Live Swatching the Gelish Rocketman Full Collection


Everyday Nail Art #6: Gel Polish Marble

S&M 23 April 2019 A

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For this design I used Princess Tiara, one of the original Gelish colors, on most nails. You can see that, even though my bottle of polish is a few years old, it still went on smoothly and provided good coverage with two coats.
For the marbled nails, my base was two coats of My One Blue Love (AKA Water Baby).  To get this easy marbled look I applied a third coat of My One Blue Love, but did not cure. I laid down stripes of these colors in a radiating pattern from the lower corner of the nail:

Then I used a round paintbrush with a small number of short bristles to drag the polish outwards in a fan from the corner. You could also use a toothpick or dotting tool to get this drag marble look.

S&M 23 April 2019 B

If you want a crisp marbled lines, it’s important to cure as soon as possible.  I wanted a mottled look, so I let the marbled gel polish run together and blend a bit before curing.

10 years of Gelish

Happy 10 year anniversary to Gelish!

You know I love Gelish and have been an avid, now almost exclusive, user since 2011.  I don’t work for them; just wanted to make sure that’s clear. I just really love their products. They work for me!

Gelish products, first their gel polish and, more recently, Dip and PolyGel, have truly helped shape the nail industry over the last decade.

Image from Gelish

I remember the first full collection I saw on display at my local beauty supply store. It was the Aurora EFX collection in 2011.

And I thought it was stunning, like nothing I had seen before.

So I bought the whole collection.

And by the end of 2013 I probably owned a bottle of every color Gelish had produced.

In honor of one decade of gel polish, I’ll be pulling out some of my oldest colors to enjoy.  Here’s one of the first Gelish color charts. Remember these?

old color chart
Image from Gelish

Gelish has posted an interesting video of their team reminiscing and celebrating the ten year mark. Check it out on their Facebook page. Do you remember the first time you saw gel polish in the store? What was the first color you bought?


Everyday Nail Art #5: Threads

S&M 12 November 2017

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For this design I used Don’t Break My Corazon from the Gelish Matadora collection and some nail art threads. The ones I found were from Born Pretty, but those are no longer available. You can get nail art thread in a variety of colors on eBay now for low prices, though.

Before doing the nail with threads, I taped off the section that would have the threads, Then I applied my base and color coats, and removed the tape.  I actually glued the threads down to the nail enhancement to get them to curve with the nail.

I thought these turned out well and held up nicely for over a week, but I had to use a couple layers of top coat to smooth over the threads. To remove the threads, I soaked the nails in acetone, and was able to file down the rest.


Gelish Summer 2019 Collection Just Announced

Gelish and Morgan Taylor are once again collaborating with a movie studio, this time for Rocketman, “the story of Elton John’s rise to fame”.

Image from NTS via Gelish

This collection features 6 shades and a glitter overlay. It should be available May 1st, and the movie releases to theaters on May 31.

What do you think? Will you be buying this collection?

I have to be honest… this is the first time I’m not super excited about a new Gelish collection.  The colors seem pretty, with a couple unique shades. But I’m not a huge Elton John fan, or a fan of anything 80’s really.  We’ll see if these end up in my collection or not!  Maybe I’ll just get some Gelish minis of these…

The 10 essential polish colors…

according to…?

I admit it, clickbait works on me when it’s about nail polish and trends. So for fun I clicked on an article entitled “10 nail polishes every woman should own” to find out what someone else thinks the essential polish colors are. Why is this useful? Let’s say you’re a minimalist, and you want to know which few colors you should keep handy with your mani/pedi supplies.  Or, you’re just opening your own nail station or salon and need to buy a few colors to get you by for a few weeks. This list helps us cover all the bases.

This is a pretty good list except that it’s all traditional nail polish, which is so 15 years ago.  So let’s update it to 2019 standards with some comparable Gelish gel polishes!

Image from

Their suggestion:

“…a light pink hue is appropriate for any and every type of occasion.”

From Gelish:

Curls and Pearls, from the 2018 Spring Royal Temptations collection

S&M 13 February 2016


Their suggestion:

“You can never go wrong with a true red polish since it can be professional, sexy and festive all at once.”

From Gelish:

Firecracker from the 2015 Holiday Red Matters collection




Their suggestion:

Image from

“…put on a vampy eggplant shade and feel like you can take on the world.”

From Gelish:

Bella’s Vampire



Their suggestion:

“Hot pink is one of our go-to summer colors for both manicures and pedicures…”

From Gelish:

Image from Gelish


Make You Blink Pink, from the All About the Glow Summer 2013 collection (This swatch bubble doesn’t do it justice.)

Gelish always does an excellent job with their summer collections.

Gelish collection 006
All About the Glow collection from Gelish

Everyone can find their perfect summer color in this collection!










Their suggestion:

“Whether you go full-on glitter nails or just add a swipe… on an accent nail, everyone needs at least one ‘fun’ color in their collection.”

Image from Gelish

From Gelish:

Girls Night Out from the original fall 2013 Gelish Trends collection


I believe glitter polishes should be your go-to for a quick and easy accent nail. There are so many great glitter polishes from Gelish to experiment with.

Their suggestion:

S&M 1 October 2017

“If you are looking for something subtle yet chic, one to two coats of a cream colored polish…”

From Gelish:

Heaven Sent (AKA Little Princess)



Their suggestion:Gelish collection 031

“A deep red polish is a holiday staple, but also a more grown-up take on a classic, punchy red.”

From Gelish:

Red Alert from the Holiday 2015 Red Matters collection


S&M 23 April 2016 B

Their suggestion:

“If you are looking to get outside of your comfort-zone when it come to nail colors, [a] periwinkle shade is a perfect way to ease into more adventurous hues.”

From Gelish:

Po-riwinkle from the 2016 Spring Kung-Fu Panda collection.

That was an AWESOME color. It hurts my heart to know that Gelish decided not to keep producing it as part of their permanent lineup. You can still find it online, though!


sm-8-dec-2016-bTheir suggestion:

“Gray polishes seem to have become the new nude. This color is universally flattering and a chic way to change up your typical neutral. ”

From Gelish:

Clean Slate from the Fall 2014 Get Color-fall collection

Image from Gelish

Their suggestion:”

“If you have been on the hunt for that poppy shade between red and orange…”

From Gelish:

Flamingo Float from the 2017 Summer Make a Splash collection

And there you have it! It was very hard to pick just ten colors from Gelish to fulfill these suggestions.  I’m sure these would make a great starting point for anyone… I just need more polish than that in my life!

(I don’t represent Gelish in any way… I just have a lot of Gelish colors and love recommending them to people looking to add more color their life!)

Everyday Nail Art #4: Crackle Polish

S&M 17 March 2019

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For my recent manicure I brought back the crackle trend to combine it with gel polish from Gelish.  I used China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Cracked Medallion, thinking it would look nice with Gelish Gardenia My Heart. The final look is pretty cool, but I think a bigger difference in the base color and the crackle color would have been more eye-catching.

Either way this design is easy to do on a gel base.  After applying and curing all my color layers and top coat, I buffed the nail I wanted to put the crackle polish on. Then I applied a traditional polish base coat. After it dried, I proceeded with the crackle polish as usual.  After that had dried for a few minutes, I used a traditional polish top coat, but you could also use another layer of gel top coat.


Success with Sally Hansen Hard As Nails

S&M Sally Hansen Hard as NailsI’ve been wearing Sally Hansen Hard As Nails (I’ll call it HAN for short) Hardener for over a week now, and I’m ready to share some thoughts on the product.

Overall, this product gets two thumbs up from me because it does what it promises, quickly, easily and inexpensively. Here are the details:

  • As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s easy to find in grocery, department, or drug stores, and very affordable.
  • You apply and remove it just like traditional nail polish – easy!
  • You get the choice of clear or pink-tinted (you probably won’t notice the pink once it’s applied).
  • You can use multiple coats. The first two times I used it I applied two, and the third time I went with three. It’s also suggested that you apply on the underside of the natural nail, if your free edge is long enough.
  • Your nails will probably feel a little stronger, especially if you already have strong, easy-to-grow nails.

I recommend this product for home use if you…

  • are in the process of growing out your natural nails.
  • are opposed to the use of enhancement products such as acrylic or gel.
  • would like a strengthening base coat without a thick or unnatural-feeling enhancement.

I don’t recommend this product…

  • if you prefer long nails. HAN likely won’t be enough protection for longer natural nails. My free edges are about 3/16″ long and, at this length, I would prefer to have more protection against breakage than this product provides.
  • for use as a ridge-filler. You’ll need to purchase additional products for a smooth look under polish, as this product does not fill ridges in the nail.
  • for professional use. There are professional products that will provide better, long-lasting result in a salon setting.
  • if you prefer a matte look.  HAN comes in two tints, but no matte option.  However, you can apply two or even three coats of this and buff the top layer for a flat, more natural finish.
  • as a top coat. It was intended for use alone or as a base coat, and may not protect the color coat or give the shine a top coat would.

Some things to know before you try this product:

  • It takes awhile to dry, just like traditional nail polish. It is not UV/LED cured.
  • This is a hardener, but only that. It won’t make your nail thicker or break-resistant like a gel or acrylic overlay.
  • I’ve tested HAN with Gelish on top and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Gelish lasted about 5 days before it began to peel at the tips.  If you want to try this, just apply two or three coats of HAN, allow to dry completely, and buff with a 100 grit file to remove shine so that the Gelish will be able to adhere to the nail.

yhst-88462588038071_2563_2240617376Just to be clear – Hard As Nails is an entire product line. The product I’ve tested is the Hardener; I can’t vouch for any other treatments available from Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails line.

Have you tried this product? What did you think? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

Everyday Nail Art #3: Real Silver Glitter

S&M 24 by RGI A

Before we head into spring colors and designs, I wanted to share with you one of my manicures using this beautiful, rich shimmer polish from the Gelish Marilyn Monroe Forever Fabulous collection. The polish is called I Prefer Millionaires, and it’s one of my favorites in the collection.

For the design I tried out a new product that I read about in Nails Magazine awhile ago; It’s genuine sterling silver glitter from You can buy one gram for $12.95 with free shipping. To create a block of glitter, I taped off the area before applying the glitter using Top It Off (I wanted to be able to soak it off later), and then used a striping brush to hand-paint the lines around it with Arctic Freeze by Gelish.

S&M 24 by RGI BThis design turned out really well…very striking in person.

The polish applied beautifully and worked well with the glitter.  I really liked the glitter, too, and will probably buy more products from I love being able to buy real metal glitter, and they also offer their glitter in 24K gold. They also have a 24K gold nail polish, which is their signature product and namesake. The loose glitters must be suspended in a top coat or adhered during application, and there are probably a few methods for doing so. I’ll post a short video soon to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel explaining the method I used for this design, so stay tuned!


Gelish The Color of Petals live swatches

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My swatch video for the new Gelish spring 2019 collection The Color of Petals – released today – is up on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. If you like seeing real-time swatches before you purchase a color, be sure reference this video.


Spoiler alert: These are all gorgeous neutral polishes that would be great to add to your collection. Only one of them is a shimmer, and the other five are cremes. They’re perfect for work, spring weddings, dances, picnics, first dates, and everything in between.

You really can’t go wrong with a good neutral polish, and several of these fit the bill.  They’d be great for someone looking for a few solid muted colors, to keep on hand during the whole year.

I also received my order very quickly – about 5 days, which is awesome for free shipping.  These cost less than $5 for 50, so you’re looking at 10 cents each.The swatch sticks that I reference in the video are from natural color swatch sticks (available from eBay). I’ve received some questions lately about them, and promised I’d post the link. There’s no prep needed with these, if you don’t want to… I used to buff them and use base coat, but found that it’s not necessary. Now I just go straight away to the first color coat.

Have you already picked up any of these lovely spring colors? Let me know in the comments!