I never painted my nails in high school. I was in a ton of art classes and my nails got jacked up all the time, so it just wasn't worth it. The only times my nails were ever painted were during prom, homecoming, and my senior pictures.
Pretty much immediately upon my high school graduation, I became a nail polish junkie. I have a whole box full of polishes, many of which I have only used once or twice before I've moved on to the next color that I just HAD TO HAVE. It's a bit ridiculous, really. My mom thinks I have a serious problem.
Whether it's a real problem or not, I've always justified it because I'm not spending the money on real manicures. I've always just bought the polish and done it myself, because real manis cost too much and take too much time and aint nobody got time fo that!!
My dear friend Alli, who is getting married exactly one month and one day from today, took me to get "practice manis" for her wedding. While I've never done the mani thing, I do strongly believe that professionals should take care of you on the Big Day - you're going to have a ton of pictures taken of your hands, so it had best be done right!
Alli had heard great things about no-chip gel manicures. I had too, and since her wedding is on a 5 day cruise, a lasting mani is pretty crucial.
We went for it, and...
Holy crud, guys.
The picture was taken 3 days after I got it done, which may not seem like a big deal, but in my line of work (fashion retail in a dry, woody work environment) a manicure not chipping after half of one day is a big deal, and this hasn't chipped at all. I told a friend that if the nail-killer that is Anthropologie didn't destroy it, nothing would!!
I'm not going to pretend to understand the science of gel manicures - I've looked up a thousand different things online and nothing really has explained to me how or why it works. Our process involved 2 different base coats, 2 to 3 coats of the actual polish, and a finishing top coat. We held our nails under a UV light for a few minutes between EVERY COAT. When we were done, a shine spray was applied, rubbed into the nails (which blew my mind...who knew you could RUB A NAIL right after a manicure??) and we were done! They were dry and ready to go immediately after leaving the salon and there was none of the traditional manicure "24 hour drying time."
Overall, I'm extremely impressed. I will obviously be getting my nails done again before Alli's wedding next month, and I'm strongly considering getting another gel mani and pedi before my trip to Brazil this summer.
I *may* be a convert...I've heard the removal process is horrifying, but it may or may not be worth it. I'm definitely interested in trying an at-home version, too.
We got our manicures done at :
Nail & Spa
265 W Peace Rd.
Sycamore, IL 60178
We walked right in, the ladies were really attentive, and we were in and out in half an hour. The overall experience totally changed the way I think about manicures - it's definitely worth a try!
This photo was taken more than 3.5 weeks after I originally got the mani. Can you believe it?! NO CHIPS WHATSOEVER. I was seriously amazed. Yes, there was a ton of outgrowth at the cuticle, and I worked pretty hard to maintain my cuticles so they didn't look gross. Really, cuticle outgrowth doesn't bother me as long as the ends don't chip, and they clearly did not. This was also after I filed my nails down a bit because super long nails just don't work for me, and the fact that nothing chipped even after filing some of the nail/polish of was impressive.
I did take of the polish at the 4 week mark, and I have some advice: FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
A video tutorial recommended soaking the polish in pure acetone for about 10 minutes and then peeling back/using a nail groomer to push off the polish. I, like an idiot, did not do this. Some of the bits on the edges were peeling slightly, and I figured I would be able to just tug and peel back the polish without using acetone. I ended up peeling off parts of the top layer of my nails and I had to sand down other parts, and it was just bad news. If I had followed directions it probably would have been fine... I just thought I knew better.
Note to self: Jordan does not ever know better.
This was the shade I ended up going with for Alli's wedding. I'm mildly obsessed with it. I might need to keep it in mind for when *I* get married... ;)
Also, I removed the polish properly and it went just fine. HUZZAH!
This tag was started by FluerDeForce and was originally a video tag, but it makes more sense to me to do it in written form, so that's what this is.
This is probably the ultimate tag for product recommendations. You pick a brand starting with each letter of the alphabet and recommend a product for each brand, resulting in a very comprehensive list.
Disclaimer: I will fully admit to skipping letters. I don't use THAT wide a variety of products, so in my case, this is the A-U of Beauty Tag.
I don't know why their eyeliners don't get much attention online, but they are the best eyeliners I've ever used. The formula is fantastic, it gets right into your lash line, it wears extremely well, and the colors are fantastic. I have their basic black eyeliner and their Intense I-color liners in brown and purple.
B: Burt's Bees
When I first tried the Revlon Lip Butters, this is the product they reminded me of. Honestly, they are nearly the same product, and the Burt's Bees product is cheaper AND 100% natural. The Caramel shade a great dupe for the Peach Parfait Lip Butter as well, and is my go-to "My Lips but Better" shade.
LashBlast Length and Clump Crusher by LashBlast Mascaras
I have used almost every LashBlast mascara that Covergirl has introduced; I have always loved the LashBlast formula, but these two are my favorites because of the brush shapes. I use the Clump Crusher on my top lashes for definition and curve with a layer of the LashBlast Length over it for extra separation. I then use the LashBlast Length on my bottom lashes - the tiny wand is PERFECT for your lower lid. Between the two, the result is amazing.
I have used Dove bar soap in the shower for ages. It's really gentile on my skin and leaves me feeling fresh.
I couldn't tell you a specific color that I like best because I've liked every color I've tried. The formula is great and I can't stop buying them.
Pure Clean Finishing Paste
I hear a lot of talk on the internet about the Pure Clean shampoo, which I do indeed use, but their Pure Clean hair paste hasn't gotten as much hype and it has been really fantastic for me. It's not as waxy as a traditional hair paste and it gives you the same textured result without leaving your hair stiff or greasy.
Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer
I haven't used this since high school, but I remember liking it a lot when I did use it. I'm ghostly pale and this gives a nice tanned glow without looking unnaturally dark or orange-ey. The lotion formula within it is excellent as well.
Infallible 24 hr Eyeshadow
This shadow is gorgeous. It's great for day and night, it really does last 24 hours, and the colors are fantastic. Need I say more?
I have used almost every product from this line: the Dream Fresh BB, Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation, Dream Matte Mousse Foundation, Dream Matte Mousse Blush, Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, Dream Matte Powder...I've loved them ALL. And really, how often do you find a line of foundations where EVERY item in the line is awesome?
I got a small tin of this as a sample once, and I've been completely addicted to it ever since. It's a brilliant lotion, but I also use it on my lips and my cuticles for extra hydration at night, and it works wonders.
When I'm not using Dove bar soap, I use Olay's. They are very comparable products and do the job well.
P: Physicians Formula
I regularly use the Magic Mosaic bronzer, but I have used their loose pearl bronzer as well and liked it, too. They have about fifteen bronzers to choose from and I doubt any of them would steer you wrong.
Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain
I'm in love with chubby crayon stick products, and the color payoff of these are absolutely fantastic. Much better than their felt tip lip stain.
S: Sally Hansen
This is my favorite topcoat. It's perfectly dry in 60 seconds and is better at preventing chips than any other more expensive topcoat that I have tried.
U: Urban Decay
All-Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
The most brilliant product I've ever used. Sets makeup all day in the summer and the winter - sweat proof, rain proof, swimming pool proof...I don't know what witch craft is in that bottle, but I am in love with it.
If you want the short answer to which is better between Drugstore and high-end makeup, the answer is that it's completely up to you and there are advantages to both. I realize, however, that answer isn't helpful in the slightest, so here's the long answer:
High-end makeup definitely has it's advantages. As with most things in life, the more you spend, the higher the quality will be. Makeup that costs more often has a better formula that properly adheres to your skin, you can usually tell if it's going to match your skin tone without much question, and it will most likely last longer.
That said, the sticker shock for these products can be quite extreme. I personally made a trip to Ulta and just about died when I spent fifty dollars on two products, but those products (a bareMinerals primer and an Urban Decay makeup setting spray) have made my skin look better than it has in years. I would consider those products to be well worth the money.
However, to combat the high cost of those two products, ALL my other makeup products are drugstore brands, and I have been extremely happy with them as well. Revlon makes eyeshadow palettes with nearly identical colors to the infamous "Naked" palette for a fraction of the cost. Maybelline's BB cream's formula is well respected for having a better formula than higher-priced BBs. Most drugstore brands these days are conscious to create high-quality products in order to compete with high-end brands.
If you LONG for the high-end look but simply can't afford it, searching for "dupes" is very advantageous. If you see a lipstick, foundation, or eyeshadow from a high-end brand that you would like to try, see if you can match the color or the formula in a low-end brand.
The great thing about both high-end and low-end makeup is that nearly every brand produces coupons that can help you save money. Ulta has coupons and sales every week, and there are often brand-specific coupons for high-end products that you can find online. As far as drugstore makeup, Walgreens has buy-one-get-one-half-off sales every week, and Target reduces their makeup prices all the time. The legwork can be annoying, but the savings are remarkable.
In the end, it's your skin and your budget and your preference and your choice. You may have to put some work and experimentation into it, but the results will be worth it!