which is shorter, but kind of rambling:

And then there's the video I did after having my nails done for about 9 days:

I still have the polish on now, and it's only been 12 days, but I'm really disappointed with it at this point.  I talked about how the gel isn't very strong and kind of softens when wet especially, and at this point a good portion of my gel has peeled off and three of my nails broke along the stress cracks at the sides.  I have a lot of repairing to do!

Monday, March 4, 2013


I've never bought SensatioNail polishes before, for quite a few reasons.  But the one thing I never realized is that, apparently, they're sold at a lot of drugstores now.  And, apparently, they go on sale at said drugstores!  So when I saw these at Walgreens for buy one get one half off, I picked up two colors rather hastily.  They usually retail for $12.99 each, and they're a little bit smaller than even the Gelish Minis, so the price point and size usually didn't attract me.  Since they were on sale, though,  I was sold... unfortunately my Walgreens didn't have many color choices, so I decided on "Coral Sunset" and "Mi Amor". 

I've had these nails on for about a week already, and I'll refrain from posting my thoughts on the lasting power, because I want to do a more in-depth review a little later.  But here's some pictures and my thoughts on the color and initial application so far!  First is natural light, the second is inside with flash:

First, the color "Coral Sunset" -- It's a nice coral pink creme shade.  Almost salmon-like I guess? I love coral colors, but my NaiLuv shade "Love Power" is just a little too orange, and this one is a much pinker shade.  I used three coats just to avoid any sort of streakiness. 

Then there's "Mi Amor" -- I was shopping pretty fast, and although I was in the market for some coral shades for spring and summer, I didn't realize how close these two colors would be!  Literally, Mi Amor is the exact same base as Coral Sunset, albeit packed with a gold shimmer that lightens it just a tinge and makes it a bit more orange.  I usually love creme shades, but honestly I kind of love the shimmer in this polish.  It's a warm base with a warm shimmer, but as you can see in the first photo, it manages to pick up blue light and yellow light, so with the right lighting, it kind of looks almost fuschia/purple in the shade and still looks golden warm in the direct light.  Oh yeah, and it's shimmery to the point of being metallic--if you brush and cure too fast, you will end up with those tell-tale metallic brush strokes!  I personally don't mind that too much, though.  And I used two coats, since it's so shimmery it covers pretty well.

One more thing--for the accents I used the champagne gold glitters from bornprettystore.com.  I'm still perfecting the application of these add-ons, so these only lasted about two days on my nails, for the most part.