It’s All about ME!

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter and a poor retail employee.  I have way too much to do, and not enough time in the world to get it all done.  But… at the end of the day, once the boys are in bed, I love to take out my nail polish box and spend a little time on my nails.  I started this blog so I would have a place to keep all my nail photos.  I really enjoy taking the photos and writing about each manicure.

8 thoughts on “It’s All about ME!

  1. Hi Elizabeth, it’s Cath, you picked up on one of my comments on Marta’s chitchatnails re: Soak-Off Gel Manicures. I hope you don’t mind my answering this here, but I did not feel it proper to laden down Marta’s page with answers to your (very good!) questions.
    I’m sending this as a ‘test’, and will go into more depth for you very soon!

  2. Sorry Elizabeth,
    I tried to see if this platform would work as a means to communicate in regards to (hopefully!) answering some of your questions in regards to a soak-off-gel base manicure, but they seem to have disappeared?? I’m not overly “geeky” – nor astute in various forms of computer communication methods.
    So hopefully you’ll see this, and we can figure out another way to chat.

    1. Thanks for replying – It sounds like you apply the clear base, and top a coat in a gel form, but then use regular nail polish on top. Here are my questions:
      1. Do you simply remove the polish with non-acetone remover?
      2. Is it hard to remove the gel?
      3. Does it damage your natural nail?
      Thanks!!! I really appreciate it!!

      1. Hi (again!)
        Right. First off, once I paint over my soak off gel base, I remove the coloured (regular) polish with pure acetone (or more aptly, a mix of acetone / glycerine OR mineral oil / olive oil, as per Bliss Kiss), via a quick saturated cotton pad swipe (i.e., NO wrapping & soaking!!), and continue to swipe in the direction the nail grows until the coloured polish is gone. You have to work quickly, in that you want to remove the colour, but NOT the soak-off gel (SOG). Doesn’t take a lot of work; and SOG takes a fair amount of time before it will yield to the acetone / polish remover.
        Alternately, If the regular coloured polish is a (normally easy to remove, pastel, creme, etc), I will use a non-acetone remover, just cause I know I can take more time – and the effects of non-acetone will not effect the SOG, ever.

        Next: LED-cured gel is not always easy to remove. It takes time – LOTS of it! – and patience – to do it safely & properly. I’ve only removed my SOG once, so far (my first SOG lasted just over 3 weeks), and its removal was a learning experience! Be patient; set yourself some time to do it properly, and carefully. And, yes, it requires saturated cotton pads & tons of acetone, with fingertips wrapped in aluminum foil, for 15 – 20 minutes.
        Normally, that would be a nightmare. BUT…I see that you are a user (as am I) of Bliss Kiss Simply Pure. Which, from my experiences, tells me that hopefully your nails & cuticles can tollerate such a once-in-3 weeks form of “punishment”.
        The pay off is excellent! and well worth it, IMHO. My nails are constantly sealed from the surface (from the SOG base); I no longer need anything like ridge fillers, base coats, nail treatments; no nail polish will nor can stain my natural nails, cause they’re protected well beyond what any base coat can offer. And, I don’t have to worry about having ‘totally naked nails’ when I’m between colours.

        Right. Lastly, you ask if it damages your natural nail. No, not IMHO, if your nails are healthy to start with. But….
        The first part of any SOG requires that you buff the natural nail A BIT! As in, dull it down. That’s not to say that you should buff your nails beyond what some people probably do, but the success of your SOG will depend on having a nail surface that the gel can adhere to. Each SOG that is available these days comes with its own instructions.
        Now….Anna at Bliss Kiss advises us to NOT buff our nails. For the most part, and in most circumstances, she is correct, cause most people over-buff. But you can’t have a perfectly smooth & shiny nail plate and expect the SOG to work well.
        Having said that, you need to understand that when you remove the SOG, your nail will NOT look perfectly smooth & shiny, or at least not what you’re used to when you remove regular polish. It will look exactly as it did just prior to your application of the SOG – meaning that, your nails will be dull & look EXACTLY like they’ve been buffed matte. It was a bit of a shock to me the first time, but by the same token my nails where still healthy & strong. And, after I applied the second gel base & top coat, I realized I’d nothing to worry about. I just wasn’t used to seeing my nails so dull & matte after removing (regular) polish. (And, if you chose to stop using the SOG base, you can always buff your nails with the most delicate, shiny buff surface….and you’d be back to where you were before you ever TRIED a SOG.)

        Right. I’m getting wordy here, and not too sure if I’m making much sense. My mentor, Karen the ManiGeek at imabeautygeek.com , explains a lot of this better than I. There’s tons of things that I’ve not gone over here that she can explain much better. You can look at my Disqus history and pin-point the conversations where Karen supplied me with very helpful hints & tips.
        Things like, prep work is 90% of the battle. Thin & VERY CAREFUL coats of the SOG base, and top coat, need to be perfectly applied. You WILL burn your nail sidewalls & cuticles if there is any of the gel product on them before you cure them under the LED….
        Better you read up some of Karen’s very excellent tips on this subject, and ask more questions when they come to mind. Karen (at BeautyGeeks), and I would be pleased to answer ANYTHING you want!
        Keep in touch! And, we’re here 🙂

  3. Oh….after my SOG has been applied I do use regular nail polish – and either a normal glossy top coat (I use Seche Vite, or a matte top coat, depending on my desired manicure) just like I always would.
    The bonus comes into play when you realize that – for up to 3-4 weeks, depending on how fast your nails grow – you no longer have to apply nail treatments & base coats BEFORE your next colour change!
    And, you have the option of removing the colour while still having the comfort of knowing that your nails will remain sealed, glossy & polished-looking, even if you don’t have time to apply your next colour!

    1. When I falling asleep lat night I thought of a couple more things; I hope it helps!
      The entire process is like this:
      Start with dry, bare nails. File them to your desired shape, but keep in mind that if you’re going to keep your gel base on for up to 3 weeks, your nails are going to grow (and, you don’t want to file them during that 3 weeks because it will remove your sealed free-edge gel).
      Push your cuticles back if need be. At the very least, make sure you are happy with your cuticle line.
      Next, you have to gently buff the entire nail surface; nothing major here, but your nails can’t be completely smooth or the gel will not adhere as well as it should.
      Then, you use a nail surface cleanser of some sort to throughly clean the nail surface. Most kits come with their own brand of “nail cleanser” for this purpose; it’s basically rubbing alcohol, and a lot of people use rubbing alcohol once their gel-kit cleanser is gone because it’s much less expensive. The goal here is to remove all of the natural oils (or any product like cuticle or nail oils that you use) from the surface of your nail.
      Now, you’re ready to paint on the gel base coat. Paint on a THIN coat of the gel base, very VERY carefully avoiding any skin around your nails. (If you get some on your skin you’re going to want to remove it BEFORE you cure under the LED lights.)
      Cure your fingernails under the LED lamp according to manufacturer’s directions & times.
      Next, I immediately do another very thin coat of the base, and cure it.
      Then, I apply a coat of the gel topcoat, once again VERY CAREFULLY, and cure it according to manufacturer’s directions & times.
      After all this is done, your gel is fully cured, and your nails will be completely dry. And they will be a bit ‘sticky-feeling’, cause the last step is to remove the tacky layer with a quick wipe of the “nail cleanser” (or rubbing alcohol); I find a sheet of paper towel does a better job of this final step better than a cotton ball or pad, IMHO.
      And you’re done! Your nails will be glossy-smooth, shiny…and protected.

      You can now paint whatever normal nail polish colour you want on them, opting to apply a coat of regular top coat (like Seche Vite), or a matte top-coat should you wish.
      Keep in mind, your painting skills & techniques might alter a bit, only because you are now painting over a very silky, shiny layer. Regular base coats, nail treatments, ridge fillers, etc. usually are less smooth & glassy-like when you paint over them.

      Word of caution: glitter-bombs and such polishes that are normally an absolute nightmare to remove – you know what I mean, the ones where you usually have to soak a cotton ball saturated in pure acetone, and place it on the nail, a la Deborah Lippman- style?? – when you remove them over a SOG base, you just might start to remove the SOG too, if you’re not extremely fast & careful. Remember, the SOG should NOT be exposed to pure acetone for any great length of time until you’re ready to remove it.
      Having said that, I use acetone mixed with olive oil & glycerin / mineral oil, to remove the coloured nail polish quickly, with no ill effects to the SOG base. But, too, I usually stay away from super glitter-bombs, or at least don’t apply them until I’m into my 3rd week of the SOG.

      Also, some people do what’s called a “GEL-SANDWICH” – where you only apply the gel base coat, cure it, remove the tacky layer, paint on your regular nail polish (let it dry naturally & completely), and THEN apply the gel topcoat, cure it, remove the tacky layer. I never have, cause I don’t see the point. May as well just use gel colours if longevity is a concern…..

      WHEW!! That’s a LOT of typing!

      All soak-off gel kits & lamps (and their polish products, for that matter) are not created equally. And, everyone swears by their personal favourite.
      Also….UV & LED lamps & polishes are NOT always comparable. Some are, some aren’t.
      And, there’s a lot of discrepancy in the costs of the gel products & polishes – but that’s not always indicative of good results!

      Sorry to put SO MUCH info on your page! I hope it helps!

        1. HOLY COW! Thanks for the great information! I have been thinking of trying this, and I may need to make the jump.

          I really appreciate you taking the time to type this – I am sure it was not easy, but it is such great information!! Thanks again!!

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