Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Jamberry Butterfly Bliss

Happy Hump Day!

Today I have another wear test on the Jamberry nail wraps for you.  Lately I just haven't really felt like polishing my nails, so I've turned to the nail wraps.  If I'm patient during application they will stay put for several days, so then I don't have to worry about changing my manicure.  Once I get back into a polishing mood I'll be back with more pretty lacquers!  :)

So, this is a mixed mani wrap.  I love these because then IF I want to mix and match I don't have to dig through my stash.. everything is on the one sheet.  Big plus!  This one is a satin finish wrap, which I really love.  It has a nice sheen to it, but not so shiny like the metallic wraps.  This wrap is currently available so if you are interested let me know!  I will put you in touch with a Jamberry consultant to get you going.

I know what you're thinking.. Why not just do this design with polish?  Well.. I don't because I don't have the right brushes to attempt this!  I guess I should look into some of the finer detail brushes.  So, you artists out there could do this easily I'm sure.  :)  I like the different colors on the wraps, but I do wish the orange-red was more on the red side than orange.  I do really like the index finger color.

So what have you been up to?  Do you remember when I told you about my back muscle strain?  It was rough getting back to running.  The first 2 times out I did more of a run/walk thing, and I could feel the muscle that had been hurt getting tired faster.  I added back in some more core work and some strength and mobility exercises.. I like to call them Jane Fonda moves, which is a little funny, but they are SO effective!  Anyway, the third run back I was able to do 3 miles non-stop.  I kept on at a slow pace and only increasing mileage if things felt fine.  I'm happy to tell you that last week I finished my first double digit run since the injury and since my half marathon in December!  I did have wonderful running company and I'm so thankful.  I am not sure I would have made it through all the way without her. I hope I continue to feel good!  Injuries are never any fun, but runners are especially more moody when they are sidelined.. am I right?  Any runners out there?
Oh how fun.. I had already been wearing my Jamberry nail wraps on that run!

So, this is what they look like today (day 7).  Would you just LOOK at my middle finger who betrayed me?!  I felt a little snag a couple of days ago so I decided to remove the wrap and check things out.  My nail was totally split on one side!  Gasp!  No good.. not sure how I did it, either.  Probably just using them as tools again!  ugh.. If it hadn't been for that nail all of them would have been intact.  I do have the tip wear, total tell-tale sign that I don't know how to be gentle with my fingers.  ha ha!

Not bad.  I made it through all of my hair washings without getting any hair caught, so I think this application was really good!

Not sure what will be next, folks.. polish?  I do have a really lovely hunter green that's just perfect for St. Patrick's Day.  I also have a really cute nail wrap (another mixed mani).. decisions, decisions.. Hope you all have a lovely day!

XO,
Vanessa


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

prototype polishes are great!

OK.

HOW is it already the LAST DAY of February?!  I don't know.  Time just slips away from me and I still think I am 25 years old. 

Anyway.. since it's still February and it's the month of Valentine's manis.. I have a cute berry/red polish to show you today.  This comes from Polish 'M.  It's a prototype polish, so she had been toying with the idea of releasing it as part of a collection.  It didn't make the cut for any number or reasons.. maybe the texture didn't match the others in the line up.. or maybe the color was just not quite right.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad she still offered these prototypes up for sale!  I picked out 4 and today I'm going to show you prototype 28.

Isn't it super cute?!  I don't like red on me very much at all, especially the primary color red tone.. but add a little coolness to it and I love it.  I love how this looks against my skin and the tiny glitters in contrasting colors really make the polish special!

Application notes, since you must be wondering: easy peasy.. 2 coats here, but it was fairly opaque in one.  No issues with application!  I cleaned up around the edges because I was a bit heavy handed with the top coat (I really wanted that glassy look!). 

This polish is currently still available in the shop, but I don't know how many, so if you like this, go now!  If you miss it, no worries.. there are some other polishes on SALE from the Holiday collection, including a few red/berry shades.  Also, just check the shop again later!  If you want to be the first to know about any restock events then I encourage you to join the Polish 'M group on Facebook.

Gosh, folks.. so sorry about the LONG break!  Work got the best of me I suppose and now that I have time I was a little ashamed to notice how long it had been since I wrote!  Gasp!

You can find Polish 'M here:
shop: http://www.polishm.com
IG: @creativenailchick
Facebook group: Polish 'M Fans

Until next time (hopefully not too long!)..
XO,
Vanessa

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday Water marble

Easy nail art?

So.. I'm cheating a little bit.. I did this water marble over the weekend, but.. it's ok, right? First of all.. let me just say that I am far far from being really good at this technique.  I've been practicing and it's gotten easier, but it's still very intimidating, no matter how many tutorial videos I watch!  I am determined, though, to perfect my technique and get more consistent.

The water marble I'm showing you took a few tries to get to where I liked it.  First, I had to experiment with the polishes themselves.  I was dead set on using a particular cream color, but it just wasn't cooperating as well as the others.  It never really spread out well and that made my bullseye really small.. this makes it difficult to do any kind of dragging.  I changed out that polish for a white and that was the trick!  So.. then I was ready to try again.  Here is the outcome...  what do you think?


I had intended to do 2 fingers, but I didn't like how my pointer turned out, and then to make it worse, I accidentally bumped it when removing the latex barrier.  I do like how this turned out, though.. a skittle mani.  The polishes I used are all from Polish My Life.  Shown are: 50's Mint Fridge (thumb), Breakfast on Fifth (pointer and pinkie), Reject Club Pink (ring).  The water marble was done using those polishes plus Stripped.  Which one is your favorite color?  I really like Breakfast on Fifth!

I wasn't done yet.  Since I wanted to try a slightly different pattern, I put Cinderella to work.  This was pretty challenging because of the latex barrier!  I prepped pointer and middle, which meant I had to use my left hand to do the dropping (so nervous!!).  The ring and pinkie weren't too bad.  My nail beds are so much shorter on my pointer and middle, so she doesn't like to show off very often.  But.. I like how these turned out (especially the pinkie!).. what do you think?

If you are new to water marbling I highly recommend watching some tutorial videos!!  I really like the ones by Tiffany (Mrswhite8907 on YouTube) and Colette (My Simple Little Pleasures on YouTube).  The tool I use for creating my designs is a regular pointy toothpick, but you can get specialized tools or maybe use a small dotting tool.  To make clean up easier I do recommend protecting the skin with something like tape or a latex barrier.  I use Bliss Kiss Simply Peel.

Thanks for stopping by!
XO,
Vanessa

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jamberry sparkle nail wraps

Sparkles, you hate me!

Hey, all!  So, I did a little experiment/test for myself, but maybe this can help you, too, if you are considering Jamberry nail wraps. 

So, as I've said before, nail polish is definitely my first love.  But, sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the choices!  Maybe that means it's time to cull my collection to limit my choices.  Or, maybe it is like anything else.. now and then you need a little vacation. 

When my nails get any bit of length on them I feel like I'm an accident waiting to happen.  That's why I like to always have either polish, a base coat, or nail wraps on.  No, that doesn't mean that it's fool-proof insurance against breaks, but it helps for sure!  I will always be in awe of longer nails because I just don't ever get past 2 or 3 weeks of growth.  Seriously, mad props to all you who can wear longer nails.. I just get them caught on ANYTHING and everything! 

Whenever I want or need a break from polishing I turn to my nail wraps.  Lately, though, I made a conscious choice to use only nail wraps so I could try to grow out the staining on my nails.  I found recently that applying a base coat underneath the wraps helped with my wear time (and no snagging whenever I did things like fold laundry).  I hadn't tried it with a full set of sparkle finish wraps yet, so now was a good a time as any!  My goal was to get through the work week, applying the wraps Sunday night and making it to Friday morning without major issues.  In the past I've applied sparkles on my bare nail and within 2 or 3 days I'd have some serious lifting at the cuticle line and/or the edges.  ugh!  Of course.. that could be due to my application process, or maybe my use of nail oils.  In any case.. it was a little frustrating because they are so cute and I actually wanted them to stay on.

For this manicure I made sure my cuticles were in decent shape (no extras or hidden ones) and that my nail was free of any oils (I do this anytime I apply wraps anyway).  For my test, I applied one coat of Zoya naked base and let that dry before applying my wraps.  My thumb isn't showing on these photos (but check my IG @ace_vanessa to see it!), so the names of these wraps are: Seaside sparkle (the fishtail braid pattern) and Fountain of Youth.

Application day (Sunday)

Friday morning

Hey, I made it!  You can see some tip wear, which I normally get no matter which finish I use.  I avoided nail oils for about 24 hours, but after that I went back to my normal use (usually 3-5 times a day).  I didn't get any lifting at my cuticle!!  YAY!  This is the worst.. that's the BEST place for my hair to get caught when washing or combing.  Didn't happen this time so I am really pleased!  There is a little bit of lifting on the edge/tips of the ring finger wrap, which I trimmed.  That may be due to my application or the fact that it's an older wrap (over a year old).  I just received the Seaside sparkle, so it seems like Jamberry may have improved the finish a tiny bit (more flexible?  thinner?).

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!
XO,
Vanessa

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tips for Jamberry

Easy or not?

Hello, again!  So, if you are even a tiny bit interested in nail wraps, here are some of my thoughts.  They are cute.  Will they ever be my go-to for nail dressings?  Probably not, because I *really* like polish.  But, I do like them!  I'm not the best nail artist out there, nor do I want to devote the time to doing anything really intricate, so I appreciate all the designs that are available.  I have found that if I am careful when applying, they will last a long time, and don't chip the way polish does.  What do I mean "careful"?  I don't mean the process takes a long time.  I mean if you pay attention to the process, like making sure they are laid flat on your nail and not touching any skin/cuticle.  That actually isn't very difficult to do for most people.. the wraps are pretty flexible and just a little pressure from a rubber cuticle pusher works for me.  For those with super curvy nails, though, application may be more challenging.  You may have to use a few methods to get them to lay flat (baggie, baseball).  But, if you get it down they should last at least a week, which I think is great if you don't have a whole lot of time to change your manicure several times a week.  I will probably always prefer nail polish, but I do think the nail wraps are so cute, and can be so convenient.. did I mention they don't chip?!  It's a buzz kill for sure when I've just finished painting and then notice a smudge on a nail.  aaauuugh!  I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  :)

So, the nail wraps  come in several different finishes.  The very first one I tried was glossy and my first experience applying them was a little stressful!  I didn't have the mini-heater, so I just used my hair dryer.  Let me tell you.. the mini-heater is SO worth getting.  It has definitely made my Jamberry experience more positive!

Other finishes are: glossy, metallic, satin, sparkle, luster, and matte (see some on my previous post!).  There are also wraps with a clear portion, so you could layer those over another wrap, over polish, or just on your bare nail.  The finishes that seem to work the best for me are metallic and matte, but I do really like sparkle and luster finishes.  No matter what I do, though, the sparkle wraps hardly ever stay on my nails longer than 2 or 3 days.  Not cool!  I have tried the baggie method, more heat, more pressure.. nothing.  Sparkle and me are not friends.

I guess it COULD be that I am pretty obsessive about applying nail oil.  I have a feeling that is the biggest issue.. that the oil seeps underneath the wraps near my cuticle line, causing the adhesive bond not to stay sticky.  This is a problem because then they'll get caught in things, including my hair.. and ouch!

But, recently I tried applying my wraps (any finish) over a layer of base coat.  Right now I'm using Zoya Naked Base.  This seems to be the thing that will help me conquer the sparkles!  I will try out a mani soon using mostly or all sparkle finish wraps and report back.  But for now, here is a mani I wore for a whole week!  These are both metallic finish wraps.  Isn't Minnie cute?!  I really like the turquoise and silver combination.. to me it looks like something you could create using striping tape (but I don't have the patience or the skill to get such clean lines!).
Day 1
I forgot to photograph my Cinderella hand on Day 1, but here are both hands on Day 7.  What do you think?

Day 7

From a distance you can't really see much of the growth at the cuticle line, but it sure does drive me nuts!  That's why even though my wraps may look fine, I'll still change them out no later than day 6 or day 7.. the growth gap!  I'm really happy with the results using the base coat and hope it works as well on the sparkle finish wraps.  Heck.. even if I can get 5 days out of sparkle wraps to get me through the work week I'll take it as a win!

Jamberry has videos on their website for application and removal, so please watch those, and maybe also some from YouTube.

OK, fine, Vanessa, I may try these, but how do you get them OFF?!
When you're ready to remove the wraps, that's easy, too!  For the love all that is good, do NOT just yank them off because that's a surefire way to damage your nail.  What I do is lift a tiny bit of the edge of the wrap.  Then I take either a clean up brush or Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and gently slide underneath.  Get more remover as needed and soon your wrap will slide right off.  Works like a charm.. and no nail damage!  There are other removal methods using oil, so check those out, too.

New mani time?
I hardly EVER slap on new wraps or polish after removing anything from my nail.  Instead, I will take a half day or day to treat my nails to some oil.  My nails (thankfully) aren't damaged, and I'd like to keep them healthy.  So, I spend this in-between time oiling (I have a post about it!).  After about a day of this treatment then it's time for either new wraps or polish.

Well.. what do you think?  If you ever want to try any, I can put you in touch with a consultant since I don't sell these.. I just happen to have lots of them (come on.. they are really cute!).  Let me know in the comments what you think or if you have any questions!  Keep reading to the end for more tips.. otherwise, see you next time (probably with polish!).

XO,
Vanessa



Vanessa's super easy directions for nail wraps:
1. Select your wraps.  They come on a clear backing, so it's easy to find the one that will fit your nails.  You might have to trim them a little on the sides so they fit properly and that is OK.  That's where your nail scissors come in.  It's better to err on the side of too small than too big because the nail wraps will NOT work very well if they are touching your skin or cuticle.  I'm able to use one wrap for 2 nails since my nails are pretty short.  You probably can, too, unless your nails are very long.
2.  Set up your work station:  wraps, heat source (I like the Jamberry mini nail heater, but a hair dryer will work, too), scissors, clippers, orange stick or other cuticle pusher, nail files.  Cut the wraps you plan to use in half.
3.  Push back cuticles gently (remove excess if needed before you apply wraps!).  Make sure your nail is clean and dry.  Use a basecoat if your nailbed is a little oily or if you like to apply nail oil frequently or underneath the free edge.
4. Take half of your desired wrap by the edge that will eventually be filed off (do not touch the part that will be on your nail) and center it on your nail lightly (no heat yet!!).  Make sure it's where you want it to be.  Apply indirect heat (trust me.. the mini heater is so nice for this) to the center of your wrap, and then apply firm pressure using your finger or a rubber cuticle pusher.  Apply indirect heat to one side of the wrap, pressure, then the other side, pressure.  That's the 1-2-3 method and you can probably find a YouTube video that shows it better than I can explain!  ha ha!
5.  Continue working in that manner for all fingers (no filing yet!).  Once you've finished the last finger on that hand, then go back to the first finger.  It should be cool now and now it's OK to file off the excess.  I file down at a slight angle instead of 90 degrees because I use my hands for everything.  Filing at an angle helps since it won't be right at the edge of your nail, for all of my friends who use their hands like I do.. tools!
6.  Do your other hand.
7.  To remove, lift a little bit of the side edge of the wrap.  Then, slip a brush or q-trip soaked in remover underneath and gently work the wrap off.  Use more remover if needed (but you shouldn't need much).
8.  Remove any left over residue with polish remover and wash your hands.  Apply lotion and/or nail oil to undo some of the drying from the remover.