Acrylic Dip Systems: Part 2 – Professional systems

There has been a spate of professional acrylic dip systems released in the last year or so, perhaps due to the sudden increase in client interest and demand.  There’s no question that acrylic dip systems have made a comeback, and received a bit of an update in the process. Years ago, we did not have all these beautiful colors to choose from!

I love this enhancement service and highly recommend trying it if you have not already.  My recommendation for professional users is the Gelish Dip system. Check out my recent results with this system:

S&M 2 November 2017 D

I trimmed my nails a few weeks ago, and used Gelish Dip to protect them as they grew out again.  When I was at the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies over the summer, the Gelish rep suggested that I try using Simple Sheer (instead of the Clear As Day powder I had used previously) for wearing on long natural nails with no polish.  So I finally purchased some and applied it, and I think the results look very natural.

While I recommend Gelish Dip, there are other professional options to hit the market in 2016 and 2017. Recently Nails Magazine Readers voted for their favorite dip system for 2017, and the top three were:

  1. Young Nails SlickPour
  2. Gelish Dip
  3. OPI Powder Perfection

Notice that SNS Nails is not on the list!

Home and pro users can find a couple different options at Sally Beauty:

I haven’t tried any of these except for the Gelish Dip system. If you have, please let me know your thoughts! Also, check out Part 1 of this series, explaining what SNS Nails  really are… and what they aren’t!

 

Advertisements

Prepare for the Thrill of the Chill!

S&M 3 December 2017 AFor Winter 2017 Gelish has introduced the Thrill of the Chill collection, with four dark plus one light wintry colors, and a glitter topper.  I’ve purchased the entire collection, and swatched them for you!

S&M 3 December 2017 C

They are, according to Nails Magazine, “Angling for a Kiss, a deep red cream; Let’s Kiss and Warm Up, a plum cream; Don’t Let the Frost Bite, a grape cream; Caviar On Ice, a taupe cream; My Main Freeze, a pale nude cream; and Ice Cold Gold”, the special effect shade.

If you prefer to see live swatches, please go to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube Channel to see my swatching video and first impressions of this lovely new collection!

S&M 3 December 2017 B

So far I’m most excited about Don’t Let the Frost Bite. But I’m currently wearing My Main Freeze. What about you?

Acrylic dip systems: Part 1 – What are SNS nails?

Have you heard about “SNS nails” a lot lately? For the past year or so it has seemed like a lot of ladies in my area were trying “SNS nails”, and really liked the service.  I have one friend that has been getting “SNS nails” done for 3 or 4 years now. Let’s talk a little about what that actually means.

First – “SNS” is the brand name, not the treatment name. SNS stands for Signature Nail Systems and you can check out their website here. Second – the treatment is nothing new. It’s actually just a standard acrylic dip service, and acrylic dip systems have been around since the 1980’s.

All acrylic dip systems are all basically the same, made of two main components – a finely ground acrylic powder and a cyanoacrylate-based adhesive.  To use the system you apply the adhesive, then dip in the acrylic powder. Let dry, then repeat one or two more times, as desired, on each nail. Then file, buff, and polish as desired.

There are a few advantages to the dip method over the traditional sculpted acrylic method.

  • Since there is no monomer used in this service, salon odor is reduced.
  • Whether overlaying the natural nail or a tip, the service is faster, allowing techs to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Fewer tools are required for a dip service – gel or acrylic brushes, lamps, fans, etc. not required.
  • Dipped nails can be thinner and lighter weight than traditionally sculpted acrylic or even gel enhancements. Depending on the number of layers applied, they can feel very natural.

However, you should be aware that dipped acrylic nails can actually be more brittle than traditional acrylic or gel nails.

The SNS website may lead one to believe this is a new or healthier product, but now you know that the dip acrylic method is time-tested for the last 30 years! We also know that nutrients are provided to the matrix from within, via the circulatory system of the body. So the claims that SNS powders contain vitamins and calcium, while a nice thought, are actually of little consequence.

Don’t get me wrong – the SNS dip system may be a fine product (I haven’t tested it myself!). Just keep all this in mind the next time you visit the salon and they try to up-sell you on this new and exciting product!  It’s actually a very common service and not any better for your nails (or your general health) than other services.

Come back to the Smoke & Mirrors nail blog soon for Part 2 of this series, where I have an acrylic dip system that I have personally tested multiple times to recommend to you!

Further reading:

 

Unboxing: XL Clear Jelly Stamper, plates, and stamping polish

A couple weeks ago I ordered the Big Bling XL stamper and some stamping plates and polishes from ClearJellyStamper.com. I had heard about the original clear jelly stamper before, but finally decided to give it a try after I saw Suzie from Nail Career Education interview the inventor of the clear jelly stamper, Debbie, and try the products in this video. I had never seen layered stamping for nails before, and really wanted to try it out!

S&M clear jelly stamper kitClear Jelly Stamper (CJS) offers an array of products for stampers of all levels. I already knew what stamped looks I wanted to create, and so I ordered:

For a peek at what I got, please watch my CJS unboxing video at the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. Then, stay tuned for my demo video coming soon!

Have you tried CJS products yet? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know how they worked for you!

Don’t Break My Corazon

S&M 12 November 2017

This design was done with two coats of Gelish Don’t Break My Corazón from the Fall 2017 Matadora collection. This is a stunning red in person, and it is the type of red that goes with everything.

On the middle nails I taped off the inner section before applying the Don’t Break My Corazón. After the polish cured I removed the tape and glued on some 3D net embellishments from Born Pretty Store. This stuff is basically a lot of strings all laid in a random pattern and glue together. It comes to you in a small sheet, and you can cut a strip whatever size you need from it.  It is a flat sheet of it, however, and only slightly flexible. And it is not self-adhesive, so I used nail glue to adhere it to the curves of my nail. It stayed on very well, and I had to soak it off with acetone when it was time for removal.

I’m not sure if this design is really my style, but the product worked well and I got a lot of questions and compliments on it!

Gelish Holiday 2017 Collection Swatches

Little Miss Nutcracker

Here are swatches from the new Gelish Holiday Collection for 2017, called Little Miss Nutcracker.
S&M 2 November 2017 A

If you’d like to see these colors swatched live, please head over to the Smoke and Mirrors YouTube channel  for the swatching video!

Are you ready for the Thrill of the Chill?

No, really. Are you ready? ‘Cause apparently it’s happening!

I’m not looking forward to winter, but I am looking forward to Gelish’s Winter 2017 collection, called the Thrill of the Chill.

TotC

We don’t have any official info from Gelish yet, but I have seen the collection for sale on a couple sites. The colors are:

  • Angling for a Kiss – dark red creme
  • Ice Cold Gold – sparkly gold glitter topper
  • Caviar on Ice – chocolate brown creme
  • Let’s Kiss and Warm Up – deep wine creme
  • My Main Freeze – pastel pink creme
  • Don’t Let the Frost Bite! – very deep purple creme

I’ve noticed that there haven’t been any polishes labeled “Trends” lately, though one from each of the last couple collections seemed to have qualified.  Is the “Trends” line kaput? If you’ve heard, please leave a comment below!

I realize I say this every time, but from what I am seeing so far, I am loving these colors.  What do you think? Will you buy them now, or wait until the holiday rush is over?

 

Gelish Holiday 2017 Little Miss Nutcracker Collection Swatches

S&M 2 November 2017 A

The new Gelish Holiday Collection, called Little Miss Nutcracker, has been released, and the Smoke and Mirrors YouTube channel has swatches for you! Please check out the video and let me know what you like, or any constructive criticism you have.

 

Olé My Way

S&M 18 October 2017

On these nails I used Gelish Olé My Way from the Fall 2017 Matadora collection, with mermaid pearl powder from Born Pretty on a couple of the nails.  This deep blue color turned out beautifully in just two coats!

Unfortunately I can’t recommend the pearl powder, as I’ve tried it two times with different top coats and haven’t had good results.  For these nails I used the inhibition layer to adhere the powder, then top coated with Top It Off from Gelish.  When I didn’t get the result I wanted after the first coat, I cleaned the inhibition layer off the index finger nail and applied some OPI Top Coat. Once that dried I added another layer of powder.

This time around I also used one of the silicone nail art brushes from a five piece set that I ordered from Born Pretty to press in the powder. Even then I wasn’t satisfied with the finish – it still seemed uneven –  and so I went back to using the applicator sponge provided with the kit for the second layer on the pinky nail.  I can, however, recommend the silicone brush set.  The brushes seemed like good quality for the price.

I’ve also found that Born Pretty now has an Amazon store.  Buying from them through Amazon seems safer and slightly faster – rather than waiting 4-6 weeks like usual for order delivery, I waited only 25 days for the brushes to come in.  Have you bought any items from Born Pretty through Amazon? What did you think?

Marshmallow Manicure

S&M 1 October 2017.jpg

About a month ago I saw a post on the Nails Magazine website about the “marshmallow manicure” that Morgan Taylor lead artist Gina Edwards had created for Caroline Herrera’s Spring 2018 NYFW collection models.

While Gina Edwards used Heaven Sent (formerly Little Princess) for the white color, I decided to use the new white called I’m Drawing a Blanco, from the fall 2017 Matadora Gelish collection.  I’m Drawing Blanco does have a bit of shimmer to it, which I embellished with some rhinestones and Gelish Grand Jewels to create this design. The butterfly is a double-stamped (first white, then black) image from stamping plate BP-07 I purchased at The Born Pretty Store.