Monday, 14 April 2014

Mega Mix Gel Polish & Mixing Glitter Polish with Alessandro Striplac

(This is a bit of a rambling post as I intended to write about Mega Mix Gel polish, but got kind of side tracked as I started mixing it all up....!)

New to the market, MegaMix gel polish is promoted as a product that will enable any regular nail polish, pigment or glitter to be mixed in and then applied as any other gel polish.

Here's what the seller says.....      
MegaMix is the most versatile gel on the market today. This clear soak off gel can be applied over tips, or natural nails ( after the application of Amazin Base) to create natural nail enhancements.
It can be mixed with glitter, mica, pigment,polish,or any nail art media to create the ultimate bespoke nail service.

Intrigued at the prospect, I bought a bottle for £10 plus £3.95 delivery for a 15ml bottle (but didn't invest in the base and top coat from the range as £30 seemed a little too much for a product with few reviews and I have always interchanged bases and tops with no detrimental effect). The polish arrived quickly via Royal Mail (minus the necessary hazard sticker detailing the contents as nail polish).

I already have a wide variety of gel colours and my intention was to try Mega Mix with a linear holographic polish as these are sadly lacking in the gel market.  Any polish I'd want to mix would have to be something worth the effort as the recommended mix ratio is 50% polish to 50% Mega Mix, so diluting any polish by 50% would require double the coats to achieve the same opacity.  I usually use three coats of colour, so that would be six of the MegaMix/polish combo, add in base and top and you're looking at a laborious 8 coats......

Anyway, I got all my gear together - a little pot, a dotting tool for mixing, a brush for application, and my regular bases and tops and got cracking. 

I used Color Club Halo Hue in Kismet, one of the 'holoiest' of my linear holos.

The MegaMix was very thick, but mixing was fairly straightforward.  I applied my base and three thin coats, then ran out of my mix and had to mix some more.

After five coats and cures I'd had enough, and I was using a nail wheel - it would have been far trickier painting onto the nail, so I added my top coat and finished off. 

Whilst I was hanging about waiting whilst curing, it dawned on me that perhaps MegaMix isn't the only product that can be used in this way.  So out came a cheapo bottle of Ido Gelish top coat, and I followed the same process using this.

Ta da!

The verdict? The Ido worked just as well, if not better as the thinner consistency meant that the mixture went on more smoothly.


The swatches are, from left to right, the polish on its own, the polish mixed 50/50 with the cheapie Ido top coat, the polish mixed 50/50 with Mega Mix (both mixes with gel top coat); the fourth unlabelled swatch is gel base and top with regular polish sandwiched in between.  I figured that instead of applying loads of coats of the mix I might as well use the time I'd spend applying the polish as the dry time for the usual sandwich method.  This disrupts the holo far less than mixing as you can see.

Perhaps the Mega Mix may have hidden strengths - I'm not a nail technician and have no intention of mixing it with pigment or anything other than regular polish - for a personal user like myself I'd recommend having a play about with your top coats before handing over your cash.

Given the success of mixing a regular gel top coat with polish, and being in the experimental zone, I decided to try my hero product - Alessandro Striplac (peel off gel polish) mixed in with glitter polish.

I chose a dense glitter that I'd like to wear more but is a complete pig to get off, Emily de Molly Monet's Garden. 

I applied a layer of Twin Coat - Striplac's two in one base and top, and then three coats of a 50/50 mix of twin coat and glitter polish. I also put three coats of regular Striplac polish in Wild Safari on the neighbouring nail to compare removal. Both swatches were finished with a final layer of twin coat.

This stayed on for a couple of days, and I'm sure it would have would have lasted longer but I was itching to see how the removal went.

With the Striplac, there is an accelerator available to speed up the removal/peel off process.

The activator is painted on around the edges of the polish and under the tips and left for 5 minutes or so.  It's not essential to use it but it does loosen the gel and help to get an orange stick under the polish to start peeling.

Removal of the gel/glitter mix was as easy as the removal of the Striplac polish.

Glitter/Twin Coat Mix:

Regular Striplac removal:

Both swatches came off in one.

I have been using Striplac as a peel off base for glitter polishes before trying to mix the two together, but by using one coat of twin coat and painting the glitter polish on over this and finishing with Seche Vite. 

Not only is the mixed method far quicker, easier to remove and is and longer lasting, but the glitter is smoother and has wonderful depth.  

I've tried PVA peel off bases and Picture Polish Revolution, but for me, this method is far superior.

Striplac Twin Coat (and the rest of the Striplac range) is available from Nail Polish Direct.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Ninja Polish Flibberti-Gibbet

I'd been waiting for Ninja Polish to have a re-stock for what seemed like ages, and finally on Black Friday my patience paid off.  I was hoping for a few more shades to choose from as there were only about 8 (of their entire range of 50) but the Ninjas operate in a different fashion to many other indie sellers - instead of having a limited stock of many shades, they try to make sure that when they do release or re-stock that they have enough supply to meet demand.  Refreshing huh? I'd rather be able to buy what's in the store than lust over shades that are advertised then sell out before you have time to bung 'em in the basket.

I took a chance on Flibberti-Gibbet, there was no photograph of the bottle, let alone swatches, and as it was a new shade launched that day, nothing else at all online. Just this enticing product description from Ninja Polish.......

Ninja Polish Flibbertigibbit from the Spectrum holographic collection is an amazing green color shifting holographic polish. The color shifts from green to golds and browns on your nails and if the angle is just right a few other colors might pop in there. The linear holographic adds a whole other layer of prismatic explosion to your nails as well!

I like green, colour shifts and holos, I love Ninja Polishes, so at $12 figured it was well worth taking a calculated risk.

 Green, bronze, purple and gold visible in this photo taken in the light box, but hiding the holo.

I headed off in search of more direct light to show the holo, unfortunately Mr Shady came along too (inexperience with my new camera to thank for this). I'm not going to narrate the rest of the photos as they speak for themselves, some were in the box, others were at various places in the house with more direct light.
Suffice to say Flibberti-Gibbet is a winner, different lights show steely blue, emerald green, bronze, gold and purple, with strong holo or subtle depending on the intensity of the light. 


Formula was extraordinary - amazing coverage in one coat. Average wear time (I used a topcoat of HK Girl). 
Flibberti-Gibbet is only available from Ninja Polish:

So glad I took a punt on this one!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sephora Formula X Glitters, Lightning and Outburst.

Fleab's been to the States again, which most of you know by now means that another polish drop has occurred. I ordered online (which as time was tight nearly ended up in a total fiasco, resulting in aforementioned Fleab having to head back to the hotel en route to the airport.......) and couldn't resist these glittery jellies from their newly released Formula X range that they call Superwatts.

Voltage, Lightning and Outburst.
These are glassy sheer-ish  jellies with gold holo glitter in various sizes.  Initially, I was a tad disappointed that all of the shades had the same gold glitter, but each coloured jelly lends different multi-coloured glints as the glitter shines through - add in the holo and it's a multitude of rainbow dazzle.
Whilst I was swatching these, it dawned on me that these would be ideal candidates for layer mixing:
Voila! Two new shades.  Left to right, Voltage and Outburst giving a violet; Voltage solo; Lightning solo, Lightning and Outburst together giving teal and finally Outburst solo.
As much as I like the blue and green, it was the teal that really did it for me, so that's what I went with.

One coat of Lightning (green), one of Outburst (blue) and another Lightning.  Finished with Seche.  On reflection I should have got the Gelous out.
I was hoping that these may quell my desire for Deborah Lippmann Shake your Money Maker, but although these are blue, green, teal and holo sparkly they haven't quite hit the spot.......

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Olympia Beauty 2013

This was my first ever visit to a trade show and although I'd researched as much as I could, I was still not really sure what to expect on arrival.

I took my big sister (aka Fleab) along; It had been years since I'd been to London and I was unnerved at the prospect of negotiating the trains and tubes solo, and we'd also planned to take in an immersive theatre performance later in the day (but that's a whole different story in itself!).

Having a wing woman was a fantastic advantage for me, my sister isn't a nail polish fanatic but she's partial to a spot of Gelish here and there.  Not only did she study the show plan and usher me towards the 'must see' stands that I'd identified on my list (as I wandered aimlessly and agog amid the bright lights and beautiful people) but she carried my shopping for me (!) and ensured I didn't get too engrossed in polish heaven and forget to eat.

It was also helpful to have a second opinion on shade selection - I'd have come home with all green, blue and purple polishes and made a beeline for these on each stand, yet whilst I was perusing she was looking at colours that I would normally have ignored and picked some pretties that I would have usually overlooked.

Now, if she just could have grabbed me before I tripped over the step up onto the OPI Outlet stand and landed face first in a bowlful of bargain OPI.....(but what a way to land!)

Thanks for coming with me Fleab x

Right, onto the goodies. As the exhibitors were showing their latest collections which are already available rather than up and coming ranges, I tried to limit myself to taking the opportunity to try either new brands or ones which aren't easy to obtain.

I got off to a cracking start with All That Jazz.  This brand is the new 'sister' line of regular polish from Nail Harmony UK's Gelish and launched at the show.  You can read more about it here:

I'll have a full blog post on these polishes to follow so for now I'll just show you the shopping.....

Left to right:
Fleur's - Sea of Love, Jennifer's - The Beauty Bleu - Print, Paige's - Ready, Set, Jet; Georgie's - Amazon Queen and Jessica's - Suit 'N Tie.

I'd also been wanting to try Morgan Taylor after seeing their polishes in 'Nail It' magazine...

Left to right:
Who's That Girl?, Under the Stars and Make a Statement.

I'm a big Inglot fan but the postage charge tends to put me off buying so I picked up this one as the opportunity presented itself.....

Inglot XL7

Inglot had run out of stock of this polish so they gave me the display polish to take home.  Thank you Inglot!

I also picked up a couple of Color Club polish is 'Polish for All' an uber bright neon orange that my camera refused point blank to photograph and a Ruby Wing Colour changer in Doux.  The latter went home with my sister for her to try.

I bought a couple of bargain OPIs, but nothing ground breaking or new, just a Nail Envy maintenance and a rather shimmery purple/gold mini.

Overall Olympia Beauty was a worthwhile experience.

I appreciated the way that the stand staff chatted away to me happily even though I was clearly labelled by my entry badge as a blogger (and not the head of a large salon chain or similar), and the other attendees were friendly (as they cast a sideways glance at my badge, as I did to theirs!).

I'm hoping to go again next year - maybe see you there?!

Monday, 23 September 2013

ILNP Birefringence

I Love Nail Polish describe their product as boutique nail lacquer.  This bottle was priced at $12.50 (approximately £7.80) and although they do ship internationally the shipping cost unfortunately outweighs the cost of the polish. It's not an excessive shipping cost imposed by ILNP, just the persistent USPS price increases.
To be fair, for the speed at which these bottles made it to the UK I still consider the price to be reasonable.  Shipping for one bottle is currently $13.75 (£8.75), but doesn't increase until the quantity reaches three. 

Best buy a couple then - they're worth it!

Birefringence:  /bi·re·frin·gence/ (bi″-re-frin´jens) the quality of transmitting light unequally in different directions.

No underwater shots or camera trickery, just straightforward  photos taken either in the light box or sunny garden.
It was easy to apply, I used three coats for the photos. 
 The majority of the time I saw a deep rich regal blue with a very strong purpley magenta shift.  
Oddly, to see the other colours in the bottle I found that if I raised my hands above my head and lowered my hands slowly down, the colours cycled through a stunning spectrum of olive, gold, bronze, copper, rose gold, sunset, magenta and then back to the purple and regal blue as my hands returned to a sensible position.
Put your hands up.....
And lower......

Now relax.  Pick that jaw up from the floor and breathe.....

Good exercise for the bingo wings, but fortunately not the only way to see all of the colours; this one did take a bit of hangling, but they're all there.

Although I was hoping to see all of the colours more often, this polish caught me out when I wasn't expecting it.  Unpredictable intense flashes of sunset, magenta and bronze make for hazardous driving conditions but many compliments, "oohs" and "aaahs" even from friends who aren't polish addicted.
(I did say best buy two, here's a cheeky shot of Birefringence with Mutagen!)
I Love Nail Polish Boutique Lacquers are available here:


Liebster Award

Emmy from Neonsparklynails has been kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award. I'll confess that although I've seen the Liebster logo on many a blog I've never really known what it was, so I fired up the Googlemeister and discovered that it's an inter-blog introduction tag to promote new blogs. 

Bloggers nominate 11 fledgling bloggers (they must have less than 200 followers) and ask them a set of questions to answer/introduce themselves to the blogosphere.
In turn, you then nominate your chosen 11 bloggers and pose them 11 questions.....

Here are the questions that Emmy has asked, with my answers underneath:

1. What is your favourite brand of polish?
Hmm..... a toughie to kick off with Emmy! I'd say NFU-Oh for the bottle design, size of the bottles, quality of polish and range of colour and finishes.

2. What is your favourite polish colour?
Easy! Turquoise.

3. Do you have a favourite singer/band?
Not really but I do like a hearty loud swear-along with Ms Minaj.

4. Do you have any hobbies other than nails?
I don't know how blogging polish fanatics possibly have time to eat let alone pursue other hobbies! There's nails to be painted and cuticles to be maintained, the blog to update (including countless photos to take), other blogs to read and follow, Facebook groups and pages to follow/post on, press releases and new products to read about; and then there's the best bit - the polish shopping!

5. Do you have any pets?
Gimme a break, I've got 6 children!

6. What is your hand care routine?
Wash, soak, moisturise; usually with Occitane Shea Butter. File and buff to smooth out any problem splits, rub in a generous amount of Moyra nail oil, buff again. I use Sally Hansen Cuticle refining cream once a week, and tidy my troublesome cuticles with an orange stick. If they're looking really tatty I use Scholl cracked heel cream a couple of times a day to give them an intensive boost too.

7. What is your favourite type of nail art?
I'm partial to a colourful water marble or two. I prefer to use glass flecked or sparkly finish polishes as they're a little more forgiving than crèmes.

8. What inspired you to start blogging?
The lovely ladies on the Nail Polish Addicts Anonymous Forum. I've been an active member for over a year and it's such a genuinely friendly forum. I'd been reading other members' blogs, posting pictures of my latest mani attempts and started toying with the idea of starting a blog. Fellow member Jude from Ninja Blossom Nails offered me the opportunity to write a guest post to 'dip my toe in the water' (thanks Jude!). I enjoyed the experience and with support from other forum members decided to take the plunge.
Come and join join us!

9. Favourite food?
I'd probably have to say good old straightforward uncomplicated buttered toast. Can't beat it, especially washed down with a mug of tea. Simple pleasures......!

10. What is your most wanted polish?
At the moment, either Rescue Beauty Lounge Aqua Lily or OPI Sparkle Teal Sunrise.

11. What nail art trend do you hate?
There's nothing in particular that I could identify - even the dodgiest of trends can look stunning with the right imagination, vision and execution.

Thanks Emmy,, the friendliness of the nail community is another motivator to keep on bloggin'! x

Monday, 9 September 2013

Color Club The Uptown

This polish is from the Fall 2013 Girl about Town collection. 

It's a blurple jelly base with flakies that reflect bronze, red and green; maybe not unique (Layla Butterfly Effect and NFU Oh 51 spring to mind for starters) but jaw dropping all the same.
I used four coats (I do with most polishes as my nail line seems to be particularly prominent) and one of Seche. These photos were taken outdoors in the shade.
I was still gawping at it when I came inside so took another photo in the kitchen which shows the sparkle in the flakies well:
It was thick and fairly challenging to apply but dried quickly with the Seche.  Without it though, I think I could have been in trouble.
I compared it to NFU Oh 51:
They look very similar in their bottles, here are the swatches over a coat of black on the nail wheel:
NFU Oh on the left, and Color Club on the right.
The flakes in the NFU Oh are more refined, sit flatter on the nail and are smoother and slightly less dense.  The base of NFU Oh 51 leans red purple and the Color Club is a bluey purple, and is far gloopier and trickier to apply than the NFU Oh.  
Bearing in mind the price and availability of NFU Oh 51 I'd say The Uptown is a better buy, back up worthy if you're a flakies fanatic!