Review: Nails Inc. Magnetic Manicure

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Nail trends have become all the rage in the past few months. Everything from stickers to acrylic 3-D art has been used to make your manis marvelous. Nails Inc. is going with those trends by releasing a special new polish with iron powder inside that creates 3 dimensional art. This super high tech manicure comes in three shades: House of Parliament (purple), Trafalgar Square (chrome), and Whitehall Teal (teal). Also, included is a magnet conveniently located on the cap.

I tried two shades, the purple and chrome on a recent trip to Sephora. Luckily I was tempted to just test the polishes in-store instead of purchasing both. Although the idea of it is cool, I quickly realized maybe I would pass on this trend. Directions say to start with the Nails Inc. base coat, and apply a layer of magnetic nail polish. Simple enough. Then add a generous second coat over the nail, and quickly use the magnet located on the cap over each nail for 10-15 seconds. They were not kidding when they said a generous amount; it took a thick coat to achieve any results. There is a lip on the magnet that you can lay on the cuticle but by the time you figure that out, you’ve already placed the magnet too close to the wet nail polish and ruined your nail.

The outcome was more 2-d than 3-d, more visible in the chrome. It made a smeared effect, which could just look like a rushed manicure.

All in all, a cool idea. But maybe I’ll just stick to a French manicure next time.

What do YOU think of this magnetic manicure? Let us know below!

-Vernize Rios

Review: GELISH Manicure

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I was a little late on the gel/lacquer manicure trend, but I finally decided to try it out. The three most popular brands are OPI, Shallac, and Gelish. After looking at the color wheels at the nail salon, I decided to go with Gelish’s Tumberline Violet. I was in the need for something bright and festive and this shade was definitely that.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of time it takes for this manicure. Because it was a glitter shade, it took even longer and more coats to create the desired effect. Coat after coat, putting my hands in and out of the UV dryer, I grew more and more impatient. I typically love sitting at the nail salon. It’s my Zen moment — no calls, texts, or tweets. After seven coats and 50 minutes later, though, I was finally done. My fingers were completely void of moisture and looked like they had aged drastically.  At about coat three, I realized with great distress, I don’t think I could commit to this color for two weeks. Granted, I have nail color ADD, wanting to change my polish every two or three days.  But still, I was experiencing buyer’s remorse and I hadn’t even paid yet! Nonetheless, I kept telling myself I would like it as long as I wore pink for the next 14 days.

A couple of days passed and I noticed the sheen was completely gone, so I added some top coat. I instantly started getting compliments on my mani, which eased the doubts in my head about the color.  A week and a half in, co-workers who’ve  tried it in the past were in awe that they had lasted so long, claiming theirs lasted about a week before it started peeling. My only complaint was my nails were growing out and my hair was starting to get caught.  Now it was time to remove the gel. It took about an hour each hand to soak and file off layer after layer of glitter in pure acetone (which I did at home).

After all is said and done, I have a mixed review. Although I ended up choosing a color I couldn’t fully commit to, the idea of it  is great and I can see how it is very popular amongst those who do not polish their nails every couple of days. And the price was right, about $25. The con for me was the amount of time it takes to apply and remove.

So have you tried Gelish? Will you try it? Tweet us at @SpaBeauty or comment below!

-Vernize Rios

 

A Reasonable Manicure

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New York City is one of the best places to get a mani/pedi. On almost every street corner, you’ll find an opportunity to get a good deal on the pair and feel extremely pampered. This is not the case in many other cities. And I wonder why that is.

Since moving down to Washington, DC, it has been impossible for me to find a good place to get a mani/pedi. I ran into a mall one day to get just a quick manicure and $20+ later, I was broke and unhappy with the way it even turned out. I did not feel pampered and I felt as if my nail tech was rushing through my manicure. And for 20 bucks, I expect a rather exceptional job.

As I sat with my nails drying and not looking the best they’ve ever looked, I wondered why manicures are so expensive in other cities. Is it just that I’m a spoiled New Yorker who expects that the differences in other cities should be only within pizza, bagels, and accents? Or were these nail technicians trained differently? I don’t believe it’s the latter, as nail technician training has accreditation for a reason. Is it just that I was unlucky with the girl that did my manicure? Could be. But I think proper training is key.

In Top 10 Reasons to Go to Nail School, we share with you some ideas to get you thinking about a career as a nail tech. Some people just naturally have the talent to do nails, while others are really ambitious and know that they’d be good and happy at a nail tech job. No matter what your reason, if you’re interested in a nail tech career, I’d strongly urge you to look into one. After all, you can always come down to DC and open your very own salon with reasonable manicures and fabulous nail techs. I’d certainly be a patron! Until then, I’ll have to wait until I get to NY for a great mani/pedi.

-Amanda Fornecker

10 Things I’ve Learned from Doing Manicures and Pedicures Professionally

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You learn a lot about product, methods, and the ever-so-persistent resistance to change when you do personal grooming services on hundreds of strangers. It’s enlightening, inspiring, and ultimately wonderfully rewarding.

Here are the things I have learned about foot and hand grooming through experience.

1. Dry skin and callus are two different things. Cracks come from having both. You cannot get rid of cracks in heels by filing them. They need to be hydrated and allowed to heal. Once the dryness is dealt with, then you can deal with the callus. They will not go away by getting a pedicure once or twice a year. Consistency with hydrating twice daily and filing 2-3 times a week is the ideal. If it’s really bad, you can get a pedicure and have the esthetician do the hard work.

2. You can file callus wet or dry. Wet will get rid of more buildup, and dry will give a wonderfully smooth finish.

3. People always use too much product! Most spa brand products are more concentrated and should last a long time. Start the application where the skin is driest and then massage it into the rest of the foot. Foot lotions/foams are designed for the thicker skin on the bottoms of feet; they don’t need to be applied to the knee. The size of a dime of lotion and a walnut for foam is all you need per foot.

4. Soaking in water weakens the polish. Nails absorb water when they are soaked. Think of it like untreated, painted wood. The swelling and shrinking make it hard for the polish to adhere to the entire surface. So keep those manicures out of the dishwater! Alternatively, soak hands and feet before removing polish to make the process easier.

5. Neutralize the nail before polishing. If a base coat is applied on the nail overtop of lotion or oil, it won’t adhere properly and will chip off. Give those nails a little swipe with polish remover before you start to polish. Nails also produce their own oils so even if you think they’re fine, do it anyway!

6. Yes you do need Base and Top Coat. If you want the application to last. When you paint anything else and want it to last, you always prime and seal. This is no different!

7. Avoid the skin. Polish on skin will peel off as soon as it’s dry. It will also pull off and chip any polish on the nail that it’s attached to. Take an orange wood stick with a small amount of cotton wrapped around the end and clean up the edges with polish remover before it dries.

8. Polishes have personality. White polishes will always get goopy quickly — it’s something about the pigment that’s used. I’ve never gotten through a whole bottle. Blues, greens, and pinks usually need three thin coats as opposed to two. Glitter polishes last much longer, but are also harder to remove. Red is messy when removing. Hold a polish remover-soaked cotton ball on the nail for 30 seconds and then wipe towards the end of the nail. Don’t scrub back and forth. Let the remover soak through the layers and dissolve the varnish.

9. People will continue to use a product even if it doesn’t work because “They’ve always used it/My mother used it/TV said…” If after consistent and proper use for a month there is no change at all to the condition that you are dealing with, the product doesn’t work for you. This is ok. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad product, you just need something else. It makes no sense to continue paying money for something out of habit when you’re not seeing results.

10. Be consistent, patient and realistic! Manicures do not last as long as pedicures. The beach will destroy the polish on your toes. Yes it does take as much as two hours for polish to dry enough to wear shoes.  Let it be fun! Enjoy those bright colors and soft feet, but remember that everyday life also leaves marks. If estheticians could control physics and chemistry, believe me they would.

Have fun with your fingers and toes, let them be beautiful and pampered. These tips will help you get the most out of your maintenance at home, meaning that when you go for a pedicure, they’ll be able to focus more on the fun parts; perfect toes and lots of yummy massage.

-Sheena McCallum

Sheena has traded in years of working as an esthetician to become a Beauty Blogger for the Canadian online retailer of spa grade skin, hair care and makeup — Spa Boutique. They can be contacted at www.spaboutique.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter.