Everyday Nail Art #4: Crackle Polish

S&M 17 March 2019

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For my recent manicure I brought back the crackle trend to combine it with gel polish from Gelish.  I used China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Cracked Medallion, thinking it would look nice with Gelish Gardenia My Heart. The final look is pretty cool, but I think a bigger difference in the base color and the crackle color would have been more eye-catching.

Either way this design is easy to do on a gel base.  After applying and curing all my color layers and top coat, I buffed the nail I wanted to put the crackle polish on. Then I applied a traditional polish base coat. After it dried, I proceeded with the crackle polish as usual.  After that had dried for a few minutes, I used a traditional polish top coat, but you could also use another layer of gel top coat.

 

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Success with Sally Hansen Hard As Nails

S&M Sally Hansen Hard as NailsI’ve been wearing Sally Hansen Hard As Nails (I’ll call it HAN for short) Hardener for over a week now, and I’m ready to share some thoughts on the product.

Overall, this product gets two thumbs up from me because it does what it promises, quickly, easily and inexpensively. Here are the details:

  • As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s easy to find in grocery, department, or drug stores, and very affordable.
  • You apply and remove it just like traditional nail polish – easy!
  • You get the choice of clear or pink-tinted (you probably won’t notice the pink once it’s applied).
  • You can use multiple coats. The first two times I used it I applied two, and the third time I went with three. It’s also suggested that you apply on the underside of the natural nail, if your free edge is long enough.
  • Your nails will probably feel a little stronger, especially if you already have strong, easy-to-grow nails.

I recommend this product for home use if you…

  • are in the process of growing out your natural nails.
  • are opposed to the use of enhancement products such as acrylic or gel.
  • would like a strengthening base coat without a thick or unnatural-feeling enhancement.

I don’t recommend this product…

  • if you prefer long nails. HAN likely won’t be enough protection for longer natural nails. My free edges are about 3/16″ long and, at this length, I would prefer to have more protection against breakage than this product provides.
  • for use as a ridge-filler. You’ll need to purchase additional products for a smooth look under polish, as this product does not fill ridges in the nail.
  • for professional use. There are professional products that will provide better, long-lasting result in a salon setting.
  • if you prefer a matte look.  HAN comes in two tints, but no matte option.  However, you can apply two or even three coats of this and buff the top layer for a flat, more natural finish.
  • as a top coat. It was intended for use alone or as a base coat, and may not protect the color coat or give the shine a top coat would.

Some things to know before you try this product:

  • It takes awhile to dry, just like traditional nail polish. It is not UV/LED cured.
  • This is a hardener, but only that. It won’t make your nail thicker or break-resistant like a gel or acrylic overlay.
  • I’ve tested HAN with Gelish on top and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Gelish lasted about 5 days before it began to peel at the tips.  If you want to try this, just apply two or three coats of HAN, allow to dry completely, and buff with a 100 grit file to remove shine so that the Gelish will be able to adhere to the nail.

yhst-88462588038071_2563_2240617376Just to be clear – Hard As Nails is an entire product line. The product I’ve tested is the Hardener; I can’t vouch for any other treatments available from Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails line.

Have you tried this product? What did you think? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

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

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There are so many amazing nail treatments out there! In this series we’ll review the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails on the market today. Here we continue our series on selecting the perfect natural nail manicure system for your needs, looking at “hybrid” nail polish.

Hybrid Nail Polish

Hybrid nail polish is also called long-lasting or long-wear nail polish, and it attempts “borrow some of the best qualities from both gel and lacquer without needing to be cured” .  It seems the goal in developing hybrid polish was to create a polish that would last as long as UV-cured gel polishes, but applies easily and could be removed as quickly as traditional nail polish. Some brands take this a step further by incorporating oligomers into their top coats that cure in ambient UV light, and become harder over the course of a day or so.

Hybrid polishes were introduced a few years ago, after the gel polish craze evened out, and seem to have been going steady ever since. Like traditional polish, they’re easy to apply in the salon or at home. Some brands make it even easier by requiring no base coat for their systems. However, it’s important to use the correct base (if required) and top coat for the system to achieve the result for these polishes.

Image from Amazon.com

 

Ready to try for yourself?

Some professional brands are:

 

 

Image from Amazon.com

 

Easy-to-find drug and beauty store brands are:

 

 

 

 

I tested the Sally Hansen brand earlier this year. Here’s one of my manis with a color called Shock Wave.

S&M 25 March 2018

From my perspective, these hybrid polishes felt like a wannabe gel polish – they fell short on delivering on their promises and, overall, my experience with these was a non-starter.  Leave a comment below with your experience! Is this your go-to natural nail product?

Pastel nails

For these nails I thought I’d try again with a couple of products from the Born Pretty Store that I have not had good results with in the past – striping tape and pearlescent powder.S&M 15 July 2018 A

From far away the pearl nails don’t look too bad, paired up with Manga-round with Me and Do You Harajuku? from the Gelish Hello Pretty Spring 2015 collection… I received several compliments on the light green polish, especially during the week.

I should have left it alone, but decided it would be nice to add a piece of rose gold tape to the mango color… and then it snowballed. In past trials I’ve not have good results with this tape, and this time was no different. It started peeling under the top coat right away.

S&M 15 July 2018 B

The pearl mermaid powder was OK… I just felt that I needed to apply it very thick (2 coats) to get the depth of color that I was looking for.  It also begins to wear at the tip more quickly than I expected.

What are your experiences with these products? Any tips for getting the pearl powder to apply cleanly? Please leave a comment!

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!

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!

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?

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?

Bashful

S&M 29 May 2017

This design was done with 2 coats of Bashful topped with one coat of A Moment of Magic, both by Gelish.

Then, in white stamping polish from Born Pretty, I stamped a design from the Morgan Taylor Designer Plate 3720201-2. I used the scraper and the clear stamper that came in the Designer Plates Flirty Florals kit.  As you can see, the stamper transferred the design beautifully. The design on the plate easily provided full coverage on these long nails.

When the stamped design was dry, I added dots in the centers of the larger flowers using Tinsel by China Glaze. Though I stamped these nails, I used Gelish Top It Off as I would for any gel polish manicure. It works very well for sealing stamped designs like this!

 

Plumette with Excitement

S&M 23 April 2017

These two lovely pinks are from the Gelish Beauty and the Beast Collection. The lighter pink is Plumette with Excitement, and the darker is Be Our Guest. I love these colors! They pair together well, and application was so smooth. If you have clients that like Gelish Pink Smoothie, I highly recommend you purchase Plumette with Excitement, as anyone who liked one will probably like the other. Plumette… is a a bit lighter, but a similar shade of pink.

The glitter is actually Born Pretty silver chrome powder. I haven’t yet achieved the look I want with this powder, which is pretty frustrating. But here it looks very good with these two lovely pink polishes. I hand-painted the white designs on top using acrylic paint.

Have you used any colors from the Beauty and the Beast collection? Which ones are your favorite?