OPI Gelcolor

OPI Gelcolor - Icelanded a Bottle of OPI

To date, I own two OPI Gelcolor polishes.

  • Bubble Bath – because I am boring practical it is pretty and simple.
  • I’m Not Really a Waitress – because it is a classic. As soon as I knew it existed in the OPI Gelcolor formula I had to buy it.

I’d own more if it weren’t so damn difficult to get my hands on. Like full-sized Gelish bottles, OPI Gelcolor is officially distributed only to professionals. You know, so us plebeians don’t destroy their reputation or something.

OPI Gelcolor Key Points (Mini-Review)

My experience with OPI Gelcolor has been overwhelmingly positive. The two colors I own:

  • apply with relative ease. On a five point scale, I’d rate it a 5
    (for reference, I’d call China Glaze Gelaze a 4 in ease of application, Red Carpet Manicure a 3, and Gelish a 2)
  • cure properly in both my original and new Sensationail LED lamps without issue
  • wears gracefully and with longevity – I usually get 12 solid days with my application.
    (important note: I don’t have the full OPI system – I don’t use their base and top coat when I DIY!)
  • soak-off removal is easy

The bad news:

  • INRAW isn’t quite the same as the classic, regular nail polish formula.
    This isn’t uncommon with gel versions of existing colors.

In short – I really enjoy the product even if my classic favorite is a bit different.

Deviating from the Norm

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Sensationail Express Gel Application & Wear

Sensationail Express Gel

A few months ago, a commenter asked if I had tried Sensationail Express Gel ($6) At the time, I had not yet heard of the product and was left baffled.

Getting my Hands on Sensationail Express Gel

I was surprised to see that Sensationail Express Gel has such mediocre reviews; after all, their original line is pretty solid. It was my first gel polish product and although I wouldn’t call it the best ever, it is reliable and I repurchase. I endeavored to try and judge Sensationail Express Gel myself; I eventually picked up a bottle with the few dollars I had remaining on a Target gift card.

So far, I’ve only seen the product in Target.

About Express Gel

Express Gel, which first launched in the UK, seems similar in concept to their ill-received Fuse product. Sensationail Express Gel claims to be a base coat and top coat free product featuring no cleansing. It supposedly requires less application effort than China Glaze’s Gelaze product.

Sensationail Express Gel may be cured with their old or new LED lamp and cure times are similar to their classic product. Cure times may vary slightly from color to color, so be sure to check the packaging. Sensationail suggests that darker colors may take longer to cure.

Application

Like every gel polish, I prepped my nails with a quick buff and wash. Next, I applied the dehydrating primer to each nail. Then, I applied the colored gel polish to each nail and cured.

The color I chose, My Cherry Amour, was nearly opaque in two coats. I could have stopped there but decided on doing three for super-full coverage. It applied easily and without a fuss.

Wear

Applied as-intended, I got six days of wear without any chips. It isn’t bad, per se, but I have higher expectations when it comes to gel manicures. I removed and reapplied with a single coat of Sensationail’s top coat – and got 12 days!

Twelve days of wear is definitely acceptable for a gel polish by my terms. I was satisfied.

Removal

Application was easy, but removal was another story. Unlike most other gel nail polishes, including Sensationail Classic and Gelaze, this required some work to remove.

I’m a bit of a punk and don’t remove my gel the intended way. For the most part I can get it to pop right off (yes, without damage – otherwise I wouldn’t do it) without soaking.

Express Gel, however, required the whole nine yards; buffing the top layer. Soaking. Scraping away with their metal removal tool (though an orangewood stick would do just fine).

The Bottom Line

Even though removal was annoying to me, I think Sensationail Express gel is a nice addition to the line. Apparently, there are colors that are full-coverage in 1-2 coats. I personally wouldn’t wear without a top coat, but a total of only 2-3 coats vs. the conventional 4-5 makes the process much faster.

At this time, I’m uncertain as to whether or not I would buy more colors in this formula. I think if the color were unique to me, I would – but otherwise I might pass because the extra steps don’t bother me.

2016 Favorites

I’m sticking to last year’s annual favorites format because it worked well.

2016 Favorites - Garnier & Simple Micellar Water

Garnier Micellar Water, $7; Simple Micellar Water, $8

If I had to pick a single type of product to name as a favorite in 2016, I’d have to say micellar water is it. I like both of these and purchase whichever is a better value at the time. I’ve totally given up makeup wipes in favor of using this with cotton pads or a reusable makeup removing cloth.

Pantene Pro-V Stylers Mousse, $6

This mousse is my, “daily driver.” Out of the (average) 135 days per year I blow-dry my hair, this product is in my hair at least 95 of them. (The remaining ~40 is either hyper-lazy, product-free, or calls for the big guns.) It is accessible, inexpensive, and reliable – and it works well on my hair.

Gimme Brow

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December 2016 Favorites

Isn’t it funny how much faster time seems to pass as we age? Not to start the year off on a dark note, but I’m pretty sure I just wrote my December 2015 Favorites. Wildly, this is my fourth December Favorites post (2013, 2014). I ended up trying and becoming rapidly obsessed with a lot of new stuff, so this was pretty difficult! Unfortunately, my nice tidy graphic was eaten by a grue, so I’ll be sharing in-line images in my December 2016 Favorites.

December 2016 Favorites - Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner, $20

The same Sephora in JcPenney set that the NARS pencil I am now obsessed with came in had this. I’ve really wanted to try one of the Heavy Metal Glitter liners forever, but I couldn’t justify $20 on one. Being unable to try it and being unable to wear it to work caused it to rank low on my wish list. (The set was only $30, so it was a solid value.) I wore it a lot during December; between the holidays and a staycation I was like, “Why not glitter?” It’s really easy to apply, it stays on well, and damn it’s pretty. I want all of them.

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NARS Blush, $30

I bought my first NARS blush ($30) while taking advantage of an Ulta Platinum discount. I didn’t go with their bestseller, Orgasm – and instead went with an equally-shadily-named one, Deep Throat. I’m satisfied with my drugstore blush (from elf and Milani), and I like my two Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes… One use of this stuff, though, and it is no wonder why NARS slays the blush market. It’s gorgeous, and I’m glad it is in my life.

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Esarora Brush Cleansing Mat, $12

When I wrote about the Real Techniques Brush Palette, I mentioned that I wouldn’t shell out for a Sigma mat. And that rings true, I wouldn’t and won’t. But I would spend $10 on this Esarora one on Amazon (Regularly $13, I picked it up on Lightning Deal a while ago). I like it a hell of a lot more than the Real Techniques one – it’s a lot easier to use, and definitely nowhere near as awkward. It also comes with a small circular one for travel.

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Dearfoams Sweater Slipper Boots, $32

In my area, winter weather started well before the solstice. Costco had a great deal on these Dearfoams slippers ($13!) so I grabbed a pair and love them – they’re warm and comfortable, and unlike other slippers, they don’t feel like they’re going to fall off your feet as you walk around the house. Amazon still has them for about $32. These are not intended for outdoor wear.

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Woodwick Yuletide Wreath, $10

I came across this candle while running an errand for my mom at Hallmark. It’s interesting – I don’t normally go for the pine-y, balsam fir-esque scents, but this one snared me. I was already stocked up on North Pole by Yankee, but I after smelling this I required it in my life. It just smells like Christmas, and in a year where I was feeling uncharacteristically un-Christmas-y, I wanted that. Provided they don’t get discontinued, Yuletide Wreath ($10) will be a staple in my holiday candlescaping shenanigans.

OPI I’m Not Really a Waitress, $8

Even though I’ve been more into neutrals lately I am still a lover of red nail polish. I’ve been wearing I’m Not Really a Waitress for ten years now (I just typed that and feel uncomfortable) and it hasn’t gotten old yet. I’ve  I own the GelColor version ($20) (which isn’t quite the same as the original but I still <3 it) and I got a pedicure with the regular stuff the week before Christmas. I bought mine from Amazon, but it doesn’t appear to be stocked there now.

RIP KvD Painted Love in Adora

Lipstick, by its very nature, does not have a generous shelf-life. I went to use Adora around December 16 and found that it was no longer good. Oh well – I’ll just have to buy it in the Studded Kiss formula. I hope it is still as good!

What did you love in December?

Foolproof Beauty Gifting (Last Minute!)

I’m moving Wednesday’s post to Tuesday due to its urgent nature. Did you wait until zero hour to accomplish your holiday shopping? Or did you maybe think you were done only to realize, “Damn! I forgot someone,” where that someone happens to be a beauty enthusiast? You’re down to the wire.

Buying foundation or concealer for your recipient is generally a bad idea unless you know their EXACT shade or unless you leverage an e-Gift feature like Urban Decay’s that let’s the recipient pick their shade. Lipstick can be equally challenging because subtle nuances can take a product from wearable to NOPE pretty easily (but this 4pc Clinique Honey, Honey set [$25] is a safe bet!).

I got you. In addition to the guide I did a couple weeks ago, I’ve put together a foolproof beauty gifting guide. Most of these products can be purchased from retails offering shipping in time for Christmas to save your ass, and the ones that aren’t are available at retailers. Buy online and pickup in store where possible to save your sanity, and to also reap the benefits of eBates.

Mascara

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