Monday, July 18, 2011

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, $9-$10

Seche Vite claims their top coat is the world's finest--and you know what? It just might be. I originally got it from my sister-in-law, who said it's the only top coat that works for Konad nail stamps (i.e., doesn't make them smear everywhere). I liked it so much I started using it all the time.

The brush is a good size, it doesn't smear my polish, dries super fast, and leaves a super glossy shine. It also has helped my nail polish stay on longer, even those cheaper polishes that don't normally last that long. With most top coats, the ends start to chip within a day or so for me. With this top coat, it's extended to 3 or 4 days. I'm serious! And I'm definitely not super careful with my nails.

One downside is the smell; it's super strong. If you're sensitive to that kind of thing, I recommend doing your nails near a fan or open window. Another slight problem is that when it does start to chip, it more peels away than chips. This means that if you start peeling one side, half or the whole layer of polish might come away with it. However, I've found that if you put on a thinner coat, that seems to help with this problem.

Final verdict
Cost: $9-$10 at most drugstores--about the same as an OPI polish. For me, it's worth it because I use it for every manicure.
Fast-drying: It really only takes a few seconds to dry, which is perfect for someone who always messes up her polish right after it's done! While you still should be careful afterward, I can attest that the oh-it's-dry-wait-no-it's-not smudges have decreased.
Long-lasting: My polish looks nicer for longer, even when the polish isn't that durable by itself.
Shiny: The resulting finish is super glossy and shiny.
Repeat offender: Love this! So far, it's the best top coat I've tried. It smells a little strong, but the result is totally worth it.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects, $9.99

This is the kind of product that you would expect not to actually work but I promise that once you try it, you will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the outcome! I never thought that I needed an alternative to nailpolish, or that one could exist really (these are deep thoughts I'm having don't you think?) but Sally Hansen Salon Effects polish strips really deliver.

The kit comes with a small double-sided nail file/buffer, a wooden cuticle stick, and 16 nailpolish strips. Why 16? Incase you have mistakes, according to the product but if you are careful you can actually use one pack of Salon Effects and get a manicure and pedicure (that is if you don't have super fabulous long nails which clearly I don't).

The first time I tried this product I bought the leopard print strips (you can see all available colors and patterns here). Wanting to do an awesome job I decided I should probably do a quick search on YouTube for a tutorial which turned out to be really helpful. But the package also comes with really detailed (and simple) directions of how to apply the strips to your nails.

Here is a quick rundown:
  • File and buff your nails, make sure to push back your cuticles and that your nails are perfectly buffed out and clean.
  • Select a strip that fits your nail (if it's a little big don't worry because once you smooth it out it usually just takes the shape).
  • Peel the plastic and the backing off the strip and break the silver tab at the end.
  • PROTIP: if you want to get more bang for your buck you can also just trim the polish strips so you don't lose too much.
  • Press the strip down to your nail, using your fingertips just smooth it out over your nails.
  • Smooth over the top of your nail using the nail file to remove the excess strip at the top.

Your outcome will be really awesome nails for up to ten days! This is not an exaggeration, if you are a really careful I bet it can last longer. Your nails will probably outgrow the time the nailstrips stay on. When you are ready to take them off, regular nailpolish remover does the trick.

Final verdict:
Cost: $9.99 for a package of nail strips. Keep in mind you can usually get a manicure and pedicure out of one package and it lasts for days. I would recommend doing this before a vacation so you don't have to worry about reapplying polish midweek.
Any tips?: Be patient when applying the nailstrips. I'll be honest, my first time I was very patient and my nails looked better. This time I was a little rushed and some of them didn't turn out looking as even as they could have. Your patience will be worth it.
Is it worth it?: For me it is worth it for the cool patterns. Since this is something I cannot achieve with my regular old nailpolish it is a nice treat to have a product that can offer a unique nail look.
Repeat offender?: Definitely. There is a fishnet pattern I'm dying to try. Though I'm really hoping the popularity of this product will inspire more patterns! Who knows, maybe Sally Hansen will take the route of many other popular polish brands and come out with seasonal collections (fingers crossed).


Friday, July 1, 2011

Essie Smooth Sailing, $8.00

Essie's Smooth Sailing nail color is a deep blue-gray shade laced with the tiniest silver shimmer that is really only noticeable up close or in the sun. The color appears to be inspired by the ocean and the way it can look blue and gray at the same time and still sparkle in the sunlight. My go-to nail colors this summer have mostly been pastels (these reviews coming soon!) but this lovely shade of blue really stuck out to me and I had to have it.

I've got on a base coat, 2 coats of polish, and a top coat. The formula is on the thicker side so make sure to allow enough time for the first coat to dry before applying the second. The staying power of this polish has been pretty good too, I think I've mentioned on previous Essie reviews that I felt like the polish chipped quicker than other brands but I think either the formula has changed or maybe I'm not being as rough on my own nails.

Final verdict:
Cost: Now that most drugstores carry Essie polishes (Target and CVS definitely do) they are a lot easier to find. I paid full price for this so it was about $8 but if you watch out, these do go on sale at CVS sometimes.
Does the sparkle make it too flashy for everyday?: Not at all, I love that this color can be fun and cool yet still look really sleek and professional too. The sparkle is hardly noticeable so if you are worried about having gaudy nails you won't have a problem.
Repeat offender?: I'd definitely use this polish over and over again. Despite the summery name "Smooth Sailing," I think this polish could also look pretty awesome in the winter with some sort of gray outfit pairing.