Grad School: Defeated & An Update

I wrapped up grad school slightly faster than anticipated! 🎉So, after nearly five years of being a full-time student alongside my full-time professional employment, I have free time back.

Since the last post, I haven’t done much beauty-related stuff. Overall, I’ve been primarily wash-and-wear because my life was work, grad school, work, grad school, grief, holidays, grief, grad school, work, etc.

On the grief front – two weeks before Christmas, we lost a precious member of our family. Ohki, our loving, gentle giant, was fourteen and magnificent. We are heartbroken. We were so lucky to share our lives with her and we miss her so, so much.

So – it’s hard to want to bother with things that feel so trivial and fleeting when you’re in the throes of grief.

But I tried to do a few small things to cheer myself up. I reorganized my manicure supplies into a train case my husband gifted me – it’s a better solution than I had. Organization projects are usually satisfying.

I managed to give myself a festive, glittery manicure with Luxio Figment. I can’t say enough about this gel polish; it’s a beautiful, glittery neutral that manages not to be loud. You could wear it every day without it being out of place! I mean, look at the product photo found at Polished Pinkies Pro, crediting MKris Nails:

My only manicure during grad school - Luxio Figment. Photo from Polished Pinkies Pro

For my next one, I will do a grey-and-white situation (for her) with Gelaze Recycle and Luxio Coy. Having some cheerful things around you can help during dark times.

I intend to resume a semblancy of consistency, but I’m not sure what the frequency looks like yet as I figure out what my post grad school new normal looks like. Stay tuned.

Worth it? Rui Smiths Cuticle Nippers

Quality tools are something I will spend money on so I can do the job right and not replace them due to premature degradation. Since I do all my manicures at home (and have many years, pre-pandemic!), I’ve tried a lot of nail tools. I’ve tried various tools to work on my cuticles: slide-style cutters, jaw nippers, chemical solutions, and more. After a pair I had been getting by with broke, I did some research to buy a pair I wouldn’t need to replace for a long time.

Enter Rui Smiths Cuticle Nippers

I’ve owned my pair since January, now, and can’t recommend them enough. Their spring action is buttery-smooth and they cut cleanly and deftly. Just like a normal pair of nail clippers or scissors, a smooth, clean closure of the blades is key to ensure a tidy (and SAFE) cut.

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TPDTY: You Need a Glass Nail File

Glass Nail File
Things People Don’t Tell You: You Need a Glass Nail File

Of all my beauty pursuits, I am most skilled with nails – and have bothered with them the longest (read: forever). Over the years, I’ve owned hundreds of different nail files. I kept a glass nail file primarily for smoothing but never for shaping because it simply isn’t the right tool for it. As a result, I didn’t use them as often because I had other tools that could accomplish the same purpose.

For years now, I’ve given myself gel polish manicures. I did a DIY gel manicure before I ever got a professional one, and have in fact only had a handful of professional gel manicures since. It wasn’t until late 2017, though, that the same manicurist who made me pine for Icelanded a Bottle of OPI let me in on a tip.

Gel Manicures

If the capped free edge is compromised, it smooths it beautifully without further harming the structural integrity or seal of the gel polish. You can then either reseal with a gel top coat or go about your life.

Gentle

For polish-free nails, a glass nail file has a very fine grit that won’t significantly reduce length. You have to try to screw up with a glass nail file.

Carry-On

There isn’t much to say on this – a glass nail file tends to be less questionable in a carry-on when flying than a metal file. We can argue the TSA’s logic all we like, but it is what it is. I have one that is rounded on either end that I travel with to treat snags on-the-go.

Cleanliness

A glass file is more hygienic and easily sterilized than a conventional emery board.

The Bottom Line

A glass nail file has a place in anyone’s kit who executes or receives gel manicures with any kind of frequency. If you If you’re looking for a recommendation, I own this set that was inexpensive and is sturdy and effective.

China Glaze Diva Bride

China Glaze Diva Bride - Gelaze

China Glaze Diva Bride in their Gelaze formula might have dethroned as my go-to nude-pink nailcolor. I’d been wearing a lot of OPI Bubble Bath; it’s a nice, effortless neutral that looks good with everything. As it wears down/away/lifts/chips, it does so gracefully and without making it glaringly obvious that attention is required. I enjoyed it apart from three caveats

  • Accessibility
  • Price
  • Coats to Opaque-Enough

The Caveats

OPI Gelcolor lacquers are technically pro-only – so getting your hands on one as a plebe is a difficult task if you don’t know a licensed beautician. I have no idea how much they cost a pro; I know on the diverted market I can get them for anywhere between $15-20, and then there’s the question of whether you’re getting legit product or not (I’ve lucked out so far). It requires three coats to the minimum level of opacity I prefer.

China Glaze Diva Bride Mitigates Bubble Bath’s Caveats

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Sensationail Polish to Gel

This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift. Opinions and content are the same. I love this product!

I shared the above photo a few days ago on Instagram. I was trying, for science, to see if Sensationail Polish to Gel would make China Glaze’s notoriously fussy Flip Flop Fantasy (old formula!) easier to work with. It’s a monthly favorite (that post goes live on Wednesday) for a reason, after all, making my RnP > Gel dreams come true.

Unfortunately, I crashed and burned – but not because of the Polish to Gel. This stuff is awesome. Unfortunately, Flip Flop Fantasy is SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS that it could not be redeemed by this wonderstuff.

You can purchase Sensationail Polish to Gel one of two ways – alone, for $8. Or with a lamp, for $24Get the damn lamp. The lamp is new, awesome, and approximately 17 times better than the original lamp. More on that in another post.

The Superior Method

Sensationail Polish to GelSensationail Polish to Gel & China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy

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Holographic Glitter Gel Nails (aka Rockstar Nails)

This legacy post was one of my favorites to do. I’ve given it a bit of a facelift for flow and clarity, but the content remains the same! I shared these easy-to-reproduce glitter gel nails before the holo and chrome crazes took root – so take that, trends!

I recently reproduced some awesome glitter gel nails – but this time, with all ten in a stunning holo. You can see that on the BeautySkeptic Instagram.


Glitter gel nails, also referred to as rockstar nails, is a glitter-dense style is used both for accent nails as well as full manicures. This form of nail art is commonly considered a premium service (and is, therefore, more costly!) at salons, but glitter gel nails are easy and (to my surprise) fast. If you are so inclined, you can wear them all the time with minimal effort.

glittergel_11Glitter Gel Nails

If you’d like to learn how to achieve these glitter gel nails / rockstar nails, continue past the jump for details and a tutorial!

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