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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.
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.
In one of my previous designs I used loose sterling silver glitter form 24byRGI.com. The glitter is nice – it’s chunky, easy to use, and available for a reasonable price. The design came out well, and I’ve posted a video of how I used the glitter to create the design on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel.
Check it out if you’re interested in finding out more about this eye-catching glitter or this easy design!
Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) offers an array of products for stampers of all levels. I’ve had the XL stamper plus a few plates and polishes for about a year, and decided it was time that I add to my design and color offerings.
This time I purchased the largest bottle of black polish CJS offers, because I like to stamp my outline image in black. I also bought a “You Choose” Kit of 6 polishes, which is a small savings over buying each one individually. I did the same with small plates, picking a “You Choose” Kit of eight plates and a free plate holder.
These stampers, plates and polishes stamp beautifully and consistently every time. I’ve had great results, and will probably purchase more from this company in the future. I recommend these products over some of the off brand similar items you can find online. You get what you pay for, and I think you’ll find that these products deliver. Clear Jelly Stamper is the original clear stamping head, and the company has really turned stamping into it’s own art form. They even have accessories and organizational products to make the job easier, which I love!
If you’d like to see exactly what you get when you order from CJS, please check out my unboxing video for these products on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. And, we’d love to hear from you in the comments on your experience with these products!
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The magnetic polish trend is a few years old but seems to have made a revival recently, since the “cat eye” look became popular. Here’s my take on it for fall! I used Gelish Magneto Electric Metal Lover on the middle and ring fingers, with Wanna Share a Tent? from the Fall 2018 African Safari collection on the others.
As you can see, I used the starburst magnet, from Gelish. These magnets are hard to find for sale now, since they were released so many years ago, but you can use another brand of magnets
(here’s the one used for a NailPro Magazine demo last year) or magnetic polish to achieve the same look. I’ve even seen nail artists use the side of a normal round or rectangular magnets to create the cat eye look.
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.
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!
This design was done with two coats of Gelish Beauty Marks the Spot, from the Royal Temptations Spring 2018 collection, with some stamped nail art using Clear Jelly Stamper polishes and plate CjS-04.
This polish was wonderful! It went on very evenly in just two coats, as you can see. And, though Gelish pinks and corals have had fading issues in the past, this one shows no signs of such issues after almost one week of wear. And I’m just loving the color! I’m not even tired of it yet! Here I’ve applied it over a layer of Gelish Dip, and have had no adhesion issues after a quick buff with a 100 grit buffer prior to applying the gel polish.
The more I use Clear Jelly Stamper plates and polishes, the more impressed I am with them. The plates are perfect for the salon because they allow you to quickly layer images to create designs as unique as each client. And they’re easy to use with just a little practice. I recommend using the plates and the polishes together – they’re worth the investment!
A couple weeks ago I posted a new video to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel, unboxing the Born Pretty Store Gigantic Stamper. In this post, we’ll take a look at two unique and useful ways to use the gigantic stamper.
First, and most useful in a salon setting, is that you can use a large plate and the stamper to stamp multiple images at the same time. I recommend using abstract full-nail images, because if you take the time to line up single images on each nail the polish will likely dry before you have stamped all the nails.
In the below photo you can see I did 6 of 10 nails this way.
Second, on 2 of the other 4 nails I applied a decal, which I made directly on the gigantic stamper. I stamped off the plate then allowed the polish to dry on the stamper before painting it with other colors. After that dried overnight, I carefully removed it from the stamper and used clear polish to apply it to the nail.
Check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for a demo of these techniques.
For this design I used a technique that’s been around for awhile but I had not yet tried: the “smoosh” manicure. Here are the colors of Gelish I used:
- black – Black Shadow
- red – Don’t Toy With My Heart (also used on full coverage nails)
- gray – Fashion Week Chic
- nude/neutral – Taupe Model
I did one coat of Taupe Model as the base, cured it, then applied small drops of all the colors in various spots on the nails. Next, I used my Morgan Taylor clear stamper to smoosh the drops around so they blended a little, but not so much that the colors became “muddy”. Finally, I cured the design for 1 minute.
Once the smooshing was done I thought it was a little boring so I stamped on top using a design from the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals collection. These are some great stamping plates that would do even better with a better stamping polish. (Next time I’ll try using polish from Clear Jelly Stamper.) Check out the macro shot!
This ended up being super easy (and quick) to do, but got a lot of notice. I wore this manicure for over two weeks!
Have you tried the smoosh mani? Let me know how it turned out in the comments!
Before 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.
A couple weeks ago I ordered the Big Bling XL stamper and some stamping plates and polishes from ClearJellyStamper.com. I had heard about the original clear jelly stamper before, but finally decided to give it a try after I saw Suzie from Nail Career Education interview the inventor of the clear jelly stamper, Debbie, and try the products in this video. I had never seen layered stamping for nails before, and really wanted to try it out!
Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) offers an array of products for stampers of all levels. I already knew what stamped looks I wanted to create, and so I ordered:
For a peek at what I got, please watch my CJS unboxing video at the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. Then, stay tuned for my demo video coming soon!
Have you tried CJS products yet? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know how they worked for you!