Butter London Slapper + Butter London Basecoat and Topcoat

This gorgeous teal blue is Butter London’s Slapper. I adore it so much! I’m really into blues and teals at the moment. :)

Butter London Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat & Hardwear P. D. Quick Topcoat

I noticed when used Seche Vite Topcoat (my favorite!) with Butter London polishes I get a bit of shrinkage (the polish pulling away from the tips of my nails). Not the most attractive thing in the world. Definitely not as much shrinkage as when I use Seche Vita with Zoya polishes, but enough to make me want to try the Butter London base and topcoats.

I found a set at Ulta Beauty called Backstage Basics that came with the basecoat, topcoat, remover, and then a polish color of your choice. For my color, I chose Slapper. It really is a great way to try out Butter London since you save $30 when you buy the set!

As you can see from the photo above, the basecoat is a pale nude color. It goes on pretty sheer and dries to a semi-matte finish (I would call it a satin finish). It was actually very pretty by itself.

After I let the basecoast dry for about 3 minutes, I applied two coats of Slapper, waiting about 3 minutes between coats. Then I topped it off with the Hardwear topcoat. It dried fairly quickly and I was good to go after about 15 minutes as long as I was still careful not to dent it. It was dry to the touch, though.

Four days later, I had very minimal tipwear…

Granted, I had a few very easy days. I didn’t do any housework since I was out of town, but I did do a bit of packing and moving things around. Generally when I’m doing lots of dishes or putting my hands in water quite a bit (even just to take a shower), my polish doesn’t last as long. That being said, I thought my Butter London manicure lasted a long time. :)

The verdict? I love the Butter London basecoat and topcoat. It helps Butter London polishes last for a long time. The only thing I miss is the high shine of Seche Vite topcoat. But for the better wear and no shrinkage, I’ll happily use all Butter London when I want to use a Butter London polish color. :)

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Teal Stripes & White Dots

Experimenting with more tape manicures. I also tried a Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, which I really liked. I used the white pen for the dots and white stripes. Truth be told, I only did this on my left hand since I was just playing. I didn’t have time to attempt it on my right hand as well. Anyhow, it’s certainly fun! :)

Dark Navy Base Color: Essie Midnight Cami
Lighter Aqua: Color Club New Bohemian
Teal: Butter London Slapper
White Dots and Stripes: Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen

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OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps

While as Ulta last night I saw the new OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps. They are OPI’s version of all the real nail polish nail stickers we’re seeing everywhere (like from Sally Hansen, etc). There were a lot of fun designs, so I picked up a couple to try out.

Long Lasting?

The main attraction of these nail apps is the fact that once applied they last a long time. I’ve heard that if you put a top coat on as well, they last even longer. Kind of nice! That would be a major draw for me except that I love to change my nail polish so often. Since I’ve only had these on overnight, I can’t attest to the longevity of these nail strips, but going off of what numerous bloggers are saying, I would assume they are long wearing.

Price

When it comes to the price, I think you’re definitely paying for the brand name with the OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps. The high price point of $11.95 at Ulta seems steep for something I’m only going to wear for a couple days. For the average consumer, though, I think it would be a great alternative to going to the salon for a professional manicure. You can get the Sally Hansen Nail Effects strips for a few dollars cheaper and they seem to be the exact same thing. And the Sally Hansen ones come with a nail buffer and orange stick. Seems like a better deal all around. You can find the OPI strips cheaper online if you shop around. Here the exact ones I tried but for half the price that I paid at Ulta.

Application

The application was fairly easy, but they only give you 8 sizes (2 of each). The two largest were WAY too big (maybe for toenails?), and the smallest was way too small. I was left with the few in the middle and I had to trim the sides on those to get them to fit right. Even then, I couldn’t get the shape of the strips to look as nice on my nails as I could have with a traditional nail polish manicure. I’m a perfectionist and it really bothers me. You can see in the photo at the top of the post that the strip on my pinky finger wasn’t the correct size. Just a small thing that bugged me.

That being said, I think I’ll hold on to these for the next time I go on a trip. They would be great for travel since all you would need is a nail file to finish off the application. (BTW, I’ll do a “Traveling with Nail Polish” video soon. I have a trip coming up so I’ll film how I pack my nail polish).

To see an example of how these nail polish apps work, view this video from Kandee. She shows the Sally Hansen version, but the application is the same.

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Zoya Charisma

This is the color I used in a gradient on my tips a little bit ago. Such a gorgeous neon color. The neon-ness that I see in the bottle doesn’t really translate to my nails, though. But I do like the true berry color. I love to wear colors like this.

Update on my Love/Hate relationship with Zoya

I adore the color range of Zoya polishes. Just can’t get enough of them. However, I’ve always had two kinds of trouble with Zoya: bad shrinkage with my favorite top coat Seche Vite ( I can only really wear the polish for one day before the perfectionist in me demands new polish), or lots of bubbling. When I try to not use Seche Vite and therefore have to wait an interminably long time for the polish to dry, I always get awful bubbling. This occurs whether I use the Zoya Anchor base coat or not.

However, I think I may have discovered a clue when it comes to bubbling while I was painting Charisma. I usually always use Nail Magic under my base coats in order to strengthen my nails. This time I skipped it all together and put the Zoya Anchor base coat straight on my naked nails. That seemed to help quite a bit. However, this polish does dry to a more matte finish (like neon polishes usually do), so it might be the quicker dry formula that prevented the bubbling, not the fact that I used only Anchor. More testing will be needed. :)

I used Zoya’s top coat Armor on top of Charisma as well.

The fact that I continue to strive for a bubble-less Zoya manicure shows how much I love the color range. Oh, Zoya, I want to love you but you make it so hard. Still trying, though. :)

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Favorite places to order nail polish online

Hello all! I’m still sporting my Black Rainbow Stripes nails from a couple days ago, but it’s coming off tonight. Until then, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite places to order nail polish online. :)

transdesign.com

Great prices on China Glaze, Essie, and Color Club. Plus, they ship super fast. I love that for newer collections you can pick up the entire collection (plus store display!) for us nail polish junkies. It makes purchasing all the polishes in a collection fast and easy. I’ve ordered from them numerous times and have never had any issues. I believe they are located on the East Coast and even with the far distance (I’m in Utah), all polishes arrive safely.

nailpolishcanada.com

I’ve only ordered from them once (when I ordered some Nfu Oh polishes), but it was a pleasant experience. Super fast shipping. Only one week from when I ordered to when I received it, and that included four days when it was held up at customs at the border. All polishes arrived safely. Great option for all of you in Canada. :)

zoya.com

You can find Zoya polishes locally at some Ulta Beauty stores, but I still prefer to purchase straight from Zoya because of the color selection. My Ulta only stocks current and brand new collections, and they usually receive them a few weeks after Zoya is selling them at their site. Oh, I’m too impatient. I’d rather order from Zoya (who includes freebies like travel size Remove+ bottles and other goodies). All polishes arrive safely as well.

amazon.com

For harder to find collections from years past or for nail stamping items, I usually turn to Amazon. I have to order from third-party sellers (so I don’t get my Amazon Prime shipping discount), but it’s still worth it. Usually, I’ll find the specific polish or polishes I want and then go to that third-party’s storefront page at Amazon to see if there is anything else I want to buy. That way, I get the most bang for my buck when it comes to shipping costs. Amazon is also the best place to order Bundle Monster image plates (although you can order from bundlemonster.com, too).

beauty.com

I had a little issue with them a while back (their backorder process is ridiculous), but they do have a wide range of polish brands. They also share a shopping cart with drugstore.com so if you’re picking up some allergy meds (oh, my itchy eyes!), you can throw in a couple polishes as well. :)

sephora.com

Sephora only carries a few nail polish specific brands (Sephora by OPI, Nails Inc, etc), but what they carry is good quality. I also love that I can pick up other beauty items at the same time. :)

Now it’s your turn! Where do you buy nail polish online?

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Black Rainbow Stripes

Hello, all! Happy Mother’s Day! I’ve been working on perfecting “tape manicures” where you tape off sections of the nail to create crisp, clean lines. It’s a bit tricky to master and I’m still working on it. Anyhow, today I thought I’d do a base painting of a rainbow gradient, apply some tape strips, and then paint black over it all. Really cool masking technique and I have to credit all the amazing inspiration I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. :)

How to do this manicure:

  1. First of all, pick a movie to watch because this takes a while. :)
  2. Paint two coats of white polish (China Glaze White on White). Let dry completely. Not just “to the touch” dry, but more like “I’m going to go do the dishes” dry. Bone dry.
  3. Create gradient nails using rainbow colors and this sponging method. I used four colors and a vertical gradient. I used a bunch of colors from Zoya: Kristi, Pippa, Breezi, and Mira. Let dry completely.
  4. Cut 2 thin strips of tape for each nail and set aside so all are ready before moving on to the next step (I placed them on the top of nail polish bottles with the ends coming off so I could grab them easily). I used regular scotch tape, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  5. Working on each nail one-by-one, apply the tape strips. Be sure to press firmly, especially at the sides next to your cuticles. Paint black polish over entire nail. Immediately remove tape strips (removing them immediately helps you get crisp lines). Move on to next nail.
  6. Let all nails dry for 3-5 minutes. Finish with topcoat (Seche Vite).
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Gradient Neon Nails with Stamping

I attempted to do gradient nails again, this time with neon colors (which sadly my camera doesn’t pick up). The gradient is much more subtle in the photos. Believe me, it’s awesome! Anyhow, I skipped the glitter this time and went straight to stamping. I love how it turned out!

Base Colors: China Glaze Pink Voltage (Neon), Zoya Charisma
Stamping Color: Konad Special Polish Black
Stamping Plate: Cheeky XL Image Plate C (available here)

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Nicole My Empire… My Rules

Another polish from the Kardashian Kolor collection by Nicole by OPI. I love this muddy wet-cement color. It’s neutral (sort of grayish-brown), but darker than the lighter grays I’ve worn. Application was a dream. I love the formula of the Nicole polishes. So smooth and creamy. :)

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