Red Carpet Manicure: Gel Polish


Gel nail polish, by Red Carpet Manicure (RCM), is one of my favorite things right now. RCM provides a protective coat which helps natural nails grow longer without filing down or damaging the nail, unlike acrylics. Most importantly, the polish stays put (without chipping) and yields a gorgeous manicure for 2-3 weeks!

Although I am a professional Aesthetician, I’m by no means a professional manicurist. Because of this, I know you too will be able to tackle the RCM with ease. The directions are easy to follow and the manicure itself takes under 30 minutes to achieve– that includes dry time… well, there is virtually no dry time and the polish finishes nice and hard, as opposed to traditional nail lacquers; we’ve all meticulously painted our nails only to find the lacquer smudged, dented, or chipped as a result of mundane actions. Once the gel polish is cured, it really is set.

Here are a few tips (and pics) from my nail experience:

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1. I started with clean, dry nails. Before applying polish, RCM suggests shaping the nail, pushing back cuticles, and roughing up the nail itself.

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2. Roughing up the nail does not mean filing it down. Instead, you’re gently buffing away the nail’s natural shine in order for the polish to adhere more successfully (please pardon the soon to be tamed cuticles).

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3. The base coat takes 30 seconds to set and each layer of colored polish takes approximately 45 seconds to cure. Although the directions say the color takes 45 seconds, an RCM representative and I agree that 1 minute works best when using the RCM LED light–just to be safe. In addition, I like to leave nails under the light for 1 minute when curing top coat (Brilliance). The above color photographed a little darker than it is in actuality. However, RCM’s Oh So 90210 is quite comparable to OPI’s Strawberry Margarita.

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4. I like French nails and found this effect relatively easy to achieve with RCM. Upon fully completing the gel manicure in Tre Chic (this includes top coat application), I swiped Sally Hansen’s White Out across the nail tips and allowed the polish to dry for 15 minutes. Finally, I applied RCM’s Brilliance and cured for 1 minute to set my French nails.

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A trick that I recently learned from my manicurist, to prolong white tip longevity, is gently swiping acetone across the nail to remove dulling agents. This tip is only good for use on gel or acrylic nails and should be done in a swift, singular motion.

Enjoy 🙂

80s Nails, Modern Lashes, and Choosing a Lash Stylist.


Xtreme Lash Eyelash Extensions are one of the hottest trends in the industry and are sported by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. Xtreme Lashes are the world’s #1 brand for several reasons: Effect, longevity, quality, and safety. However, under-cutting competitors, peddling shoddy product, are doing to lashes what fungus did to nails in the 1980s.

For readers who side- stepped the ‘80s, like my little sister, economy product and inadequate sanitation practices caused a nail hullabaloo during this era. Running rampant was the spread of fungus–and HIV. Although acrylic nails were the white-hot trend, understandably, many clients quit having their nails done. Of course, not all nail techs offered botched or dangerous services. However, this stigma sullied the industry throughout into the 1990s. However, the problem has now created an inherent sense of standards. Clients are better educated and now know how to distinguish good nail salons from bad ones.

The standard that I want for you is the same one I offer my clients. 5 little questions will help you rule-out swindlers and highlight reputable lash stylists. Ask about:

  1. The Lashes: What are the lashes like? Ideally, they should be individually attached, not consisting of a 3-prong structure, so that they fall out naturally.
  2. The Adhesive: Many, many competitors are literally attaching lashes with superglue or other epoxies. This produces horrendous outcomes. Good lash stylists know about their products and are comfortable talking about how they work. After all, this product is going to be used near your eye! My adhesive is medical grade and was originally developed for surgical procedures.
  3. Maintenance: Lashes that are individually attached w/a quality adhesive physically cannot last longer than 6-8 weeks; this is the length of the hair growth cycle. Also, individually attached lashes fall out naturally, without pulling or damaging the lash bed, and will require fills between full sets. If someone offers lashes that do not require fills, or last longer than 6-8 weeks, run. They are either gluing the lashes to the skin w/ superglue, or are liars. No one likes a liar.
  4. Cost: High quality products are never inexpensive, so eyelash extensions shouldn’t cost less than $100/set. Ever.
  5. Portfolio: Good salon professionals offer clients a portfolio because they are proud of their work. Although experience often yields professionally photographed and re-touched photos, ask for “natural” before and after shots so that you can see how the lashes will really look.