Gelish Royal Temptations Swatches


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


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!

S&M 3 December 2017 D

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!

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!

Why you should inventory your nail polish regularly


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 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!

Gelish Dip Review – Part 3

S&M 17 July 2017

Above is a photo of my natural nails, which I have been growing out using the Gelish Dip system for 90+ days. The free edge is over 1/2″ long now and they still look healthy!

In my experience with the Gelish Dip system so far I’ve found that it’s lightweight, and easy to apply.  It does have a heavy chemical smell during application, however.  I usually get 2-3 weeks of wear before I do a soak off and new application. I’ve found that I get better results applying a new coat rather than performing a fill, and that’s mostly because the acrylic does yellow a bit over time.

The Gelish Dip has kept my nails so strong that they have not broken in a very long time. Actually, right before this photo was taken I was wiping my kitchen counter and managed to hit my right pinky nail hard enough to break it off. But, otherwise, no issues and they’ve grown so long that I need to trim them! (I sculpted a nail extension on the broken nail.)

Soak off takes about 15-20 minutes using an acetone-soaked cotton ball.  Usually I will remove the first cotton ball and the first layer of product, then reapply a freshly-soaked cotton ball. This seems to speed up the soak-off process, as it allows the acetone to reach all the acrylic.

Have you tried the Gelish Dip system? Do you like it? Or if you haven’t tried it, why not? Let me know in the comments!

Rocking My Stocking


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!


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?

Simple nail art using a glitter topper

S&M 15 Nov 2015

This is Gelish A Mint of Spring, topped in various sections of each nail with Getting Gritty with It.  Super easy nail art, but eye-catching!

I’m Plum Tuckered Out!


This design is done with Gelish From Rodeo to Rodeo Drive topped in an ombre style with Plum Tuckered Out. Both of these colors are from the Urban Cowgirl Collection.


I stamped using plate BPL003 from the Born Pretty Store, first with silver stamping polish, then black.


Pink with Petals

S&M 19 July 2015

On these nails:  2 coats of Look at You, Pink-achu! from the Hello Pretty! collection by Gelish  + BLE/M5 water decals from the Born Pretty Store.

The decals looked great when first applied, but did not last long at all. Within a couple hours they began to wear away from the tips of my nails, as you can see in the photo.  I had only used one coat of Top It Off, so perhaps I should have used two for better protection.  Next time I will keep the design closer to the cuticle and leave the tip open.  I had no trouble with wear issues near the cuticle.