Friday, March 12, 2010


Every lover of nails has one: a list of “holy grail” products that she just can’t live without. Here is mine:

Solar Oil by CND

If you've read a nail blog before, chances are pretty good that you've heard of Solar Oil! If my cuticles look like they need a little extra love, I rub some Solar Oil on them and they immediately look better! I'm not crazy about almond-scented things, but the light almond scent of Solar Oil doesn't really bother me. The consistency is amazing, and I always see results! Plus, I can buy it at Publix! My tip: I like to use Solar Oil when I push back my cuticles!

Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme by Burt's Bees

This cuticle balm comes in a small tin, which is super convenient. I love Solar Oil, but it's not the easiest thing to apply on the go! Plus, it works really well. Don't be turned off by the initial consistency. It can seem "hard" in the tin at first, but once you work through the initial top layer of product, it softens up and becomes super easy to apply. It's a bit tacky feeling when you first apply it, but that doesn't really bother me. I like that it stays on the cuticle! Sometimes you put a balm on and it absorbs so quickly that you feel as if it's not working at all! Not so for this Lemon Balm! 

One Minute Manicure

My mother actually bought me this product the first time! It's a mix of dead sea salt and nourishing oils that sloughs away dead skin and moisturizes hands and nails! After I use this product, my hands feel baby soft and look fabulous! 

Note: Barielle makes a similar product called Sixty Second Mani-Pedi, which I have not tried. Barielle's is 12 oz of product for $25, while One Minute Manicure is 13 oz of product for $29.95. The ingredients are very similar, however, from what I can tell, One Minute Manicure has a few advantages: for one, each jar of the product comes with a spoon attached to the lid, which is REALLY helpful (believe me). Plus, One Minute Manicure comes in 11 different scents, while Barielle's only comes in one. Also, Barielle's only comes in one size (it used to be 9 oz only...I'm not sure if they still sell that one), while One Minute Manicure comes in three (3 oz, 13 oz, and 30 oz) which is nice if you want to try out the product, or if you LOVE the product and want to buy in bulk. 

I haven't tried Barielle's product, but I definitely want to do a comparison soon! For reference, here is the link to Barielle's dead sea salt scrub.

In a Snap by Orly

This is my favorite top coat! It's a quick-dry top coat but it also helps my polish last a long time without chipping or tip wear. My favorite top-coat used to be Seche Vite. However, after only a day of wear with Sech Vite, I used to get really bad tip wear, so, I thought I'd try something new. With In a Snap, I now get little to no tip wear. Also, I rarely get chips, which is a major plus. It's not as shiny as Seche Vite, but it still dries super fast! 

Tip: I use this top coat for non-glitter polishes, which are more prone to tip wear.

Seche Vite

Ah, the old standby! This top coat dries SUPER fast and is SUPER glossy. HOWEVER, I also get horrible tip wear when I wear it! So, I no longer use it for cremes/shimmers, etc. I now exclusively use this top coat over glitters. Glitter polishes are more resistant to tip wear in my experience, so that's not even a factor. Plus, it's super thick and eliminates the roughness of glitter polishes. 

Nail Envy by OPI

This is one of two base coats that I regularly use. When my nails need a bit of TLC, I whip this out! It keeps my nails from peeling, which is REALLY important to me! It doesn't necessarily help your mani last any longer, but its nourishing qualities make it worth wearing. I tend to use this when I'm swatching or when I'm not going to be wearing my polish for more than 2 or 3 days. I definitely notice a difference when I've been wearing Nail Envy!

Ridge Filling Base Coat by Essie

This is the base coat I use when I really want my polish to last! It dries matte, so the polish really grips the base coat. Sometimes I just wear this base coat plain when I don't feel like wearing polish. It covers up any stains or imperfections on the surface of the nail, so you still have a bit of coverage when you're not wearing polish. This base coat is also great for people with nail ridges, and especially for those who want to wear cremes (which can make ridges stand out). 

Remove + by Zoya

I LOVE that the 8 oz version of this comes in a bottle with a pump top! I only wish that they had a bigger pump version as well. This smells a lot better than most removers. I also find that it doesn't dry out/damage my nails and cuticles like other removers can. It's more expensive than other removers that you might buy at the drugstore, but if you're like me and you only wear your polish for 1-2 days before switching, then it might be worth it to pamper your nails with Remove +.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bold & Sexy by Black Radiance

Hey nail fans!

Sorry for the long hiatus! I've been really busy traveling back and forth from Atlanta to Orlando, doing family stuff and seeing friends from home (and of course leveling up my Draenei Death Knight, who is now 75 and decently geared!)

I stopped in my local Rite Aid on the way back from the airport yesterday and bought a few nail polishes, including two by a brand I had never heard of before: Black Radiance. It's a brand of cosmetics specifically made in colors that compliment the coloring of African American women. On their website they only show their "Calcium Enriched" nail polish line, however, the ones I bought were from the "Bold & Sexy" collection, and feature a unique bottle shape.

I threw away my receipt like the dummy that I am, but I looked around online and they seem to be fairly cheap ($1-$3, depending where you look). They are also big-three free!

Here are the two I picked up, both of which are shimmers:

This is Risqué, a gold-flecked deep brown with a slight plum undertone. I used two coats and was supremely satisfied with the opacity and pigmentation. This polish was SUPER easy to apply...super flawless! It actually reminded me a bit of Borghese polishes, in both the consistency and the brush as well.

Next up, Provocative! This raspberry toned color appears redder in the bottle than it does on the nails. It is also flecked with gold shimmer, making for a very rich color on the nails!

I'm super impressed with these colors! Obviously, I'm SUPER pale and white, but even so, I found that these colors complimented my skin tone really well, even though the colors were designed for women of color.

Now, about the brush:

It's fairly wide...not as wide as some of the Sally Hansen brushes, but it still gave me a bit of trouble when I painted my tiny pinky nail. However, I actually like a bigger brush, as long as it's of good quality and the polish itself is easy to handle. This brush falls under that category, and so I really liked it, even though it was rather wide.

However, if you are one of those people who HATE larger brushes, you might want to avoid these.

On Black Radiance's website, it says that you can purchase their brand at Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, K mart, and even a few stores that I haven't heard of...HOWEVER:

As a drugstore aficionado, I have ONLY ever seen these at ONE store...a Rite Aid. That particular Rite Aid is located in a black community that tends to stock more cosmetic brands that cater to African American women. If you do find these however, try them!

See ya later nail nerds!