Monday, August 31, 2015

Madam Glam Swatches and Blogiversary Giveaway!

Press Sample

Hello Loves!  Wow...I can't believe my little slice of the internet is already two years old.  Even more unbelievable are the changes in my life over these past two years - changes that I feel are strongly connected to this little blog.  I have met some wonderful people, worked with amazing brands, and changed my direction completely by becoming a professional nail tech.  Whew.  It's been a crazy, but incredible ride.

I thought about writing a post recapping the past two years, but nah.  You've been here with me all along, so there's no point in all that.  Instead, let's keep trucking right on along with the reviews and swatches!

New Gel Polish Shades from Madam Glam

One of the amazing brands I discovered this past year is Madam Glam.  Y'all know I rave about these gel polishes, but I seriously love them.  The application, coverage, and colors are simply amazing.  So I am super excited to be able to offer a Madam Glam giveaway for my blogiversary celebration!  Be sure to read through to the bottom of this post to enter for a chance to win your choice of 4 Madam Glam Gel Polish colors complete with base and top coat.  :)

But first, how about a peek at 6 of the newest Madam Glam Gel Polish colors?

The first color I have to show you is called Electric Blue.  In reality, I would call this beauty a royal blue.  The depth of the color and coverage are quite amazing with this one!  This is two coats.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Electric Blue Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Electric Blue Swatch

Up next is a frosty purple called Sweet Lavenda.  Two coats provide perfect coverage, though I did add a very thin third coat to even out the brush strokes.  The shimmer in this polish gives it a bold, metallic look.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Sweet Lavenda Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Sweet Lavenda Swatch

I don't know what got into me, but I just couldn't resist pairing Electric Blue with Sweet Lavenda for some simple nail art.  I'll call this one "shooting dots".  lol  I love how Sweet Lavenda almost looks silver against the deep blue base.
Shooting Dots with Madam Glam Gel Polish Electric Blue and Sweet Lavenda
Shooting Dots with Madam Glam Gel Polish Electric Blue and Sweet Lavenda

Up next is a unique shade called Metallic Nude.  Yep, she's a duo-chrome!  This soft, purple toned base is loaded with golden pigment.  The result is a two toned look that I can't even begin to describe.  I swatched two coats below.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Metallic Nude Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Metallic Nude Swatch

Here's my attempt at catching the shift.  You can see the purple tones around the edges of my nails here.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Metallic Nude Swatch

My Jewels is a clear base that is loaded with rose gold glitter.  It offers almost full coverage in two coats.  My photos didn't capture much of the rose, but this is a polish I see being used for accent nails a lot this fall.  Simply beautiful!
Madam Glam Gel Polish My Jewels Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish My Jewels Swatch

I'm not going to lie...sometimes I get these ideas in my head that sound so perfect but seriously flop in execution.  This next design is one of those.  It looked gorgeous in person, but it didn't photograph well at all.  :(  Anyway, here's a little art that combines Metallic Nude with My Jewels.  I do feel like it has a bit of an antique feel.
Antique Nails with Madam Glam Gel Polish Metallic Nude and My Jewels
Antique Nails with Madam Glam Gel Polish Metallic Nude and My Jewels

Moving on...Beige Rose is a soft nude cream with beige undertones.  I don't see much rose in it, though I guess it is a warmer beige.  I can say that coverage is fabulous in just two coats.  It also works nicely with my skin tone, I think.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Beige Rose Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Beige Rose Swatch

Finally, the color that breaks my heart every time - Jasmine is a glitter packed, green leaning teal beauty.  I swear, I hate to love this color!  I promise, one of these days I will figure out how to photograph this color accurately.  For now, here's my best attempt.  This is two flawless coats.  In person, it is deeper, more vibrant and a bit more green.  The second (non-bottle shot) is the most accurate on my screen.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Jasmine Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Jasmine Swatch

Of course, I had to continue with the nail art trend by pairing Beige Rose with Jasmine.  I have no clue what I was going for here...abstract maybe?  But I really like how it turned out.  This is WAY outside of my comfort zone.  A little fun.  A little funky.  I don't know.  lol
Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam Gel Polish Beige Rose and Jasmine
Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam Gel Polish Beige Rose and Jasmine

These colors and many more are available for purchase via Madam Glam's website here.

So there you have it - 6 new shades from Madam Glam!  Ready for a chance to win some?  Of course you are!  I decided to keep this one simple instead of adding a million ways to enter.  ;)

Manic Talons 2nd Blogiversary Giveaway with Madam Glam

The Prize:
  • ONE lucky winner will receive his/her choice of 4 Madam Glam Gel Polish colors plus base and top coat.  Colors must be selected from current Madam Glam stock at the end of the contest.
The Details:
  • This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.  (My apologizes to my international readers)
  • The contest begins today (August 31, 2015) and will end at midnight EDT on September 8, 2015.  
  • The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond and accept the prize.  After 48 hours, the winner will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be selected.
  • The prize will be shipped to the winner directly from Madam Glam.
  • Be sure to read the additional information regarding this giveaway in the Rafflecopter widget.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*The Gel Polishes featured in this post were provided by Madam Glam for my honest review.  The prize for the giveaway linked in this post will be provided by Madam Glam.  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit

Read more ...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mentality UV Gel Review

Press Sample

Hello Loves.  I have a new product review to show you today.  Before we get started, I want to say a few things about this review.  This is the Mentality UV Gel Polish I received as a press sample to test and show you.  I thought long and hard about whether to write this review or even test this product in light of recent events.  In the end, I decided that you - my readers - deserve to hear my opinion on the product itself.  If you are unaware of the current events surrounding this company, please read through to the very end where I will touch on some of that.  But first, I want to review the product like I would any other gel polish I receive for review - I will share my honest thoughts and unbiased observations.  Ready?  Let's do this.

Mentality is an Indie Polish Company that has been well known for several years for their highly pigmented polishes that often double as stamping polishes.  They are one of the first Indie companies to branch out into the Gel Polish world.  As you can imagine, I was intrigued.  As you know, gel polish is a completely different animal than lacquer.  It comes with different mixing requirements and ratios, as well as requiring opaque bottles to protect the product inside from UV exposure.  Before the product arrived for me to review, I reached out to the owners of Mentality with a few questions regarding the product and production.

Indie polishes are often mixed in small batches using a pre-made base.  The Mentality UV Gels are made the same way.  According to Mentality co-owner Danny Dannels, the gel base they are using is manufactured by ICE Guangzho Cosmetics Ltd.  This is a company based in China and the base was imported for use by Mentality.  Danny sent me the MSDS sheet and import records for the base gel polish, which I assume are direct from the ICE Guangzho Cosmetics.  He stated that he will have updated MSDS sheets for his final product available soon.  Danny also told me that they then mix in the pigments and glitters by hand in small, 6 oz batches to produce gel polishes that match their unique lacquer creations.  This translates to about 12 bottles per batch.  Danny said that they started testing various base samples 6 months ago and decided on the ICE Guangzho Cosmetics base 3 months ago.  The past three months were spent creating the colors to match their polish line.  He also said that co-owner Hillary has been wearing the UV Gel Polishes exclusively for the past month.

There are three things about this that stand out to me and may be of interest to you.
  1. The base is imported from China.  This may not matter to some gel polish users, but I am aware that some prefer to avoid gel polishes manufactured in China for various reasons.
  2. According to Danny, Mentality mixes the pigments and/or additives into the base and bottles the final product.  This is certainly in keeping with the Indie Polish movement, but may be of concern for gel polish users.  Why?  Several reasons.  For example, we know even some pigments that are rated for cosmetic use are not stable in gel polish.  Fading and changing colors are some of the visual issues we might see, but there may also be chemical changes that we can't see.  So the length of time spent testing each color may be a factor.  Another concern is the pigment or additive to gel ratio.  As many of us have discovered while playing around with pigments, the ratio can impact the product's ability to properly cure. 
  3. They have spent 3 months creating the product, including one month of exclusive wear by one of the co-owners.  This concerns me because gel polish is known for being a lot trickier than regular lacquer.  Uncured or improperly cured gel polish may cause adverse reactions.  I personally do not feel that three months is enough time to really wear test the product before launching it to the public.  I also feel that multiple, unrelated people should wear test before the product launch.

With that said, let's move on.  The name "UV Gel" is an unfortunate choice of names in my opinion.  UV Gel normally indicates that a product is not LED compatible or is a hard gel product.  In this case, the name does not match the product at all.  Mentality UV Gel is an LED/UV formula soak off gel polish.  They have a base coat, color coats, and top coats available for purchase.  It is your typical three step gel polish system.  They do not, however, provide a lamp that is specific to their gel polish line.

Let's take a look at the bottles.  I confess, the bottles caused a raised brow from this blogger.  Rather than bottle the gel polishes in the opaque bottles we are used to seeing, Mentality opted to use their standard, clear bottles and wrap them in brown packing paper to block UV from entering the bottle.  The paper does appear to be securely wrapped around the body of the bottle, but there are gaps around the neck.  I also can't imagine that the paper will stand up well to repeated use.  Gel polish can drip, which will make that paper look quite bad if it doesn't deteriorate the paper itself.  So aside from looking rather unprofessional, I have concerns about the ability of the bottle/paper combo to truly protect the product inside.

I received the Mentality UV Gel in the mail this week and after much consideration, I started a wear test.  They sent me the base, top coat, and one color.  The gels (base, color and top) do have a strong odor that is common with gel polishes manufactured in China in my experience.  It isn't the strongest I have encountered, but it is definitely noticeable.  The color is called Scandal (no, the irony isn't lost on me but it is named after the original matching lacquer) and is described as a neon pink with a holographic finish.  Application actually surprised me.  The base coat is quite thin and easy enough to apply without pooling.  The color is very opaque but applied smoothly and almost offered one coat coverage.  I applied two coats, curing each for the recommended 30 seconds in my Harmony 18G LED lamp.  The top coat also applied nicely with no skips or shrinking.  This is my dominant hand - aka test hand - that is rarely seen.  I know my nails are crazy - shape is all over the place, different lengths, cuticles ragged, and I started smoking again so I have nicotine stains - don't judge.  I opted not to edit these photos at all.  Not even my usual cuticle retouching.

While the color is quite pretty, I didn't notice a holographic effect at all.  Instead, it looks to me like a silver shimmer.  Here's a close up of my thumb to give you a better idea of the finish.

Those of you who read my reviews on a regular basis may have noticed that this one doesn't follow my regular format.  There are no left hand shots.  No bottle pose.  None of the usual poses when I review a polish.  *sigh*  There is a good reason for that.  This wear test lasted less than 3 hours.  I didn't notice it indoors, but when I went out to check the mail (and see if I could catch a rainbow from the "holographic" effect) I noticed dents in the finish.  I could dent the cured product with my thumb nail.  Uh oh.  This indicates an improperly cured or under-cured product.  I applied the coats as thin as possible, so I know it wasn't an application error.  As you know if you read my reviews regularly, I tend to err on the side of thin coats, often needing three when others can get away with two.  I immediately started soaking if off.  During that time, I broke out a clear swatch stick and tried curing for a full minute for each coat.  The result was the same - I could dent the polish with my nail.  I later tried again with my 36 watt CFL UV lamp.  Same story.  I circled the dents in the photo below (I had a hard time getting my camera to capture them).

Soak off further confirmed my concerns that the product didn't cure properly.  It didn't soak off and break away like traditional three step gel polishes should when fully cured.  The top coat and color layer did flake away, but it left a film on the nail instead of soaking off clean.  I took a series of pictures to show the various stages of removal.

This photo was taken immediately after removing the foil wraps after soaking for 20 minutes.  You can see pieces of the gel polish flaking away, but other areas seem to be going chalky instead of flaky.

This is after I pushed the polish off of the nails with the thumb nail on my other hand.  I have not continued to soak at this point.  You can see there is a film of color stuck to my nails that didn't push off clean.

I then rewrapped them and soaked for another 20 minutes.  At that point, after a total soak time of 40 minutes, I was able to scrape off most of the color but still had a film from the base coat left on my nails.  Note that I said "scrape" and not "push".

And finally, here's a shot that shows all of the product removed from my nails.  I ended up having to buff off the remaining residue.

So, what's going on here?  I emailed Danny at Mentality and told him I had some curing issues.  He agreed that what I described sounds like it didn't fully cure and said he would contact the makers of the base gel polish he used to confirm that it is compatible with my lamp.  Again, I used my Harmony 18G LED lamp, which is one of the best professional lamps on the market in my opinion.  I have not heard back from him regarding their response yet, but I will update when I do.  At the time that I emailed him, I had not performed my tests in my CFL lamp.  Since that test indicated the same issue, my best educated guess is that the pigment to gel polish base ratio is off.  Again, that is just my guess.  I am not a chemist, so I can't say for certain what has caused the issue.  But I have played with pigments and gel polish in the past and experienced similar issues when I mixed too much pigment into the gel polish.  Also, since I only received this one color to try, I can't say if the issue is limited to this color or impacts all of the colors produced by the brand.  It could be isolated to Scandal.

My final thoughts on the Mentality UV Gel product?  I'm going to have to pass for now.  This line needs more development before I can recommend it to my readers.  The packaging and curing issues give me more than enough reason for concern.  Again, I will update this post when I hear back from Mentality regarding lamp compatibility with the product, but since my test with my CFL UV lamp produced the same results, I do not think my lamp is the issue.


Now that the product review is finished, I want to take a minute to answer a few questions that I suspect will be headed my way shortly due to current events surrounding Mentality as a company.
  1. Why did I test and review this product?  Am I crazy?  No, I am not crazy.  I am aware of the issues that have come to light regarding Mentality's lacquer line.  For those of you reading who are not aware of the situation, I will touch on that in a moment.  I decided to review this product because there is one thing I know for certain.  You (my readers) are a very passionate group.  I would love to say that I discover the new gel polishes on the market and bring them to your attention, but the truth is that you discover them and bring them to MY attention.  Yes, I get emails, Facebook messages, and Instagram tags from my readers alerting me to new products.  I actually discovered Mentality's UV Gel via a tag on Instagram from one of you.  Without doubt, many of you would have found this product on your own and purchased it without knowing about the current Mentality situation.  My vow to you is to provide you with as much information about a product and the company that produces it as I can so you can make informed purchase decisions.  This is why I decided to review this product.
  2. What is going on with Mentality?  I'm going to stick to the facts as I know them in this answer.  I'll link to articles and blog posts with more details (including speculations) below.  In short, there have been reports from Mentality customers that their lacquer line has caused reactions ranging from mild tingling sensations to severe onycholysis (when the nail lifts from the nail bed).  Not all users of Mentality polish have experienced a reaction, but enough have to cause concern.  Mentality posted on their social media pages in July that they believe a bad batch of base could be causing the issue and offered refunds and exchanges.  The refund/exchange offer has now been retracted by the company.  Mentality posted on their facebook page over the past few days (yes, at the end of August) that they have just now sent off the base for lab testing to determine for certain if it is causing the issue.  At this point, we do not know what has caused the reactions.  Therefore, if you own any Mentality polish, I strongly recommend discontinuing use until more is known.  Mentality has also now issued a full recall on all Mentality polishes purchased between April 2014 and June 2015.  There are a lot more details to what has become the buzz of the polish community and the media has started picking up the story.  Since this post is already miles long, check out the links at the end of this post for more details.
  3. Was I worried that my nails would fall off from testing this product?  Honestly, no.  I wasn't worried.  Why?  Because I'm invincible.  Just kidding.  When I test a new product, I am always concerned about reactions.  Improperly applied and/or improperly cured gel polish may cause contact dermatitis in some users.  Contact dermatitis can occur with one use or over time.  There are many of us who can wear some brands but not others and many people who cannot wear gel polish at all.  I test a lot of different brands and I know that it could happen to me.  All it takes is the wrong combination of ingredients for my body to end up with a reaction.  I pray that day doesn't come, but I know it could.  With that said, the Mentality UV Gel did not cause greater concerns for me than any other gel polish I test.  When I test any gel polish, I am hyper-vigilant.  I pay close attention to my nails to be sure I don't miss or dismiss any tingling, itching, or redness after applying a new product.  If I do feel anything different at all, I will remove the product immediately.
  4. Assuming that any press is good press, do I feel that this post will encourage people to purchase from Mentality?  I'm not going to lie.  I was worried about this before I started the wear test.  I fully expected this product to be spot on since it launched in the middle of the lacquer fiasco.  If I were the owner of a company with an issue, I would make damn sure that any new product was flawless.  So I fully expected to write a positive review despite the issues with Mentality's customer service that have come to light (see links below for details).  I was actually shocked that I had curing issues.  On one hand, I wanted this product to be perfect as one of the first Indie gel polish launches, but on the other hand... it is what it is.  Seeing as my experience was not positive, I do not feel that posting this review will encourage others to purchase from Mentality at this time.
  5. I was in communication with Mentality's co-owner Danny over the past few weeks.  What was my experience like?  To be completely honest, it was NOTHING like the exchanges that have occurred with others and on Mentality's social media accounts.  Danny was polite, friendly, and very forthcoming with information for my review.  I noticed a stark difference between the person I was speaking to via email and the person who was posting on their pages.  I am still baffled that it is the same person.  Even his response to my email regarding the curing issue was polite and professional.  
Those are the biggest questions I anticipate from this review, but please feel free to ask any questions in the comments.  I will be more than happy to answer openly and honestly.

Now for the links.
  1. The first link I want to share is to Mentality's facebook page.  Please note that the page only shows a portion of the story.  A few days ago, posts and comments began disappearing from the page but you can see some of the company's responses here:
  2. To see the events as they played out, check out Kirby's post on The Mercurial Magpie.  She is one of the original bloggers who became determined to spread the word to Mentality users and has continued to update her post with updates.
  3. Ashley from Ashley is Polish Addicted has also been following the events and posting updates as they occur and has a pretty good timeline posted.  You can read it here:
  4. Anne from Betty's Beauty Bombs is also sharing updates.  Anne is a bit different than the others because she started out in this as a supporter of Mentality and then felt she had no choice but to withdraw her support due to the actions of the company as the full story unfolded.  Her post also includes ingredient lists for all of the Mentality products.
  5. Several news sources have also picked up the story.  The first that comes to mind is Jezebel.  While I admit I'm not usually a fan of the site, they did reach out to Danny at Mentality and included quotes from their communications with him as well. 
  6. One of the best media reports I have read so far is from  They dug a little deeper into the issue and really nailed it without being biased.
  7. If these links aren't enough for you, google Mentality Nail Polish and you will find many, many more posts from bloggers and news sources. 
One more note and I'm going to call it a day.  I don't know what happened with Mentality for things to go so wrong, but I do know this:  This is an anomaly in the Indie Polish world.  The majority of the Indie companies, including the ones I love and share frequently here, take great pride in providing safe products to their customers.  There are important lessons for us as consumers to learn from the Mentality situation, but it is not reason to doubt all Indie companies.  As consumers, we have to do our due diligence.  Research the companies you purchase from - be it an Indie or a Main Stream brand.  Look at their social media presence.  Look for reviews.  Read and ask questions.  That is how we stay safe.  :) 


* The Mentality UV Gel Polishes featured in this post were provided by Mentality Nail Polish for my honest review.  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit
Read more ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Going Nude with Pink Gellac Uncovered1 Collection

Press Sample

Pink Gellac Undercover1 Collection

Hello Loves!  If you follow industry trends, you likely know that nude is in big time for fall.  Pink Gellac is right on target with their newest collection Undcovered1 which consists of 5 nudes.  I have to confess, this was a difficult collection for me to swatch.  Nudes are funny in that not all nudes look great on all skin tones.  As you'll see there are a few nudes in this collection that simply look horrible on me, but I promise they will be gorgeous on others.  :)  As always, this collection is available for purchase in the US via the Chickettes Boutique.  I failed slightly on timing with this one as Andrea is currently on vacation, but orders will ship when she returns on Sept. 1st.  They will also be available via Amazon at that time.  Enough about that, let's get to the swatches!

I'm going to start with the swatches that I feel are not a good match for my skin tone and end with my favorites.  First up is Elegant Taupe.  This deep Taupe cream appears to have purple undertones on me but is has more of a brown undertone in reality.  Application was a breeze and I found it to be opaque in two coats.
Pink Gellac Elegant Taupe Swatch
Pink Gellac Elegant Taupe Swatch

The next non-match for my skin tone is a gorgeous nude called Pure Cashmere.  Pure Cashmere is a taupe with lavender undertones, but there's more.  This polish has an amazing pink flash that I was unable to capture accurately.  The best glance at the flash is in the bottle shot.  You can see the shimmer in both photos, though.  Application was easy peasy and it is opaque in two coats.
Pink Gellac Pure Cashmere Swatch
Pink Gellac Pure Cashmere Swatch

Champagne is suitable for my skin tone, but my least favorite of the collection due to the frosty finish.  It is a beautiful polish, but I'm just not a huge fan of frosts.  This is a nude with a light pink tone.  I found it best with three coats, though you can still see brush strokes and VNL even after the third thin coat.
Pink Gellac Champagne Swatch
Pink Gellac Champagne Swatch

Vintage Nude may very well be the perfect nude for me.  This classic nude with pink undertones is flawless for my skin tone.  While it isn't a perfect match for a mannequin hand look, I like that there is a bit of contrast between my nail and my skin.  Application was smooth and I found that two coats provided just the right amount of coverage.
Pink Gellac Vintage Nude Swatch
Pink Gellac Vintage Nude Swatch

Finally, my favorite polish from the collection is Classic Pearl.  Classic pearl is a soft, sheer nude with pink undertones and a pink/purple pearlescent flash.  I think I'll call it nude with pizzazz.  I swatched three coats here hoping for a more dramatic effect, but I really can't tell much difference between three and two.
Pink Gellac Classic Pearl Swatch
Pink Gellac Classic Pearl Swatch

I ended up wearing Classic Pearl for a few days with a little stamping.  For this look, I used a soft lilac stamping polish and two images from the newest lace plate from Messy Mansion - MM56.  The final result is a little spring-ish, I think.  Definitely not the right season for the Southern US, but I've never been one to follow the seasons.  lol
Pink Gellac Classic Pearl with Messy Mansion Stamping
Pink Gellac Classic Pearl with Messy Mansion Stamping

What do you think of the Pink Gellac Uncovered1 Collection?  If any of these polishes grab you, you can pick them up via the Chickettes Boutique here.  Speaking of nudes, are you in love with the nude trend?  Or are you more like me and gravitate toward color?  I'm curious to know your thoughts!


*The Pink Gellac Gel polishes featured in this post were provided by Chickettes for my honest review.  The Messy Mansion MM56 plate used in this post was provided by Messy Mansion for my honest review (full review coming soon).  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit

Read more ...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mini Manicure with KBShimmer

Press Sample

KBShimmer Mani Shot, Lotion and Water Slide Decal Review

Hello Loves!  I removed a set of enhancements tonight, so I decided my hands needed a bit of pampering.  What better time to try out the Mani Shot and Water Slide Decals that KBShimmer sent me to review.  Of course, I couldn't resist purchasing the matching KBShimmer lotion, so I used it too.

I chose the Southern Belle fragrance.  I mean, I am a GA Peach, after all.  Southern Belle is described on the KBShimmer website as "A fresh blend of ginger, peach, mango, clove, citrus, the body of  this sweet fragrance combines orange blossom, rose, and jasmine. Rounding out  the blend is a slight hint of musk and woods, the perfect blend for any women  wanting to feel sweet and lovely."  Yeah, I don't smell all that.  To me, it smells fresh with a light peach fragrance.  I love it!  I really need a cuticle oil in this fragrance too (hint hint, Christy! lol).
KBShimmer Southern Belle Mani Shot and Lotion

Ok, so let's start with the Southern Belle Mani Shot.  This was my first mani shot (or mani bomb) experience, and it is so cool!  As soon as you drop the shot into warm water, it starts rolling like a mini-Jacuzzi.  Just look at the motion in the water!
KBShimmer Mani Shot in Action - First few seconds

After a few seconds, my cup was all kind of foamy fun.  I could feel the bubbles tickling my fingers as I soaked.  And the fragrance...yum!  The Mani Shot has Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter to leave your skin feeling super soft.  My cuticles feel much better after the soak.
KBShimmer Mani Shot in Action - Foam

After a five minute soak, I dried my hands and applied my CND Cuticle Away (it was time...I've neglected this step for the past few weeks).  I used my new Rainbow Cuticle Pusher (also from KBShimmer) to push back my cuticles.  As you can imagine, I own a few pushers.  Ok, maybe more than a few.  I find that I have a really hard time finding one that I like.  They are either too wide or too flat for my c-curves.  I'm happy to say that this one is a perfect fit!  And it doesn't hurt that it's super pretty.  KBShimmer also has nippers and tweezers to match.  :)
CND Cuticle Away and KBShimmer Rainbow Cuticle Pusher

Here's a better look.  One one end, you have the spoon pusher with the perfect curve.  On the other is a curved pick that is great for carefully cleaning under the free edge of the nail.
KBShimmer Rainbow Cuticle Pusher

Here's a better shot of the pick.  My camera really didn't want to focus on it, so I apologize if it isn't very clear.
Curved Pick End on the KBShimmer Rainbow Cuticle Pusher

I finished with my Southern Belle lotion.  It looks like this one is currently out of stock on KBShimmer's website, but I'm sure it will be back soon.  This was my first KBShimmer lotion experience as well, and I'm impressed.  I've actually been using the lotion several times a day for the past week.  As y'all know, I constantly battle with dry skin.  Ah, my personal curse.  So I know a little bit about lotion.  lol  The KBShimmer lotion is thick and creamy but not heavy.  How creamy?  Well, see for yourself.  ;)
KBShimmer Southern Belle Lotion Consistency

I found that it absorbs quickly and leaves a light fragrance.  That's a HUGE plus for me.  I can't stand a lotion that leaves my skin feeling heavy or greasy.  I also don't like anything with a super heavy fragrance.  Yeah, so I'm pretty smitten with this lotion.  I don't know if the other scents are light like this one, but Southern Belle definitely tickles my fancy.

After the pampering, I couldn't resist a quick mani.  I know gel polish is my norm, but as you can tell from the bottle shot below, I love my KBShimmer Low and Be Bold.  I don't have this shade in gel polish, so I use the polish version quite a lot.  It sees the most love of my polishes.  For this mani, I used two coats of Low and Be Bold as my primary color.  I then used two coats of KBShimmer Eyes White Open as the base for my accent nails.  The flowers are these super cute KBShimmer Blue Floral Water Slide Decals.
Blue and White China Nails with KBShimmer Water Slide Decals

The Blue Floral Water Slide Decals I used in this mani are really cool because they come on a full sheet instead of individual cutouts.  I love that it allows me to pick and choose the designs for each nail so they aren't as matchy-matchy.  Of course, that means I had to cut them to fit.  Thankfully, I have the nail template from Empower Nail Art that I reviewed previously here.  It came in really handy with these decals!

If you aren't familiar with water slide decals, they're really simple to use.
  1. Apply your base colors and let them dry.  I used Out The Door topcoat to speed it along.  
  2. Cut the decal to shape.
  3. Drop the entire cut out decal into a cup of water.  
  4. After the water soaks through the paper backing, slide the decal off of the paper.  
  5. Use a pair of tweezers to position it on the nail and then press it smooth.  
  6. If needed, use a nail file to trim any excess length.  
  7. Finally, once the decals have dried, top them with a coat of top coat and you have gorgeous nail art with little effort.  :)
Blue and White China Nails with KBShimmer Water Slide Decals

I'm kind of smitten with this one.  It reminds me of the popular blue and white china.  Here's another shot.
Blue and White China Nails with KBShimmer Water Slide Decals

If you're interested in any of the products I showed you today, you can find them on KBShimmer's website here.  I linked to each product when I first mentioned them above, so feel free to scroll back up for direct links.

Now that my hands have been pampered and my nails are polished, I'm headed off to love on my sick little boy.  I swear, the first few weeks of school are a guarantee for germs and colds.  But hey, at least my nails are fabulous!


*The products featured in this post were provided by KBShimmer Bath and Body for my honest review.  The KBShimmer Southern Belle Lotion was purchased by me to compliment the other products shown.  CND Cuticle Away was also purchased by me and not available via KBShimmer.  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit  
Read more ...