Essence Gel-look top coat: the good, the bad, and the bumpy.

So because I ran out of my Sally Hansen Diamond Flash top coat, I figured there was no time like the present to test out a new top coat. I picked up Essence brand Gel-look top coat from Shoppers the other night, along with Essence brand Express Dry Drops (which I’ll review at another time) and was curious to see how it was.

I’ve read some seriously mixed reviews on this top coat. Of course, I didn’t read them until after I had bought it. Never the less, it was only $2.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, so the price was definitely right. Because I paint my nails so often, I go through a lot of top coat so it can get pricey. A cheaper, but good quality, top coat would be much appreciated, and Essence does make some lovely polishes.

Everyone complains about how long the dry time on this top coat is, so I made sure to paint my nails a little while before bed, and to fall asleep with my hands outside the blankets (just in case). It felt dry to the light touch so I figured I would be fine.

Yeah, not so much.

geltopcoat geltopcoat2

Sheet marks. Lots of sheet marks. You can see how lovely the shine is on a couple of my nails–the ones that didn’t get dinged, but the majority of them were left textured because they were not quite dry before I fell asleep apparently. It was kind of disappointed, because I almost always paint my nails before bed so I need a top coat that isn’t going to take forever to dry. =( However, I do have those Express Dry Drops to try out, and I’m interested to see how the two will work together.

However, I did fix up my manicure with a very thin layer of Sally Hansen Diamond Flash from the bottle of a bottle I forgot I had. It definitely smoothed them out so I could show off the lovely sparkle of my moon manicure.

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Just in case you’re interested, I used Sinful Colors in Forget Now as my base, and LA Girl in Groupie for the purple. They just go so perfectly together.

 

April Showers bring May Floral Nails.

First off I just want to thank everyone that has been liking and commenting on my posts. It’s so exciting to know people like what I’ve been sharing! Nail art makes me happy, and it’s awesome being able to meet others who feel the same way. =)

Being as it’s now officially May, I was feeling a Spring floral for my nails. Floral print is one of my favorite prints to wear–whether it’s on my nails, or a dress. I was going for a kind of carnation look, which is a floral print I’ve never tried before. I don’t think they look exactly like carnations, but they do look like flowers so that’s all that matters!

floral

The polishes I used for this manicure were:

  • ACO by Ardene in Bridezilla — my base color.
  • ACO by Ardene in Ardene’s Secret –flower pedals.
  • ACO by Ardene in Secret Rendezvous –flower pedals.
  • Essie in We’re in this Together –flower pedals & polka dots between the flowers (though they are really light so didn’t show up as well.)
  • Sinful Colors in Strapped — outer color of the leaves.
  • ACO by Ardene in Green Peace –inner color of the leaves.
  • LA Girl Quick Dry Top Coat.

I absolutely love how these turned out. So pretty, and spring like. Unfortunately, I ran out of my trusty Sally Hansen Diamond flash, and I think my bottle of LA Girl Top Coat is old, because I made it not even an hour into work before these started to chip. And not just chip, but the whole nail polish just peeled off.

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Definitely not as pretty. =( And considering how much work I put into these, I was considerably unimpressed.

But! I got a new top coat, and quick drying drops to try out, so my next manicure will be featuring those. I’ve never used quick dry drops before, so I’m excited to see if they work. I almost always paint my nails the night before–usually before I head to bed–so I need something that will keep my nails from smudging or getting sheet marks. So hopefully these will work out for me. I don’t know if anything can top my Diamond Flash though–I’m going to have to start hoarding bottles of it, so I never run out!

So what’s your favorite floral print to recreate on your nails?

Crazy for Dots.

My brand new dotting tool set I ordered last month finally arrived last week, and I couldn’t be more excited. I already had a single dotting tool that I bought at Shoppers last year (Essence brand) but it’s had better days. Plus, I only had the one size so it restricted my dot options to two sizes.

dottingtool

I scored these beauties on Amazon.ca for $1.96. (I also scored some new small detail brushes as well, which haven’t arrived yet.)

It took a while for them to arrive, but once they did I couldn’t wait to try they out! I just needed to figure out what was the first design I wanted to do! It was getting a little late when I started these, so I figure I a funky dotticure was the perfect solution.

dots

The polishes I used for this manicure were:

  • Cherimoya nail polish in Dulce de Leche (from the “Make You Melt” Petite collection.) — base color.
  • Essie in The Lace is On — Dark purple dots.
  • Garage brand nail polish — the light pink dots. (No name on this one.)
  • LA Girl Quick Dry Top Coat.

Even though it’s a simple mani, I really like how it turned out on the nail. I really am crazy for dots.

The only disappointment was a I banged my finger in the morning getting ready for the gym, and broke the nail on my pointer finger so I had to file down the rest of my nails so they were all the same length (and go through work with a slight chip to the polish all day). Then I ended up hitting my hand at work, breaking the edge of my thumb nail! So my nails are super short again. I’m a sad girl.

The 31 Day Nail Art Challenge — Day 18: Half Moons.

So I didn’t go exactly with the prompt for Day 18 of the challenge. After a long day at work, I kind ran out of time to do a traditional half moon manicure, so I kind of went the reverse, and revisited the ruffian manicure (which I’ve also seen referred to as a reverse moon manicure).

I’ve done a lot of typical moon manicures in my day — it was one of the first nail art techniques I tried, aside from polka dots. But I’ve yet to perfect the technique for the ruffian manicure, so that was another reason why I wanted to give it another try. Even though I’ve watched all the tutorials, I still can’t comprehend how people can get their lines so perfect!

reversemoonmanicure

reversemoonmanicure2

For this manicure, the polishes that I used were:

  • Essence Color & G0 in That’s What I Mint!
  • China Glaze in Flying Dragon
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Top Coat
  • LA Girl Quick Dry Top Coat.

For a second attempt, these aren’t bad. As you can see, I missed a spot on my pinky finger when I was going through with Flying Dragon, which I didn’t notice until I took pictures. I still haven’t perfected the technique, but with practice it’s getting a little easier.

I really do love how the ruffian manicure looks–it’s a little something different from your typical moon manicure. And it’s a great way to play with different color combinations–you can color block, or choose complimentary colors. I really love the contrast of Flying Dragon and That’s What I Mint!

 

=)

31 Day Nail Art Challenge — Day 4: Green Nails.

I own a lot of green nail polish.

For some reason, I always seem to be drawn to either orange colors, or green colors, when browsing nail polish. So it means my stash has an abundance of these two colors even though–when it comes to green at least–I don’t wear it as a straight manicure often. When it came to the green prompt for the challenge, I couldn’t figure out what I should do! With St. Patrick’s Day over, I needed to come out with something that wouldn’t look like I was a couple weeks late.

So I grabbed my favorite green (which happens to actually be a LA Girl sand blast polish I got on an amazing clearance sale last summer) and tried to think of something pretty. I’m kind of in love with chevrons. I wish I could do them freehand near my cuticles, but I find I can only draw them nicely on my nail tips. I do love how these turned out–my freehand line drawing seems to be getting smoother which makes me a very happy girl! Even my roommate’s boyfriend commented on these, asking “Did you do those yourself!” I actually left them on for almost three days, just because I couldn’t stop looking at them.

greennails

The polishes I used were:

  • LA Girl Sand Blast polish in Green Island — my green base.
  • Stripe Rite striping polish in white.
  • Stripe Rite striping polish in black.
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Flash top coat.

Also featured: my favorite soy latte from Second Cup. I’m a Canadian girl, so I love me some Second Cup. Plus, the baristas at the one by where I work are just the friendliest. My boyfriend thinks I should get a job there, if only because I’m there pretty much everyday and with my love of coffee, it would be easy to sell it to others.