Sunday, November 14, 2010

Polish to the People's Tips for Glitter Removal

What's a girl to do when she has put two coats of China Glaze Party Hearty over two coats of China Glaze Phat Santa, and now it's time to remove it?

Well, first, this picture doesn't really do this fantastic green, red, and gold glitter justice, but it's night and I have no lighting, so you'll just have to deal. It's a party in a bottle, make no mistake. My main problem with this manicure was that I had been at the Sephora VIB party this past week where there was 20% off everything and free champagne before doing this manicure, and between the great deal I got and the booze, I probably should not have been operating a nail polish. But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyway, now that I want to take it off, how am I going to do this without going absolutely insane? I'll tell you how. With this little gem that can be found at Target:

And what's inside this rather ordinary looking jar of acetone nail polish remover? I'll tell you what. The glitter nail polish removing vagina of DOOM!

So, not only does this thing have 100% acetone (which I use almost all the time - yes, it's drying, but effective. I don't recommend it if you aren't willing to moisturize to accommodate), but rather than the standard sponge, it has little plastic bristles that scrub glitter off your nails.

I try not to use the glitter nail polish removing vagina of doom more than once a week if I can help it. As I mentioned, acetone is very drying, and since you really have to soak the nail in there and then scrub the softened nails against plastic bristles, it's not a good idea to use this all the time. But, if you are facing the frightening prospect of removing any kind of crazy glitter like this, the vagina of doom is your solution. And THAT is Polish to the People!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You look like Vegas, Baby!

I haven't been feeling too inspired to post lately, but you can all thank the very kind sales associate at the liquor store for making me want to share this beauty with you. Yesterday, while buying a very serviceable bottle of Moscato D'Asti in which to drown my sorrows, he got one look at my nails, and, excited by the glitter, exclaimed, "You look like Vegas, Baby!" And I decided, you know what? I do.

Despite my deep love for Deborah Lippman's glitter polishes, I had been resisting buying this one for some reason, probably because I don't particularly like brown nail polishes. However, my mother recently called me from Nordstrom and said, "Do you need anything?" And I said, "Yes. Glitter." And she picked this up for me. Gotta love that woman.

This beauty is called Superstar, and has a brown jelly base the color of weak coffee that is packed full of copper glitter. Totally opaque (not just can't see the nail line opaque, but can't see through the nail opaque, which I favor) in two coats, this has worn very well despite me being very hard on my nails since I applied it two days ago. My primary complaint about this color is that the glitter is not smooth. What I mean when I say that is that some glitter-packed polishes feel as smooth as a creme on the nail and you can't feel the texture of the glitter at all, but even after a shocking three coats of top coat, this one still feels bumpy to the touch.

Also, despite those shocking three coats of top coat (including my usual go-to when I have this problem, Orly Glosser), this never really looked very shiny. I am a big fan of glossy, wet-looking nails, but this looks somewhat dull to me. I'm not sure if it's the fault of the base color or the glitter, but it could pack even more of a punch if you could see your reflection in it.

Overall, I give Deborah Lippman Superstar a gold star, though I know it is going to take forever to remove all of that glitter! Polish to the People!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drinking while Polishing: A Cautionary Tale

As a person obsessed with polish and committed to bringing that love to the people, I want to also educate the people so that the bad things that happen to me do not befall you. There are several things one should not do while drinking adult beverages: drive, call ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, and polish one's nails. Last night, while I was not drunk, I had a few vodka and tonics, and rather than just live to fight another day and leave yesterday's perfectly serviceable manicure on, I figured, take it off! Do something else! So I did. I could not bear to share with you a picture of what it looked like before clean-up, so we're just going to pretend everything turned out okay in the end as the photographic evidence proves. But it was bad. Bad like the first time you painted your nails and got more polish off the nail than on bad. Bad. Shiver. Anyway.

Now, I picked the combo when I was still sober, so it's no mistake that I put one of the most difficult to remove glitters, China Glaze Nova, over Color Club Gossip Column. I really did mean to do that, though I know I will pay when it comes time to remove it tomorrow. But I just couldn't resist. I had a horrible week, and I needed glitter. Big, loud, holographic glitter.

As I mentioned yesterday, I love Color Club with a deep passion, and Gossip Column is no exception. It is a lovely creme, opaque in two coats (but I had vodka, so I did three against my normally better judgment), that, when you are not blurry-eyed with drink, applies so smoothly and evenly that it makes you want to cry. This picture is actually with flash which shows better than natural light pics how sort of dark and stormy of a teal it is. I have a matte MAC eyeshadow this color, and it's really one of my favorite kinds of shades. Vibrant without being bright, bold without being loud. And Nova? Well, what can I say. It's a dense as all heck, silver holographic glitter, hexagonally (is that a word? It is now.) shaped, and a real pisser to get off. Oh well. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, so I can spend all day wrapped in acetone. Even with the China Glaze glitter, which I find dries very slowly in general, this was perfectly dry in 30 minutes after a good coat of Poshe.

So, yes, kids, be careful, and do not mix polish with vodka. Because you will have to get up early the next day to painstakingly remove the excess from your fingers. And you will still be secretly picking it off your cuticles by lunchtime. Until next time, Polish to the People!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Layering Fun and an Ode to Color Club

I know, I know, I have been neglecting the people, and for that I apologize. Over here at Casa Polish to the People, we have been engaged in a month long cleaning project that has been rather rough on the old blogging time (not to mention rough on the old nails!). However, in the end, we prevailed, and I even got one of the illustrious Helmers from Ikea to store my stash. I hope to have some sexy pictures of the newly organized collection soon!

Anyway, on to the polish.

I got a couple of these sheer glittery polishes from Savvy Femme Couture. I am not sure how they wanted to market them, but I instantly saw them as layering gems. The uninitiated I am sure will wear them alone as sheers, but that isn't quite my style, is it? Here you see Purple Potion, a reasonably sheer base loaded with pink and purple teeny tiny shimmer glitter, over Color Club Power Play. Power Play is a neon fuchsia that pulls much more pink in this photo than it really is. Neons are notoriously difficult to photograph, so I don't feel too badly. Over all, I really like this combo.

Now, a word on Color Clubs. I decided I had to break one out because I just ordered a few colors from their new fall collection, Untamed Luxury. For such a cheap polish (usually around $2.49 each from various online retailers), and for how relatively inaccessible it is in brick and mortar stores, this is such a wonderful polish. They have great colors, lovely seasonal collections, and the application and wear is phenomenal. What you see here is after my second day of wearing it, and despite how much I type at work and how generally hard I am on my nails between cooking and dishes, it is still perfect. Their neons do tend to require more coats (this took three to be opaque), but in general they are opaque in two to three coats and go on so smoothly, it's hardly any effort at all.

So, that's my reintroduction to you. I hope not to be away for so long again. Until next time, Polish to the People!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

American Apparel Peacock with Konad

It took me a while to get myself to my local American Apparel to pick up some of their polishes, though the buzz about them has never been negative (despite a voluntary recall the company did - I am actually not sure why, but all seems to be well now), cremes are never my first choice, and all of the cool colors this company makes are cremes. The good news is, they are really high quality, well pigmented cremes.

Pictured here is one of the shades I recently purchased, Peacock. Usually, when shades are described as Peacock, they are often duochrome shimmers, not cremes, but I guess when you think about the deep teal in the feathers of a peacock, this shade wouldn't be too far off. The above picture is taken in full sunlight. Inside it definitely looks darker, but it really is a great color if you are a teal fan. This applied opaque in two coats. It was darn near opaque in one, but I just can't feel right with just one coat. It was shiny even before I put topcoat on it and dried very quickly. It wasn't too runny or too thick. It was just perfect! The price is right, too: $6 for one, or $15 for three.

For the clouds, I used China Glaze Metallic Muse, a light green chrome, with Konad plate M79. I was going to use a Bundle Monster plate, but for some reason, the stamper just would not pick this polish up off of a BM plate. It isn't too surprising, really. The chrome colors are very thin and dry very quickly, which is not good for the BM designs which are more shallow than Konad plates. Chromes are awesome for nail art stamping because they seem to literally turn into little pieces of foil on the nail. You do have to work very very quickly, though, because once the polish starts to dry, you might not be able to pick it up off of the plate, and if you do, if the polish dries on the stamper, it turns into a little flake that will slide right off the nail. The effect, however, is worth the trouble!

That's all for today, folks! Polish to the People!

Tutorial: Silk Wraps for Broken Nails

You've been taking care of your nails. You've been moisturizing your cuticles. You've been using a glass nail file. You've stopped over-buffing. You've been using treatment basecoats and keeping your nails polished. You've stopped using your nails as tools. Despite it all, you look down one day and see a split spreading across one of your nails. What do you do? Cry? No, you fight back! For me, when it's a split on one of my fingers, I use Orly's Nail Rescue kit (it includes nail glue and powder; you brush the glue over the nail and stick it in the powder to create a hard, protective shield to hold the nail together), but when it's the thumb (which takes more abuse than other nails), I use a silk wrap. Below I will show you, step by step, how to use a few simple tools to keep the length of the nail and keep on truckin'!
Here it is, my sad, split thumb nail. You can see it better in the larger version, but there it is, the awful split along the right side of the nail. The horror!
Your tools: To perform this magic, you will need a set of Swiss Silk Wraps, available for about $5 at Sally's. One box contains 40 sticky-backed wraps in a variety of sizes. You will need gel resin, which is sort of like glue. I use ibd Brush-On Gel Resin, also available at Sally's for about $3. To trim the wraps, you'll want some small cuticle scissors. To finish the wrap and prepare for polish, you'll need a coarse grit (black) and fine grit (yellow) buffer block, both available at Sally's for less than a dollar.
Step 1: Select a wrap in the size closest to your broken nail. It probably won't be perfect, so trim the bottom and edges so it is just a tad smaller than the width of your nail. If it goes all the way to the edge and goes over the border of the nail on the sides, not only will the gel make it feel awkward, it will also carry the risk of lifting off the nail, which would rather defeat the purpose! Don't worry about cutting off any length, though. I actually have an easier time if I leave it long and worry about the excess later.
Step 2: Peel off the paper backing and stick the wrap on your nail. If you screw up, don't stress. You can take it off and replace it until it's positioned correctly.
Step 3: Trim the free edge as much as possible, but if a little is still left hanging off the edge, don't worry. You will clean it up later.
Step 4: Brush a thin layer of gel resin over the wrap, just enough to see that the fibers have been saturated by the liquid.
Step 5: Wait until the gel resin is dry (this can often take about ten minutes - do not be tempted by fast dry sprays that are sold near gel resin and nail glue; they dry the liquid too quickly which creates a brittle surface that can crack and lift off the nail. You have to be patient with this stuff.) Using the coarse buffing block, buff the edge of your nail to remove the excess from the tip and create a clean edge so that the wrap and your nail are flush. Also, buff over the surface of the nail a few times to smooth out the bumpiness and texture of the wrap that invariably occurs. Normally, you would not use this coarse of a buffer over a natural nail, but between the gel resin and the silk, you're not going to touch the actual nail.
You can usually stop here, but if you're really committed, like I am, apply another layer of gel resin, let it dry, and buff again. If you're going to be following this up with a creme finish polish, as I am, you may want to finish the buffing with a finer grit buffer so that you can't see the texture of the wrap through your polish.
And here it is with polish over it! Like the horrible split never happened! These hold up very well and I can usually keep the same one on through three or four nail polish changes even though I use pure acetone to remove my nail polish. When you are ready to take it off, the gel resin can be dissolved with acetone nail polish remover on felt so you can peel the silk off.

So there you go! Never fear the split nail again! We can rebuild you! We can make you stronger, faster! We can keep the nail length and stop the evil split from spreading! These wraps are so strong, that even if your nail breaks completely off, if you can rescue the piece that broke off, you can use a silk wrap to reattach it. Seriously!

I expect today may be a double post day after I finish the nail art I am plotting. I hope this tutorial helps you! Polish to the People!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste

Sometimes, a polish comes along that is just, well, perfect. So perfect, even my camera cannot capture how awesome it truly is. As a result, I'm going to try to give two pictures to show two aspects of this most fantastic of polishes, Illamasqua Baptiste. I bought this when I was in Atlanta because it holds one of the very few Sephoras in the US that carries this line (you can also buy it online, of course, but sometimes I like to get my hot little hands on something when I can see it in person!). I have been to another Sephora that carries it in San Francisco, but they were out of this one and I have thought about buying it ever since!

This is an picture with flash to show the fantastic red and blue shimmer in this beautiful medium purple that leans on the red side of purple. This picture makes the purple polish itself way too blue, so this is only to show the shimmer.
This picture in the sunlight shows better the lovely purple shade of this polish. It's still not great because of how bright the sun was, but I think you can still see how hot it is.

This polish is so good, it hurts. Not only is the color amazing with its flashes of red and blue in the purple, but like all Illamasquas that I have tried, it applied like a dream and dries very well with no streakiness, and in two coats. As a serial three-coater, this is always amazing to me. Its one downside may be its price, $14, which is prohibitive for some people in a nail polish. I buy a lot of department store cosmetics, so this wasn't much of a shock for me. Alright, If I talk any more about this color, people will think I have gone crazy, but anyway, it's one of the best purples in my collection. Polish to the People!