Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chaos the state of my life at the moment.  I've stopped taking on new Clients for awhile and am just too busy to paint my own nails, let alone others.

So this is one you've seen before but I liked it so much I decided to try it in gel polish.  I also made the 'moon' a little larger than I do typically on a ruffian.  The red is one coat OPI Gelcolor Big Apple Red with one coat of Gelish Big City Siren.  Then just a plain old black on top - OPI Gelcolor Black Onyx.  I did not like this one near as much as when I did it with regular polish but I think it might be the glitter (Gelish) that I wasn't too fond of.

I offered to do the Princess of Poo because I was feeling generous.  I used 2 coats of OPI Gelcolor Can't Find My Czechbook and used 1 coat of LeChat Hologram Diamond on the ring fingers.  Love this colour, it's just too bad that the photo is so dark.

And the little Countess of Caca, for the very first time, sat and let me paint her nails (well she sat as nicely as possible for a fidgety 3 year old).  And she hilariously demanded that I take a photo of her nails just like Mommy's and we almost rolled over laughing as she laid her hands down on the table in perfect position to take a manicure photo!  So how could I resist posting it for her?  I used one coat of an old purple Nicole by OPI polish but I can't be bothered to find out which one.  She sometimes lets me stamp a little konad star or two on her nails but this is the first time she let me properly paint both hands and didn't scream or wipe it off.  You may see more little countess nails in the future!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

I need new brushes

I pretty much have only one useable nail art brush left.  I've basically ruined them with acetone and alcohol.  I had one hell of time with these one-stroke flowers and my dried up brushes.

I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo before the nail art because the colour itself was pretty amazing.  I used 2 coats of Gelish Garden Teal Party and added 1 coat of Shellac Hotski to Tchotchke on top.  I used regular acrylic paints for the flowers and she was really happy with them, but I wasn't. 

When I do acrylic paint or konad stamping on gel polish I always finish the gel manicure completely before doing any art.  After I do the art I seal it with a regular polish top coat.  That way if my Clients decide they don't like the art several days later, they have the option to remove it with non-acetone remover and it's like they have a new manicure.  It's great for people who don't want to wear the same thing for 2 weeks straight.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Duchess of Doo!

Boring post today.

This is Gelish Shake it til you Samba (again) with OPI Gelcolor Black Onyx accent nail.  I think this is the first time I've sported a bright colour of pink like this for a long period of time.  I had intended to do all sorts of crazy stamping and nail art on it but then life got in the way and this is what it looked like pretty much for a solid 2 weeks.

I'm so glad fall is almost here and I can break out the vampy polishes again!

And Happy 35th Duchess!  Damn we're old!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shake it girl, until monkeys fly

One of my biggest annoyances in the nail world is polish names.  I managed to wrap up two of the main offenders in one post/manicure.

Here we have Gelish Go Girl (ok not so bad, right?).  However the accent nail is Gelish Shake it til you Samba and OPI Gelcolor When Monkeys Fly.  Not as long as some of the names but still ridiculous.

I actually really liked this manicure a lot.  And truth be told, I was just dying to use When Monkeys Fly on someone.  Surprisingly it didn't even require a second top coat!  I would wear it myself only I'm not sure if I could live with the glitter for 2 entire weeks straight.  I've yet to hear back from this Client but I've read online that Gelish Go Girl tends to fade.  I will update if I hear back.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gel Troubleshooting

Something I hear all the time is 'well I tried gel polish (or extensions) before and it ruined my nails'.

Well this is a false statement because I can guarantee that either a) They weren't properly applied or b) They were removed improperly.  In most cases it's b.  People tend to pick them off and ruin their own nails while trying to pry them.

In very rare cases some people can have an allergic reaction where your fingers will turn red and swell, in which case they need to be removed properly asap.  The only gel polish I'm aware of that is hypo-allergenic is Shellac.

Now having said that, gel polish (any brand) cannot be guaranteed to last the full two weeks.  It often does, but there are exceptions and I've even chipped my own gel polish at times for being too rough on them.  If someone experiences chipping or problems with their polish in the first 5 days, I will generally fix it for free unless it's obvious you've picked it off.  It's very easy to tell if you've picked it off by the white marks which are layers of your nail that came off with the polish when you peeled it.

Dead giveaway of a gel polish picker, tsk tsk.

Chipping at the cuticle is almost always caused by improper cuticle removal or getting gel polish on the skin.  Cuticle remover should be used before every application of gel polish to prevent this.  Any polish on the skin should be wiped off with an orange wood stick.  The same goes for gel extensions, lifting at the cuticle is also due to unremoved cuticles.  Most people don't realize that the cuticle is actually a thin layer of skin on your nail plate and it should always be removed before polish application.  What people think is the cuticle, is actually called the eponychium - google it if you want further explanation.

Chipping at the edge is almost always caused by improper nail prep, dirt/oil touching the gel during the manicure or polish applied too thickly (especially base coat).  Proper nail prep should always include a final scrub with Scrubfresh or 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.  Nothing should touch the nails other than the product from that point on - take extra care not to touch face, skin or hair during application as this can compromise the manicure.  Gel polish should be applied thinner than a regular nail polish but not too thin.  The base coat however, should be scrubbed on to the nail plate with almost no product on the brush.

Other causes for chipping and peeling can be from improper care.  When cleaning or doing dishes, gloves should be worn.  Read your labels on cosmetic products and try to avoid mineral oil.  Wash your hands immediately after product use.  Haircolour and tanning oils are especially damaging to your manicure.

The best thing you can do for gel manicures and for your nails in general is use cuticle oil daily.  Try twice a day if you can manage it.  This keeps them moisturized and keeps your gel polish from drying out.  Anyone who wants to maintain healthy nails should always use cuticle oil whether you wear gel polish or not.  Rockstar manicures (glitter) are especially prone to chipping so cuticle oil is an absolute must.  And speaking of Rockstars, as well as french manicures, just an FYI, they do not typically last as long as a solid colour gel manicure.  Don't be surprised if you only get about 10 days of wear out of them.

Gel polish is not indestructible.  I've also found that Shellac doesn't work on everyone.  Generally speaking though I've not had any problems with Gelish (other than Vitagel).  Gelish tends to be a bit harder to remove than other gel polishes but it lasts on my Clients who have problems with Shellac.

Whether you go to a Nail Tech or DIY, it's not necessary to file your nail plate at all for gel polish application.  Gelish instructions recommend to lightly file the shine off but from my experience it's completely unnecessary.  There are times when filing the surface is beneficial but only a light swipe of the file to fix imperfections and 'peelies'.  Peeling nails is one of the rare instances where if you don't file the plate it will continue to peel.  This applies to nail health in general and not just gel polish application.

So with all that being said, if you go to a Nail Tech to have gel polish applied:
1. Don't let them file the surface of all your nails.
2. Make sure they follow all steps, removing your cuticles and cleansing the plate before application.
3. Make sure you can see the brand on the bottles they are using and make sure it's a professional brand. A lot of Salons advertise Shellac but in fact carry another brand of polish.  Sometimes they carry another pro brand such as OPI Gelcolor, Gelish, IBD, Entity One, LeChat, EzFlow Trugel, and Artistic Color Gloss, which are all acceptable brands.  Some notable knock-offs to avoid are Bluesky, CCO and Chu Jie.  If you want to DIY and try those out, have at `er as they are cheapo brands that are notoriously difficult to remove.  However if a salon is using these brands, run the other way!
4. If your Nail Tech hurts you, don`t be afraid to let them know.  If it continues, complain to management and/or leave.
5. If you have any issues with your gel manicure for the first few days, please let your Nail Tech know!  I am more than happy to fix a problem rather than never hear back from you again.  A good Nail Tech should keep records of what was applied to their Client and backtrack to where a problem may have occurred.

Any questions?


Thursday, September 5, 2013


One of my most popular colours is Gelish Mint of Spring.

I have avoided wearing it myself since I've used it so many times on Clients but I finally gave in.  Beware though, this is an extremely difficult polish to work with.  It's thick and kind of 'stringy' I guess is the best word for it.  The payoff is worth it though.

On the ring finger I used only one coat of polish and for the second layer I scrubbed in some holographic glitter I got from JoAnns last time I was in the US.  The glitter rockstar requires a minimum of 2 layers of topcoat.  And just a tip for gel polish users - it's always best to keep a separate bottle of topcoat for rockstars.  I have to say I loved wearing this.  The photos are great at showing how shiny it is but the holographic glitter just doesn't come through like it should.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Curse my camera

This was a really cool manicure on a really cool Client.

Unfortunately my camera didn't like this one at all.  She got 2 coats of Gelish Magneto in Drawn Together (dusty purple).  On her ring fingers it's very hard to see but I used feathers on them.  I loved this because in normal light it looks like polka dots on her ring fingers. (No, I didn't cut her finger, she came in like that.  And if your Nail Tech does that to you...find a new one!)  I can't tell you how many girls I've had that said they've had painful manicures.  Nail Techs should never ever hurt you at all!

And here's just a quickie photo of one of my own recent manicures.  This is after a week of wear and I had forgotten to take a photo so it looks like crap.  It's 2 coats of Shellac Rubble on pinky and middle fingers and then 2 coats of OPI Gelcolor Did you ear about Van Gogh? on the other two.  Nice colour, godawful name. Stamped with a konad plate and topped with a little gold gem.  I preferred this mani without the stamping though.