Gel Nails At Home

So long to the days of chipped manicures and (un)-patiently waiting at nail salons for your top coat to dry!  Gel nails make me so happy.  Their introduction into the beauty world a few years ago was seriously revolutionary for me, as I can’t remember the last regular manicure I got that didn’t get messed up the day of.  Gel manicures last for weeks (insanely longer than normal) and my personal favorite part?  Leave the nail appointment with dry nails immediately after application!  No more waving hands in the air or holding them under a mini fan!!

Well, now the ‘Beauty Gods’ have taken it to the next level by unveiling Sephora’s OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System ($159).

This kit comes with all the essentials to DIY, including a base coat, top coat, LED light, gloves, cuticle oil, cuticle pusher, nail cleanser, nail wraps, nail pads, buffing block and nail/gel colour remover.  You add your nail color of choice here and then they will take $17.50 (the price of 1 polish) off at checkout.

Flawless nails at your fingertips! (pun intended)

Nailed It

There’s no denying that going to get a manicure comes with a lot more options these days.  Growing up, we really only went as far as french or color and looking back, it seems strange that the evolution of nail innovations has just come around these past few years.  Everywhere I look people are experimenting with nail patterns, colors, textures and honestly – I love it.  It’s such an easy way to test out trends without having to purchase something where you worry about cost and fit.

I also like to switch up my looks a lot, so changing from a bold, bright nail to a more muted pastel is also a great way to enhance your wardrobe and day to day style with very little effort.  There are so many products and shades on the market that make trying out new techniques very easy and I’ve never found myself so excited to scour the market for the hottest colors and prints – in nail polish!!

My Favorite New Nail Colors for Spring:

O.P.I. Care to Danse? $7.35, Love & Beauty by Forever 21 Bubble Gum Pink $2.80, Essie Mint Candy Apple $4.95, Butter Opaque Cantaloupe $14

My Favorite Nail Colors for Summer:

Essie Pretty Edgy $8, Chanel Peridot $26, Nars Cyan Blue $18, Zoya Mitzi $8

Go To Line for Fun Events/Your Birthday:

Deborah LippmanCandy Shop $18, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? $18, I Love the Nightlife $18, Some Enchanted Evening $18

Best Quirky Nail Option:

Orly Matte Couture Vinyl $2 (appears completely flat black)

New Nail Line I Love (It’s A Tie!!):

NCLABel Air Trophy Wife $16, Poolside Party, All Eyes On Me! $16, Pick Me Up At Melrose Place $16, Hollywood Hills Hot Number $16

Models Own (European Line) – Beach Party $6.63, Indian Ocean $6.63, Lemon Sherbert $6.63, Emerald City $6.63

Fun Color Sets:

Models Own Ice Cream Sundae Box Set $26.52, The New Black Rainbow Polish Set $32, The New Black Pink Ombre Box Set $22

Quality Inexpensive Nail Line:

E.L.F.Nude $2, Bubble Gum Pink $2, Smoky Brown $2

Easiest/Coolest DIY Manicure:

NCLA Nail WrapsMoney Green $16/22 strips, H-Fi Stereo $16/22 strips, Sephora by O.P.I. Trend TipsBlack and Gold Glitter $22/16 strips, Ikat $22/16 strips

*These are SO easy to use and last a long time!  I love them!!  Just stick them on your nail and file the edges down to create a really unique look.  Use them on all fingers or just two one while you polish the other 8 for a cool affect.

Favorite Nail Accessory:

NuBar Nail Art Neon Pack $39.95/8 pens, Lazer Nail Art Pen $4.49, Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen $8.74

*Use these to draw designs/graphics on your polished nails.

Upcoming Line I’m Most Excited For:

O.P.I. Minnie Mouse Line coming in June 2012 $8.50 each

*How cute is the glitter polish?!  It has little hearts in it.

Beauty Buff’s Beware…

…because you are about to add an expense to your monthly budget.  I have found something so exciting for Beauty lovers that if even 1 of you do not know about it, this post will be worth it.  I had heard of Beauty Subscriptions, but for whatever (insane) reason, I was frustrated that they are mostly popular/available abroad.  It was hard to find any I was interested in that shipped within the U.S.  The idea behind them is to pay roughly $10-15/month (normally) or $25-40 every three months and have 3-5 samples of a new product sent to your home once a month.

I love getting packages and when I see mail that is not a bill, it’s like a little thrill, so this for me is like a pint sized Christmas I get to experience every 30 days.  Not only is it great because you can try a huge variety of products (some of which you’d probably not try if you had to buy the full size), but also because I’ve found you can actually spend less money on hair/beauty supplies by subscribing to one or two.  So far, I have only tried BeautyBox 5 (most of the good providers either are still working on shipping to the U.S. or have a wait list, so sign up for as many as you are interested in and then pick the ones you want when they are able to accommodate your orders).  Although I am definitely still a fan, I initially didn’t customize my order (they have options to put in your hair/eye color, skin type, etc) to see what their standard shipment was, but I think this was a mistake.  My first shipment was very much geared towards “anyone’s” features and I think I’d prefer something more particular to me, so I’ve since changed my profile.  That being said, it’s still a really fun service and something I am really excited about for $12/month or $30/3 months.

My First BeautyBox 5 Shipment:

Left Picture (top, bottom): side of BeautyBox 5 shipment, box opened up with samples in a bag

Right Picture (top row left to right, bottom row left to right): Freeman Pink Grapefruit Facial Exfoliating Scrub ($3.99/bottle), Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer ($55/1.7 oz), La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe ($9.99/24 wipes), BeautyBox 5 Card, Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe ($34/40 swipes), True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum ($69/.5 fl oz)

Overall, I was hoping there would be more makeup samples, as opposed to this one, which was focused more on skin care, but I was surprised that I enjoyed these products more than I thought I would.  Also, now that I’ve customized my profile, I have a feeling the samples will get more diverse and there are certainly other subscribers that focus 100% on makeup/nails, etc.  I did a brief synopsis of each product below, but considering had I bought all these products at a store the total would be $171.89, I can see why people are so crazy about these monthly indulgences!

Freeman Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Scrub:  Very vibrant fragrance!  I would definitely buy this to use for an early morning to wake me up.  The scrub is hearty enough to make me feel like it is getting rid of dead skin, but not too abrasive, which I like.

Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer:  My skin feels really healthy after I apply it and it is extremely light, but you can definitely smell the SPF in it.  It has an SPF 30 (which is a total plus!) but it does appear a bit greasy like I’m putting on straight sun-tan lotion.  I would use this on vacation, but don’t see myself buying it for everyday.

La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe:  I love makeup remover wipes and use them all the time, but I normally buy the cheap grocery store brand or for a few extra dollars, Neutrogena.  They are ceratinly more effective than the store brand’s and leave my face feeling fresh.  I still have to rub my eye a few times to get all the makeup off, but can accomplish it with one wipe.  They’re pretty much on par with Neutrogena for me.

Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe:  I really liked this sample.  I’m fair skinned, so sun protection is important to me (even though it should be important to all of us!).  Personally, I would still use a lotion on my face, but would absolutely buy a pack of these for the Summer to protect my body from the Sun.  They’re easy to use, no fuss and I managed to get through a pool day without a burn while using the swipe.

True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum:  This one was my favorite.  I’m starting to get into preventative tactics to keep my skin (especially my face) firm.  What I liked most about this product is that you can actually feel it working.  I applied a small amount and within 15 seconds I felt like I had put on a light mask.  It’s not too tight where you feel like you can’t make facial expressions, but more-so just a hint of resistance to make you feel it is effective.  It also made my skin really soft after I followed it with moisturizer.

Other Beauty Box Providers I’m Excited About:

BirchBox ($10/month, some brands include Nars, Stila, Kiehls, has a subscriber for Men, currently has a wait-list)

Julep ($19.99/month, formaldehyde free nail polish/products, available right now)

MyGlam ($10/month, some brands include Urban Decay, Tarte, NYX, currently has a wait-list)

GlossyBox ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include O.P.I., Bobbi Brown, Chloe, Shu Uemura, coming soon to the U.S.)

TestTube ($29.95 + shipping/quarter gets you four shipments of bigger products- usually 6 full size products + a magazine, some brands include Korres, Moroccan Oil, Smashbox, available right now)

Glymm ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include Butter, Anastasia, YSL, coming soon to the U.S.)

LooseButton ($12/month, some brands include Dermalogica, Benefit, Laura Mercier, currently has a wait-list)

BeautyArmy ($12/month, some brands include StriVectin, RapidLash, Joico, currently has a wait-list)

A Couple Gift Sets for Men:

HisKit ($12/month, has samples of grooming products, tech stuff, small wardrobe staples like socks, etc, currently has a wait-list)

MaleBox (coming soon, sign up to be notified when they are available to ship)

And One for Dog’s Too:

BarkBox ($25/month, usually comes with a toy, treats, fun product like printed doggie bags and shampoo, available right now)

*Know that there are many more of these (all kinds too) available to the public, but after doing a lot of research, I’ve found these work with the best products.  It is definitely worth keeping your eyes out though.

*Photos taken from websites