Monday, September 1, 2014

Bio Seaweed Gel No Wipe Top Coat and Base-1 Review

Press Sample


Hello Loves.  I have another Bio Seaweed Gel wear test to share with you today, along with a swatch of Pina Colada from the 3 step line.  This time, I tested the Bio Seaweed Gel No Wipe Top Coat and the No Sanding Base-1.  This base is designed for weak or damaged nails.

Shall we start with the swatch of Pina Colada?  Pina Colada is from the 3-step line.  Unlike the Unity line, the 3-step line does require a base a top coat.  Pina Colada is a dense glitter polish with various sizes of champagne and gold holographic glitter in a clear base.  I found this one to be opaque in 2-3 coats, which is nice for a glitter!
Bio Seaweed Gel Pina Colada Swatch

Bio Seaweed Gel Pina Colada Swatch

Let's talk about the No Wipe Top Coat.  This product really impressed me!  In my experience, no wipe gels tends to lack that mirror shine that I love so much about gel polish top coats.  That is not the case with this one.  The BSG No Wipe Top Coat provided tons of shine that didn't dull out over the course of normal wear.  The top coat itself is not too thick or thin, applies easily and levels well.  Want to see it?  This is one coat over BSG Unity Gel in Celebration
Bio Seaweed Gel No Wipe Top Coat Shine Results
Look at the reflection of the light on the index finger.  You can see the swirl of the compact florescent bulb and the shade to the lamp!  That's some serious shine.  The only down side is that it does require a 1 minute cure in LED, but that's a fair trade in my opinion for not having to deal with the tacky layer.  It is especially huge for me since I go through more polish changes than the average person and alcohol is very drying to my skin.

Let's talk about the No Sanding Base-1.  This base coat is specifically designed for weak or damaged nails.  While my nails are neither weak or damaged, I think I was able to give it a fair review since my nails have been "buffed" to remove the shine for previous wear tests.  The base is average thickness and easy to apply.  There's not much more to say about application.

I gave it my standard 2 week wear test under both Pina Colada and Celebration (one from the 3-step line and one from the Unity line).  After 2 weeks, it was still perfect with almost no tip wear at all.  A+ for wear results for the base.  You may notice some dull spots on my index and middle nails.  Sadly, those are my fault.  I scuffed them against a buffing block that I had in my purse and dulled the finish.  :(
Bio Seaweed Gel No Sanding Base-1 Wear Results

So, how about removal?  This is where the No Sanding Base-1 let me down.  For a base designed for weak or damaged nails, I was expecting a gentle and easy removal.  That's not what I experienced at all.  After breaking the seal from the top coat, I soaked in pure acetone for 10 minutes.  This is what I saw when I removed the wraps.  The No Wipe Top Coat soaked off very well but the color coats and base coat are still completely intact.
Bio Seaweed Gel No Sanding Base-1 Soak Off - 10 Minutes

After soaking for another 10 minutes, the gel had softened but was not flaking off at all.  The following photo is the result after gently scraping the softened gel off of my nails.  As you can see, most of the color came off but the base is still there.
Bio Seaweed Gel No Sanding Base-1 Soak Off - 20 Minutes

I soaked for another 10 minutes (30 minutes total at this point) and was able to push the rest of the gel off of my nails with the exception of one spot on my ring finger (the lighter spot toward the center of the tip of the nail).  I ended up having to buff the gel off of that spot.
Bio Seaweed Gel No Sanding Base-1 Soak Off - 30 Minutes

To be completely honest, I'm a bit disappointed in the removal of this base.  There is way too much risk for additional damage when you have to scrape and buff to remove the product from the nail.  If my nails were weak or damaged prior to application, I can only imagine what they would have looked like after removal.

Final thoughts?  I adore the No Wipe Top Coat and will keep it in my gel polish arsenal.  This stuff rocks!  As for the No Sanding Base-1 for weak or damaged nails...I'm going to have to pass.  I honestly feel like the regular No Sanding Base that I reviewed here was easier to remove.  The colors, however, are quite beautiful and I adore Pina Colada and it's opaque glitter coverage.

That's all for today!

~Michelle

*The products featured in this post were provided by Bio Seaweed Gel for my honest review.
Read more ...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

One Year Blogiversary and Boston Terrier Nail Art

Affiliate Links


Hello Loves.  Today is a very special day!  Manic Talons is officially 1 year old!  When I first started this little blog, I only half expected to keep it up.  And I certainly didn't expect to have so many readers.  I am truly honored.  I admit, I'm a stats junkie.  I watch to see how many of you read my posts, and watching that number climb over the past year has really inspired me to keep pushing myself to improve my art.  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!  Sometimes I need a gentle kick in the tail, and you have been here to give me one (and yes, this might be the only time anyone ever thanks you for kicking her).

Before I show you what YOU have inspired, I should probably point out that I am celebrating by giving back.  Yes, you read that right.  I have a number of giveaways planned for September, including a full Couture Gel Polish Kit, a gift certificate to Girly Bits Cosmetics, ArstyFartsy Crafts Glitter, DIY Hard Nails, and more!  Trust me, you don't want to miss them.  The giveaways will be posted off schedule (not my my regular posting days), so be sure you're following through one of my many social media channels so you don't miss them.  :)  Hint:  The first will start next week.  

Ok, so enough about what's coming up.  Here's what I have to show you today.  As I've mentioned a few times in the past, I have a love for Boston Terriers.  Before starting our family, my husband and I volunteered with the Boston Terrier Rescue of East TN as fosters.  We have had many of these bouncing balls of energy in our home over the years and continue to be ruled by three Bostons and a Chow mix.

I know it's horrible to pick favorites, but everyone has that one dog who touches your heart.  Annie Belle is my heart dog.  She has been there for me through thick and thin, joy and sorrow, the births of my sons, the loss of loved ones...for 8 years she has been my rock.  She is my little clown, my confidant, my snorting little angel.  She also puts up with my special kind of crazy.  This is an old photo, but she has painted piggies so I can't resist sharing it!
Annie Belle the Boston Terrier

When I first decided to attempt nail art other than basic glitter and dots in 2012, I naturally decided to do an "Annie Mani".  Want to see it? 
Simple Boston Terrier Nail Art Design

I was so proud of this bug-eyed version of a Boston Terrier, I forced it on anyone and everyone I could get to look.  lol  I'm pretty sure a few of my facebook friends thought I had lost my mind.  I probably lost a few that day too.  I don't even remember which gels I used for the Boston, but I do remember that the base was IBD Just Gel Indian Sari (it's a horribly inaccurate photo though).  When I started thinking about what to do for my first blogiversary, it just seemed natural that I would recreate the "Annie Mani."

I started with a base of IBD Just Gel Indian Sari.  Then I broke out my acrylic paints and got to work.  I'm tickled pink with how it turned out.  See, thanks to your encouragement, my nail art skills have come a LONG way! 
Boston Terrier Nail Art

Here's a shot with my inspiration picture.  Bless her heart, Annie is such a gentle soul.  She has been putting up with my shenanigans for years.  lol  She walked around with those stickers on her face for hours that night.
Boston Terrier Nail Art

I think I captured her soulful eyes quite well.  What do you think? 
Boston Terrier Nail Art

Of course, it looks much better from a distance than it does up close.  Here's the proof.  I'm still super pleased with it, though.  My only regret is not using a peel off base coat so I could save it forever.  (Yes, I know I'm a freak.  lol)
Boston Terrier Nail Art

Again, Thank You to each and every one of you who read my blog and give me that kick in the tail I need to keep improving my art.  Stay tuned for the giveaways!  I promise, they're coming and they will be awesome.  A few will be US only due to sponsor restrictions, but others will be open internationally.  :)

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
Read more ...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Holographic Studded Nails (A BPS Review)

Press Sample Affiliate Links

Hello Loves.  Today's mani isn't exactly what I had in mind, but when I started adding these awesome holographic studs from Born Pretty Store to my nails, I just couldn't stop.  This is so outside of my comfort zone, but I love it!  lol
Holographic Studs from Born Pretty Store

I started with a base of, you guessed it, Couture Little Black Dress.  I then planned to add a stud to each nail and then maybe pair it with some stamping, but the studs kind of took over.  I love the punk, yet girly feel of the final mani!
Holographic Studs from Born Pretty Store

My photos didn't capture these studs in all of their glory.  They have a holographic finish, so they really light up.  This is just the non-work-appropriate mani I needed to lift my spirits.  ;)

If these studs aren't your style, Born Pretty has several others to choose from. Click here to check them out. Be sure to check out some of Born Pretty Store's other nail art items too!  Use code MANYX31 for 10% off and free shipping. 

~Michelle

*The studs featured in this post were provided by Born Pretty Store for my honest review.  This post uses Born Pretty Store Affiliate links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
 
Read more ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bundle Monster Gel Polish Oasis Collection Swatches and Review

Press Sample Affiliate Links

Bundle Monster Gel Polish Oasis Collection Swatches and Review

Hello Loves!  I have another Bundle Monster Gel Polish Collection to show you today.  The Oasis Collection!  The Oasis collection is made up of 6 "nude" or neutral shades, 5 creams and 1 shimmer.  This is the perfect "office appropriate" collection.  They are available for purchase on Bundle Monster's website individually or as a set as well as on Amazon.  Like most of the Bundle Monster gels I have tried so far, these are a little on the thicker side in terms of consistency but offer great coverage.

Ready for some swatches?  The first color in the collection is Peaceful Harmony.  Peaceful Harmony is a peach nude shade with a subtle shimmer.  This soft peach applies well but is a little sheer compared to the other colors in the collection.  This one required three coats for full opacity.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Peaceful Harmony Swatch
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Peaceful Harmony Swatch

Poised Serenity is a beautiful pink nude cream.  This one applies nicely and is opaque in 2 coats.  Contrary to my usual 3-coat standard, I decided to show this one in two coats.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Poised Serenity Swatch
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Poised Serenity Swatch

Darling Delight is a soft, lavender grey cream.  Like Poised Serenity, it offers perfect coverage in two coats.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Darling Delight Swatch
 Bundle Monster Gel Polish Darling Delight Swatch


The next three shades are decidedly grey with different undertones.  The first of the greys is Gentle Tranquility. Gentle Tranquility is a soft grey with blue-green undertones.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Gentle Tranquility Swatch
 Bundle Monster Gel Polish Gentle Tranquility Swatch

Cafe Au Lait is a medium grey cream with olive undertones.  It applies flawlessly and is opaque in two coats.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Cafe Au Lait Swatch
 Bundle Monster Gel Polish Cafe Au Lait Swatch

Finally, Intoxication is a dark grey cream.  I consider this one to be a true grey.  As with the others, it applies perfectly and is opaque in two coats.
Bundle Monster Gel Polish Intoxication Swatch
 Bundle Monster Gel Polish Intoxication Swatch

I'm quite pleased with the Oasis collection.  I'm not usually a fan of nudes, but I tend to think of nude as beige and tan.  These shades are certainly neutral while still having a slight pop of color that makes them anything but boring.  What do you think?  Which colors in this collection are calling your name?

I would also like to note that Bundle Monster does list the ingredients on their Amazon listings as well as on their website.  I'm not sure if this is a new addition or something I simply missed when I looked for them before, but if you have allergies or sensitivities to gels, you might want to check those out.  :)

I'm working my way through swatching the Woodland Fantasy Collection now, so be on the lookout for a post with those in the near future.  If you're a fan of glitter, you're going to love them!

~Michelle



*The polishes featured in this post were provided by Bundle Monster for my honest review.  This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through those links generate commissions that help fund this site.

Read more ...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Renaissance Custom Lacquers - Select Swatches and Review

Press Sample

Renaissance Custom Lacquers Swatches

Hello loves!  I have a few fun lacquers from Renaissance Cosmetics to show you today.  Renaissance Cosmetics is an Indie polish company that offers a large range of lacquers with unique finishes that simply aren't available in gel polish.  You know I'm a sucker for unique finishes, and these certainly do not disappoint.

I'm super excited to have the opportunity to show you these today.  I have only recently started branching out into indie polishes over the past year, and I have to admit that the companies I have worked with so far really set the bar high in terms of quality, uniqueness, and customer service.  I'm happy to say that Renaissance Cosmetics falls right in line with the others.  The polishes are very high quality and apply nicely.  I'll go into application more with the swatches, but overall I'm impressed.  Add in the worldwide shipping, and I'm sold!

Enough talk.  Ready for some photos?  The first polish I have to show you is Flirt.  Flirt is a wine colored linear holographic polish with larger holographic glitter pieces scattered throughout.  The result is a polish with dimension and brilliance.  This is two easy coats.  I found that the larger glitter pieces did want to migrate down the nail a little, but I had plenty of time to put them where I wanted them before the polish started to set.  Major bonus for a gel user like me who isn't used to polish that actually dries.  ;)
Renaissance Custom Lacquers Flirt Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquers Flirt Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Flirt Closeup

Nightshade is an amazing blue base with a shifty golden/teal shimmer and holographic glitters.  There is no doubt in my mind that Meghan created this polish specifically for me without even knowing it.  This is the kind of shade and finish combo that makes my heart sing!  Like Flirt, this is two easy coats.  I tried to capture it with the light bouncing off the nails from several angles to show the color and the flash.
Renaissance Custom Lacquer Nightshade Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Nightshade Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Nightshade Closeup

St. Clair is another polish that makes my heart happy.  You know I love my blues!  This lovely bottle contains an almost metallic blue polish with a subtle purple shift.  This one is also perfect in two coats and applied like a dream.  The shift is quite obvious to the naked eye, but tried to escape my camera.  I think I managed to capture it a little in the final shot.
Renaissance Custom Lacquer St. Clair swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer St. Clair swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer St. Clair swatch

The last polish I have to show you is one that really surprised me.  It is beautiful in the bottle, but I'm not usually a fan of gold.  In the bottle Porcelain Dream appears to be a glitter topper with mix of white and gold glitter with gold holographic pieces thrown in.  But on the nail...oh my word!  This polish has a little bit of everything!  Golden shimmer, white and gold glitters, holographic glitters, and be still my heart - blue glass flecks!  What's even more amazing is that this is ONE coat over a base of IBD Just Gel Dare To Be Decadent.  One Coat!  This makes it perfect for gel sandwiches.  :)  I did have to place the glitters a little to keep the larger pieces where I wanted them, but like Flirt and Nightshade, I found I had plenty of time before the polish started to set. 
Renaissance Custom Lacquer Porcelain Dream Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Porcelain Dream Swatch

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Porcelain Dream Closeup

If you're like me and love refreshing your mani mid-week, you seriously need to check out Renaissance Cosmetics.  These polishes are fabulous!  To see more swatches, be sure to follow Renaissance on Facebook and Instagram.

~Michelle

*The polishes featured in this post were provided by Renaissance Cosmetics for my honest review.

Read more ...

Friday, August 22, 2014

IBD Just Gel Sole Review: Solar Color Effects Gel Polish

Affiliate Links

IBD Just Gel Sole Solar Changing Gel Polish Review

Hello Loves!  I finally got my hands on the IBD Just Gel Polish Solé Solar Changing Gel Polishes.  I've been looking for them for a while now.  Naturally, I couldn't resist playing with them as soon as they came in.  ;)

There are two Solé Gels - Blue and Purple.  Both start out as sheer, milky white gels that take on color when exposed to UV light.  Once back in the shade, they return to their original milky white colors.

Want to see them?  I thought you might.  The first is Solé Blue.  Indoors, this one is a sheer, milky white with a slightly blue tinge. Please ignore my stained nails.
IBD Just Gel Polish Sole Blue Swatch Indoors

Outdoors, it quickly changes to a darker blue.  I found that when exposed to UV via my LED lamp, the  color was much darker and completely opaque.  The full afternoon sun, however, didn't cause as much of a shift so the resulting color is a bit sheer.
IBD Just Gel Polish Sole Blue Swatch in Sunlight

Solé Purple is very similar in the indoor phase.  It has a slightly pink tinge.
IBD Just Gel Polish Sole Purple Swatch Indoors

In full sunlight, it takes on a purple tone.  I'm not sure why there are gaps in the color outdoors in this swatch.  It was streak free in my LED lamp.  I suspect the top coat may be thicker in those spots?  The purple does seem to shift a little quicker than the blue and also takes longer to shift back to white after returning indoors.
IBD Just Gel Polish Sole Purple Swatch in Sunlight

Ok, so application is a little tricky with these.  Since they are sheer indoors, it is difficult to tell if you have streak free coverage.  I also was a bit disappointed that they are not opaque in the sun like they were straight out of my lamp.  But...

While they aren't great as wear-alone colors, they are fabulous for fun, solar changing nail art!  They may also make really fun toppers, but I haven't tested that yet.  The shift from milky sheer to color is almost instant and the shift back is very quick too.  They would be perfect for office appropriate nail art that only appears when you leave the office.  ;)

I tried them out with a few dots and flowers over a base of IBD Just Gel Juliet (swatched here). You may notice that my mani appears a little lumpy.  That's because it is.  I kept confusing myself when I was adding the dots (was that dot supposed to this milky white that turns purple or milky white that turns blue?) so I removed them a few times during the process.  I finally realized that a second flash cure would change the color enough to tell what goes next.  lol  Anyway, they're lumpy because I removed the tacky layer from the final coat of Juliet before adding the dots, so they didn't level.  But enough of that.  Here's the indoor mani.  Aside from the lumps, the dots are 99% invisible.
IBD Just Gel Sole Solar Changing Gel Polish Nail Art Indoors

And here's the mani in full sun.  So freaking fun!
IBD Just Gel Sole Solar Changing Gel Polish Nail Art in Sunlight

Sadly, right after I took this picture, a storm blew up and turned the skies dark.  So I couldn't get a good video of them shifting in natural light.  I did get a low quality video yesterday that I shared on my Instagram page, so feel free to check it out there.  I also got the video below with my LED lamp that shows the instant change under the lamp and how quickly the dots and flowers disappear. 



What do you think?  Do you need these IBD Just Gel Solé solar changing gels in your collection?  I'm definitely going to have fun with these!

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon and Ebay Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
Read more ...