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:


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


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).


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.


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.


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 🙂


Good Read: Robert Jones’ MAKEUP MAKEOVERS

There are a lot of makeup books and tutorials out there, but none that I’ve seen can compare to the sage wisdom Robert Jones shares in Makeup Makeovers. For those who are unfamiliar with his work, Robert Jones is an amazing celebrity makeup artist; he’s worked with one of my personal favs, Cindy Crawford (remember what she taught me about eyebrows) and done makeup for all the major magazines. For those who want to simply take my word for it, the man knows what he’s talkin’ about, Willis.

The book is divided into three parts and consists of a collective, twelve chapters. Part one is a bit of a vocabulary lesson and focuses on the meaning behind makeup terminology. What different cosmetics do and how to apply them– and what purpose the tools serve. Part two discusses the individual and is where the book really heats up. He neatly describes skin tone classifications and the contrast between warm versus cool tones. In addition, the book discusses face shape and contouring with simplified diagrams. During the third part, appropriately titled, “Putting it all together,” Jones discusses how the reader can take what they’ve read and apply it to their specific face.

The book is somewhat repetitive, but this angle works well for the purpose of a how-to. His consistency assures the cosmetic novice and inspires makeup savvy girls. Although Jones’ writing is clear and helpful, the greatest testament to his skill is in the before and after photos. Amazing. The women in the before photos could be Walmart, Publix, or Dollar General shoppers. The results, however, reflect a sophistication projected by women in the media. The faces depicted are “real” people. That proves how good “we” can look and showcases Jones’ skill. And, of course, he shows how gorgeous ridiculously, pretty women (models) are when all glammed-up.

I hungrily blew through Jones’ book in an evening and enjoyed his perspective. His take on natural beauty is refreshing–and so is his makeup style. Wether you’re a working Makeup Artist, like myself, or are newly curious about cosmetics, Jones’ methodic book offers a strong education.

Little Ballet Dancers Grow Up to be Adult Women with Jazzy Tendencies.

I’ve loved to dance since my first class at the age of three. I remember learning the 4-count break down of the Pas de bourree, Arabesque, and mastering the basic foot work positions. Mostly, I remember feeling a strong sense of belonging and joy which urged me to keep dancing.

By the time I was five, I was ready to mix it up. I’d seen the movie, “Annie,” starring Ann Reinking and fell in love with Ann’s cool, sensual dance moves. To me, the child immersed in 1980s Miami culture, all dance was either street style or ballet. Ann’s style of dance was graceful like ballet, but edgier like street dance. My mother said the style was something called, “Jazz.” Jazz.

We left Miami-Dade and moved to Orlando a few months later. Mama and Grandma took me to a little dance studio, down the street from our new home, and and we toured the location during class time. The studio owner asked me, not my family, what style of dance I liked.

I peered through the window where an advanced jazz class was taking place.  I said, “I dance ballet, but I like jazz.” She liked jazz too and had danced with Fosse; I didn’t know who he was yet. The teens, in their jazz boots and scrunchies, whipped around the floor with grace and ended their expression in crisp, dramatic poses.

I affirmed that I wanted to enroll in jazz and my grandmother assured that I would continue ballet in addition to new disciplines. While I waited for the new dance season to begin, I kept my dance skills sharp by diligently doing Mousercise on the weekends.

I was the youngest one in my beginning class, but rocked my first recital to the tune of “Hip To Be Square.” The upper dance instructor, Miss Cheryl [O’Neill] allowed me to register in intermediate dance the following year, despite the fact that the age difference in that class was even greater. I was six and most of the kids were nine to eleven years old. Despite being the class baby, Cheryl knew that for me, Jazz was expression of emotion. I danced my heart out for her– and moved up with the big girls to the advanced class the following year.

Jazz connected my heart and body and stirred feelings I wouldn’t understand for some time– some, I can hardly decipher as an adult. Last Fall, I started dancing again for the first time since my teens. My gym, formerly known as Lifestyles Family Fitness, offered dance fitness. I was very skeptical before trying the class. Step aerobics and Zumba don’t count as dance for me. However, after my first Sh’Bam class, I was hooked.

Sh’Bam blends jazz, hip-hop–and even shades of belly dance and latin disciplines. We did real choreography. We formed friendships and encouraged each other… but, of course, like every cosmetic or product I’ve ever sworn by, the class was cancelled last week.

What will I do now? I have family and friends who dance at Florida Tribal Dance in Orlando– I’ll be signing up for my first beginner’s class in 22 years and I couldn’t be more excited to see where this new dance will take me…

What does dance mean to you?

5 Ways to Fight Breakouts

With oily skin that is also sensitive, I can always count on a semi-hormonal breakout the week before my period. To an Aesthetician, like myself, the tell-tale sign of a hormonal breakout includes blemishes along the jaw line, chin, and lower cheek area. Because I know my body, and a thing or two about the skin, I try to combat intrinsic conditions with 5 little steps:

1. Change Pillow Cases Nightly: In a perfect world, we’d all receive 8 hours of sleep per night. 8 hours of sleep, times 7 nights, equals 56 hours of sleep each week. Bacteria replicates in the presence of oxygen and skin oils collect in the cotton fibers. Changing pillow cases every 1-2 nights ensures you’re not replacing the bacteria you’ve just cleansed away.

2. Wash Makeup Brushes Weekly: Washing brushes is important for the same reasons previously explained. However, I feel this is a little more crucial simply because mid-day touch-ups occur on skin that’s been exposed to sweat, oil, and bacteria– brushes absorb these pollutants and are repeatedly deposited on the face with each flick of a brush. Baby shampoo works as a gentle, weekly cleanser for brushes.

3. Clean Cell 2x/Day: Sweat. Makeup. Oil. Tears. Germs from the counter top. Germs from your hands. Germs from your desk. On your face. Wiping your cell phone 1-2 times/ day will greatly reduce breakouts around the jaw line.

4. Cleanse 2x: Cleansing the face in the morning and at night is essential. The first cleanse removes dirt, surface oils, and makeup. The second cleanse, or lather, actually penetrates the skin and provides benefit. If you only lather your face once, your follicles may remain clogged; this leads to comedones (black heads), then pustules (white heads), and then papules (acne cysts).

5. Use Professional Products: Professional products are essential starting at the molecular level; the size of the particles is milled to a fine size that penetrates the skin with ease. In addition, the product itself is made with quality ingredients. Think of it this way: McDonald’s serves cheeseburgers which will fill you up, but a black angus burger on a whole grain bun actually feeds your body. The Image Skincare line  is organic, medical grade, and sells at a reasonable price.