Frozen Olaf Nails

With the recent deep freeze across the US, I decided to paint Olaf from the movie Frozen. What better way to stay happy in the cold?

To start, I applied and cured 2 coats of color TC06 from Aimeili (literally called Glitter Purple to Glitter Blue) along with their gel base and top coat. This gel polish is from their thermal collection, so the color is dark purple in the cold and turns into a medium light blue when it’s warm. The jelly formula also has different sized pieces of silver glitter in it, which remind me of snow.

Here’s a shot of it mid-transition!

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Review of UR SUGAR Base and Top Coat Set

Get ready for Gelpolishpalooza! It’s funny how I never thought that I would do gel manicures, but somehow I’ve ended up as a reviewer for a ton of them now! Expect to see quite a few more gel polish reviews in the near future.

Today’s focus is going to be on the foundation of any good gel manicure: a base and top coat set. This one is from UR Sugar, and it had my doubts because this set is one of the cheapest ones you can find for the amount of formula you get!

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The UR Sugar Base and Top Coat set comes in a 15 mL bottle size. That’s one of the largest bottle sizes you can obtain, especially for gel polish!

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Review of Aimeili Gel Base and Top Coat Set

Lately I’ve been getting into gel polish. It’s rather ironic because I never thought I would, knowing how often I change my nails, but I’ve gotten into the habit of applying gel polish to my right hand (my Cindy hand) to protect my nails from getting beat up from using acetone so much. Between needing to remove polish on my hands and toes on a regular basis, Cindy also touches acetone while cleaning stamping plates and generally gets abused at work and while doing household chores. It made sense for me to apply gel polish, which generally doesn’t get affected by acetone when exposed for short periods of time, at least to that hand so that I didn’t have to worry about my nails becoming increasingly brittle over time.

It has been said that gel polishes work best when you use them with the base and top coat made by the same company, so I used a set by Aimeili along with one of their gel colors (110 Prunus Persica) for this review.

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This gel base and top coat set from Aimeili is packaged in a cute box and comes with an instruction sheet inside.

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Review of Clavuz Gel Top Coat and Base Coat Set

I’ve been working with a lot of gel polish lately because my Cindy hand (dominant hand, short for Cinderella- the one that does all the work and gets none of the recognition) gets abused at work, and I need polish that will stay put and protect my nails. This gel base coat and top coat from Clavuz was a cheap find at Amazon and really worked wonders. Keep reading for the full review!

This base and top coat set comes packaged in a box set, so it makes an awesome gift for your fellow nail art obsessed friend who loves gel polish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on a lot of wish lists!

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The back of the box has instructions for how to use these items to produce a “14 Day Manicure.”

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Review of Born Pretty Water Based Base Coat

Today I’m reviewing a water based clear polish from Born Pretty Store. If you’ve ever worked with nail foils, you will know that people swear by water based top coats to finish off their manicure. Foils are known to shrink and crack when virtually any top coat is applied, ruining their beautiful finish, so I jumped at the chance to get this product when I heard the words “water based” in the formula because I was curious to see just how effective it would be.

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Born Pretty Water Based Base Coat comes in a box labeled with the ingredients on the back.

This must be their generic box because the list looks identical to the one they use with their other polishes.

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For comparison, this bottle and box photo comes from my review of their metallic flake top coat.

As for the formula, it’s clear and on the thinner side but not runny. It smells a little bit like a mix of ammonia and some sort of cleaner, although I can’t put my finger which one. It comes in a 9 mL cylindrical bottle with a good sized flexible brush that can easily paint most nails in 1-2 strokes.

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Review of Lylaa Silver Chrome Effect Nail Polish

How many of you are still drooling over the silver chrome look? I never thought that achieving this look would be possible with regular nail polish, so I was a little skeptical when I decided to get this set of Lylaa polishes from Beauty Big Bang. I’m not familiar with the brand, and most chrome polishes still have a brushed metal look rather than the mirror shine of it’s powder and gel combo counterpart, but this one does pleasantly surprise.

The set is a base coat and chrome polish duo. Each bottle contains 6 mL of polish, so the bottles are on the small side. The good thing is that hardly any product is used when you apply the formulas.

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This set of chrome lacquer and base coat comes in a small plastic bag. Beauty Big Bang stickers are applied to the bottoms of the bottles. No ingredients are listed.

The brush in the bottle is flexible and somewhat wide, so it is easy to paint your nails in about 2 strokes.

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Bottle shot of the silver chrome nail lacquer. Notice how you can see every bristle on the brush because the silver formula is so thin.

The base coat worked really nicely. The formula does not have a strong odor, but it does smell faintly fishy. This base coat really smoothed out the ridges on my nails and made them look really healthy. If you had any idea how damaged and dry my natural nails are from constantly doing nail art, you would realize that the way they look with this base coat is nothing short of a miracle!

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One coat of Lylaa base coat was applied to achieve this smooth and healthy gloss to my nails.

In order to successfully achieve the chrome look, you must fully allow the base coat to dry, otherwise the polish will distort with each brush stroke and look chunky once the chrome lacquer is applied.

Speaking of, the chrome varnish is very watery in appearance and smells strongly of paint. With one layer applied, you can see a smoky metallic finish start to appear, but ideally two coats of lacquer should be used to achieve the look below. Each layer of the chrome lacquer dries nearly instantly, which is another huge bonus.

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These nails are impressively shiny and reflective with 2 coats of chrome nail lacquer applied over Lylaa’s base coat.

Honestly, I have never seen a chrome polish really look like chrome. These nails got many compliments because they really stand out compared to your basic colors. It’s so rare to see shiny silver nails without having to use a gel polish and powder. I’m sure this will appeal to the many people who do not want to have to get a curing lamp or go to a salon to get this look!

On the downside, a lot of top coats tend to dull down the reflectiveness of the lacquer. I tried several different ones (Glisten & Glow, Seche Vite, Ya Qin An, and Dazzle Dry), and none seemed to preserve the original luster of the chrome look. The nails were still very attractive, but they achieved more of a brushed metal finish in the end.

You can try to wear the polish without applying any top coat, but the chrome lacquer rubs off throughout the day. Even with a top coat applied, the lacquer does not last very long. Something about the pigments in the chrome varnish make the top coat peel away fairly easily, and you will find it hard to survive a full day without some form of peeling happening. The actual silver color does stick somewhat to your nails so it doesn’t look as obvious as chipped polish does, but the smooth finish is ruined.

The polish can be removed with regular acetone, but the base coat does act a little funny and becomes slightly balled up and rubbery in texture as you try to dissolve it. You may need to use a little more elbow grease than usual, but it is nowhere near as hard to remove as glitter or gel polish!

In the end, if you love the look and don’t want to go through the hassle of a gel polish application or you don’t have a lamp to cure it with, you can go ahead and try this polish out. If you don’t mind the wear and tear that can happen to the finish of the polish throughout the day, then you will absolutely love it. But if you want to go the distance, I suggest you try the original gel polish and powder method of getting the mirror effect.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail polish set SKU:J2177 (retail price is $6.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code CHRISS will get you 10% off your order, and Beauty Big Bang offers free worldwide shipping. Happy polishing!

https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/silver-mirror-effect-metal-nail-polish-varnish-top-coat-metallic-nails-art-tips-nail-polish-set

https://www.beautybigbang.com

10% off coupon code: CHRISS

FAQ- Secrets Behind A Long Lasting Manicure

Do you complain about any of the following?

My nail polish keeps chipping.
My nail polish peels off.
I can’t get my manicures to last more than a day.

Have I got a post for you!

One of the top concerns that my friends have about DIY manicures is how to make the polish last.  Not everyone has the money to drop at a salon to get their nails done (*cough* especially me), but people claim that their polish comes off way faster when they do their nails at home.  Stop the madness!  This does not have to be the case!  Here are some tips and product endorsements that may make your life easier.  I’m not getting paid to represent any of the companies or products listed in this post, although hey, I’m open to that happening!  😉  But this is what works for me.

  1. Start with clean, dry nails.
    I can’t emphasize this step enough.  Your nails can’t have any oil or residue on them if you want that mani to last.  If you’ve ever had acrylics done, the technician starts by filing down your nail.  Do you know why?  Because filing will take away that top shiny layer that has your skin’s natural oils all over it and will help the acrylic stay put for a longer time.  Same thing goes if you look at a lot of those gel polish pre-wipes.  Most contain 90% isopropyl alcohol which again serves to dry the nail out and strip away any oil on the surface.  Everyone knows that gel polish lasts a long time.  So…
    What should you do at home?  Wipe your nails down with a cotton ball soaked with either pure acetone or 90% isopropyl alcohol.  Forget those special blends of polish remover that have moisturizers or are non-acetone.  If you want the polish to stay, you want to dry out your nails as much as possible first so that your base coat will adhere to your nail bed better.
  2. Use a base coat that dries to a rubbery finish.
    And yes, I would highly recommend using a base coat!  Seeing how porous your nails are going to be with all the natural oils stripped off, you’re going to want a protective layer between your nail and the polish unless you like having stained nails.  I’m not saying that every polish will stain your nails, but if you happen to get one that does, you’re going to be seeing the remnants of that color for a long time if you don’t keep painting your nails.As for what has a rubbery finish, I tend to use Bonder by Orly a lot when I want something to last.  I’ve also had another nail art enthusiast friend recommend Stickey by CND Colour, although I don’t have first hand experience with it.  Both of them have a slightly rubbery, sticky finish, and this is what is going to anchor your polish to your nail bed.
  3. Paint no more than 3 coats of nail polish color onto your nails.
    Thick nail polish is not your friend.  Unless you’re using it for stamping, I would either toss the bottle or add some nail polish thinner to it prior to painting your nails.  Thick nail polish will trap air bubbles in the formula from when you shake it up to mix it, and those bubbles will surface when you paint your nails and won’t look cute at all.Also, the thicker the coat of polish on your nails, the more likely it will crack and chip off.  You want to use as few coats as possible so that the polish will remain somewhat flexible on your nails.  If you can even get away with one coat, more power to you.  2 coats is pretty standard.  3 is pushing the limits.  4 is hot mess territory.
  4. Run a coat of polish along the edge of your nail after you paint it to help prevent chips.
    Chips will almost always start at the tip of your nail, so it helps to seal in the layer of polish by wrapping the color around the edge.  No need to actually paint it on- just swipe your nail against the side of the brush.
  5. Seal in your polish with a good top coat.
    Don’t try to skip this step!  Not only will your polish look nice and glossy, but it will often help to dry your polish faster and keep the color from wearing off too quickly.  My personal fave is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  I use it on practically all of my manicures and pedicures.  It helps bond all the layers of base coat, color, and top coat together, smooths out any weird imperfections (like brush strokes and clumps), and sets quickly.  I tend to do a lot of my manicures at night right before bed, and I have never woken up with a smudged manicure.  This stuff is magical!  Just make sure you also coat the edge of your nail the same way you did in step 4.

And that’s it!  My pedicures last a month without any chips and no reapplication of top coat with that method.  The polish might be able to stay on longer than that, but I don’t know because I usually have to cut my nails at that point.  😉

My manicures could probably last just as long, but I’ve never tested it out because I’m always trying to find an excuse to paint my nails again.  But here’s an example of a manicure I did last summer following the steps above.

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Floral manicure featuring Suzi’s Hungary Again! by OPI and acrylic paint.

Because I thought this mani looked pretty, I decided to keep it for awhile.  After a week, I brushed on another coat of top coat to revive the shine, but I tried out Freedom Polymer Top Coat by Julep (get your first box of polishes free through the link) for the first time that day.  Julep says that you can also cure this top coat with a regular light to add additional protection, so I did that, and 13 days later…

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13 days of looking beautiful and chip free!

You can see the nail growth by my cuticles to show that I wasn’t faking the number of days that this manicure lasted.  There was a little bit of wear at the tips just from everyday living, but everything stayed intact.  I would have kept going, but my fans wanted to see a new manicure.  😉

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The tried and true top coats and base coats mentioned above.

Let it also be said that if you really want your manicure to last, don’t abuse your hands.  Try not to pick at things with your nails or use your nails as tools.  You can also wear gloves when you do the dishes if you’re really concerned about keeping your polish looking pretty.  For the record, I do none of those things.  😉

I hope this helps solve your manicure and pedicure problems!  Let me know what works (or didn’t work) for you in the comments below.  Happy polishing!