August 27, 2013

Design Sampler

Shellac & Gelish Design Sampler
Roses, leopard spots, and stripes -- oh my!  This was a fun way to try out each of these techniques.

Colors used:
Gelish - Sleek White
Gelish - You're Such a Sweet Tart
CND Shellac - Pretty Poison
CND Shellac - Rose Bud

All designs were created using a dotting tool, rather than a brush.

This tutorial was helpful in creating the roses:

July 31, 2013

Sephora Gelshine: Chestnuts About You

Sephora Gelshine "Chestnuts About You".
I decided to give the Sephora brand gel polish a try after hearing mixed reviews.  The color pictured to the right is Sephora Gelshine in "Chestnuts About You".

Based on this experience, I would say that Sephora's Gelshine wears exactly the same as CND Shellac - the manicure pictured has thus far lasted over 2 weeks (though the photo was taken immediately after the manicure).

I used CND Shellac Top and Base coat for this manicure, so unfortunately I cannot comment on the effectiveness of the Sephora Top and Base.

The color is gorgeous to boot!  It looks somewhat similar to CND's "Iced Cappuccino", but slightly more pink and a lot more sparkly.  The picture doesn't capture it, but it has a beautiful shimmer.

Sephora Gelshine is roughly the same price as CND Shellac (making it more expensive than Harmony Gelish, but superior in quality in my opinion).  I will definitely be trying other Sephora Gelshine colors in the future!

July 11, 2013

Shellac French Manicure - Negligee

Shellac French Manicure with Rhinestones
The base of this French Manicure is CND Shellac in Negligee.  Negligee is similar to Beau, but has a more opalescent sheen to it, with more blue/purple hues as opposed to the pink hues in Beau.

The tips are Harmony Gelish in Sleek White.

July 10, 2013

Shellac French Manicure - Beau

Shellac French Manicure with Flowers.
This is just a typical French Manicure with a flowers added to the thumb and ring finger using a dotting tool and rhinestones.

The base for the French Manicure is CND Shellac Beau.  Beau has a very natural pink hue to it with just a hint of shimmer.

The tips are Harmony Gelish in Sleek White.

July 09, 2013

Rock Royalty with Gold Glitter

Rock Royalty with gold glitter
This manicure has sort of a "reverse leopard print" on the middle and ring fingers (reverse because the darker color is on the inside of the spots).  Accent color is CND Shellac in Hotski To Tchotchke.

June 14, 2013

Snow Leopard Nails

Shellac Snow Leopard Manicure
This manicure is way easier than it looks.  The entire design is done freehand with a dotting tool.  The irregularity of leopard print makes this a very forgiving pattern -- any mistakes look like they are supposed to be there!

After applying and curing base coat, I started with 3 coats of Harmony Gelish in Sleek White.  Then used a large dotting tool to make the centers of the spots with CND Shellac in Cityscape.

After that, I used a smaller dotting tool to make the outer edges of the spots with CND Shellac in Asphalt.  To do this part, you simply make oblong marks on three sides along the edges of the center spots.  I added some tiny dots with the Shellac Asphalt as well.

The last step is to finish with a coat of CND Shellac Top Coat.

June 06, 2013

Lechat Mood Color Changing Gel Polish: Angel's Breeze

Lechat Mood Gel Polish: Angel's Breeze
This polish is amazing!  The color seems to be constantly changing, and I find myself frequently checking out my nails to see what color they are.  

In warmer temperature they are a pale frosty pink, and in colder temperature they are a deep magenta.  The colors have just a hint of shimmer, which is much more noticeable when they are paler.

Lechat's Perfect Match Mood Color Changing Gel Polish is the same consistency as CND Shellac, cures in a UV lamp, and is no more expensive than other gel polishes. 

The only downside to this polish is that this particular color is very sheer, and it took 4 coats of color to get to the opacity I wanted.
Thermal color changing polish
Lechat Angel's Breeze

Here's the process I used for this mani:

  1. Apply CND Shellac Base Coat and cure in lamp 10 seconds.
  2. Apply 4 coats of Lechat Angel's Breeze and cure in lamp 120 seconds for each coat.
  3. Apply CND Shellac Top coat and cure in lamp 120 seconds.
  4. Wipe nails with Acetone to finish.

June 05, 2013

Shellac Water Marble: Neutral Colors

Shellac Water Marble.
This is another example of normal polish sandwiched between Shellac color and top coat.  Even with the water marbled layer of normal polish, the manicure lasted almost 3 weeks!

After applying and curing CND Shellac base coat, used 2 coats of Shellac Cityscape.  After curing the second layer of Cityscape, I wiped the nails with acetone so that they wouldn't be sticky.

I then used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On and Stony Creme to do the marbling.  For a photo tutorial of the water marbling process see

Finished off with a coat of CND Shellac Top Coat.

May 30, 2013

Hotski to Tchotchke with Glitter

Hotski to Tchotchke with Confetti Glitter.
This was a very simple manicure that was done for a peacock-themed wedding.

Used 3 coats of CND Shellac Hotski to Tchotchke, topped with purple and blue confetti glitter and CND Shellac Top Coat.

The ring finger is 3 coats of Harmony Gelish Sleek White topped with 1 coat of CND Shellac Negligee and multi-colored rhinestone accents set in CND Shellac Top Coat.

April 25, 2013

Shellac Water Marble: Bacon Nails

Bacon Water Marbled Shellac Manicure.
This was extremely simple!  I find that using a combination of Shellac/Gelish and normal polish is much easier to water marble than using normal polish alone.  This is because the cleanup process is so much faster.  Apply and cure the gel top coat prior to removing the excess water marbled polish from your fingers -- then you can wipe your entire hand (nails and all) with nail polish remover and only the portions which are covered with gel top coat will remain.

I used 2 coats of Shellac in cocoa, then water marbled using white and red China Glaze polish (the bottles were so old and worn that I could not read the precise names of the colors).  The last step, as mentioned above, was to apply Shellac Top Coat and then wipe the excess from the fingers with nail polish remover.

March 16, 2013

Green and Gold Nails

Shellac Pretty Poison and gold glitter fade.
CND Shellac "Pretty Poison" is such a deep green color that it tends to look black in most light, but in direct sunlight you can see that it is a very deep olive/sage green color.

For St. Patrick's Day, we topped this one off with three different types of gold glitter and some gold rhinestones as well.

March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Nails

Custom Gelish Avocado Green with Sleek White accents.
The Avocado Green color used in this manicure was a custom mixture of Gelish "You're Such a Sweet Tart", Shellac "Pretty Poison" and Gelish "Sweet Chocolate" in a ratio of 9:2:1.

Used striping tape and Gelish "Sleek White" (2 coats) on ring fingers and then dotted with custom color.

Finished up by dotting all other nails with Sleek White at the outside corners.

February 21, 2013

Rose Bud and Tumberline Violet

Shellac Rose Bud and Gelish Tumberline Violet.
This was a super simple, sweet looking manicure.  1 coat of Harmony Gelish in Tumberline Violet over 2 coats of CND Shellac Rose Bud.

February 17, 2013

Shellac Water Marble

Shellac Cocoa with water marble accent nail.
The trick to water marbling with gel nail polish is not to use it for the actual marbling!

For this manicure, I painted 2 coats of CND Shellac Cocoa over all nails, then wiped with acetone. After that I used regular nail polish for the marbling ( has a great photo tutorial on the water marbling process).  Dried the nail polish in the UV lamp for about 6 minutes -- this will probably vary depending on the polish used. After the nail polish dried, painted 2 coats of CND Shellac Top Coat over the regular polish.

Water Marbled Nail.
Since I have never had any luck water marbling with CND Shellac or Harmony Gelish gel nail polishes, this seems to be a great alternative.  Having Shellac color underneath the regular polish and Shellac Top Coat on top -- this manicure will wear just like any other gel nail manicure.

Dotted accents on nails are in Harmony Gelish Sleek White and Sweet Chocolate.

February 14, 2013

Valentine's Nails

Valentine's Nails using Shellac & Gelish.
Used a dotting tool to make the designs, then sponge painted the pink gradient at the tips.

Colors Used:

  • Harmony Gelish Sleek White
  • CND Shellac Rose Bud
  • Harmony Gelish Queen of Hearts

February 02, 2013

White with Gold Glitter Fade

Gelish Sleek White with gold glitter fade
This is a very simple manicure but gives very striking results!  I used three different gold glitters in different hues and textures over Harmony Gelish Sleek White.  I've found that using multiple types of glitter gives much more depth to the look than using only a single type.

How to do it yourself:

  1. Paint nails with CND Shellac base coat, cure in UV lamp 10 seconds.
  2. Paint nails with 3 coats Harmony Gelish Sleek White (2 coats will be fine if you are using a darker color instead), cure in lamp 2 minutes for each coat.
  3. Dip a small angled brush in CND Shellac Top Coat and then dip in very fine or ultra fine glitter of your choice. Brush on to nails starting at the tip making quick light strokes inward about 2/3 down the length of each nail.  Cure in lamp 2 minutes.
  4. Repeat step 3 using your largest glitter, making sure that the glitter is sparse enough that you can still clearly see the first glitter.
  5. Dip a small angled brush in CND Shellac Top Coat and then dip in fine or medium fine glitter of your choice. Keep this last glitter coat more towards the tip of the nail, going only about 1/3 down the length of each nail.  Cure in lamp 2 minutes.
  6. Paint nails with CND Shellac Top Coat and cure in lamp 2 minutes.  
  7. Wipe nails with pure acetone.

January 30, 2013

Star Trek Nails

Star Trek Science Officer Nails
Star Trek The Next Generation, to be precise.  Think Counselor Deanna Troi, on the few occasions where she was actually in uniform.

Below I've outlined a step-by-step guide for this manicure:

  1. Paint the nails with CND Shellac Base Coat and cure in UV lamp for 10 seconds.
  2. Paint entire nail with 1 coat of Harmony Gelish Ooba Ooba Blue and cure in UV lamp for 2 minutes.
  3. Mix Harmony Gelish Ooba Ooba Blue and CND Shellac Hotski To Tchotchke in a 6 to 1 ratio.  Use this to paint 2 coats over the entire nail. Cure each coat in lamp for 2 minutes.
  4. Use nail tape to make an angled line at the tip of each nail.
  5. Paint the tips with one coat of CND Shellac Shellac Asphalt (a black color would have been ideal for this, but I don't have one!), using a small angled brush, being careful not to go too far over the tape line.  Before you paint each nail, be certain that the tape is firmly against the nail, especially at the edges.  Cure for 2 minutes in the lamp.
  6. Use a dotting tool or nail pen to make the gold dots for the rank insignia.  Dip the end into CND Shellac Bronzed and then dip into gold glitter, picking up a small amount of each.  Then place the dots on the nail appropriately.  Complete step 7 before curing in lamp.
  7. Using the nail pen or a fine brush use the same combination of CND Shellac Bronzed and gold glitter to draw the oval shape for the communicator badge on the ring finger.  Cure in lamp for 2 minutes.
  8. Use a fine brush to draw the upside down "V" shape for the communicator badge on top of the gold oval, using Harmony Gelish Sleek White.  Cure in lamp for 2 minutes.
  9. Overlay the white with CND Shellac Top Coat mixed with silver glitter.  Cure in lamp for 2 minutes.
  10. Paint all nails with CND Shellac Top Coat and cure in lamp for 2 minutes.
  11. Wipe nails with acetone and apply cuticle oil.
Products used are shown below.

January 27, 2013

CND Shellac Cityscape and Rock Royalty.

CND Shellac Cityscape and Rock Royalty.
After applying CND Shellac Base Coat, painted 2 coats of Shellac in Cityscape over the entire nail.

Then used a small angled brush to paint the tips with Shellac in Rock Royalty (2 coats).

Finished off with a strip of holographic nail tape across each nail and 2 coats of Shellac Top Coat.

January 24, 2013

Pink "High Voltage" Tips

Gelish "You're So Sweet You're Giving Me
a Toothache" and "High Voltage".
Started off with CND Shellac Base Coat followed by 3 coats of Gelish in "You're So Sweet You're Giving Me a Toothache".

Then painted 2 coats of Gelish "High Voltage" on the tips with a narrow angled brush.

Finished off with pink nail tape at the base of the tip color on all except ring finger which has rhinestone accents instead.

Used 2 coats of CND Shellac Top Coat to really make sure the edges of the tape stayed down.

January 11, 2013

Hotski to Tchotchke and Sweet Chocolate

Shellac Hotski to Tchotchke and Gelish Sweet Chocolate.
Started with 2 coats of CND Shellac Hotski to Tchotchke on all except ring finger.  Then sponge painted 2 coats of Harmony Gelish Sweet Chocolate on the tips fading inward.

Ring finger is 2 coats of Sweet Chocolate and then a diagonal 2 coats of Hotski to Tchotchke on top with rhinestones down the center.

Although in the photo it looks like there isn't quite enough coverage of the Hotski to Tchotchke on top, in person it does not look that way.  Just the same, if I did this again I would use 3 coats on top.

I also used 3 layers of top coat over the rhinestones to make sure they really stay in place.

January 09, 2013

Hotski To Tchotchke and Rock Royalty

CND Shellac Hotski To Tchotchke over Rock Royalty.
Painted 2 coats of CND Shellac Rock Royalty over the entire nail, then sponge painted 2 coats of CND Shellac Hotski To Tchotchke on the tips.

January 07, 2013

Pink Gradient

Shellac Rosebud, Gelish You're So Sweet You're
Giving Me a Toothache,  Gelish Tumberline Violet.
Started off with 2 coats of Harmony Gelish in You're So Sweet You're Giving Me a Toothache. Then sponge painted two coats of CND Shellac Rosebud at the tips with the gradient toward the base of the nail.  Topped it off with one coat of Harmony Gelish in Tumberline Violet.