Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Playing with gel

I know I said before that I wasn't happy with the Star Nail product that we were given in our student kits.  So I did some investigation to try and find a better product.  The beauty supply stores don't carry enough variety nor do they carry trial kits, not to mention the fact that the selection of nail products is just plain abysmal in general.

So I discovered that there are a few companies that make gels you can use for tips and sculpted extensions and they actually soak off!  Bio Sculpture is the big one that some of you may have heard of as well as Calgel but when I received their product info I just about fell over in my chair looking at their price lists!

So then I found that there is actually a Canadian company - Akzentz, that sells one as well for much much cheaper and I ordered a couple of kits from them.

And of course I had to test them out right away.  I used clear tips to extend my nails and tried out their soak off 'Options' gel.

And because I'm still learning and want to play, I added some mylar flakes, mylar stars and a bit of holographic glitter.  But here's the best part...I actually managed to do both hands!  It's slightly easier with gels than acrylics, but I'm happy to finally have matching hands again.  It still took me 3.5 hours to do my own nails which is painful really.  But it's worth it because I need to have blingy nails that people will notice to build up my clientele, right?

I'm hoping this product will hold up over the next couple of weeks.  We'll see what happens.


Monday, October 29, 2012


Some people just can't break old habits no matter what you try.

My Mother is a nail biter.  I won't post her age but I will tell you that she has bitten her nails for decades.  I actually inherited this trait from her but I quit in my early 20s after watching a program about the disgusting crap that lives under your free edge.  So these are her sad nails.  This photo is actually a GOOD photo of her nails since there is normally no free edge at all.  I've tried Shellac on her and it doesn't stay on.  She also constantly has her hands in water.

So about a month ago I decided to help her grow them out and put a gel overlay on her nails.  She came back the next week with several missing!  I'm pretty sure it wasn't the product that was the problem but I fixed it and then refilled her overlay another 2 weeks after that.

She came to me on the weekend asking me to do her nails again.  The overlay was left on only 3 of her nails!  So I give up.  She won't wear gloves while cleaning and she picks at them but she has been very good applying cuticle oil.  I told her I would give her gel extensions and if she ruined them by not taking proper care, I was done wasting my product on her.

I gave her natural tips and cut them super short.  This took me an hour and 15 mins - yahoo!  I'm crossing my fingers that she takes care of them.

And much to my amazement, once I was done I convinced my uber-conservative Mother to do the following:

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Exam Nails

The Princess of Poo finally got her gel nails!  She was my model for my final exam and here they are.  I was not 100% happy with these as my annoyance factor was through the friggen roof!  I was super annoyed by all the women in the room at once and listening to the chit chat about church and kids etc., plus somebody decided they wanted to listen to music without consulting anyone else in the room and it was not something I could tolerate.

Every other girl in the class did white french tips except for me.  I did full clear tips and painted my french on.  I was having some issues with the white pulling back on me so I pretty much just wanted to scream those whole 2 hours.  However when I was done the instructor came over and said 'very good'.

So when I got home I fixed them up for her.  I perfected the smile lines and shortened them for her.  The written test was a breeze and I'm sure I passed everything but we won't be getting our certificates until December because the instructor has a small issue.  So yeah, I guess I'm a nail tech now?  It'll probably feel more real once that paper is in my hands.

And a parting shot of my own short acrylic nails (only one hand again lol) done with CND holographic Metro powder and an embedded fimo heart:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Decisions decisions

So last weekend was my final day of training at nail school.  This weekend will be my final exams.  We learned fills and acrylics last weekend.  The acrylic products we are training on are supplied by Star Nail and there are a few differences from the acrylic products I've tried before so I was pretty excited about it.

The Star acrylic is odor free which is great!  It's also UV cured and gives quite a bit more 'play time' which is also good for someone who's learning.  On the practice nail I did it was still a bit too thick for my liking but the instructor said it was good.

Then I went home and tried my hand at acrylics on my own nails and decided to get a little funky (or ghetto as it actually turned out lol) with it:

I used clear tips and was really happy with my blending but I made them too long and they are way too blingy for me.  It took me a full 2 hours to do this on one hand!  I attempted doing my bad hand but it's painfully frustrating so I've got one hand with blingy acrylics and one hand with nothing on them!  I also shortened these quite a bit after a day of wear.

I did find the Star acrylics much easier to work with however they crack very easily and I just can't get them thin, plus they bubble like mad.  I'm considering giving up on acrylics altogether.  As for their Gel products, I like them but feel there's better out there so I've been contacting distributors to try out different brands and find the right fit before I can offer them to clients.  I'm particularly excited to try Bio Sculpture Gel because you can apparently soak it off instead of buffing!

I'm also considering giving up the blog.  There are several reasons: 1. I just can't find much time to post lately.  2. My direction and focus has changed immensely from what I originally intended.  3. I can't even remember the last time I bought a regular nail polish, and anything I do buy in the future will likely be geared towards what my clients are asking for, not what I personally like.  4.  Regular polish and the 'Indie' craze has left me completely bored and uninspired lately.  5. I've decided to take my Nail Tech Certification seriously, start up a mobile business and therefore I feel a blog dedicated to my business would be a better direction for me.

I really haven't made any decisions yet but there's definitely a lot going on in my head right now.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


In my nail school kit we were given a pot of 'Kapping Gel' with calcium.  Our teacher said this was a good product for nail biters.  Well I've got the perfect candidate to test it out Mother!

This is her before shot.  She's actually managed to grow out a bit of free edge recently since I've been trying different things on her.

I cleaned her up a bit and applied 2 coats of Kapping Gel.  It's basically hard gel without an extension.  The idea is to prevent her from biting her nails and making them stronger to enable her to grow them out.  I have to do 'fills' on her every 2-3 weeks and I'll take photos of her progress as we go along.  I really hope this works for her and I can help others to grow their own nails out.  This would also be great for someone who can grow their nails but find that they break constantly.  You can polish right over it all you want and remove with non-acetone remover.

The Princess of Poo has been in nail heaven lately and not so patiently counting the days until she gets her gel extensions (she is going to be my model on exam day).  I've been doing a lot of fun stuff on her lately.  This is China Glaze's Catwalk and I can't remember the pink one but it's from the core line.  She wasn't sure at first about the accent finger but I think after wearing it for a couple of days she likes it.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My First Full Sets

I know you all miss seeing my own nails lol but sadly they are bare at the moment.  So here are the nails I've done recently:

This is a set of gel nails with tips that I did for my boyfriends niece.  They are probably still a bit long for her but I was relatively happy with how they turned out.

And a close up shot.  The tips weren't all a perfect fit since I only had 20 tips work with in my kit, but I did try shaping them to fit.  I really need to practice getting faster at it - this set took me 2 hours!

This is my boyfriends sisters nails - sculpted gels.  I had a rough time with this one, I see many imperfections and I'm definitely not ready to charge for these yet.

It took me 2 and a half hours to do these nails.  I really struggled with the shaping since she likes them more rounded.  She was happy with them though.

These were a pretty good test for me to see if I am capable of doing this professionally.  I definitely would not want to do 2 sets in one night again that's for sure.  There is a bit of satisfaction when I'm done though.  They both oohed and aahed over all the glitter and embellished nails I had on display so it's likely they'll both come back for something a little more funky.  The french is so much harder to perfect than other designs.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busy busy

Do you know what the worst part of nail school is?  The fact that I can't paint my nails as often as I'd like and I can't use Shellac at all until I'm done!  We need to come to class with bare nails so we can practice on each other and let me tell you I'm not really happy about having some beginner try and put extensions on my nails that are near impossible to remove!

But enough bitching about that...I did manage to paint my nails once last week:

My camera could not handle the awesomeness that is Studio M's Slammin Red!  I also tried out 2 coats of the Elmer's glue underneath for easier removal.

Anybody who has access to a Meijer store needs to have this polish.  It's like holographic rockstar glitter on crack!  So sad that my camera can't quite capture it.  I will say there is one downside to it - it eats topcoat like a mofo.  I used one coat of Gelous plus 2 coats of Seche Vite and I could still feel the texture!  The Elmer's glue did make for easy removal but I also had a chip the very next morning.  I'd say it's worth it though since I never wear glitters due to the removal process.

Most of what I've been busy doing lately is manicures on other people.

This is 3 coats of Red Carpet Manicure in Love Those Baby Blues with a bit of silver glitter sprinkled on the tips.

And this is the Princess of Poo wearing 2 coats of Red Carpet Manicure in After Party Playful with Shellac Asphalt and Gelish Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bim marbled in and topped off with a few large iridescent hex glitters.

Here's a close up to show how awesome the glitter looks.  I really like the soak off marbling, it's much less messy than water marbling and you can kind of manipulate it into the exact design you want.  Plus less polish waste :)


Monday, October 1, 2012

Nail School Part 2

This week at school we learned gel extensions.  We did a simple gel overlay, gel overlay with tip, sculpted gel and fiberglass.

On the left is the sculpted gel and on the right is the fiberglass with natural colored tip.  I had a bit of trouble applying the tip and ended up getting a pocket of air between her own nail and the tip.  I did not like doing the fiberglass nail at all and it's likely I won't ever do them anyways.

Here's another view of the nails.  I'm sure it will come as no surprise to any of you but I absolutely loved doing the sculpted gel!  I am clearly much better at the gels than acrylics and I found it so much easier to do from application to finishing - loved it!  We get to choose which type of nail we will do for our final exam and it will almost certainly be sculpted gels for me.

I also picked up a set of acrylic paints and I dabbled a little bit in one stroke last week.  It's probably not something I'd do often but I'd like to have samples around to give people the option.  I really only liked the two on the ends.

So I'm thinking I might try out a gel overlay on my own nails.  I like the idea of the reinforcement on my own nails plus I can do all the polishing and Shellac over top with no issues.  The only thing I really dislike about the hard gels is that they're only removable by filing and when you have thin and weak nails like I do it's pretty scary trying not to file your own natural nail.  However they'd be near impossible to break and immaculately white again in a few months...hmmm.