Gelish Royal Temptations Swatches

 

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Image Courtesy Gelish

For spring 2018, Gelish has introduced the Royal Temptations collection. “Inspired by the lavish life of Marie Antoinette, the collection includes six delicious shades. Opulent pastels of sea foam green, teal, purple, pink and coral help to convey the romantic fantasy we associate with being a queen. For an even sweeter nail look, add on Over-the-Top Pop, a special effect glitter that you can’t help but adore.”

Click below to see the Smoke & Mirrors live swatches of this beautiful collection, including the glitter topper.

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Unique Ways to Use the Gigantic Stamper

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A couple weeks ago I posted a new video to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel, unboxing the Born Pretty Store Gigantic Stamper. In this post, we’ll take a look at two unique and useful ways to use the gigantic stamper.

First, and most useful in a salon setting, is that you can use a large plate and the stamper to stamp multiple images at the same time. I recommend using abstract full-nail images, because if you take the time to line up single images on each nail the polish will likely dry before you have stamped all the nails.

In the below photo you can see I did 6 of 10 nails this way.

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Second, on 2 of the other 4 nails I applied a decal, which I made directly on the gigantic stamper. I stamped off the plate then allowed the polish to dry on the stamper before painting it with other colors. After that dried overnight, I carefully removed it from the stamper and used clear polish to apply it to the nail.

Check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for a demo of these techniques.

Don’t Toy With My Heart

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For this design I used a technique that’s been around for awhile but I had not yet tried: the “smoosh” manicure.  Here are the colors of Gelish I used:

  • black – Black Shadow
  • red – Don’t Toy With My Heart (also used on full coverage nails)
  • gray – Fashion Week Chic
  •  nude/neutral – Taupe Model

I did one coat of Taupe Model as the base, cured it, then applied small drops of all the colors in various spots on the nails.  Next, I used my Morgan Taylor clear stamper to smoosh the drops around so they blended a little, but not so much that the colors became “muddy”. Finally, I cured the design for 1 minute.

Once the smooshing was done I thought it was a little boring so I stamped on top using a design from the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals collection.  These are some great stamping plates that would do even better with a better stamping polish. (Next time I’ll try using polish from Clear Jelly Stamper.) Check out the macro shot!

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This ended up being super easy (and quick) to do, but got a lot of notice. I wore this manicure for over two weeks!

Have you tried the smoosh mani? Let me know how it turned out in the comments!

Unboxing the Born Pretty Gigantic Stamper

S&M 3 December 2017 EBefore the holidays here in the U.S. I ordered the Gigantic Stamper from the Born Pretty Store (BPS) on Amazon.com.  Within a month I had received the package. It included:

  • The stamper, which is 12 x 5 x 1.5 cm, approximately the same size as most XL stamping plates, and weighs about 120 grams
  • 4 thin scraper cards

The stamper was only about $8 through Amazon.com (though the price has increased to about $15 now, it is still only $8 if you buy from BPS). It’s a squishy stamper, and works very well with no priming needed. The great thing is that it’s clear, so you can see through it to line up your nails and stamp multiple nails at one time.

To see it in action, please visit the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for my unboxing video. I immediately tried a couple different stamping methods with it, and was impressed with how well it picked up the images from the plates. Since then I have used it in a couple different manicures with no problem. While other BPS stampers have given me trouble in the past because they were not squishy enough, this one felt very comfortable to stamp with.

Note that this is NOT a paid review. I bought this product to try out on myself before possibly using it in salon, so you’re seeing my real initial testing and reactions to the product.

 

Gelish brings us Royal Temptations for Spring 2018

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Source: Cosmoprof

Gelish debuted their Spring 2018 collection in the February issue of Nails Magazine, and I’m as excited as ever to see the ads. Actually, I probably get more excited when the spring collection is released because I’m ready for some bright cheerful colors after a long winter.  And this year Gelish certainly gives us something to look forward to!

The collection is called Royal Temptations, and the color names call to mind famous royal figures in 18th century France: “Beauty Marks the Spot” reminds us that in the 18th century royal court, beauty marks were all the rage to the point that false ones were applied to certain places on one’s face, depending on the message you wanted to convey to the beholder… remember Madame Du Barry, King Louis XV’s infamous mistress? And what queen’s wig could be more famous than Marie Antoinette’s, who loved all things fashionable and sumptuous? Yep, Gelish nailed it with the names for these polishes!

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Image Source: Makitu

 

 

I think clients are going to love these. The seafoam green/blue color seems to have been really popular the last couple years, and shows no signs of fading popularity, so Ruffle Those Feathers will probably be a hit.  The traditionalists will love Curls & Pearls and Beauty Marks the Spot. And, if you’re like me you’re always looking for a pretty lilac (light purples seem to be a rarity for Gelish thus far)… and All the Queen’s Bling seems like it will fit the bill!

Which color are you looking forward to wearing? Leave a comment below!

Tips for working with Gelish PolyGEL

After working with Gelish PolyGEL™ off and on over the last few months, I certainly am not an expert, but I do have some tips for you! Here are some ideas to your PolyGEL experience better right out of the box, and some answers to common questions I have seen online.

  1. Use the key! Provided in the trial kit there is a PolyGEL Tube Key. dsc_0374__23430-1507229688-370-700Put it over the sealed end of the Tube and, with the lid on the tube, push it down so that it moved the product down towards the opening of the tube.  I noticed that people are having issues with the back of the tube coming apart when they squeeze the tube, OR having trouble squeezing the product out of the tube. I believe the key is solution to both these issues. PolyGEL is a hard product, and if you squeeze at the middle of the tube you will pressurize the tube towards both ends, eventually forcing the PolyGEL into the back end of the tube. You want the tube to be squeezed on the back end by the key so that you can use the force of the squeeze to get it out at the tip.
  2. Roll the PolyGEL onto the cuticle area, then move it towards the tip with your brush.  This might be personal preference, but I’ve found it easier to apply PolyGEL near the cuticle and try to get it flush at the cuticle first, then work on the stress area and tip next. This is similar to the one ball method when working with traditional acrylics.
  3. If you must apply more PolyGEL, do it before curing. If you didn’t apply enough product on your first slice, try adding a bit more while you’re still sculpting and before curing. If you add it after curing, you may get some white lines or spots in the finished product.
  4. PolyGEL will move a tiny bit on the nail. I know the promo videos from Gelish emphasize that PolyGEL stays in place after you roll it on but, until it is cured, it can move a little bit over a few minutes if the nail is not horizontal.  For instance, if you apply PolyGEL to all the nails of one hand and then rest the hand in a neutral position (with the thumb nail at approximately a 90 degree angle), the PolyGEL will move slightly on the thumb nail over time. This product does not defy gravity for more than a few minutes. It’s simple physics. Please don’t expect it to be frozen on the nail from the moment you roll it on (obviously this could not be the case, because then you wouldn’t be able to shape it on the nail!). It does stay in place long enough for you to sculpt a set, without having to chase it around the nail; it’s not going to run off onto the cuticle or sidewall areas while you’re working on the other nails.

Practice helps! The more you work with this product, the more you will be come comfortable with it. Before you buy the full-size products, I recommend picking up the trial kit.

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Have you tried PolyGEL? What are some of your tips? Let me know in the comments!

Just Tutu much!

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For this design I used Gelish colors from the holiday and winter 2017 collections:

  • Plum-Thing Magical
  • Just Tutu Much
  • Ice Cold Gold

On the purple nails I stamped a scroll design using Clear Jelly Stamper plate CJS-13, then topped with the Ice Cold Gold glitter.

I’m loving my new Clear Jelly Stamper! I have tried many stampers over the years, and this one is by far the most comfortable and easiest to stamp with.  If you haven’t already heard about this stamper, check out my Clear Jelly Stamper unboxing video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel to see some of the items you can purchase.

Tried a New Workout: Walk 15® live class

I rarely post about fitness topics on this blog anymore, but in honor of new year’s resolution season I thought I’d let you know about a great new workout I tried recently. It’s called Walk 15®, and it’s the brainchild of Leslie Sansone, who you may know from her popular Walk At Home® workouts on VHS, DVD, and now YouTube.  The program started a couple years ago and you can now find classes in most states. (Group fitness instructors can find out more information about becoming an instructor on the W15 website.)

Walk 15 is a live indoor class in which you walk one mile in 15 minutes. The classes are run in 15 minute segments, and the one I took was about 50 minutes long. We aimed to walk about three miles with a few minutes to warm up and cool down added on.

I took these classes twice a week for six weeks. The classes included not only walking but also some band exercises for the arms and legs, and some standing ab exercises. Honestly, none of it was nearly as hard as my regular workouts, but it seems ideal for athletes who don’t want to take a day off from working out and need a lighter workout. (I also highly recommend restorative yoga for those “off” days!) There were women of all ages in my class, and people of all ability levels are welcome. My instructor was happy to show progressions and regressions for all the movements as needed.

If you are:

  • just starting out on your fitness journey
  • looking to add to your current fitness routine
  • bored of treadmill walks
  • searching for a simple, yet effective aerobic workout without a lot of choreography
  • in need of a fun way to workout indoors after dark or during the winter
  • an athlete looking for a light workout for your “rest day”
  • recovering from illness or injury

…then this class might be for you.

After the six weeks I dropped this class due some scheduling difficulties (the classes were only in the evening, as this is the most convenient time for a lot of people). However, I’d love to get back into it. In a perfect world I’d be doing this when it’s too cold or dark outside to get my steps. Ideally I’d do it at lunchtime, as a nice break from desk work, or at the end of the work day, to loosen up before going home for possibly more sitting.

Finally, let’s recognize that walking is the ultimate exercise. Athletes and weekend warriors are probably laughing at me for saying that, but think about it – walking is the foundation of our movements from the time we are one year old until we are elderly. Walking is great for everyone – young, old, fit (it’s a great restorative workout for an active rest day), unfit (what better place to start on your fitness journey than with this useful and time-efficient exercise?), men and women. It’s a natural motion that’s easier on the joints than running, and improves cardiovascular fitness almost as well. The AHA found that “…mile for mile, brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.

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Courtesy of Prevention.com

Whatever you do, please walk more throughout your day. If you can’t make it to a Walk 15 live class, here are other FREE resources for getting your walk in at home:

  • Leslie Sansone walking videos on YouTube
  • Jessica Smith TV walking workout videos on YouTube
  • WalkingOnlineWorkouts is unique because they offer walking workouts with great music and cool scenery (you can sample parts of the workouts on their YouTube channel, or buy the full video on their website)
  • If the weather is nice and it’s safe to do so, there’s nothing better than a refreshing walk outside…
  • Or, just stand up and walk during your favorite TV shows. You’ll get in a half hour of walking that way!

And Leslie Sansone also has:

  • An app called Your Daily Walk, which is pretty cool because it has a calendar that dictates which of the walking workouts you should do each day
  • Miracle Miles walking workouts on DVD, for those who don’t want to use a streaming service

Have you tried any of the Leslie Sansone workouts? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Gelish (finally) answered my question!

A few years ago I participated in a Facebook Live chat with Danny Haile, founder of Hand & Nail Harmony. It was a Q&A session, and my question for him was something like “What enhancement or extension product would you recommend so that you’re able to remove the Gelish from enhancement, but not the enhancement itself?” (That’s as close as I can get… It’s been like 4 years so I really don’t remember my exact question.) At the time there was no product in their line-up that wasn’t affected by acetone, so he responded that they recommend Structure Gel.

Fast forward to 2017. I’m still using Gelish gel polish, dealing with the consequences of soaking it off each time I need to do a fill. And now Gelish introduces Polygel. It’s unlike any other product we’ve seen before. People are experimenting with it and finding some great uses for it. But what I want to know is: Can I soak Gelish off Polgyel without destroying the enhancement underneath?

YES!

The answer is yes. You can soak off the Gelish gel polish, leaving the the Polygel behind, ready for a fill. How great is that?  Check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for a demo of how this is done!

 

 

Sweater nail fail… but a technique win!

S&M 22 December 2017

In preparation for winter solstice I decided it was time to finally try sweater nails. It isn’t too hard, right? Just sprinkle some clear acrylic powder into the uncured gel polish design, then cure…

Nope. This was a fail in my book. I guess you can kinda see the design in the photo, but IRL it just looks like a gray nail.

For this design I used two colors of Gelish: the green sparkly polish is You Crack Me Up from the Little Miss Nutcracker holiday 2017 collection, and the gray creme is Let’s Hit the Bunny Slopes from the winter 2013 The Snow Escape collection.

Before I painted these nails, I trimmed my natural nails and capped them with Gelish Dip in Simple Sheer (not that it matters, because you can’t see it). In the past I’ve had problems with Gelish peeling off of my dipped nails. So this time I did not apply the Dip top coat, but instead just filed to shape and finish buffed. Then I applied Gelish with no Foundation, only Top It Off.

This left the finish a little more rough, and it worked! The Gelish stayed on for about two weeks, no problem. The above photo was taken at about the one week mark.

When I first reviewed Gelish Dip a couple months ago, I got some comments and questions about what to do for this issue and, at the time, I did not know the answer. But now, here it is! I had good results, but please try it and let me know if it works for you, too!