Tuesday, May 6, 2014

100th post! 10 or More (Gel) Polishes Tag

Hello again world! This is my 100th post on my blog! I'm pretty excited about that, but wasn't sure what to do to "celebrate" the occasion.  I'm not sure I have enough repeat readers/commenters to do a giveaway.  Most of you come here for swatches, brand reviews, and the like--and that's just fine with me, since I'm mostly a silent lurker, reader, and oogler of others' swatches and reviews, too.

As if a stroke of lightning came forth to light everything up and solve all my problems while I was thinking of ideas to mark the occasion, I saw  "Secretary's Nail Art"  start a new tag called "10 or More Nail Polish Tag".  This is a pretty awesome idea, as I think it reflects well on a brand if you can say you gladly put your hard earned money down to purchase 10 or more of their products.

And yes, I have bought all of my gel polishes with my own money--so that's a definite investment and a definite show of trust in some brands!

Obviously, though, I'm a gel polish lover; that means brands are a little more limited to begin with, and it can be easy to stockpile a few brands in particular.  This is pretty much the case with me, but I found that for each brand that I have for this tag, I have a unique reason why I have so much.  So I'll explain why I like each brand a little bit.

The pictures aren't the best, but this is just to give you an overview, so I hope it's ok. :)  The extra annoying watermarks aren't to generate any views for my blog, but to save you guys in case they're stolen by scammers online.

First is NaiLuv.  This is the smallest brand on the list, and I'm bringing this up first because it's the first brand I tried; I even use their LED light for all of my gel manicures with no problem.  Although I do NOT recommend their "dual base/top coat" (that's another story for another time...), I've had nothing but good experiences with all of their color shades.  I like this brand because of the consistency I've tried so far, the size of the product (a full 15mL for the price), and the fact that I can frequently get it on sale at Hautelook.  The only downside is that I've noticed their prices on Hautelook going up over the past two years!  To their credit, they are frequently expanding their color line a few shades at a time to entice me more.  Check out my NaiLuv swatches.

Second is OPI Gelcolor.  This is the most expensive--and the only "salon-exclusive"--brand on the list, although you can easily find it on Ebay if you're a careful buyer.  In fact, I bought most of these colors second hand as a "lot" from someone selling off her collection, so I got a great deal!  I like this brand mainly because of the coordinating (and iconic) regular polish colors.  That sounds kind of stupid at first, but sometimes it's kind of nice to identify with the regular polish wearing masses by wearing a brand new, unique shade with a name that everyone can remember.  Of course, not all colors are that unique, but if you don't have any similar colors in your own collection, OPI Gelcolor is a pretty good way to fill it out.  While not all of my experiences in the past have been awesome (see "Tomorrow Never Dies"), I've since learned that a lot of my problems are due to my own nail prep and application errors--now I can say that I've had great application and wear, even with such problem Gelcolor shades as "Lincoln Park After Dark"Want to see all of my OPI Gelcolor swatches?

Third is Gelish.  This is partly "salon-exclusive", partly consumer based--depending on what bottles you want to buy.  The full sized 15mL bottles are salon-exclusive, but they can also be bought on Ebay from reputable sellers, while the smaller 9mL sized bottles are found at Sally Beauty Supply.  What I like most about this brand is the "trendy" variety and the ease of buying.  Gelish has TONS of colors and is bringing more out constantly.  They usually bring out on-trend colors for the seasons, and they are also doing complex glitter polishes similar to the kinds that are popular with a lot of regular nail polish enthusiasts.  I'm lucky enough to live near a Sally Beauty Supply, so I can go see the gel in person--but if I don't like Sally's steep price point (about the same price or MORE as a full 15mL size online), I can go home and purchase online.  Although, while Sally Beauty Supply is a little more expensive, they do have sales from time to time, and you can also purchase bottles on clearance for under $8 or even under $3.  What I DON'T like about Gelish is that the application isn't consistent from shade to shade, with some colors being extra finicky--and one shade with very lackluster glitterHere's some more Gelish swatches if you're interested.

Last and definitely not least is Red Carpet Manicure.  What do I like best about this brand?  It's kind of a trifecta of positive points: variety, availability, and sale price.  Many speculate that Red Carpet Manicure (or "RCM") is produced by the same company as Gelish, with RCM re-releasing a lot of Gelish shades to a more casual consumer-based store (in the US, that's Ulta).  So there's a large variety of colors to begin with--but RCM also releases a lot of limited edition collections of their own.  The only downside to it being kind of an off-shoot of Gelish is that RCM suffers from the same application inconsistencies from shade to shade--although most gels apply well, or I wouldn't have this many of either!  It's also easy to see and buy the gel in person, since Ulta is a convenient beauty store for many.  The BEST PART OF ALL, though, is the price point!  I have a ton of colors, but I estimate that I paid less than $5 for over half of them, and I don't think I paid the full $9.99 price point for more than five shades.  They can be found in the clearance bins of Ulta pretty often, and the store also sends out coupons about every other week.  With deals like that, I'm more than ok with buying a smaller 9mL size bottle.  Click on through if you want to see my RCM swatches

Ok, I guess that got pretty wordy--but I wanted to give you a good overview of the brands!

Laying all these colors out was kind of eye-opening, too.   Should keep these photos of my horde from my boyfriend?  Is this photographic evidence of valuable assets I should be claiming on insurance?!  Most importantly: I clearly have a lot more colors to swatch--what should I wear next?


  1. Awesome post! Thanks for joining on the tag :)

    1. Thank you for creating it! I'm going to have to keep checking back to your original to see if more people have joined in, so I know what brands to keep my eye out for.