Monday, November 10, 2014
Kiara Sky Two Step Gel Polish Review
Hello Loves! I have a full review of Kiara Sky Soak Off Gel for you today. Kiara Sky is a professional, two step gel system where the base is included in the color coat. The colors also have matching lacquers available for purchase separately. This brand jumped out at me for two reasons. First, Kiara Sky is from the makers of Ink Gel Polish. Ink has some of the most pigmented colors I have seen and their top coat is fabulous, so I had very high expectations for Kiara Sky. The second reason is their glitter polishes that give the illusion of depth and texture. They are quite unique to the gel polish world, so I had to try them. You can find Kiara Sky in a few online stores, but they are much easier to find through the store locator on the Kiara Sky website.
I'll cover application as I go through the swatches since the application is quite different between the more traditional finishes and the glitters. I'll then cover my wear results and removal as usual.
The first color I have to show you is called Blaze. Blaze is a gorgeous red toned coral with a pink shimmer. Application on this one was extremely impressive. It applies smoothly, levels well, and is completely opaque for me in two coats. As a reminder, my layers are thinner than the average user, so I almost always need three coats for optimal coverage. This one left me wishing I had ordered several of the more traditional finishes instead of focusing so much on the glitters. One thing is certain, though. I will be adding more to my collection.
Since I did macro crops of the glitters, I went ahead and cropped one for Blaze too so you can see the full impact of the shimmer. :)
The first glitter I have to show you is called Chandelier. This one isn't as unique as the others, but it is quite beautiful. Chandelier consists of silver micro glitter and a scattering of larger silver holographic glitter in a clear base. This polish is very thick which makes application a little tricky. I found that I really had to pull the polish down the nail to get even coverage without it becoming too thick at the tips. It wasn't difficult, just different. I do believe that the beauty of the polish completely excuses the tricky application.
Graffiti is the first polish I have to show you that gives the illusion of texture and depth. Graffiti consists of multiple sizes of white hex glitters and small black hex glitters in a clear base. Like Chandelier, the polish is very thick. Application is a bit different, though. When I tried to apply it the same way I applied Chandelier, I found it didn't work very well. The glitters wanted to migrate down the nail, leaving bald spots near the cuticle. So I applied it as I would any other glitter polish for the first coat and then pushed the glitters around on the nail until I had decent coverage. For the second coat, I found that starting on the tip and brushing the gel back toward the cuticle helped distribute the glitters evenly for the entire length of the nail. I did have to place some of the glitter with the brush on this layer too, but it wasn't difficult at all and the gel base leveled around my placement for a flawlessly smooth finish. The final result is definitely worth the effort in my opinion. This is a gel polish that I will use for accent nails for sure. Look at the coverage from just two coats!
While I'm showing you the macro, take a look at the shine. You can clearly see the reflection of the details from my lamps in the finish. This top coat doesn't play! It definitely measures up to my beloved Ink top coat in terms of shine.
This next polish is called Melt Away. It looks a lot like Graffiti in the photos, but if you look very closely you can see that the multi-sized hex glitters are actually a very pale lavender shade. I really wanted the lavender to be stronger in this one, but I imagine it would pop more if layered over a soft purple. Application is the same as with Graffiti.
Serene Sky also consists of multiple sized glitters in a clear base. This one actually has white and sky blue glitters, but once on the nail the white blends in with the blue so that it appears to be several different shades of blue. I love how this adds to the perception of texture and depth. Serene Sky also applies like Graffiti.
Finally,Vandalism is like Graffiti and Serene Sky had a baby. The multiple sizes of sky blue hex glitters pop against the background of micro black glitters. Again, application is the same as with Graffiti. I should note that I swatched this one before I figured out the trick of applying the second coat from free edge to cuticle, so you can see how the glitter migrated down the nail and left sparse coverage toward the cuticle.
So, now that you've seen them, I know you're curious about wear and removal, right? Yep, I've got you covered. I gave these the standard two week wear test on my dominant (aka most abused) hand. For the test, I paired Graffiti with Blaze. Long story short, I am not disappointed in the wear at all. This is definitely the best 2 step gel I have tried to date in terms of wear. By the 14th day, I had a teeny tiny chip at the tip of my index finger that could be considered tip wear. The rest of the nails were in perfect shape minus the growth. Speaking of growth, I have no clue why my ring finger nail decided to grow at warp speed compared to the others. Freaky.
I should also note that the photo above was taken with filtered light to show the details of the tips, so the shine looks a bit dull. It actually stayed strong through the entire test and was not visibly duller at the end.
Moving on to removal. The collage below shows my typical removal steps. Top left photo shows my nails before buffing to remove the shine. I filed them shorter before this step as well. They were getting way too long. The top right shows after I buffed them. The middle left is after soaking for 10 minutes with the foil wrap method. Blaze was starting to release beautifully at this point while Graffiti was still holding on for the most part. That's not surprising since Graffiti is a glitter. Note that you can see staining from Blaze. The middle right shows the progress after 15 minutes of soaking. There are still some stubborn glitter pieces holding on, but Blaze has soaked off completely. The bottom left shows the final result after soaking for a total of 20 minutes. Note the staining. Finally, the bottom right is after soaking for 2 minutes in denture cleaner to remove the staining. It didn't completely remove the stain, but it is close enough for me since I have no plans for a sheer mani this week.
All said and done, I'm very pleased with the removal as well. 10-15 minutes for the color and 20 minutes for the glitter isn't bad at all. If it weren't for the staining and tricky application for some of the glitters, I would give Kiara Sky 5 out of 5 stars. Since those issues did pop up, I'm going with 4 out of 5. This is definitely a brand I will keep in my collection and I'm certainly going to add more of the traditional finishes...and maybe a few more glitters as well.
What do you think of the unique glitters Kiara Sky has to offer? They remind me of the glitter combinations we are seeing from a lot of Indie polish makers these days.
*The Kiara Sky 2 Step Gel Polishes featured in this post were purchased by me with the exception of three that I borrowed from a friend.