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!

 

Gelish Collections Swatches

beauty-and-the-beast-collection-swatches Check out my new page with pictures of Gelish swatches grouped by collection. Additional pictures coming soon!

Gelish Minis for home users and pros

sbs-724840Today’s post is basically some food-for-thought on Gelish Minis, whether you’re a DIYer or a Pro.

But first, a little about what Gelish Minis are, in case you haven’t heard of these, and some thoughts on my experience with them.  Gelish minis are just what you’d assume – Products that are a miniature version of their professional, full-size counterpart. Gelish makes a good selection of items in their Mini version, including Gelish Essentials (pictured above) and colors of Gelish polish in .3 oz./9mL size.

When I first started using Gelish, I used Gelish Mini products almost exclusively.  You can buy almost all the same colors and/or collections as the full size, which is great for the home user.  It means you get the color selection in a smaller amount of polish that you can actually eventually use up just doing manicures on yourself. If you have friends that also do their nails at home, you can trade Gelish minis with them, which is a great way to find new colors that you love.

The application of the product is just as smooth with the minis as it is with the full size. The brush in the mini bottle is a bit smaller, but it works just fine. sbs-724852The Mini On The Go light has fewer features than the professional LED light but technically works just the same, and should be all a home user needs for manis and pedis. All-in-all, Gelish mini products are much more cost-effective for home users doing their nails once a week or so.

The best place to find Gelish Mini products is Sally Beauty. You can shop in-store or online and use the sales to beef up your collection of Gelish colors quickly… “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sales happen pretty frequently at Sally Beauty.

Gelish minis are also a great way for professionals to add seasonal colors to their offerings, especially since Sally Beauty offers a professional discount.  One of the other cosmetologists in the salon where I work uses Minis to get some colors from the collections each season, and usually doesn’t use them again after that season is over.  The smaller bottle means that less, if any, will be tossed out at the end of the season. If the smaller brush is an issue for a pro, keep in mind that you can always just use a different brush for application.

And, if you find a color that your clients all seem to love – Queen of Hearts? Pink Smoothie? Mauvy-Mauve? – you can always purchase the full size just to have plenty on hand! The only caveat to this is that there are just a few of the older Gelish Mini colors that were made for Gelish Mini only. I think this is no longer the case for the newer collections, but check out my comprehensive list of U.S. colors or the official Gelish Mini website if you have a question about a particular color.

 

 

 

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 2

S&M 11 April 2017

These are my nails after 10 days with 2 layers of Gelish Dip acrylic on them. As you can see, they’re intact and still a little shiny, even though I put Gelish over the acrylic.  They’re a tiny bit yellowed but held up exceptionally well considering all I put them through – between my workouts and painting at our house, they’ve been thoroughly tested for durability.

The acrylic did not chip at all, but it did lift a little near the cuticle. This could be partially due to user error, however, as I am a little rusty with my dipping technique and applied the Base Coat too close to the cuticle. (See my previous post on how to avoid this issue.) I’ll simply file down the lifted acrylic before performing a fill on my nails.

The Gelish polish (Potts of Tea, from the Beauty and the Beast Collection, over Arctic Freeze) only remains on one nail because I peeled it off all the others. It started to peel after only a couple days without me picking at it. But when it started to peel, I did peel it off and it came off quickly and easily in one or two pieces.  I made the mistake of applying the Gelish polish on the smooth, shiny surface the Gelish Dip Top Coat provides. Next time I’ll buff the surface with a 180-grit buffer to give the Gelish polish a better hold.

As surprising as it was, the Gelish polish soaked off the one nail easily and did not ruin the acrylic underneath. I soaked it for about 10 minutes with a cotton ball on top (not in a bowl of acetone) and the polish came off easily. The acrylic was noticeably softer underneath but it did not come off; I filed and buffed it as usual after a couple minutes.

My final verdict is that this product is a WIN. I’m so glad Gelish took the time to create this product for us! I will definitely continue to use it on my own nails and can now confidently begin offering it to my clients.

Have you tried the Gelish Dip system? What did you think of it?

(Note that I purchased the Gelish Dip 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.)

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.

Tips for applying Gelish to short nails

SM 27 March 2017

This is Gelish Flirt In A Skating Skirt on the fingers and Lace ‘Em Up on the toes, from the Gelish Winter collection called The Great Ice-Scape. I thought the two colors went really well together!

Applying Gelish, and getting it to stay, on short nails can be a challenge sometimes.  So here are my tips for a successful Gelish manicure on short nails – inspired by my own nails, which are currently the shortest they have been in a long while.

  • As usual, prep work is key. Be sure you’re giving the product a clean and well-prepped surface to adhere to.
  • If at all possible, cap the edge of the nail with base, color, and top coat.
    • This will likely require you to pull back the skin; don’t be afraid to firmly pull the skin away from the nail each time you do this step.
  • You probably will get a little product on the skin, so use a bit of cotton wrapped around the end of an orangewood stick to pick up some acetone, alcohol, or gel polish remover to carefully wipe it away before curing.
    • On small and short nails, painting from sidewall to sidewall is also an option. This will allow you to seal the free edge without a lot of cleanup.
  • For extremely short nails with no free edge, you can flip the brush around so it pushes product toward you, ensuring that you’re getting product on the free edge.

These are the strategies that have worked for me.  Do you have any? Leave them in the comments below!

Gelish DIP has finally arrived!

Last Thursday I ordered my Gelish DIP system, and it arrived in the mail yesterday.

SM dip family I’m so excited that Gelish has developed this system. As I mentioned in a previous post, the dip method is how I first “dipped” my figurative toes into the pond acrylic enhancements. Dipping was popular in the 90’s and I’m really happy to see this technique come back around.  Stay tuned for a full review!

How I organize my nail supplies – Part 3

This will be the third and final installment in my series on organizing nail supplies, but the subject of this post is more centered around troubleshooting.

As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s really very important to keep your supplies out of the UV light. This is true particularly for gel polish since IT WILL cure in the bottle over time. While you might have stored your regular polish on a rack on the wall, that shouldn’t be your go-to storage space for Gelish.

But let’s say you go to use a bottle of Gelish and, for whatever reason, it’s become thick and globby.  What can  you do to rescue it? Here are some troubleshooting ideas, based on my experience.

  1. First, is your polish bottle cold? Has it been in a cold room for weeks? If so, try warming it up to room temperature naturally, with the lid closed. You can do this quickly by placing the bottle in warm (not hot!) water for a few minutes. If you’re in the salon, it’s a good habit to allow the client to pick a color as soon into the service as possible (or better yet, while they are waiting). Then you can put the bottle they chose in a bowl of warm water or even on your chair, under your thigh, to warm it up while you are removing the old polish and doing your prep work. DO NOT microwave the bottles o411-2_mediumr put them on an oven or broiler.
  2. Try agitating the bottle of polish for several minutes by hand (roll it between your hands; shaking only adds air bubbles) or with a paint shaker.  I have a Robart Hobby Paint Shaker at home that I ordered from Amazon, and it seems to work really well.
    If the issue with your polish is simply that the formula has begun to separate inside the bottle, this should fix the problem.glst01-main-415x640
  3. Finally, you can try a gel polish-specific thinner. The brand I have tried is a couple times is LeChat Gelös Gel Thinner, and it does thin the polish by adding more clear gel, it seems.  However, I was only able to rescue 1 out of 4 bottles of Gelish that had become too thick so I can’t give it an honest review yet.

What problems have you had with organizing or storing gel polish? Comment below!