YsNails Dual Forms review

A couple years ago I wrote a post explaining dual forms vs. inverted nail moulds. Now I’m back with review of another brand of dual forms (also called reverse forms)! (Note that I bought all the items mentioned in this post, and the opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.)

Dual forms gained infamy when nail technician Amy Becker used them in a competition in 2013 to sculpt a full set in less than 8 minutes. She now holds the World’s Record for fastest set of sculptured pink and white acrylic nails thanks to her innovative use of this product. Many nail techs still think using dual forms is “cheating”, but I find that they are simply a quicker way of producing beautifully shaped enhancements on the natural nails. They cannot replace paper forms or nail tips, but are another viable option for nail techs and home users.

I have been using ASP Form-A-Nail dual forms on myself off-and-on for the past couple years. Recently I watched a video review on YsNails dual forms from another nail tech, Denise John, on YouTube, and decided to give them a try. I bought the YsNails dual forms on Ebay.  They came in a plastic bag inside a bubble wrap mailer, with some brief instructions.  If you don’t know how to use these there are a hundred videos online that can help!

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Overall I like these dual forms. It’s convenient to have a length guide on the form, though this isn’t a deal-breaker because I measure the length of my nails while finish filing, to make sure they’re all even, anyway. These dual forms built a nice nail for me (I usually prefer squoval), and I didn’t feel bad about re-shaping the form for my thumb nail because the package came with so many forms… more on that below.  However, the plastic did seem a bit thinner than the other dual forms I’ve used, making them feel flimsier overall. Here are the nails I built with them, using Gelish Hard Gel:

S&M 1 October 2017

If you’re looking to buy dual forms, buying them online or at Sally Beauty is probably the fastest and easiest way to get your hands on some. Comparing the two brands I personally have used…

ASP Form-A-Nail – around $8 for 24 forms in 12 unique sizes

  • work consistently well (I’ve tried them with hard gel, acrylic and Polygel)
  • have tabs on the side to hold so you can more easily rock the dual form until it pops off the nail
  • no length indicator
  • shape of the forms fits well to the typical nail bed
  • form a decent nail shape, perhaps a little flatter than I would like

YsNails dual forms – $9 for 120 forms in 12 unique sizes

  • worked just as well as the more expensive versions
  • have length indicators – very helpful!
  • seem to be a thinner plastic than other brands
  • you get more in the pack than with other brands
  • have a very rounded cuticle area; my thumb nail cuticle area is very flat, so I filed the edge of the dual form to match

Some other brands:

  • Pronails Poppits– these seem to be the original. They have a tab at the tip to help with removal.
  • Bio-Swift system – like a couple other techniques that pro and home users have been using for years (such as stamping nail art and acrylic dip systems), it seems that dual forms are gaining attention in 2017 from professional brands. BioSeaweed Gel introduced this reverse forms kit recently
  • ASP Form-A-Nail – I mentioned these above and in my previous post about dual forms, but I’m listing them again here to supply the link

Be aware that whether you use gel or acrylic, this is a two-handed process. You’ll need to use one hand to hold the form in position on the nail of the other hand until the acrylic dries or while the gel is cured enough (about 20 seconds) for the form to stay in place during the full curing process. I have never used these on clients because I don’t have a lamp that will cure gel while I am holding the dual form on the nail with my two hands. You’d probably need an overhead lamp or a flashlight-style LED lamp.

Also be aware that it’s easy to push the dual form down on to the nail using too much pressure, resulting in a precariously thin enhancement and a vulnerable nail-to-extension transition (meaning the area where the natural nail abuts the gel nail). This can lead to easy breakage and shorter wear time. I also prefer my extensions to be a bit thicker, after finding that the super thin extensions just don’t hold up to the rigors of everyday life as well as those that are a little thicker.

Reverse or dual forms are easy to use but, just like any other product, they still require practice.  Have you tried any of these brands of dual forms? What do you think about them? Please leave a comment below!

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Don’t Break My Corazon

S&M 12 November 2017

This design was done with two coats of Gelish Don’t Break My Corazón from the Fall 2017 Matadora collection. This is a stunning red in person, and it is the type of red that goes with everything.

On the middle nails I taped off the inner section before applying the Don’t Break My Corazón. After the polish cured I removed the tape and glued on some 3D net embellishments from Born Pretty Store. This stuff is basically a lot of strings all laid in a random pattern and glue together. It comes to you in a small sheet, and you can cut a strip whatever size you need from it.  It is a flat sheet of it, however, and only slightly flexible. And it is not self-adhesive, so I used nail glue to adhere it to the curves of my nail. It stayed on very well, and I had to soak it off with acetone when it was time for removal.

I’m not sure if this design is really my style, but the product worked well and I got a lot of questions and compliments on it!

Marshmallow Manicure

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About a month ago I saw a post on the Nails Magazine website about the “marshmallow manicure” that Morgan Taylor lead artist Gina Edwards had created for Caroline Herrera’s Spring 2018 NYFW collection models.

While Gina Edwards used Heaven Sent (formerly Little Princess) for the white color, I decided to use the new white called I’m Drawing a Blanco, from the fall 2017 Matadora Gelish collection.  I’m Drawing Blanco does have a bit of shimmer to it, which I embellished with some rhinestones and Gelish Grand Jewels to create this design. The butterfly is a double-stamped (first white, then black) image from stamping plate BP-07 I purchased at The Born Pretty Store.

Mauve Your Feet

S&M 30 September 2017

One of the new colors from the Gelish fall 2017 Matadora collection is proving to be very popular so far, at least on social media. It’s called Mauve Your Feet, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. Here’s my take on it.

This is 2 coats of Mauve Your Feet stamped with a rose design from Morgan Taylor Designer Plate 3720201-1 in black polish.  I used a plate and stamper from the Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit, and the design came out beautifully!

What do you think? Have you worn this color yet?

Why you should inventory your nail polish regularly

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A quick story from a recent personal experience: At the salon where I currently work they store nail polish on a wall shelf.  I typically bring my own supplies, but one client asked for a color off the shelf. I had no idea how long this polish had been there, but decided it would probably be fine to use. I proceeded to perform the manicure and sent her on her way. She was my list client of the day, so I headed home a couple hours before the salon actually closed.

Less than an hour after I got home the salon called to tell me that the client had called complaining that her manicure had become gritty. She wanted to know if I could re-do her nails right away, before the salon closed. So I headed back to the salon to see what the problem was. Long story short – the polish I had used was very old, and the manicure had developed tiny bubbles over the hour or so after it was done.  It looked like I had used a texture polish!

So I applied a different color of polish and apologized profusely to the client. I also tossed the bottle of polish in the trash while the client was there, so she could see that we would not be risking this happening again. After I was done, I thought “How can I prevent this from happening again?”. Not only had a I lost time but also money, and caused frustration for myself and the client.

The answer I came up with is simple: inventory the nail polish on a regular basis.  Did you know that the shelf life of Gelish is 18 months?12M

On cosmetics there is a symbol indicating the product’s shelf

life, which usually looks like this:

 

The number will change depending on the number of months of good shelf life. I’m not saying that your gel polish won’t last longer than 18 months, but the expiration date is the recommended length of time in which you should use the product. After that amount of time it’s important to check them before you sit down to use them on a client!

If you find this information useful, here are some ideas for inventorying your nail polish:

  • Record the polish brand, color name and/or item number, and the date you purchased it, into a spreadsheet or notebook. Some people like to do this on paper so they can include a swatch.
  • At predetermined intervals, say every 6 months or 12 months, go through your collection and personally test all the bottles that are approaching expiration.
  • If you don’t know when you bought a polish or other cosmetics, you can try checking the database at checkcosmetic.net or similar sites to find out what the shelf life is of that batch.

If you have any experience with polish expiring or with inventorying your stash, let me know in the comments below!

Review: Probelle Hydrating Top Coat

S&M Probelle hydrating topcoat

Probelle sent me this Hydrating Base Coat to try about a month ago, and I’ve used it on myself and one client so far. I always test products on myself before using it on a client, as I can’t wholeheartedly sell a service or product to a client without having a good experience with it myself. As always, the opinions shared in this post are my own. (My reviews are based my honest assessment of the products, and this blog’s content is not pre-approved by any PR representatives or brands.)

I applied it to my nails twice after removing acrylic enhancements. My nails were a bit rough, and I didn’t have time to do much with them. It was quick and easy to put on a layer of this clear polish, and I actually applied it two days in a row. It’s a very thin, clear coat. You can’t feel it on the nail, and there is no unpleasant smell to this product. It leaves a nice, natural sheen on the nail. The only negative comment I have about the application is that the brush was small and the bristles spread out unevenly.  Some of the bristles were wonky and stuck out to the sides, which made it difficult to control the product.

The client on whom I used this product on was recovering from poor product application then removal done by another nail tech. She had deep rings of fire, and her nails were peeling and breaking.  At the time of booking, she requested gel removal and a manicure with a “moisturizing treatment”.  After removing old product and prepping her nails, I applied one coat of this Probelle Hydrating Base Coat before proceeding with a regular manicure. I advised the client to use plenty of cuticle oil and lotion over the coming days.

Bottom line: This product is OK, but I haven’t been impressed enough through my experiences with it to purchase more Probelle products.  If I had more clients who requested natural nail manicures or products, I might be more likely to test the entire Probelle line of products and compare them to other major brands in order to decide which line to use at the salon.

Remember that nails don’t breathe or absorb nutrients, so we need to encourage healthy nail growth from the inside out by eating right, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and taking a supplement (as advised by a doctor). But if a client requests a treatment like this after enhancement removal, there are various protective products that techs can apply while giving the nails time to grow out.

Most nail product companies market some type of recovery treatment and, although we know that these products do not put nutrients into the nail, the added vitamins typically won’t do any harm and may give the client peace of mind. Frankly, I think these products are mostly a marketing scheme, but most companies likely make the decision to create and sell them in order to remain competitive in our industry. In the end it is up to the individual nail tech and client on if and how they are used.

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?

 

 

Gelish Collections List Updated!

I just updated the master list of Gelish polishes to include the Beauty and the Beast spring collection.

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Photo Credit: Esther’s Nail Center

And, stay tuned over the coming weeks for updates to that page – I’ll be linking all my collection photos and nail design photos to that page so you can not only reference a color name, item #, or release date, but also see the color sample or a nail design using that color.

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.

Let’s Get Frosty!

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Happy new year!

This is Gelish Let’s Get Frosty over Nailite’s UV gel polish called Sand (which I believe is a retired color).  I used ASP Form-a-Nail nail forms to add a protective layer to my natural nails using Nailite’s Sand, then applied 3 coats of Let’s Get Frosty.  (Note that Let’s Get Frosty is more silver than you see in the photo above; applying it over the colored gel altered the final shade a bit.)

The photo was taken after about a week, so you can see how well these held up. I was really happy with these; I kept them on for about a week and a half, and the only reason I re-did them is that I wanted to have time to do a new set before I go back to work in the new year.

I love my Gelish! What about you? Are you wearing any colors from the Gelish winter or Holiday collections?