March 31, 2016

Glitter Removal: Which method is best?

Glitter polish.  It's a charm and it's a curse.  Glitter polishes can be so beautiful, fun, unique, and creative, but boy are they a pain to take off!  It's such a pain that many people avoid glitter polish.  I myself have a large collection of glitter polish - 91 of my 275 polishes have glitter in them, which is almost exactly 1/3 of my total polishes!  And yet, aside from swatching them wherein I wear them for only a few minutes, I've been avoiding my glitter polishes lately.  I have tried several different methods of glitter polish removal, with each new method being a tiny bit better and worse than the last.  This post will rank each glitter removal method to help you decide which method is best for you, and which method makes wearing glitter polish worth it the most!

I will be grading each removal method on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best score and 1 being the worst.  I'll rate each method on its mess factor, the amount of time it takes, how successful the glitter removal is, and I'll list its biggest con and give it a rating for that as well.  Then I'll average out the 4 different categories for an overall score!  The numbers might not make perfect sense, so just to be clear:

Mess factor: 1 = VERY messy, 10 = no mess at all
Time:1 = VERY time consuming, 10 = super speedy
Success:1 = 100% of glitter left on the nail, 10 = 0% of glitter left on the nail
Biggest Con: (description of the con) 1 = terribly unappealing, 10 = super appealing
Overall Score:1/10 = would not do again, 10/10 = will use this method until I die

**Note: no matter the method, glitter always ends up all over my hands and work surface.  Since this happens across the board, I'm not including that in my rating of the mess factor.  Instead, the mess factor is based on amount of trash generated.**

Nail-Aid No-Rub Acetone Power Gel

Mess factor: 2
Time: 3
Success: 4
Biggest Con: Sticky! 4
Overall Score: 3.25/10

I first heard about this stuff from Cutepolish on YouTube.  After seeing her video, I pretty much ran out to Wal-Mart as soon as humanly possible.  Predictably, I have never had as much success using this stuff as Cutepolish does in her video.  In her video, she has maybe a few pieces of glitter left over at the side of her nail when she first rubs the gel off.  I, however, usually still have about two thirds of the glitter left on my nails, even after letting the gel soak for 4 minutes.  So I use the gel again, and it works pretty well the second time.  This makes for a total of 16 minutes of gel-soaked fingers: 8 minutes per hand.  Then, the gel leaves my hands super sticky, and it doesn't just rinse off, so I actually have to scrub at my nails, cuticles, and fingertips with dish soap just to get it all off.  Sometimes, I even have to use the scratchy side of my dish sponge to get rid of the gel!  Oh, and it's so sticky that I also often get chunks of paper towel stuck to my fingertips as well.  Unpleasant. 

The Foil Method

Mess factor: 8
Time: 4
Success: 5
Biggest Con: Dry cuticles. 4
Overall Score: 5.25/10

The instructions for the foil method are a little bit more complicated than the gel.  You cut (or rip, as I prefer) pieces of tin foil, soak a small piece of cotton ball in polish remover, place the cotton on your nail, then wrap the tip of your nail with the foil.  Sit with the foil on your nails for 3-5 minutes, then remove it and in theory the glitter all comes off right away.  In practice? Nope.  About one third of the glitter stays on my nails when I do this method, and I have to scrub the rest of it off manually.  I do have a little bit more success when I use pure acetone rather than a special formula remover like Zoya's Remove+ (which is my remover of choice).  The downside of using pure acetone, of course, is that my cuticles are left super dry after soaking in acetone for 3-5 minutes.  That's not a huge deal breaker since I usually use cuticle balm after removing any nail polish, but it's still probably not great for my skin to get so dry.

Julep Party's Over

Mess factor: 9
Time: 6
Success: 6
Biggest Con: Expensive! 3
Overall Score: 6/10

Recently, I noticed on Julep's website that the Party's Over starter set plus refill kit was on sale for the same price as just the starter set ($28 instead of $38), so I pounced on it!  The starter set comes with ten rubber nail caps and five sets of ten removal pads.  The removal pads are infused with aloe to keep your cuticles moist.  The idea is pretty much the same as the foil method, but a bit simpler since the nail caps can be used dozens of times.  Plus, since the pads come pre-soaked and cut small enough to fit on one nail, that saves some time as well.  When I used these pads, I still had about one third of the glitter still stuck to my nail.  A bit better than the previous methods, but still not as good as I'd hoped!  My biggest problem with Party's Over is the price.  The set that I got makes removing a full, 10-nail manicure cost $2.80, which is the same cost as the starter kit alone.  Buying the same set that I did at full price makes it cost $3.80 per manicure.  The refill kit costs $10, and can remove 5 full manicures, so that's $2 per manicure removed.  No other method of glitter removal costs this much per use!  I can get a whole bag of cotton balls for $3 at the drug store, and a 16-oz bottle of pure acetone for $5 at CVS, for goodness' sake!  (Note: all Julep products cost a little bit less for Julep Mavens, which is a paid subscription.  I'm not a Maven, so the prices reflected are those open for the general public.)

Traditional removal method

Mess factor: 4
Time: 2
Success: 10
Biggest Con: Painful! 3
Overall Score: 4.75/10

Soak a cotton ball with remover, scrub glitter off.  It's that simple.  But is it really simple?  You practically have to dig each individual piece of glitter off of your nails.  It takes forever, and chances are your nail beds will be left in some amount of pain from all the pressure of being scrubbed for 2 minutes.  Technically, it does get all of the glitter off, but it requires much more effort than any of the previous methods.  At least with the other methods, you get to just sit back and watch TV for 3-5 minutes and let 1/3 to 2/3 of the work be done for you in a single swipe!  Sure, you'll eventually get all of the glitter off, but it definitely takes a lot more time, elbow grease, and cotton balls than the other removal methods.

Elmer's Glue peel-off Basecoat  

Mess factor: 10
Time: 10
Success: 10
Biggest Con: No staying power for the manicure! 2
Overall Score: 8/10

Holy super old photo, Batman!

Some time ago, I cleaned out an old polish bottle and filled it with about 2/3 Elmer's School Glue and 1/3 water.  Using this as a base coat allows even the most stubborn of glitters to peel off with ease.  The downside of this is that a task as common as showering and washing my hands often leads to an entire nail of polish sliding off at once!  For this reason, I only use my glue base coat when I'm swatching a polish, with the intention of taking it off right after taking photos of it.  For a manicure that lasts 2 days or longer, this just doesn't cut it.  I know that some commercial brands, like OPI, make a peel-off base coat, but I haven't tried them out.  Hopefully they have better staying power than glue!  If I ever decide to try out one of the professional peel-off base coats, I will most certainly review it on the blog.

Combo! Party's Over + Foil

Mess factor: 8
Time: 6
Success: 8
Biggest Con: Expensive (from Party's Over) 3
Overall Score: 6.25/10

On my right hand, I decided to combine methods.  I soaked cotton ball pieces in acetone, wrapped them in foil, and then stuck the Julep nail caps on top of that.  This was definitely the most successful method!  I got about 80-90% of the glitter off of my nails in one swipe.  And the remaining 10-20% of glitter rubbed off very easily using another cotton ball!  On my ring finger, I used a Party's Over pad instead of acetone, just to compare.  There wasn't too much of a difference compared to the acetone.  Which is pretty cool!  This means that when I run out of Party's Over pads, I won't worry too much about buying more.  For you readers, I'm sure there are some kind of nail caps available outside of Julep.  A quick Google Search shows dozens of different kinds of caps at pretty low prices!  I would guess that this is more successful than the foil method or the Party's Over product alone because of the extra wrapping.  The additional pressure from the tightness of the cap on top of foil really forces the remover under each layer of glitter, and I'm sure it helps to reduce the risk of evaporation as well.

In Conclusion . . .

So, moral of the story?  There really is no be-all, end-all method of glitter removal.  Each method has at least one inherent flaw.  Personally, I'm going to stick with the foil/Julep combo for a while and see how I like that in the long run.  You'll have to see for yourself which method you like the best!

March 30, 2016

Emily de Molly Monet's Garden

I have been coveting this nail polish for probably close to two years.  Before I got in to blogging, I was a full-time lurker on the subreddit RedditLaqueristas.  Somebody posted a swatch of Emily de Molly Monet's Garden saying that they needed that polish.  I immediately decided that I needed it, too.  EdM is an Australia-based indie company, so ordering direct through her would have been super expensive.  I found an American stockist, but every time I checked, Monet's Garden was sold out.  Eventually, I gave up, figuring I would never ever own this amazing beauty.

Then, an amazing thing happened.  Courtney of Swatcher, Polish Ranger decided to sell off some of her polish stash.  And she lives in Canada, which means that my dollar has slightly higher buying power.  AND SHE WAS SELLING MONET'S GARDEN.  I'm pretty sure I cheered when I saw that it hadn't been sold yet!  Of course I snagged it right away.

So, now, after a little over two years of coveting this polish, I give you...

Monet's Garden by Emily de Molly!

This nail polish seriously did not disappoint.  Sometimes when you covet something for a long time and you finally get it, it's not as great as you'd built it up in your head.  Not so with this nail polish!

Glitter density on the brush to the nail matches the glitter density in the bottle.  With so many large glitters, that's really impressive!  And the glitter application is very easy - no smearing, and if I decided to dab over the same spot again to add some more glitter, the teal jelly base didn't streak, either.

Even though the base is very much a jelly, I still only needed two coats for full opacity!  I added a third coat on my middle finger, and while it did deepen the glitter layering a little bit, I don't think I would do three coats on all of my fingers next time I wear this.  It just makes everything take longer, and when I don't need three coats for polish to look good, I'd rather stick with two!

Of course, it wouldn't be a glitter swatch without a few macro shots...

This bottle shot was taken from the top of the bottle.  Where the polish and glitter had been sliding down the edges for a while.  And yet, look at all of that glitter!  *swoons*

In case you couldn't tell, I'm super super in love with this nail polish.  Hopefully I'll get some more Emily de Molly polishes in the future - now that I know about the American stockist and am no longer idolizing one particular polish!

Have you ever coveted a nail polish for a long time before buying it?  Which one was it?  Let me know in the comments!

March 27, 2016

Easter nail art

Happy Easter, everybody!  Woohoo, bonus blog post for the week!

Last year, Ellagee hosted an amazing collaboration with 15 other indie polish makers for Easter, called the Indie Bunny Mani Box.  It was filled with bunches of nail polish, both full-sized and mini; some nail butter; nail polish remover; latex mani mask; nail care tools; and, of course, candy!  I was super excited to get mine, and I'm super excited to bring out those polishes for another awesome Easter mani.  (Last year's was a bit more last-minute and thrown together, but also very nice!)

This year, armed with some chevron nail vinyls from KB Shimmer, I decided to do one Easter egg-esque stripey nail paired with one nail of each of the colors I used, topped with one of the unique glitters from the box.


From thumb to pinky, the colors are: Monster Polish Oh For Peep's Sake!, Above the Curve Nail Polish Rockin' Robin, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Kaffir Lily, and Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Queen Lime Rose Zinnia on my pinkie.  My ring finger of course, has all four colors.  The glitter topper is Sweet Heart Polish Sprinkles!, and I like it a lot.  I think the colored glitters get a little lost on top of Oh For Peep's Sake, but they pop super well over the other colors.
**All of the polishes used in this manicure were limited editions for the Bunny Mani Box, so I don't have links to the products as I usually do.  I have linked to each indie shop, so definitely check them out!**

Rockin' Robin has some really nice blue flakies in it, like the speckles on a robin's egg, but they definitely got lost underneath Sprinkles.

Of course, all of these being holographic nail polishes, indoor lighting just doesn't do them justice.  Lucky for your viewing pleasure, the sun finally came out and I was able to capture the polish in all of their holographic glory!

I don't know if you can quite tell in this photo, but the holo shimmer in Queen Lime Rose Zinna is very pink.  It's absolutely gorgeous.  And I'm guessing that's where it gets its name - the base is lime-y green, and the shimmer is rose-y pink!

This closeup definitely shows the holo shimmers best for indoor lighting. 
This mani was a lot of fun!  I'm really digging my indie glitters lately, which is making me happy.  For a while I kind of stopped wanting to wear any glitter because it's such a pain to remove.  But next week, you'll get to see why I've changed my mind - so stay tuned! ;)

What did you don on your nails for Easter?  If you don't celebrate, what did you have on your nails this weekend?  Let me know (or show me) in the comments!

March 23, 2016

Drippy Spring nail art

A few weeks ago, Deborah Lippman had an incredible 50% off sale on select shades.  I've been hesitant in the past to spend the whopping $18 per bottle on Lippmann polish, but since 50% off put it at only $9 per bottle, I was definitely willing to buy a few shades!  I ended up getting Don't Stop Believin', Build Me Up Buttercup, and Spring Buds.  The weather has been so gorgeous, warm, and sunny spring lately that I decided to use the second two polishes along with some of last year's Zoya spring shades in a manicure together.

I got these drippy nail vinyls back in October from a Mani of the Month box; the vinyls are by Nails Redesigned.  Naturally, I used them in some blood-themed manis for Halloween, but this time I decided to use some spring colors for a drippy, melty mani!

This was, I think, the first manicure I did after reshaping my nails from the awkward squared-round to a much more delicate round.  I'm much happier with the new shape of my nails - to me, they look more neat, they match the way my nails curve at the sides, and they even make my fingers look a little thinner!


The sparkly blue that I have on top of Build Me Up Buttercup is Zoya Rayne, and the sparkly purple on top of Spring Buds is Zoya Leslie.  Both are from last year's spring collection, Delight.

I just love this look!  The colors work really well with each other.

What are some of your favorite spring color combinations or nail art designs?  Let me know (or show me) in the comments!

March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day nail art

Happy St. Patrick's Day, all!

I have a bit of a smorgasbord of nail polish on my nails today.  Last year, I won a great six-piece collection of nail polish from Salon Perfect and Manicurator.  It arrived on St. Paddy's Day last year, and I was a bit too busy to do a themed mani and have it up on the blog before the day ended.  I've used some of the solid colors in various other manicures since then, but I haven't yet used the special glitter toppers that I got!  (The glitters were limited edition, and are no longer available, so I have not included links for them like I usually do.)


Also, a few weeks ago, I purchased some nail polish from Swatcher, Polish Ranger in her destash sale.  Courtney was kind enough to throw in a bonus polish - Fiona by Daily Hues Nail Lacquer.  The shade of green is perfect for today, so I added that to my mani, too!

I was really impressed with Luck of the Irish.  The glitter density on the brush matched the density in the bottle!  I have two coats on top of Loopy Lime on my pointer finger, and only one coat on top of Gold Leaf on my ring finger.

Sadly, the glitter application of Sham-Rock Your Socks Off was not as smooth as with Luck of the Irish.  I actually have three coats on my pinkie finger!  Based on how much glitter is in the bottle, I was expecting one coat to look like what I ended up with.  And I fished for the glitters quite a bit, too.

Fiona is holographic, but it's been an annoyingly cloudy week, so I wasn't able to get any sunlight shots of it.  I'm so tired of all of these clouds!  Sheesh!  I guess this week's weather is better than last week's freak heat wave, though.  (It was over 80 degrees last Thursday! eurgh!)

This was a pretty simple mani, only taking me about half an hour from base coat to top coat.  I like manicures like that!  Spending two hours or more on intricate nail art is only fun for me about once a month. :)

What are your nails sham-rocking for St. Patrick's Day?  Let me know in the comments!

March 9, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!

I decided to take a peek at the nail polish when I was grocery shopping over the weekend, and when I saw the limited edition St. Patrick's Day glitter by Sinful Colors, I thought, hey, it's been a while since I had a giveaway!  So I decided to host this quick little giveaway.  Hopefully, the prizes will get to the winner in time for St. Patrick's Day!

San Fransisco

This one is just such a beautiful emerald green that I thought it needed to be included with the special glitter.

The formula is quite thin - I have three coats on my nails, and you can see that it's still a tiny bit sheer!  For full opacity, I'd recommend layering it on top of a solid creme.  (Black or a matching shade of green would probably look best!)

It photographed surprisingly horribly.  Under my lamps, it actually showed up blue!  This photo is much more color accurate, and I was standing in indirect sunlight.  For the photos under Feelin' Lucky, I was under my lamps and I had to edit the colors as best as I could.

Feelin' Lucky 

Feelin' Lucky is a really fun glitter topper.  Sadly, the shamrock glitters that you see so many of in the bottle are nearly impossible to get onto the nail.  It probably took me a good 5 minutes of fishing just to pick out the 5 glitters for this mani!  That's a bit disappointing.  But the other types of glitter are much easier to get on the nail, and they're still fun and St. Patrick's themed.

From left to right, I have it on top of San Fransisco twice, Salon Perfect Loopy Lime, and Salon perfect Sugar Cube.  The small green glitters show up much better on top of a lighter color!  Personally, I like it best on top of Loopy Lime - the bright green has a faint shimmer to it, so it adds to the fun effect of the glitter.

The glitters are quite spread-y, so during application it's best to dab the glitters on, rather than spread the brush across the nail.  This one showed up on my camera much more accurately than San Francisco did!


As a little bonus, each polish in the giveaway will come with a cozy crocheted by Kate's Crochets, which is unsurprisingly my crochet shop!  I have a lot of fun making these because they only take about ten seconds.  Okay no, not really, but they are quick and fun for me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Rules 

As in the past, I'm running this giveaway through Rafflecopter.  Enter through the widget above!

1. Prize is only available to residents of the United States.
2. Giveaway opens on Wednesday, March 9 at 12:01 am EST and ends Sunday, March 13 at 11:59 pm EST.  Winners will be contacted by 12:00 pm on March 14.  Once contacted, the winner will have 36 hours to respond and claim their prize or I will be forced to draw another winner.
3. No following and then unfollowing immediately after the giveaway ends.  Unfollowers will be noted and banned from future giveaways. 
4. Any posts for giveaway entries must be made public.  Private posts/accounts will not be able to be verified and therefore will be disqualified.
5.  The only entries required in order to be eligible to win are entering your location and e-mail.  All other entries, including re-posting images and visiting/following pages, are optional. 
6. Please be kind!  Anyone stirring up drama or being rude (to me or to other contestants) will be disqualified.
7. This giveaway is entirely sponsored by me, Kate of Kate's Nailing It and Kate's Crochets.  It has not been sponsored or endorsed by Sinful Colors or any of the platforms it is shared on (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+).

As always, have fun with the giveaway and good luck!

March 2, 2016

Aliquid Lacquer: Angerona

Back in September, I swatched Aliquid Lacquer's Egeria from her When in Rome collection.  Today, I'm happy to bring you another polish from that collection, Angerona!

I decided to don this nail polish back in January because, in addition to its beauty, the milky white base with blue, black, and bronze glitters sort of looked like snow to me.  With all the snow on the ground when I swatched this (we got close to 20" in my corner of the DC area in January, holy crap!), I thought it was pretty fitting.  And then, when I went to the store page to remind myself of the inspiration behind Angerona, I found this:

Angerona was a goddess who helped the Romans endure pain, sorrow and hardship, especially during the dark days of winter. She was also responsible for keeping Rome’s sacred name secret from its enemies.

Aha!  I thought that was pretty cool.  If Angerona helped Rome during the dark days of winter, I bet that Alison was at least sort of aiming to make this polish look a bit snowy.  Well, good job!

Anyway, on to my usual review talk:

Angerona is a crelly base.  It leaned a little closer to jelly in terms of application; it was a bit thin, and I needed three coats to achieve full opacity.  But a true jelly usually needs at least 4 coats, and they're often much streakier than this polish was, so it's definitely a crelly.  Its sheerness is probably more a result of how light the color is than of its formula.

I couldn't get many of the darker glitters onto the nail in each coat, but between three coats I did manage to get a decent coverage!  I was a little more interested in getting those barely-there irridescent blue glitters onto my nails, anyway.  I almost didn't even notice them until the light hit my nail just so during application, and then I was captivated!  The irridescence of the blue glitters is highly reminiscent of snow.  And perhaps, since they're barely visible, they're also reminiscent of the secrecy of Rome's sacred name?

I definitely really like this polish.  Cleanup was much easier than my cuticles make it look - I used my glue base coat so that I wouldn't have to fight with the glitters to get them off later, and that always makes cleaning up my cuticles turn into a gloppy mess.  I did my best for these photos, but man, you don't wanna see my right hand! ;)

This is one of the few polishes that I absolutely love with a matte top coat.  You know how I am - I enjoy matte, especially for the right kind of nail art (remember the tiny chalkboard I made once?) - but for most polishes, I'm usually disappointed with how matte flattens out the color and dims sparkles.  But a matte top coat looks great over Angerona!

This polish is definitely a hit in my book!  It may be basically spring now (well, down here in Maryland, at least!), but the delicate snowy colors of this polish are definitely wearable year-round.

What do you think of this polish?  Do you own any of the When in Rome polishes?  Which is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments!