Archive for September, 2011


Wow! I have been so bad about posting here!  It’s not like I haven’t been polishing away! Quite the opposite! Life just has a way of getting out from under me sometimes, and this month has been one of those times.  Planning our wedding has taken most of my free time. It’s stressful, and usually I relax by – you guessed it!- polishing my nails!  But before we get to the polish, I feel the need to vent some top coat frustration.

Like so many polish fanatics out there, I am very picky about my base and top coats.  Having 2 kids, one of which a fast-moving, curious toddler, I adore fast dry top coats. I’ve tried just about every top coat out there, and my quest for my HG of top coats, of course, led me to Seche Vite.

I have a love/hate relationship with Seche Vite. When I first tried it out, I was absolutely in love! I love that it actually dries lightning fast.  I love the super glassy shine.  I love that it’s a deep-dry top coat – infiltrating every later of polish and drying them all as opposed to the top coats that dry the top layer and leave us all open to the giant polish smears. It applied perfectly, was rock hard and I could not imagine ever doing a mani without it again! Fast forward about 2 weeks: All of a sudden my perfect top coat wasn’t so perfect. I began to notice shrinkage at my tips and along the cuticle line. At first I thought I may just be applying it a bit too quickly, and my cuticle line weirdness must have been due to clean up! It couldn’t be my magical SV! So the next time I sat down to polish my nails, I made sure that I coated the entire nail surface with SV, and waited to apply it until I had finished clean up around my cuticles.  I am a nocturnal polisher, so I stayed awake long enough for my nails to dry, and then turned in for the night. The very first thing I did the next morning was check my mani. Low and behold: shrinkage! My tips had receded enough to look like my mani was a few days old. My cuticle line looked shabby and as if I hadn’t bothered to clean up my cuticle line at all.  Did I have oils on my hands? Was it the soap I had washed with before polishing? I quickly removed my polish and tried again. I made sure that my hands were squeaky clean, and that all traces of moisturizer, oils, dirt, dog hair, etc. were removed.  After laying down my base coat and color, I grabbed my SV and again made sure that it covered my entire nail surface and extended a bit below my color at the cuticle line. Waited for my mani to dry completely and went about my usual business. A few hours later I noticed the dreaded shrinkage again! So I hit google and was amazed to find that this was such a common problem that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of message board threads and blog posts dedicated to this issue.  I began to try some of the tips and tricks that I had read: from wrapping the tips to applying my SV while my polish was still very wet, damp, slightly tacky, the list goes on. Nothing worked. And around this time, I was just about halfway through my bottle of SV, and it had become so goopy and thick that it was unusable. What had happened to my amazing top coat!?!

The gooping halfway through the bottle is fixable with Seche Restore, but it pains me to have to spend more money on a product to fix a product that is barely halfway gone.  I feel like my top coat shouldnt become unusable that quickly.  I realize that all polish evaporates, losing some key ingredients in the process, but that’s easily fixed with a few drops of polish thinner, which isn’t expensive and I don’t need to buy a different thinner for each polish. You see where I’m going here. However, if that was the only issue, I would’ve sucked it up, shelled out for the Restore, and resumed my love affair with SV. But the shrinkage! I just can’t deal with my mani looking so shabby within the first few hours of application.  Back to google and all the polish blogs that I pour over (I swear I will update my blogroll!) to find something to help.

I couldn’t find an absolute fix for the shrinkage issue. I tried every tip and trick out there, and nothing worked. Which led me to do something I really didn’t want to do: cheat on my SV. I still love it dearly, but it wasn’t honoring its vows, so I simply had to turn elsewhere.  It pained me to do it, Dear Readers, but you understand. Right?

Today I picked up 2 top coats that I have read glowing reviews for. Orly Sec N’ Dry and Revlon Quick Dry. Orly Sec N’ Dry is a deep-dry top coat, similar to SV in that it seeps into all layers of polish to dry it all at the same time.  On my test nail, so far so good! I applied it over 4 layers of polish, made sure to wrap my tips, and sat back to see what happened. Its been a good 4 hours now, and no signs of shrinkage! Dry time was a touch slower than SV, but still pretty darn fast.  The formula is nice and thick, with no streaking or bubbling. The shine is a touch less than SV, but it still has a lovely high gloss sheen.

Revlon’s Quick Dry Top Coat was my second choice. I had read about it over at Lacquerized (http://www.lacquerized.com) and decided that it was worth a go! I love her blog, and wish my nails were that gorgeous, so if it was good enough for her, I was certainly going to try it!  I applied this top coat over 4 layers of polish, again making sure to coat the entire nail and wrap the tips. The formula is a bit on the thin side, but anything seems thing compared to SV! It applied like a dream though, no streaks or bubbles, and dry time, albeit slower than both SV and Sec N’ Dry, was still pretty fast. I applied this at the same time as Sec N’ Dry, and it took maybe a minute or so longer to dry. Also, thus far, zero shrinkage! 🙂 What really set it apart from Sec N’ Dry was the shine! It is very, very close to SV as far as that amazing glass-like shine.  I wouldn’t have thought to try a Revlon top coat, but I am so glad I did!

So now I have 2 very awesome top coats, and (hopefully) will no longer have to worry about shrinkage. I have read that some people have had issues with some shrinkage, as well as chipping and peeling with Sec N’ Dry. I can’t remember a time that I have worn any polish for longer than 3 days, and I have never had an issue with chipping or peeling, even when using a very basic, slow as molasses, for shine only, 99 cent no name top coat.  And I am so hard on my nails!  I don’t foresee any issues other than possible shrinkage, and I’ll cross that bridge when, and if, I come to it. Today my biggest top coat issue is which to use for my next mani! 🙂

Now that I’ve shared my SV experience, on to the polish!!

I have desperately wanted to get my hands on Orly Space Cadet for some time.  I’ve checked and double checked my usual Sally’s as well as a few of the other Sally’s in town. Everywhere that I have been that sells Orly does not have this polish!  Most Sally’s had almost every other color in the Mineral Effects collection, but Space Cadet seems to be the most popular color out here, and is just impossible to find.  I was considering ordering online, but I am an instant gratification girl and always talk myself out of it.  Not always a good thing, since had I just ordered online I would’ve had Space Cadet long before I found this polish.

I was going through the “Drugstore Dupes” section on Nouveau Cheap (I love that site!), and back aways I came across a post about a dupe for Space Cadet and Mac Mean and Green – Hard Candy “Beetle”! I own a few Hard Candy polishes, and Wal-Mart carries them, so I made a trip down the road and picked up their last bottle! What luck!! In the bottle, it didn’t look like an exact dupe, but still very very close. I had done my internet research and had looked at several swatches on several different sites, and on the nail it certainly did seem to be an EXACT dupe! This is one of those polishes that had me speeding home to try out.

Hard Candy Beetle is a gorgeous duochrome polish. In the bottle it seems to be beautiful burgundy/gold/green duochrome with hints of teal, and damned if that wasn’t just as gorgeous on the nail. It is rather sheer on its own, taking about 3 coats to reach opacity, so I decided to play off the hints of blue/teal in the polish and layer it over Finger Paints “Art of Theft”, a striking midnight blue with purple holographic shimmer and hints of pink.
Here it is on its own, before clean up:

The lighting in my house at midnight isn’t great, so it was near impossible to capture the holo purple/pink in this polish. It’s not an in your face holo, it’s very subtle.  As for formula and application, I love Finger Paints polish. I have never had an issue with formula, and just like all my Finger Paints polishes, Art of Theft applied like a dream! No bubbling or streaks and dry time is relatively fast.  No gooping on the second coat, and the polish barely thickened. Lovely!

After laying down 2 coats of Art of Theft, I grabbed my bottle of Beetle and went to work!  I own several Hard Candy polishes, but Beetle is the first that hasn’t come home and is left sitting and waiting in my unused polish bin.  I was very impressed with the formula, expecting it to be thick and a bit hard to work with. Not at all!  This polish was a lovely consistency, thick enough to stay where i put it, yet thin enough to spread over my nail easily.  And the color! Wow!! The color just jumped right out at me on the first coat!  I probably could’ve left it alone right there, but I applied 2 coats of Beetle to make sure that the color really stood out.  I sealed it all with Seche Vite (while praying to the polish gods to spare me the shrinkage), and voila! Instant love! I never wanted to take this off!!

Here’s Beetle in Natural light:

Is that not one of the most gorgeous polish colors out there? I spent a lot of time turning my hands in the sunlight, watching the colors change.  Stunning! I will definitely be putting this polish into rotation!

Wear on Beetle was awesome as well. I wore this for 3 days, and aside from the tip shrinkage from my SV,  had very little wear.  I seriously had  hard time talking myself into taking it off!

I promise to post the rest of this week’s manis ASAP. I’ve gone through a few manis since wearing Beetle. Currently I am wearing Nail Fetish polish in “Icon”, which I can only explain as a duochrome gold/silver in a slate grey base. Part of my awesome Dollar Tree haul that I nabbed yesterday. I also picked up  a couple 2 packs of some NYC glossies and  some 2 packs of some older Sally Hansen colors (Mandarin Mantra, Chile Pepper and some french mani bases). I’ve been hitting the dollar stores since occasionally people have lucked out and come across SH Nail Prisms, which I desperately want!! Wish me luck!

Happy Polishing!

-Kimber

I really do mean to post more often, but it’s been pretty crazy around here lately!  Planning a wedding is just such a huge undertaking in itself, and combined with running a business and having a family? Wow! I barely have time to think!  But enough whining! Onto the polish!

Lately I have been wearing a ton  of blues and purples. And this post is no exception!

I love  blue polish, and I love glitter! After coveting this color for so long, I finally gave in and picked it up. I was resisting it since everyone has seen this one, and almost everyone owns it, so why post about a polish that has been so thoroughly covered? Obviously I did NOT manage to resist this one, and did run out and buy it. However, it remained in my unused stash until this past week.  Blue is my absolute favorite color to wear on my nails, and Dorothy Who is such a gorgeous shade of it! Combined with tons of blue and silver glitter, it is just stunning! And what depth! My camera actually had one heck of a time focusing!  Here is Dorothy Who immediately after application, in artificial light.

 

And here it is 2 days later, in natural light:

 

I do wish that my camera had been able to actually focus on all my nails at once!

I wore this mani for 3 days, and had a tiny bit of tip wear, but otherwise it looked as good as it did the night I applied it. I am incredibly hard on my nails between work and housework, so I’m impressed when I find a polish that wears well.  The formula was interesting to work with; Usually China Glaze is easy to work with and I rarely have application issues. Dorothy Who was wonderful until my brush made it to the tips of my nail, where the glitter would clump a bit. Easily fixed with a coat of Seche Vite, though! Overall, I’m delighted with this polish and will definitely be wearing it again soon.

 

Currently I am wearing Wet N’ Wild’s “Buffy The Violet Slayer with China Glaze Matte Magic Topcoat. I added some shiny tips since I love the dual effect of matte and shiny together. Topped it all off with a few hot pink rhinestones across the tip of my ring finger and voila! Fast and fun Mani!

Buffy The Violet Slayer is normally a lovely almost neon purple with tons of shine and almost a duochrome shimmer. Lots of blue and pink in the right light!  Application was smooth on the first coat, but a bit gloppy on the second, but I didn’t expect perfection from a 99 cent fast dry polish. Once dry, however, it was lovely and smooth, no streaks or bubbles.  This is only the 2nd time I have used Matte Magic, and I was impressed with the quick dry time, and even more impressed with the wear! I’ve used some Matte topcoats before that left a white dot anywhere the nail was bumped, yet Matte Magic hasn’t shown a single nick or scratch after 3 days of wear.  Very nice!

Here it is while drying and before fixing the imperfections at the tips:

The bottom picture is the closest to the actual color of this Mani. My camera has a hard time with purples (I hear this is a common issue for nail bloggers!), so I took this shot with my hand against my jeans, hoping it would help.  I kind of dig the reflection of my jeans across my nails here.

And now it’s time to go forth and polish! I picked up a fun polish that happens to be a dupe of a color I’ve been hunting for and I can’t wait to try it out (and share it here)!

Happy Polishing!

-Kimber

 

Another double post!

It’s been a crazy week, hence my lack of posts. My hubby and I, despite referring to each other as husband and wife, are not legally married due to his evil ex wife refusing to grant him a divorce unless he did certain things for her. This past week, the ball got rolling again, so I have been busy planning our wedding. I even did one Mani and forgot to take pics! Very unlike me! I guess thats what happens when you suddenly have 7 months to plan a wedding and 2 receptions. Crazy! Anyway, onto the polish!

After wearing a lot of dark colors and doing alot of taped Mani’s, accent nails, etc., I decided that I needed something light and simple. This is Sinful Colors Easy Going. I hate to say it but despite this color being so pretty, the formula was just a huge pain in the butt. Very runny at first, and took a good 3 heavy coats to be anywhere near opaque. Even after those 3 heavy coats, I still had some bare spots. So I did a very thin 4th coat. I have never had to bother with so many coats to get my polish even and opaque! Had it just been a sheer color, I would’ve been fine. But it’s not sheer, and bare spots, streaks and hard to work with formula makes for a grumpy Kimber. I love this color, but I don’t foresee it being used much. These are indoors and outdoors, respectively.

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Right now I am wearing a fun striped Mani in Orly Bus Stop Crimson and NYC Platinum Card. Orly polish is usually hit or miss for me, and the formula was a hit this time. Very smooth, even color and opaque in a single coat. Of course, I always use 2 coats since I like 100% color saturation. The NYC was lovely going on as well. This particular Silver is a fave of mine on it’s own, but left something to be desired when used over another polish. It refused to give me any coverage at the tips, and it really hasn’t held up too well. These pics were taken after I had worn this polish for about 24 hours, and you can see the tip wear, as well as some wear on the nail and at the cuticle line. Normally I would have used Sally Hansen’s Celeb City for a Silver Mani, but I love the finish on the Platinum Card, and it really does wear well worn alone. Forgive the bad pics! I had almost forgotten to take any of this Mani so I took some quickly. I can’t wait to put together some sort of lightbox so that you can actually see the true colors of the polish. My lighting leaves them looking flat, and unless I use natural lighting, my camera loves to give my pics a yellow cast. But enough whining. Here is the striped Mani!

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Fun Mani, but I wish the crimson was brighter. Way too brown based for me. Tomorrow I think I’m going to finally try out my Dorothy Who!

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

On Friday night I stayed up until almost 3 am so that i could have really cool nails in my dear friend’s wedding colors. It was a pain to get the red to show over the blue, and my bottle of Seche Vite was very low. Now this is my first bottle of Seche Vite, so I was not aware that it gets super thick and gloppy near the end of the bottle, and would ultimately shrink my polish and make my nails look horrible. After reading some other blogs lately, I’ve found I am not the only one with this problem. So until I can get my ass out to Sally’s or Target, I’m stuck using my old hard as nails topcoat. Meh!

So here is the original Mani for the wedding, done in Essie Mesmerize and maybelline Red Hots.

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And here is Essie Mesmerize on it’s own:

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I love that color! And the formula was amazing! Like butter! Unfortunately the Seche Vite damaged this Mani beyond repair. When I woke up the next morning my tips had shrunk back horribly and it had bubbled badly. Definitely need to avoid the bottom of the Seche Vite bottle!

This is what I went with: Sally Hansen pacific blue and Sally Hansen Cherry Smash crackle polish. The pacific blue formula was lovely went on smoothly and the color is awesome- i do LOVE blues! This is a horrid picture, please don’t hold it against me! It’s the only pic I had time to take of them!

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See? Very bad pic! 🙂

Good news is my cuticles are finally healing up and becoming normal cuticles. Yay!! This makes me very happy!!

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

It’s been a busy couple of days, and I’ve changed my nails twice since my last post. This will be a pic intensive post since I have 2 colors to share.

First is Revlon’s Cloud. The only way I can explain this awesome grayed out blue is by comparing it to a crayon. Yup, a crayon. Remember the periwinkle crayon in the big Crayola box? That’s what this color reminds me of. Periwinkle was my favorite color as a child so this Mani was instant happy. I had planned to use it under a shatter polish, but once I saw the color on my nails I just couldn’t do it.

The formula was interesting. Thin at first, but it seemed to thicken up during use. Not too gloppy, but a little on the thick side. I used 2 coats, a coat of Seche Vite, and some glitter and a pink star rhinestone on my ring finger as an accent nail. I can’t take credit for the “shooting star”, I don’t remember which blog I saw that on otherwise I would post a link. (if it’s you please contact me and I will post a link and credit you!) This is the end result:

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That color just makes me happy! I can’t wait to use it in another mani!

Next is my “I don’t have alot of time so I’ll do something simple” Mani. I haven’t worn pink in awhile and I wanted something pretty but simple. I chose Wet N Wild Hannah Pinktana. I know, cheesy name but such a pretty color. It’s a lovely pink with a touch of purple in certain light, and multicolor glitter. It went on so very smooth, and is opaque in 2 coats, although I used 3 for a little more color. I added a little white floral sticker on my ring finger as an accent (I don’t know why, but it’s rare that I just wear a color without an accent or tips.) I tried to capture the glitter, but you really have to see this one in person. The glitter shines red, blue, silver, gold, and pink. So pretty! Please excuse the weird orange tint on my cuticles! I had recently used my cuticle moisturizer and it was still on my cuticles.

This first pic was is sunlight. The rest are indoors.

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I love all the colors in the glitter. I wouldn’t have expected anything other than a little sparked but the colors in this polish sparkle so pretty in the light. Love it! I’m not sure if it could be called duochrome, but it sure is pretty.

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

Feelin’ Green

Last night I decided to try out a color I rarely wear, despite having several different brands and shades: Green. I chose a Bright almost neon green from my birthday stash: Sally Hansen Green With Envy. Here it is with 2 coats and a coat of Seche Vite (sorry, this was before clean up!) Also please forgive the bad lighting. I polish my nails after the kids are in bed and this was taken in my badly lit kitchen around midnight.

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As with the Caribbean Coral, the formula was smooth and buttery. Went on like a dream and is fully opaque in 2
coats. No streaking or bubbling, even with thick coats. I know some of you don’t like drugstore brands, but as far as they go, this is one of the best. Although I have to be honest, you have to be careful with removal or it will stain your skin.

I loved the color on it’s own, but decided it needed something to make it pop. I grabbed my craft scissors, taped off the sides of my nails, and added some funky waves using Orly Liquid Vinyl. Here is the result:

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I did try to get some pictures in direct sunlight as opposed to just natural light, but the Seche Vite just created big shiny spots and the color didn’t show well with all that blinding shine.

So far, I’m really diggin this Mani. Green is such a fun color!

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

So my birthday was Friday and my sister and niece presented me with my gift: new polish and all sorts of nail art stuff! Check it out!

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I was surprised and so happy! Very cool stuff. I has planned on using my opal pink with black tips but these new polishes were calling to me. I chose the Caribbean Coral and some loose glitter and chunkies and set to work. This is the result:

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I love how the glitters and chunkies turned out. Almost like a flower with some petals flying off in the wind.

I also loved this polish. It went on like butter and was completely opaque in 2 coats. One coat would cut it, but it did leave some bare spots. No streaks or bubbles either. I give this a solid 4, only because of the bare spots on the first coat. Otherwise it would be a 5. I also love the color, which is true to the bottle, and is bright and playful. Love it!
I’ve had this Mani on for over 24 hours and not one chip or dent. Awesome!! Impressive since I was cleaning and fixing things in my backyard!

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

It doesn’t match the bottle!

I came across Flying Dragon by China Glaze in my stash, and decided it was a must try. In the bottle it’s a neon pink with blue and purple glitter. I had expected a pink, semi glittery satin finish polish. But on my nails, it came out as a purple satin with barely any hint of the glittery purple and blue.

I was disappointed in the color, but the formula was wonderful. Application was smooth and opaque in 2 coats. However, I wanted glittery nails, so I grabbed my Sinful Colors Frenzy and layered that over the Flying Dragon. Then I added a v shaped French tip in Wet N Wild Buffy the Violet Slayer, and dotted some neon pink by Sally’s onto the purple. The camera just refuses to capture the colors though. Makes the tips look blue, but I assure you they are purple!

Here is the bottle. See the pink? Yeah. Not pink on my nails at all.

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And here are some shots of the final product. Not all that awesome, but okay for a day. I really need to start swatching my unused polishes so I don’t have to improvise and don’t encounter any surprise color deviation!

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I do wish the camera would capture the purple tips. It seems to hate purples!

I think I may play with my light pink opal polish tonight. Time for some lighter colors and something a little less complicated. Or maybe I’ll do some gray striping. What do you think?

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber

Blood Spatter nails!

The Mani that I’m currently rockin is getting tons of attention! I had a blast working on it, and am utterly thrilled with how it turned out. So much so that I’m keeping it on through tomorrow. Tomorrow is my birthday and I can’t think of a better Mani to have than one that I had so much fun doing and looks so cool.

I started out with a coat of Gelous as a base coat. This was one of my untried base coats, and to my surprise it didn’t bubble or streak, and it filled the annoying ridges I have on a couple of nails. Color went over it smoothly, no dragging or streaking, and it dried quickly. I dig this base coat, but I still have my bottle of Nail Magic to try out.

After the coat of Gelous, I used 2 coats of China Glaze in Paper Mâché, an awesome white creme that applies smoothly and looks fabulous on it’s own. I followed with a coat of Seche Vite. Then I used an infant dosing syringe with the plunger removed with a bottle of polish I’ve had in my stash for a good 4 years – Maybelline’s Red Hots. I pushed the polish into the opening on the dosing syringe with the brush, aimed at my nail and blew into the open end (of course I had taped my nails off first!). Followed up with another coat of Seche Vite, and voila! Blood spatter nails! Here is the final result:

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Isn’t that just a fun Mani? It reminds me of the show “Dexter”, which is my favorite show. I cant wait to try the spatter technique with some black polish and my neons!

What are you rockin on your nails today?

Happy Polishing!
-Kimber