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Loose Stones NO More- Hello Apres Nail !

Loose Stones NO More- Hello Apres Nail ! 0

If your anything like me, you cringe and absolutely hate it when stones and embellishments fall off nails you've spent hours creating.  Nothing is worse than receiving a call from a client claiming her crystals are popping off. :/

I have searched and searched, high and low, and have physically tried virtually every product on the market, and nothing has worked for me.  Finally at long last I found a solution, and my nail art game is definitely stronger than ever and on point! Introducing Apres Nail.  A relatively small company that makes 3 products, all designed to keep your stones, embellishments, and nail art work perfectly intact. 

I was first introduced to Apres Nail back in the beginning of February at the ISSE show. 

I am absolutely in love with this line, and hopefully you will jump on board as well.

The three products Apres Nail offers are-

Diamond Gel: "replace your acrylic glue with our Apres Diamond Gel- the strongest gel adhesive on the market.  Rhinestones, crystals, jewels, studs, etc- you name it.  Our Diamond Gel is strong enough to support any and all shape and sizes of nail charm for an incredibly superior hold.  No more fear of your nail charms falling off prematurely.  Formulated to provide a long-lasting bond for polish and nail charms.  Diamond Gel can be used with any gel polish and charms to complete a beautiful nail art design." according to their website.

It's all absolutely true.  Believe the hype.  I have tried Gorilla Glue, which dries with an ugly white residue. I've used Akzentz Bling On and Resin Gel from Nail Labo, both with less than stellar results.  This stuff however truly works.  Its literally like liquid gold to me.  Its very easy to work with also.  It's not nearly as thick as other bling adhesive gels on the market, and yet it works so much better than they do. If you don't believe me, just take a look at my photos. Literally one month, 4 full weeks, and I use my hands a ton each and every day, and work on clients and with tons of chemicals, and not a single stone or embellishment came off.     

Diamond Gel retails for $16.95  0.5 fl oz (15 mL) pot.

Structure Gel: "thick viscosity clear gel fortifies/repairs weak and damaged nails. For multifunctional use, seal and smooth nail charm designs with Apres Structure Gel for a reinforced surface to ensure long-lasting wear.  Structure Gel can be used with any base gel polish to strengthen the nail for optimal color gel application."

I absolutely love this easy to use gel to secure my 3-D embellishments, nail studs, glitters, and mylar pieces.  Client's use their hands a lot in their daily lives, and nothing is worse than getting a nail charm caught on a knitted sweater, or in your hair.  The Structure Gel absolutely helps avoid that problem.  I paint a layer on top of my embellishments, cure, and I am good to go. 

Structure Gel retails for $14.95 0.5 fl oz (15 mL) pot.

Top GelCoat: "our revolutuonary Apres Top Gelcoat is guaranteed to outlast and outshine any other brand on the market.  Specifically formulated and heavily tested...your answer to long-lasting finish that is compatible with any brand of color gel polish. Easy and smooth application with no bubbling... without the need of wiping down any tacky residue! Prevents peeling, chipping, or discoloration.. for a result that can last over 4 weeks!" 

I have tried so many different gel top coats out there and I have always had different problems.  Some are too thin and run into the cuticles, some are way too thick, others go bad quickly and need to be thrown out, and almost all gel top coats inevitable turn white shades to a rather yellow tinge within a week or so.  Not with this stuff.  A great consistency, not runny at all, immense shine that literally lasted for a complete month, which is when I finally decided to change up my nails, and absolutely no discoloration. I am so pleased to say that I have finally found the perfect top coat I use as the finishing touch to all of my gel manicures.

Apres Top Gelcoat retails for $12 0.5 fl oz (15 mL) bottle.

As will all of my posts, I am absolutely not paid to promote or endorse a product.  I truly believe in this stuff because I know first hand how well it works.  I have personally been testing it, on both myself and my clients, and we're all happy campers.

If you can only start off with one product for now, I'd suggest the Diamond Gel.  Client's love their Swaorovski Crystals, but definitely hate it when they fall off.  Say goodbye to those days forever 🙂 !!

For more info on Apres Nail or to purchase online, check them out here: http://www.apresnail.com/ 

 

Nubar Chromatic collection fall 2015 review

Nubar Chromatic collection fall 2015 review 0

Hey all.

I hope your having a great week. 

I'm proud to introduce the new Chromatic Collection for Fall 2015 from Nubar.  This awesome new collection is comprised of 5 shade shifting shades that truly come to life when applied over a black base.

The Chromatic Collection from Nubar is made up of:

Moon Dance: a shimmering purple and midnight navy blue duo chrome.

Chill in the Air: a blue and purple duo chrome.  The blue in this is lighter then the shade of blue in Moon Dance.

Peacock Feathers: a purple and deep dark green duo chrome.

Bonfire: a maroon and gold duo chrome.  

 Amber Sparks: a bronze, gold, brown multi chrome. 

(all swatches shown here are two coats laid over a single coat of Noir.  all swatches are taken outdoors in natural lighting).

Included in the kit featured in this post is all 5 colors that comprise the Chromatic Collection, a bottle of Noir, (which is a highly pigmented jet black creme; worth mentioning it provides excellent coverage with even a single coat, a Foundation Base Coat,  and a bottle of Nubar's revolutionary new top coat Poli-cure, which is a 7 day top coat that dries in under 2 minutes and offers a gel like finish.

I absolutely love this new collection.  The colors are absolutely gorgeous in person, and are very difficult to properly display via images.  The color shifting effect is simply mesmerizing.  I honestly can't stop staring! I applied two coats of each shade over a single black coat of Noir, however, you most definitely could get away with painting just one coat. 

What's also really nice about these shade shifting colors is they applied very smoothly and evenly without any brush strokes or streaks, which makes me very happy.  Often chrome shades tend to be streaky, but these aren't.

My personal favorite shades in the collection are: Chill in the Air and Peacock Feathers.

For more information on Nubar, check them out online: http://bynubar.com/

Zoya MatteVelvet Holiday/Winter 2015

Zoya MatteVelvet Holiday/Winter 2015 0

"BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!!!  ZOYA MATTEVELVET
Six new MATTEVELVET Nail Colors to slip into this WINTER/HOLIDAY season.

The best-selling, MATTEVELVET finish returns this holiday season with six new shades. Each nail polish perfectly opaque, matte color with that extra special ZOYA MATTEVELVETfleck finish everyone loves.

  • Aspen (ZP814) - a sparkling artic white with a micronized diamond pearl fleck.
  • Sue (ZP815) - a soft champagne gold with a multi-hued oyster shell pearl fleck.
  • Amal (ZP816) – a classic crimson red with a ruby red pearl fleck.
  • Iris (ZP817) - a deep amethyst with a fuchsia pearl fleck.
  • Yves (ZP818) - a deep sapphire that's midway in between indigo and royal blue with a blue pearl fleck.
  • Honor (ZP819) - a true emerald green with a tone on tone emerald pearl fleck.

NOTE: MATTEVELVET nail color by Zoya is not intended to be worn with a base coat, glossy top coat or speed dryer. Due to the unique matte formulation, color is not as long-wearing as traditional nail color. A completely clean, dry surface yields the best results for matte nail color wear. To extend wear, apply one coat of the Zoya Matte Velvet Topcoat over your favorite matte shades after polish is completely dry.


Zoya MATTEVELVET Colors, 0.5 oz. -  $10 (US) ea.

Zoya MATTEVELVET Color Sampler, 6 – 0.5 oz. bottles -  $60 (US)

Available in top salons, spas and on zoya.com

* **BIG5FREE, TOXIN FREE: Zoya Nail Polish Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene or camphor." according to the official press release. 

The 6 shades comprising the Zoya MatteVelvet collection include:

  • Iris: a beautiful deep magenta purple.
  • Amal: a crimson ruby red.
  • Honor: an emerald green.
  • Sue: a glistening beige pale gold.
  • Yves: a shimmering midnight blue.
  • Aspen: a glittery snow white.  

I am personally obsessed with this collection.  I am so glad that Zoya decided to bring back the matte finish this holiday season.  This collection is right on trend.  Matte nails are very huge this fall/winter, and this collection is the perfect and easiest way to achieve the trendy look.

The finish is quite unique.  It's not quite completely matte, but it's also not shiny like conventional polishes, it rather falls somewhere in between.  There is definitely a satin/velvet-look to the finish that in my opinion is quite rare on the market.

I didn't experience any issues with any of the colors.  They all painted on smoothly and effortlessly, without any streaking.  Plus I feel that these matte shades dry quicker than conventional polishes, another major plus. 

My favorites from the collection include: Yves, Sue, and Honor.

For more information or to purchase, check out Zoya online: http://www.zoya.com/

New Gel Play Colors from Akzentz!

New Gel Play Colors from Akzentz! 0

Happy Hump Day everyone!

I hope your all having an awesome week.

I am really excited to introduce the latest colors of Gel Play from the folks at Akzentz.  If you didn't read my previous article on the initial Gel Play release, you can check it out here: http://www.merricures.com/blog/gel-play-by-akzentz/

I Love the brand Akzentz, and I absolutely adore their Gel Play line, and greatly appreciate that they continuously expand it, adding more amazing colors.  It makes my life doing nail art so much easier!  Never do the paints dry out like acrylic paints, and I don't have to wait for them to air dry either like with conventional polish.  Once cured in an LED or UV lamp for the recommended time, they are good to go.

The latest colors come in both Glitter (metallic finish) and Paint (creme finish) formulas, and include, and are pretty accurate with their corresponding name:

Copper Dust: a rich rusty reflective copper. 

Glistening Gold: a warm light yellow gold.  

Pink Champagne: a rose gold glimmer. 

Cosmic Silver: a pewtery sterling silver. 

Nude: an opaque fleshtone with light pink undertone. 

Teal: a terrific teal creme, the perfect marriage of blue and green. 

Brown: a rich chocolate coco brown creme. 

Prussian Blue: a deep navy blue creme.  In the pot the pigment looks virtually black, but I can guarantee it most certainly isn't.  

 I could  honestly not speak more highly of these new Gel Play shades.  They're all amazing and should be added to your art kit.  Clients are requesting nail art more and more, and if your in the market for a high quality, well pigmented, low odor art gel, then look no further.  I found the formula to be quite perfect, painting on smoothly and evenly.  The shades are very highly pigmented, so there are absolutely no issues of proper coverage, or of shades looking slightly dull.    

Pick up some of the Akzentz Gel Play line at your local distributor, and I promise you wont regret it.

The Gel Play line of Akzentz comes in 4g (0.14 oz) pots, and is available now. 

For more information on Akzentz, check them out online here: http://www.akzentz.com/

 

Morgan Taylor Midnight Masquerade Winter 2014 Collection Swatches

Morgan Taylor Midnight Masquerade Winter 2014 Collection Swatches 0

"This winter, dress your nails with an alluring personality by donning Morgan Taylor's Midnight Masquerade Winter 2014 color collection, which features six all-new shades inspired by the mystique of an after- hours affair" according to the press release.  

Typically Winter collections tend to be very gold, silver, and glitter heavy.  But the girls behind their namesake line of polishes chose to not follow the typical color conventions, which I have huge respect for.  According to the girls, Taylor Daniel and Morgan Haile, "The color palette of winter is typically muted, dark shades, so we wanted to create something a little different this year."  

The Midnight Masquerade Winter 2014 Collection includes:

My Kind Of Ball Gown: a deep rose pink creme.  Incredibly pigmented; provided solid coverage in 1 coat.

Flirting With The Phantom: a dusty mauve creme.  Also highly pigmented, covered completely in a single coat.

Vixen in a Mask: a shimmering blackened berry.

Don't Rain on My Masquerade: a brown/pink copper glitter.  It is Not rose gold, if that's what your thinking.  I found it to be densely packed with glitter.  I had complete coverage in two coats.  Removed easily, which is always a huge + for me when it comes to stubborn glitter removal. 

Jest-er Kidding: ultra fine silver glitter with larger multi-color glitter pieces.  It is very fun and festive, while staying sophisticated and office appropriate.  I didn't think I would like this color initially, but it really grew on me.  

The Big Reveal: a dark mysterious teal shimmer.  My personal favorite in this collection.  It is stunning in person.  It also didn't stain the nail plate upon removal, which is fantastic.

(all swatches shown here are two coats.)

I really enjoyed this collection.  I found it to be very refreshing and a nice departure from the typical winter collections I review.  I think there is nice breath and variety, literally offering something for everyone at any age.  

I found the quality of the polishes to be excellent.  They all applied very smoothly and evenly, giving me zero brush strokes or problems.  I also found the polishes to be highly pigmented, which I love.  I highly suggest you pick up some Morgan Taylor Lacquers if you haven't tried them yet! Their colors are usually always on point, stylish, and on trend;  customers will be requesting them in no time. 

Morgan Taylor Lacquers are 5 free.  The suggested retail price is $8.50 per .5 fl oz (15 mL) bottle.

For more information on Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer check out their website here: http://www.morgantaylorlacquer.com/

Spa-ify your Services with CND

Spa-ify your Services with CND 0

Hey guys!

I hope you've all had a wonderful week.

I am really excited to post my very first review featuring spa treatment products.  There is much potential here to up-sell your clients, and these services aren't even time consuming, but would increase salon profits!!  It's a win win.  

I can honestly say that after testing the following products my bathroom felt like it was transformed into a world renowned luxury day spa.  

Now onto the reviews.

From the Almond SpaManicure line, I tried:

Almond Milk Bath: a "warm-oil hand soak that transforms into a nourishing, milky bath to begin the service with an indulgent feel."  It conditions the skin and nails with sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.  To me, this product makes soaking a more fun and luxurious part of the service.  There is a wonderful warm inviting scent.  It doesn't make the hands feel greasy at all.  They felt nicely nourished and moisturized.  Soaking in plain water is so boring.  Try something new and exciting.  I highly recommend you give this a try. The Almond Milk Bath is available in two sizes: 8 fl oz (retail/pro) and 33 fl oz (pro).

Almond Hydrating Lotion: a "silky hand & body lotion in a blend of jojoba oil and vitamin E.  Leaves a soft, satin feel and light almond fragrance."  I really enjoyed this lotion.  I found it absorbed well, and wasn't sticky, but also was excellent for massages.  The scent is warm and cozy and not offensive; it reminded me of eating Marzipan, but with no calories.  The Almond Hydrating Lotion is available in two sizes: 8 fl oz (retail/pro) and 33 fl oz (pro).   

Almond Soothing Creme: a "rich, intensive hand creme that deeply moisturizes and protects dry, parched skin.  Features a soothing blend of sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and conditioning shea butter."  Although this product was very moisturizing, and it didn't feel greasy, for me it wasn't thick enough.  When you call a product a hand creme, I want it to be Thick!  To me, this had the consistency of a lotion, so I personally would stick with the Almond Hydrating Lotion mentioned above.  Nonetheless, the Almond Soothing Creme is available in a 2.6 oz jar (retail/pro).   

Almond Illuminating Masque: a "shimmering hand masque that deeply conditions and refines with a nourishing blend of sweet almond and jojoba oils and vitamin E." It is a luxurious conditioning treatment that helps elevate the manicure experience, and in turn the cost of the service; cha-ching $$. You apply a thin layer to hands and nails for 3-5 mintues, and let them soak in the glowing goodness.  It felt like silk on my hands, it was Incredible.  After one treatment my hands literally looked as if they'd gone to a spa for the weekend.  It was unreal.  It washed off very easily, and had a much lighter scent to it then the other products in the Almond SpaManicure line.  I also can't get over how beautiful the shimmer is;  it literally has this incredible glow, clients will definitely be impressed.  I highly highly recommend this and suggest you add it to your services offered.  The Almond Illuminating Masque is available in three sizes: 2.5 oz (retail/professional), 13.3 oz (pro), 27 oz (pro).    

 In addition to those mentioned from the Almond SpaManicure line, I also tried the following:

Cuticle Eraser: an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) cuticle treatment.  Used prior to applying cuticle oil, it acts as a gentle exfoliate for the cuticles, as well as moisturizes the nail plate and surrounding skin.  The mico- exfoliating AHA's in this are derived from: Sugar Cane Extract and a mix of Lactic, Malic, Glycolic and Citric Acids.  When combined with CND's Solar Oil (not featured here) think of it as a One-Two Punch to perfect cuticles.  This is also an excellent retail item you should encourage all of your clients to go home with.  Recommend they keep it by their nightstand, and make it an evening ritual.  My cuticles take a beating from all the product testing I conduct for my blog.  I have kept this by my bedside and applied it nightly for the last week, and I see a tremendous difference.  My cuticles are virtually gone and the skin around my nail plate is significantly softer and not rough like it usually is.  I highly suggest this product not only for your services but also for your clients as part of their take-home regimen. The Cuticle Eraser is available in two sizes: .5 fl oz (retail) and 1.75 fl oz (pro).    

Marine Cooling Masque: a "cooling, mineral clay foot masque with hydrating sea extracts and botanicals for soft, exhilarated feet."  Think of it as a facial for you feet.  It provides a cooling sensation, moisturizes, and is said to help calm both inflammation and irritation.  It is approved and tested to be used in a whirlpool tub.  The refreshing and energizing minty scent reminded me of Spearmint Gum.  I found it to be very relaxing and refreshing, especially with the nice cooling sensation.  It made me feel like I was at a luxury world class spa, but in the privacy of my bathroom.  My feet were baby soft after one treatment, and there was a lingering pleasant cooling tingle.  I highly recommend this product.  I think it makes an excellent up-sell for a pedicure.  The Marine Cooling Masque is available in two sizes: 19.5 oz (retail/ pro) and 75 oz (pro).

ProSeries Liquid & Powder Brushes:  they are "artist-quality nail sculpting brushes with Kolinski Red Sable hair and durable acrylic handles."  I love the clear acrylic handles; there is something very chic and retro about them.  So many other companies make their brush handles out of wood, or a black plastic.  The Kolinski hair bristles are very soft and luxurious.  For those of you who don't know, Kolinski bristles come from the tail hairs of a species of weasel.  The reason why these natural bristles are far superior to synthetic ones is they are better able to withstand the solvent quality of monomer liquid.  Synthetic brushes are not able to do so, least not consistently.  I have been using these brushes all week in my sculpting and I really love them.  I find them to be very light weight.  They feel great in my hand.  I am able to work quickly but also skillfully.  I find the design overall to be quite ergonomic.  If you're displeased with the current sculpting brushes you use now I highly suggest you give these a try.  The ProSeries Liquid & Powder Brushes are available in three sizes: #6, #8, #10.  

For more information on CND or to purchase any of the mentioned products, please check out their website: http://www.cnd.com/

 

Color Club “Made in NY” Holiday 2014 Swatches

Color Club “Made in NY” Holiday 2014 Swatches 0

Hi Everyone.

Today I've got an exclusive first look at the latest collection from Color Club, "Made in NY" for Holiday 2014.  The collection is comprised of "4 shimmers and 3 cremes to twinkle and shine like the city that never sleeps," according to the press release.

The "Made in NY" collection includes:

Shimmers:

Lady Liberty: a pale icy blue/green iridescent shimmer in a clear base.  The polish looks very pale blue in the bottle, but on the nail it looks virtually clear.  Reminds me of an iridescent icicle.  

Million Dollar Listing: a shimmering ultra fine white pearlescent glitter in a clear base.

Bright Kights Big City: an ultra fine cotton candy pink glitter in a clear base.

Concrete Jungle: a pale purple/blue/pink glittery shimmer iridescence in a clear base.  This shade also looks like a pale icy blue in the bottle, but on the nail it translates to almost an iridescent pearly white shimmer.

In general, I am not a huge fan of the shimmers.  They were not build able and you could see visible nail line.  I personally would only recommend using them as a top coat over another color to add dimension.  On the bright side, they did remove easily.  Concrete Jungle was the only one I particularly cared for. 

Cremes:

Off Duty: a coppery rusted bronze.

Apple of my Eve: a deep jeweled magenta wine.

Night at the Met: a strong shimmering medium blue with grey undertones.

(all swatches shown here are two coats.)

Overall I think this was an okay collection.  I definitely prefer the cremes over the shimmers.  Like I mentioned earlier I wouldn't use or recommend the shimmers on their own.  I would only suggest one use them as a top coat over another solid color.  As far as consistency and application is concerned I didn't experience any issues.  

The "Made in NY" collection from Color Club will be available soon.

For more information on Color Club, check them out online here: http://colorclub.com/

ENP Nail Design Colored Acrylic Powder

ENP Nail Design Colored Acrylic Powder 0

I recently tried out some highly pigmented colored acrylic powders from ENP Nail Design. 

1) Vivid Violet a light lavender.

2) Cherry Tomato- a timeless classic red.

3) Romantic Rose– a pale pink carnation.

4) Deep Blue Sea– a royal blue.

For more information on ENP Nail Design Acrylic powders or other products, check them out at: http://www.eznails.net/acrylic.htm

nsi Polish Pro LED/UV Gel Polish Fall 2013 Collection Swatches

nsi Polish Pro LED/UV Gel Polish Fall 2013 Collection Swatches 0

I recently had the privlidge of trying out the latest Fall 2013 collection of gel polishes from nsi.  I must say I was very pleased with the color offerings this season.  Also, 4 out of 6 colors in this collection are what I call “1 Coat Wonders”– by this I mean with one polish coat, the color is entirely opaque and perfect, this saves not only time in performing a manicure, but it also saves $$$ because you save on product amount used!!

Over the Knee: a multi-shimmer glistening metallic gunmetal with blue undertones. A “1 Coat Wonder” !

Dramatic Rush: a deep dark sultry burgundy red.

Restrained Glamour: a cosmic metallic purple/silver. A “1 Coat Wonder”!

Wear it Proud: the Perfect fall/ autumn orange.  Reminds me of all the wonderful Fall Holidays. A “1 Coat Wonder”!

Studded Stiletto: also a cosmic metallic silver/brown. A “1 Coat Wonder”!

Feminine Chic: a metallic pink with a shiny purple reflection.

All swatches shown here are 2 coats of color, each cured for 30 seconds in an LED lamp.

For more information on nsi Polish Pro, check out: http://www.nsinails.com/products/polish-pro-light-cured-gel-polish.html

CUCCIO Colour Veneer LED/UV Nail Colour Fall 2013 Pt. 2

CUCCIO Colour Veneer LED/UV Nail Colour Fall 2013 Pt. 2 0

I recently finished trying the last of the Fall 2013 collection of Cuccio Colour Veneer gel polishes. I was very pleased with the formula on all of the colors, with a few shades in particular I like to call “1 coat Wonders.

See it all in Montreal: ballet slipper soft natural baby pink.

Turkish Delight: flamingo rose pink.

Rio Carnival: sparkling fiery orange bronze.

St. Barts in a Bottle: true perfect aqua/ cerulean blue.  reminds me instantly of the ocean and the beach; vacation in a bottle- truly.A “1 coat Wonder”– only required a single coat & the color was perfectly rich and opaque. This can in effect save half the time of a manicure!

Argentinian Aubergine: bright plum. A “1 coat Wonder!” only requires a single coat and is fully opaque.

On the Nile Blue: scintillating midnight blue. A “1 coat Wonder!” only requires a single coat and is fully opaque.

Beijing Night Glow: vampyshimmery burgundy.

Oh my Prague: metallic gunmetal. A“1 coat Wonder!” only requires a single coat and is fully opaque.

All swatches shown  here have 2 coats of gel, cured each for 30 seconds in an LED lamp.  I find all Cuccio Colour Veneer gel polishes to have an excellent smooth self-leveling formula that doesn’t run or drip.

For further information on Cuccio, check them out at: http://cuccio.com/