Everyday Nail Art #1: “Bling the Ring” + Glitter Ombre

With this post I’m kicking of a new series on simple and fun nail art that can be done easily at home and quickly at the salon. I’m not sure how many entries there will be in this series, but I’ve made a list of about 30 ideas so far.  Most would look great on long or short nails, so they’re great for designing on natural nails or enhancements. Many will be wearable, everyday looks but I’ll also experiment with trendy nail art ideas now and then, too. I hope you’ll find some of them useful, whether you’re looking for ideas to DIY at home, to ask your nail tech to try, or as a nail tech ready to try out client and clock-friendly nail art in the salon.S&M 9 September 2018 A

The base color for this design is Gelish Hidden Identity. After the base coat, I applied two coats to all fingers except the ring finger, which just got one. Then I swiped a small amount of the Gelish glitter polish My Jewels Keep Me Warm, brushing upwards from the base, to all the nails except the ring, on which I applied two coats for full coverage.

S&M 9 September 2018 B

In this close-up you can see the slight glitter effect:

 

 

 

What do you think of this look? Would you wear this? let me know in the comments!

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Preview the new Gelish Winter/Holiday collection for 2018

It’s official – Gelish is trying to bankrupt me. Look at all these fabulous new colors that I must have! The winter 2018 collection was teased in the just-released October 2018 edition of Nails Magazine, and it’s called Forever Fabulous Marilyn Monroe™.

All colors
Image from October 2018 Nails Magazine

This upcoming collection has 12 colors that Gelish says “embody the spirit of all that is Marilyn Monroe. With classic shades reminiscent of her Old Hollywood beauty and exciting, vibrant tones that represent her iconic nature this color range is sure to leave a lasting impression just like Marilyn herself.”

The colors include:

  • Batting My Lashes – deep mahogany crème
  • Wish Upon a Starlet – red shimmer
  • I Prefer Millionaires – copper plum pearl
  • Ice or No Dice – gold glitter
  • A Kiss from Marilyn – bright red crème
  • She’s a Natural – soft nude crème
  • The Camera Loves Me – burgundy crème
  • Blue-Eyed Beauty – baby blue crème
  • Some Like It Red – bright red glitter
  • Diamonds Are My BFF – fine silver glitter
  • Hollywood’s Sweetheart – rosy pink crème
  • Wrapped In Satin – snowy blue shimmer

One thing I love about Gelish’s collections is how well-themed the polish colors in the collections are. The colors are carefully selected to complement each other, and this collection seems to be no exception.  While there are some beautiful winter reds here, we also have some neutrals and mauves for your most conservative clients.  Then there are some fun colors and bling polishes that we’ve come to know and love from Gelish.  Actually, those bright and unique polishes are the ones that usually get me the most attention! And who doesn’t love a good glitter polish to ring in the holiday season??

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Image from NailsRUs

Think of the nail art we can create with these as our canvases!

Since this is the winter/holiday, I expect it won’t be on shelves until early November.  Looks like it should be available at your local CosmoProf or through authorized resellers online.

Which colors do you think you’ll be buying?

Two NEW Gelish Mini Colors

After a bit of a drought, except for new collections, Gelish has introduced two new colors to the core Mini lineup. Note that, as far as I know, these polishes are available in Mini only*.

mini bottles

The names are Creme De La Femme (left above) and French Kiss and Tell (right above).  These colors are great foundation colors for french manicures and other nail art, and make excellent neutrals for times when you don’t want flashy nails.

*By chance I discovered that Creme De La Femme seemed very close in color (though not formulation) to the new Gelish Structure Gel in Cover Pink.

S&M Gelish Structure B
Comparing new Gelish brush-on Structure gel to the previous formulation in a pot.

This happened because around the time I bought these 2 new Minis from Sally Beauty, I was wearing plain nails overlaid with PolyGel and then capped with Structure Gel in Cover Pink.  I compared the two and immediately noticed how similar they are.  When looking at French Kiss and Tell, I noticed that the color seemed very close the the shade of Structure Gel in Translucent Pink.  My theory is that Gelish used the pigmentation they had created for the Structure Gels to produce two new colors for the Mini lineup.

Whether or not that’s the case, these are 2 beautiful and useful colors to add to your offerings. I wore the Cover Pink color for a couple weeks and got good reviews on it. The nails looked simple and clean, and the color stayed true for those two weeks.

Check out the live swatches and my comparison in the new video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel, and let me know what you think!

Sun-kissed bliss!

S&M 14 August 2018 A

This design meshes two lovely brights, Sun Kissed Bliss and A Tribe Called Cool, from the Just for You III (in Europe)/Secrets (in UK) collection from Harmony Gelish. After a couple years of searching I finally got my hands on some colors from this collection, which I’ve been referring to as simply the Just For You (JFY) collection because it’s only JFY collection we in the US have had. For more information about the full collection I recommend you check out Elysia’s Harmony nail blog, as she’s done a great job of swatching the full collection.  Fair warning: You may want to buy ALL the colors after reading her posts! (Note that I bought these from a US Seller online, and I don’t think they were re-directed from Europe since they have item numbers that fall in between the items numbers from the Gelish Winter 2017 and Spring 2018 collections. See my list of Gelish colors for item numbers.)

For the flower design I used Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) layered stamping plate Cjs-14 with Born Pretty Store (BPS) stamping polish. I wanted to have white flowers but the Born Pretty stamping polishes were so uncooperative (and my latest shipment of CJS polishes hadn’t come in yet) that I just used whatever would work. I’ve had so much trouble with BPS polishes not stamping lately that I got rid of them. If you want great results with your stamping, I highly recommend the CJS polishes and plates.

S&M 14 August 2018 B

This was also a good time to update my list of Gelish colors with the new fall 2018 collection plus the colors from the JFY/Secrets collection. Check out that list for info on all the Gelish US colors ever.

If you know where we in the US can purchase the rest of the JFY/Secrets collection, please let me know in the comments. There are some other great colors that I’d love to have!

Gelish Just for You collection live swatches now available!

 

S&M Just For You 3 collection bottlesThese colors are actually a couple years old but I was only just able to find them for sale to/in the U.S. Here’s the collection I think is called Just for You 3, but I’ve also seen it referred to as the Secrets collection. (More info on that soon!) Regardless, these beautiful colors were new-to-me, and I had to have them:

S&M collection swatches

Though there’s a chill in the morning air to remind us that fall is coming, I’m not quite ready to give up on summer, and I’m currently wearing Sun Kissed Bliss and A Tribe Called Cool from this collection.  Check out my post on that nail art coming soon!

If you prefer to see “live” swatches for this collection, please check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. And leave a comment letting us know if you’ve bought these, and which is your favorite!

video thumbnail swatches just for you 3

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!

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!

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!