Gelish Rendezvous Swatch

I’ve been postponing sharing the swatches of Gelish’s Rendezvous for a long time, mostly because it is so difficult to photograph! It is one of my favorite colors- sort of a cool toned dark raspberry color. None of the photos does this color justice!

I won’t go into details about the quality of this gel and about how it applies, because I ordered mine through Amazon, and am pretty sure the seller messed with the formula adding some sort of thinner, making the gel smell and act funny. I’ve been using original Gelish for base and top coat for months now, and am very happy with it, so just watch out for those questionable sellers.

So here we go- the pictures! The gel looks darker in real life, and is really pretty.

Gelish Rendezvous indirect daylight

Gelish Rendezvous


Gelish Rendezvous

Gelish Rendezvous

Gelish Rendezvous


Easy, Fast, Non-Damaging Removal of Soak off Gel Polish

There are lots of tutorials on how to remove SOGs out there, but many are too much effort, too drying for skin and nails, or simply too stinky! Here is how I remove SOG. I am going to skip cuticle removal part here, as it it better to do that separately anyway- you don’t want any acetone near freshly removed cuticles.

You will need very simple and inexpensive items, that generally can be found in any home, and if not, in the nearest drugstore. They are: aluminum foil- 10 pieces big enough to wrap top of your finger, petroleum jelly, acetone (plain nail polish remover will not be effective enough), cuticle pusher- plastic great for pushing away the polish, metal for removing leftover chunks, nail files, 10 small lint-free material pieces size should be just enough to cover your nail when you fold the tissue- I had a dried out wet wipe that I cut up, and liked how it worked.

Aluminum foil, petroleum jelly, acetone, cuticle pusher, nail files, small lint-free material pieces or something similar.

1. Shape your nails with polish on. This way you can see the shape and the length better, and thus have nails look better with your next choice of color. I do not pay attention to the free edge of the nail, and make nails on index finger, middle finger and ring finger the same length, and then little finger nail is shorter, and the thumb is however it looks right. Also, I make sure nails on both hands are the same length.

2. File off the surface of your manicure, this will help acetone to penetrate the gel and break it up for easy removal. Should look something like that- no shine.

3. Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly to the cuticles and skin around the nail.

4. Take one of the small pieces of material, fold it, soak in acetone, and apply directly to the nail- no use in having acetone anywhere else but on the gel itself. Here I want to say that I have tried Gelish’s gel remover, and in comparison I like acetone much better, as it seems to remove SOGs better, and unlike Gelish’s remover, doesn’t make my nails curl painfully during removal, so I suspect, acetone might be less drying.

5. Carefully wrap the finger with foil making sure the material stays in place:

6. Keep all this on for about 10 minutes, you can press on your nails a bit every now and then to help acetone work. You can do 2 hands at the same time to speed up the process, I prefer to do one hand at a time, because it is a bit challenging to do all the applying and wrapping with foiled fingers.

7. After you wait for 10 minutes you can start removing the foil by twisting it gently and pulling it off the finger, you will get the result similar to what’s on the picture below. This is Sensationail gel, and it is not the easiest to remove. Some SOGs like IBD, Ez-Flow just lift right off completely, this one is kind of crumbly, but removal method still works well.

8. You can remove the stubborn pieces of gel by gently scraping them off with a cuticle pusher. I do not like orangewood pushers, as they don’t do a good enough job and the flat surface is too small, which makes it too easy to damage your nail. I use a small plastic scraper to remove big chunks, and a metal cuticle pusher to remover stubborn leftovers. Be sure to be careful and gentle not to damage your nails!

9. Here are my nails right after gel removal- I have not applied any lotions or treatments yet, but you can see that the skin and nails are not dried out, and look absolutely normal thanks to Petroleum Jelly. The chunks on nails and skin are just gel chunks.

And just like that I remove my SOG manicure completely painlessly and on a budget! Hope this was helpful!

Sensationail Pink Chiffon

Sensationail Pink Chiffon, 2 layers, Daylight

I got this SOG as part of their Starter Kit. I do like the color- it is great for natural-looking french, and base/top is very glossy, but it is not my favorite gel polish. I feel like it is very prone to lifting off and peeling, and it is quite annoying given I am very careful about applying polish to perfectly dry, degreased nail, and not getting any polish on cuticles. Another thing I don’t like is application. Sensationail has base and top as a 2 in 1 product, and it is very thin, so you have to be very careful when applying not to get any on cuticles.

The color is nice if you like semi-sheer light polishes, but it is not easy to apply, it is a bit streaky, so it does take time to even out the coverage. On the pictures I have 2 layers, and I like that look. 3 Layers is similar, nail’s free end is still visible. If you want a full coverage, you’d need at least 4 layers.

Sensationail Pink Chiffon. 2 layers, daylight


Sensationail Pink Chiffon, 2 layers

EzFlow TruGel in Patina. Many Pictures!

I have been incredibly busy with a bunch of things at work and outside work, so never even got to share some new swatches! You are about to see one of my most recent buys- EzFlow’s TruGel in Patina. I really like EzFlow’s soak-off gel polishes for a number of reasons- they are super affordable (you can get a bottle for 7-8$ on Amazon), they are great quality, easy to apply, last really well through any troubles you might face.

EzFlow in Patina is a very beautiful color, pictures don’t do it justice. It is a very deep, almost black, mauve/brownish color, the color of dried blood, with golden and subtly multi toned shimmer. The brush is great and easy to use, 2 coats give a full, even coverage, as can be seen in pictures.

For this manicure I’ve used Gelish primer, Gelish base, EzFlow TruGel in Patina, Gelish top coat, and Sensationail LED lamp. Curing time 30 sec for base and top coat, and 1 minute for color polish. I suspect, all those brands might cure faster, but it is easier to do it this way with Sensationail LED lamp’s timer.

Photo taken with flash to show the shimmer better:

EzFlow TruGel Patina under flash

In daylight.

EzFlow TruGel Patina in daylight


And one photo in artificial light. Trying to show the gorgeous shimmer that you can see under bright light or sunlight, but it is not nearly as impressive as in real life.

Patina in artificial light

Stay tuned to see more great swatches. I plan the next one to be IBD’s Peridot- a rare one!

IBD Just Gel Burning Flame Swatch and Review

Summer heat is upon us, and I was craving for a bright, orangey color for my nails. After doing a lot of searching online I, I ordered IBD’s Just Gel Burning Flame. It’s a great juicy gel with no shimmer or glitter in it. I’ve had it on my hands for a week so far, and don’t have any chipping or peeling.

bright sunlight

The color reminds me of bright red geraniums or poppies. Very vibrant, glossy, and fresh. The shade seems to change a bit under different light.


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Gel Nailpolish

Here I am again after a long period of silence, and I want to share one of my recent discoveries. My friend has told me about at-home gel manicures, and how they’ve made her life easier. I have heard about this type of long lasting manicures before, but have always felt skeptical, and always felt like there were too many reasons not to try them starting with fast growing nails and ending with higher price. My lovely friend has been so happy with the results she got, that I just had to try this miracle manicure, and I’m extremely happy I did. I plan to do several blog entries with my experiences, step by step instructions, and useful tips.

After doing some research online I’ve decided to get myself an LED lamp. Those tend to be more expensive initially, but are supposed to last longer, since they don’t require bulb replacements, and they cure gel polish faster. There are many great reviews of Nailene’s Sensationail starter kit online, and that is the one I started with. It is sold in many drugstores and supermarkets, I got mine in Pink Chiffon at CVS for $50. The kit is very basic, but comes with everything you would need to do a manicure. All the bottles are very tiny, they claim there is enough product for 10 manicures, which is possible, since you don’t use much per manicure.

sensationailThat’s what you get in a kit: cleaning liquid, primer, bast/top coat, color gel, nail file, lint free wipes, orangewood stick (not on the picture), and 7W LED lamp.

You can certainly choose from the huge variety of lamps sold in salon supply stores and online, and many brands (like Harmony’s Gelish) claim that not all LED lamps are created the same, but I find that this particular lamp does the job just fine, and cures different brands of LED-curable gels (EzFlow, ibd, Gelish) perfectly well.

The manicure really does last 2+ weeks without chipping or peeling if you do everything right. Actually even if you don’t do everything 100% right (I messed up a bit doing my first gel mani), it still lasts, or you can easily fix the problem. And yes, your manicure stays glossy, unscratched, with perfect free edge. The mistake I made the very first time was getting some polish on my skin and cuticles, so after about a week the gel started lifting off a bit by cuticles. I gently removed the part that has lifted, filed that area (just polish) lightly, wiped the entire nail with the lint free cloth soaked in nail-prep liquid, let it evaporate, applied a layer of gel color, cured, added a layer of top coat and cured again. Boom! Evened out the grown out nails, fixed the lifting problem, and got another week out of the manicure. Could probably wear it longer, but really wanted to try new polishes I got from Amazon.

ImageThis is Sensationail in Pink Chiffon. The color is opaque, and you’d need at least 2 layers to get even color. I’m not crazy about the shade, it looks a bit platic-y, and it takes a lot of effort to get even coats, so I think in the future I will stay away from Nailene’s polishes, and will be buying ibd and EzFlow, which are much easier to apply, plus you get a bottle that is double the size, and pay half of what you’d pay for a Sensationail color. But that’s just my experience, some seem to like Sensationail gel polishes, and it is very likely that other colors are easier to apply.

Either way, soak-off gel manicures are definitely worth trying! Especially if you have a busy lifestyle, hate chipped nailpolish, and do a lot of housework. I do a lot of housework, and generally am very tough on my nails, so regular polish never looked perfect for more than 2-3 days, and this baby is as good as new forever!

I will do separate step by step posts on dealing with growing out nails, removal of gel polish, and on how I do my manicure, so stay tuned!