nail polish

Inspiration Saturdays: tribal nails

I find inspiration in the oddest of places. Case in point: I’ve seen tons of cool tribal nail art, but I didn’t really get around to doing any myself until I looked down at my Mukluks this morning…

…and realized that I was already wearing a nail polish that matched the blue stripe, setting me up for a perfect piece of tribal nail art.

I’m no nail art pro but it was fun trying to mimic a pattern from a piece of clothing in a nail art design. (And yes, I realized as I was posting this that the orange and copper stripes should have been switched. Oops! Points for originality.)

Product review: Kiss Nail Dress

So, I’m slowly but surely getting back on track with blogging, and trying to finish off the last of the reviews from my Influenster Holiday VoxBox. One of the niftiest looking products in the box was the package of Kiss Nail Dress stickers, which I finally got a chance to test out this week. Want to find out if they turned out to be as cool as I hoped? Read on. (Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes. However I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.)

The product: Kiss Nail Dress ($6.99); in 21 designs (I sampled “Chemise”)

The claim: On in minutes and off in seconds without remover. No dry time. Built-in topcoat. Fits all nails and lasts up to ten days.

I tried them: Upon opening the package, I noticed a very strong plastic smell. This smell faded in seconds but it was very harsh and unpleasant. (I’m guessing this was the adhesive.) The package contains an instruction booklet, 28 strips to fit a variety of nail sizes, and a small file.

Applying the strips couldn’t be easier; just select the strip that fits your nail, press on and fold over the end of the nail, then use the file to file off the excess. You can do each nail in a matter of seconds. Once the strips are on, you’re done; there’s no need to apply a topcoat. If you move quickly, you can literally have your mani done and be ready to walk out the door in less than five minutes, which was my goal on Wednesday when I decided at the last minute I wanted a mani for movie night. I did choose to file and clean my nails with polish remover ahead of time, which added a minute or two, but even so it’s a quick deal.

The wear with these strips is impressive. I kill, and by kill I mean demolish, my manicures. I’m tearing open packages all night at work, so my manis rarely last more than a day or two. These strips lasted through a solid four days of wear, including three nights at work, with no chipping and almost no tip wear. If you’re not horribly hard on your nails (as I am), I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect these to last a full week without visible damage.

Honestly, though, I really didn’t care for the design, which is why I took the strips off after only a few days. The 3D blingy black strips and gold fishnet design were just too much for me. I could see wearing these for a girls-only weekend in Vegas, but not for everyday activities. And they’re obviously not work-appropriate! My other gripe was that there were fewer gold strips than black; I wound up doing an accent mani because of the imbalance.
Another thing: I didn’t like the bumpy design. It just weirded me out, and between the bumps and the slightly rough ends of my nails after filing, I felt like I was constantly snagging things: cotton balls, my sweater, etc. I just can’t get behind textured nails! I like my super-smooth nails!
However, design issues aside, things were still cool until I removed the strips. Kiss isn’t lying when they say you can peel the stickers right off without using remover; mine came off just fine. They do leave some adhesive behind which is easily removed with polish remover. Afterward, however…
…my nails are TRASHED. They’re dry, peeling, and splitting–and on my other hand (not shown in the photo), I have two nails that tore off completely at the tips. I know my nails are not at their healthiest in the winter, but they’re not in such bad shape that they should be tearing off and peeling like this. I guess the adhesive was very damaging to the nail beds. I’ve trimmed them all down to nubbins now and applied a thick layer of repairing base coat to try to strengthen them.
My verdict: Meh. I’ll give these strips points for lasting so long, since very rarely do nail products last as long on me as the package might claim. But the damage is a real turn-off and I’m just not enthralled enough with the design to consider repurchasing them.
Check out the Kiss website here or see what other Influensters have to say about this product on the Kiss Influenster product page here.

February 2013 Julep Maven: Boho Glam box!

Woohoo! My February Julep Maven box got here lickety-split, and it’s easily the best box thus far since I signed on with Julep back in September. On top of my regular polish picks and add-ons, there were crazy-good bonuses in this month’s box. So without any further ado, let’s get right into the nail polish goodness!

This month’s collection theme was “Get On The A-List”, with a bevy of nail colors named after famous actresses. I was really torn over which box to choose, since my Boho Glam box included both a blue and an orange polish, and I’m usually not a big fan of either color. Plus there were tons of great colors to choose from in the other boxes! In the end,I ended up going with my Boho Glam box and two add-ons.

What a box, huh? My polishes for the month were Julianne, a smoky light blue creme, and Ingrid, a smoky dark orange creme. My add-ons were Laura, a smoky olive green, and Claudette, a smoky brick red creme.

Here’s a swatch of Julianne. It has just enough grey in it to look really polished (har, har) and not at all sky blue. At the same time, it isn’t one of those polishes that “shifts” to look grey in certain lights. I love it. This was opaque in two coats.

Ingrid is also opaque in two coats and truly surprised me. I’m not normally an orange polish person but I really like this color. It’s kind of a nice pedicure alternative to basic red.

I haven’t swatched the add-ons yet but I have a feeling I’ll love them both. I’ve been searching for a color like Laura for months, and Claudette looks like a really nice twist on standard red.

The freebie gift in this month’s box was a travel eyelash curler. (There were also two chocolate candy hearts, but those disappeared as soon as the box was opened, natch!) The real goodie, though, was the inclusion of two free gifts in each box. Julep is rolling out two new nail treatments, valued at a whopping $18 apiece (!), and they generously included these in the February Maven boxes. Even at half the cost, I think these would be quite the bonus.

First is the Oxygen Nail Treatment. This is designed to give strength, protection and a sheer tint to the nails on the days you don’t wear polish. I usually don’t wear lacquer during the workweek but I do like wearing a base coat to protect my nails somewhat, so this is an interesting alternative.

The Freedom Top Coat is supposed to protect like a gel top coat, but it cures in five minutes with air instead of a light bulb. I’m really intrigued by this product, since I’ve heard wonders about the industrial strength of gel polishes but I really don’t feel like running out to try them. I really hope it protects my nail color for multiple days, because I chip pretty easily on work days.

So there’s my February Maven box! What did you think? If you want to sign up to be a Julep Maven, you can do so here using my referral link or you can go directly to the Julep website here and take the quiz to get started.

Nail art idea: gradient glitter with Zoya Feifei and Wet n Wild Fergie Mermaid Curves

I’m really into teal glitter and shimmer right now, though I don’t know why. I was playing around with some polish combos and created this gradient glitter manicure using Zoya Feifei for the base and Wet n Wild Fergie Mermaid Curves for the glitter topper.

It’s really hard to capture Feifei on camera. In the bottle it’s a steel blue with gold microglitter. On the nails, it can look icy blue or it can almost take on a mermaid-esque quality, with the microglitter giving it a blue-green holographic look. It just depends on what light you’re in at the moment! It’s intriguing, that’s for sure, even though I’m not normally a “blue” person.

Nail Polish of the Month: January 2013

Ah, my first monthly polish pick for 2013! Julep Lauren ($14) is an electric highlighter pink, perfectly in keeping with my sudden love of everything eye-poppingly bright. I got this shade as part of my New Year’s Mystery Box from Julep–how ever did they know that I needed it?!

Julep calls this a “creme”, but it almost has a jelly consistency. I used four coats and still had some tip show-through on some fingers. I usually keep my nails very short, and the polish dried super-quick, so it wasn’t a huge issue for me. But if you prefer to stop at two coats, or have very long nails with very white tips, you might not like this polish.

Lauren dries with an eggshell or satin finish but I use a super-glossy topcoat over all of my polishes, so the finish didn’t really matter.

This is one of those polishes that definitely has to be worn to be believed, because the bottle doesn’t do her justice. I love this polish and it’s definitely going to be in heavy rotation in my “nail wardrobe” this year!

My Julep New Year’s Mystery Box!

My New Year’s Mystery Box from Julep arrived, and I could not be more pleased! Take a peek at all the awesome stuff I got!

I decided to treat myself to this box since it was only $19.99 (for, mind you, at least $100 worth of goodies) and I was skipping my January box anyway (didn’t care for the color selections). The shipping slip said it definitely would not arrive in time for Christmas, but–SQUEE!–mine showed up on December 24th! Major Christmas present for moi!

So naturally when I opened it I was majorly psyched, and I was not let down by the contents. For starters, that big lovely jar is the Julep Sicilian Orange Foot Soak ($26/10 oz.), a sea salt foot soak that is 100% natural and vegan. I also got a few more packets of the polish remover wipes, which I have yet to try from my November Maven box, and a couple of sample packets of hand cream, along with a nail file. Nice little sample additions.

I also got a tube of Boho Glam Lengthening Mascara ($24) in Espresso Brown. I’ve heard very mixed things about this mascara and at that price I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up myself, so I was very excited to see it in my box.

Ah, but you’re really waiting for a close-up of those five lovely nail colors, aren’t you?

The bubblegum pink is Lauren, and I’m in love. This is that perfect almost-neon strawberry pink that I’ve been looking for in beauty shops for months, so I was thrilled to see her. This color almost reminds me of a pink highlighter pen. Next up is Georgia, a shimmery peach orange that I wouldn’t have bought for myself, but which looks interesting nonetheless.

Cindy was the real wild card of the bunch. I would normally not buy a shimmery kelly green for myself, but this is one color that sort of grew on me after I painted my tootsies. It’s certainly pretty for nail art, if nothing else.

The last two colors are flat-out awesome. Sienna is a metallic that’s neither gold nor silver–it’s perfectly balanced in the middle. And the promised “mystery glitter” is a full-coverage glitter with a black and champagne base flecked with multicolored reds and blues.

Altogether, I’m pleased not only with the contents of my box but the value: about $120 not counting the samples. Not bad, Julep!

Did any of you pretties splurge on a New Year’s Mystery Box? If so, what did you get? I’d love to see your posts and pictures, so leave me your links in the comments section below!

A look at the Zoya Lovely spring 2013 collection

Fellow nail polish junkies of the world, I do not normally get excited about pastel polish. But I just might possibly make an exception for Zoya’s upcoming spring 2013 collection. Take a closer look:

And here’s possibly my favorite of all the new colors: Neely, a gorgeous minty green. As I said already, I’m not usually a fan of pastels, but this year I’d really love to find a minty green for my fingers, and this looks perfect. And because I know you want to see the rest of the colors in detail (you do, don’t you?), they are also Pinned down below. You’re welcome.

Source: via Martha on Pinterest

From the sneak previews, Zoya and Butter London are both releasing similar pastel collections for spring. However, I kind of prefer Zoya, since they’re a) cheaper and b) I like the formula a little better. What do you think, lovelies? Any must-haves from the new collection?

Nail Polish of the month: a holographic gold-purple

I have the loveliest nail polish for this month’s pick; it makes me immediately think of sugarplum fairies and holiday parties. It’s Zoya Daul, which was released as part of an autumn capsule collection but looks especially wintery thanks to a fine blend of gold microglitter. This polish has a holographic effect in any light.

While this polish looks dark in the bottle, it’s more of an orchid purple. The gold shimmer is almost impossible to accurately capture with a camera, but I’ve done my best. Enjoy!