Everyday Nail Art #6: Gel Polish Marble

S&M 23 April 2019 A

Contains affiliate links below.
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.

S&M 23 April 2019 B

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.

Advertisements

Testing real sterling silver glitter

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.video thumbnail 24 by RGI

Check it out if you’re interested in finding out more about this eye-catching glitter or this easy design!

Everyday Nail Art #3: Real Silver Glitter

S&M 24 by RGI A

Before we head into spring colors and designs, I wanted to share with you one of my manicures using this beautiful, rich shimmer polish from the Gelish Marilyn Monroe Forever Fabulous collection. The polish is called I Prefer Millionaires, and it’s one of my favorites in the collection.

For the design I tried out a new product that I read about in Nails Magazine awhile ago; It’s genuine sterling silver glitter from 24byRGI.com. You can buy one gram for $12.95 with free shipping. To create a block of glitter, I taped off the area before applying the glitter using Top It Off (I wanted to be able to soak it off later), and then used a striping brush to hand-paint the lines around it with Arctic Freeze by Gelish.

S&M 24 by RGI BThis design turned out really well…very striking in person.

The polish applied beautifully and worked well with the glitter.  I really liked the glitter, too, and will probably buy more products from 24byRGI.com. I love being able to buy real metal glitter, and they also offer their glitter in 24K gold. They also have a 24K gold nail polish, which is their signature product and namesake. The loose glitters must be suspended in a top coat or adhered during application, and there are probably a few methods for doing so. I’ll post a short video soon to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel explaining the method I used for this design, so stay tuned!

 

Unboxing: More Clear Jelly Stamper Plates and Polishes

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.

ClearJellyStamper Plates

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!

video thumbnail unboxing CJS

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!

Salon Manicure Choices – What’s the Difference? Some Final Thoughts

There are so many wonderful nail treatments available now in salons and for home use. In this series we’ve reviewed the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails, and with this post we conclude the series on selecting the best system for your needs, wrapping up with a comparison of some available systems.

When deciding which system is right for you or a client there a few lifestyle aspects to consider, such as how long you like wearing a nail color or design, your preferred nail length, product removal time, or how long the manicure needs to last.natural nail manicure product spectrum

sm-31-december-2016

The graphic above (© Smoke &Mirrors) details what you can expect from the systems we reviewed in the last four posts in terms of wear time.

So, if you love changing your nail color frequently, you’ll probably want to focus on products to the left side of the scale, like traditional or hybrid nail polishes.  On the other hand, if you’re super busy (who isn’t?!?!) and don’t have time for frequent color changes, you may want to try a gel polish or even dip powder nails.SM dip family

The time you’ll spend removing the product also increases as you move right on the scale. Fittingly, the longer the wear time of the product generally, the longer a removal time it will require.  However, if long wear time is your priority, you’ll likely find the increased removal time to be worth it!

So, what are your thoughts on these systems? Do you alternate between systems depending on the season? Does your salon offer all these options? Have you had better results with any particular system? Leave a comment or question below!

Salon Manicure Choices – What’s the Difference? Traditional Nail Polish

Contains affiliate links

On this blog I post a lot about gel polish and occasionally about traditional polish, but did you know there are other systems available that may meet your natural nails manicure needs and fit your lifestyle? There’s also the latest craze – dipped nails, which isn’t nail polish like we usually think about it.  There are so many amazing treatments out there! In this series we’ll review the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails in the market today.

Traditional Nail Polish

Traditional nail polish is also sometimes called lacquer. This is the system that most people are familiar with, as it has been around for decades, can be found at most department or drug stores, and is easy to apply (but surprisingly difficult to apply well).

Image from Amazon.com

 

The technology that traditional nail polish uses typically includes nitrocellulose, film-forming agents, resins, solvents, and, of course, colorants. Professional systems usually include at least a base and top coat formulated to work with their lacquer colors, as well as other nail treatments such as strengtheners, finishers and drying agents.
One of the most-trusted (and my personal favorite) traditional polish brands is OPI. I also recommend Morgan Taylor.

Is traditional nail polish for you?

If you enjoy self-care time for getting weekly nail services and love trying new, on-trend colors, then traditional polish might be perfect for you. Traditional polish is a quick treatment that is perfect for combining with other pampering salon services.

Is this your polish of choice? What do you love about it? Leave us a comment!

Everyday Nail Art #2: Magnetic Nail Art

Contains affiliate links

magnetic-nails-11-e1540999334653.jpg

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.

magnetic nails closeup

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.

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?

Beauty Marks the Spot!

S&M 8 May 2018.jpg

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!

video thumbnail swatches make a splash

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!