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?

 

 

Review: Morgan Taylor Designer Plates

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These lovely stamping plates are Morgan Taylor Designer Plates. Morgan Taylor Lacquer products are a part of the Hand & Nail Harmony family, along with Gelish soak-off gel polish, Prohesion acrylic, and now the Polygel nail enhancement system.

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I purchased the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit from Cosmoprof for approximately $20.  I’ve been looking for them for a couple months, but had been unable to find them for sale until recently. It seems that they’ve just been released, and are now in stock at some retail locations!

You can see my unboxing video for this kit on the NEW Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/G3_EYStSfFo

The images on this plate are cute and versatile. I did a quick test of a few designs and found that the images stamp crisply and clearly:

The images and stamper are large enough to provide full coverage on long nails, which makes them great for salon use. So far, I really like these plates!  I plan to do more nail art soon with them.

I’ve found that the stamper works really well, right out of the box. It’s a nice, soft silicone for a comfortable stamping feel, and the pad picks up the image cleanly with no prep needed. The stamper also magnifies whatever you are viewing through it, which makes it easier to find your desired stamp placement .

Be sure to watch my demo video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel to see these plates in action.

If you’re not familiar with nail art stamping, check out the step-by-step provided by Morgan Taylor on their YouTube page. You can also find more information in my previous in-depth post on nail art stamping here.

Nail art stamping has actually been around for years, and it appears that the professional brands are finally getting into the action. A couple other pro kits have also launched recently. I applaud manufacturers of professional products for creating these kits and making them available to pros, who might not have otherwise tried this seemingly-simple but effective nail art technique.  However, the fact remains that this trend was born from the passion of the DIYers that have been practicing it for a long time already.  Kudos, then, to the professional brands, such as Morgan Taylor, that embrace DIYers as part of the nail community and use their brand to bring these products and techniques to those who might not have otherwise used them!

I’ll be posting nail art featuring the designs on these plates in the near future, so be sure to come back in few days!

Have you tried these plates yet? What did you think?

InCoco Nail Strips review

A couple weeks ago I tried InCoco Nail Strips for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked.

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I bought the full kit of Runway Ready print on clearance (I believe this design now only comes in Accent Finger packs) at Walmart just to give the brand a try. I cleaned and prepped my nails as usual – a key step before applying any nail color or enhancements. Then I applied the strips as directed on the package, which is pretty much the same for any nail strips.  When I peeled these strips off their backing I was happy to find that they’re very pliable and curved with my nails.

After application I added a coat of Gelish Top It Off, and the strips stayed in place for over a week. There was no excess wear and tear when I removed them; I simply had too much growth and was ready for a new set.

What do you think? Have you ever tried these? What was your experience with them?

 

 

Rocking My Stocking

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This is Gelish Rocking My Stocking, of course, from the Wrapped In Glamour collection. I used a light gray from Apple Barrel Paints to hand paint the stripes and dots.

As usual, I loved this Gelish collection when I bought it, and love it even more now that I’ve experimented with the colors. Just a beautiful collection, and it holds up even past the holidays… I can totally see a client requesting this color for Valentine’s Day.

Fade to black

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For this design I used the following Gelish colors:

  • Black Shadow – for the tips
  • Fashion Week Chic
  • Let’s Hit the Bunny Slopes
  • Clean Slate – for the base

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Perfect Landing!

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This design was done with the color Perfect Landing by Gelish, from the Fall 2016 Sweetheart Squadron collection.  I stamped the nail art using Fingerpaints Still Life – Is Good! and Born Pretty stamping plate BP-L 003 for the background, then Fingerpaints Calligraphic Calico and stamping plate BP-L 008 for the leaves on top.

Note that this design is over a week old: a testament to how well Gelish stands up to everyday life. Over the week plus that I had this manicure, I did all my normal daily housework as well as some painting on the outside of my house. In the end, the only reason I wanted to take it off was the growth at the cuticle, which is visible in this photo.

So far I’ve used three of the six colors from this collection and they’re all beautiful. What do you think? Have you used any of the colors from this collection?

B-Girl Style

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This is Gelish B-Girl Style, which is a beautiful pink that reminds me of bubble gum.  On the two middle fingers I used Born Pretty Store Mirror Powder in silver.  It was supposed to have a mirror-like finish, but it didn’t really work for me.  As you can see, it looks like packed glitter rather than chrome, and it left pigment in my Top It Off brush which then transferred to other nails.

This photo was taken a few days after application and you can see it’s already beginning to chip.  I was ready for a new manicure by this point.

With all that said, I do plan to give it another try. I only paid $2 for the powder, so it is worth it even if it only lasts for a couple days.  I also need to practice getting the chrome finish and cleaning off the leftover pigment before top-coating.

On a side note – are you like me, wondering what “B-Girl” even means?  I guess I’m old, but I had to look it up. In this case the B stands for “break”, as in break dancing.  I kinda assumed that’s what it meant, but needed confirmation from the ultimate authority (the internet).

Wish Upon a Starboard

S&M 14 August 2016

This color is Wish Upon a Starboard from Gelish’s A Very Nautical Girl collection, which was released in May. I did this set then didn’t get around to taking a photo of it for about a week and a half.  But I wanted to show you how smooth and shiny it still is after over a week.  The color held up so well that I would have left it on if it weren’t for the growth at the cuticle area.  If you are in the market for a tomato red polish, I highly recommend trying to get your hands on this one!

The lines for the French-style nails were hand-drawn with Chain Reaction, from last fall’s Urban Cowgirl collection.

Give me a Break-dance

S&M 23 July 2016

This polish is from Gelish’s summer collection, Street Beat, and it is called Give Me a Break-dance.  For some unknown reason I thought adding glitter would be a good idea, so I sprinkled a little of Paradise (by Recollections brand) on top of three coats.  In the end I was unhappy because this polish, like others from the collection, has a really pretty shimmer to it, and all I did was mask it.

The stamp is from Born Pretty Store, XL rectangular plate BP-L003, and I stamped with white Konad stamping polish. This plate works really well, especially for the price. Highly recommended it!

I’m getting some Born Pretty store brand stamping polish soon, so stay tuned for a review of that.

Jamberry Review – Part II

As I mentioned in Part I of this review, I was given some Jamberry samples and finally decided to give them a try. Honestly, they did a little better than I expected.  Here’s what they looked like after 1 week:

jamberry 1 week

All the edges were worn and peeling, and the tips had begun to de-laminate and were getting dirty.  The worst peeling, and ultimately why I got annoyed and pulled them off, was at the corners of the tips and down the sides.

After about three days they started to peel at the cuticle. That was really annoying because my hair would get caught under the wrap when I ran my fingers though my hair. The peeling on the sides was worse because it was affected by everything and it looked terrible.  Well, it all looked terrible about 5 days into it, actually. I’m used to a clean edge and smooth finish that is achieved by using gel, and this level of lifting was almost intolerable towards the end of the one week challenge.

So, the final verdict is a NO. Jamberry was no more successful on my curvy nails than other brands I have tried (Minx, Dashing Diva, etc.) I will not be using these again (I couldn’t even bring myself to use the other samples I was given) and I can’t in good conscience recommend them to clients.

On the bright side, they peeled off easily and left very little residue on my nail.

What about you? Have you had good success with Jamberry wraps?