Looking for Gelish polish swatches?

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Champagne and Monnbeams Collection

Smoke & Mirrors has it covered!

Readers have asked about these lately, so I wanted to post a direct link to the page. Check out all my collection swatches here, and know that more are coming very soon.

My ultimate goal is to add photos of all my swatches, but I just haven’t had time to do that yet.  Meanwhile, you can check out my master list of all the Gelish colors, which has plenty of info including release dates and item numbers.

Let There Be Moonlight

While it was still rainy and cold a couple weeks ago, I was inspired to do this nail art during a binge watch of the 80’s hit comedy Perfect Strangers

Check out this totally awesome sweater that the character Larry is wearing in an episode from season one!

I decided to make a feature nail similar to the sweater for these nails, and used a total of four Gelish colors for the set:

  • Let There Be Moonlight (gray)
  • A Kiss in the Dark (dark purple black)
  • No Filter Needed (teal)
  • A Pinch of Pepper (B/W glitter topper)

In hindsight, a lighter teal would have been more accurate, but the design was still fun to do. The black & white lines of the sweater were impossible to re-create on the nail using just the glitter topper I had selected, so I went with gray to coordinate with other nails and just used the glitter on some of the nails. To tie the whole set together, I added some straight lines on a couple of the dark nails. In hindsight, a lighter teal would have been more accurate, but the design was still fun to do and to wear. 

During quarantine, since I’m working from home, I’ve been keeping the nails on my dominant hand shorter and primarily painting designs on my other hand, which has long nails. Doing mirror image designs on both hands has been one the things that, during the quarantine, I’ve decided aren’t worth doing just for myself. It’s funny how an event like this can lead you to question even the little things that you previously did or took for granted, or cause you to think about what really matters most for your time, money, or effort. This is truly a nail design I did for my own enjoyment!

What about you? Have you changed any aspects of your nail care routine during the lockdown?

Switch On COLOR

Image from Gelish via GetGelished.com

In May, Hand and Nail Harmony released their Gelish and Morgan Taylor summer colors, called the Switch On Color collection, in collaboration with MTV.

“Gelish® is turning up the volume and introducing the Switch On Color Collection for Summer 2020 in collaboration with pop-culture power-house MTV.  The range features six new vibrant summer colors in a unique, ultra-luminous shimmer finish.”

The colors are all shimmers:

  • Electric Remix – Turquoise Shimmer
  • Ultimate Mixtape – Purple Shimmer
  • Live Out Loud – Magenta Shimmer
  • Total Request Red – Red Shimmer
  • Show Up & Glow Up – Bright Pink Shimmer
  • Super Fandom – Tan Shimmer

If you’re at all like me you’ve hardly been to the beauty supply store in what seems like forever, so you probably haven’t seen these out in the wild. But notice the graphic from Gelish.com above  – the Gelish Mini bottles recently received a makeover!  They are now shaped and designed like a smaller version of the full size bottles (which were given their own makeover back in 2017).

Image from Gelish.com

Now I want to buy the Mini bottles of this collection just to compare the bottles!

Currently these are a bit difficult to find. They’re unavailable on NailTechSupply.com, and I didn’t see them yet on my recent visit to CosmoProf.  Via the Gelish Mini Instagram page we found out that Sally Beauty will not be carrying these, unfortunately.  Given some time these will probably appear at other online outlets, or you can buy them now on Amazon or GetGelished.com.

What I love about this collection is not only the trendy colors but also the fun 90’s throwback names like “Ultimate Mixtape”. Way to go, Gelish! I’m looking forward to getting these colors on my nails. What about you? Will you be buying any or all of these colors?

Gelish Spring 2020 Collection Editor’s Picks…

Image courtesy of Gelish

…and why you haven’t seen me swatch it yet.

The Gelish Spring 2020 collection, called Editor’s Picks is a beautiful set of 6 pinks, mauves, and light purple colors.

Commenting on the launch of the new collection, Danny Haile, CEO and Founder of Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish, says: “Spring is a great time of year to embrace soft shades like nudes and pinks. These are the perfect colours and tones to take us from the cold winter season into the warmer days ahead. This collection is feminine and delicate with key classic colours that will make for the perfect springtime manicure!”

Image from Amazon.com

The colors are:

  • Barely Buff, a pale pink creme
  • I Speak Chic, a rosy taupe creme
  • Call My Blush, a soft pink creme
  • On Cloud Mine, a peachy pink
  • Going Vogue, an antique rose creme
  • It’s Your Mauve, a mauve creme

When I saw this collection, I knew I wanted it for personal use.   Here’s the problem…

They’re really hard to find!

What is going on with Gelish lately?  The minis are no longer being stocked at Sally Beauty.  The collection was released on February 1, I believe. However, I couldn’t find these at Sally Beauty. By March, the U.S. was full swing into the COVID-19 pandemic, and my local Cosmoprof was closed.  Here we are in mid-May and I’ve finally been able to go back in Cosmoprof, but they only had a couple of the colors. They told me they’ve not had a supply truck in over 6 weeks.

So what are the options for people who want to purchase these via legitimate channels?

  • Via their Instagram page, Gelish mini suggested I purchase from Amazon.com ($59.95 for all 6 in mini bottles) or GetGelished.com (for $12.99 each, and only 5 colors are available).
  • The full size bottles are available via Cosmoprof online for $17.85 each (ouch!)
  • In a YouTube video, a Gelish Educator suggested purchasing at NTS. ($16.95 each, and only 5 colors are available).

As you can see, it can be somewhat difficult to find the entire collection. I’m not sure what’s going on with the supply chain for Gelish but it’s getting pretty frustrating!

Ultimately I broke down and bought the full set from Amazon.com, and I plan to swatch them when they arrive.  What about you? Did you have difficulty finding these?


New Gelish Xpress Dip powders

In the last month or so Gelish has quietly released a new dip powder containing activator, to complement their existing lineup of dip powders.

Image from  https://www.nailtechsupply.com/

Unfortunately no information about this new line of dip powder is available on the Gelish website, which is why I say they’ve done a quiet release for this products. It may be due to the coronavirus pandemic, but I’ve only been able to find out a little information about Xpress Dip from random places online.  According to a video created by one of their educators, Vu Nguyen, the current offering includes their most popular dip colors, though Nail Tech Supply (NTS) is also showing availability of the new summer collection colors in Xpress Dip jars. (Since many beauty supply stores are currently closed, Gelish is selling their products through NTS.)

The main difference between Xpress Dip and their regular Dip powders is that Gelish has added an activator to the Xpress powder. This means that it should harden, or cure, shortly after application and with no activator liquid needed in between color coats.  You will still need the bottle of activator, however, to apply just before the first coat of dip color and after the last one, before the top coat.  This speeds up the process slightly and decreases product usage.

I’m looking forward to seeing Gelish’s official announcement on this new product! It seems that this is the new standard formulation for their Dip powders, so I expect we’ll get more information from them soon.

Things your nail tech won’t tell you?

The other day I ran across a post on thehealthy.com, similar to posts we’ve seen before, discussing things your nail tech secretly wants you to know.  This one is entitled “16 Things Your Manicurist Is Secretly Thinking About You” Let’s review some of those, in preparation for the time when salons re-open and we can get our nails done again!

But first, the #1 thing I’d like to remind you of – just before you sit down for your manicure: wash your hands!

Good hygiene - a great habit
Image from CDC.gov

I have had many clients that want to come in just before their appointment and immediately sit down for a manicure. Please, arrive a couple minutes early to allow time for this very important step!

Wash all parts of your hand, your wrist, and the lower part of your arm with antibacterial soap and hot water.  Use a nail brush or nails on the opposite hand to get soap under your nails if they’re long. It should take you 20 – 30 seconds of well-spent time to ensure that you’ve thoroughly lathered all these areas.

Some salons don’t have a sink near the manicure stations. But that’s OK! There is a restroom in the salon, so go there and wash your hands prior to sitting down at the nail table.

Now, on to the helpful nail salon tips… and some not-so-helpful ones:

  1. nail-anatomy1

    You can exfoliate your own cuticles—in the shower – OK, this is a weird way of saying (I think) that you should push back your eponychium in the shower.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother with this, especially if you are wearing enhancements.

  2. Wash your hands. Twice. – Yep. See above!

  3. Unclench, please – This one makes your nail tech’s job so much easier. Please, relax your hand. Let it go limp. We do not need you holding your fingers stiff or straight for us!

  4. Skip the soak – Years ago, the standard first step prior to any manicure service was to soak the nails in warm, soapy water.  Over the last couple decades, however, we’ve figured out that this actually decreases the life of your manicure, and most nail techs have switched to the dry manicure. The water actually softens the nail, causing it to expand and widen. Then, we put polish or an enhancement on the nail as it is drying and returning to it’s prior shape. This can lead to service breakdown because the bond between your natural nail and the product is compromised. It’s best to simply wash and dry your hands prior to the service.

  5. Don’t clip your own nails – I disagree. They’re your nails. Clip them if you want.

  6. Drugstore ointment is just as good as the fancy stuff – Yes and no.  If you don’t have specific skin needs, any drugstore lotion or cream is better than none. On the other hand, there are some nice products out there that your nail tech can suggest for your particular situation of preference.

  7. Don’t go to the new manicurist – Again, I disagree. New nail techs can be amazing and passionate! Find a nail tech you love and stay loyal.

  8. Don’t expect Insta-perfect nails in an instant – True. Nail artistry takes a long time.  Please, plan your appointments when you can give your nail tech time to do her best work… and treat yo’self at the same time!
  9. Trendy patterns and colors can make hands look older – This may be something to keep in mind… but does it matter? You’re paying for a manicure, so get whatever color or pattern you want!

  10. Pick polish shades you look good wearing – same as #9 above!

  11. We’re not your therapist – OK, I know some nail techs pride themselves on creating relationships with their clients, but I believe we need to draw the line somewhere. Friendly conversation is excellent, but let’s keep religion, politics, drugs, foul language, and sex out of it. Nail techs should remember to be professional when it comes to this!

  12. Come with an idea – Yes, please! If you don’t have an idea of the color or nail art design you want, please come early and pick something. We nail techs DO NOT have time during your actual appointment for this process.

  13. Fillers aren’t just for faces anymore – This is not within the bounds of a nail tech’s jurisdiction. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about any issues or improvements you would like to see in your hands, feet, or skin.

  14. Clean under your nails too – Please do this! At least clean what you can see when you are in the shower or washing your hands at home. I recommend keeping a nail brush in the shower or at the sink so you can occasionally scrub under your nails with soap.  According to the CDC, “longer fingernails can harbor more dirt and bacteria“. So please clean under there regularly!

  15. Be open to other ideas – Your nail tech might advise you on nail length, color, or design choices, especially if you ask for advice. Please listen to her suggestions, realizing that she has lots of experience with people and their nail needs.

  16. In between manicures always use a nail file, never clippers – I see what the author of the article is getting at here, and I would say for sure you can use a nail file. But also, see #5 above…

Gelish collections swatches updated

Champagne and Monnbeams Collection

I’ve added swatches for the Champagne & Moonbeams collection to my swatches page, so please check those out if you are interested.

My long-term goal for this site is to post pictures of swatches for polishes that aren’t part of any collection. For now, this is the last collection I’ll be swatching.  Keeping up with all the colors, as I have been, is consuming too much of my time and finances at this point.  As noted in several of my posts, this is not a sponsored blog.

Yep, I do this for free.

…Or, I did. For now, this blog and my career in nails is taking a back seat to my pursuit of my master’s degree.  I’ll still post occasionally, and I intend to catch up on my swatch photos at some point. But for now I’ll just be doing nails for myself because I enjoy it.

Copper Dream

S&M 30 Dec 2019 A

Contains affiliate link.

There are some older bottles of Gelish in my stash, and I’m always looking for ways to mix it up with some older and new colors.

This bubble mani was done using a base color of Copper Dream, part of the Gelish Champagne and Moonbeams collection. The feature nail is topped with I ♥ My Instructor, from Gelish’s 2013 collection, The Snow Escape.

S&M 30 Dec 2019 B

I always try to provide links for the products I’ve used, but unfortunately I ♥ My Instructor is out of stock everywhere I’ve checked.  This same design could easily be created with another color, though – as long as it more sheer with one coat and not shimmery, it will allow the shimmer from the base color to come through.



Creme De La Femme – my go-to nude polish color!

S&M 20 Dec 2019

Lately I’ve been trying to appreciate the understated natural look for my nails. I’ve just been too busy for nail art, and I’m sure you all can relate!

For a few weeks I wore this look – sculptured PolyGel® enhancements over my natural nails, with Gelish Creme De La Femme polish, topped with Gelish Matte Top It Off.  I’ll provide links (some are affiliate) to the products below.

This look is clean and professional, and goes with any outfit. Nude polish colors that match or complement our skin tones also have the added benefit of making the fingers appear longer.

The products I used are all from Gelish:

What’s your go-to nude polish color? Leave a comment below!

SNS advertising lies?!?!

While visiting my local Wal-Mart I saw this sign in front of the Regal Nails salon there:


There is so much twisting of the truth to unpack here. Yeah… it’s got some lies on it, too. Let’s start with the biggest one of all, the one that made me stop in my tracks.  The sign says “Not Gel, Not Acrylic” in very large letters.

Uhm… for real? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure dipping powders are acrylic…

Let’s check the SNS website for some indication of the ingredients in their products.  Take a look at their document: SNS Nail Dipping Powder Safety and Benefits, which is available in the Downloads section of the About SNS page.

Quote (with added emphasis): “SNS NAIL DIPPING POWDER is derived from an acrylic ester polymer that
adheres to the nail when combined with a liquid monomer…”

Sounds like acrylic to me, even if it is a derivative.  Don’t believe me? Just search for SNS dip ingredients and you’ll find user pictures of the back of the jar, which clearly states that it contains acrylic ester polymer, which is an acrylic chemical. This chemical is NOT:

  • the “natural choice” if you are referring to it being a natural (i.e, plant-based) product
  • “healthier for your nail”

Please, please do not be sucked into these marketing lies.  SNS is a dipping powder, similar to many others on the market today.   This is not any better or worse for your nail than hard gels, soft gels, liquid and powder acrylics, etc.  If you remove any product improperly it will damage your nails. If you are used to having an enhancement on your natural nails, and you remove it, your nails will feel weak. This is just how it is.

Enjoy the nail products you like, and be an informed consumer!