My, Myself-ie and I

S&M 6 August 2017

As we enter the final weeks of summer 2017, I felt some neon pink nails were in order. This is Gelish Me, Myself-ie and I, from the Selfie collection, with some hand-painted nail art. Some nails are topped with All That Glitters Is Gold from the original Gelish Trends collection. I used black and white acrylic paints, a striping brush and a dotting tool to paint the design. This design was done on enhancements (tips) done with Gelish Dip, and not only do they look pretty good but they’re holding up very well!

Check out how beautifully all the colors work together in this collection:

S&M 6 August 2017 B

Here’s a photo of my entire Gelish Mini Selfie collection. I rarely buy the mini sizes any more, but decided to purchased them in the smaller size for this collection because neons don’t see a lot of use from my current clients.

Selfie Collection

This summer I’m loving the corals and pinks in this collection. What about you? What’s your favorite Selfie color?

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

plate 3720201-1

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.

plate 3720201-2

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?

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.

Perfect Landing!

sm-15-october-2016

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.

Fuchsia stained glass flowers

S&M 18 May 2016

For this design I used Kung Fu-chsia from the Gelish Kung Fu Panda 3 collection. I hand painted the dots using Chain Reaction from the Urban Cowgirl collection. I made decals for the middle fingers using the Born Pretty Store plate BP-07 and clear stampers.  I simply stamped the image, and allowed it to dry on the stamper head (I have several stamper heads on hand so that I can keep working while each one dries), before coloring it in with regular polish. Then, once it had thoroughly dried, I peeled it off the stamp head and placed it on the nail. Then I top coated with Gelish Top It Off. The design has lasted beautifully for more than a week now!

Jamberry Review – Part One

I thought it might be a nice idea to do a Jamberry review from a nail tech’s perspective. I’ve been able to find plenty of reviews from at-home users and Jamberry consultants, but none from a professional nail tech.

Background: I received the small Jamberry samples in two different patterns – one floral and one blue snakeskin.  They were given to me by a co-worker, who got them from someone else who knows a Jamberry consultant.  So this is an honest review, as I don’t even know the person the samples originally came from, and I did not pay for anything.

Here’s the nail art I did with the floral sample.

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On the other 8 nails I used Gelish Po-riwinkle from the Kung Fu Panda 3 Collection.

To apply the Jamberry wraps I first trimmed them to fit my pinky nails, then rested them next to a hot bulb for about 30 seconds to make them pliable.  After completing my normal nail surface prep,  I peeled the wraps from the clear base and applied them to the nail.  They applied very easily, adhered well, and had only a couple of wrinkles at the sides of the nails. I put one coat of Gelish Top It Off over the wraps.

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Stay tuned for part two of this review, which will be an update on how the wraps are holding up after 1 week. I’m taking the 7-day challenge!