Monday, February 28, 2011

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails - Lilac

APPLICATION: Not fun, the polish was more runny than I'm used to, so I had to be careful applying it.
TOPCOAT?: Only after nail art added.
SOURCE: Local Target store before it stopped carrying them
COMMENTS: When AllThingsNails mentioned in this post about Orly - Pure Porcelain that this may be a dupe for that gorgeous color, I knew I had to try it because her nails looked so lovely! I have to say, after the second coat, I was quite annoyed and vowing to get rid of this polish. However, I ended up putting on a third coat, and after a little more cleanup than usual, and I'm glad I did. It's gorgeous! Of course you know it had to get covered it in dots, right? I grabbed the bottle of Misa - Heartbreak that was still nearby to complete the look.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Zoya - Charla and Essence - Choose Me featuring Pure Ice - Unzip Me

TOPCOAT?: Not until after adding dots.
SOURCE: Zoya online store and Ulta respectively
COMMENTS: I put off wearing this (Zoya Charla) because it got so much attention when it came out. These are pretty similar and both gorgeous in  the bottle. They're just okay on me though, I didn't love the color(s) against my skin. Since I wasn't loving it, I added something I did love - dots! I used Pure Ice - Unzip Me for those as the yellow flecks were very similar to the ones in the base colors.
Note that the nail line was not visible in natural light.
L to R: Essence, Zoya, Essence, Zoya 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Misa - Heartbreak

SOURCE: Nail supply store in LA
COMMENTS: I found this beauty at a store that sells a lot of old Misa polishes (only place I've ever seen them). I'd picked it up before, but always assumed it would be sheer. This time I opened the bottle and the formula looked thick enough, so for $2 I decided to try it out. Glad I did! I love how milky/creamy the grey looks and the fine pink shimmer brings it to life!

The next day I added a stamp from a plate that came with the Nail Art Diva in this old post and Ulta - Celebutante.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Avon Speed Dry+ - Strawberry

SOURCE: Avon online store (
COMMENTS: I first used this color on my toes a few months ago when in a rush to get to a quinceanera, and was impressed by it. Once again I'm amazed at how gorgeous and shiny it looks on its own.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quirius - Erin Island

SOURCE: QRS online store (
COMMENTS: I had to go back and edit this post because I mislabeled the Quirius polish in it. This is the real Erin Island. No nail art, just a swatch, sorry!

A few more jelly-ish polishes

COATS: 3 of the green, 2 of all others
TOPCOAT?: Yes, after first photo.
SOURCE: Dollar Tree and beauty supply stores
COMMENTS: I decided to try out some of my polishes that seemed to have a more translucent/jelly finish to them. Later, I practiced my stamping on them using American Apparel Hassid.
From Thumb to pinky:
Mini Divas - Diva
Mini Divas - Sweetheart
Mini Divas - Princess
Color Las Vegas - Caesers Palace
Nyx Girls - Watermelon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ulta - Tutu Cute

COATS1 !! I love when I'm able to work with a nice thick polish that I can control.
TOPCOAT?: Not in first two photos
SOURCE: Ulta online store ( when they had buy one get one free.
COMMENTS: I used this as the gorgeous accent color in this previous manicure. It's lovely and works as a neutral against my skin, which I like. I played around some more with my nail art pens. I think the silver one would look better on a darker base polish.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mini Divas - Star

COATS: 2 (It would be 3 with normal application, but I put it on nice and thick to avoid a third coat)
TOPCOAT?: Not in the first two photos.
SOURCE: Dollar Tree for the nail polish, drugstore clearance for the nail art pen.
COMMENTS: This cute polish comes in an adorable bottle with a mini nail file tucked into the cover! I  love that they also translated the color name into Spanish (Estrella). The color is amazing on its own, but I decided to get creative with it the next day.  I happen to have these Sally Hansen Nail art pens in Silver and Gold, and grabbed the gold one to play with - and of course ended up with dots. The pen was perfect for this, and I find the end result stunning. A definite favorite mani!  Now if only all the pen colors would go on clearance...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My favorite nail products

COMMENTS: I have a really simple nail routine as I don't go through many of the recommended manicure steps. The things I do always use though are base and topcoat. Here are my favorites:

Base coats:
1. Beauty Secrets moisturizing base coat is from Sally Beauty Supply (about $3 for .5oz, $6 for 2.5oz). I like that I can put this on in a thin or slightly thick coat. It's also the base for about 85% of my manicures..
2. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails - Hard as Wraps gel is a nice thick base coat with acrylic that was recommended to me by AllThingsNails when I asked her how she prevented staining. It worked! I used it as my sole base coat for about a month and all my new nail growth stayed unstained. I now use just 3-4 times a month, when my nails feel like they need a little extra thickness for protection, or if they start to look stained (which is rare now with the previous base coat). It's more expensive at about $6 at drugstores for .44oz. Because of the gel formula, it does get used up quickly and thickens as you approach the bottom. 

I do use some other base coats from time to time so as not to waste previous purchases :). 

My nails with one coat of Beauty Secrets moisturizing base coat:

My favorite topcoat - also from Sally's is Beauty Secrets fast finish. It dries quickly with long-lasting shine, can be applied relatively thick, and doesn't thicken up like Seche Vite (and even Out the Door). I'm already halfway through this large 2.5 oz bottle (which cost only $6 by the way). I have tried other  topcoats since finding this (CND Air Dry for example), but this works best for me. Like the base coat from the same brand, it also comes  in a smaller .5 oz size for $3.

For removal, I used to use a mixture of pure acetone and acetone-based remover, both from Beauty Secrets as well. I now just use the pure acetone with a bit of glycerin, and some grape seed oil mixed in to prevent it from drying my nails and cuticles out.

Just wanted to share!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tropez - Black Pearl

SOURCE: Rite Aid - about a year ago on clearance.

COMMENTS: I decided to do a quick swatch of this color for a fellow MakeupAlley Nail board participant on Saturday. She had seen this color on Ebay and wanted to know if it might be a dupe for Chanel's color with the same name. I can't answer that question as I don't have the pricier polish, but this is actually pretty nice - I seriously considered using it as a full  manicure! Hmm.. I'm starting to look at frosty polish in a different light.


Artificial Light (OTT lamp):