nail swag

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.

 

Manicurst Mondays x Nail_Swag

Manicurst Mondays x Nail_Swag 0

Name: Natalie Minerva

Instagram: Nail_Swag

Location: Los Angeles, CA


 

How did you first get into nails?

 it started out selfishly I guess, (chuckles) it's really just for me.  I started looking at Japanese nail blogs and nail art in general was popping up everywhere, on tumblr, instagram wasn't even really a thing yet. I'm from Orange County so you'd see girls in OC wearing crazy Kawaii nails and I'd think "how did they do that?" and then I tried doing my own glue-ons just for fun. I did it on friends, it became a hobby and finally I was at Coachella and my friends said I should do this full time. so I called my dad at Coachella, quit college, and went to nail school, & I've been doing it ever since, full time.    

 What inspires you and your designs?

 60's & 70's patterns, interior design, textile patterns, architecture.  period pieces. 20's, 50's... looking at decades and the fads and trends that went through. nature. opal. real beetle wings.  I tried butterfly wings but it's real hard to work with. lots of natural stones: hematite, turquoise, amethyst, abalone shell.  I don't like theme nails.  I like classic nails that are going to enhance your outfit rather than take away from.  sometimes less is more. I try to encourage fashionable/stylish nails.   

 What's the most "out there." non-traditional material you've incorporated into a manicure?

 beetle wings. metallic tape from daiso in a pack. metallic tapes from an online hula-hoop decoration supply- it's a thing apparently. cool real gemstones, opals. spiritually aligned nails with customers chakras.  natural seashells. butterfly wings.

 Describe a favorite manicure you've performed?

 the most popular lately has been the multi color- shifting paper adhesive I found, I like incorporating it in a manicure, cool patterns, line work.  comes off really clean.  painting patterned nails. it's challenging.      

 What's a favorite trick you've learned over the years?

 the cuticle bit from nail labo has really made a difference, it's really improved my manicures a lot.  it allows for a totally clean base.  if your prep isn't there, your nails won't last.  art wise- you have to get a good brush, a good detail brush is the most important thing to me.  I use the same brush every day.  it's a really fine point, tiny baby brush, it's not too long but not too short.  it tapers off to a nice fine point.  it's been my best friend.  the fulcrum finger helps give you balance and makes you precise in your art.     

 Talk to me about your experiences in Japan?

 japan is the most inspiring place, it really is.  the nature aspect is so beautiful and inspiring to look at.  the architecture.  the art.  the culture of the people.  everybody is so kind, its like kindness that you've never experienced before. nail-wise it's the mecca of nails, the power house of the craziest newest products & supplies & skills & techniques & classes.  I wish we had a source here to do that.  there's no classes here like what they have there. they go to school for 2 years for nails, so it's like college for them.  their schools aren't just about sanitation and the basics, you learn art, and you learn how to do art, and build your skill there, and you can't perform on people until you are ready as an artist.  going shopping there for nail stuff is beyond, it's like everything you could ever dream of, it's just so amazing.  meeting all the cool artists there, I saw disconail when I was there.  she's such an inspiration to me, I just love her, she's my twin soul, & hana4, such a magical creature too, one of my best friends.   

 What's the most unique request you've received from a client?

 vagina nails.  all different colors and races.  different color pubes.  it was for a girl going to an art show in mexico city.  they caused quite a stir on instagram. 

 What do you hope for in the future regarding nails and the industry?

 technology propels art. when new technology comes out better art comes out, and that's what I look forward to seeing.  I'd also like to see a bit more of a collaborative sense in the nail community.  I think a lot of nail techs are friends, but a lot view each other as competition when there is really so many hands in the world. I've seen some cattiness sometimes and I don't work like that.  I love meeting and talking to other nail techs, joining forces with them.  making ourselves stronger individually by being together.  learn from each other and create a wide spectrum of art, we are all so different as artists.

Zoya- Naturel Collection

Zoya- Naturel Collection 0

The wonderful folks at Zoya have introduced a fabulous 6 piece rose tone nude collection called "Naturel". I personally love this collection for there is a color in it to complement Everyone’s unique skin tone, and also because who doesn’t adore and appreciate and amazing nude nail?! It elongates the finger naturally, and makes hands look beautiful and feminine.

The 6 hues in the Naturel collection include:

Chantal: a creamy peach nude.

Taylor: an opaque beige nude.

Rue: a beautiful blush with rose undertones.

Odette: a light aubergine/maroon shade.

Normani: a smokey gray purple.

Brigitte: a deep creamy dusty rose/mauve.

All swatches shown here are 2 coats for full opacity, and a top coat.

Each shade retails for $9.

For more information on Zoya, or to purchase: http://www.zoya.com/

CND Additives Summer 2014 “Paradise” Collection

CND Additives Summer 2014 “Paradise” Collection 0

As you all my now know I am a huge fan of CND’s Additives, and for summer 2014 they have introduced 5 brand spanking new limited edition shades that definitely set the summer sun ablaze. I personally love how creative one can truly be with the Additives, the possibilities are endless.

The “Paradise” collection of Additives includes not only the 5 new shades, but 2 awesome art implements- a Spatula for mixing (I personally love mine to custom mix glitters for gel manicures) and an Amazing Thumb Palette (which I Love and use all the time, and previously wrote a blog post on: http://merricures.com/post/75734708266/introducing-the-thumb-palette-from-lavaque-i-was

The 5 limited edition pigment shades in the Paradise collection are:

Tropic Sunrise: a sultry hot neon yellow.

Island Heat: a shimmering gold kissed hot orange.

Pink Lotus: a bright neon hot pink.

Midnight Tide: a metallic shimmering deep ocean blue.  My personal favorite in this collection!

Sizzling Sand: an iridescent sparkling white.

As per usual, this CND Additives kit is limited edition, so pick up yours fast before they’re all gone!

For more information on CND, check them out: http://www.cnd.com/

Merricures x The Laser Girls- an Interview 0

Ever since I stumbled across the amazing technological feats of 3D Printed Nails created by NY based artists The Laser Girls, Sarah Awad & Dhemerae Ford, I knew I had to pick these girls brains. Check out my exclusive interview with The Laser Girls !
1) How did you two get together initially?
We met as student in NYU’s art department in a class about 3D printing.  From there, we were both hired at NYU’s Advanced Media Studio, the university’s 3D printing fabrication lab.  Although we had known and worked with each other for 2.5 years, it was not until August of 2013 when we actually collaborated on work
2) What’s your technical background?
 We are both trained artists who stared out as painters, but have grown into not just artists with well rounded skills, such as 3D modeling and drawing etc. but technicians and machine operators as well. 
3) How did you gals get started with this?
We were given an opportunity to participate in the first all-3D-printed art show in New York called “3D-Notion.”  Because we had both already shown our own work around at several other exhibitions, we thought it would be fun to collaborate on a project and show something new.  We created a mask for the show which we both loved, and since then we’ve been working together.  The nails formed out of that collaboration. 
4) What major problems did you face in the beginning?
Surprisingly, we didn’t really run into any major problems at the start which we both were very surprised by.  I would say the biggest problem was and still is figuring out the best way to apply them that both lasts long and won’t damage your nails (like normal nail glue does).  We’ve developed what we believe to be the best possible solution however we’re always looking out for better application practices.  Any problems we did face were mostly related to strict deadlines and the inability to produce our nails as rapidly as some people demanded. 
5) What inspires your designs?  
We both have very different interests (Dhemerae is into science fiction and machinery and Sarah is into flora and fauna) but somehow with this project, opposites blend together to create what we consider to be unique designs.
6) Where do you envision the future going with this?  
We hope to not only create more fantastical nails and push our designs to new levels, but also expand into jewelry, such as nail rings that we are currently prototyping!
For more on The Laser Girls check out their website: http://thelasergirls.tumblr.com/
And to purchase The Laser Girls magical creations, check them out here: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/thelasergirls

yours truly featured in NAILS Magazine 0

I’m truly honored to be featured in the latest issues of NAILS Magazine regarding “is nail art over?” !! With @britneytokyo !!

MANIPro Original by Kupa

MANIPro Original by Kupa 0

I recently got to try out the MANIPro Original from Kupa Incorporated and am completely obsessed.  Kupa Incorporated is known for being the best E-file manufacturer in the nail industry, and using one of their machines for a couple of seconds, one can easily see why.

The machine is super light weight, compact, and highly affordable; the price was recently reduced even further from $160 to only $99.  It occupies 3” x 5” of table space, is supremely quiet, almost like the Prius of electric files.  But don’t let its compact size and lack of noise fool you, this little baby is quite powerful, offering a speed control range from 4,500 to 15,000 RPMs.

The MANIPro original is available in 2 colors, Licorice, a traditional black, or Razzberry, as pictured here, a translucent grape purple.

Inside the box, is included: the actual machine itself, the supremely lightweight hand-piece, a power converter, and sanding band mandrel, along with 10 sanding bands.

The MANIPro Original is also backed by a one year limited warranty in case anything happens.

I could not recommend the MANIPro Original enough.  If you have been struggling to find the perfect e-file to invest in than look no further.  I personally can use this machine to speed up so many of my salon services, saving me tons of time, which will lead to earning more money.  Instead of soaking off gels, for instance, which traditionally takes approximately 15 minutes, I can drill gel product off in virtually no time at all.

For more information on Kupa Inc., or to purchase, check them out here: http://www.kupainc.com/