Review of Born Pretty No Smudge Top Coat

Have you ever finished a manicure only to find that your top coat smudged all your hard work by making the colors bleed into each other? I’ve had this happen a number of times, and it’s extremely frustrating when it happens! Enter the world of no smudge top coats.

This top coat is from Born Pretty and comes packaged in the brand’s elegant cream and gold box, instantly making the item feel luxurious.

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The ingredients list is the same for every bottle of polish from Born Pretty, so I’m not sure what makes this top coat work so effectively.

The bottle contains 6 mL of crystal clear top coat and features an easy to handle brush. 6 mL isn’t a huge amount, which is a shame because you’ll want to use this top coat for all of your nail art!

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Review of Born Pretty Peel Off Gel Base Coat

As a nail art blogger, I find that it’s hard to commit to wearing the same polish for an extended amount of time. The durability of gel polish is virtually lost on me as I usually end up taking it off within a day or two. And if you like to swatch gel polishes? You’ve got to be kidding me with that removal process!

This handy gel peel off base coat from Born Pretty Store will make you want to use your gels polishes again. Not only does it cure like a regular gel, but it makes removing your polish afterward super easy instead of spending lots of time soaking and scraping!

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On the outside, the bottle looks like a normal soak off gel base coat, but it really does allow you to peel off your polish afterward!

The bottle holds 10 mL as stated on the outside. This is comparable to most gel polish brands, and you only need to apply one coat for it to work its magic.

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The back of the bottle lists the ingredients. Oddly enough, the “instruction paper” from the directions is nowhere to be found.

I used one layer of base coat over clean nails and cured it for 30 seconds with a LED lamp, and this seemed to work. The formula holds up well and isn’t too runny like some other Born Pretty gels, and the brush was easy to manipulate.

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This base coat is crystal clear and applies smoothly.

When I first tried this product, I still had acrylics on with a layer of gel top coat cured over the acrylic, and there were varying degrees of success with the peel off process.

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A layer of the base coat was applied and cured on top of my acrylic nails.

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Review of Ya Qin An Top Coat and Nail Art Problem #6: Streaky Nail Art

A few months ago, I saw a post on Instagram regarding a top coat that doesn’t smudge stamping.  I can’t remember which company released it as I can’t find the picture now, but I was intrigued by how you could brush on coat after coat of the stuff without fear of smearing your nail art!  So lo and behold, not long after that, I found a mysterious product listed as “1 Bottle 18ml Nail Polish Nail Printing Anti-stamp Dedicated Isolation Oil Brush Pure Color” on Born Pretty Store’s website that sounded like it fit the bill.

http://www.bornprettystore.com/bottle-18ml-nail-polish-nail-printing-anti-stamp-dedicated-isolation-brush-pure-color-p-27001.html

I took a gamble and got the product despite the lack of information on it, and it turns out that it did exactly what I thought it would do!

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Ya Qin An top coat for stamping and nail art.

The bottle is a generous 18 mL size that will last you quite awhile.  By comparison, Seche Vite comes in a 14 mL bottle, and most standard bottles of nail polish contain 15 mL of fluid.

I love that the bottle shape is basically a big cube.  The width makes it stable and less likely to be knocked over, not like I’ve ever done that

I can’t read Chinese, so I can’t help with the translation of any of the labels below.  Maybe one of you kind readers will be able to lend a hand?

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I’m guessing that this label lists the ingredients.

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The top of the cap has this sticker on top.

The formula is nice and crystal clear.  It is definitely not any kind of oil, as the initial description mentioned!  It has a slightly fruity chemical smell to it.  I wouldn’t say that it’s very offensive or overly strong, but it’s not unscented.

I’ve used it for several stamping manicures so far and liked what I saw.  I was able to brush over the same area multiple times without the stamping polish streaking.

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Also topped off this damask print manicure with Ya Qin An top coat.

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Ya Qin An top coat over school uniform plaid nails.

You can see that there wasn’t any smudging in the above manicures.  By contrast, this is what a nail with Seche Vite top coat looks like.

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Yikes, that blue color streaked, and that was with one brush stroke of Seche Vite!

I do have to say that despite the streaking, Seche Vite dried faster and shinier than the top coat by Ya Qin An.  But what good is that if the nail art underneath streaks and ruins all your hard work?  So for that alone, I think Ya Qin An deserves a 5 diamond rating.  You might have to sit around for another 5 minutes to make sure that everything dries completely, but you’ll have the security of knowing that your stamping efforts paid off.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this top coat (retail price is $11.96 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/bottle-18ml-nail-polish-nail-printing-anti-stamp-dedicated-isolation-brush-pure-color-p-27001.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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How To Repair a Broken Nail

Oh, the humanity!  At work, a bunch of things fell off a tall shelf onto me, and in my efforts to protect myself, I broke a nail.  This one was a bad break because it extended into my nail bed, making it pretty much impossible for me to just cut it off.

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Yikes! This was a painful break.

Obviously I couldn’t repair it right away, so I had to protect it with a bandage until I could get home.  If you’re way too lazy to do any of the steps that I’m about to describe below, you can take a larger fake nail and tape it over your own nail so that it keeps objects from pulling the nail off by accident.  You would be surprised at how important nails are at protecting your fingers and how much it hurts when the break catches onto something it shouldn’t have!  So yes, splint your finger until the break grows out long enough to cut it off, or…

YOU CAN REPAIR IT YOURSELF!

All you need are a few items that you probably already have or can easily acquire.

  • Scissors
  • A tea bag
  • Nail glue (or Krazy Glue in a pinch, although I haven’t tried that)
  • A nail buffer (optional)

I forgot to number the photos in the picture below (sorry!), so follow the outer left rim of pictures with the steps listed underneath.

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  1. Start with a bare nail.  Remove the moisture from your nail by either swabbing it with alcohol or acetone.
  2. Use nail glue to seal the crack where the break is.  Let the glue dry completely before proceeding.
  3. Cut a small piece from the tea bag that is big enough to cover the entire area of breakage.  Some people prefer to empty the tea and save the filter just for nail break repairs, but I don’t break my nails often enough to justify keeping that around.  You can discreetly cut along the part of the bag that is folded over at the top near the staple, and you will still be able to use the tea bag for a nice hot beverage later.
  4. Apply the tea bag patch you just cut out in step 3 over the break and glue it into place.  Be sure to cover it completely with the glue.  Let the glue dry completely before adding a second coat of glue over the area.
  5. Use a nail buffer to smooth out any bumps the glue may have left on the surface of your nail.  Don’t over buff or else you will end up removing the patch and will have to start over.

I conditioned my nails with some coconut oil after buffing the surface to bring moisture back.  You can also use olive oil, cuticle oil, or plain lotion, but the idea is to keep the rest of your nail healthy while the break grows out to the point where you can cut it off.  You can definitely paint your nails as normal, and it will look like nothing happened, but do be careful when using acetone to remove the polish as this will also remove some of the glue.

My nail is repaired for now, but the nail bed underneath is still tender.  The nail itself feels hard and strong, though.  Now it’s going to be a waiting game while my nail grows out, but I’m glad I didn’t have to settle for a oddly shaped nail in the meantime!

Happy polishing!

 

Nail Art Problem #4 and Review of Polish Mixing Balls

If you’re like me and have a large nail polish collection, you’ll inevitably have several bottles of polish that you haven’t used in such a long time that the color has separated from the formula.  Some people think that at this point, you have to throw out the bottle, although sometimes you can fix the problem by shaking the bottle for minutes on end.  But what if I told you that there is a product you can buy that will save you the hassle of all that?

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Stainless steel mixing balls to the rescue!

I fondly remember my mom shaking a bottle of nail polish in preparation to do her nails and hearing the metal balls inside the container go clickety-clack against the glass.  Some polishes come with these mixing beads already, but not every bottle has them, and therein lies the problem of getting the formula back to normal again once the polish separates.

These little ball bearings are such a time saver because adding one ball to a bottle will mix the polish to its original consistency within a minute, and they are cheap, too.  You can find the link for the product at the end of this post, but $2.90 will get you 20 of these balls.

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They arrive in a little zip-sealed bag from the merchant.

The balls are fairly small.  The website claims that they are 5 mm, but they are more like 4 mm in diameter.  They do have some weight to them so that they can cut through viscous nail polish easily.  It should be noted that they aren’t perfectly round and have scratches on them and have more of a multi-faceted surface, but they perform the job they need to do just fine.

Glitter polishes tend to settle and separate more than other ones because of the weight of the glitter being heavier than the polish formula, so it wasn’t hard to find a bottle that needed mixing.  I tested the blending capabilities out by putting a ball into Meet Me At the Disco by Sephora by OPI below.

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Left: Separated polish before mixing. I actually shook the bottle a little before taking the photo to listen if there was a ball inside already from the manufacturer (there wasn’t), but you can see that the polish is still pretty separated. Right: After adding one mixing ball to the bottle and shaking it for less than a minute, the polish looks evenly blended.

I also had a bottle of crackle polish from Sally Hansen in Antiqued Gold from when it first became popular years ago.  I thought this bottle would definitely have to be tossed- the pigment would hardly move even when the bottle was inverted, and I had tried to shake it back to normal before without any luck.  But lo and behold, I added just one of the mixing beads to the bottle, shook it for under a minute, and everything returned to normal!

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Behold, the magic of ball bearings! The top photos are what the polish looked like originally, and the bottom photos look like I bought a brand new bottle from the store, but all I did was shake the bottle after the addition of a single bead. If you’re wondering about the difference in the caps, I couldn’t open the bottle because the crackle design was shrink wrapped around the handle so that the plastic overlay would turn instead of opening the bottle, so I cut the film off.

I wasn’t so sure that the formula would be any good even after mixing it, but it still crackles after all these years!  Score!

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Close up view of my nail with the freshly reinvigorated bottle of Antiqued Gold crackle polish by Sally Hansen.

I’m not into creating my own polish colors, but adding a ball to a bottle of clear coat and adding different kinds/concentrations of glitter to it would make for a fun DIY project.

Also, if your polish has become too thick, you can add a few drops of nail polish thinner to it along with a bead and kick the formula back into usable condition again.

It’s safe to say that I highly recommend these little metal balls.  I never thought I would get such joy from such a little purchase!  I would add one or two to all of my bottles of polish, but I would need a few hundred more!  They are definitely worth the price, so why not buy a pack and try them out?

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing these stainless steel polish mixing balls (retail price is $2.90 USD for 20), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/20pcs100pcs-nail-polish-mixing-balls-stainless-steel-beads-glitter-polish-p-15225.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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Nail Art Problem #3 and Nail Aid No Rub Gel Remover Review

As annoying as it is to have charms fall off your nails before it’s time to change your mani, trying to get the darn things off when you want to take them off is just as bad!  Do I even have to mention glitter polish?  The struggle is real.

If I know I’m going to change my look up quickly, I’ll use the Elmer’s School Glue trick so I won’t have to deal with loads of acetone.  Don’t know about it?  It’s when you paint a coat of Elmer’s School Glue onto your nails as a base coat, let it dry, and then apply your polish (preferably in a thick coat) over it.  Depending on how much you wash your hands, the manicure you do over the glue can last, at worst, a few hours or maybe 2-3 days at best.  To remove the polish deliberately, use an orange stick to gently lift up a corner of the polish, and the whole thing will come off your nail lickety split.

When it comes to using rhinestones and studs, my intention is usually to keep them on my nails for as long as possible, but removing them is such a huge pain.  Whether you use polish or nail art glue to adhere them doesn’t make much of a difference- the suckers sometimes don’t want to budge.  Your only options are to either keep scrubbing away at them with nail polish remover and cotton balls or soak your nails in acetone, either in a dish or with the foil/cotton ball removal method.

But one day, while cruising the nail art section at Walmart, I found this product:

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Nail Aid to the rescue!

Could this be the answer to my problems?  I hate having to soak my nails in dappen dishes full of acetone, and I’m too lazy to prepare foil and cotton balls, so maybe a gel remover is the ticket to freedom.

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Instructions for use.

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Inside the magic jar lies a pink gel.

So let’s try using it on the rhinestones from my Sunflower/Black Eyed Susan manicure.  Warning: graphic, ugly pictures of nails lie beyond this sentence.  Proceed with caution!  You have been warned.  😛

I dipped my nails into the gel one at a time.  I probably could have just placed dollops of the gel right on top of the rhinestones because I already took off the surrounding polish, but that would take more effort.

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Gel remover on top of nails. I’m strangely in the mood to have a chocolate chip cookie after seeing this photo.

The instructions say to wait 4 minutes before attempting removal, so I sat around, awed by how cold my hands felt with gelled acetone on my nails.

After 4 minutes, I took an orange stick and pried each rhinestone off.  They certainly were not going to budge if I only used a paper towel to wipe away the gel, as is recommended in the instructions.  I can’t say that they all came off easily- some rhinestones came off without any issues while others required a little strength.  I know my nail beds could potentially get damaged from doing this if the polish isn’t totally softened, but I’m not planning to use any charms for quite some time after this manicure.

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After removing the rhinestones, lots of residue remains. At least the rhinestones came off!

After trying to wipe away the excess gel and polish with a paper towel, I washed my hands with soap and water.  The gel feels very slick when you try to wash it away, and it takes a little effort to make sure all the residue is gone.

I still had some nail polish on my nails, so I needed to go back and remove what little remained with nail polish remover and a cotton pad.  But Egad!  Something managed to stain my nails!

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All gone… except for some mysterious lingering rings where the rhinestones were.

I have no idea what caused that, but the stains will be covered up with a new manicure soon enough anyway.  😉

I’ve tried using this product with glitter polish in the past, and it did a reasonable job of taking off most of the glitter.  Is it better than the foil method?  In term of ease of application, most definitely!  In terms of clean up?  Not really.  What time you save in applying the gel gets added at the end when you try to wash it off…  and that’s if all your polish got removed the first time around.  I’m sticking to using Elmer’s School Glue as a base coat for ease of removal of glitter polishes.

In terms of using this for removal of nail art studs and charms, I would definitely use this again.  The gel stays put and doesn’t drip, and it manages to loosen the charms up enough so that you can remove them.  After that, it’s not a big deal to clean up the polish residue.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you want to find out more about No Rub Gel by Nail Aid, please visit their website at: http://www.norubgel.com/   Definitely go to Walmart to buy it rather than purchase it online if you have a choice.  It’s much cheaper at Walmart, although they don’t see it online.  Good luck with the nail art removal process!

Nail Art Problem #2: When Glued Charms Fall Off

I used to adhere my googly eyes, rhinestones, and other charms onto my nails by setting them into wet polish or topcoat.  After losing so many decorations randomly throughout my day and often even in less than 24 hours from doing my nails, I decided to try buying nail art glue for my 3D creations.

I picked up Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Glue from CVS.  It comes in a tube that looks like it could be Krazy Glue, but when you squeeze it out, it has a gel like consistency and is easy to apply.

I have to give props to Kiss because my wiggle eyes have been hanging onto my manicure really well.  The problem is more that I really can’t stand having things protrude from my nail bed.  The eyes have been catching on towels, in my hair, while digging through my pocketbook…  you name it, and they get in the way.  Imagine my surprise when I went to unbutton my pants, and I felt an eye pop off!  I mean, I wasn’t really that surprised that it happened, but I was definitely shocked to see how many layers of polish it took with it.  You figure the eyes had a base coat, 2 coats of yellow, a coat of silver, and a top coat underneath the glue.  That’s a lot to chip off just in the eye socket area!  I just hope that my nail bed didn’t get too damaged.  But for now, I have one minion that looks like a zombie.  😛  Guess I’ll have to paint my nails again soon!