Monday, April 28, 2014

NaiLuv on Hautelook Deals

I just popped in to mention that NaiLuv is back on Hautelook! 

This is the first brand I tried out, and I like their LED light as well as their gel polishes--which are full size 15mL bottles and usually have a great application and removal.

The polishes are $9.00 a bottle, with Hautelook's $5.95 flat rate shipping on top of that.  So not amazingly cheap, but still a good way to try out a new brand or some new colors.  AND they have a lot more shades available this time, which I for sure will be trying out. :) 

The sale is here if you want to take part!  It ends Thursday at 8AM Pacific Time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"UV Nails" Gel Polish Haul from Hautelook!

Today I have another new brand to show off!  To be fair, it's just a small haul, but I will be wearing one of these colors soon to test out the application and wear. 

The brand is "UV Nails".  Now, I've seen this brand offer deals for starter kits on LivingSocial and/or Groupon before--but like most brands, their gel polishes alone can be a little expensive, so I held off on buying from their website directly.  Luckily, they were offered up for sale on Hautelook a little while ago, so I jumped at the chance to try them out!

While I was researching before buying, I found two slightly confusing things with this brand:

One was the swatches--little circles of color online are always hard to gauge how a polish will actually look in person, and I felt like the swatches offered up on Hautelook were not always consistent with colors I saw on the UV Nails website or spots where UV Nails was sold elsewhere online.  I ended up getting to creme gel polishes and one creme "jelly" gel polish (which means that it is slightly translucent at first)--but I wasn't sure if I was going to get a color with shimmer in it, based on the unreliable swatches!

Two was the curing method--the name is called simply  "UV Nails", after all. Hautelook was selling UV and LED lights for this brand during their sale, so I was pretty sure they might cure under both types of lighting...but the terms on their website are a little confusing. "UV" is the most favored word by this brand, and "UV" is NOT the same as "LED".  I've tried to explain this a while ago, but basically: LED light uses shorter wavelengths to cure gel polish, whereas UV uses a broader range of waves.  So UV light should cure every gel that LED would cure, but LED might not cure every gel that UV can cure, since UV covers a broader spectrum.  Because of this, if a gel polish is advertised as simply "UV gel polish", that's usually a good indication (with salon brands) that it is UV ONLY--eg Shellac and Axxium. Luckily, however, that doesn't seem to be the case with this brand--and I tested it out!

Ok, enough rambling; you can see my swatches and experimentation in the video below:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ulta Deals

Hello Again.  I feel like I've been posting a lot this week, but I wanted to make sure you  have the full time to take advantage of some deals that start today!

From now (4/20/2014) until 5/11/2014, Ulta is having a 20% off sale on their Red Carpet Manicure gel polishes.  The sale actually includes everything from the brand--kits as well as individual polishes!  If I remember correctly, last time they had a sale like this, it also worked on clearance colors, if you happen to find anything fun there.

Also at Ulta is a BOGO 50% off deal on Sally Hansen products--which also includes their line of Salon Gel Polishes!  I kind of hope they have some of the new colors I've seen them put out lately--there's a few pastels and a few awesome and unique sparkle shades.  Yeah, I said I was over BOTH of those things at the moment, but sometimes it's still hard to resist!

You can view all of the deals online here, or check out your store for a more varied selection.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bored? Need Some Last Minute Inspiration?

This should be a quick post hopefully, so you can get to oogling at all the pretty pictures.

I've seen "The Sparkle Queen" post amazing link/picture exchanges before, but for some reason I kept losing the site until just this week.

Well, I found it just in time, because there's an amazing spring & Easter roundup of pictures at the moment!  Even if you're a major newb at nail art like me, the things these artists create are pretty inspirational. You can add your link in, too, because even the simplest of ideas may be something  new and wow-ing to someone else.

I know I focus on gel nail polish, but a lot of these things would be just as easy to do with gel or a "sandwich" manicure with regular nail polish under your gel. 

Ok, that's it.  Have fun browsing!

Speckled Egg Nails

So I'll admit, I'm kind of tired of the colors I've been wearing lately.  All the cool tones, all the sparkles...and I'm even kind of tired of the pastels already--even though spring's only just begun.

But despite all of that I couldn't help but think of this combo I had in my head, and I figured the Easter time would be the only time of year that this would work out.  What is it?  Pretty much the easiest "Easter" nail theme EVAR! 

I know, I know: if you guys are into regular polish this may seem boring to you--after all, Illamasqua started/made this trend popular last year with their "I'mperfection" polishes (that was another of my inspirations for this manicure, actually).  But in the gel polish world we're only just starting to get things like matte glitters in gel polishes, and those are only "toppers" and not complex polishes with color and glitter in one. 

So what did I do to create my own take on this very popular style?  I just layered a matte glitter coat UNDER my final layer of a semi-sheer or "streaky" pastel color. Basically, you'll make a sandwich of two or three coats of a creme gel polish, one coat of a glitter, and a final layer of your creme gel polish on top.  Since pastels in gel polish form tend to be a little thinner or streakier (and therefore require more layers), this was super easy to do--and as a bonus the glitter detracts from any streakiness!

I love this so much more than I imagined I would.  Even though a day after I painted them, I realized my nails also look a bit like scrambled eggs with salt and pepper.  I think I'm the only one that's thought that so far, but either way I think it's kind of hilarious and only makes me love my nails more! 

Ok, review time:

Gellaka "Banana Beach" is the pale yellow pastel creme shade I used for the color in this manicure. I think I used four coats altogether--since it is a pastel, it is a little streaky until you layer it up.  I mentioned in my last review on this brand that Gellaka polish is a little bit on the thinner side, so I paired it with a layer of a Gelish glitter this time (which has the added bonus of being a thicker gel formula on top of just being an extra fifth layer of strength).  Thanks to this extra strength, I've had improved wear so far!  Much less bending and no chipping.

Gelish "A Pinch of Pepper", which I layered under the fourth and final coat of "Banana Beach", is one of the matte glitter topper coats from their "Trends" collection.  When I say "matte", I don't mean it in the traditional "no shine" sense, but in the sense that the glitters are not metallic at all--they're just colored plastic pieces.  In this case, there are three sizes of black and three sizes of white matte hexagonal glitter in a clear base.  However, thanks to some of the irregularly cut hexes and the random way the glitters will apply to your nails, you get the impression that the glitters are much more complex than that! I used only one coat here, and it made a neat sparse glitter--but in no way subtle.  Since the glitter in this is sparse, too, I find the gel isn't too thick (it's just thick-er in comparison to the other color I paired it with).  So if you focus too much on glitter placement, you may find yourself having to deal with flooding on your cuticles!

My nails don't exactly match the eggs I had the urge to buy and consume after doing these nails, but that just brings to mind more ideas.  The Gelish Trends line has three other "matte" glitter gels--a green & blue shade called "Candy Shop", a pink & blue glitter called "Let Me Top You Off" (eugh, what were they thinking with that name), and a multicolored glitter called "Lots of Dots".   How awesome would ANY of those glitters look layered with that streaky pastel shade you've been avoiding for a while because it was just too hard to work with? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gelaze "For Audrey"

Finally!  I lost my camera recently, so I had to take these photos with my camera phone on day 8 of my manicure--hence the little bit of regrowth at the cuticles that you see.  I did show you guys my nails a bit in my last post, where I also mentioned some dupes for this color, but this time I have a full review.

China Glaze's new gel polish line, called "Gelaze" (or to be more proper, "Gel├íze") is labeled as a gel color and base coat in one.  I'm a bit skeptical of this idea, as I've tried and disliked gel brands that sell "all-in-one" style polishes before. I've also tried Nailuv's dual base and top coat, which I realized after a while was really hurting my nails due to problem soak offs and lifting "all-in-one"! 

BUT! Despite all that, and despite the "shrinking" from the nail edges I've seen in many other reviewers' photos of Gelaze, I really wanted to try this gel as it says to--with no separate base coat.   

So let's go over the formula first for once: Gelaze "For Audrey" took four coats to cover up some of my nails' imperfections and not look streaky, but  I could probably get away with three coats if I had better nails!  Not to mention, since I skipped the base coat, that's about as many layers as I would use on a normal manicure anyway.   While the gel polish is a bit on the thinner side, miraculously I did not notice any "shrinking" from the edges with this color, nor did I notice any "stress cracking" when my nails happened to bend because of the thinness.  I did notice wrinkling on one nail, but only one nail--so just make sure you keep each coat thin to keep that from happening to you. The only other thing I noticed was that there was some chipping and lifting around day 7-8--only ever so slightly on the free edges of a few of my nails, but enough that I wanted to remove my manicure to avoid harboring bacteria. If you look really, really closely, you may see the "chipping" I'm talking  about in the macro photo I'll show of my accent color below.  I have a feeling I could easily improve upon this wear and tear by using my normal base coat.

As for the color, Gelaze "For Audrey" is a pastel robin's-egg-blue creme shade with just a little bit of a grey undertone.  While not a totally unique shade, as I found out after I bought it, I do like that it has the ability to look a little more pale or bold depending on the lighting and the colors you pair it with, just like a lot of pastels.

Now for the accent: I used Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish in "Glisten Up!" dabbed onto the cuticle area with a "dotting tool" (aka an old broken pen) to create the classic "Ruffian" style manicure.  I used only one coat, which is why it may look a little patchy, but the abundance of glitter in this more than makes up for it!  The base is a dark, dark grey creme, but it is loaded with four sizes of glitter: a "teensy tiny" and slightly larger silver hex/round glitter, then a medium sized square silver glitter, and finally a large hexagonal silver glitter.  For added awesomeness, there are also sprinkles of pink, orange, gold, green and teal glitters in the large hexagonal size, too!  Now, I'll be honest--used as an accent, these sprinkles of color kind of became lost on the nail, with the overall effect of just being a dark grey gel with silver sparkles, but I'm sure as an all-over color this would stand out much more.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gelaze Initial Review and DUPES?!

A few weeks ago,  I purchased some of China Glaze's new line of gel polishes, "Gelaze".  Even though it wasn't quite spring yet, I was being optimistic and picked up two spring-worthy pastel shades, "Refresh-mint" and "For Audrey".  Knowing how iconic some of China Glaze's regular polish colors are, I decided to try to see if I had any similar colors in my collection...and what do you know, I found a few!

I had to re-record this video on a different camera, so initially, I planned on it being a bit shorter.  But since I had my nails painted with "For Audrey" for 8 days by the time I recorded this video again, I decided to add on a short review in the last two minutes.

I will most definitely have pictures and a better review up soon, though! 

In short, here's the dupe list:

Gelaze "For Audrey" is almost identical to "Sea Cloud Cruise" from Red Carpet Manicure (which is just a teeensy bit lighter), and "Cool Blue Harmony" from FingerPaints Gel Polish.  It's possibly also close to Gelish's "My One Blue Love", which I haven't been able to find in order to compare!

Gelaze "Refresh-Mint" doesn't have an exact dupe that I've found, but it's close to the classic Gelish "Seafoam" (which is just a bit darker and bluer), so if green isn't your thing, you probably don't need to pick it up.  It's possibly also close to FingerPaints "Paint Me Oh-So-Modern!", based on comparisons between that shade and Gelish "Seafoam" that I've found online, but once again I have not been able to compare the two in person.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Deals! Because I lost my camera...

Hello again!

I was planning on putting up a video on my thoughts/dupes for some Gelaze polishes I got recently.

Well, that is... until I went to find my camera that had my video stored on its SD card inside it.  I've searched my room three times and still haven't found it! I'm really, really afraid I may have accidentally thrown it in the trash--which was just collected this morning, to ice the cake.  It was an old camera and all, but it was still in solid working order, and it never feels good to think you just threw $200 away.

To keep you from thinking I disappeared from the internet, though, I thought I'd post about some deals.

If you are a beauty rewards member, Ulta recently sent to your snail mail box one of their rare 20% off your entire purchase coupons--one of the ones that is good even on high end products, but of course is good on gel polish, too!  If you're not a rewards member at Ulta, this 20% off coupon alone is worth signing up for!  And if you have neglected your mail lately, maybe now's the time to take a peak. To make the savings really something worth posting about, you can most definitely stack coupons, and use one of your $3.50 off $10 coupons they hand out to email subscribers weekly. 

Last month, Sally Beauty had an amazing deal on BOGO free Gelaze polishes--and although that was awesome, Sally's frequently has sales anyway, so there's no need to feel rushed into buying.  Case in point: for the month of April, they have a "Buy TWO Get One Free" sale on any soak off gel or regular polishes.  At a glance this sale might not sound as attractive--but it includes any brand of gel polish that they offer!  So if you only wanted one shade from the recent Gelish collection, one of the flakies from the FingerPaints collection, and one of the new Gelaze polishes...then, well, you could pick and choose to your liking, and still get a deal. 

Oh, but it gets better!  Sally Beauty also decided to do a few day long flash sale for Buy One Get One Free on all polishes, gel or otherwise.... you can't beat that! The sale lasts from now until 4/10/14.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

FingerPaints Gels - "Flakies" from the Kaleidoscope collection

I guess you could call this post "the battle of the mylar/'flakie' gel polishes--round two"I reviewed the similar "flakie" style gels from Gelish and Red Carpet Manicure before, but apparently I saved the best for last.  I found these ones from FingerPaints in Sally Beauty while I was still wearing that manicure...but of course I couldn't wait long before wearing more "flakie" gel polishes!

I've got lots of pictures to share, but since I wore three different flaky glitters at once, I used this first picture to serve as a guide for what-color-went-where:

This picture was in indoor, multi-source lighting, by the way.

These second two pictures are in kind of grey-sky-ish natural light:

Then there's an indoor-with-flash shot--I only took a picture of one hand here, because I feel like flash tends to drown out iridescent glitter or make it look blurry.  And it does a bit, but these glitters are so awesome they still find a way to stand out, too!

Then there's two in VERY bright sunlight:

And finally, one in regular sunny light:

See how awesome they all are no matter what the lighting?  I didn't want to stop taking pictures!  And yes, I only used one coat for all of these!

Ok, let's get to the reviews, then:

FingerPaints "Solar Flare" (on my pointer fingers and pinkie fingers) is what Gelish "Rough Around the Edges" wishes it could be.  Really.  There's a ton of big and small chunks of clean-cut, warm-toned, clear iridescent mylar flakes in the clear base.  The range of colors in this is pretty outstanding, too.  While the reflective sheen is mostly warm-toned colors (red, yellow, orange), there is definitely quite a bit of green reflects and even a bit of teal to be seen, too--especially when not in direct light.

FingerPaints "Midnight Flash" (on my ring fingers) is the cool-toned companion to "Lunar Flare".  This gel has the same variation of large and small clean-cut, clear iridescent mylar flakes in a clear base, with the iridescence in these shining mostly cool-toned  (green, teal, royal blue--with some hints of indigo).  Every so often I caught a glimpse of a more warm-toned yellow, but iridescent variation outside of the cool-toned range was more rare with this gel. This would probably pop best contrasted with a lighter and warmer base color, which unfortunately I was not wearing this time. 

Lastly, Fingerpaints "Lunar Flare" (on my middle fingers) has the best of both worlds.  Inside the clear gel base, there's a mix of each of the styles of  clear iridescent flakes mentioned above--the warm-toned red-orange-yellow-green-teal variation, and the cool-toned green-teal-blue-indigo variation.  So no matter what your lighting is or what base color you pair this with, it will pretty much always look like a confetti party on your nails.

For all three shades, application was fairly easy--and once again I used only ONE coat for all of them!  I did notice that because the glitter is so dense, the gel formula is a little thicker--but that was helpful when trying to flatten or "place" some mylar flakes.  Like all of these irregular mylar flake gel polishes, some of these glitters are rather large and irregular, so sometimes the glitter will stick up off of the nail bed--but that's nothing you can't fix before you cure with a brush, or after you cure with a file or an extra coat of top coat.  I noticed that the glitters seemed to settle in the bottle fairly easily if I waited to long between painting hands, but they also mixed up just as easily, too!

Since these gels are in a clear base, I layered them on top of OPI Gelcolor "Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok Fine!", which I reviewed in the previous post. 

Oh, and once more I made a video, so you can hopefully see these irregular iridescent mylar flakes the way they look best: with movement!