Unboxing the Born Pretty Gigantic Stamper

S&M 3 December 2017 EBefore the holidays here in the U.S. I ordered the Gigantic Stamper from the Born Pretty Store (BPS) on Amazon.com.  Within a month I had received the package. It included:

  • The stamper, which is 12 x 5 x 1.5 cm, approximately the same size as most XL stamping plates, and weighs about 120 grams
  • 4 thin scraper cards

The stamper was only about $8 through Amazon.com (though the price has increased to about $15 now, it is still only $8 if you buy from BPS). It’s a squishy stamper, and works very well with no priming needed. The great thing is that it’s clear, so you can see through it to line up your nails and stamp multiple nails at one time.

To see it in action, please visit the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for my unboxing video. I immediately tried a couple different stamping methods with it, and was impressed with how well it picked up the images from the plates. Since then I have used it in a couple different manicures with no problem. While other BPS stampers have given me trouble in the past because they were not squishy enough, this one felt very comfortable to stamp with.

Note that this is NOT a paid review. I bought this product to try out on myself before possibly using it in salon, so you’re seeing my real initial testing and reactions to the product.



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!

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.


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!


B-Girl Style


This is Gelish B-Girl Style, which is a beautiful pink that reminds me of bubble gum.  On the two middle fingers I used Born Pretty Store Mirror Powder in silver.  It was supposed to have a mirror-like finish, but it didn’t really work for me.  As you can see, it looks like packed glitter rather than chrome, and it left pigment in my Top It Off brush which then transferred to other nails.

This photo was taken a few days after application and you can see it’s already beginning to chip.  I was ready for a new manicure by this point.

With all that said, I do plan to give it another try. I only paid $2 for the powder, so it is worth it even if it only lasts for a couple days.  I also need to practice getting the chrome finish and cleaning off the leftover pigment before top-coating.

On a side note – are you like me, wondering what “B-Girl” even means?  I guess I’m old, but I had to look it up. In this case the B stands for “break”, as in break dancing.  I kinda assumed that’s what it meant, but needed confirmation from the ultimate authority (the internet).

Give me a Break-dance

S&M 23 July 2016

This polish is from Gelish’s summer collection, Street Beat, and it is called Give Me a Break-dance.  For some unknown reason I thought adding glitter would be a good idea, so I sprinkled a little of Paradise (by Recollections brand) on top of three coats.  In the end I was unhappy because this polish, like others from the collection, has a really pretty shimmer to it, and all I did was mask it.

The stamp is from Born Pretty Store, XL rectangular plate BP-L003, and I stamped with white Konad stamping polish. This plate works really well, especially for the price. Highly recommended it!

I’m getting some Born Pretty store brand stamping polish soon, so stay tuned for a review of that.

So hot!

S&M 23 January 2106.jpg

This is Gelish I’m So Hot from the Red Matters Collection, stamped with Born Pretty Plate BP-L002.  I double stamped this design – first with black paint, then matched up the lines as much as possible to stamp in silver.

I’m Plum Tuckered Out!


This design is done with Gelish From Rodeo to Rodeo Drive topped in an ombre style with Plum Tuckered Out. Both of these colors are from the Urban Cowgirl Collection.


I stamped using plate BPL003 from the Born Pretty Store, first with silver stamping polish, then black.


Pink with Petals

S&M 19 July 2015

On these nails:  2 coats of Look at You, Pink-achu! from the Hello Pretty! collection by Gelish  + BLE/M5 water decals from the Born Pretty Store.

The decals looked great when first applied, but did not last long at all. Within a couple hours they began to wear away from the tips of my nails, as you can see in the photo.  I had only used one coat of Top It Off, so perhaps I should have used two for better protection.  Next time I will keep the design closer to the cuticle and leave the tip open.  I had no trouble with wear issues near the cuticle.