Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[Nail Care] Base & Top Coats, Treatments, Oils, Removers!



Hi everyone! Now that we're getting into fall, I thought it'd be a good time to do another nail care post. It's been requested for a while now (hi, Steph!), but I honestly didn't have more to say since my nail care post from earlier this year. If anything, I use less products in the summer. ^^;; During the second half of summer, I started testing out a lot of new products, so I wanted to share my thoughts on them with you.

I'm going to warn you - this is a long and wordy post. Feel free to skip around to the parts you're most interested in. ^^


BASE COAT

First, a new base coat! So ever since I got into nail polish, I've been using China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat. It worked well for me, so I never ventured out. I was running row, so I ventured out to a local beauty supply store to get more, but they didn't have any. :( I heard a lot of great things about CND Stickey Anchoring Base Coat, so I ended up giving it a try.

When I used to change my nail color daily, it only expected my base coat to protect my nails from staining. Now I wear a color for 3-5 days, so staying power has also become important to me. CND Stickey definitely lives up to hype for me and keeps my nails chip free throughout the week.

The only con is that it can give your nails a greenish hue if you apply too much. As long as you apply thin to medium coats, it should look clear. Nail polish seems to really cling onto the base coat during application as well - always a plus.

Overall, I still like ChG Adhesion, but for a manicure that lasts, CND Stickey is a clear winner. I purchased my 2.3 oz bottle from Amazon for $12.10 (shipping included). You can also purchase this in a smaller 0.33oz size.


TOP COAT

An oldie, but a goodie - my beloved Seche Vite top coat. To be fair, I haven't tried any of the other comparable fast dry top coats. I'm clearly the type that sticks to one product as long as it works. -_- I've gone through countless bottles of this, so I only buy it in bulk. I'm almost done with my 4 fl oz kit, so I recently purchased the bigger 6 oz kit. The pros are obviously its quick-drying abilities and extreme glossiness. There are a few cons though.

For one, it has the tendency to shrink certain brands or finishes. If you're not familiar with this term, this is when the top coat shrinks your nail color back away from the nail tip. So even though you freshly polished your nails, it'll look like you have tip wear. Very annoying! For me, Seche Vite always shrinks my Zoya glass flecks and thick polishes. Anything that required 3-4 thick coats won't work well with Seche Vite. Other than that, it performs flawlessly over all other polishes for me.

The other con is how thick it can get. When you have about 1/3 left, the consistency will become like that of cold syrup. It won't flow onto your nails and will make a mess. When this happens, I add Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner to mine and give it a good shake. Then I fill it up to the top with more Seche Vite (from my kit). I give it another shake and let it rest overnight before using. Otherwise, there will be bubbles galore.

Seche Vite also sells their own thinner called Seche Restore, but the Beauty Secrets one has always worked for me. When you first pour in the thinner, it'll just sit on top of the top coat. If you shake it too little, it's going to look watery, like it's not combining with the top coat. Give it a few shakes, and then roll it back and forth vigorously between your hands. You should see a million tiny bubbles, but no watery texture. The rolling should combine the two evenly.

I think you can purchase Seche Vite almost anywhere now. I used to get individual bottles from Sally's, but now I buy them in bulk from a local beauty supply store. You can find the kits on Amazon for a decent price as well.


NAIL TREATMENTS

I always mention Essie Millionails, but it's because it's that awesome. I've used mine for over a year, and without fail it has always prevented peeling. If my nails break, it's because of peeling in the corners. I never knew why this happened, but I found out this summer when I noticed my nails growing long without any help. I realized this was because of the humidity in the air. My nails are very curved, especially on the left hand. When they become dry, the corners curl in. This is why after a shower, your nails look flatter. Because my nails are also hard, when it curls, the top layer breaks away and starts to peel. Millionails doesn't fix peels, but for me, it 100% prevents peels.

I do have a way for fixing peeled nails, but I do not recommend it. I do this because I know my nails can take it. If you have thin or brittle nails - do not do this. You'll end up damaging or breaking your nails. First off, I have very thick nails thanks to great nail genes. So I'm able to use the flat end of a metal cuticle pusher to gently scrape away the lifted, peeled portion. I then buff out that section until the nail is smooth and even. This makes buffed section considerably thinner, which I why I don't recommend it. My nails are very thick and hard, so doing this doesn't make my nails weaker. However, it's still vulnerable to peeling, possibly even more now. So during this period, I always keep my nails covered in Millionails. This keeps that area from peeling again until it's long enough to file away. Again, I'm just sharing what I do, and in no way am I recommending this. The scraping and buffing can be very damaging, but this helps me to grow my nails until I can file the problem area away.

In any case, now that I know dry weather exacerbates peeling in my nails, Millionails is now part of my nail care routine during the colder months. That way I can avoid the whole buffing and fixing routine. ^^

Sorry about the crazy chunk of text! I'll keep it short for Duri Rejuvacote. It's a nail growth treatment that's supposed to help strengthen your nails. This is best for those with thin, brittle, or weak nails. If you have hard, thick nails like me, this might actually make your nails worse. I bought mine back when I thought it'd help with peeling. After using it daily, I noticed peeling on nails that never peel! T_T So now I regret buying so much of it. At one point, I thought it was working, but alas... I'll probably only use it once a week or so. I purchased mine from Amazon for $8.24.


OILS & CREAMS

Okay, some shameless shop promoting here. This is an all natural cuticle oil I recently added to my Pretty Jelly Etsy shop. If you read my previous nail care post, I was using Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil. Mine actually went bad, so I had to chuck it. T_T I took it as an opportunity to mix my own cuticle oil. After researching many different types of oils and their benefits, I came up with this one for everyday use. Since I sell it, I'm not going to review it, but this is what I use now.

I will say that an all natural cuticle oil has worked better than any manufactured cuticle oil/serum/butter I've used so far. I was able to feel this when I pushed back my cuticles. After using Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, the cuticle I push back always becomes dry and flaky. This is even after using other cuticles oils. Generally I have to wait a few days with daily moisturizing to get rid of the dryness. I pretty much accepted this as part of the cuticle shrinking procedure.

A few days ago, I pushed back my cuticles and followed up with my natural cuticle oil. After using it once, I did not see any dry skin. Since then I followed up with daily application, and my cuticles look awesome! So I highly recommend using a natural cuticle oil. You can easily find them on Etsy, or mix your own bottle. The results are infinitely better than any cuticle oil containing parabens and what-not.


The Barielle products I'm showing you from here on out were all sent to me by Barielle for review. This first one is a mandarin scented exfoliating scrub made with dead sea salt. It contains grape seed, avocado, and soy bean oil. The oil is tinted orange, so you'll see it on your hands. But it doesn't stain and washes right off. It feels nice when you're scrubbing and washing it off, but the oil feels a little greasy on my hands after patting my hands dry. In the end, I end up going back and washing my hands again with soap. You're probably supposed to wait for the oils to soak in, but I'm too impatient and dislike anything that feels greasy. But I think it'd work great on feet, especially if you have dry heels and ankles. Afterwards, you could pull some socks on and let the oils soak in. ^^


I've tried this nail strengthening cream a few times during the summer, but as my nails were already great, I couldn't tell if it was doing anything. It's supposed to deeply penetrate your nails and help damaged nails and cuticles. Since it's getting colder, I'll post an update if this keeps my nails from peeling during the next month. ^^


My winter time life saver. This rich hand cream was perfect for healing my dry, cracked hands last winter. It's best used at night before bed with the gloves. I'm very sensitive to the cold, so no matter what my hands always crack. T_T I basically wore gloves 24/7 and used this frequently to bring my hands back to life. If you're dreading the cold like me, this is good to have by your bedside.


NAIL POLISH REMOVERS

These are acetone-free and work just as well as regular acetone remover! I didn't have high hopes for this, because acetone-free removers have always failed me. So Barielle must have added some amazing strawberry scented magic to these, because they work great. It's perfect for the purse or office in case of nail emergencies.


I used to use regular acetone polish remover from the drugstore. There wasn't a particular brand I favored. I just used whatever because I honestly didn't think much about it. All I needed was for it to remove polish. When I ran out, I decided to finally give the much raved about Zoya Remove+ a try. I was prepared to like it, so I purchased the 8oz bottle (partly for the flipper dispenser) and the 32 oz refill. I go through polish remover very, very quickly due to swatching sessions. The 2oz bottle and the Qtica Lemongrass Ginger Lotion came as samples with my order.

I've used it about 2 months now, and so far I love it. It still contains acetone, but it's a mild formula that's much less drying on my nails and cuticles. It's a 3-in-1 formula, because it also conditions and preps the nail. I'm not sure if it actually does make your manicure last longer, since I always wash my hand after touching acetone. I have CND Stickey for that. ^^

It does claim not to stain nails, and I can testify to that. After using this, my nails are significantly less yellow. My non-swatching nails are completely yellow-free, while my swatching-nails are a little yellow at the tips. This alone makes it worth every penny to me. One time my nails were so yellow, my roommate asked if it was a nail color. T_T Never again!

It's not cheap though. The 8oz bottle is $9.99, while the 32oz bottle is $25. Compared to the less than $5 16oz bottle I was buying for Walmart, it's a lot pricier. But like I said, so worth it. If the price is too much, I highly recommend getting it during one of Zoya's sales at Zoya.com.

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Wow, I don't think I've ever written this much in one post. I tried to be as informative as possible, so I hope you find it helpful! I can't imagine anyone reading through the entire thing, but if you did - you're my favorite reader! ;]

What are your favorite nail care products? Anything you'd like me to test? Let me know, and I'll include it in my next nail care post. ^^

Liz

Friday, September 12, 2014

[Press] OPI NYFW: Jeremy Scott Spring/Summer 2015

Hi everyone! I was browsing through NYFW press images, when this one from OPI caught my eye. I love the combination of colors used in this mani! This is one mani I'm definitely recreating, because it also reminds me of a clutch I own. Check out the pics below! 
*~*~*~*

PLAYFUL DIY NAILS 


JEREMY SCOTT • SPRING/SUMMER 2015 

OPI partnered with Jeremy Scott to create a unique nail look for the designer’s Spring/Summer 2015 runway show at Milk Studios on Wednesday, September 10. Lead nail artist Miss Pop worked with the designer’s beachy hippie inspiration to create colorful patterned nails that accented the collection’s vibrant prints.


That’s Hot! Pink, Life Gave Me Lemons, Can’t Find My Czechbook, Juice Bar Hopping, and A Grape Fit! were applied to models’ nails randomly using a dry brush technique. Miss Pop used the technique of individual brush strokes with little lacquer applied one after the other until the nail was filled to achieve a look of playing with paint on the nail.




Every model’s hand featured a different set of designs, mixing multicolor nails and individual bright hues partially or fully painted on with the airbrush-like technique, while some nails were left in the new nude – Matte Top Coat.





New to the runways, the playful nail art was carried through to the male models. Several of the male models also featured one of more of the bright, paint-inspired nails. “The next step for polish is getting it on men, including nail art,” says Miss Pop, lead nail artist for OPI at Fashion Week. “I am happy Jeremy Scott is taking this first step. There are no rules with this look. The colors are the palette and the nails the canvas.”

Nails were prepped with one coat of Base Coat and finished with Matte Top Coat.



All images in this post are credited to OPI.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

[Nail Art] Gold Shells and Gemstones



Summer's coming to an end, so I've been clinging to the last few days with summery manis like this one. The nail art is beach inspired with subtle stamping and pretty charms. I was totally smitten with this one! Hope you like it as much as I do. :)


What I Used
Milani White On The Spot
MoYou London stamping plate - Sailor 04
Born Pretty Store gold shells charms - 3mm, 5mm*
rhinestones




Until next time!

Liz

[Haul] MoYou London + Born Pretty Store


Hi guys! I just wanted to share with you all the nail art stuff I recently purchased. Particularly my new stamping plates. I've collected a few since my renewed interest in stamping. The only one not pictured is my DRK Nails plate, which you can read about here. Also not shown are my Cheeky plates, but I'll review that in a separate post. Now, onto the good stuff!


First up is my BPS haul! I bought these myself, so they weren't sent to me for review. I got the following in my order (all affiliate links): Rose water decals 70-72, Cartoon decals 88-90, Cat and Dog decals, Horse and Bird decals 262, Badtz Maru decals, Pony stamping plate, 3mm & 5mm gold sea shell charms, silver bow charms #2.


A close-up at the stamping plate and nail charms. Do you remember the gold bow charms I reviewed in this post? I loved them so much that I also got them in silver. I already did some nail art with the gold shells, so you'll be seeing them again soon. :)

Next is MoYou London!

Monday, September 1, 2014

[Review+Swatch] China Glaze The Giver Collection


Hi everyone! I just noticed I've been posting a lot of China Glaze recently. Today's collection is not an oldie, but a new one inspired by the book-turned-film, The Giver. This was one of my favorite books as a child, so I'm excited to see it gain some popularity again. :)

[Nail Art] Makeover Monday with Cut Out + Keep


Hi guys! I did a post for Cut Out + Keep's Makeover Monday today! Basically, different bloggers show one original look and one makeover look for the celebrity of their choice. I picked Alexa Chung because I love her style, and she has great taste in nail art as well. I believe she even released her own nail colors in collaboration with NailsInc last month.

I posted tutorials for the looks I did for her, so head on over to Cut Out + Keep to read about it. Here's a sneak peek at my makeover look below. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Review+Swatch] China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy (version 2.0)



Hi everyone! I dropped by a beauty supply store for some Seche Vite and decided to grab this beauty too. This is the newer version of Flip Flop Fantasy - a neon peach-coral. It's showing up more pastel like in my pictures, but it's not! It's a very bright, true neon color that glows from your fingertips.

The formula was a little tricky, which isn't uncommon for neons. It dries fast, and if you go over the same place twice while wet, you can get bald patches. It also applies a bit streaky, however, 3 coats will smooth that right out. The finish is matte, but I used top coat for my swatches.




This last pic is a bit closer to how it actually looks. It's still a lot more neon than that. As you can see, not the best color for my skin, but I'll still wear it. :P 

I read on another blog (maybe Polishaholic?) that the old Flip Flop Fantasy is coming back. I hope it does, because I want to see what the hype is all about. :)

Do you own this shade? If you have both versions, which one do you prefer?

Liz