Plagiarism of Smoke & Mirrors content (Updated!)

Dear readers, I’m posting to warn you about two sites that recently plagiarized Smoke & Mirrors content.

  1. Update: The first company I had previously mentioned replied to my inquiry very quickly and gave me credit for the work, so I am removing their information from this post. A big thank you to them for resolving the situation reasonably and quickly!
  2. Universal Nail Supplies swiped my photo of the Gelish Royal Temptations Collection for their recent email campaign.  I have shopped there before and receive their regular emails… Well, imagine my surprise when I received an email containing the image that my photographer and graphic designer had created for my YouTube Channel!  Universal Nail Supplies had simply copied the image and cropped off the top part containing my logo:

video thumbnail royal temptations

Plagiarism:

“an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author”  

Definition from Dictionary. com

Plagiarism sucks. But it is exactly what these two companies did with Smoke & Mirrors content.

As a blogger or content creator, you take the time, effort, energy, and funds to craft your website content, only to have it stolen for someone else to make money from. Perhaps you’re not even making money from it yourself! (The owner of Smoke & Mirrors nail blog is not compensated for any content. We do not make money from this blog.)

If you have had this happen to you or can imagine it, I am sure you are a little outraged, too.  However, this is a common problem in creative circles.  Nail techs are inspired by others’ nail art all the time, right?!?

Here’s a simple solution: GIVE CREDIT.

Did you do your own take on someone else’s design and post a photo? Give them some credit! Link to their site or blog or Insta or Tumblr or whatever. Let the viewer know who the awesome artist is that inspired you.

If you like someone’s photo or their product review, LINK TO THEIR SITE. Don’t be that crappy person who STOLE someone else’s content.

I’m too busy working full-time for a living, while creating original content and forming my own opinions for my blog in my personal time, to regularly search for other sites that may have stolen my work. Know that I did not go out looking for plagiarism of my site’s content. In the first instance I stumbled upon the stolen content during a Google search, and in the second the company actually emailed me.

At the time of this posting, Universal Nail Supplies has yet to respond to my email asking for credit, which was as follows (personal info redacted):

email to Universal

 

I ask that you do not support the thieves at these companies by shopping there.  And fellow nail bloggers, please be on the lookout for these companies!

I’d also like to know – has this ever happened to you? How did you handle the situation?

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Beauty Marks the Spot!

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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!

Make a Splash Live Swatches!

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Prefer to see swatches live? My Gelish Summer 2018 Make a Splash collection swatches are available for viewing on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel!

Please check them out and leave me a comment!

Gelish Make A Splash Swatches

Make a Splash collection beauty shot

The Summer 2018 Make a Splash collection from Gelish is available now. “The summer collection has an emphasis on fun-in-the-sun with its vibrant and eye-catching shades,” says Danny Haile, CEO and Founder of Gelish. “Even if you can’t live on the beach or at the pool all summer, your nails will make you feel that way!”

Here are the beautiful, summer-centric colors… Get your sunblock and lounge chair ready!

  • Cellophane Coat – front and center in the photo above, an iridescent overlay, is one of my favorite “Trends” colors yet. This topper is great by itself, as seen in the bottom of the swatches below, or on top of almost any Gelish color.
  • Feeling Swim-sical – teal creme, a very smooth polish. Use three coats for deeper color. (This is the only color I did three coats of for my swatches below.)
  • Flamingo Float – coral pink with a shimmer. This is one of two polishes in the collection with a shimmer finish that I am loving. It really differentiates the polish from others of a similar shade.
  • Flip-Flops and Tube Tops – fuschia with a shimmer. This polish also has the shimmery finish that draws the eye. These two might be my favorites in the collection! Which is saying a lot because I love the bright greens, like…
  • Limonade In The Shade – neon green creme, so eye-catching! The below swatch shows two coats. Use a white base or three coats to add even more punch to this bold color!
  • One Piece or Two? – deep purple creme, probably the darkest color in the collection, but seems like it will pair well with the teal, orange, or green for some trendy nail art. The below photo shows just two coats! This color has great coverage.
  • You’ve Got Tan-gerine Lines – orange neon creme, and this color looks like summer in a bottle to me.  Again, you could give it some pop by using a coat of white underneath or using three coats. The below photo shows just two coats.Make a Splash

This collection is even better in person, and I’m really excited to get started using it. I think we can get create some really cool nail art with it, too. All the polishes apply smoothly, as we’ve come to expect from Gelish, and have surprisingly good coverage. It’s really hard to get a formula for the neons that provides good coverage in just two coats. Gelish did an excellent job with these… You can tell their R&D department is on its toes!

Note that I personally purchased this collection, and this is not a sponsored post. I just really like the product!

To see these colors in action, please visit again in a few days – We’ll be posting the live swatches for this collection to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel soon!

 

 

#NakedNails – Week 3

S&M naked nails week 3.jpg

I’m on week 3 of my #naturalnailrefresh, and this week my nails have started to look like themselves again.

After my disappointing test results with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SH MG) in the color ShockWave, I decided to try again with another color. For this test I applied three coats of a bright purple color called Hunger Flames.

S&M 1 April 2018 C

This time around I decided to apply three coats of the color polish, in order to make the color more even. The idea backfired however, because the orange peel issue I had reported on a couple weeks ago became twice as bad with extra color coats. The results were so bad that I removed the polish after only a couple days and didn’t bother taking a photo. When I removed the color I was disheartened to find out that the color had stained my nails. I’m not sure if you can tell in the photo above, but in person I could see it very clearly. Why isn’t there a base coat for this system?!?!

Using traditional polish (I know that Sally Hansen calls this product a gel, but it is not) again for the first time in a while reminds me that it has some issues you wouldn’t have with gel polish:

  • staining of the natural nail, especially with darker colors
  • visible ridges in the nails
  • small amounts of residual polish in the lateral nail fold (and even under the free edge) that can be difficult to remove

This week I plan to protect my nails with Gelish Dip, and then I’ll be documenting not only how Gelish Dip can help you grow long natural nails, but also how well SH MG will work on top of an acrylic overlay. I have a hunch that it will show better results over the acrylic and on longer nails!  Have you tried SH MG on acrylic or gel overlays or enhancements? If so, did it work well? Please leave a comment below!

#NakedNails – Week 2

S&M naked nails week 2

This week you can definitely see some growth! I’m a little late posting this photo, but this is about two weeks of growth.  My nails are getting long enough that soon I’ll want to apply some Gelish Dip to protect them from breakage.

In the meantime, I’ve been testing Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SH MG).

S&M 1 April 2018 C

As you saw in the photo in my last post, I used the color called Shock Wave, a perfect spring color. I had heard good things about this product and had high expectations for it. However, my results weren’t so good. Here are my nails after three days, right before I couldn’t stand it any longer and removed the polish.

S&M 1 April 2018 A

I had really bad chipping and cracking on my nails, and I wasn’t even that hard on them! Take a look at the cracking close up:

S&M 1 April 2018 B

Needless to say, I was not impressed with this product and would not recommend it for natural nails. It does not flex or bend with the natural nail, like a gel polish would.  It is not thick enough to provide the natural nail with any protection, like gel would. It also does not smooth nail imperfections like gel polish would. For these and other reasons, I actually believe that the name of this product is misleading.  And apparently, I’m not the only one! In early 2017 the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended that the manufacturer discontinue its claims that this is the equivalent of a gel polish product. Yikes! I will reserve my final judgement on the best usage for this product until after I test it for use on top of overlays and for pedicures.

Here are answers to some more questions often asked about SH MG:

  • Does it last two weeks like a gel polish? No, not on natural nails. (I have a hunch that it will be great for pedicures, but that remains to be seen.)
  • Is it like getting a gel polish manicure at the salon? No. This is a resounding no. If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure, this is not the product for you. It lasts no longer than a professional manicure done with traditional polish.
  • How do you remove it? This is essentially a traditional polish, and it is easily removed with regular nail polish remover (acetone-based polish remover will be faster).
  • Does it damage the natural nail? No, this polish does not damage the natural nail. It will, however, stain your nails, as there is no base coat for this system.

Testing Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

During my natural nail refresh I’ve decided to test Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish.

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At my local Walmart I found both the color polish and top coat for $7.49 each plus tax, and there were plenty of colors to choose from. I’ve also ordered two more color polishes online for $3.96 each. The color to the right and pictured on my nails below is a bright pink called Shock Wave. There is a color band at the bottom of the lid, which is a nice touch because it’s somewhat grippy and allows for easier opening of the bottle. But the color of the band isn’t entirely accurate and seems unnecessary seeing as how it’s directly on top of the actual polish color seen through the clear bottle.

Note that all the information I share here is my research and the opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with Sally Hansen and I personally purchased these products for testing. 

While shopping for these polishes the first thing I noticed was that there is no base coat for this product line. The application instructions are to, basically, wash your hands and then wipe them with polish remover before applying two coats of color. Weird…

In the interest of giving the product an accurate test, I followed the application instructions exactly.  After rolling the bottle of polish in my hands for a few seconds I applied the first coat of color polish.  I noticed immediately that the brush is flat and curved, similar to the way many professional brands are designing their brushes now. However, the brush didn’t make application as easy as I had hoped. (I definitely prefer the new Gelish brush.) The first coat was very uneven and streaky.  After a couple minutes dry time I applied a second coat, which did help even out the color quite a bit, but you can still see the uneven color in the photo below.Sally-Hansen-Miracle-Gel-20-Top-Coat-147ml-Transparent-580510

I very much wanted to apply a third color coat, but left it at two in the interest of following instructions exactly for my first application. After 5 minutes drying time for the two color coats, per the instructions, I applied a coat of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SH MG) Top Coat.  The top coat is thick like most actual gel top coats, which I believe may the reason for the success of this product line. Over the next few days I’ll see how this polish wears and will record when the chipping begins in my next post.

S&M 25 March 2018Here are the answers to some questions often asked regarding the purchase and application of the SH MG nail polish:

  • Is this gel polish? No. Gel polish requires a UV/LED light to cure.  This is regular nail polish with a thick top coat that has a gel-like feel and finish. You must wait for SH MG to dry, for at least a half hour, like any other traditional nail polish.
  • Is it cheaper than gel polish?  Yes, one bottle of the SH MG costs less than the professional brands of gel polish (like Shellac, Gelish and OPI).  In upcoming posts I’ll compare the wear time of SH MG and Gelish to help determine which is the best bang for your buck!
  • Is it dry instantly? No. This is a traditional nail polish and therefore takes quite some time to dry (Unlike get polish, which cures or “dries” instantly in the UV lamp).
  • How does it work? From the SH MG press release: “The advanced Color Coat and Top Coat formulas contain an oligomer, and the Top Coat also contains a photoinitiator. The photoinitiator in the Top Coat formula reticulates with the oligomer contained in the Color Coat, thus curing the formula without the need of an LED/UV light. As the manicure cures over time, it becomes more durable due to the increased hardness of the film. So LED/UV lamp curing is not necessary, only natural light.” According to the back of the bottle, the Top Coat “activates” ingredients in the color coats.
  • What is the finished texture? As noted above, two thin coats of color plus top coat produces a smooth yet unevenly colored finish (see nails on top hand in the photo above). Two medium-thick coats of color plus top coat create a more evenly-colored nail but an orange peel finish (nails on the bottom hand above).
  • Is the Top Coat necessary? Yes. The color coat alone dries to a thin finish and will not last as long without the Top Coat. (Well, technically it is not necessary if you want terrible results…)

Have you tried to Miracle Gel? What are your thoughts on this product? Please leave a comment below!

Gelish Royal Temptations Collection for Spring 2018

Look at these beautiful swatches of the lovely Gelish Royal Temptations Collection!

S&M 3 March 2018 B

ICYMI this is the spring collection for 2018 for Gelish, released about a week ago. The colors are really pretty, and I’m amped about them all, as usual. I think the green Ruffle Those Feathers and purple All the Queen’s Bling are going to be really popular with clients.  Actually, Ruffle Those Feathers is the first color I used on myself!

(Please ignore the bubbling on the blue My Other Wig is a Tiara swatch… that was my fault. This is what happens when you apply layers of gel polish that are too thick!)

If you prefer to see live swatches, please check out the Smoke and Mirrors YouTube channel for swatches of the entire Royal Temptations collection!

 

 

Gelish Royal Temptations Swatches

 

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Image Courtesy Gelish

For spring 2018, Gelish has introduced the Royal Temptations collection. “Inspired by the lavish life of Marie Antoinette, the collection includes six delicious shades. Opulent pastels of sea foam green, teal, purple, pink and coral help to convey the romantic fantasy we associate with being a queen. For an even sweeter nail look, add on Over-the-Top Pop, a special effect glitter that you can’t help but adore.”

Click below to see the Smoke & Mirrors live swatches of this beautiful collection, including the glitter topper.

video thumbnail royal temptations

Don’t Toy With My Heart

S&M 27 January 2018 A

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!

S&M 27 January 2018 B

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!