Sunday, August 28, 2011

My journey to discovering CND Shellac (Part 2)

Fast forward 2 weeks and I'm due for a mani-pedi date with the bestie. I did a lot more research and discovered a place that was CND-approved for Shellac; further research on the internet had nothing but positive reviews so I was sold. To celebrate the last few weeks of summer, I decided on a bright and fun colour: Tropix (a coral shade).

The nail tech (who also happened to be the owner) removed my nail polish and I was horrified to see all the damage that had been done to my nail beds! They were rough (from all the filing) and little white spots were evident on some nails from the acetone soaking a few weeks earlier. This was overshadowed by constant reassurance that my nails would grow out and that I had been blessed with good genes given that I naturally have long nails.

The regimen had been applied correctly this time and boy did it live up to it's hype (so far)! I tweeted, "Eep, my nails look so pretty, I can't stop staring at them!" and embarrassingly enough, it's true. There are no cracks and/or chips...just a beautiful super glossy manicure and pedicure. Have a looksee yourself! The owner of the nail salon took advantage of a little free marketing and used my hands and feet to promote Shellac to other clients while I was still there, and that was fine by me. A snobbier side of me likes to flaunt off the fact that I got good genes for nails from my mama. ;)

Looks more pink than it really is.

I plan to go for a Shellac manicure in two weeks time and go for the mani-pedi routine in about a month. While I am smitten with Shellac, the only downside is the cost; I am not so sure it is cost-effective when is nearly double that of a normal mani-pedi package. When the cold weather starts rolling in, I am sure I will resort to having a DIY pedicure instead.

If you are considering Shellac, I strongly advise you to look up a salon on the CND website. Trust me, it will save you time, money, and your nails in the end. You can use this link to do your research:

DISCLAIMER: I paid for the salon service myself and was not endorsed by the aforementioned company for my review.

My journey to discovering CND Shellac (Part 1)

Finding a nail salon that offered CND Shellac...and actually CND-approved, was a 4-6 week process. It didn't have to be if I had done proper research from the moment I decided I wanted my nails to get Shellac'd; but it was a spur of the moment thing that ended up costing a lot of time, money, and put my nails through hell and back. Let me explain.

My best friend and I decided to go for mani and/or pedi dates every 3-4 weeks. The second time we had our mani-pedi date, I noticed the salon offered CND Shellac. I heard about all the benefits of Shellac and decided in the spur of the moment to try it out. Hurray, my nails would look prim and proper for a good two weeks. Little did I know that the treatment was being applied wrong given that I was a Shellac virgin, but all of these signs pointed out to trouble:

1) My nails were buffed as if they were going to get gel overlays --- your nails don't have to be buffed to that extent with Shellac.
2) The Shellac regimen wasn't followed AT ALL --- Shellac works like regular nail polish; it needs a proper base coat, two coats of color, and finished with a top coat. Each coat is cured under a UV light for two minutes before the other coat is applied. When the top coat is finally cured, it is rubbed with alcohol and voila, you're Shellac'd! *NOTE: You must have ALL CND Shellac products used in the process for it to work.*

There my nails stood in all of their glory - super shiny and in Strawberry Smoothie. I was in awe until a few hours later when they started to crack like crazy. I tried to fix them over the next day but to no avail, I had paid an extra $20 on top of a regular manicure to get this glorified treatment done only to have my nails looking like crap. I decided to find a place close to where I work to get my nails fixed. I called up a nail salon that claimed they also offered Shellac but when I arrived for my appointment, they had a different brand instead. I figured I didn't have much to lose as I watched my nails being soaked in pure acetone for a good 15 minutes and then buffed down again. This time, the whole regimen was followed minus the fact that it wasn't a CND brand.

My nails held up for a few hours longer than the previous time but one by one, started to crack. After putting up with cracking and chipped nails for 5 days, the salon offered to remove the treatment and give me a regular manicure instead at no cost. Not surprisingly, my regular manicure lasted a good week and a half (with a coat of Seche Vite applied every few days). However, I didn't know the extent of the damage that had been done to my nails.

Monday, August 30, 2010

OPI DS Original (Review)

Lately, I've been on a holographic kick and have been obsessed with Nfu-Oh polishes. I thought I'd take a break from Nfu-Oh goodness and divert my attention to the OPI Designer Series holos. Boy am I glad that I did. OPI DS Original is purple holographic good. Compared to the Nfu-Oh and China Glaze holos, the particles are more scattered and not as dense, and it showed when it came to application. I used a base coat of Nfu Oh Aqua Base Coat, 3 Coats of OPI DS Original, and a top coat of Seche Vite. OPI holos are great because they dry to a shiny finish; so you can choose to skip top coat. For me, I usually hope that a manicure lasts nearly a week, so I used top coat and it didn't dull the holo effect in the slightest. Another plus is the wear time. My job requires a lot of typing and there has been zero chips *knock on wood* so far. I know a lot of holos will chip even with top coat; they are notoriously worse without it. OPI DS Original is definitely the most durable out of the lot by far. Now if you'll excuse me, I will go back to staring at the holographic awesomeness.

DISCLAIMER: The product(s) in this post was/were purchased by me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Holo-y Goodness - Nfu Oh 64

Meet the most holographic nail polish brand you'll ever know: Nfu Oh. I think this brand may be my favourite nail polish brand of all-time (sorry China Glaze); from their adorable bottles to their wide selection of colours to their amazing holographic polishes, can you really blame me for falling in love with this brand?

Pictured above is Nfu Oh 064, a gorgeous mauve colour. I used a base coat of Nfu Oh Aqua Base Coat, a layer of Nfu Oh 64, followed by another layer of Nfu Oh Aqua Base Coat, and finished off with one more coat of Nfu Oh 64. I skipped the top coat since it would dull the holographic effect. I had no problems with application and both Nfu Oh products dried incredibly fast. I don't know if I mentioned this in my last post, but it is strongly recommended that you use the Aqua Base Coat if you plan on indulging in Nfu Oh holos. I had these for months but didn't use them because it was a patchy nightmare sans the Aqua Base Coat.

DISCLAIMER: The product(s) in this post was/were purchased by me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nfu-Oh Aqua Base Coat for holos (review)

I got my Nfu-Oh aqua base coat today and just HAD to test it out with a few different holographic colours. Needless to say, I am impressed with this stuff. It glues down holographic polishes better than any other base coat - I was good to go with two coats for the polishes I tried it with (mainly from Nfu Oh and China Glaze). Application was painless - it is a little thicker than regular base coats, but just remember to apply a thin layer of it since it's all you will need. That'll help it dry quicker to boot. If you are a fan of holographic nail polishes like I am, you need to get your hands on a bottle or two of this stuff since it goes out of stock FAST. It is so worth the $12.50 USD. US residents gets free shipping regardless of amount to boot. You really have nothing to lose.

You can purchase Nfu-Oh products from :)

DISCLAIMER: The product(s) in this post was/were purchased by me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eyeko haul (and review)!

If you are interesting in Eyeko products, check out their website @ Use my ambassador code: E10345 for an exclusive free gift with any purchase. :)

Recently, a London-based brand called Eyeko ( piqued my interest with their gorgeous shades of nail polish and super cute packaging. This my current Eyeko collection but I do have the Eyeko Cream with Extra Glow and Tinted Cream on the way. The verdict? I am in love with Eyeko products! The price points are affordable (especially if you are a student) but the quality is comparable to some top notched brands. I will go into further detail in my extensive reviews below. I will be reviewing the Eyeko Cream, Magic Mascara, and Lilac Nail Polish.

1) Eyeko Cream ($14 uSD) - "Create a flawless base with Eyeko's 3-in-1 Cream. MOISTURISER, HIGHLIGHTER & EYE CREAM in 1! Infused with skin perfecting light reflectors and antioxidant Vitamins A& E plus a Vitamin C boost for a radiant, clear complexion."

Much to my disappointment, the cream came in a small 28 mL jar, but a little goes a long way with this stuff. It definitely adds a glow to your face without going over the top. For me, I like to mix it with my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I find that my tinted moisturizer has great coverage but finishes a little too dull, so 1/2 a dime-sized amount mixed with it does the trick. It gives my face a nice healthy sheen. All on its own, it works great in place of a highlighter when applied to my brow and cheek bones. I love this stuff and I definitely can see myself ordering more of it in the near future.

2) Eyeko Magic Mascara ($14 USD) - "Wave the Magic Wand for Long, Luxe Lashes! Our NEW lush outsized brush creates dramatically fuller and thicker looking lashes with a voluptuous curl that lasts all day long!

The 3 in 1 formula inks up lashes a treat and is magic to use! Just glide the wand from root to tip to magically transform limp lashes into a flirtatious flutter! Reveal instant full body volume; marvel at the extended length and applaud the amazing curl with astounding resilience!"

I have typical Asian lashes (translation: literally next to nothing), so volume is important to me when it comes to selecting mascara. The Magic Mascara did not disappoint when it came to creating volume for my limp lashes. However, it didn't create as much volume as let's say DiorShow or Lancome Hypnose; it created enough volume for the price I paid and that will suffice. The biggest plus of Magic Mascara is that DID NOT SMUDGE. My oily eyelids are very thankful for it! :)

3) Lilac Polish ($5.50 USD) - "Eyeko Polish features a nail friendly formula that is Toluene, Formaldehyde, DBP and Camphor FREE! No Colour fade thanks to UV absorbers and an amazing glossy, chip resistant finish which strengthens nails too!

Eyeko Lilac Polish: Dip your toe into the pastel trend for sweet nails with an edge as seen on Kelly Osborne."

Eyeko nail polishes come in a petite 8.5 mL bottle, which is enough for me given the quantity of nail polish I have. At the same time, it does make it a little pricey for $5.50, considering that you can get a 15 mL bottle of China Glaze polish for less. I've only had the chance to apply the Lilac polish, which is a gorgeous pastel shade of purple. The application however, is a different story. I don't know if it was my bottle but the formula was thick and goopy, which made application a little difficult. If the formula was a tad bit thinner, it would've easily been opaque in two coats, but since it was rather streaky, I used three coats to achieve full opacity. Despite this, drying time was rather reasonable.

^ Base coat: Nubar Foundation; Three coats of Eyeko Lilac Polish; One coat of Nfu-Oh 50; and Seche Vite top coat.

The one coat of Nfu-Oh and Seche Vite top coat definitely helped smooth things out. Wear time was great and it lasted me 5 days without any noticeable chip wear or coats. To avoid my problem in the future, I suggest adding 3 drops of Seche Restore to thin the polish out. I will be trying new Eyeko polishes in the future, don't get me wrong, but I was expecting a little more after reading a lot of positive reviews. Before I lose my train of thought, I did apply Eyeko Saucy Polish on my coworker's hands a few days ago and that particular polish doesn't seem to have the problem Lilac polish does. It applied smoothly and was opaque in one coat. Very pretty colour to boot, I must say.

THE VERDICT: If you are seeing beauty on a budget, Eyeko is the way to go. My must-haves from the Eyeko line are the Eyeko Cream and Magic Mascara. If you are going to try their nail polishes, make sure you've got nail polish thinner on hand. My must-try shade is Rain Polish - a gorgeous blue-grey creme with subtle shimmer.

DISCLAIMER: The product(s) in this post was/were purchased by me.