Favorite Nail Treatments

I’ve been doing my own manis and pedis since my days in college. I find when I pay for a mani or pedi, I’m left unsatisfied because I’m so used to DIYing my nails. Through some experience, I’ve come to love some products I wanted to share with you. These products can really make or break my mani or pedi, so I have stayed true to these products: 1) CND’s Stickey Base Coat, 2) Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment (Sheer Pink),  3) INM’s Out the Door Top Coat, 4) Julep’s Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops, and 5) Burt Bee’s Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.

I am still deciding on my favorite hand cream. I have used the Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector, but I really want to try the Rose Hand Protector, so cannot say I’ve exactly committed to a hand cream, just yet. Do you have a favorite hand cream you’d recommend? Which one would it be?

1) CND’s Stickey Base Coat

I have decided the longevity of a good manicure is as good as the base coat you use. CND’s Stickey Base Coat is so good, I would cry over spilling it. Oh, and I have! I have coupled this long-lasting base coat with CND, Julep, OPI, and Zoya polishes and have consistently found a mani that lasts for two weeks. I strongly recommend this base coat and the INM’s Out the Door and Northern Lights Holographic Top Coats. That’s a triple threat and ensures a lasting mani and pedi.

2) Julep’s Take a Breather – Oxygen Nail Treatment (Sheer Pink), $18.00 $14.40 Maven*

Come December, I’ll be studying for the Bar and I decided, I’m keeping my nails short and committed to this great nail treatment. I just bought two bottles during Julep’s JETSET promo and I am really excited to get these in the mail because I am literally down to two polish changes worth of the Oxygen Nail Treatment. I like the way a sheer pink is never wrong and how the treatment has its own shine to it. I feel like this treatment is a definite go-to when you want a polish to hold you through mid-week, in time for your weekend mani. This nail treatment has helped my nails grow strong and my nails usually peel and chip easily. See the Julep Maven link below if you want to become a Maven, which is a monthly subscription of nail polishes, and receive your first trio of polishes for free. You may skip your monthly subscription, but must do so manually.

3) INM’s Out the Door Top Coat

I have been using Out the Door and Northern Lights Top Coats for over three years. I have gone astray and have come back to this top coat because it doesn’t shrink my polish, it goes on and dries super fast, and gives a nice shiny finish.

4) Julep’s Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops, $14.00 $11.20 Maven*

I never go without my Ta Da! I will wait a minute after my last coat of polish and use Ta Da! to ensure a quick dry. I like how my cuticles are also moisturized. I love the smell of Ta Da!, also. See the Julep Maven link below if you want to become a Maven, which is a monthly subscription of nail polishes, and receive your first trio of polishes for free. You may skip your monthly subscription, but must do so manually.

5) Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.

This stuff is awesome and goes a really long way. I see the benefit of the Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream especially during the winter and when traveling in an airplane. I usually slather this on before bedtime because the formulation is thick.

If you aren’t already a Julep Maven, check it out, HERE. Being a Maven, you’ll get monthly polishes in the mail. You can get the limited edition beauty box, which features a polish trio full of holiday sparkle. The 4-piece Welcome Box is ON JULEP. ($50+ Value) and shipping is on you ($2.99). As a Maven, you’ll be privy to free shipping and Maven discounts. Feel free to skip any month. I’ll send out personal reminders on my Charmnomgo Facebook Page!

*This blog post has affiliate links that keep Charmnomgo running. Thank you for your support!

Fall Nail Polish Trends

Nail polish trends come and go with the seasons. The air is crisp in New York City today. I know it will heat up this week, but to prepare everyone for the fall, I researched a few nail polish trends. Glamour magazine said they spotted jeweled tones on runways for the Fall during Fashion Week. Each hand has a complementary, different jeweled Fall tone. Ditch the accent nail for this trend. A few of my favorites from my fall nail polish trend research include glittered nails and red nails, which are found on the Glamour magazine, Lipstick site. Please see the source below.

NAKED, SPARSE GLITTERED NAILS

The fall trend on glitter is sparse gold glitter on naked nails. I love this look because it is classy and simple and understated:

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CANDY APPLE RED AND OX BLOOD POLISHED NAILS

Red is my favorite color, so I was happy to see an old fall trend come around again. My other favorite fall trend is the candy apple red polish and ox blood polish on short nails, which are both making their round this season:

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All picture sources: http://www.glamour.com/lipstick/2015/08/fashion-week-fall-2015-hair-makeup-and-nail-trends/

Tattooed Brows

How many of you draw in your eyebrows, use pencil and powder, and are afraid on hot days your brows will come right off?

Although this isn’t an alternative for everyone, you can get your eyebrows tattooed. Here are reviews of Forever Permanent Makeup in Los Angeles, California.

Here are the pros and cons.

Pros:
Saves time everyday.
Your makeup routine will be that much shorter.
You don’t have to worry about the brows coming off on a hot and humid day, when you wear a hat, brush your hand across your face, or itch your brow.
Recovery is a few days and as long as you have Neosporin + Pain Relief ointment, it really isn’t all that bad.
You won’t have “scary face” (no eyebrows, coined by my sister-in-law) at the beginning of your day or at the end of your day.

Cons:
Your brows are pretty much always on your face. (Which they should be, right?)
If you want to draw another eyebrow shape, no can do.
If you have sensitive skin, you may be allergic to the contents of the ink. Just make sure you aren’t.
The pain!!

If you’re on the fence, or just don’t think the permanent way to go isn’t for you, my preferred way to fill in my brows is:

  1. Draw in my brows with Maybelline Twin Brow Pencil in Dark Brown.
  2. Fill in my brows with MAC eyeshadow in Omega.

I personally follow Wayne Goss’ way of drawing in brows and EVERYthing he says in his Sept. 4th YouTube Video.

*This article contains affiliate links.

I Mustache You a Question

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I love a good deal when I see one. When I saw this Rite Aid ad a few weeks ago, I had to buy this SHBDBL2010_CRM_KT_CRTN_wCLM1900stuff. This “stuff” is Extra Strength Creme Hair Bleach. Yeah, man, I’m hairy, okay?

I’ve tried the Oil of Olay depilatory cream and my skin hated me after and the smell was so bad, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Plus, I started using Retin-A Micro on my face and my skin has been uber senstitive.

Rewind into my teens. Yes, way back when, I thought about using this stuff because my
complexion is fair and my hair is dark. Well, I had a mustache and my older brother had not yet caught on about teasing me about it, so I thought of using this as a preventative measure.

Fast foward to twenty something years. I thought the Sally Hansen product would be a good idea to use this since I’ve been noticing my mustache lately. I had a great experience using it when I was younger and this stuff is great for almost everywhere. I put it on my arms, my fingers, and stomach, anywhere there are fine hairs. This stuff works wonders. I think if you have fine hair, bleaching your hair is definitely the way to go.

Why You Don’t Want to Use Hair Bleach on Coarse Facial Hair

Not to be a mean girl…in high school, there was a girl who had coarse facial hair.  I never said anything, but if she asked for my advice, I would have advised that she get a wax or thread that stuff. Just sayin’. When others can still see your facial hair after it’s been bleached, there are better options than bleaching your facial hair.

Upkeeping Gel Manicure After Week 1 and How to Complement Your Nail Shape

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Upkeeping my at-home gel manicure after week 1 isn’t hard. Sometimes I really want to switch the color, but then I think of how long it will take to take the polish off and I quickly change my mind.

I usually go through a 60-second hand scrub and reshape my nails. I really love this hand scrub from Bath and Body Works. It has a citrus, fresh scent and leaves my hand smooth. I especially like it when it’s on sale.

Next, I take a fine grit nail file and shape my nails. I have recently been shaping my nails either square or squoval. During my wedding, I had gel tips shaped oval, which I loved, however, I haven’t been able to grow my nails that long, so I haven’t had that shape since.

Lastly, I’ll take my favorite hand lotion at the moment and moisturize. My current favorite hand lotion is eos in berry blossom. The shape of the bottle ensures the cap won’t open and the contents spill all over the place. The lotion also absorbs really well and isn’t greasy.

I recently read an article on shaping nails based on the nail bed shape and size. I think this is a good indicator on what nail shape might look ideal. There are five nail shapes: oval, square, square-oval, round, or pointed.

Oval it Out
The oval shape  accentuates a feminine and graceful element on a woman’s hand. The oval shape works with many nail beds, whether you have long or short nail beds. The oval shape is versatile; keep the oval length short or keep it long. The oval also adds length to a nail without compromising the softer curve shape of the nail.

Filin’ It: To make a consistent oval shape, straighten the sides of your nail; make sure they are even. File each side of the nail toward the top in an even, arching motion with the file. Next, file the angles each side of the nail until you meet the oval shape to your liking.  The finished oval should have a nice balance between the cuticle shape and the free edge.

Square Bear (Square)
Square nail shapes are usually seen on acrylic nails and quite typically, on the french manicure. Start off by straightening the sides of your nails. Ensure there are two sharp points each side and a slightly C-shaped tip. The Square Bear is however, not ideal for when the natural nail bed is shorter and wider. This is because this shape accentuates the shorter and wider look. The Square Bear is likely to complement the longer nail bed, adding length to the finger.

Filin’ It: A medium-grade file (150 grit) gets the nail into shape fast. Begin with the tip and then the sides of the nails. Turn your hand around and straighten the tip of the nail; make sure the file is completely perpendicular to the nail. File the sides of the nail to acheieve an angle that blends in with the sides of the nail. Apply to the other side of the nail.

Square-Ovalness
The square-oval nail is, yup you guessed it, a bit of both of the square with a little oval-ness to the shape of the nail. If you like the square shape and dislike the the harsh edge, this is your shape. This shape allows the short, wide nail beds to carry the square without looking too augmented.

Filin’ It: File the nail to a square shape. File the sides of the nails are straight, then, applying the file at an angle underneath the corners, file the edges back and forth from under the nail, while moving the file up. This motion takes the corners to a graduated curve.

Rounded Out
Filing nails round is professional and you can’t go wrong with this shape, regardless of the characteristics of your nail bed. Round nails soften the characteristics of any hand because it provides a clean and subtle nail outline.This shape is great on men and women, alike. The rounded shape can make your hands look thinner if you have wide nail beds and large hands.

Filin’ It: Start by filing the side of the nails while rounding out the edges into a curved shape. Taking too much off on each side will give the nail an unbalanced look. Visualize making a square, but round the corners with the file at an angle to resolve the desired round shape.

Stiletto Pointed
This stiletto pointed shape first gained popularity in Russia. A pointed shape is a little more trendy compared to the other shapes mentioned above. Given the right occasion, the pointed nail creates length and slims out the hand. If you have smaller hands and smaller nail beds, this shape is likely to create length. On the flip side, long, slender hands and nail beds are likely to look more extreme.

Filin’ It: Visualizing a capital letter “I” in the middle of the nail is the best way to start. Create an arch that forms a line running down the nail bed. The “I” in the middle of the nail make sure that the curve to each side forming the point is even. Make sure to blend away to make sure a stiletto shape.

What are some of your favorite nail shapes and how often do you shape your nails?

Part 4 of At-Home Gel Polish Kits: French Tip Options

French Tip Options for at-home gel polishes.

Remember this? I once upon a time said that I love french manicures. Here are some reasons:

1) Always classy. Always in style.

2) It looks clean.

3) It looks always classy, always in style on mostly everyone.

4) Every season is french manicure season.

Here is what you get for at-home gel options: 1) KISS Gel DRESS french manicure, on the furthest left or 2) Nalitique’s Sensationail french manicure, on the furthest right, both on the top row. I liked they way the Gel DRESS french manicure looked,

wpid-photogrid_1435961157274.jpgKISS gel DRESS:

Pros:

  • Clean looking
  • Super easy application
  • Not time consuming
  • Best when you can catch a good deal on them at CVS “buy one get one half off,” or “buy one get one free”

Cons:

  • Peels off
  • Not enough sizes available
  • Limited number of applications

Sensationail:

Pros:

  • Comes with tip stickers AND white gel polish.
  • The application is not time consuming with the strips.
  • Number of applications are way more than with KISS gel DRESS.
  • If you want to gel-polish your nails white, do it.
  • If you want a traditional french manicure look, you got it. If you want the “clean” look, (see the photo grid, top left photo) you got it.
  • If you want to gel-polish your nails in a soft pink with no white tip, do it.

Cons:

  • When using gel polish, it takes time to clean up the polish with or without french tip guides.

Maybe I don’t need to write this, but Sensationail, hands-down, beat KISS gel DRESS.

Part 3 of At-Home Gel Polish Kits: Sensationail Gel Polishes

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Sensationail polishes are my fave at-home gel polish. To be fair, I haven’t tried Sally Hansen’s gel polish (SH) and need to try it. However, without having tried SH, I love my Sensationail.

I like it for a few reasons: 1) lasting shine, 2) collection of colors, 3) ease of use, and 4) the gel polish gives my nails a chance to grow.

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The lasting shine speaks for itself. The top coat for some reason, lasts the entire two weeks. My gel polish will last longer than my fickleness for the polish color. Stay tuned for how I end my week 1 of gel polish coming up very soon.

The collection of colors is what makes this line of gel polishes pretty cool. There are 61 polishes and there have been additions of seasonal colors, such as the following from the Spring 2015 colors.hueknewit-BREAKING-NEWS-SensatioNail-Spring-2015-collection-300x232

The ease of use has come with practice, but truly after I got it, I could not get enough. I would have to add that it makes a difference not to rush the polish job. When you go to the nail salon, there’s a reason why it takes a good three hours for the polish job to look decent. What’s more, my nails do not grow fast, so two weeks is a great lasting time for my nails.

This leads to the fourth reason why Sensationail is so awesome. I have very thin nails. Having gel nails allows my nails a chance to grow, creating a thicker barrier on my natural nail.

Have you tried at-home gel polishes? Which are your faves, and why? Please share in the comments!

Part 1 of At-Home Gel Polish Kits: Best Practices

I bought the Senationail Kit four years ago and it sat in my closet for three years. The Sensationail Kit is an at-home led light cured gel polish kit. A year and half ago, I bought a Kiss at-home gel color when Kiss sold gel polish in drugstores. I tried the Kiss polish with the Sensational Kit and it was a nightmare.  The color ran into my cuticles and I was upset for mixing brands.

Turns out, you CAN mix brands and it only took me another year to figure this out.

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After reading a nail blogger’s best practice to not use primer or the base gel coat with Kiss gel polishes, I gave the Kiss polish another try. In a series of covering at-home gel polishes, I will cover 1) Best Practices 2) Kiss Gel Polishes 3) Sensationail Polishes and 4) French Tip Options for at-home gel polishes. Today, I will begin with Best Practices.

Best Practices

  • Getting a close to flawless at-home gel polish application takes practice.
  • Using a primer will help the gel polish adhere to the natural nail, this usually comes with the Sensationail Kit.
  • The gel base coat is not necessary with the application of Sensationail gel polish, as the base coat creates a thicker application of the polish.
  • Sealing the nail edge during each application of color gel polish or clear gel top coat will keep the gel polish lasting for two weeks.
  • The first coat of color gel polish does not have to be perfect, however, be careful to not get the color on your cuticles. This will cause lifting.
  • The color gel polish is controllable until cured, so take care to clean up the polish around the cuticle with a Kollinsky nail brush before curing it.
  • Use a nail spoon or cuticle pusher, after soaking the gel polish in acetone to get the gel polish off faster than using an orange stick.
  • Lighter, multiple coats of polish, cured under the LED light, after each coat, ensures an optimal application.
  • No need to buy the finishing solution. Just use rubbing alcohol to remove the stickiness after curing the top coat.
  • When using nail gel strips like the Kiss gel DRESS Collection, ensure the gel strips do not pucker at the nail edge by filing from the top of the nail edge to the back of the nail edge and use the orange stick to push the strip down to ensure full adhesion to the natural nail.
  • There is an alleged small emission of UV light with LED lamps. I usually put sunscreen on my hands and then wipe off the sunscreen from my nail beds with rubbing alcohol.
  • Updating your french manicure is like getting a fill on acrylic nails. You may be able to see where the “fill” is on the nail. To avoid this, file the pink gel polish down, buff each nail and reapply the pink polish and gel top coat, then cure.

If you could add a best practice to this list, what would it be?

Day 3 Nails

Day 3 Nails. Wrecked. Dry cuticles and chipped tips. I’m rough with my hands,  and my polish shows. Here, I simply 1) applied tape 2) polished the tip with Essie Sand Tropez 3) applied Essie Good to Go Top Coat and 4) applied Julep’s Ta-Da! Quick Dry Drops. This should last me another three days and reinforce my tips against chipping, breaking, and promote nail growth.

Alternatively, you can apply a nail treatment – I like Julep’s Oxygen Treatment – and wait it out until Friday for your weekend polish change.

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What do you do for Day 3 nails?

Makeup and Mani(c) Mondays: Field Trip to Whole Foods to Make Vitamin C Serum

I went to Whole Foods to get my goods to make my Vitamin C Serum because I could not wait for Amazon to deliver. Sometimes, that’s just how things are: I’m impatient.

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Here is what I paid at Whole Paycheck, I mean, Whole Foods:

Vegetable Glycerin (Earth’s Care 8 FL. OZ./236 mL) – $6.99
Essential Oil (in Jojoba Oil) in Rose Absolute (Aura Cacia .5 FL. OZ.) – $10.99 (not including retail tax)
Whole Foods Vitamin C (NT. WT 8 OZ./227 grams) – $9.99
Amber Glass Bottle – $1.99 (not including retail tax)
The total came to about $30.00.

I took a print-out of my Amazon Cart as a shopping list and to compare prices. I would have paid $27.84 on Amazon.com and I would have received more in product volume. The vegetable glycerin from Amazon would have yielded 16 FL. OZ. instead of 8 FL. OZ. The essential oil in my Amazon cart was Lavender Oil, 1 FL. OZ., instead of 0.5 FL. OZ. of Rose Essential Oil. Essential oils vary in price based on the type of fragrance and whether it is certified organic. Rose Essential Oil is usually more expensive than Lavender Oil. In addition to being impatient, another reason why I went to Whole Foods is because I do not know the shelf life of the goods sold on Amazon. I wanted to make sure the products I bought had a later expiry and if I had to return the products, I wanted to be able to take it back and choose another product (Oh, what drives consumer purchase patterns!)

Overall, it cost me ~$30.00 for a customizable Vitamin C Serum (I’ll keep you updated how many bottles I make in a later post), that I can adjust from 5% up to 15% or 20%, and create with an essential oil of my choice (or not at all), which is not too bad! In addition, the Vitamin C Serum that I make at home will be free of any parabens and preservatives. If you did the same, you would have control of the base products you choose to make the serum (organic, anyone?). Also, once the product begins turning in color, you’ll be able to see it, unlike other orange or pink colored Vitamin C facial products sold at a high cost. Making a new batch every week and keeping the bottle covered or refridgerated, you should not ever see it change color. Imagine the profit margins in the anti-aging market of the beauty industry!

The downside to making your own serum is that this can be time-consuming and you’ll need to make sure the products you use to make your serum do not expire. I think the upside outweighs the down.