Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Revel Nail Acrylic System Review

Press Sample

Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Hello Loves!  I have a different type of review for you today.  As you know, I'm currently in Nail School and learning to work with acrylic.  I may have mentioned that we use OPI Absolute at school.  I may not have mentioned that I've been exploring other brands for when I graduate.  Absolute is ok, but there are things about it that frustrate me - mainly the white.  It is chalky, it gunks your brush and it turns your monomer cloudy.  Revel Nail recently released their Acrylic System, so I requested a sample to try.  I was a little surprised when I opened the box to see that Keeli sent me the full line!

The New Revel Nail Acrylic System

Like the soak of gel polish line, when Revel Nail created their acrylic line, they aimed for high quality products at an affordable price.  The line is quite robust with several different packages ranging from trials to full salon sizes.  They have you covered in terms of products too:
  • 4 Sculpting Powder (polymer) options - Clear, French White, French Pink and Revel Blush
  • Sculpting Monomer
  • Antifungal Dehydrator
  • Primer
  • No Lines (to help eliminate fill lines)
  • Acrylic Sealer (air dry)
  • Tack-Free Gel Topcoat
  • Cuticle Oil - Freesia or Tea Tree Oil

Of course, I gave the system a try, and I'm pleased with it so far.  The polymers are quite fine and the white is a breeze to work with.  I sculpted a set of pink and whites and had no issues at all with the white gunking my brush or clouding my monomer.  I found that it sets at a medium speed, which gave me ample time to work with the product without having to chase it around on my nails.  This is HUGE for a student like me.  I tried to get a picture of the French Pink Sculpting Powder for you, but it's so fine my camera didn't want to focus.  I had to use an orangewood stick so the camera could focus on it.  It feels very silky between my fingers - definitely finer than the Absolute I've been working with.  I noticed right off that the finer powder leads to less buffing on the final nail.
Closeup of Revel Nail French Pink Sculpting Powder

Here's a shot of my sculpted pink and whites before I added the 3D rose.  I used French White and Revel Blush.  Revel Blush is the perfect shade for my skin tone!  It provides moderate cover while still looking natural.  I love that!  About that ring finger see, what happened form slipped.  Yeah, I know...newbie problems.  I had to fight with it to get it back into place, so the smile line is a bit off on that nail.  Oops.  But hey, a cute 3D rose took care of the smile line.  ;)
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Ok, so Clear is clear.  French White is bright white.  Revel Blush is a nude pink.  What about French Pink?  French Pink is a transparent pink.  I did a few quick overlays (and I do mean quick - don't judge lol) on a mannequin hand to show you the difference between Revel Blush and French Pink.  I would call Revel Blush more of a French Manicure shade and French Pink more of an American Manicure shade, but both are quite natural.  The first finger shows you the full cover tip I used to prep the hand so you can see the base under the acrylic.  The French Pink appears more pink over a natural nail bed.
Revel Blush and French Pink Sculpting Powder Color Comparison

The overlays on the mannequin hand above are sealed with the Acrylic Sealer.  The Acrylic Sealer provides a nice shine if you aren't lazy like me and actually buff the finished nail smooth.  The sculpted manicure on my hand is sealed with the Tack-Free Gel Topcoat.  The Gel Topcoat is UV only, so no LED cure, but that's pretty standard with UV sealers.  Want to see another shot of my sculpts?
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Allow me to share a few thoughts on the Revel Cuticle Oils.  They are very simple oils - the Tea Tree oil has only two ingredients: mineral oil and tea tree oil.  Tea Tree Oil is known for it's healing and anti-microbial characteristics.  The Freesia oil has three ingredients: mineral oil, freesia refracta extract (known as a skin conditioner) and color.  The Freesia oil smells amazing!

Ok, I know what you're thinking.  Mineral Oil?  Yep.  Mineral Oil.  Now, I know mineral oil has a bad reputation.  A quick google search will return some results that will make you wonder how the stuff is legal.  Let's take a minute to address the truth about mineral oil.  Cosmetic grade mineral oil is highly refined and safe to use on your skin.  Does it moisturize?  Nope.  Not exactly.  Mineral oil sits on top of the skin to form a protective barrier against moisture loss.  When combined with moisturizing ingredients like tea tree oil or freesia refracta extract, the result is a longer acting moisturizer.  If you need some heavy duty moisturizing, try layering one of these oils over a moisturizing cuticle treatment. Trust me, you'll be amazed.  Most of the moisturizing treatments out there lack ingredients that provide that barrier to lock the moisture in, so combining the two really amps up the effects.

By the way, have you ever had a paraffin treatment in a salon?  It's usually considered a luxury add-on service and is known for providing deep moisturizing to the hands or feet.  I personally love it.  What you might not know is that paraffin is another name for mineral oil.  Look it up if you don't believe me.  ;)

Yes, I know I got a little off topic there, so lets get back to the Revel Nail Acrylic System.  So far, I'm very impressed.  I'll have to report back on wear and durability.  I soaked this set off after a week.  I had no issues with lifting and it was holding up quite well.  I simply needed to remove it to swatch.  I'll do a clear set soon on my Cinderella hand so I can show you two week results.  Fair warning, won't be pretty.  I'm far from ambidextrous.  I can polish my right hand without issue after years of practice, but my acrylic skills are certainly not to that level yet.  lol

Here's another shot of my sculpted pink and whites.  Other than that ring finger, I think my sculpting skills are improving.  :)
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

If you're in the market for a new acrylic system, I strongly encourage you to check out the Revel Nail Acrylics.  They are high quality for a great price, and as any tech or tech in training knows, reducing expenses means more money in your pocket!  I'm seriously hating working with my Absolute now, and that's the honest truth.  I'm also super excited to see the Hard Gel line they have coming out in a few months.  If it's anything like the acrylic, I'm going to fall in love!  :)  Check out the Revel Nail Acrylic line here.


*The Revel Nail Acrylic System featured in this post was provided by Revel Nail for my honest review.  All links in this post are courtesy links and do not benefit

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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Nail School Chronicle: Week 12

Hello Loves!  Ready for my recap of Week 12 of Nail School at GCI?  There's not a whole lot to say this week.   Monday was a holiday and we had ice at the beginning of the week so I missed Tuesday too.  The rest of the week was pretty busy with clients.  Of course, I didn't remember to get pictures of any of the manicures I finished.  Bummer, right?  Seems like I always forget when we get busy.  Between the weather at the beginning of the week and Bryant getting sick (and getting me sick) at the end of the week, I'm just happy to have survived at all.  So this post is going to be a little on the short side.  I apologize in advance if this post doesn't make sense.  I'm writing it through a NyQuil induced fog.  lol  It's been that kind of weekend.

We're working on the chapter on anatomy in theory right now.  We were given a project to go with the chapter - to build a model of a cell.  So, I sent Keith to the craft store to pick up the stuff to build a model.  Easy enough, right?  I'm thinking something like silicone and some do-dads to represent the various parts.  I sent him armed with this picture from the book.

Well, this is what I ended up with.  I couldn't even get a good picture thanks to the plastic wrap.  See, what happened was...he came back with a flower shaped mold, some pom poms, and some pipe cleaners.  But that's not all...he also came back with some goop stuff that turns to slime when you mix it with water.  It didn't exactly set up firm like I had in mind.  Instead it stayed the consistency of snot.  Ms. Vee (the night instructor) had a blast playing with it.  I think I got a good grade, but it's definitely an interesting representation.  And the moral of this story?  Be more specific or do your own shopping.  lol

Oh yeah, I did a new set of gel nails for my friend Angela on Monday.  Her last set turned into lift city.  I have no clue what happened there, but there was no saving them.  I ended up having to remove them and start over.  Here's what we came up with.  If you caught my review of the Bundle Monster Secret Garden collection plates last week, these nails might look familiar.  ;)  Sadly, these aren't holding up very well either.  She ripped one off on a frozen car door a few days after I put them on and two others have started to lift.  I'm totally stumped.  I'm confident that my prep and application are correct - it's the same method I use on my own nails and I don't have any issues with mine.  I'm going to try switching her to CND Brisa Lite later this week and see if it works better for her. 
Sculpted Gel Nails with Stamping

Moving on...I also changed my schedule this week.  Since we're having to cut back as much as possible, it occurred to me that I can save a good bit of money every week if I don't have to pay for after-school care for my oldest.  School is out at 2:30 and they give us until 3:30 to pick him up before we're charged.  So instead of going to school 4 days a week from 9:00 to 3:30, I'll now be going 5 days a week from 9:00 to 2:00.  Not only does it save money, but if I have to be out a day, I miss less hours this way.  Sucks to give up my day off, but I think this will work out better.  After a few weeks on this new schedule, we're going to set up a makeup schedule so I can get caught up on my hours.  Most likely it will be Monday evenings since that's the best day for Keith to get home early to pick up the boys. 

Speaking of money, I have a "Manic Talons Manicurist Dream Drive" update for you.  After factoring in the sales from Round 1 of my destash, I'm now at almost 30% of my goal!  Thank you so much for your support.  I seriously don't know what I would do without you.  I'm working on Round 2 of the destash and hope to post it soon. 

Of course, I still have 70% to go, so donations are still greatly appreciated.  I'll spare you the widget, but you can find my Go Fund Me account Here.  Oh, and there are still a few gel polishes left from the first round of my destash.  In case you missed it, you can see them in my Storenvy here.

I'm off to bed (it's Sunday evening as I'm writing this).  Tomorrow is a big day.  I'll be wandering around at the Bronner Bros International Beauty Show at the Georgia World Congress Center tomorrow.  :)  The exhibitor list appears to be pretty light on nails, but there are a few booths I'm looking forward to checking out.

Check back later in the week for a few Revel Nail reviews.  I have the Revel Nail Acrylic system to show you as well as the new Up2You system that allows you to convert nail polish to gel polish.  

P.S.  Don't forget to enter my awesome giveaway for a chance to win the Bio Seaweed Gel Vintage Garden Collection!  In case you missed it, you can enter here!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Bundle Monster Secret Garden Stamping Plates Review

Press Sample Affiliate Links

Bundle Monster Stamping Plate Secret Garden Collection Review

Hello Loves!  I have the new Bundle Monster Secret Garden Collection stamping plates to show you today.  This is the newest collection of 25 plates from Bundle Monster, and it is different than any collection Bundle Monster has released in the past.  Not only is it primarily floral themed, but it's buffet style!  Y'all know how much I love my florals, so you can imagine how excited I am about this set.

Of course, I played around with the plates and have used them in a few manicures.  For the most part, I am really pleased with the collection.  The plates are the same size as the traditional Bundle Monster plates so they fit in my holders.  There are a few plates that don't feel cohesive to me, but they break apart easily if you want to use them in sections.  Pretty much all of the design sections are large enough for full nail coverage if you turn your stamper a bit to line them up.

I took photos of each plate to show you.  Wow is it difficult to take a photo of a shiny metal plate without getting a glare or catching yourself in the reflection!  I also did a test stamp from each plate and blew it up so you could see the detail.  In hind-sight, it probably would have made more sense to keep the test stamps at actual size, but I think this works ok.

I should point out that each of these are my first attempt with each plate.  No retries are pictured.  For the ones that didn't come out quite as crisp as I like on the first try, I was able to get most of them crisp by scraping in a different direction or varying the pressure when I scraped.  Some of the test stamps do a have a glare bouncing off of the polish from my light, but I think you can see the difference between glares and skips.  Shall we take a look?

Plate BM-701 is one of the plates that isn't very cohesive to me, but I love the skeleton keys and the flowers above them have great spacing for glitter or crystal placement.
Bundle Monster BM-701

BM-702 must have been designed with me in mind.  Seriously, a baby deer?  Foliage?  Flowers?  Vines?  Strawberries?  Ok, so you know I love my flowers and vines, but did you know that my son's nursery is decorated in baby deer?  And strawberries remind me of my grandmother - she collected them.  Yes, this plate is perfect for me!
Bundle Monster BM-702

BM-703 is another one that jumps out at me.  I adore the swirls and the vines.  Sadly, as you can see, the door and the birdie didn't transfer well for me on the first try.  I was able to get the bird to transfer but haven't been able to get the door as crisp as I would like yet.  I gave it a few tries and moved on.
Bundle Monster BM-703

BM-704 is more of a scene plate, which is really fun.
Bundle Monster BM-704

BM-705 speaks for itself.  Literally.  ;)
Bundle Monster BM-705

BM-706 is another that I struggled with on the first try.  The lanterns are a bit tricky.  The rest of the plate transfers nicely though (not pictured).  
Bundle Monster BM-706

Check out the detail in that bench from BM-707!  The scroll work is fabulous!  The bench image won't fit on one of my nails, but it can be split between two.
Bundle Monster BM-707

The peacock on BM-708 really makes me miss my long nails!  I might have to put my extensions back on just to do a mani with this image!  This is one of the pictures where my light is creating a glare on the stamping polish. 

Bundle Monster BM-708

BM-709 is loaded with florals.  The details in the top of the plate didn't show up well in the picture of the plate, but there are various different types of flowers and I think maybe grape clusters?
Bundle Monster BM-709

Ok, I'm not going to comment on every plate in the collection, but look...a duck!
Bundle Monster BM-710

Bundle Monster BM-711

Shhhhhh ;)
Bundle Monster BM-712

Bundle Monster BM-713

Bundle Monster BM-714

Bundle Monster BM-715

Bundle Monster BM-716

BM-717 is a gorgeous plate (I used it in a mani below), but the face is a bit large.  I can't break it across two nails without losing the effect and it won't fit on one nail.  I love the floral designs surrounding the face, though. 
Bundle Monster BM-717

BM-718 might be my new favorite butterfly plate.  I adore the scrolls in this one.  I used it in a mani below, but I didn't use the butterflies.  I'm saving those for warmer weather.
Bundle Monster BM-718

BM-719 confuses me a little.  I love the guitar and it makes for a beautiful plate, but I don't know how it could be used so that you are able to tell it is a guitar when on the nails.  With that said, I have a great idea for that head stock.  And I don't have to tell you that I love the scrolls and flowers surrounding the guitar.
Bundle Monster BM-719

BM-720 is another that makes me miss my long nails.  That bird is just adorable!
Bundle Monster BM-720

Bundle Monster BM-721 much going on in one plate!  I see apples up top, berries on the bottom, a furry woodland creature, but what is that in the upper left quadrant?  I can't figure it out to save my life, and I never was very good at ink blot tests. lol
Bundle Monster BM-722

BM-723 has an adorable line of kittens.  I used this one on a friend's daughter this past weekend.  I isolated the kittens by removing parts of the image from the stamper with an orange wood stick. 
Bundle Monster BM-723

BM-724 is a great plate for Easter.  Look, bunnies!  And a chair?  Not sure how those two fit together, but look!  Bunnies!
Bundle Monster BM-724

BM-725 is filled with koi and waterlilies.  It is a beautiful plate, but I had to fight with it to get the koi to transfer.  I've seen it used by others without issue, so its probably just me.
Bundle Monster BM-725

Ok, want to see some manis?  Y'all know I tend to gravitate toward simple stamping creations, usually with similar designs on every nail.  This collection makes that really easy to do without having every nail exactly the same.  I was able to pick and choose from various spots on the plates for similar but different looks on each nail.  Score!

First up is a simple design using the flowers that surround the face on BM-717.
Floral stamped nail art with Bundle Monster BM-717

My second mani uses the scrolls from the Butterfly Plate (BM-718).  And look, it's Cinderella.  Bless her heart, she does all the work and is rarely seen.  Yeah, she still doesn't know how to pose, but I figured she deserved a little attention.  Plus I didn't get a chance to finish this design on my right hand.  lol
Floral stamped nail art with Bundle Monster BM-718

This is the mani I mentioned where I isolated the kittens from BM-723.  The flowers are from the lower portion of BM-713.  Of course, these aren't my nails.  Nope, they belong to my friend's 8 year old daughter.  I love that this plate collection has images that fit on smaller nails too!
Stamped Flowers and Kittens with Bundle Monster BM-713 and BM-723

Finally, I used the scrolls and flowers from the Guitar plate (BM-719) as the finishing touch to my friend's new set of gel nails.  She loved them, and so do I.  :)
Floral Stamped Nail art with Bundle Monster BM-719

What do you think of this new buffet style stamping plate collection from Bundle Monster?  Do you need them in your collection as much as I did?  If so, you can pick them up on Bundle Monster's Website here or on Amazon here!


*The Secret Garden Stamping Plate Collection featured in this post was provided by Bundle Monster for my honest review. This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.  All other links are courtesy links and do not benefit

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Giveaway: Enter to Win the Bio Seaweed Gel Vintage Garden Collection!

Hello Loves!  I have an exciting giveaway for you!  Bio Seaweed Gel has given me a full set of the Vintage Garden Collection I showed you last week to give away to one lucky winner!  In case you missed my swatches and review, you can see them here.

The Prize:
  • One (1) winner will receive The Complete Bio Seaweed Gel Vintage Garden Collection from the Bio Seaweed Gel 3-Step Line, which consists of 8 pastel shades for spring, and a base and top coat.

The Details:
  • Contest begins February 19, 2015 at 12:00 am EST and will end on March 5, 2015 at 12:00 am EST.  
  • Contest is open to North America mailing addresses only (in other words, Canada, the US and Mexico). 
  • The Winner will be contacted via email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway.  The winner will then have 48 hours to respond and accept the prize.  If the winner does not respond to claim the prize by 48 hours after notification, a new winner will be selected.
  • The prize will be fulfilled by Bio Seaweed Gel.
  • Only entries through the Rafflecopter widget below will be counted.
  • All entries will be verified.  Invalid entries will be thrown out.
  • Additional contest rules and legal stuff may be read via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good Luck!

If you are unable to access the Rafflecopter widget above, please click here to enter the giveaway.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Manic Talons Destash is Now Open!

Hello Loves!  My destash sale is officially open at!

I currently have gel polishes listed from IBD, FingerPaints, OPI, NSI, LeChat, ASP, and Gelaze.  These are all polishes that I absolutely love.  If I didn't have a greater goal to obtain, I wouldn't part with them (said like a true hoarder, right?  lol).  Additional polishes will be added soon.  Take a peek and see if there's anything you need here:

All polishes listed are from my personal stash and are polishes I purchased myself.  No press samples will be included in this sale.  All proceeds from this destash will go toward meeting my goal to finish nail school and obtain my Nail Technician license.  :)

Thank you in advance for your support!  Of course, donations are still very much appreciated through my Go Fund Me site (or the widget below).

Happy Shopping!

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Longing for Spring With Daisy Duo!

Press Sample

Simple Spring Nail Art with Daisy Duo gel polish

Hello Loves!  We've had some winter weather in Georgia (aka an ice storm...we rarely get snow), and I spent the day surrounded by cracking trees.  The local schools were closed due to power outages, and I was fortunate enough to finish this mani before the power went out here.  Thank goodness for my laptop battery and the backup battery for my modem!  lol  I'm longing for spring, so I decided to use my new Daisy Duo gel polishes from Esther's Nail Center in this simple spring inspired mani.

Daisy Duo is a 2 step gel polish (no base needed) that comes with a matching lacquer.  If you missed my initial Daisy Duo review, you can see my thoughts on application here and my thoughts on wear and removal here.  :)

Want to see swatches of the colors I used?

The base (and flowers) is a beautiful, almost neon, bright pink cream called Hot Pink.  It applies nicely but is a little sheer on the tips after two coats.  Three would be better, but I stopped at two since I knew I was adding art.
Daisy Duo Hot Pink Swatch
Daisy Duo Hot Pink Swatch

The stripe down the center of my nails is this gorgeous pastel purple cream called Lavender Prophet.  She applies nicely and is opaque in two coats.
Daisy Duo Lavender Prophet Swatch
Daisy Duo Lavender Prophet Swatch

The vines are a soft, mint green cream called Air of Mint.  This one wanted to streak on me but levels out if you do three super thin coats instead of two.
Daisy Duo Air of Mint Swatch
Daisy Duo Air of Mint Swatch

Want to see another shot of the final mani?  Now if the weather would just match my nails, I'd be in great shape!
Simple Spring Nail Art with Daisy Duo gel polish

If you like the looks of any of these Daisy Duo shades, you can pick up your Daisy Duo gel polish and matching lacquer from Esther's Nail Center for $12.95 each here.


*The Daisy Duo Gel Polishes featured in this post were provided by Esther's Nail Center for my honest review.

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