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.

geltopcoat3

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.

chipped chipped2

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.

31 Day Nail Art Challenge — Day 20: Water Marble.

Okay, so I can’t water marble.

I can’t do it. I don’t know how people can create such beautiful water marble manicures, but I am not one of them. However, I didn’t want to not have anything to show for day 20–except a whole bunch of failure–so I looked up “water marble without water” in google, and what did it lead me to? A dry “water marble” technique. Score! So it’s not your typical water marbled nails, but it was something I could actually accomplish so I figured that was better than nothing!

(If you’re interested, I used this youtube tutorial by cutepolish.)

drywatermarble

The polishes I used for this manicure were:

  • Revlon polish in Minted–mint green polish.
  • China Glaze in What a Pansy!–purple polish.
  • OPI in My Boyfriend Scales Walls–white polish.
  • ACO by Ardene in Sea of Beauty–baby blue polish.
  • ACO by Ardene in Kiss from a Rose–pink polish.
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Top Coat.

Even though I couldn’t do a proper water marble, I LOVE these. They spring color combination pops on the nail, and I just love the swirls. Even though I only did it on two accent nails for this manicure, I think it would love amazing all on my nails, and I will definitely be trying it again so I can play with it more (and with more color combinations).

 

 

 

Also, I’ve been thinking about this challenge, and I have to admit I’ve started to feel a little confined by it. I started it so I would have inspiration, but lately I feel like it’s restricting the manicures I want to do. There is SO much inspiration out there, and so many manicures I really want to try! I still want to finish the challenge, and not be a quitter, but I think I will be spreading it out with some other manicure ideas. Especially as my brand new dotting tool set just arrived, and I’ve yet to be able to really play with it, and it’s begging me to do some awesome floral nail art!

 

31 Day Nail Art Challenge — Day 19: Galaxy Nails.

 

I love the look of galaxy nails. Plus they’re fun to do. It’s been a while since I’ve done one, so I was excited to give it another try.

galaxy galaxy2

 

The polishes I used for this manicure were:

  • Mary Kay Nail Lacquer in Blue Knight — dark background.
  • Color Institute in gold (no official name on it.)
  • Color Institute sparkles (no official name on it.)
  • Revlon in I’m Electro.
  • Revlon in Spidey Sense.
  • Revlon in Orchid.
  • Pure Ice in Get in Line.
  • Pure Ice in Over You.
  • Salley Hansen Diamond Flash Top Coat

These didn’t turn out exactly like I imagined in my head, but I think it’s because the polishes I used were very pigmented, and I was a little too heavy-handed. I wanted to use metallic polishes, because I’ve never tried using them for galaxy nail art before. Never the less, I loved the sparkle that it give my galaxies! And even though I wasn’t sure if they looked a lot like the galaxies I wanted them to, but I did get lots of compliments which always makes me feel proud of the manicures I’ve done.

What do you think of galaxy nail art?

And what to you think of my attempt at metallic galaxies?