CND Shellac

December 12th, 2011
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I went to Arizona for a week, and figured out that it was a good time to try out Shellac. To be perfectly honest, my first instinct was to go out and buy stuff to do it myself, but the rational side of me figured out that I should maybe try it out first. Not every product works for everyone, no matter how awesome they are, you know?

I went to the CND website and found a salon there – salons that appear on that site have to be certified in the system, so I do recommend doing that if you’re going to try it. There was painstaking nail prep to make sure that any hint of cuticle was gone from the nail plate, and apparently soaking your nails, like manicurists do in a traditional manicure, is actually not advised for Shellac, as the nail will swell and then contract. I’m sure that if I wanted to do this on my own at home I could, but I would expect a learning curve.

I got two colors layered (the salon I went to helpfully had samples). This is two coats of Rock Royalty topped by one coat of Iced Coral. The result is a teal-purple duochrome finish, leaning strongly to the teal side.

rock royalty iced coral

rock royalty iced coral

rock royalty iced coral

rock royalty iced coral

At first, I was in love. The finish is shiny forever, and you really are 100% dry after the last curing under the UV light. Unfortunately, I got a big old giant chip on my right thumb on day three. My pointer finger and my middle finger on my right hand are also close to going, and I have figured out why. I am unfortunately not without peelies, and Shellac bonds to your nail really well, like it’s supposed to. The problem with me is that my top layer of my nail is not always super excited about being bonded to the *rest* of my nail, so I do believe it’s actually helped some peelies along, as that bond is weaker than the one of the Shellac. I had a similar experience with the Zoya Color Lock system.

I don’t have a lot of need for wearing the same polish for weeks very often, but I had ideas of being able to put on a black, and do quick layering options throughout the week, or doing something similar with a nude color. Semi-permanent underwear, if you will. Not that manicures take a long time (thank you quick dry top coat!) but having a week of just an effect layer with a top coat seemed really appealing. But unless I can rid myself of peelies, this doesn’t seem like a good option for me. At least I figured it out before I bought a UV light.

Another con – even if this was chip-proof for 14 days, as it’s supposed to be, I don’t think I could keep it on that long. Part of the application process requires making sure nothing is touching the skin (or it will lift later), and so the gap on application to the cuticle was a little more pronounced. I suppose if one is super careful they could get closer, but growth would be annoying earlier than the 14 days.

Day 7:

rock royalty iced coral

rock royalty iced coral

That’s when I took it off. The foil method worked just fine. This definitely exacerbated my peelies. I’m disappointed – the staying power is clearly there, but it’s just not good for my particular nail type.

Illamasqua Force

November 23rd, 2011
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Force is a medium blue cream with a bit of a purple lean to it. Not enough to be periwinkle, but enough to not be just blue. It dried darker than it looked in the bottle. This was opaque in two coats, but this photo is of three coats, thanks to a quick-dry topcoat failure.

Like Jo’Mina, Force is part of the 2010 Summer Body Electrics collection. I looked for another Prism-like polish to layer with, and came up with Color Club Runway Muse.

Force Runway Muse

Force Runway Muse

One coat of Runway Muse over three (though two would be good) coats of Force gave a color very reminiscent of Tahitian pearls. I was really impressed with this combination! The top coat gives a definite green flash, and the overall color is much more purple.

Illamasqua Jo’mina

November 22nd, 2011
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Jo’mina is an electric lilac cream. It’s a bit thinner than the standard Illamasqua cream, but easily covered in two coats. Lavenders are a little tricky on me – too pink and it looks pretty bad on me. I’m happy to report that this one seems just about perfect!

Jo’mina is part of the Summer 2010 Body Electrics collection, which also came with a sheer irridescent color called Prism. From what I can tell, that’s not available in the US. So I rooted around in my stash…

jo'mina rock candy

This is one coat of Orly Rock Candy over two coats of Illamasqua Jo’Mina. Rock Candy gives it a pearly finish, with slight duochrome flashes of pink and green. Very pretty!

Sephora by OPI Naughty is the New Nice

November 21st, 2011
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Naughty is the New Nice

Naughty is the New Nice is a beautiful pale blue silvery foil. This is the only one of the holiday collection that I picked up, and I’m really glad I did. It’s good coverage in two coats, and has a lovely foil finish.

Nails Inc. Houses of Parliament

November 18th, 2011
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The magnetic polishes from Nails Inc. probably won’t get great coverage with just one coat, so I’ve worn black under both colors. I had just picked up a different Wet ‘n Wild black (other than the standard black cream), so I tried it out.

Ebony Hates Chris

Ebony Hates Chris is a standard black cream. It’s normally twice the price of the regular one, at a whopping $2, but I picked it up on a 50% off sale. :) I kind of hoped that the brush would be better than the standard, but not really. It was still a one-coater, but felt a little thicker and prone to brush drag marks if you weren’t careful. None of this a deal killer at the price, mind you – it’s a great one-coat black polish. This pic did inspire me to finally order the E.L.F. concealer brush to work on my cleanup, though! Macro shots are really darn unforgiving.

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament is a purple magnetic polish. I used one coat over one coat of black, applying one nail at a time (paint, magnet, move to next). I really do love the effect and the finish of these polishes – I’m definitely snapping up the teal one when it becomes available!

China Glaze It’s Alive

November 17th, 2011
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It’s Alive is a slightly acidic green glitter. The glitter is of varying sizes, which gives a lot of nice depth and dimension to this. One coat of topcoat wasn’t enough to smooth it out, which might have annoyed me if I wore it more than one day. I did buy some Gelous from Sally’s Beauty Supply, but haven’t tried it as a glitter leveler yet. This would have been a prime candidate. I got good coverage, opaque in two coats!

It's Alive

A-England Tristam

November 16th, 2011
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Tristam is a royal blue scattered holographic polish. The color is rich and beautiful, though the holo slightly more understated than I was expecting. The consistency was just a tad thick, which gave me coverage in two coats, but might need a touch of thinner soon.

Sparitual Sacred Ground

November 7th, 2011
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I don’t have a lot of Sparitual, but I had to get Sacred Ground after I saw swatches of it online.

Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground is a gorgeous grey/taupe shimmer. The shimmer is blue and gold, which gives this polish incredible glow and depth. It’s a really unique polish, which is so difficult to do these days! A total win here. This was two coats.

Nails Inc. The Wyndham Collection

November 4th, 2011
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The Wyndham collection is the third and last of the three Nails Inc. sets that I picked up from Sephora. This one is also known as Blair, for the Gossip Girl naming of these products for the UK market.

wyndham collection


Kensington is a deep blackened teal cream. This was two coats of careful application – I don’t know why I have to work so hard at the creams, but it’s this weird cross of too thick and yet too runny.

kensington wyndham

The Wyndham Overglaze top coat is filled with flakies that flash mostly green with some occasional blue. This reminds me of Nfu-Oh 40, though I haven’t done a direct comparison. This was one coat over Kensington.

Nails Inc.The Donmar Collection

November 3rd, 2011
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The Donmar collection is the second of the three Nails Inc. sets that I picked up from Sephora. This one is also known as Lily, for the Gossip Girl naming of these products for the UK market.

Donmar Collection


Chelsea is a deep plum cream. Definitely very blackened. I was much more careful with the application, applying two thin coats. It does take some extra wipes of the brush on the side of the bottle to make sure you don’t use too much product.

Chelsea Donmar

The Donmar Overglaze top coat is filled with flakies that flash green and red. This one seems the most familiar to me – I think along the lines of Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, and the rumored dupes, Nubar 2010 and Nfu-Oh 39. This was one coat of overglaze.