NOTD: My first gel pedi (plus review)

I was wandering around CVS a few days ago when I went by their clearance section and saw an amazing sight: UV-free gel polish for $3! I’d been wanting to try gel polish but A: didn’t want to invest in a UV lamp and B: didn’t want to spend $12 on a tiny bottle of nail polish, especially since I tend to change my polish so often that the potential 2 weeks of wear would be useless. But for $3? Oh heck yeah, I’ll give it a try.

There were 3 or 4 colors available but the one that really stuck out was Moonstone, especially since it looks like a pretty close dupe of Zoya Skylar. Comparing it on my nail to swatches I’ve seen of Skylar it looks extremely close, definitely close enough if you can’t afford Zoya and Moonstone is on clearance at your CVS!

Since this is my first gel polish I had to read the directions very carefully. I also decided I wanted pictures, for posterity or something 😉

The directions are a bit confusing when you’re so used to the everyday *paint paint nail, wait to dry, paint paint second coat, topcoat* so I read them like 3 times before even starting. Basically you apply the activator to one hand/foot at a time, put on the color, and then swap the brushes in the cleaner and color bottles so you can clean the brush you just used and have a clean brush in your color. The instructions specifically mention that your first coat might look very streaky, and boy did it.

Nutra Nail Moonstone, 1 coat

I fully anticipated needing two coats, so I let that dry and applied another coat (which was much easier as I had a tiny bit more practice), but it still was a bit sheer in a few spots. As far as dry-time, the box claims it’s rock hard in 5 minutes; I gently checked after 6 or 7 minutes and it was still the tiniest bit tacky–I definitely wouldn’t have risked stuffing my foot into a sock and shoe at this point–but 10 to 15 minutes after my final coat it was definitely rock-hard.

Nutra Nail Moonstone, 2 coats

Nutra Nail Moonstone, 2 coats

Since it was still sheer after 2 coats I decided to add another coat, but only to my right foot. My left foot has 2 coats, right foot has 3 coats. You can tell the toes on my right foot are slightly darker than the left but I did thicker coats on my left foot so they balance out well.

And a close-up comparison of 2 coats (left) vs 3 coats (right).

The final color was very nice, the texture was a tiny bit lumpy but that could be because I took too long to apply it. The finish is a nice mid-glossy finish, I’m not sure if it’s safe to add topcoat to this so I skipped it but I may experiment with glossy and matte topcoats in the future. Overall, definitely a great buy! Being a frugal lacquer addict I still wouldn’t buy it for $12 but for the price I paid I’m quite happy with it.

When using this polish be very careful to apply only to the nail, I got some on my cuticles and skin and it really does dry hard, almost acrylic-like (though not quite as strong) and it was difficult to remove without chipping the rest of the polish.

Let’s see how it hold up! I’ll update in a couple days.

  • Nutra Nail Moonstone

Disclaimer: This product was not sent to me for review; it was purchased by me and no compensation has been given to review this product.

Update 13 days later: ok, it’s been almost 2 weeks now and just 2 days ago I started to notice the first chips. 12 days after application I had lost all the polish on one toenail and I had 3 or 4 big chips, mostly in my big toes. This color lasted a great amount of time, even lasting 2 whole days stuck in hiking boots. My toenails always last longer than my fingernails so if I used these on my fingers I’d probably get closer to a week+ of wear out of them. This would be GREAT for a mani/pedi before going on a long vacation!

I didn’t notice a real difference in wear between the 2 coats vs the 3 coats, the nail that chipped off entirely was from my 3-coat foot but I think that was just coincidence.

Removal was definitely harder than even the average glitter mani/pedi, it took lots of scrubbing with pure acetone and still took about twice as long as usual. Some of the polish started flaking off while I removed it, which was nice.

Overall, I’m really happy with this polish, I think I’ll be using it for pedis and on my mom’s nails (since she always chips hers off after a few days)

NOTD: Simple purple pedi

I wanted a really simple pedicure yesterday. I needed something on my toes before I went out to run errands and have dinner with the in-laws and Rea was just sitting there, quietly, knowing it’s been far too long since I used her. She didn’t hold anything against me though, she knows she’s one of my favorites and that I’ll always keep coming back to her 😉

I slapped on a couple quick coats of Rea but I knew she needed something more. Nail stickers!! I haven’t used them in a while and I didn’t have time to do anything freehand. I think they’re just what this pedi needed, don’t you? And don’t these shoes just show off my toes perfectly? I got them a couple weeks ago and wear them every chance I get!

  • Zoya Rea
  • Broadway nail stickers

NOTD: A still more glorious dawn

I adore Symphony of Science. Symphony of Science is a collection of scientists’ quotes set to music. Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Brian Cox, Jane Goodall, Richard Feynman, and so many more. SoS is what really got me interested in science and space; I’d always been interested in science to a degree in school but it didn’t capture my attention the way SoS did. I haven’t bought music in years but even on a limited income I bought the Symphony of Science collection because I just find it so amazing. Please check it out, the person who makes it is wonderful!

I was inspired by the 31-day challenge for this pedi. One of the days is “Inspired by a Song” and the song “A Glorious Dawn” has always been my favorite. There’s a line in the song in which Carl Sagan says “A still more glorious dawn awaits; not a sunrise but a galaxy rise”, and the mental image that conjures is simply mindblowing. I try to capture my mental image in this pedi but it still doesn’t do it justice.

Doesn’t it look sort of like a galaxy rising over the side of the moon, though? Next week’s theme is space….man, I’m gonna love this upcoming week!!

  • Beauty Concepts metallic blue
  • Custom franken Blue Box
  • Wild n Crazy Crush on You
  • Wet n Wild 9.0.2.1.Orange
  • Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow
  • Wet n Wild Wild Orchid
  • China Glaze Electrify
  • e.l.f. Golden Goddess
  • Sally Hansen Wet Cement

NOTD: Autism awareness

Oh look, another mani/pedi that’s for a cause! I’m on a roll with these. I’ve also completely disregarded that this week was supposed to be “vibrant”, it unofficially became purple week and now I’m breaking my rule and doing blue.

April is Autism Awareness month and the color associated with it is blue. I’ve been seeing a lot of blue mani/pedis this month and I decided to join in. In honor of autism awareness I mixed up my own glitter polish with silver and blue holo glitters. It also reminds me of Doctor Who’s TARDIS 🙂 Sadly the glitter I have bleeds out into the clear coat I use so the base has a slight purple tinge but over blue you can’t tell. It was so hard to photograph but this is the one that turned out best. Next time I use the glitter I’ll do a manicure so it’s easier to see.

  • Beauty Concepts metallic blue
  • Custom franken Blue Box

NOTD: The Day of Silence

I’m almost done with week 1 of my 13-week challenge! Only 3 more months!

Friday, April 20th, is an important day for me for two reasons: first and foremost because it’s my mommy’s birthday!! We’ll be having a day of sushi, movies and manicures–you can’t beat that!

Friday is also very important to me for another reason. Friday is the Day of Silence, the day in which we acknowledge members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community who have, for various reasons, been silenced, and it also protests the bullying and harassment of LGBT people and their allies (people who support equal rights for LGBT and straight/heteronormative people). I also interpret this day to honor those of the LGBT and their allies who have been killed or have killed themselves for simply being themselves and desiring equality and for not being supported. This day is honored by taking a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBT students and their supporters.

My partner and my mother are very aware of LGBT rights and therefore I’ll still be able to celebrate my mom’s birthday without resorting to texting or using sign language, but any time I am out of the house on Friday I will be silent. I’m sure it will be strange to some for me to be silent, especially since I’ll be going to a restaurant I go to frequently, but I will be asking my mom to explain to them why I am silent. I will be wearing a purple shirt (a color I’ve seen associated with LGBT a lot, if I had a rainbow shirt I’d wear that) and a black armband in memorial of those who have been killed or who have killed themselves due to bullying and for not being accepted for who they are.

Today, tomorrow, Friday, and every day I honor those who have been victims of violence and oppression. It’s a small thing, and I’m just one person, but enough “just one person”s can change the world. Check out the NO H8 Campaign to learn more about supporting equal rights.

On a more playful note, I’ve decided to do my toes in reference to a group of characters from the new Doctor Who. They’re called The Silence and you only remember them while you see them, as soon as you don’t see them you forget them entirely. To help the Doctor and his companions remember the Silence they would write tick marks on their bodies, so I’ve done tick marks on my toes.

  • Sally Hansen Whirlwind White
  • Milani Black Sketch
  • Milani White Canvas (for touchups)
  • Generic red striper
  • China Glaze Ruby Pumps (for heart and stamping)
  • Konad special black
  • Sally Hansen Wet Cement
  • BM-202

NOTD: Matching mani/pedi

This has been a crazy weekend so I actually didn’t get the chance to post Thursday’s NOTD. I hope you can all forgive me!

I did my toes a few days ago and since I was going to be out talking to people all day Saturday I had to do a matching manicure. I was so happy to find out that my Bundle Monster set had the very same flower used in the French tip stamp I used on my toes so that I could put a coordinating flower on my fingers! This was also the second time I’d used my Konad special black polish and WOW does it really make a difference. I’d been trying to use Wet n Wild Black Creme and I just couldn’t get it to work but this stuff always works. It’s really a minor investment if you plan on doing lots of stamping 🙂

I’m still learning the special little tricks on how to do perfect stamping so as you can see on my toe I didn’t let the stamping polish dry for long enough and it smeared. I was impatient, next time I’ll let it sit for longer, since it ends up being so thin on the nail it should dry pretty quick though.

Oh, and I took this picture on my new (King sized even though my bed is a Queen! I feel so decadent) comforter. Doesn’t it match nicely?

  • Custom franken Lothlórien Forest
  • Konad special black
  • BM-220
  • BM-207

NOTD: Smoky green with stamping

Yesterday I had a successful shoe shopping trip!! This is a rare and joyous occasion as I’m a weird size (between 10 wide and 11 wide) and I can almost never find cute, comfy, and affordable shoes. But yesterday I found two pairs! Ok, one pair isn’t exactly comfortable, but they’re cute enough to make up for it 😉 And the other pair is a very cute sandal that shows off my toes.

Later after I got home from my shopping trip I stubbed my toe and got a huge chip in it so, of course, I needed to do a new pedicure. This is so far from my usual color but I just find myself coming back to it. Perhaps because it has a special place in my heart, it was my first franken I ever made. I did a bit of stamping with my Konad special black polish on top. In fact, I tried a new method of stamping since I was impatient about my toes drying (keep an eye out for a tutorial, assuming my pics turned out good 😉 ). Please pardon the dry toe skin, my feet are very finicky.

I’m still working on making sure my stamps transfer entirely but let’s be honest, anyone who gets that close of a look at my toes probably doesn’t mind that the stamp didn’t transfer perfectly.

  • Custom polish Lothlórien Forest
  • Konad special black polish
  • BM-220 plate