Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color: Mixed Results

Sometimes I go to Rite-Aid and it's such a bonanza of cool items and new displays that I want to go completely bonkers and buy everything. Last Friday night was one of those times.

I didn't go completely bonkers, but I did see a display that intrigued me.
The picture's not award-winning because I was trying to be stealth about it, but these are Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color (phew!) kits. There are 10 colors available (the Nutra Nail website lists 12; but there are clearly 10 in the display. I'm not sure which ones are missing). Also featured in the display are several packs of No-Mess Express, the remover kit that is suggested to go with the polishing kit. The gel color kit was $11.99 and the remover kit was $5.99. However, there is a tear-off pad on the display with coupons for $1.50 off either product. That sealed the deal and I had to buy it.

I've been thinking for a while about doing Gelish at home, mainly for pedicures. It's a not-insignificant upfront investment, but it would pay for itself after a few pedicures. I'm pretty boring when it comes to pedis - I like dark pinks, classic reds and the occasional vampy shade. Maybe a purple sometimes. But mostly I just don't like to change it very often. The Nutra Nail kit seemed like it might present a good option for my lazy woman's pedi and even for the occasional manicure.

Most of the shades in the Gel Perfect line are pretty safe - reds, pinks, neutrals - though there were two that stood out: Moonstone is a pretty blue shimmer and Torenia is a vibrant violet shimmer. I chose the Orchid shade, a medium red-purple creme. It's exactly the kind of shade I'd choose for a pedicure most of the time.

Don't worry, by the way - I'm not going to show you my feet! I decided to do my fingernails for the sake of experimentation. Besides, I'm much better at painting my nails than my toes.

Here's what comes with the kit: A bottle of cleaner (you use this to clean the color brush), a bottle of activator and a bottle of color. The color is .17 ounces, so it's quite small. For reference, an Essence Colour & Go polish is .16 ounces.

There are also two coupons inside the instruction booklet, which is nice. One is for the color kit and one is for the remover.

You can read the how-to on the Nutra Nail site. I read it through a couple of times before I applied the color. It's really not difficult at all. Basically you apply a layer of activator (which smells exactly like nail glue) followed by a layer of gel color. You do five nails at a time, cleaning the brush in between every five nails, repeating the activator-then-color process for the second coat.

So this isn't hard, but there is a bit of a learning curve. If you're the type of polisher that just slaps on color and then relies on a lot of cleanup afterward, this may not work for you. However, if you tend to be  neat and precise in your application then this shouldn't be a problem. This is because the color goes where ever you've applied the clear activator - so if you flood your cuticles with the activator, they're going to get flooded with color too. The color doesn't sit on top of the activator, it blends with it - so you definitely want to keep the activator out of your cuticles.

Here's what the bottle of cleaner looks like after you switch the brushes a few times.

Overall, I didn't have any problems applying this, and I did go back and clean up a little with a small concealer brush and pure acetone, which worked fine. For removal, Nutra Nail tells you to use the No-Mess Express removal kit, but as an alternate they suggest the foil method. So I'll try that and let you know how it works.

Anyway! Enough blabbering. Here are the finished results.
You probably can see some issues here. (That's a glare going diagonally across my nails...that's not a flaw in the application or polish.) There area a couple of bubbles and some slight unevenness - you really want to use a steady hand with this because it's not as self-leveling as some polishes and top coats. I have to be honest, though, in real life? It looks pretty darn good. Macro mode is very unforgiving, so you're seeing every single flaw.

The claims that you can "dig in your purse" and "step into your shoes" in five minutes seem to hold true. Immediately after I did this manicure, I fed the dog, washed my hands and put on lotion, pushed a cardboard box into the trash, did some typing and just generally went about my business. I didn't get any dings, smears or dents.

I also like that there is a troubleshooting guide on the back of the how-to guide. There are Facebook and YouTube logos on the instruction sheet included in the box, but I couldn't find Nutra Nail on either site, and there are no links to videos for this product on the Nutra Nail site. You can order Gel Perfect online though, just click "order now" under the color you want.

After one day of wear, however, I think it's safe to say these are not a great fit for my fingernails.

To be fair, I was hard on my nails on Sunday (the day after I put Gel Perfect on). I cooked, I cleaned, I bashed them into things. Because Gel Perfect cures so hard on the nail, when the gel cracked, my nails cracked too. I had two large chips on Sunday that took a layer of my nail with them. I did patch the chips, which worked fine, but I had several more chips that afternoon and evening...even on one of the nails I had just patched!

My nails are having a brittle moment, and as I said, I was unusually hard on them. But the drying effect of Gel Perfect is hard to deny. If your nails are better hydrated, perhaps you'll have better luck. And if you typically you wear your nails short, you might not experience the breakage that I did.

I'll still try Gel Perfect on my toenails, but I think I will steer clear of it on my fingernails, at least until I feel they are better hydrated.


Nic's Sticks Rainbow's End

A few months ago there was a big frenzy for Nic's Sticks in Silver-ella and Rainbow's End - both holos! People were finding them at Tuesday Morning stores, buying two or three at a time and decanting them into regular bottles.

Why would you do that, you ask? Because Nic's Sticks are not easy to use, and they come with probably the worst brush I've ever seen. Worse even than the Missha brushes, which is saying a lot. For all of that, I will admit that the final result is not bad. I didn't have to do a ton of cleanup, just some tidying around my cuticles. It just took a lot longer than usual to paint my nails.

To use a Nic's Stick, you have to press down on the cartridge that holds the polish. This releases a small amount of the polish, which then flows down into and over the brush. Sounds good in theory, but it results in very clumsy application, and it's very difficult to control how much polish you get on the brush from nail to nail. Add to that the inherent challenges of a holo polish and you stand to have a real mess on your hands. (Literally! Ha!)

I only found one stick in the Rainbow's End color, a peachy/nude holo. It's a shame OPI didn't just bottle these colors up because Rainbow's End, at least, is gorgeous.
 This is a linear holo and it shines and glows even in low light, including my dreadful office lighting.
I love this color because it's almost a neutral/office appropriate shade while still being interesting and incredibly pretty.
I used my regular base coat for this (don't ask me why it slipped my mind to try my new Nfu-Oh Aqua Base) and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri as a top coat. It's held up remarkably well - I've been wearing it for four days and it still looks great. I have some tip wear and one small chip on my left hand. (Another good thing about this color - it doesn't show wear very easily!)

I'm a huge fan of this shade, which is why it bums me out that it's no longer widely available. Even if it was, to truly use it the way I'd want to (often, and with minimal fuss), it would need to be in a real nail polish bottle with a real brush. And this is something I don't understand about the nail polish biz: How is it that OPI can put this awesome shade in a Nic's Stick with a subpar brush, but not in a Nicole or OPI bottle with a regular brush? I love the OPI ProWide brush, it's probably my favorite aside from RBL.

The bottom line is that I'd love it if OPI released a collection of awesome, high quality holos like this one, but I'd also want to enjoy applying and wearing it. And for that, it needs to be in a real bottle.

What do you think? Have you ever used a Nic's Stick? How did it work out for you?


Rescue Beauty Lounge Piu Mosso

Good morning. Today I have for you one of the new Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes from the recent Firebird collection. I chose one shade from the collection, Piu Mosso, and pre-ordered it way back in July. I received it in late August and finally got around to wearing it yesterday.

Unfortunately my experience with Piu Mosso was not what I had hoped, in general and certainly not based on my previous experience with RBL polishes. However, some of that was definitely due to operator error and was not the fault of the polish - so I'll have to give it another try to know for sure. Perhaps my thoughts will be helpful if you're considering buying this shade.

I chose Piu Mosso because of the gorgeous murky blue base color and the sunset-orange shimmer.
Doesn't it look awesome? Amazing? Delightfully unique? Well in the bottle, it is.

Part of me knew the shimmer would not be that strong or dramatic on the nail but...I couldn't help hoping otherwise. You do get flashes of it from time to time:

But mostly, it looks like this.
Indoor lighting

Natural lighting
In the picture above, you can see a bit of the dragging (near the cuticle on my middle finger) and the dullness of the finish. These are two of the issues I had with Piu Mosso.

To be fair, I didn't exactly set myself up for success with this manicure. I put the polish on at around 11pm, when I should have been going to bed. I was dead tired, exhausted actually; and to make matters worse I decided it would be okay to drink a Diet Coke before/during doing my nails. So my application skills were probably not what I would call "ideal." I was impatient and cranky and probably rushed a little.


The formula was definitely thick and definitely difficult to control. It was pasty, resulting in drag marks like you can see in the picture above. I did a very thin first coat but went fairly thick on the second coat; this would also prove a bad idea when not 10 hours later the manicure began chipping. (I do think that's my fault...I used too thick of a second coat.)

I used Seche Vite as a top coat. I don't remember this giving me problems with RBL previously but I'll definitely try something different with Piu Mosso next time. The chipping got much, much worse and I actually removed the polish less than 24 hours after putting it on. Typically I leave manicures on for at least 2-3 days and if I need to, I often get 5-6 days of wear. So this was annoying.

I dearly love my other RBL polishes - they are heavily pigmented, easy to apply and have good wear with my usual base coat/top coat combination. I might try a couple drops of thinner in Piu Mosso.

The fact is, however, that none of these tactics will change the fact that the color isn't quite what I'd hoped. Someone suggested trying Piu Mosso over another polish with a similar base color, and I'm willing to give that a try as well.

The biggest bummer of all is that when you lightly swipe a cotton ball soaked in acetone over the polish, it lifts up just enough of the murky blue to let that coppery orange shimmer really glow. ARGH!


NOTD: Revlon Fierce


It's appropriate that I've bought this polish the same week the new season of America's Next Top Model starts up again. I'm not watching it this season ("All-Stars"...too crazy) but if you are, or if you have ever seen it in the past, or know anything about Tyra Banks whatsoever, then you know that the show and the word "fierce" are inextricably linked.

Anyhow. It was during a random trip to Rite Aid that I finally found the new Revlon Edgy Elegance display. I've been cruising the drugstores lately looking for the Wet 'n' Wild Halloween release, along with new stuff from L'Oreal and Revlon, and coming up with nada for the most part.

(My CVS in particular is useless for this right now. All the cosmetics special display space is taken up by Burt's Bees products, Garnier hair color (??) and the woefully boring WnW "Go With The Flow-er" display from early summer. GAH!)

Revlon nail products are BOGO 1/2 off at the moment, so I scrounged another Just Tinted topcoat (not in love with it...more on this in a minute) and picked Fierce from the Edgy Elegance collection.
Revlon Fierce

Fierce can best be described as a violet-leaning silvery purple foil. The formula on this was thick thick thick but easy to control. It could possibly be a one-coater.

With flash, indoors

In natural light

So I mentioned the Just Tinted topcoat. I heard that this was akin to Seche Vite but without the shrinkage issues, so last time I was in a Walgreens I took a peek and found one hanging around. I picked up another bottle at Rite Aid because of the 1/2 off sale. I figured the likelihood of this playing well with another Revlon product was high, so I gave it a try with Fierce.

Well. First of all, a lot of color came up on the brush. I'm not sure if that's the fault of the topcoat or the polish (or me). Otherwise it applied very well, but it took forever to dry. (It doesn't claim to be a quick dry top coat anywhere on the bottle, I just thought that was worth noting.) It's shiny, but not as shiny as SV or Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. My nails were tacky for a very long time and in fact were still dentable this morning - although now the dent has disappeared...which is strange yet sort of awesome.

I'll definitely try the Just Tinted topcoat with another polish and see how that goes. It's not horrible by any means but I suspect it wasn't at its best over Fierce. And I do love Fierce, so I want to wear it with an awesome top coat.

Incidentally, the stickers on the caps of the Edgy Elegance polishes say "New Shade" rather than "Limited Edition." So perhaps they will become core, which is good news for those whose local drugstores are a bit slow on the uptake. (Ahem, northeast Ohio.)


Les Jeans de Chanel

I bought myself the Fashion's Night Out exclusive Les Jeans de Chanel polishes for my birthday. This is a limited edition collection and they are sold individually at selected Chanel boutiques and online. (At the time of writing this post, they are still available.) I'm not certain if you can find these at Chanel counters or not.

(You may remember the Les Khakis de Chanel from last year's FNO. I treated myself to Khaki Vert, which I love but oddly enough don't have a swatch picture of.)


The three shades are Blue Boy, Blue Rebel and Coco Blue. Coco Blue is a shimmer, the other two shades are cremes.


Blue Boy, the medium shade.


Blue Rebel, the darkest shade.


And finally, Coco Blue. The shimmer is quite subtle.

In my memory, Nouvelle Vague was a light blue with subtle shimmer, just like Coco Blue. However! They are very different.

I don't have Riva to compare to these shades, unfortunately.

Here they are on the nail wheel at one coat. Blue Rebel, Blue Boy, Coco Blue.

And at two coats:

You can see some drag at the bottom of the nails for the two lightest shades, but I did a full manicure with Blue Boy and that wasn't the case. Two coats covered perfectly. The application on these was very nice, though I haven't done full manis with Blue Rebel or Coco Blue.

Some comparisons:

Misa Office Polish-tics, Blue Reble, Blue Boy


Blue Boy, Coco Blue, Nouvelle Vague. It's amazing how green NV looks next to Coco Blue!


Here's Blue Boy on the nail.


I do love this color. The formula is almost jelly-like and I had excellent control of it going on. Definite A+.

Of course this release brings up the usual hate and resentment about Chanel. There will always be people outraged at Chanel for the simple fact that it's Chanel, and there's nothing anyone can do about that.

Are these polishes 100% unique? Nope. I don't have any dupes in my collection, but I am sure they are out there. If all you want is a blue creme you have hundreds of choices. But I've never regretted buying a Chanel polish.

This brought up an interesting question...what kind of Chanel release would I not buy? Well I didn't buy Riva (I had purchase NV not long before and it just didn't whet my whistle) and I didn't buy Quartz. I passed on Particuliere and its friends Inattendu and Tendresse.

So there are many I don't buy. What else would I pass up? Bar glitter...though to be honest if Chanel actually did lose its marbles and released a bar glitter, I might have to buy it for the sheer noteworthiness of such an event. Perhaps a red creme...though I have from time to time given red Chanel cremes as gifts.

So it's not a knee jerk reaction to just buy them all regardless of what they look like. People like to say that Chanel could bottle a frosty mauve and people would go nuts for it, and while that might apply to some people I'd like to think I'm immune to label whoredom.

I mean I'd like to think it. I guess we'll have to wait for that frosty mauve to really know for sure.


A quick NOTD

My pal Janice recommended Milani Hi-Tech to go under Lynnderella She Lived In A Swamp, so I picked it up when I swung my CVS last week (ExtraBucks clutched in my hand). I put it on with every intention of immediately topping it with She Lived In A Swamp, but...

I love it so much on its own that I'm holding off for the time being. It's stunning in many different types of light and it applied perfectly. Recommend!


Make Up Store holographic nail polish

First things first: My manicure today is Maybelline Be Scene In Green from the new fall collection.

I picked up this one and Cool Couture, which you can see on the right in the picture below. (Be Scene In Green is on the left.)

Another shot of BSIG.
So. I like this in theory. It is a very pretty medium green, perhaps leaning a bit teal, with lots of gold shimmer. On the nail the effect is kind of foily. I'm just not that big a fan of this particular manicure. For one thing, although I filed and buffed my nails before applying BSIG, the polish brought out every imperfection. So while you can't really see much of this in the pictures, there are all kinds of lumps and ridges showing, which of course annoys me to no end.

It's making me give this polish a side-eye, is what I'm saying.

However! I thought you might like to see bottle pics and nail wheel swatches of the Make Up Store holos I bought during their 40% nail polish sale at the end of August.


Madeline, Greta, Siw (I asked and found out this is pronounced "Seev," thus solving one of the Great Nail Polish Mysteries of my life).


The bottles are awesome. Round, perfectly solid. There is no undercap but I found them very comfortable to hold. Also the brush on these is much nicer than on my Nfu-Ohs.


Madeline, Greta, Siw.




*fans self*


Thus far I've worn Greta but did not get pictures because my cuticles were so displeasing to the eye. I used Essie Matte About You as a top coat and it definitely worked the best of anything I've tried with this type of holo. I'm still working out the perfect application, though. I had a few bald patches with Greta and it chipped pretty quickly, but I think some of that comes with the holo territory.

Anyway, that's all the news for now. I hope to show you some more Lynnderella goodness this week, and I'm fairly sure that I'm going to buy myself the Chanel Les Jeans collection for my birthday. We'll see if I pull the trigger when the time comes (I suspect I will).


Coming Soon...

More pictures of my Lynnderellas, which arrived today. For the time being, here's a quickie phone pic.
From L-R: Snow Angel, All Hallows' Eve, Gotta Love Brains, Love Potion No. 99, She Lived in a Swamp.