Monday, July 28, 2014

#ManiMonday on Hautelook Again--Orly SmartGELS!

Hello again!  This week's "#ManiMonday" on Hautelook features another gel polish brand - Orly "SmartGELS"! From now until Thursday 7/31, Orly SmartGELS are $7.00 to $7.50 on Hautelook.

I've worn only a few colors from the Orly SmartGELS line before--the first time I wasn't so impressed, but I LOVED the summery florescent quality of "Oh Cabana Boy", so I thought I'd share the sale that's going on now--especially since they have a ton of new (summer-perfect) shades included in the sale.

And you know what else is even cooler?  They also have the "Shade Shifter" included in the sale! Don't know what I'm talking about?  Well, the "Shade Shifter" coat basically transforms any gel polish manicure into a "mood polish"--you apply it on top of any color you'd like, and it will change from black to transparent depending on the temperature! Check this out!

The one downside with this sale is that it is the consumer based version of Orly GelFX that you see in the video, so the bottles are a much smaller 0.18 fl. oz size.   But if you'd like to try out some neat shades--especially "Shade Shifter"--this might be the time to jump in!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Gel Polish Picks!

Hello! I  know summer technically started last month, but I wasn't happy the first time I recorded this video, so I'm a little late to the game.   I mostly wanted to share with you, though, the fact that some of this season's coolest colors are already in gel polish form--and many of them aren't even from brand new collections of gel polish!

The bright summer time colors this year have a lot of creamy white bases--some are almost pastel--not to mention neons and bright, summery jewel tones aren't so hard to find anymore, either. Well, hopefully you'll watch and see what I mean. :)

I had some issues with this video again--although I recorded it twice--I've got to remember to stabilize myself a bit more to keep everything in focus!  I tend to move back and forth within the field of vision, and my camera doesn't quite like that. 

Oh yeah, my nails in this video are Red Carpet Manicure "Mimosas by the Pool".  It's pretty awesome, and I'll be reviewing that next!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

GELibility + Regular Nail Polish = Gel Polish!

Today I have something really different and really fun to show you guys! It's called "GELibility", and it's a two-product system that gives you the ability to easily turn your favorite and hard-to-duplicate regular polishes into gel polish that you cure under your LED/UV lamp.  I've heard people wishing for a product like this--and I've heard whispers about this brand before--but I don't think I've heard of anyone that actually tried it out.  Not to mention, I know a somewhat similar idea called the "gelly sandwich" gel manicure (with gel base and top coat, and regular polish in between) is popular, but also pretty problematic on its own.   So when Brandi, the creator, gave me the opportunity to try this system out, of course I had to jump right in.

Let me start this review by telling you a little bit about how GELibility works from my small experiences so far--it's quite a bit different than the usual sandwiched gel/regular polish manicure:
  1. Start with the "Stick It! Soak Off Bonder", which needs to be cured under your lamp for the usual time.  This is your base coat, too--no need to use another brand of base and top coats!  But of course, if you have a system that really works for your nail chemistry, I'm sure you could combine them. 
  2. Mix up "Fix It! Soak Off Gel" and your regular nail polish.  Use a small palette, and with your brushes loaded with polish, drop equal spots onto your mixing surface.  GELibility says to use a 50/50 mix of gel and regular polish, but Brandi mentioned to me that a 60/40 ratio of regular polish to gel polish would work if you find your colors to be too sheer.  Remember, though: thin and slightly sheer coats is the aim to properly cure a gel polish.  Then, mix it up with the regular polish brush, or grab a nail painting brush--like a small filbert brush--to mix it if you are worried about preserving your regular nail polish (it shouldn't be an issue, though, it's only a very small amount of gel that will get mixed in.)
  3. Paint those nails! Cure between each layer, as usual.
  4. Once you're satisfied with the coverage, use the "Fix it! Soak Off Gel" as a top coat, without any regular polish mixed in. 
  5. Clean it all off with alcohol, and you've got a "regular nail polish" manicure with increased wear and without all the drying time!
Here's some pictures of what I mixed up with a regular polish I had laying around, OPI "Rally Pretty Pink"  This color is a warm gold and a duochrome, with a dark mauve jelly base loaded with irregular true gold flecks.  Although this is an older release, a color like this is really on trend for this year, but you can't find anything like it in gel polish form. I took a lot of pictures because, um, hello...duochrome makes my mouth water.  Click to make the last photo bigger for some macro glitter fleck action!

I used three coats of my Gelibility + "Rally Pretty Pink" mixture on my nails here. Compared to some plain regular polish swatches, my combo looks a bit lighter and the duochrome is a bit more muted--but it's still pretty obvious! In some lights you can see a bit of visible nail line, however I feel like you can pick out that in some regular polish swatches, too.  "Rally Pretty Pink" appears to rely on a translucent dark purple-mauve base to contrast with the gold flecks and give it its duochrome appearance, so when you apply the color thinly or mix it with something clear like Gelibility, the whole polish appears a little bit lighter.

Application of GELibility was really interesting, because I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first.  I've heard horror stories about how long "gelly sandwich" manicures can take to dry, and how the regular polish layers can bubble or wrinkle if they are not properly dried before you apply a gel top coat.  I was really afraid of this happening--but for no reason!  Each coat cured perfectly with my LED light, without any wrinkles or bubbling from trying to mix up my polishes. While applying, I found that the resulting combination acted exactly like you would expect a hybrid of regular polish and gel to act--it seemed to thicken up a little bit the longer it was exposed to air, but it also cured hard in my LED light just like a normal gel would.   

How about the wear time?  This wore as long as most other gel polishes I've tried so far--it lasted about nine days, or I gave it about that time before I wanted to paint my nails again.  And yes, it was totally dry once cured--I could do the dishes right after painting my nails with no smudges!  One thing I do have to mention is that despite my manicure being 5 layers of gel, it still felt thin for a gel polish--although it wasn't so thin that it caused my nails to bend and crack easily.

So despite the fact that my regular nail polish appeared to become a tad bit sheerer with GELibility mixed in, I'm still incredibly impressed and want to experiment some more!

PS: Currently you can buy Gelibility from their website, for $37.95 for the set of two. I received mine complimentary to test out, although I wasn't "sponsored" or required to do a positive review at all!   If you have a lot of regular nail polish that you wish you could find gel "dupes" for, I can say this is totally worth it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"The Great Polish Giveaway of 2014" @ Nail Polish Canada!

I keep getting more and more things to post about this week, but this is something fun that I couldn't hold off on! is hosting a major giveaway of up to 200 polishes.  This is a site I haven't really got into yet, although I've seen others post about it--this contest is pretty awesome, however, so I had to tell you about it!

Why is it "up to" 200 polishes?  Well, because the colors you could win are getting hand-picked by bloggers!  The more bloggers that join up, the more fun colors some lucky winner gets!

What's also interesting about Nail Polish Canada is that they have a pretty awesome selection of gel polishes - including Gelish, Red Carpet Manicure, OPI Gelcolor, and Gelaze.  Since I post about gel polish, of course I had to join and pick a gel polish to add to the mix!  Maybe the winner will already have a LED/UV lamp in their arsenal, or maybe having a gel polish will spur them to buy that light they've been thinking about and dip their feet into the gel polish world.  With that in mind, I wanted to pick something by a brand that should be pretty easy for someone to find again- I know Gelaze doesn't market itself as "pro only".  And of course, I picked an iconic shade in gel form: "For Audrey"

I posted a review of Gelaze "For Audrey" before, but if you're more interested in the giveaway, I'll save you a click and add a picture or two here:

Ok--the most important part!  Here's how you enter:

First of all, you can sign up on the form on their website, where you can also view all the shades other bloggers are giving away!  If you want some extra chances to win, each blog that joins in the mix gets a form to post on their own website, giving you additional chances to win--check out their blog names and links at the same address as above. Here's my form for you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And hey, if you're a blogger, too, you should fill out the form to add a polish to the prizes as well! I'd love to see a few more gel polish colors added!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Speaking of Deals...

I'm not sure if I should be sorry to bring you another "deals" post so soon, but this is an awesome deal!

Yup, at Sally Beauty all regular and gel polishes are buy-one-get-one-free from today, 7/15, until Thursday, 7/17. 

I've been eying up some more Gelaze colors, so I might have to make a trip down myself!

Monday, July 14, 2014

#ManiMonday on Hautelook with NaiLuv!

Just another deals post here--because NaiLuv is back on Hautelook this week!

Until Thursday 7/17, NaiLuv is on sale at Hautelook for $8.00, with the standard  $5.95 flat rate shipping. 

Hautelook has been doing nail polish sales every Monday with the hashtag "ManiMonday", but this is the first time in a while that I've seen any gel polishes as part of that sale. What I find interesting about this sale is that the bottles are only $8.00 each for their 15 mL bottles--last time they were $9.00 each!  That's much closer to the $7.50 price I paid when I first bought them on Hautelook in 2012.

As a side note, I recently signed up for Zulily--a site that I'm not usually interested in, but I've noticed they seem to do Gellaka and UV-Nails flash sales a lot.  I'm thinking I should start posting about those, too!  What do you think?!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Red Carpet Manicure "Peach Chiffon" - Fade Alert!

Hi again!  I said I would do a review on a Red Carpet Manicure shade from the summer "Sweet Indulgence" collection this week, and I'm a little late getting it up.  School work is getting really intense... but it's almost over! Luckily, I found some time to do some really simple but fun designs with this manicure.

I'll start with the gel polish from the permanent line in this design, because this review's simpler:  Red Carpet Manicure "Who Are You Wearing" is a mid-tone teal creme color.  I thought this might be a dupe for Gelish "Sugar Daddy", but it has more dirty grey tones than "Sugar Daddy" does.  It's actually a really, really close dupe for OPI Gelcolor "Suzi Says Feng Shui", which I reviewed last summer (oddly enough, in a manicure design that was a little bit  similar, too!)  If anything, the OPI Gelcolor is a tad more grey toned than this, but it's hard to tell the difference.  Anyway, the formula for this was a little thin and sheer, but I got to full opacity in three coatsIt did shrink away from the free edges of my nails a bit--which you can see on my thumb--but with careful application this wasn't a major issue for me.

Red Carpet Manicure "Peach Chiffon" is the new color out for this summer, in the "Sweet Indulgence" collection.  This color is gorgeous initially--it's a very pastel pinky-peach creme color, and it fits in well with the whitened-out bolds and neons that are very popular this season.  However, this color was a bust for a few reasons.  First is application: it took three coats to reach opacity, but not because it was thin and sheer.  Quite the opposite!  It was a very thick gel that applied streaky, almost like a regular polish--it's almost like it became streakier the more I tried to even out a coat.  It didn't shrink away from the edges of my nails, but it didn't always want to lay smoothly on the free edges either.  My second problem with this is the color: since it's so pale, it doesn't always come across well in different lighting.  In some lights the yellow comes out more, and in other lights the amount of white in it floods out the other colors.  I attempted to take pictures in bright sunlight and the LED flash of my camera, and this is what came out:


My third problem with this is the wear: don't get me wrong, it wore fine for almost two weeks.  But "Peach Chiffon" faded horribly!  It changed from a peach color with slight pink undertones to a yellow pastel.  Luckily, it also faded evenly, so the resulting color wasn't horrible looking.  But since I did "nail art" that involved putting three more coats of gel on top of my initial coats of "Peach Chiffon", it faded even faster--yes, it faded a little just with the small amount of repeat exposure to my LED lamp. Here's a comparison of a newly painted nail with my week + old nails, with flash and in indirect sunlight::

I loved this initial color, but I don't love the fading and the application--so "Peach Chiffon" might be one more color I return to the store.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Red Carpet Manicure Buy-One-Get-One-FREE at Ulta!

Yup, you read that right: Red Carpet Manicure is buy one get one FREE from now (7/6/2014) until 7/26/2014 at Ulta.  I'm not sure what else to say about an awesome deal like that: it almost leaves me speechless!

I'll just add that, as usual, stack up this deal with a coupon like their usual $3.50 off of $10 for an even better steal.  And if you want some coordinating regular polish from RCM, that's BOGO-Free, too. Check it out in store or online here:

RCM Regular Nail Polish at

RCM "Trends" Gel Polish Collection at (this has "dupes" for many Gelish "Trends" colors!)

RCM Gel Nail Polish at

They do have a neat "Sweet Indulgence" collection out for the summer time, too, with some unique shades like a spring grass green ("Kiwi Lime Affair"), pastel yellow ("Pineapple Premiere"), pastel peach ("Peach Chiffon"), and more!  I'll be reviewing one of those colors this week, actually. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Red Silver & Blue (and Pink, too!)

If you live in the USA, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you probably know that Independence Day is coming up on the 4th...although, you know, technically the 13 states were legally separated from Britain on the 2nd. 

Ok, I'll be honest: I actually didn't have any of that in mind when I put on this gel polish, but it did remind me!  This is a perfect color for this time of the year; it's just a little bit patriotic, but not enough that you could only wear it on a national holiday.  It also reminds me a bit of fireworks and playing with glitter-filled bouncy balls in the summer time as a kid.

See what I mean? Really, though, what I did have in mind this week was the number of tests I had coming up, and lab papers I had due for my summer class, and all the shift changes I was going to be doing at work, and the fact that I need new brakes, and blah blah blah.  In short, I had a lot to do.  And the Fuse gelnamel (an offset of Sensationail) markets itself as a one-step gel polish, or a base, color, and top coat all in one.  This sounded like a nice little time saver, so I decided to try it out. 

Fuse gelnamel "Lightning Jolt" is a clear gel polish loaded with red, blue, and fuchsia pink hexagonal glitters, as well as small silver flecks.  I used three coats on my nails and got nearly full opacity--although there were a few bald spots every now and then, the multitude of silver flecks masked all of that pretty well.  I included quite a few photos for such a simple glitter polish, but that's because the inclusion of both cool and warm toned glitters meant that my nails looked pretty different depending on the lighting--in sunny daylight, like the second photo, the blue glitter sticks out more, but in warmer lights (third photo) the pink and red glitters really sparkle against the silvery flecks in the background. It was hard to capture all of that in plain old photos, but I tried.  What really liked about this gel was the strength it gave my nails and the lack of any smell.

I have a few caveats with this gel polish, though.  I'm pretty wary of "all-in-one" gel polishes altogether because they may have some wear issues or shrinking issues--but I wanted to save some time, so I tried this product out as Fuse suggests.  

Well, first of all, since this polish is purely glitter, it was very thick and viscous, and so it did NOT shrink back from the edges of my nails at all.  Yay for that, right?  But then, the amount of glitter also made the finish different--instead of a nice, shiny top coat I had what felt like a OPI "Sand" or Zoya "Pixie Dust" finish on my nails.  The second photo I took is without a top coat--I tried to capture the scattered light this finish gave in a photo, but I think I failed, because the different colored glitters make the finish harder to discern.  However, you can see just how uneven the glitter sits by looking at the free edge of my nail on the middle finger--just keep clicking until the photo's full size!  On the one hand, I thought this finish was kind of cool, and I'd love to see companies experiment with "sand" like gel polish finishes by utilizing a multitude of densely packed, different size glitters.  On the other hand, though, I was really distressed at how the uneven finish on the edges of my nails left them catching on hair and scratching my skin by mere light contact. I gave in and put a top coat on this about 3 hours after I first did my nails. :)

As for the wear of this all-in-one gel polish, I did get some gel polish lifting from the side wall of a nail by day 4, and by day 7 about 4 nails had lifting issues.  All-in-all, as usual, if I wore this polish again, I'd probably use the traditional method of sandwiching it between a base and top coat to get improved wear.