Pastel nails

For these nails I thought I’d try again with a couple of products from the Born Pretty Store that I have not had good results with in the past – striping tape and pearlescent powder.S&M 15 July 2018 A

From far away the pearl nails don’t look too bad, paired up with Manga-round with Me and Do You Harajuku? from the Gelish Hello Pretty Spring 2015 collection… I received several compliments on the light green polish, especially during the week.

I should have left it alone, but decided it would be nice to add a piece of rose gold tape to the mango color… and then it snowballed. In past trials I’ve not have good results with this tape, and this time was no different. It started peeling under the top coat right away.

S&M 15 July 2018 B

The pearl mermaid powder was OK… I just felt that I needed to apply it very thick (2 coats) to get the depth of color that I was looking for.  It also begins to wear at the tip more quickly than I expected.

What are your experiences with these products? Any tips for getting the pearl powder to apply cleanly? Please leave a comment!

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Gelish African Safari live swatches!

Prefer to see swatches “live”? My Gelish Fall 2018 African Safari collection swatches, done in real-time, are available for viewing on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel!S&M African Safari collection swatches

Please check out the swatch video and leave me a comment!

Gelish African Safari Swatches

S&M African Safari collection bottlesThe Fall 2018 African Safari collection, which Gelish describes as “Inspired by the sweeping landscape of an African safari and the vibrant graphic prints from African culture”, is available now. “Brilliant pearls of sapphire, pewter and garnet complement saturated crèmes. The entire collection gives you the feeling that anything can happen under the skies of the Serengeti. Feed your exploration appetite with these untamed 6 hues.” Okay, the last part of that description is a bit dramatic but it does fit the darker colors. The full collections is:

  • Are You Lion To Me? – pewter shimmer
  • Neutral By Nature – fired earth creme
  • No Cell? Oh Well! – deep shimmering sapphire blue
  • No Sudden Mauves – dark rose mauve with shimmer
  • Off The Grid – dark burgundy hazelnut creme
  • Wanna Share A Tent? – fully-saturated carmine red shimmerS&M African Safari collection swatches

Truth be told, it always takes me time to warm up to fall collections – I love the bright colors of the spring and summer polishes and the full-bodied, bold colors that typically come with the winter or holiday collections, so fall colors are kinda “meh” for me at first.  This collection was no exception, but once I got my hands on it I started to feel excited for fall!

Note that I personally purchased this collection, and this is not a sponsored post.

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

Gelish Fall 2018 Collection sneak peak!

Gelish and Gelish Mini just released a sneak peak video of their new collection for fall 2018, called African Safari.  Check out their respective Facebook pages for that vid.

And take a look at this exciting collection! With six new dark shades, Gelish says “Brilliant pearls of sapphire, pewter and garnet complement saturated crèmes.”

kitting264
Image from nailsrus.ca

The colors are:

  • Are You Lion To Me?
  • Off The Grid
  • No Cell? Oh Well!
  • Wanna Share A Tent?
  • No Sudden Mauves
  • Neutral By Nature

I haven’t found these for sale locally yet, of course, but maybe next month. I can’t wait to get my hands on that mauve!

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!

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?