Gelish Matadora Collection for Fall 2017

Thanks to the Italian NailPro site and press samples provided to The Daily Nail, we get a sneak peak of the 2017 Fall Collection from Gelish! The collection is called Matadora, “inspired by the impressive landscapes of Spain and it’s vibrant traditions.”

gelish_morgantaylor_matadora

You can find swatches at The Daily Nail. The colors are:

  • All Tango’d Up – burgundy cream
  • Danced and Sang-ria – dark plum cream
  • Don’t Break My Corazon – warm red cream
  • I’m Drawing a Blanco – a glittery white
  • Mauve Your Feet – mauve cream
  • Olé My Way – shimmery dark blue

Orange Cream Dream

S&M 12 June 2017

This summery design was created using Gelish Orange Cream Dream from the Candyland collection, with a marble design in the corner made from the following Gelish colors:

I applied and cured two coats of Orange Cream Dream first, then added a third coat but did not cure.  In the corner of the nail I laid down two lines of My Yacht, My Rules.  In between the lines I put the blue or purple color, and marbled the lines using a liner brush. Then I cured for 60 seconds, since the polish was 2+ coats thick in the corner. Finally, I topped it off with Gelish top coat. Easy-peasy!

Have you tried marbling gel?

 

 

Bashful

S&M 29 May 2017

This design was done with 2 coats of Bashful topped with one coat of A Moment of Magic, both by Gelish.

Then, in white stamping polish from Born Pretty, I stamped a design from the Morgan Taylor Designer Plate 3720201-2. I used the scraper and the clear stamper that came in the Designer Plates Flirty Florals kit.  As you can see, the stamper transferred the design beautifully. The design on the plate easily provided full coverage on these long nails.

When the stamped design was dry, I added dots in the centers of the larger flowers using Tinsel by China Glaze. Though I stamped these nails, I used Gelish Top It Off as I would for any gel polish manicure. It works very well for sealing stamped designs like this!

 

Review: Morgan Taylor Designer Plates

plate 3720201-1

These lovely stamping plates are Morgan Taylor Designer Plates. Morgan Taylor Lacquer products are a part of the Hand & Nail Harmony family, along with Gelish soak-off gel polish, Prohesion acrylic, and now the Polygel nail enhancement system.

plate 3720201-2

I purchased the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit from Cosmoprof for approximately $20.  I’ve been looking for them for a couple months, but had been unable to find them for sale until recently. It seems that they’ve just been released, and are now in stock at some retail locations!

You can see my unboxing video for this kit on the NEW Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/G3_EYStSfFo

The images on this plate are cute and versatile. I did a quick test of a few designs and found that the images stamp crisply and clearly:

The images and stamper are large enough to provide full coverage on long nails, which makes them great for salon use. So far, I really like these plates!  I plan to do more nail art soon with them.

I’ve found that the stamper works really well, right out of the box. It’s a nice, soft silicone for a comfortable stamping feel, and the pad picks up the image cleanly with no prep needed. The stamper also magnifies whatever you are viewing through it, which makes it easier to find your desired stamp placement .

Be sure to watch my demo video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel to see these plates in action.

If you’re not familiar with nail art stamping, check out the step-by-step provided by Morgan Taylor on their YouTube page. You can also find more information in my previous in-depth post on nail art stamping here.

Nail art stamping has actually been around for years, and it appears that the professional brands are finally getting into the action. A couple other pro kits have also launched recently. I applaud manufacturers of professional products for creating these kits and making them available to pros, who might not have otherwise tried this seemingly-simple but effective nail art technique.  However, the fact remains that this trend was born from the passion of the DIYers that have been practicing it for a long time already.  Kudos, then, to the professional brands, such as Morgan Taylor, that embrace DIYers as part of the nail community and use their brand to bring these products and techniques to those who might not have otherwise used them!

I’ll be posting nail art featuring the designs on these plates in the near future, so be sure to come back in few days!

Have you tried these plates yet? What did you think?

Do nails need to “breathe”?

There has been much discussion lately on the subject of nails “taking a break” or “breathing”.  Are we smothering our nails with enhancements and polish? ‘Natural nails’ are very popular right now, and that begs the question of whether or not natural is the best or healthiest way to go. To answer this question, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the nail and our biology at work!

nail-anatomy1

Image Credit: AAPC

First, we need to know a bit about how nails grow. According to Doug Schoon -who is probably the foremost scientist and researcher of all things nails and nail enhancements, and nail-industry educator – they grow from the nail matrix. The matrix produces these nail plate cells in rows, front to back, and many of these rows lay side-by-side to form the nail plate.  ” Each row of newly made nail plate cells is slowly pushed upward and slightly forward by rows of even newer nail cells created from below, which are also being pushing upward as they are made by the matrix.” Therefore, the shape, curvature, width and thickness of the nail plate are all controlled by the matrix below.

It’s important to note that all the blood and nutrients are provided to the matrix from within, via the circulatory system of the body. The better your circulation, the more nutrients that will come from your blood, and the faster your nails grow. Efficient circulation explains why our nails grow faster in the summertime and when we are younger.

Second, fingernails and toenails, as well as hair and your top layer of skin, are made of layers of keratin.  As your fingernails grow upwards and forwards, the cells actually die. This, of course, is why it doesn’t hurt to get a haircut or to trim and file the free edge or your nail.

Finally, it is believed that only water and oils with smaller molecules will penetrate the layers of nail keratin. Similarly, there is debate about what or how much can be absorbed through the skin, though we do have some research showing that skin health might be enhanced by topical application of micronutrients to the skin.

By putting this all together – that 1) the nail grows upwards and forwards, 2) blood and nutrients are provided to the matrix by your circulating blood, and 3) the rows of keratin cells are dead – we can draw some conclusions:

  • You cannot “revive” dead nail cells by applying products.  However, if you apply a carrier oil with certain micronutrients to the nails and surrounding skin, some micronutrients may penetrate to the matrix and epidermis, thus improving general nail health. This is the idea behind cuticle oils. Additionally, some oils provide a protective layer that assists the epidermis in retaining moisture already in the skin.
  • Applying or manipulating products on the upper layers of keratin, which are simply dead cells, may break them down or wear them away over time. This is why your nails seem to be “damaged” by nail products.
    • Additionally, some chemicals, such as acetone, remove moisture from the top nail or skin layers, resulting in the dehydrated, “dry” nail or cuticle.
    • Properly applied and removed nail enhancements will not damage your nails.
  • Internal factors including aging, hormones, stress, and medications, and wear and tear on nails and the surrounding skin, external factors, can both affect your nails’ appearance. Therefore, proper nutrition is essential for maintaining healthy nails (and overall health!).

In short, nails do not need to breathe.  “One hundred percent of the oxygen needed by the nail matrix to create a new nail plate comes from the bloodstream, and zero percent comes from the outside world,” according to Doug Schoon. “Nothing is gained by removing artificial nail enhancements or coatings for a few months before reapplying them.”

However, taking a break from nail products will allow time for new nails cells to grow upwards and forwards and, therefore, they will appear healthier after a few weeks of going bare. This is especially true if you apply oils daily and wear gloves when cleaning, gardening, etc.

If you are not used to going bare for so long, and would like a thin coat of polish to create a shiny yet natural-looking nail, there are many products from companies like GelishOPI, Orly and Zoya that you can try. Just keep in mind that calling these polishes “breathable” is more of a marketing term than any health claim.

I have used Strength VitaGel by Gelish when taking a few days off from gel polish (usually because I just didn’t have time to do anything fancy).  For me it didn’t last as long as Gelish gel polish… only a couple days really. This should be considered a “treatment”, and I don’t recommend applying Gelish gel polish over it (though you can if you want).gelish_bottle_2013-shaded-vitagel-wreflection-both-crop-u17069

Image Credit: Nail Harmony Australia

In the end, if you like the product, I say go for it! Don’t stress over the marketing jargon if you love the look or application of a treatment. You are an informed consumer who knows that nails don’t actually breathe!

 

Gelish Collections Swatches

beauty-and-the-beast-collection-swatches Check out my new page with pictures of Gelish swatches grouped by collection. Additional pictures coming soon!

Gelish Minis for home users and pros

sbs-724840Today’s post is basically some food-for-thought on Gelish Minis, whether you’re a DIYer or a Pro.

But first, a little about what Gelish Minis are, in case you haven’t heard of these, and some thoughts on my experience with them.  Gelish minis are just what you’d assume – Products that are a miniature version of their professional, full-size counterpart. Gelish makes a good selection of items in their Mini version, including Gelish Essentials (pictured above) and colors of Gelish polish in .3 oz./9mL size.

When I first started using Gelish, I used Gelish Mini products almost exclusively.  You can buy almost all the same colors and/or collections as the full size, which is great for the home user.  It means you get the color selection in a smaller amount of polish that you can actually eventually use up just doing manicures on yourself. If you have friends that also do their nails at home, you can trade Gelish minis with them, which is a great way to find new colors that you love.

The application of the product is just as smooth with the minis as it is with the full size. The brush in the mini bottle is a bit smaller, but it works just fine. sbs-724852The Mini On The Go light has fewer features than the professional LED light but technically works just the same, and should be all a home user needs for manis and pedis. All-in-all, Gelish mini products are much more cost-effective for home users doing their nails once a week or so.

The best place to find Gelish Mini products is Sally Beauty. You can shop in-store or online and use the sales to beef up your collection of Gelish colors quickly… “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sales happen pretty frequently at Sally Beauty.

Gelish minis are also a great way for professionals to add seasonal colors to their offerings, especially since Sally Beauty offers a professional discount.  One of the other cosmetologists in the salon where I work uses Minis to get some colors from the collections each season, and usually doesn’t use them again after that season is over.  The smaller bottle means that less, if any, will be tossed out at the end of the season. If the smaller brush is an issue for a pro, keep in mind that you can always just use a different brush for application.

And, if you find a color that your clients all seem to love – Queen of Hearts? Pink Smoothie? Mauvy-Mauve? – you can always purchase the full size just to have plenty on hand! The only caveat to this is that there are just a few of the older Gelish Mini colors that were made for Gelish Mini only. I think this is no longer the case for the newer collections, but check out my comprehensive list of U.S. colors or the official Gelish Mini website if you have a question about a particular color.

 

 

 

Plumette with Excitement

S&M 23 April 2017

These two lovely pinks are from the Gelish Beauty and the Beast Collection. The lighter pink is Plumette with Excitement, and the darker is Be Our Guest. I love these colors! They pair together well, and application was so smooth. If you have clients that like Gelish Pink Smoothie, I highly recommend you purchase Plumette with Excitement, as anyone who liked one will probably like the other. Plumette… is a a bit lighter, but a similar shade of pink.

The glitter is actually Born Pretty silver chrome powder. I haven’t yet achieved the look I want with this powder, which is pretty frustrating. But here it looks very good with these two lovely pink polishes. I hand-painted the white designs on top using acrylic paint.

Have you used any colors from the Beauty and the Beast collection? Which ones are your favorite?

Gelish Dip Review – Part 2

S&M 11 April 2017

These are my nails after 10 days with 2 layers of Gelish Dip acrylic on them. As you can see, they’re intact and still a little shiny, even though I put Gelish over the acrylic.  They’re a tiny bit yellowed but held up exceptionally well considering all I put them through – between my workouts and painting at our house, they’ve been thoroughly tested for durability.

The acrylic did not chip at all, but it did lift a little near the cuticle. This could be partially due to user error, however, as I am a little rusty with my dipping technique and applied the Base Coat too close to the cuticle. (See my previous post on how to avoid this issue.) I’ll simply file down the lifted acrylic before performing a fill on my nails.

The Gelish polish (Potts of Tea, from the Beauty and the Beast Collection, over Arctic Freeze) only remains on one nail because I peeled it off all the others. It started to peel after only a couple days without me picking at it. But when it started to peel, I did peel it off and it came off quickly and easily in one or two pieces.  I made the mistake of applying the Gelish polish on the smooth, shiny surface the Gelish Dip Top Coat provides. Next time I’ll buff the surface with a 180-grit buffer to give the Gelish polish a better hold.

As surprising as it was, the Gelish polish soaked off the one nail easily and did not ruin the acrylic underneath. I soaked it for about 10 minutes with a cotton ball on top (not in a bowl of acetone) and the polish came off easily. The acrylic was noticeably softer underneath but it did not come off; I filed and buffed it as usual after a couple minutes.

My final verdict is that this product is a WIN. I’m so glad Gelish took the time to create this product for us! I will definitely continue to use it on my own nails and can now confidently begin offering it to my clients.

Have you tried the Gelish Dip system? What did you think of it?

(Note that I purchased the Gelish Dip system with my own money.  I am not compensated in any way to provide a review of the Gelish Dip products. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.)

Gelish Dip Review – Part 1

I’m loving the Gelish dip system so far.  It’s obvious that Gelish put a lot of work into producing this line, though Polygel is currently getting all the glory.S&M clear dip powder

Note that I purchased the above-pictured system with my own money.  I am not compensated in any way to provide a review of the Gelish dip products. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, based on my personal experience with the product. Thank you to my awesome photographer for the photos.

The system starts with 5 bottles of product, which are:

  • Prep – which is essentially your primer. This is applied after nail plate preparation.prep
  • Base Coat – This is the “sticky” coat, that will adhere the powder to the nail. The first ingredient in cyanoacrylate, and it smells like it (fair warning!)base coat
  • Activator – this is applied on top of the base/powder coats to aid in curing.activator
  • Top Coat – The final step is the top coat which, again, is cyanoacrylate-based. But it is very smooth. Two coats of the Gelish Dip Top Coat will leave you with a smooth, shiny finish, nothing else needed.
    top coat
  • Brush Restorer – if you’ve worked with dip systems in the past you know that this little bottle is a huge helper!  brush restorerThe Base and Top Coat brushes will end up with gummed-up product on the ends of them by the end of each full set.  The brush restorer is a bottle and a lid, no brush. You’ll remove your gummed-up Base Coat or Top Coat lid/brush and put it on this bottle, while putting this lid on your Base Coat or Top Coat bottle for the time being. Leave the brush in this bottle for a couple minutes and then -voila! – it is clean! Wipe the bristles with a clean, lint-free cloth and then switch the lids back to the appropriate bottles. (Don’t leave the lid off the base or top coat bottle, as the product will start to cure in the bottle!)

The other component to the system is the powder.

clear dip powder

I purchased the “Clear As Day” powder because I intend to use my Gelish nail polish on top of it. However, you can buy the powder in over 30 Gelish shades currently, and I’m sure more are forthcoming. Note that I did not purchase buy any of the colored powders, so I am only reviewing the clear powder in this post.

Before I begin offering this service to others I did a set on myself, and here are the results:

S&M 2 April 2017 A

They came out beautifully! I left them just like this for a few days because I was so in love with them just like this (which is odd for me because I am rarely without polish).

The application was easy and fairly quick.  The results are a light yet strong overlay! I can’t say enough good things about the application process. As I mentioned earlier, I did not need to use any additional top coat after applying two coats of the Gelish Dip Top Coat. It was shiny and beautiful and smoothed the entire surface of the nail.

There are just a few things to keep in mind when applying a set of these.

  1. There is an odor to the Base and Top Coat. It smells just like nail glue to me.
  2. When applying the base coat, leave 1/16 inch clear around the eponychium (cuticle) and sidewall areas. The base and top coats are low viscosity and will spread towards the skin quickly. S&M 2 April 2017 BActually, after testing with a few nails, I would recommend leaving a 1/8 inch gap on the first coat and then 1/16 inch gap on the second coat to help feather the transition. I neglected to do this on mine and a few of them have a very big “step” and look quite thick at the cuticle area.
  3. You may notice a slight graininess, or crystal-like appearance, to the acrylic upon close inspection of the finished set. I believe this is normal, and is simply a by-product of the combination of chemicals in the base coat and powder. Here is how mine looked:S&M 2 April 2017 CAnd here is a macro shot of the “crystals”: S&M 2 April 2017 DThis is an effect I have always noticed when working with similar products over the years. Cosmetically, it is hard to see, so the nails are still very beautiful.  Structurally, it does not seem to make a difference. I’ve always had great application and wear results with this type of system, even with this effect in the acrylic.

So, the initial verdict on the Gelish Dip system – is it worth it? Yes! You get a lot of product for the price, application is easy and looks great, and the wear time seems good so far.  This is a product from a trusted brand in the nail industry, so you know they’ve done the R&D when creating this system. I think clients will love this product.

In my next post I’ll be discussing the wear time for the Gelish Dip system, as well as my results in using it with Gelish Gel Polish.