Friday, April 27, 2012

Shellac Asphalt

So the black gel manicure got a nasty chip on day 12 :(

But the upside is I get to try out another new soak off colour!  I chose Shellac Asphalt and it took 2 coats.  I also added a layer of Gelish Structure underneath, which is just a clear gel that adds strength.  The accent nail is one coat of Ez Flow TruGel in Winners Circle over Asphalt. Winners Circle is a clear base with silver, pewter and pink glitter.

2 days later I decided to add a stamp since it's been awhile since I've worn any nail art.  I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pink Aluminum and plate BM224.

I think Shellac Asphalt will probably be the first gel polish I empty.  It's pretty awesome.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Random Swatches

It seems like I'm all over the place here lately but I swatched some of my recent purchases:

This is Jessica Iridescent Eye, the Chanel Peridot Dupe.  It's very cool, I really like it.  I like that it looks mostly green instead of gold.

I stamped it with Kleancolor Metallic Brown and plate RA-118.  Yeah I also ordered the Red Angel stamping plates from Amazon and had them delivered to my sister in Delaware.  My US haul post was already so big I didn't see a reason to include them at the time.

This is a swatch of another polish I picked up in the US - Kleancolor Holo Green, 2 coats over my black gel manicure.  Even with a coat of Seche Vite this is gritty as hell.  It reminds me quite a bit of the Color Club Mistletoe Collection.

And finally we have Duri Purple Rain.  This is the blackest purple I own and it has a really nice shimmer under light which you can barely see on my middle finger.  This is my second Duri polish and can I say that I friggen love these!  Nice application, nice brushes and ZERO staining!  I honestly couldn't believe that there was not a single stain on my fingers even after a light swipe of remover.  Amazing brand and I look forward to more.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Winning at Winners

Ok so Winners has pissed me off with their recent price increases on Color Clubs but I will still shop there because they still have decent deals on stuff.  And my most recent steal was this:

Sorry I didn't realize the lighting was so bad when I took these photos.  This was another Barielle 5 pack but even though I already have 2 of the polishes I did a double take when I saw the price tag - $6.99!  This was clearly mislabeled because I paid $16.99 for the set containing Elle's Spell and when I bought Slate of Affairs it was $4.99 for just the one polish.  This set contains another bottle of Slate of Affairs that I'm hoping I can trade or sell.  It also contains the awesome Decadence, U Concrete Me, Passion Pirouette and Gold Digger.

Next up is Duri Purple Rain for $2, Unnamed Cosmetic Arts for $1 and Jessica Iridescent Eye for $5.99.  The Cosmetic Arts doesn't compare to anything in my collection really and I would say it's most comparable to drywall compound in colour.  The Jessica polish is the famous dupe for Chanel Peridot and it looks amazing in the bottle.

And lastly this is a Color Club nail art set for $8.99.  It comes with quite a few goodies - 3 striping brushes, 1 gem wheel, 2 gem pots and 2 sets of stickers.  I bought it mostly because I love the copper striping brush and the petal shaped gems look like fun.

So over top of my black gel manicure I added a coat of Color Club's Ready To Wear.  You can still see the Vegas Nights glitter through it.  This reminds me of the Nubar Prisms Gem and Jewel - duochromes with fine holo glitter.

And then I broke out the new striping brushes to test them out.  I really love that copper polish!  FYI, this was Day 7 of the black gel manicure.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Some things to share

Another somewhat random post here...

My black soak off manicure reminded me a lot of space so I decided to take a crack at galaxy nails...sort of.  I didn't use a tutorial and just kind of dabbed bits of colour on.  I think it just looks messy.

This is my SOG collection.  Before I left for the US I had already decided that my SOG collection was starting to annoy me since I had no real organization to it so I bought this basket which fits all my SOGs perfectly and also, fits very nicely inside the container I bought to store my CND lamp.  What this tells me is that I have no more room for any more polishes though lol.

This photo is Sally Hansen Black Tie on the left and Borghese Stellar Notte on the right.  Colour is exact but I don't consider these to be 100% dupes since Stellar Notte is super sheer compared to Black Tie and took twice as many coats.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I have an accumulation of small things that I haven't gotten around to posting, so here goes...

Before I hacked my nails down and after removal of my last soak off I painted 3 coats of Sinful Colors Cinderella.  Not a fan.

The Princess of Poo was the first to try one of my new soak off gels and she chose Ez Flow TruGel in Racy Red (3 coats) with a coat of Gelish Vegas Nights on top.  No her fingers aren't really dry and cracked.  That's what happens when you rub 99% alcohol all over your fingers (we forgot to clean it off before taking the pics lol).

This was part of my US haul that I forgot to post.  A nail brush for $1, an extra dappen pot from Sallys, Broadway Nail Wraps from the clearance section at Rite Aid (I must have hit at least 50 drug stores while I was there lol) and the silicone finger tips which were less than $5 at Walmart.  So why did I buy these?  To use instead of tinfoil for soaking off gels and glitters!  And they work great!  No more fussing with tinfoil and a whole lot less waste!  I can't take credit for the idea though since I got it from the fantastic girls at the Nail Care board in the Purse Forum.  These girls are a wealth of information and you should check them out if you haven't already!

Also a bonus photo because I thought it was hilarious:

My sister and I walked into a Walmart and we noticed something strange was going on.  We asked a clerk and she told us that they were relocating to a newer store so they were liquidating what was left.  Unfortunately we were about a week too late since this is how we found the makeup aisle lmao.  Never seen anything like it!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Soak off comps, swatches and pricing

So I've learned a helluva lot about soak offs since I bought my Shellac set in October.  And being a total cheap ass I find it completely frustrating with the limited availability and exorbitant pricing.  So I was thrilled to find that we had a second easy access option in Canada via Shoppers Drug Mart.

Quo by Orly introduced a new gel line a couple of weeks ago.  The colours sell for $10CAD for 4.4ml and the Top/Base coat is $15 for 15ml.  Not cheap at all.

On the left we have a full size Gelish at 15ml (normal average polish size).
Next up is the Gelish Mini at 9ml.
Quo by Orly is 4.4ml.
And lastly is Red Carpet Manicure at 9ml (Rumor has it that Gelish and RCM are manufactured by the same company).
Shellac (not pictured) is 7.3ml.
Ez Flow TruGel (not pictured is 14ml).

So if I compare these to the prices I paid (CAD and USD are almost at par right now anyways):
Gelish full size $12.95/15 = $.86/ml
Gelish Mini $18.95/9 = $2.11/ml
Quo by Orly $10/4.4 = $2.27/ml
RCM $9.99/9 = $1.11/ml
Shellac $14.85/7.3 = $2.03/ml
Ez Flow TruGel $8.95/14 = $.64

Clearly we're paying sometimes more than double here in Canada and that really sucks.  One thing that's very important to mention in the pricing comparison is that there is more value for your money when it comes to the original Shellac.

The two reds in the middle are Shellac Red Baroness on the left and Ez Flow TruGel in Racy Red on the right.  Red Baroness is only two super thin coats and Racy Red is 3 thicker coats.  So a little bit of Shellac goes a long way compared to other soak off gels.  CND claims that 1 bottle of Shellac will average 20 manicures.  I think you'd be hard pressed to get 20 manicures out of the 9ml Gelish Minis when you have to apply a minimum of 3 coats.  The problem with Shellac is that it's not really available in Canada without a license.

So just for fun I swatched a bunch of my new soak off gels on a wheel.  From L-R:
Ez Flow TruGel in Lil' Dress (3 coats) + Gelish Good Gossip (1 coats)
Quo by Orly in First Class (1 coat only) - yes it's really Orly Rage :)
Ez Flow TruGel in Racy Red (2 coats) + Gelish Good Gossip (1 coat)
Red Carpet Manicure in Toast of the Town (2 coats)
Gelish Amazon Flirt (3 coats)

And these are all 3 coats of Ez Flow TruGel in Lil' Dress with one coat of each of my Gelish Aurora EFxs, from L-R:
Gelish The Great Googly Moogly
Gelish Oocha Coocha Bing Bang Bam Alakazy Alakazam (f-you for these ridiculous names H&NH!)
Gelish Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bim
Gelish Close Your Fingers and Cross Your Eyes

So my own personal verdict on soak offs is this:

1. Base Coat - Shellac is for me, hands down, the only one that works as it should and has easy removal.

2. Colours - Go with the cheapest. My experience has been that the colour coats really don't make a difference in staying power.  Gelish has the biggest variety of colours and if you can get the full size bottle they are a much better deal. The number of coats you have to apply plays a rather large role in this decision as well since if you're using a UV lamp like I am, a 2 coat manicure can take an hour or more.  If you're using a colour like Ez Flow TruGel in Racy Red and you want a little sparkle to it, for example, your manicure can take an hour and a half+ when you consider: base coat, 3 coats of colour, 1 coat of sparkle, and top coat.  Curing times are 2 minutes each with a UV lamp.  The thicker consistency colours like most of Shellac's line take much less polish and have minimal pooling which makes for faster and easier cleanup.

3. Top Coat - I've only tried Shellac and Gelish for the top coat and I prefer Gelish mostly because of availability and price. Not even several coats of Seche Vite can replicate that amazing long-lasting shine.

4. If you live in Canada, order from the US.  Amazon has a great selection of several brands of soak offs at amazing prices.  Even with shipping prices it's still much cheaper than getting hosed up here!


Friday, April 13, 2012

New Gels

So I didn't get much of a chance to play with polish during my US holiday, but here is my Shellac layering combo at day 13:

The regrowth looks horrible but there's no chips and it's still super shiny.  This is why I love soak off gels so much.

When I got home I had to shorten my nails since the length was driving me crazy.  I had such a hard time deciding on which of my new gels I would use but I settled on Ez Flow TruGel in Lil' Dress - standard black.  The only downside to this was that it was a bit sheer and took 3 coats.

I decided to add a bit of sparkle with a single coat of Gelish Vegas Nights.  It's pretty much a dupe for China Glaze Fairy Dust - tiny holo glitter.  I'm so glad I bought a huge bottle of this.  My cuticles are in pretty rough shape after my vacation so I've got some work to do there.

I wanted to add a bit of a rant to this post since I've been complaining a lot about us Canadian girls getting hosed on pricing up here.  It's going from bad to worse.  The Canadian Dollar has been hovering around par with USD for a couple of years now.  I know this because I regularly shop in the US and in the last few years the lowest I've seen our $ is at around $.96 per US dollar.  Right now it's just about even.

So now you understand why, when I walked into Winners last week I almost flew into a rage when I saw new Color Club sets priced at $14.99!!!  Color Club sets are normally priced at $12.99 at Winners.  And all you US girls know that they are $7.99USD at your local Ross/Marshalls/whatever.  Marshalls also just recently opened a few stores here in Canada and I haven't been yet, but I will report back when I do and you can bet your ass they aren't $12.99 or less there either. 

And let's talk about Sally Beauty and their prices on Gelish.  Girls in the US are already complaining that the Mini's are extortion at $12.95USD.  So is $18.95CAD really a fair price here?  I say fuckin' bullshit to all of this!  As much as I'd love to spend my hard earned Canadian dollars IN Canada, retailers here are really making it impossible.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So confession time: I've been in the US for the past 2 weeks visiting my sister.  We were keeping it a secret because she came back with me for a surprise visit.  So now that I'm home I can show you my awesome haul which I'm super excited about since I hauled a lot of soak off gels!

I'll start with the regular polishes first.  From L-R:
Spoiled Ants In My Pants - $2 at CVS
Sinful Colors Cinderella - $2 at CVS
Sally Hansen Princess Cut (Flakie) - $1.50 at Walgreens
Love & Beauty Olive/Gold - I think $2 at Forever 21
Love & Beauty Midnight - Same as above
Love & Beauty No name gold with holo glitter - $.99 at Forever 21

Chameleon Blue Sky - $4 at CVS
Justice Magnetic Blue - $5.50 at Justice
Kleancolor Holo Green - $1.50 random beauty supply
Essie Aruba Blue - $3 at Walmart

Revlon Emerald - $1.51 at Kmart
Revlon Hazy - $1.51 at Kmart
Icing Evergreen - $2 at Icing
Icing Emerald - $2 at Icing
Icing All That Glitters - $2 at Icing

Borghese Limoncello - $2 at CVS
Borghese Carnavale Grape - $2 at CVS
Borghese Stellar Notte - $2 at CVS
Wet n Wild Speak When Spoken To- $2.99 at Walgreens
Wet n Wild The Crown Is Mine - $2.99 at Walgreens

Zoya Yara - Free from Zoya's last promo
Zoya Veruschka - Free from Zoya's last promo
Gelish Good Gossip - $11.95 at Sally Beauty
Gelish Amazon Flirt - $3.99!!!! at Sally Beauty
Sally Hansen Purple Pizazz- 2/$1 at Dollar Tree
Sally Hansen Teeny Greeny Bikini - 2/$1 at Dollar Tree

Sinful Colors Green Ocean - $1.99 at Walgreens
Sally Hansen Black Tie - $2.49 at Rite Aid
Essie A Cut Above - $4.00 at Rite Aid
Sally Hansen White Veil - $5.49 at Rite Aid

Shellac Base Coat (large) - $22.45 from Amazon
Shellac Asphalt - $14.85 from Amazon
Gelish Structure - $11.00 from Ebay
Gelish Vegas Nights (full size) - $12.95 from Amazon

Ez Flow TruGel Lil' Dress
Ez Flow TruGel Racy Red
Ez Flow TruGel Winners Circle
Ez Flow TruGel Frosted Amethyst
$8.95 each from Ebay

The prices on the soak off gels are amazing!  In Canada at the moment all we really have available are Gelish Minis from Sally Beauty and the regular beauty club price is $18.95 for one tiny little .25 oz bottle!  The ones I ordered from Amazon are double the size for half the price!  How is that fair?

Well I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home to find a gel polish for sale in a drug store!  Shoppers Drug Mart to be exact and the brand is Quo by Orly (which I'm hoping are repackaged Orly GelFX).  The downside - the bottles are LESS THAN .25 oz (4.4ml) but the price is $10 which makes it seem cheaper but when you consider Gelish Minis are $18.95 at 9ml, they're more expensive than the minis!  I picked up First Class Ticket (which is really Orly Rage) and am crossing my fingers that this is the same stuff! 

As excited as I am to see these in the drug store, I am certain these will fail and can't wait to find them in the clearance bin.  Why you ask?  Well they offer a starter kit, but no lamp.  That will be a big factor in sales since lamps aren't readily available to the average DIYer.  Plus the base and top coat is an all-in-one which makes me very hesitant to try it.  We're on the right track though with the gel nails, bring em on!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Pretty Awesome

This is 2 coats of Zoya Yara.  My kind of colour for sure, nice army green with gold flecks.

Then I found the new Sally Hansen Diamond Strength polishes and had to pick up White Veil.  This is one coat over Yara.  I really like this glitter.

It was also my birthday on the weekend and since I don't like cake, look what my family made for me:

You know you're a serious polish addict when....


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Soak off layering

Shellac colours are pretty limited.  So CND has a layering guide to create new shades and I decided to try one of my own.

These are the culprits.  From L-R:
Shellac Red Baroness
Red Carpet Manicure Drop Dead Gorgeous
Gelish Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bim

I painted them on in that exact order as listed above - 1 coat each.  I gotta say it's pretty friggen awesome!

At first glace it looks mostly like a royal purple.  It also has an awesome duochrome sparkle that shifts from pink to deep violet.

I ended up just sponging the tips with China Glaze Skyscraper.  It's got a bit too much silver in it for my liking.  I was going for a fade here but it didn't quite turn out that way.

Anyways, I've got some new soak off gels on their way to me and can't wait to show you all the new colours I got.  Some more great layering possibilities.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Couple O' Swatches

I have soooo many polishes I haven't worn.  My collection is well above 500 now and that's not including the SOG polishes.  So time to stop spending and start swatching.

So first up is Golden Rose Holographic 104.  I purchased a bunch of these a year ago and never got around to wearing them all.  This is 3 coats. Nice light green but the holo really only shows under fluorescent light.

It's a smaller bottle at 6ml but definitely on the cheap side for a holographic polish.  I think I paid less than $3 for it.

Next up is one I'm sure you've all seen but it's only recently been made available in Canada.  Essence Where Is The Party? 2 coats.  Massive disappointment for me really.  Why? Well most of the time it just looks purple.  It's really hard to notice the duochrome coming through.  Especially disappointing when the bottle looks like this: