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.

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Mauve Your Feet

S&M 30 September 2017

One of the new colors from the Gelish fall 2017 Matadora collection is proving to be very popular so far, at least on social media. It’s called Mauve Your Feet, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. Here’s my take on it.

This is 2 coats of Mauve Your Feet stamped with a rose design from Morgan Taylor Designer Plate 3720201-1 in black polish.  I used a plate and stamper from the Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit, and the design came out beautifully!

What do you think? Have you worn this color yet?

Review: Gelish PolyGel

S&M 31 August 2017

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been doing some product testing with Gelish® PolyGel™. (Of course I have to thoroughly test it on myself before recommending it to others.) This is a photo of my nails enhanced with clear PolyGel and then polished with one coat of Gelish Tickle My Heart (which Gelish is, unfortunately, no longer manufacturing).

I was going for a simple, neutral design with this set, but couldn’t resist a polish with a bit of glitter! You can see that I used the PolyGel to extend the nails, basically doubling the length of my free edge.

After using and wearing PolyGel for about 3 weeks now, I am happy to report that it is as user-friendly and easy to apply as they say. I had watched a few videos on the application of this product, yet I was still blown away by how easy it is to work with. It’s really something you have to experience for yourself!

PolyGel enhancements also sit on the nail very comfortably – it’s light and feels natural on my nail and fingers. This is in contrast to acrylics, which I have trouble getting used to… acrylic on my nail always feels like an enhancement to me.

I’ve applied both Gelish gel polish and regular polish to my nail with no issues, and experienced great wear time. As far as wear and tear, the PolyGel has held up very well. The only minor issue I’ve noticed is that the corners of my square nails are now rounded, especially the nail of the middle finger on my right hand. I believe this is due to the softness of PolyGel as compared to acrylic or even hard gel. But after ~3 weeks of wear, that isn’t too bad! I have experienced very little lifting – much less than I usually do with acrylic or even hard gel.

Some tips for working with PolyGel:

  • Pour the slip solution onto your PolyTool over the dappen dish, with the brush-side down. The Polytool will guide the slip solution liquid into the dish, and at the same time your are priming your brush with slip solution.
  • Slice off only a small amount of PolyGel. You can always add more product.
  • You don’t need a lot of Slip Solution on the brush. Be sure it’s not dripping, only saturating the bristles.
  • If the PolyGel starts to feel gummy or tacky under your brush as you are working with it on the nail, then you’ll know it’s time to put some more slip solution on the brush.
  • PolyGel is great for techs who prefer to hand file because it files so easily and quickly. Use a fine bit and a low speed if e-filing!
  • I recommend starting with the trial kit and PolyTool because that’s everything you need to get squeezing, slicing, and rolling with PolyGel. Once you get a feel for the product, you can add always buy other colors or brushes and tools to your arsenal.

Have you tried PolyGel yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this product!

New Gelish Brush and Bottle

Matadora Collection final with watermark

As of Summer 2017, Gelish has updated their gel polish formulation, as well as the full-size bottle and brush. The new formulation, according to Gelish®, is:

  • enhanced for better stability
  • product flow improved
  • easier to lay down
  • smoother

What’s the same?

  • smooth application
  • streak-free and shiny
  • chip-free for up to 21 days

I never had any issues with the Gelish formulation, so honestly it just seems like the same great product to me!


The new bottle features:

  • A similar overall shape to the already-familiar Morgan Taylor® & Gelish Dip bottle design
  • Shrink-wrapped, enclosed bottle with larger color call-out dot,  and color band

New bottle pros:

  • Branding continuity within the Hand and Nail Harmony brand
  • Opaque wrapper with no window means you won’t have your Gelish curing inside the bottle (due to being exposed unintentionally to UV light, including ambient UV light in the room)
  • color band can be seen from almost any angle
  • More difficult to counterfeit

New bottle cons:

  • Old bottles now seem outdated
  • Gelish has re-named some of their old colors to match them to Gelish Dip and Morgan Taylor color names

The new brush features:

  • dome-bristled brush
  • increased bristle count
  • ergonomic cap

New brush pros:

  • smooth application with full coverage
  • increased product control when polishing in the cuticle area
  • helps pick-up the perfect amount of product
  • cap flares out at the base, which makes it slightly easier to grip and position in the hand

The new brush really does make a big difference! I thought it wouldn’t, but was surprised at how much these seemingly minor tweaks enhanced application. Check out the Smoke and Mirrors YouTube channel for my in-depth brush comparison and test video to see the difference!

New brush cons:

  • Old brushes aren’t as easy to use, by comparison

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I love the new design and, for brand recognition reasons, this was clearly a great move for Gelish. I’ve been a Gelish user for almost a decade now, and I’m looking forward to many years of using this excellent product for myself and my clients. There’s just a tiny part of me, the OCD part of my brain, that is a bit ticked with all the name changes. But I guess that’s progress and we’ll have to be understanding about it!

You can also check out the Fall 2017 issue of Nail Style for more information on the all the new Hand and Nail Harmony products.

Unboxing: Gelish Polygel

video thumbnail unboxing polygel trial kit

Check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for a new Gelish Polygel unboxing video!

In the video you’ll see what is in the Polygel Trial Kit, including:

The video also features the new PolyTool, created by Gelish for use with the Polygel.

My, Myself-ie and I

S&M 6 August 2017

As we enter the final weeks of summer 2017, I felt some neon pink nails were in order. This is Gelish Me, Myself-ie and I, from the Selfie collection, with some hand-painted nail art. Some nails are topped with All That Glitters Is Gold from the original Gelish Trends collection. I used black and white acrylic paints, a striping brush and a dotting tool to paint the design. This design was done on enhancements (tips) done with Gelish Dip, and not only do they look pretty good but they’re holding up very well!

Check out how beautifully all the colors work together in this collection:

S&M 6 August 2017 B

Here’s a photo of my entire Gelish Mini Selfie collection. I rarely buy the mini sizes any more, but decided to purchased them in the smaller size for this collection because neons don’t see a lot of use from my current clients.

Selfie Collection

This summer I’m loving the corals and pinks in this collection. What about you? What’s your favorite Selfie color?

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!

 

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 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.