Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top Coats and Bottom Coats.

Recently, I've had quite a few people ask about chipping and peeling prevention. My first question is always: "What kind of base coat are you using?" The usual sheepish reply is that they aren't. Well there's your first problem.
My second question is: "What kind of top coat are you using?" The answer is the same: They aren't.

These are very, very important if you want your mani to last.
Lemme reiterate that:
Always use a top coat and a bottom coat!!!!

The bottom coat is very important because it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the nail and creates a smooth, even surface for the rest of the nail polish to coat. This prevents peeling. It also protects your nail from discoloring (most of the time.)

The top coat is very important because it seals in the mani, preventing chipping. It helps flatten the mani, making it look like all one picture, instead of a bunch of dots and lines and layers. The right top coat will also give you the finish you want, whether it's satin, shiny, or matte.

You CAN find 2-in-1 top coats and bottom coats, but I tend to dislike them. They aren't as smooth. Sally Hansen's has one for a decent price.

My usual go-to bottom coat is Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Nail Hardener in clear. It is MUCH cheaper if you go to Walmart.


Right now, I'm running a comparison between the Sally Hansen's and Jordana's Nails Be Strong (Go to KMart for the best prices). On my right hand is the Sally's and on the left is the Jordana's. With this mani, the biggest peel I have is with the Sally Hansen's. I have some chipping on both of my thumbs. With my previous mani, my left hand had three fingers that needed a repair from ripping, one that needed it twice.

So far, I prefer Jordana's application. The brush is softer and the formula is thinner and not as goopy. It goes on the nail better. They dry about evenly.

For the top coats, I've used several different types:
Wet'N'Wild has a really good one that I like. My biggest complaint is that it's in a smaller bottle and gets used up really fast.
I've tried N.Y.C.'s clear topcoat, and while it's a really beautiful shine, it gets scratched and chipped really fast.
I like using N.Y.C.'s Matte Me Crazy. It lasts a while and dries really fast. I can't use it for EVERY mani, though.
Right now I'm using a top coat from Rue 21. It's got the shine of N.Y.C's clear, and so far it seems about as durable as Wet'N'Wild.
Only time will tell.

Now here's the How-To.
Clean your nails. Scrub them and underneath them. Get all the oils off of them by wiping down with nail polish remover.
To apply a base coat, cover the entire nail. Do the edge of the nail first, then under the nail, and then over the nail, especially if it's a strengthener. Wait until completely dry, then you can choose to apply a second coat to the edge and the top.
Wait until completely dry.
Do your mani.
Wait until completely dry.
Apply a top coat, again by covering the edge and then the top.
You can choose a second coat of topcoat.
Yes, it's time-consuming, and yes, it costs more money than if you just did the mani. But in my opinion, if you can wear one mani for a week, it saves you money in the long run.

Check your polishes' labels. If the topcoat is not 3Free and your mani is, bubbles, imprints, and smudges can happen. The topcoat will harden before the mani doesn't, and seal in the evaporating chemicals. If you've ever woken up with an imprint of your sheets on your nails, this is why.

Please note that I have not tried everything, including the more expensive top/bottom coats. I have not tried gels, UV or otherwise. If you have any tips or tricks or favorites you'd like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dancing In the Dark

Heaven decided to let me do her nails again! YAY for best friends! lol

She let me try to do acrylics again (last time they were HORRIBLE, the tips I used melted (WTF)), and these turned out really well (after going to Sally's Beauty Supply and buying more tips... Two decided to not work, though. *sigh*).

At my trip to Rue 21, I got a Glow-In-The-Dark hot pink that is suuuuuper cute, even with the lights off!!! I just can't figure out how to take pics of it in the dark....

So it took me... 6.5 hours to do her nails, from start to finish. There were several breaks, including dinner, and I had to go get Era from my mom's at one point.

I FINALLY figured out how to use the Macro on my camera!
The accent nail has glitter dots, pink is from the Dollar Tree, black is from Target. They've appeared in a couple of other posts. We decided to not use a top coat on these to keep the texture.

A mix of styles

I really like how these turned out!!! I just wish we weren't so tired, 'cause I'm not happy with the edges. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pure Ice Releases New Line

So even though payday isn't until tomorrow,  I HAD to pick up four of the new Pure Ice line at Walmart. I LOVE sooo many of these colors!
Pure Ice recently released 55 new shades. Did you see that? 55!!!!! That's HUGE! Revlon has been busy! (Which we are ALL very happy for!)

Today I have a swatch for Last Chance (with a layer of Look My Way on my accent nail). For topcoats, I'm using one I picked up at Rue 21 and NYC's Matte Me Crazy on my accent.

I'm just... Augh! Can these BE any more perfect for each other??

I can't wait to experience more of this new line!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

I meant to post this yesterday, but went on a surprise date instead! I had fun!
Now I'm all lonely on Valentine's day :(
Just kidding, I have you guys! :D

I. LOVED. THESE. NAILS. Love love love love love!!! I was SO NOT excited to make them and then I got SO EXCITED to wear them!

Don'tcha just love it when that works out??

These were a little hard, because I had JUST cut my nails down. I'm not proud of all of them, but I LOVE the way my ring finger is! See the four hearts?

My left hand (oddly enough) didn't turn out so well, and frankly I'm kinda ashamed of them :/ They were still awesome to wear, it's just they didn't have the AWESOMENESS of this hand.

I hope you lovelies had a wonderful Valentine's Day :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Apologies and Penguins

Wow, I'm a horrible blogger :( I didn't think it'd been THAT long since I posted! Sorry!

Anyways I was looking through and realized I haven't done a post on one of my older manis that I had every intention of sharing. Oops.

It's winter here in central Iowa. That means that, for the most part, it's been really cold.

No, really.

At 32 F, (0 C) I can go outside in a long-sleeved t-shirt and be fine (that's if there's only a slight breeze). That being said, I have recently purchased my first coat. It's puffy. And kinda itchy. But I wear it. And lately, I've been wearing it with my sweatshirt underneath.

So I hope you're understanding approximately how cold it's been recently.

Which explains these nails.

Penguins!!! With bowties!! Because bowties are cool :D
These were so fun to wear! A pain on the cleanup, but fun to wear! And for some reason I didn't take a pic of my right hand... O.o

I really liked the way these turned out :) what would you have done differently?