Throwback design time!

S&M 14 June 2018 b

This exciting neon green color is from the Gelish Make a Splash summer 2018 collection, and it’s called Límonade in the Shade, and I love it! This week’s design is a throwback to summer 1998, when I went to my first Hanson concert. I painted my nails for the event, of course, and went with a bright green probably slightly darker than this one…  And I did a simple stripe design similar to this one.

For this version of the design I left the lunula exposed, which I later regretted because the dark line at the base of the nails gives them (and fingers) a shorter, harsher look.  The original design was better because I painted the entire nail and the feathery lines originated from the side of the nail rather than the corner. Here’s a macro shot:

S&M 14 June 2018

The glitter topper I used is called Kick Off the New Year from the Gelish Year of the Horse collection. I like this one because it has two glitter shapes and is subtle if you want it to be, or you can use two or three coats to really add some excitement to the design.

The acrylic paint I used is craft paint from Apple Barrel, and I’ve had it forever. Soon I’ll be testing another brand, so stay tuned for that review.

Do you ever re-create a design you’ve done in the past? How did it turn out? Leave a comment below!

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High Voltage!

S&M 6 June 2018

This week I continued testing the new Gelish Structure Gel in Cover Pink, this time with two coats under Gelish gel polish. I shortened my nails a little, and the two coats of Structure seems to be keeping them strong at this length. Here I’ve used the Cover Pink Structure Gel as a base for High Voltage and Cellophane Coat from the Make a Splash collection for summer 2018.

While I really like the security Structure provides while keeping a natural feel to the nail, it doesn’t provide shape the way enhancement products would.  It actually makes the nails look a bit rounder and accentuates any odd curvature of the nails. If you prefer to have longer nails with the clean lines and perfect shapes you can achieve when filing acrylic and hard gel, you may prefer Prohesion, Gelish Hard Builder Gel, or Polygel®.

On the nails with High Voltage I stamped using Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) stamping polish and plate CJS LC-03, as well as a white China Glaze polish (which I wasn’t really happy with).  Here’s a macro shot of one of the nails:

S&M 6 June 2018 B

Though I was happy with how this set turned out, I’m wishing I had a CJS white stamping polish. I’ve tried lots of different stamping products over the last decade, and CJS is the superior product.  Their plates and polishes work nicely together, and they work consistently well.

Using OPI Chome Effects over Gelish

Wondering how to apply OPI Chrome Effects using Gelish gel polish and Top It Off?

video thumbnail demo OPI chrome effects.jpg

The trick is to leave the inhibition layer intact. Check out a quick video demo of how to apply Chrome Effects successfully over Gelish on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel!

Summer Purples and Holo Success!

S&M 27 May 2018 A

Using Gelish One Piece or Two? (from the new Make a Splash collection) and Tahiti Hottie (from the summer 2014 Colors of Paradise collection), this is my take on trendy mis-match nails. The beautiful holo nail is OPI Chrome Effects in Mixed Metals. Here’s a macro shot of the holo nail:

S&M 27 May 2018 B

As you can see, the Chrome Effects powder worked really well. I had no trouble using it with Gelish Top It Off (rather than the suggested OPI top coat). In sunlight or interior light, these nails look great!

I was so happy to find the Chrome Effects line because the other products I’d tried have not performed very well for me – either I had application issues or they didn’t wear well. And, unfortunately, Gelish does not make a product like this.  Have you tried Chrome Effects? What did you think of it?

Review: New Gelish Structure in Cover Pink

A few years ago Gelish introduced Structure gel, a soak-off clear gel intended for use as an overlay, typically under Gelish gel polish, to give the natural nail a bit of extra strength and smoothness while maintaining a natural look. The original product came in a small pot, like this:

S&M Gelish Structure C

Fast forward to a few years and Gelish has not only updated to brush-in-bottle applications, but in 2018 added two new products to the Clear version to the complete the lineup – Cover Pink (pictured below) and Translucent Pink.S&M Gelish Structure B

In my pursuit of the perfect natural nail overlay, I just had to try the new version of this product.  My natural nails are not especially in need of a cover-up but the idea of a neutral pink as a base for Gelish colors, particularly those that show have a visible nail line otherwise, is very appealing.

I bought the last bottle in stock at my local CosmoProf. The bottle is the same size as the full-size Gelish polish, so you get many uses out of it.  The application was so easy and I got full coverage in one coat. With the Structure Gel in the pot I used to have some shrinkage issues, but they seem to be resolved with this product. The product is smooth yet obviously natural nails. I was really impressed with how good they looked!

Here’s a photo of my nails with just one coat of Cover Pink Structure gel:S&M 20 May 2018 A

I kept my nails like this for 3-4 days, but felt that the overlay wasn’t quite enough to protect my nails in rough situations. As my nails get longer I’ll want more coverage, so the Structure would be perfect for a natural nail refresh, or maybe under Gelish for shorter nails.

This product is great, so I might try layering it with my recent go-to, Gelish Dip. I really like it so far!

Have tried the new Structure Gel? What did you think of it?

 

 

 

Plagiarism of Smoke & Mirrors content (Updated!)

Dear readers, I’m posting to warn you about two sites that recently plagiarized Smoke & Mirrors content.

  1. Update: The first company I had previously mentioned replied to my inquiry very quickly and gave me credit for the work, so I am removing their information from this post. A big thank you to them for resolving the situation reasonably and quickly!
  2. Universal Nail Supplies swiped my photo of the Gelish Royal Temptations Collection for their recent email campaign.  I have shopped there before and receive their regular emails… Well, imagine my surprise when I received an email containing the image that my photographer and graphic designer had created for my YouTube Channel!  Universal Nail Supplies had simply copied the image and cropped off the top part containing my logo:

video thumbnail royal temptations

Plagiarism:

“an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author”  

Definition from Dictionary. com

Plagiarism sucks. But it is exactly what these two companies did with Smoke & Mirrors content.

As a blogger or content creator, you take the time, effort, energy, and funds to craft your website content, only to have it stolen for someone else to make money from. Perhaps you’re not even making money from it yourself! (The owner of Smoke & Mirrors nail blog is not compensated for any content. We do not make money from this blog.)

If you have had this happen to you or can imagine it, I am sure you are a little outraged, too.  However, this is a common problem in creative circles.  Nail techs are inspired by others’ nail art all the time, right?!?

Here’s a simple solution: GIVE CREDIT.

Did you do your own take on someone else’s design and post a photo? Give them some credit! Link to their site or blog or Insta or Tumblr or whatever. Let the viewer know who the awesome artist is that inspired you.

If you like someone’s photo or their product review, LINK TO THEIR SITE. Don’t be that crappy person who STOLE someone else’s content.

I’m too busy working full-time for a living, while creating original content and forming my own opinions for my blog in my personal time, to regularly search for other sites that may have stolen my work. Know that I did not go out looking for plagiarism of my site’s content. In the first instance I stumbled upon the stolen content during a Google search, and in the second the company actually emailed me.

At the time of this posting, Universal Nail Supplies has yet to respond to my email asking for credit, which was as follows (personal info redacted):

email to Universal

 

I ask that you do not support the thieves at these companies by shopping there.  And fellow nail bloggers, please be on the lookout for these companies!

I’d also like to know – has this ever happened to you? How did you handle the situation?

Beauty Marks the Spot!

S&M 8 May 2018.jpg

This design was done with two coats of Gelish Beauty Marks the Spot, from the Royal Temptations Spring 2018 collection, with some stamped nail art using Clear Jelly Stamper polishes and plate CjS-04.

This polish was wonderful! It went on very evenly in just two coats, as you can see. And, though Gelish pinks and corals have had fading issues in the past, this one shows no signs of such issues after almost one week of wear. And I’m just loving the color! I’m not even tired of it yet!  Here I’ve applied it over a layer of Gelish Dip, and have had no adhesion issues after a quick buff with a 100 grit buffer prior to applying the gel polish.

The more I use Clear Jelly Stamper plates and polishes, the more impressed I am with them.  The plates are perfect for the salon because they allow you to quickly layer images to create designs as unique as each client. And they’re easy to use with just a little practice. I recommend using the plates and the polishes together – they’re worth the investment!

Make a Splash Live Swatches!

video thumbnail swatches make a splash

Prefer to see swatches live? My Gelish Summer 2018 Make a Splash collection swatches are available for viewing on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel!

Please check them out and leave me a comment!

Gelish Make A Splash Swatches

Make a Splash collection beauty shot

The Summer 2018 Make a Splash collection from Gelish is available now. “The summer collection has an emphasis on fun-in-the-sun with its vibrant and eye-catching shades,” says Danny Haile, CEO and Founder of Gelish. “Even if you can’t live on the beach or at the pool all summer, your nails will make you feel that way!”

Here are the beautiful, summer-centric colors… Get your sunblock and lounge chair ready!

  • Cellophane Coat – front and center in the photo above, an iridescent overlay, is one of my favorite “Trends” colors yet. This topper is great by itself, as seen in the bottom of the swatches below, or on top of almost any Gelish color.
  • Feeling Swim-sical – teal creme, a very smooth polish. Use three coats for deeper color. (This is the only color I did three coats of for my swatches below.)
  • Flamingo Float – coral pink with a shimmer. This is one of two polishes in the collection with a shimmer finish that I am loving. It really differentiates the polish from others of a similar shade.
  • Flip-Flops and Tube Tops – fuschia with a shimmer. This polish also has the shimmery finish that draws the eye. These two might be my favorites in the collection! Which is saying a lot because I love the bright greens, like…
  • Limonade In The Shade – neon green creme, so eye-catching! The below swatch shows two coats. Use a white base or three coats to add even more punch to this bold color!
  • One Piece or Two? – deep purple creme, probably the darkest color in the collection, but seems like it will pair well with the teal, orange, or green for some trendy nail art. The below photo shows just two coats! This color has great coverage.
  • You’ve Got Tan-gerine Lines – orange neon creme, and this color looks like summer in a bottle to me.  Again, you could give it some pop by using a coat of white underneath or using three coats. The below photo shows just two coats.Make a Splash

This collection is even better in person, and I’m really excited to get started using it. I think we can get create some really cool nail art with it, too. All the polishes apply smoothly, as we’ve come to expect from Gelish, and have surprisingly good coverage. It’s really hard to get a formula for the neons that provides good coverage in just two coats. Gelish did an excellent job with these… You can tell their R&D department is on its toes!

Note that I personally purchased this collection, and this is not a sponsored post. I just really like the product!

To see these colors in action, please visit again in a few days – We’ll be posting the live swatches for this collection to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel soon!

 

 

#NakedNails – Week 6

S&M naked nails week 6

Here’s my final natural nail refresh progress photo, taken at week 6.  This is a good length for most people – long enough for nail art but short enough that they’re not in the way.

Removal of the polish I was testing damaged the acrylic a little, and you can see some leftover bits of red polish at the edges… That’s the down side to using traditional polish on acrylic.

All in all, 6 weeks of regrowth flew by. I spent the weeks testing some products on short natural nails, which made it worthwhile. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series! If you have any questions or opinions to share about Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, maintaining short natural nails, or a natural nail refresh, please leave a comment below!