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ISSE 2018

ISSE 2018 0

I had a wonderful time and experience at this years ISSE (International Salon and Spa Expo) show in Long Beach.  While the convention was three full days, January 27-29, I was only able to attend one day.  Like last year, majority of nail exhibitors were designated to a specific area, making it a lot easier to peruse all of the various brands.

Some of the nail brands showing include: Bio Sculpture Gel, Bio Seaweed Gel, Christrio, Famous Names LLC, Joya Mia, Le Chat, Nail Labo, ella + mila, Kokoist, China Glaze, EZ Flow, ibd, O’nine, E Nail Couture, Gellico, Revel nail, Missu, Orly, Odyssey Nail Systems.

There were however a few brands that have shown in the past that were not in attendance this year.  They include: Entity Beauty, inm, Kupa, essie, CND, Young Nails, Gelish, Skyline Beauty Supply, Morgan Taylor, Artistic Nail Design, NCLA, Bluebird, Akzentz, Color Club, and Vetro.

Nonetheless, I still learned a lot from the various brands in attendance.  

Over at Le Chat, they have 12 new Spectra holographic shades in both gel and nail polish launching February 27. One of my favorite nail educators and world competition champion Anastasiia Morozova, taught me various tips and tricks.  For instance, if you are using a model or a friend to practice nails on and they don’t want them permanent and would like to remove them easily, paint 3 or 4 layers of nail polish top coat; this will allow the model to remove the gels easily.  Black gel polish should be cured for a full 60 seconds in an LED light, as opposed to 30 seconds, because it is so highly pigmented. 

There were a few brands showing for the first time that were creating quite a stir, like Gellio and Missu.  

            In general, I love a good trade show, and if you work or are interested in nails, ISSE is for sure worth checking out.

Russian Manicure 0

There is so much controversy concerning this technique that removes virtually all cuticle from the nail plate, allowing the nail tech to paint super close to the cuticle line, allowing for a smoother grow out.  After one week the clients nails will still look brand new.  After two weeks the clients nails will look like just one week’s growth.  Check out these videos to learn more about the technique

Tammy Taylor Gelegance Gel Polish Review

Tammy Taylor Gelegance Gel Polish Review 0

I am so beyond excited to share with you all the awesome gel polish line, Gelegance, from Tammy Taylor.  I’ve been dying to get my hands on some, to experiment, test out the quality, and report back to you all.  I’ve got a few collections to share with you.

SPOOKY CHIC (a limited edition Halloween themed collection)

Black Widow: a deep dark burgundy cream. [dark burgundy]

Squad Ghouls: a deep dark burgundy, similar in vein to Black Widow, but with fine shimmer. [mahogany with rust shimmer]

Creep it Real: a super dark blackened green with a fine shimmer. [Halloween green with shimmer]

Trick or Treat: a dark blackened purple cream. [black plum]

MERRY & BRIGHT (a limited edition Christmas themed collection)

Shimmering Reindeer: a bronze frosted shimmer. [light golden bronze metallic frost]

Christmas Wish: a yellow gold frosted shimmer. [light gold metallic frost]

Gingerbread Girl: a rose gold frosted shimmer. [rose gold metallic frost]

Snow Queen: a silver frosted shimmer. [silver metallic frost]

[my only gripe about this line is each color required 3 coats for full opacity.  I personally wish they were more pigmented and got full coverage in only 2 coats.]

BARELY BEIGE (a collection of nude creams)

XO Beige: a creamy nude with brown and mocha undertones. [peach beige]

Cashmere Beige: a creamy nude with a mauve undertone. [mauve beige]

Luxe Beige: a creamy skintone nude. [soft beige]

Fawn Beige: a creamy nude with brown undertones. [taupe beige]

Seychelles Beige: a creamy nude with light pink undertones. [pink beige] 

URBAN GLAM (a sultry dark night’s sky collection)

Velveteen: an oxblood cream. [deep brick red]

Lavish: a deep dark blood red cream. [Bordeaux]

Vampy Violet: a dark purple eggplant cream. [deep plum]

Haute Couture: a dark graphite grey cream. [gun metal gray]

Ferosh Black: a jet black cream.  I am obsessed with this black.  This is honestly my new go to for black! It is so richly pigmented! [true intense black]

Overall I have had a FANTASTIC experience with the Tammy Taylor Gelegance line.  This is honestly my new favorite line of gel polish on the market.  The colors are highly pigmented, and I get complete coverage in two coats (except with the metallic frosts).  The colors do not pull, spread, move, or wrinkle.  They paint on smoothly, easily, and evenly.  Other brands of gel polish can pull either away from the cuticle or from the free edge, but not Gelegance.  Another major issue with gel polishes can be wrinkling, caused by either poor formulations or applying the gel polish way too heavy handed.  I didn’t experience Any wrinkling what so ever with Tammy Taylor.

I honestly can’t stress enough how truly impressed I am with this brand.  If you haven’t given them a try yet, I highly recommend you do.  You and your clients will thank me.

For more info on Tammy Taylor, or to purchase online, check them out here: http://retail.tammytaylornails.com/home.html

Madam Glam Review!

Madam Glam Review! 0

I am very excited to share with you all my experiences with Madam Glam products. 

I’ll rank the products from my most favorite to my least favorite.

Soak-Off Builder Gel – hear I have the builder gel in “Builder Light Page”.  Builder gels in a bottle have become increasingly popular recently.  I think the bottle packaging makes it a much easier and friendly product to use.  The gel self-leveled smoothly and easily.  The gel provides much strength and also structure to what would otherwise be a very flat or imperfect nail, for example if your client has bad splits, pitting, or ridges in their nails. I think the color is very flattering for most skin tones. I highly recommend it.

Soak-Off Gel Polish – I really loved the formulas on these gel polishes.  They are very highly pigmented, and achieved almost complete and full coverage with even one coat.  With two coats you have perfect and complete coverage.  They self-leveled smoothly, easily, and evenly.  I also highly recommend giving their gel polish a try.   

Deep Burgundy: a dark burgundy cream with slight blue undertones.

 -   Fancy Bikini: a creamy taupey nude with a slight lavender undertone.

Soak-Off Crackled Marble Gel – if you guys remember the huge “crackle” polish trend a few years back, now you can achieve the same look and results but in a gel formula.  It was very easy to use and worked super quickly. 

  • Comfort Handcuffs: a purple cream.

Soak- Off Metallic Hybrid Gel – I personally was most looking forward to trying these out, but was sadly disappointed.  They are insanely finicky, tricky, and annoying to work with.  I followed all of the instructions carefully.  After many unsuccessful attempts, including watching multiple You Tube videos featuring tricks for a smooth and easy application, I didn’t experience such luck.  I thought these would be a fantastic alternative to chrome powders, but I was wrong.  I tried letting them air dry for long periods of time, I tried curing them in LED light for minutes at a time, I tried using various top coats, all of which dulled the finish. If I a professional can’t get these to work, how are you at home supposed to?  I had such high hopes for these but unfortunately I was displeased and wouldn’t recommend them.

  • Private Jet: a dark metallic gunmetal hematite.
  • Play Date: a coppery metallic rose gold.
  • Losing Control: a metallic darkened pewter.

Overall I was pretty pleases with my initial Madam Glam experience.  There are products I love and others not so much.  No line out there is perfect in my opinion.  I absolutely love the color guide on the top of the bottles.  More companies should do the same thing.  Also, I think the amount you receive, .5 fl oz (15 mL) is very generous.

For more info on Madam Glam, check them out online here: https://www.madamglam.com/


The Little Miss Nutcracker Holiday 2017 Collection

The Little Miss Nutcracker Holiday 2017 Collection 0

"Joy to the world, Gelish and Morgan Taylor bring you the Little Miss Nutcracker 2017 Collection for the holiday season! Inspired by toy soldiers and nutcrackers, this collection brings holiday cheer to light with seven lively shades. From glistening silver metallic to a bold, red shimmer, each shade will bring cheer to your nails and heart throughout the festivities.  As an added Holiday bonus the collection features a limited edition silver special effect glitter than can be worn alone or as an overlay on top of any of the collection shades for an even more festive look! 

"We like to keep the color palette joyful and full of spirit for the holidays," says Danny Haile, CEO. "This collection was extra fun to create as we used an assortment of glitters and metallic finishes expressing that new toy shine look for your manicure.  We also wanted to make the shades even more over the top so we created a special glitter effect that should be paired with all of the collection colors." according to the official press release. 

The Little Miss Nutcracker Holiday 2017 collection is comprised of the following shades-

You Crack me up: a glittery green. [bright green glitter]

Baby its Bold Outside: a navy blue cream. [navy blue cream]

Dreaming of Gleaming: a shimmering metallic silver. [silver metallic]

Silver in my Stocking: an irregular chunky shaped silver glitter in a clear base.  Can be used on its own with a few coats, or can be painted on top of any shade. [silver special effect]

Just tutu Much: a shimmering metallic gold. [gold metallic]

Plum- thing Magical: a shimmering purple plum. [royal purple shimmer]

Don’t toy with my Heart: a crimson red shimmer. [red shimmer]

     This is a super fun collection especially for the upcoming holiday season.  The collection plays with a lot of different textures and finishes- some glitter, some shimmer, some metallic, there is a bit of something for everyone.    

     I found all of the shades applied smoothly, evenly, and easily and didn't give me any trouble whatsoever.  Each color was fully opaque in two coats, except of course for Silver in my Stocking.

My personal favorite shades in this collection are: Baby its Bold Outside, and Silver in my Stocking.  They would also look beautiful layered together 😉

The Morgan Taylor lacquers are 0.5 fl oz (15 mL), and the Gelish MINI are 0.3 fl oz (9 mL).

 “The joy doesn’t stop there; get the entire collection in matching nail lacquer and gel polish shades! Pop open the toy box and get ready to play with the Little Miss Nutcracker 2017 Collection from Gelish MINI and Morgan Taylor; at MorganTaylorLacquer.com and SallyBeauty.com. For more info, please visit www.GelishMINI.com or www.MorganTaylorLacquer.com




LeChat 2 New Fall 2017 Collections

LeChat 2 New Fall 2017 Collections 0

I'm excited to share with you all 2 new collections for fall 2017 from LeChat Perfect Match- Modern Muse and Exposed.

the Modern Muse Collection consists of-

Destiny: a deep super dark navy blue cream.

Harmony: a milk chocolate brown cream.

Olivia: an olive green cream.

Athena: a dusty brick red cream.

Grace: a grayed out lavender mauve cream.

Felicity: an orange pumpkin spice cream.


the Exposed Collection includes-

Innocence: a light ballet slipper pink cream.

Laced up: a light nude beige cream.

Babydoll: a soft salmon nude cream.

Nude Affair: a pink nude cream.  Is most similar to Babydoll

Honeybuns: a creamy peach nude cream.

Cocoa Kisses: a taupe nude cream.

(all swatches shown here are 2 coats, and are taken outdoors in natural light). 

The Modern Muse collection is comprised of 6 autumnal cream shades that are a great way to transition into the cooler winter months.  The shades have a dusty earthy feel to them and offer something to appeal to every one.

The Exposed collection is really awesome, because its made of 6 different creamy nude shades, one to go with every skin tone.  Clients can never get enough nudes, because they are always on the hunt for the most perfect one.  There is a shade here for virtually every woman, or man.

All of the gels applied smoothly, easily, and evenly.  I didn't experience any issue whatsoever like shrinking, pulling, bubbling, or wrinkling. 

And as you know these Perfect Match sets are so perfect because you get both the gel polish and the nail lacquer, so all of your clients needs are taken care of. 

Both of these fall collections are out and available now.

For more info, check out LeChat online: https://www.lechatnails.com/



Gelish MINI & Morgan Taylor Journey to Spain Fall 2017 Review

Gelish MINI & Morgan Taylor Journey to Spain Fall 2017 Review 0

"This fall, Gelish MINI and Morgan Taylor are taking the bull by the horns with the Matadora 2017 Collection.  Inspired by the vibrant culture and scenery of Spain, this collection includes wonderous shades sure to transport you to the beautiful country! Rich fall tones of navy, purple and reds were pulled straight from the streets de Espana to capture their essence.

It takes two to tango, so dance your way into fall with matching nail lacquer and gel shades!

"Spain is a country full of passion and color; from the architecture and people to the food and fashion," says Danny Haile, CEO and Founder of Gelish MINI Soak off gel polish and Morgan Taylor.  "Its served as a great inspiration to create mosaic of the rich tones and vibrant pops of color for a fall collection" according to the official press release. 

The 6 new shades comprising the Matadora 2017 Collection include-

Mauve your Feet: a deep almond taupe mauve cream. [mauve nude cream]

All Tango-d Up: a crimson burgundy cream. [deep red cream]

Don't break my Corazon: a red rose cream with slight orange undertones. [orange red cream]  

Ole my Way: a deep navy blue cream.  in the gel polish, the fine shimmer is incredibly fine, and virtually unidentifiable on the nail.  In the nail polish, the shimmer is much more apparent. [navy blue shimmer]

Danced and Sang-ria: a deep dark purple cream. [vampy purple cream]

I'm Drawing a Blanco: a fine silver shimmer with white undertones. took 3 coats to reach full opacity. [white shimmer]

(all shades swatched here are two coats of the Gelish MINI, cured for 30 seconds each in an LED, unless stated otherwise). 

I really enjoyed this collection.  I find it super wearable and an excellent transition from bright summer colors to a more subdued color palette.  I found all of the colors performed well and were pretty consistent, except for I'm Drawing a Blanco, which wasn't quite as pigmented as the other shades, but still beautiful nonetheless.  The formula was great to work with, and painted and smoothly, easily, and evenly.

My personal favorites are Danced and Sang-ria and Mauve your Feet.

Gelish MINI is available for $12.99 each at www.sallybeauty.com. Morgan Taylor will be available for $9 at www.MorganTaylorLacquer.com.  


Fun Foil Nail Art Tutorial 0

If your like me and own tons of fun transfer foils, watch this video.  This is an awesome new technique that’s super popular on Instagram right now.

I know the video’s not in English, but just watch and learn.  You’ll get it, trust me

Nail Swag Palm Sprung Kit Review

Nail Swag Palm Sprung Kit Review 0

"Natalie Minerva, award-winning celebrity nail artist and creator of the Nail Swag brand, is bringing home a unique nail experience with The Nail Swag Kit, her exclusive collection of nail gel and art supplies. The kit is comprised of seasonal gel colors, nail art innovations, and everything else needed to get a beautiful salon-quality manicure at home…and Natalie is including an LED Lamp for free!

The limited-edition kit is exclusively available at http://www.NailSwag.com.

Natalie’s fans know that Nail Swag brings the fun wherever it goes. That’s why Nail Swag’s first release is called Palm Sprung. Inspired by the aesthetic and culture of Palm Springs, it features a wide variety of colors and nail art supplies that capture the vibe of a desert staycation. Palm Sprung is the first of many themed kit releases by Nail Swag.

The Nail Swag Kit exclusively introduces Kotta Gel, a highly pigmented, odor-free formula with a buttery smooth feel. The brush and pot method of nail painting, one of Natalie’s biggest discoveries, is now being introduced to her fans all over the country with Nail Swag’s Kotta Gel. This method allows for better control and easier application.

“My clients come into Nail Swag every day with great ideas, and my job is to help their nail dreams come true,” says Natalie. “I think everybody needs to have a creative outlet, and for me nail art is one of the most fun ways to express yourself.”

Diving into the world of nail art can be overwhelming, and the magic effects trending in social media seem impossible to figure out. Until now, going to the salon has been a pricy indulgence. Natalie’s changing the game with Nail Swag. With her instructional videos and helpful pro tips, Natalie reveals the secrets behind nail art trends.

Nail Swag’s Palm Sprung kit includes enough product for at least twelve unique manicures or pedicures and features the following products:

Kotta Color Gels (Palm Sprung Release): 

  • Sunset – the perfect summer red
  • Prickly Pear – a hotline bling pink
  • Saguaro – a teal from Hollywood’s golden age
  • Aloe – a refreshing mint green
  • Cloud 9 – crisp, clean, and softer than clouds
  • Mod Squad – black is the new black

Nail Art Innovations (Palm Sprung Release): 

  • Stardust – A lustrous flake that makes nails look like jewelry
  • Mineral Foil – A silver metallic foil for chrome and cracked metal effects
  • Stickers – Black, white, and gold straight line stickers that create buildable geometric designs

Nail Art Supplies: 

  • 9W LED Lamp (totally free)
  • Kotta Gel Base Gel
  • Kotta Gel Top Gel
  • Kotta Gel Brush
  • Kotta Gel Cleanup Brush
  • 100% Pure Acetone
  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Nail File
  • Buffer
  • Birchwood Stick
  • 100 Lint-Free Wipes
  • Three Placemats
  • Post Card from Natalie
  • Information Booklet
  • Collectible Gift Box and Sleeve

The Nail Swag Kit, Palm Sprung, is available for a limited time for $89.95 exclusively at http://www.NailSwag.com.

Follow Nail Swag on https://www.instagram.com/nail_swag/ and https://www.facebook.com/NailSwag for the latest news and nail designs.

About Nail Swag Products Inc:

Our mission with Nail Swag is to help you unlock your creativity with fun, modern nails you design yourself.

The Nail Swag kit delivers unlimited nail design options by combining more color choices and nail art than anything available in stores today. Each kit is designed by award-winning celebrity nail artist Natalie Minerva, who chooses the themes and contents based on things that inspire her in everyday life, as well as fashion and art.

From a day at the office to a night out with friends, Nail Swag is out to help you create manicures and pedicures that complement your personal style. The colors and design look books are created to match a full range of skin undertones and nail shapes. The nail art supplies included in the kit are beginner-friendly and expert-endorsed. Nail Swag is headquartered in Venice, CA, with its flagship Design Lab studio located in the heart of Downtown LA.

About Natalie Minerva and the Nail Swag Design Lab:

Natalie Minerva is a California native living in Los Angeles. Nail art started out as a hobby for Natalie. She loved trying to master the tedious, but intricate details of nail designs. Out of her hobby, Nail Swag was born.

In 2016, Natalie opened the Nail Swag Design Lab, a nail art studio in Downtown Los Angeles that specializes in free-hand nail designs and nail art innovation. Natalie along with her group of amazing artists were voted “Best Nail Art Salon in Los Angeles” by LA Weekly’s 2016 “Best of” Awards. Nail Swag artists specialize in creating fashion-forward nail designs and love using unusual or unexpected materials to create effortlessly cool looks. Over the years, Natalie has had the opportunity to work on editorials and music videos for celebrities from all over the world." according to the official press release. 

I must say overall I am very impressed with this kit.  I'll be honest, when I was saw previews of it on Instagram I was a little trepidatious.  I wasn't sure how well the kit would work, or who its demographic is for, etc.  Upon receiving and playing with the kit, my view changed entirely and became crystal clear.  

First and foremost, people have to understand this is a Japanese style at home gel kit. What does that mean? That means its a traditional soak off semi hard potted gel that has to be painted on with a brush.  Most technicians and customers are entirely used to a gel polish.  It comes in a bottle,  looks just like nail polish, and is applied in a similar fashion to nail polish.  This however is not that.  When you go to Japan and get your nails done by trained masters, they would never use a bottled gel polish.  They only use potted gels and brushes, like whats included in this kit.

When I learned to do nails, and gels in particular, I trained for two years with the best Japanese instructors, and i was specifically trained in this traditional potted gel and brush technique; my teachers heavily frowned upon bottled gel polish calling it "lazy" and "not proper".  So when this kit came out, I was fully ready to get going and play with it.  If you are a beginner, or have never worked with a potted gel before, like everything in life there will be a slight learning curve.  

Depending on how you learn. there is included a highly comprehensive and detailed instruction booklet, which I found really helpful.  If that doesn't do the trick, and you learn by watching others, Natalie stars in many short videos demonstrating how to properly work with the kit's contents.  I found the videos incredibly helpful and useful.  Some are linked below.

The kit literally includes Everything you will need to perform proper manicures; They even give you place mats to work on, cotton pads, alcohol, you name it.  

The gel pot colors should be stirred before use, because the colored pigments in them tend to settle towards the bottom after some time.  This is totally normal.  I found the gels to be highly pigmented, they had zero odor, they self leveled nicely, and were very easy to work with and paint with.  Some of the colors are so well pigmented they almost were completely opaque in just one coat, like Saguaro for instance.  Keep in mind the colored pots are pretty small, coming in at 2 grams, where traditional gel pots are typically 4 grams.  

The LED lamp I will say is not my favorite.  I found it a little small, I coudln't cure 5 fingers all together at once, and I wish it had a countdown timer on it so I knew how much time was left.  That being said, it totally works, and gets the job done.  I'm just a snob and am used to my trusty lamp.  But especially if you are a newbie or just starting out, the included lamp will be great.

The art supplies were really fun and easy to work with.  I found the mineral foil transferred really will with the potted gels.  The line stickers laid flat, which is really important, for it makes working with them really easy and fun.    

The sky is the limit regarding the endless possibilities of what designs you can create with this kit.  I show you 10 fun design ideas hear, and in the kit's instruction booklet there over 17 design ideas.   

The overall value of the kit is pretty incredible.  If you are someone who is interested in Japanese style gel nails, this is the perfect one stop shop system.  I highly recommend it.


Deborah Lippmann Summer 2017 Collection Review

Deborah Lippmann Summer 2017 Collection Review 0

"Inspired by the modern jetsetter's wanderlust and the pulsating energy found at exotic locations around the globe, deborah lippmann's Cool For The Summer collection features five psychedelic and vivid new shades.  Available in the innovative dual-patented 7-free Gel Lab Pro formula, 10 active ingredients help to deliver health, wear and shine, providing the high gloss and cushiony plumped look similar to a traditional gel manicure, without nail damage.

  • Health: 7-free formula with evening primrose, keratin, biotin, green tea extract, aucoumea, rice protein
  • Wear: bamboo, nonychosine F
  • Shine: nylon, caranauba wax

Accompanied by a new advanced contour brush, its rounded tip follows the curve of the cuticles and 320 bristles spread polish evenly for an effortless, streak-free application.

Embody the exotic cultures of the globe with these lively new shades: Hot Child in the City, a full coverage bright orange creme, Shut up and Dance, a full coverage poppy pink creme, I'm too Sexy, a full coverage sandy nude creme, Stargasm, a full coverage gold shimmer, and Stupid Boy, a full coverage royal cobalt creme." according to the official press release.  Please be advised, Stupid Boy, not featured here, is a Sephora exclusive shade. 

The Summer collection is comprised of the following shades-

Stargasm: a shimmering rose gold. [full coverage rose gold]

Hot Child in the City: a bright almost neon coraly orange cream. [full coverage bright orange]

I'm too Sexy: a full coverage light nude cream. [full coverage sandy nude]

Shut up and Dance: a bright shimmering pink, that reflects light. [full coverage poppy pink]

(all swatches shown here are two coats, and are taken outdoors in natural light.) 

I absolutely Love this collection.  I think its very fun, and completely wearable.  The nude, I'm too Sexy,  is so gorgeous and virtually perfect, will completement so many different skin tones well becuase it has just the right amount of rosey undertones.  The orange, Hot Child in the City,  is so vibrant and will look so gorgeous on toes, as will Shut up and Dance. Rose gold, Stargasm,  is a tricky color to produce and many brands don't get it quite right. I think Deborah has finally made a great one.  The formula is just right, and the color is spot on!

I found the formula on all of the shades awesome and super easy to work with.  The bottle's brush is my absolute favorite, it hugs the cuticles just right and makes for an easy paint job.

This collection is out and available now, retailing for $20 a bottle (.5 fl oz / 15 mL)

For more info on Deborah Lippmann or to purchase online: http://www.deborahlippmann.com/