Memorial Day 2016 Nail Art featuring UNO by Gelish MINI

Press Sample

If you've been reading PolishGalore for any length of time, you'll know that I'm pretty terrible when it comes to nail art. I love the look, I love the creativity, I just don't have "it" when it comes to creating half the time. That's why when I got these new UNO by Gelish MINI 1-step soak off gels, I knew that I could probably create something awesome for Memorial Day using vinyls. Let's see what happens, right?

UNO by Gelish MINI is a single-step process for DIY gel manicures. That's right, no base coat, no top coat, and no cleansing involved. Just get an LED light and your choice of over 20 colors and get to work. These durable, high-shine manicures boast a 7-10 day wear time, providing you wrap your tips, keep the gel off your cuticles, and use thin coats when applying. Please do not confuse "1 Step" with "1 Coat". 

Side note: Do not use a LED lamp that has more than 18 watts. I have absolutely no idea the wattage on my LED lamp but it seemed to work fine with my nails.

First, as with any manicure (gel or not), I properly cleansed my nail, removing all my old nail polish, and making sure my cuticles were off the nail plate. Next was prepping the gel bottle - this doesn't sound like much but you do need to shake the bottle to make sure all the product is properly mixed, as gel tends to be thicker than normal polish. Then I started with one thin coat of the red creme called Traffic Stopper and cured in my LED lamp (60 seconds). Then I added a second thin coat of Traffic Stopper and cured that for 60 seconds. Next, I used the Starburst vinyl from NailVinyls and placed it about halfway on my nail before using the blue creme called Very Blueberry and cured for another 60 seconds. Afterwards, I removed the vinyl and was good to go. Very Blueberry was pigmented enough that I didn't need a second coat.

Now the only downside about using a vinyl with a 1-step gel is that there isn't a top coat to "seal" the edges of the vinyl. My vinyl didn't lift or get caught on anything but at the same time, my nail wasn't as smooth as the others, so I made this an accent nail only. A top coat would have smoothed everything out but that would have defeated the purpose of using UNO.

To remove, start by gently filing the surface of the gel with a 180 grit file to remove the shine (the nail should look matte), then place a cotton ball with your choice of remover on the nail and wrap with foil. There are many different products on the market to help aid you in removing your gel - I prefer the Steam Off by Katie Cazorla. You still file the surface but then you place your hand in the machine for 10 minutes and the steam created from the acetone penetrates to the polish and steams it right off. I've been using it every time I wear gel, without any issues.

The final look! I wore this to a baseball game on Sunday and it lasted me well. I did not wrap my tips and because of it, I had tip wear after Monday's chores of washing dishes and doing laundry. I will be wearing more of the colors as this month goes on as June will be really busy for us and can't wait to show you more colors!

UNO by Gelish® MINI products are available exclusively at Sally Beauty Supply stores nationwide and online at for about $11.50 for a 5 mL/0.17 fl oz bottle. Follow Gelish® MINI on FacebookTwitterTumblr and on Instagram.

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

LVX Crimson

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I have to take some photos today, and I knew I wanted a cherry red creme since the photos are for professional needs and I'm not the photographer. Now it's not that I didn't want to go with an awesome neon or a crazy holographic, but I wanted something timeless, elegant and classic. After a little hunting, I found my LVX Crimson from the 2015 Winter/Resort collection.

I used a base coat of Duri Rejuvacote, 2 coats of polish and finished with Love, Angeline Topped With Love top coat. My nails are a little long right now and in need of some TLC but the formula for this polish was a dream. One thing I'm learning is to just get your first coat on and don't worry so much about opacity and use a second thin coat to get your evenness.

So when I look at my nails dead on, they look fantastic. Under a little harsher of a light in my box, you can see a bit of visible nail line almost leading towards the the polish being more of a jelly instead of a creme but I'm calling it a creme. Again, this is just a pretty classic red and definitely a good staple in anyone's collection. For those who are tracking like me, this is #63 in the LVX line.

LVX [Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram] is available on their website. It is 10-free to include Toluene and Camphor, vegan and cruelty free. Use promo code POLISHGALORE for 20% off your purchase!

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

CND Creative Play Dazzleberry

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I was first introduced to CND back when the colours/effects line of polish were popular with their matchy bottles. I was so sad when they were discontinued, especially Blackjack, as it was my GO TO black creme. Then Shellac came out, and next was it's middle sister, Vinylux. Today I have the "little sister" in the line, Creative Play and that amazing bottle up there is called Dazzleberry.

Creative Play is a traditional three-step nail lacquer system (base, color, top coat) that comes in over 80 colors with 10 different finishes. They are 7-free and can be purchased in select salons worldwide. Also, check with your favorite manicurist, and they may offer Creative Play as one of their in-salon services. Prices vary, so unfortunately, I cannot give out accurate pricing as of press time.

For this manicure, I started with the CND Creative Play Base Coat. The base coat is creme in color but goes on the nail clear, and give almost a matte look to the nail. Then the color. I used 3 coats of Dazzleberry. The first coat was super sheer, almost a jelly. The second coat brought out more of the glitter and base color and I ended up doing a third thin coat to make sure I had complete opacity. I finished with CND Creative Play Top Coat which does NOT appear to be a quick dry top coat, so plan accordingly. Additionally, this polish dried a little bumpy (not gritty, not textured, just not smooth as glass) so I used two coats of top coat.

CND calls this color a microglitter which is pretty accurate. The base color is a fuchsia pink/purple combination and there is different quite a bit of blue microglitter to give a shimmer effect as well as some rainbow reflecting/holographic microglitters for extra shine. Granted, you won't be able to pick up every single color from the bottle on the nail but all that added in give this polish a unique dynamic.

Overall, I'm happy that CND brought back this "type" of nail products back for people like me who don't wear their polish longer than their work week. Vinylux is great for my super busy weeks where I can't change my polish as much as I want, and Shellac is fantastic for vacation when I know I can't change my polish when I want but Creative Play is where I will play (hah) the most.

Join CND via their social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, InstagramPinterest and on YouTube.

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

Trust Fund Beauty Flirty & Dirty

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I recently received a few Trust Fund Beauty polishes to try and I grabbed for Flirty & Dirty first. This deep dusty rose has a hint of shimmer to jazz it up. While not visible on the nail, it does give the polish an extra oomph over a creme.

I used a base coat of Duri Rejuvacote, 2 coats of polish and finished with Love, Angelina Topped With Love top coat. As you can semi-tell from the bottle shot, this polish has a long brush (think the old American Apparel bottles), so take the time to wipe a little extra off the brush. The formula was good, I almost got away with a one coat manicure but added a second coat to make sure I didn't have any visible nail lines before using my top coat.

I have a soft spot for dusty rose polishes. I love that they are office appropriate and almost a neutral for me but at the same time it's just very feminine and pretty. I can easily see myself grabbing for this polish over and over, no matter what the season is. It's a great palette cleanser as well against all the neons that the summer brings.

Flirty & Dirty is available for $15 on the Trust Fund Beauty website.

Trust Fund Beauty is available on their website. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

Trust Fund Beauty

All photos courtesy of Trust Fund Beauty

I heard about Trust Fund Beauty through social media ages ago (and by ages, I mean a couple of years) when I saw their sparkly polish called Boy Tears and put it on my birthday wish list. It's still on my list, waiting to come home to me, but today I have a little more information about the line itself.

Trust Fund Beauty was created by Samara Granofsky in memory of her late mother. Her mother had cancer and went through chemo which made her nails brittle and yellow so she wanted to wear nail polish to feel better of herself. Colors were limited back then and Samara's mother wanted a cool fashion forward brand, but couldn't find one.

Years after her mother's passing in February 2014, Samara launched Trust Fund Beauty. She combined her mother's want and their joint sense of humor. Trust Fund Beauty stands out in the crowd with sensuous colors and witty, unapologetic names like "Adult Content" and "Flirty & Dirty". 

On the flip side, Trust Fund Beauty is vegan, cruelty free, 10-free status (and you thought Big 3 Free was a big deal!), safe for children and pets, GMO free - really we can keep going. 

But wait, Trust Fund Beauty is also about lipsticks! Oh yes.
Super moisturizing, almost matte lipstick that is 100% vegan, cruelty free, paraben free and GMO free. 

So now you have your Lips and your Tips matching.

Back to the nails - Trust Fund Beauty also makes a base coat, a top coat and a non-acetone nail polish remover. They also have box sets and a subscription box available for those who want a little more out of their purchase. OH and for those makeup lovers, there is a highlighter stick that you may want to grab on your way out the door.

Trust Fund Beauty is available on their website. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dazzle Dry High Velocity Red

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I love it when a company has kits available that give you everything you need to have a great manicure. Today I have a new favorite - the Dazzle Dry Mini Kit with High Velocity Red - a red with a slight violet shimmer that can make you conquer any Monday.

The Mini Kits come with a 0.25 fl oz vial of Nail Prep, a 0.17 fl oz/5 mL bottle of Base Coat, Color (High Velocity Red for this package) and Top Coat along with very detailed instructions.

First you are told to prep your nail. You can gently buff using a 240 or finer grit buffing block (I prefer my Tweezerman one) if you feel necessary. Next wipe each nail thoroughly with the Nail Prep. Your cotton pad needs to be wet/saturated, not just damp and some nails may need to be wiped twice. Surprisingly, this is NOT a dehydrator, like you find with gel polishes. Instead, it's infused with hydrolyzed protein, proVitamin B5 and calcium to strengthen your natural nails.

Next is to apply the Base Coat. Now, the very first instruction says that the Base Coat must be clear like pure water before using and if it's not, immerse the bottle (cap closed tightly) in warm to hot water for a few seconds.

Here is my Base Coat straight out of the package and next to the Top Coat to show that yeahhhhh I needed to get some water around that bottle. Now why do you have to do this? Because science.

This is after 30 seconds in warm to hot water (inside of a shot glass). Good enough.

So you're to apply the Base Coat generously and completely on the nail, dipping the brush into the bottle before each nail. You're also supposed to wrap the nail tip with Base Coat which is a good practice for ANY manicure. Finally, you're to apply TWO coats of Base Coat. That one is new on me, but I'll do it. I think it's because of all the extra vitamins and good stuff. You will need to wait 1-2 minutes before applying your color - basically when your nail looks matte or isn't sticky/feel wet to the touch. I had to wait a little closer to 4 minutes but I'm also in a whole bunch of sticky humidity here in South Texas.

Now for the color. On the first layer, you're told to just use little pressure and get it on your nail - don't go over the same area more than once. Wrap your tips, and ignore any uneven coverage on this layer. Hard one for me to do, but follow directions. Then after you've done all 10 nails (or waited the approximate time), go for your second coat and this time, you can even out but don't over brush and don't forget to wrap your tips. At this point, I was just a little surprised to see that this color appears to be matte or at least it was drying to a matte finish.

Finally, apply a generous layer of Top Coat and wrap the tips and wait 5 minutes for your polish to set. I used a small bead of Top Coat on the brush to make sure I was getting plenty on there. If you check out my Snapchat, I actually did a "wipe test" to see if my nails were really dry and THEY ACTUALLY WERE. I'm really pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to do a wear test this time but they do claim that the longest recorded chip-free wear with natural nails was 5 weeks. Granted, your body chemistry may be different but I am happy if I get 5 days out of nails.

I really like this color. It's a great go to color especially for the office for me. There's just something about red nails. I also really like the idea of the Mini Kit for friends, family, stocking stuffers. There are currently 29 different Mini Kits available on the Dazzle Dry website.

Dazzle Dry is available on their website and in select spas and salons across the USA. Join the conversation on social media with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

As a bonus, I had a small sample of Dazzle Dry's Lemongrass Nail Polish Remover with Lemongrass and Clove Essential Oils. I have to say, A+ on the removal - no staining and it's a very nice smell... If you have Nail Butter, it's that same smell!

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

Best lil' Nail Show Texas 2016

Nothing To Disclose

Last month, the Best lil' Nail Show Texas kicked off in Humble, Texas - just north of Houston. I first got wind of the show on social media and found their Facebook page. I asked if I could cover the show as press, and they allowed me to. Now this was a Pro Only - Cash & Carry type show which meant you had to be a licensed professional to get in, but you could buy from any of the booths available and most were offering deep discounts on their products. As media, I got a black band (no jokes on being black listed please) which signified that I could not buy product. My wallet rejoiced, my fingers did not but that's the life of an unlicensed "slightly obsessed with nail polish" blogger sometimes. I have worked with pro-only brands here on PolishGalore but we could talk all day about that topic.

We live about 4 hours south of Houston, so we drove up the day before and spend the night in Houston. Humble is a straight shot north, very easy to get to. When I got there, I had a surprise right at the door!

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Yep that's Andrea from Chickettes and Kim from Ten Little Canvases! I met Andrea at Cosmoprof back in 2014 but this was my first time meeting Kim, who lives in Texas! It's always nice to put real faces to the blog.

We were allowed to go in the back door (and skip the crazy long line!) which opened directly to one of my favorites, CND! Y'all know that I have some love for Jan Arnold - she's always been so nice to me, despite the fact that I'm not a licensed professional. But what I was really excited about was the ridiculously crazy display of Creative Play.
That's 80 shades of brand new goodness - think of it as the little sister to Shellac. So you have Big Sister Shellac... 14 days wear, cure with a lamp, soak off. Then you have middle sister Vinylux - 7 days wear, air cure with sunlight, remove with polish remover. This is little sister Creative Play - less than weekly wear, good for retail, no curing, great for changing your polish every few days. Now, don't think that it ONLY lasts a few days - it does last as well as you keep it, but the price point is such that you can buy many bottles at once. The formula is also a little different, but more on that because I got some straight from CND (not from the show!) to play with. The bottom row also has CND's Creative Play Base Coat and Top Coat.

Drool - just shelves of Vinylux to play in.

These were the looks created with the CND Summer 2016 Flirtation collection.

Jan Arnold's look for the show created with AthenA Rocks. The hand showing off the look is from Heather Davis, CND Educator - Heather and Shelena Robinson (another CND Educator) created this look dubbed a #Janicure. More on what Heather had in another blog posting.

So the big excitement at the show was CND's #CutTheCord - they had over 800 lamps ready to give away and it went pretty well. Of course, some people cheated the system, and were caught, but overall it was very civil and people behaved. Now, I assumed this is in response to the incident that happened... If you don't know what I'm talking about, Manic Talons had a very extensive write up here.

Being that this was a Pro-Only, Cash & Carry show, there was a lot of things that I wasn't able to fully partake in. Some of the booths were ridiculously busy, and didn't have a media representative to talk to me. Other booths didn't really know how to work around me, as they were helping paying clients. This is much different than Cosmoprof North America - which is a business to business show, no purchasing (although that in itself has evolved too), and media plays a larger role. I hate that I didn't get to talk to some of the bigger brands there like Tammy Taylor or ORLY, but it helps me with a game plan for 2017, if I'm able to return.

I did try to start at the front of the show, and make my way down the aisles. Around 1100 people showed up to the ballroom on Sunday - the other show days were filled with technical classes for the licensed professionals, which from what I can see on Instagram, were amazing.

At the front of the show was amazing nail creations in a contest sponsored by 3D Fanatics - a group of Licensed Nail Technicians on Facebook who share their love of 3D Nail Art, founded by Nail Tech Kimberly Harr who was on site judging the creations. The prompt "Stars of Texas" was given, and there were two types of entries - OT were for those who had won 1st Place in the past and GH were the newbies who may have won other places in competitions but never first. I really liked this set about Miranda Lambert which ended up winning 1st Place in the GH (Green Horn) category.

SO SMALL WORLD MADE SMALLER. This set belongs to fellow blogger & licensed tech Amber Dunson from AmberDidIt! Amber and I have a mutual friend - Destany from Confessions of a Sarcastic Mom - and Amber found me as I was getting ready to leave the show so we had to take a photo.
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The next booth had some celebrities up in the house - don't you dare mess with these nails! It's the Real Nail Qweenz of Texas. These ladies were Fierce, but also very down to earth and lovely. Lena Cole (top), Edith Graham (middle two) and Ayanna Williams gracefully posed for photos for me.

Next on my journey was Bodipure. These single use, waterless, all in one and one time use gloves and socks are enriched with anti-fungal Copaiba Oil, strengthening Keratin, Anti-aging Vitamin E, hydrating Urea and UV protection with Lipex PreAct. They are also "touch screen friendly" so in the salon, you're able to still use your iPhone while wearing the gloves. I think this would be a great product for my nail technician to use because it's a small expense but offers clients a large upgrade in their service.

I also got to see Exclusive Nail Couture by Max Estrada, a professional line of products ranging from gel, powders, removers, lamps, accessories, and equipment. For starters, it's a lot of pink up front, but there's some really neat elements to it as well like the Cotton Candy scented Monomer. This was a pretty busy booth when I went by it but was able to watch a demonstration of the gel - it's a 1 coat system but to show how effective the 1 coat was, 2 coats was used to show that the opacity really was there with just the 1st coat. 

At the front doors, I spied Social Claws who had an super blinged out amazing display of SUGAR - these ridiculously sparkly conflict-free nano crystal caviar. She had 3 lab-grown colors available at the show (and on her website) - Pink Aurora, Black Star and White Fire. They are reusable, cleanable, and shine super bright. It was hard to get the bling on camera - seriously. Best part of their company for me? She brings awareness on her Instagram to adoptable animals.

At the next aisle, I was able to speak to proTIPCLIPS, an easy removal system for all types of nail enhancements. Now the big plus here is that the stainless steel and high grade plastic can be cleaned in an autoclave, which is required by some states for salons to use for sanitation of equipment. Kick the foil system to the curb. Now, y'all know I love my Steam Off for my nails, but I couldn't use it on toes so this is where proTIPCLIPS really sold me - there's a set for nails and a separate set for toes that are slimmer and shorter. I know of a few people who would buy these without a second thought. I'm also a sucker for a story and the master nail tech, educator and veteran salon owner, Angela Blaisdell created this product after going through hundreds of dollars in foil wraps for her clients. She tested the final product for over a year before selling to the public and she was busy every time I walked by.

I had a fan girl moment at Crystal Ninja. I've been drooling over Kellie's items since I saw her at Cosmoprof North America last year and she handed me her flip book of products. She is a Swarovski Authorized Instructor and I'm a Swarovski Christmas Ornament Super Fan and just lover of all things sparkly. (Seriously, I'm only missing 3 of the original ornaments but have the rest carefully stored in my house.) I want to buy her Crystal Katana (Mixed Media Pick Up Tool) for my crafty items here at home but as a nail tech? Man, I'm not sure I could do crystal, rhinestone, gemstone placement without one.

I swiveled around the aisle to see Dazzle Dry in action doing a manicure on a woman who looked familiar but I couldn't place her right off.

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No big deal, just the NAILS Magazine publisher, Michelle Mullen. But I didn't know that at the time - I started chatting with her and Dazzle Dry about bloggers which led into well, another blog post to come, but overall it was one of those chance meetings where you're just on cloud 9 because you're talking to awesome people about awesome stuff and AWESOME. (Yes, I'm a child of the 80s and 90s,)

So Dazzle Dry - I've seen it advertised in NAILS magazine but I haven't really seen the product before. Turns out it's a very salon prestigious company, with 196 core and 4 seasonal collections (6 piece sets). The shimmers are made with pigments because this is a 6 free, non-yellowing, vegan, no animal testing, YOU NAME IT line. For Dazzle Dry, it's all about science, quality control, and care - care for the product, care for the consumer, care for the earth. They have a great lemongrass remover enhanced with essential oils but wait, there's also a non-acetone version called Vivo'Sol that has spearmint and eucalyptus oils. Their Nail Prep is not dehydrating. They say their top coat is 5 minutes to totally dry. I can literally go on and on.

But what really had me excited were these Mini Kits that were available. A great stocking stuffer, Secret Santa, just all around great gift for $20 - the Mini Kit has a Nail Prep, Base Coat, Top Coat and a color. More on that to come.

Dazzle Dry is committed to their product and while they sell to consumers on their website (YAY) and wholesale to salons and spas, you're not going to see this end up in your local drugstore or other brick and mortar store. I have a love/hate with stores because that means you have to find one to go into, but I also like holding product in my hand - like this polish.
I totally didn't get the name of this polish written down and I love it but looking on their website, I can't tell what color it is. Monitors only reflect so much, you know?

Speaking of NAILS Magazine, I was so happy to run into Sigourney Nunez, Associate Editor. I met her a few years ago, before she got her professional license, but just hadn't had a chance since to see her. It's always so much fun to run into people who just love nails.

I was able to stop at Essie as well and talk to Gino Trunzo, Director of Education. He did two amazing things - one, he introduced me to the new Apricot Cuticle Peel, which I'm now obsessed with and want to buy immediately. And secondly, he let me try a top secret product which isn't launching for a couple of months. Now, I know that other publications have been given the green light to talk about this delightfully twisted product, but I have not, so sorry PolishGalore readers - you're kept in the dark for now until I'm given the go. Just let me say that Gino was so proud of it - 3 years in the making he said, and I was pretty happy with it too.

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I also got to check out the 1000th Essie Shade from the 2016 Shimmer Brights Collection called "Aim To Misbehave". This yellow has a shimmer in it to make it more opaque (because if you read this blog, you know how much I hate yellow because it's normally a streaky mess). I may have to check it out for opaque testing.

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I stopped by China Glaze next and you KNOW they are my first love in polish but unfortunately everything was just lined up for selling and no one was really available to talk.

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Summer Favorites which still need to come home with me.

Both EverGlaze and Gelaze were available for purchase as well.

While there was still more show going on, we had to head back home and I was starting to get a nasty sinus infection, so I had to say goodbye and head out the doors. Overall, I enjoyed the show and meeting up with the different brands that I was able to, and I look forward to seeing more from the Best lil' Nail Show Texas in 2017!