OPI will partner with Sanrio this holiday season to celebrate their most iconic little girl, Hello Kitty’s 45th anniversary in late 2019. This collection is sure to be on everyone’s Holiday must-have list. In addition to the new limited edition shades, we will be bringing back ‘Let’s Be Friends!’, for a total of 15 shades. All the more reason everyone is invited to this fabulous birthday party! The original Hello Kitty Collection for OPI launched 3 years ago. The popularity of the collection created so much buzz that markets requested it for a holiday collection.
About the old OPI Hello Kitty
The OPI Hello Kitty 2016 Collection landed on my desk late last week and since then, I haven’t stopped smiling. She’s so cute. She’s so perfect. You want to see it. I know you do. Get yourself a cuppa and let’s scroll through swatches. After the swatches, how about some stick pics? Yeah, you know you love those!
OPI Hello Kitty 2016 is stuffed with crèmes, pinks and shimmery things. It’s also stuffed with divine formulas and that pro-wide brush that I love. Pretty much everything is two simple coats and I’ve eschewed top coat so you can see exactly what’s in the bottles. It’s all so good. When OPI gets it right, boy howdy do they get it right!
The OPI Pro Wide Brush is flat, wide and medium in length. It’s of average stiffness and easily spreads out on the nail when pressed. The only downside to the Pro Wide brush is that it can be too wide for slim fingers or little toes.
Wide range of finishes and pigment levels
OPI 5 Apples Tall is a bright red creme. It leans a little warm, but I would consider it a pretty true red. The formula has a good, thin flow with decent pigmentation. I was able to see a bit of my free edge through the second coat, so I used three thin coats, but those with a heavier hand may get away with less.
OPI Charmmy & Sugar is a lavender-laced pink pearlescent shimmer mixed with small multi-coloured hex glitter. The metallic nature of the shimmer base allows the sheer formula to provide decent coverage. I used three coats here, and you can still see my tips on camera, but in person, it’s not as noticeable. The foil- quality makes it pretty reflective. As you can see below, it’s a bit of a chameleon in that the pink shimmer hides indirect light. You see it more at an angle. Also, it’s unique to my collection, with China Glaze Prism and Full Spectrum being the only thing even remotely similar, and they don’t have the same smooth glitter finish.
OPI Kitty White is a semi-sheer shimmer with the same iridescent quality as Charmmy & Sugar. In the swatch picture, you can’t really see that there are tiny pink and blue specks floating in the sea of icy white. I used three coats here, so pigmentation is lacking. Because the formula is so thin and smooth, I would consider this a layering colour. OPI Girls Love Diamonds is Kitty White’s closest cousin with Diamonds being more pigmented. I would opt for GLD if you want full coverage, Kitty White if you want to layer.
OPI Let’s Be Friends is a milky, cool baby pink creme. It’s thick with pigment, but I could tell on the first coat that it’s a bit streaky, so I floated a generous bead of polish over the nail to avoid streaks. In spite of that, I still needed three coats to get full coverage. Though with three coats it looks kind of thick on the nail. It looks like a neutral on its own, but next to Zoya Dot and Essie Romper Room you can see how pink it actually is.
OPI Look at My Bow! is a cool, bubblegum pink. It’s bright, but not neon and the formula is lusciously creamy. It’s a little less pigmented than I would like, so I used three coats here. Milani Color Statement Doll Face is just as saturated, but a little warmer.
OPI My Pal Joey is a true, primary blue creme. It’s really well-crafted. The formula is silky smooth and pigmented. It’s a joy to apply, delivering full coverage in two thin coats. What I love most is that it’s like NOTHING else in my stash. Zoya Sia is darker, JINsoon Cool Blue is more cobalt and intense. It’s a blue unicorn!
OPI My Twin Mimmy is a taxi-cab yellow creme. Like most yellows, it is plagued by formula issues. It’s streaky, thick with pigment and lumpy. I used three coats here and it’s still not great, but four coats would have taken forever to dry. Deborah Lippmann Walking on Sunshine and Zoya Darcy are both pretty close to Mimmy, enough that you only need one of the three.
OPI Never Have Too Many Friends! is a jet black creme. It’s really saturated with pigment, barely needing two coats. In a world where a lot of blacks are sheer on the first coat, this one stands out. That’s what sets it apart from OPI Black Onyx, better coverage.
OPI Small+Cute=♥ is a rosy pink creme. It falls between Let’s Be Friends and Look at My Bow!in tone, but is definitely on the warm side though I wouldn’t call it peachy. Just more of a soft blush. I had some issues with streaking due to the thicker feel. That meant I needed three coats for full coverage. In comparison, Nubar Cover Girl is more subdued while JINsoon Dolly Pink is cooler.
OPI Spoken from the Heart is a raspberry creme. Like My Pal Joey, the formula is flawless. Thin, pigmented and so smooth. Two coats = perfection. Because it’s such a warm shade, it doesn’t have any colour twins in my collection. OPI described it as a coral, but I’m not seeing that. Essie Peach Daiquiri is the closest I could find, but Spoken from the Heart is much much better. I’m kind of regretting not using this at my last pedicure. I think it will make anyone look more than if you like that kind of thing (my pasty self does!).
OPI Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel is a smooth fuchsia glitter mix. It’s a fine full-coverage glitter that looks like crushed gems. I only needed two coats and was happy to find that it doesn’t eat top coat. All of my pink glitters are either too warm or too light, so I’m showing shimmers next to it simply for colour reference. I’d say the colour is a blend of CND Sultry Sunset and Marc Jacobs Oui.
OPI Super Cute in Pink is a Barney purple creme in that it leans pink. Some might call it pink on its own, but next to all the other colours it really screams purple. Like the other darker cremes in this collection, the formula has great flow and delivers on coverage, becoming opaque with two coats. While I don’t have an exact match for this one, I feel like there are a lot of close calls for this shade. Formula X Gemini isn’t far off, just more pink.
OPI Say Hello Kitty is a special-edition colour that is only sold as part of a kit with Swarovski crystal bow accents. It is a hot magenta flecked shimmer. The bottle shows that some of the particles have a golden tint, but it doesn’t really show up on the nail, except to add a hint of warmth. The formula has a squishy texture that requires a thinner application to avoid lumps or pulling the polish at the tips. It’s a bit on the sheer side, to suspend the shimmer, so I used three coats. Compared to OPI Ladies & Magenta-men, Say Hello Kitty is more sparkly and lighter.
OPI Hello Kitty was a total surprise for me. Being a sucker for sparkle and collector packaging, Say Hello Kitty is a winner. And the uniqueness of Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel and Spoken from the Heart with their top-notch formulas make them stand-outs. My Pal Joey is a no-brainer. It just makes me happy, to apply and wear. Charmmy & Sugar is intriguing, but a bit too cloying for me. It feels well-suited to a younger audience. Now that we know a new collection coming up in late 2019, what do you expect? Comment below 🙂
Thinking of doing it yourself gel manicure at home and not sure what products to use and how to apply it? Great, because I’d like to show you the how-to and tips for doing gel polish at home.
Doing Gel Polish at Home? Really?
The idea of getting your gel nail polish done at home is very reasonable since applying gel nail polish is getting way easier now and it will save you money in the long run.
No more electric drill or strong-odour chemical because gel polish nowadays is just like regular nail polish in the regular bottle without the painstaking steps. There are tons of brands of gel nail polishes to choose from. Esther’s Nail Center offers just the popular ones such as CND Shellac, Gelish, Daisy DND Gel, etc.
Shellac or Gel Polish?
The first thing people usually ask is which brands of gel polish I should choose. In my opinion for doing gel nail polish at home, each brand has its own pro and contra. CND Shellac requires no buffing on nails (so it’s more gentle) but costs more. Gel polish, such as Gelish or Daisy DND, have a lot more colours to choose from and certainly more affordable. But there is more buffing process involved in the application and removal process so it’s rather harsh for the nail. CND Shellac tends to stay for 14 days or more on nails. Compare that to Gelish that stays up to 21 days.
One best way to find out is to try them out. You may go to a salon and see what and how the nail technician does your nails. Then see which one stays longer on your nails as everyone has different nail condition. Some people have a better application with one brand while not on the others.
Gel Nail Polish at Home Step-by-step
What You Need
Basically, what you need for doing gel nail polish at home are listed below. It’s recommended to use gel polish as a system to ensure the optimum result.
Gel base coat such as Gelish Foundation Base Gel
Gel top coat such as Gelish Top It Off
Nail cleansers such as CND Scrubfresh or Gelish Cleanser (blue liquid)
Gel nail polish such as Gelish Soak-off Polish or Daisy Gel Nail Polish
UV light 36-watt or LED Lamp
Nail bonder such as Gelish phBond
Gelish Structure Gel – optional, only if you have weak and peeling nails
Cuticle Oil – important to use it daily
Lint-free nail wipes or Cotton ball
Fine nail buffer block – Gelish recommend using 100/180 nail buffer but we like to use a fine nail buffer because it’s less coarse so less harsh to the nails.
To make things easier, you may purchase a Gelish Starter Kit that includes nearly all products above (except structure gel, cuticle oil and nail wipes). This kit is a great choice for everyone who wishes to do gel nail polish at home.
Prepare nails by cleaning the nails or removing old nail polish.
Push back the cuticle and clean the surrounding nail plate.
Shape the nails with 180/240 grit nail file.
Buff nail lightly with nail buffer block.
Remove the dust and wipe the nail with Nail Cleanser using a lint-free wipe.
(Optional) Apply a coat of nail bonder. Wait until it dries. Why nail bonder? Read the tips below.
Apply Gel Polish Base Coat in a very thin application and seal the edges of the nails. The key to successful application is to apply in a very thin layer. Make sure the gel doesn’t touch the cuticle. If it does you can wipe it off later with a wood cuticle stick.
Cure (by placing all fingers) in the UV Lamp for 1 minute or LED lamp for 30 seconds.
Apply Gel Polish Color in a very thin application from cuticle to free edge. Be sure to seal the edges.
Place hand in a UV light for 3 minutes for dark colours or 2 minutes for light colours. Or 30 seconds for the LED lamp.
To even the coverage, repeat step 9 & 10 as necessary.
Apply a thin coat of Gel Polish Top Coat from cuticle to free edge.
Place hand in UV Lamp for 2 minutes or 30 seconds for LED light.
Wipe off the tacky surface with nail cleaner and lint-free nail wipes.
Massage cuticle oil to the skin surrounding the nail.
Check out these video tutorials on Gelish application.
Tips for Applying Gel Polish at Home
Shake, shake, shake your polish before application to make sure it mixes well. A good shake to make your application easier. Invest in a good nail polish shaker.
The purpose of applying nail bonder is to ensure optimal performance by increasing the bonding between natural nails and gel polish. If you feel that your application doesn’t last as long as it should be, try using a nail bonder.
Get yourself a nice and handy cuticle oil, like CND Solar Oil or Gelish Nourish, because you often need to keep the nails moisturized as using gel polish can be dehydrating.
Any brand of 36-watt UV Lamp or LED light works. The professional LED light that can cure 5 fingers at the same time is preferable. With UV Lamp you have to change the bulbs regularly and takes more time to cure. With an LED lamp, you don’t need to change the bulbs, it last longer and cures in a shorter amount of time.
If you are concerned with UV Light exposure you can apply sunblock on hands or wear the UV Lamp fingerless gloves before application.
If you find out that your gel polish is thick, use gel polish thinner before application. This is a recommended product to save your gel polish life.
My fingernails are naturally pretty strong and grow long, so I like to keep them polished and looking nice. Gel nail polish is one of the greatest inventions ever… no more chipping and peeling after just a couple of days. Gel polish typically lasts about 2 weeks, and it stays super shiny like it was just applied. It protects your nails and makes them stronger, preventing them from breaking or ripping. And one of the best advantages is that it dries instantly after curing in an LED or UV lamp, so you can immediately get back to work without having to worry about messing up your polish.
I was getting gel manicures at my local salon every couple of weeks, but it was an expensive habit to maintain. After watching the professionals at the salon do my nails so many times, I thought I would try to do it myself from home. I did some research on the different brands of gel polish and decided that Gelish was the best option for me. It was easily accessible on Amazon.com and cheaper than most of the alternatives. Gelish also has a pretty big selection of colours to choose from. I purchased all of the equipment that I needed to get started for about $150, which is the equivalent of about 4 manicures at the salon. Now I do my own gel manicures from home, as well as for a few family members and friends.
People always ask me;
Are your nails real? – Yes
Do you do them yourself? – Yes
Is it hard to do? – No! It’s actually pretty easy.
Below is a step-by-step guide to applying Gelish nail polish.
Trim and file the nails to the desired length and shape.
Push the cuticles back with an orange stick or cuticle pusher.
Lightly buff the surface of each nail with a block buffer.
Cleanse the nails with Gelish Nail Cleanser and a lint-free wipe OR using sterile alcohol wipes. It’s important to ensure your nails are completely oil-free!
Apply Gelish PH bond to your nails.
Apply a coat of Gelish Foundation to each of your nails.
Cure the Foundation gel in your LED or UV lamp (read more about lamps here).
Optional: Apply Gelish Structure Gel and cure. (read more about Gelish Structure gel here)
Apply the first coat of the Gelish colour polish of your choice.
Cure the polish in your LED or UV lamp (read more about lamps here).
Apply a second coat of Gelish colour polish.
Cure the polish in your LED or UV lamp (read more about lamps here).
Apply a thin coat of Gelish Top It Off to your nails.
Cure the top coat in your LED or UV lamp (read more about lamps here).
Wipe your nails off with the Gelish Nail Cleanser or sterile alcohol wipes. (This removes the tackiness).
A few tips:
If you get polish on your cuticle or skin, remove it with a brush dipped in alcohol or nail cleanser BEFORE curing your nails under the light. If you allow the polish on your cuticles to harden it will likely cause the polish to peel or chip. Try to keep the polish on the surface of the nail only.
If you mess up it’s super easy to fix as long as you do it before curing. Just wipe the layer of polish off with your nail cleanser or alcohol (use a lint-free pad or paper towel), then just re-apply the layer.
Cure time: Typically gel polish cures with an LED lamp in just 30 seconds, or 2 minutes with a UV lamp. Read the label on your polish for curing times.
You can repeat steps 11 and 12 to add additional layers of colour if you prefer. To spice things up, try adding a glitter topper like Vegas Nights.
If you’ve eschewed gel manicures to avoid soak-off time and potential nail damage, CND’s newest 14-day UV polish formula is aimed directly at you. Take your professional gel polish service one step further with CND Shellac Luxe, leaving nails looking shining all the time and healthy after removal. CND’s data revealed that women who don’t go for gel polish worry that the process will cause nail damage, and b) they don’t want to sit around waiting for the gel to soak off. (There may also be a contingent that still worries about the UV exposure, but sunscreen on your hands will take care of that.
1. What is CND Shellac Luxe?
CND Shellac Luxe is 2-STEP gel polish system that is ready to be removed in 60 SECONDS. After their new launch of the CND Shellac Luxe line, CND claimed that this would be a game changer in the nail polish industry. To be completely honest, after trying it on myself and for a few regular customers, I have to say that I’m a believer. CND made a statement that their luxe line will take 15 minutes off of your salon time. A bold statement but again, it couldn’t be any more valid. I’ve come up with a few reasons as to why I think this line is the future of flawless nails.
2. CND Shellac Luxe colours and the most popular ones
CND Shellac Luxe is making it even harder for my clients to choose their colour after the launch. With the 65 plus shades that this company already boasts about, the luxe line has introduced 15 more. At the salon, I noticed that shades Grace, Femme Fatale and Aurora are some of the instant favourites among clients. They’ve also recently launched some more new exclusive colours which plan to showcase at the salon. Ladies, the decision making for your new colour is about to get tougher!
Here are the most popular colours my clients ask for:
Get extra shine for more time with Infinite Shine nail lacquer shades from CND
The application of this beautiful polish hardly takes any time at all. And as the CND co-founder so wisely said at the launch, “Time is the new luxury for your clients.”
We couldn’t agree more. The two-step application is the most comfortable gel application the nail industry has seen in a while. A simple first coat of color and a top coat is all that’s needed for new shiny nails. The fact that the nail polish looks flawless is just the cherry on top.
Okay, this one for all those hard working ladies who get their nails done in the lunchtime. Isn’t that good news? CND Shellac Luxe doesn’t need the UV lamp or a base coat. All we do with this two-step simple gel polish application is the colour coat and the top coat. But we’ve honestly never seen such great results all without the use of the lamp and base coat. Since it’s a smooth application and practically takes off 15 minutes from your salon time, it benefits the salon too. We can get through colliers faster and easier.
5. What are my salon customers saying about CND Shellac Luxe
My salon customers have all kind words for this revolutionary product. “It’s essentially targeted at the population that is desperately seeing non-damaging products for their nails. And I’ve got to say, they’ve done a splendid job with their all-new CND Shellac Luxe line,” says one of my customers. We’ve all been through the tinfoil removal technique wondering how much longer it’s going to take. The CND shellac Luxe boasts of 60 seconds removal time. The new formula has some microbes that soak in the remover faster. This ensures a quick and easy removal process. Removers are tough on your nails. We all know that. We’ve seen the horror show our nails look like sometimes after a removal. CND shellac Luxe allows you to reduce the amount of time you’re in contact with the remover.
6. CND Shellac Luxe Application
Part of reducing the salon service time is that Shellac Luxe is a two-step system, colour + top coat. Nope, no base – “the colour coat is self-adhering,” explained Jan. “It’s very much like putting a cashmere cushion on your nail to protect it. When you think about your nails, you’re in and out of the water, you’re in and out of the heat and air conditioning, so your nail plate expands and contracts. So we wanted to create a colour coat that would give and move and flex with the nail plate.”
CND Shellac Luxe consists of 65 shades, including these 15 that are exclusive to the collection
After shaping the nails, the manicurist dehydrates them temporarily by wiping them thoroughly with something called Scrubfresh. After that, she applies a thin coat of colour and cures it for one minute under an LED UV light. With that UV exposure, “the self-adhering polymers wrap tightly to the keratin and it will hold tight for 14 days,” said Jan. The second coat of colour follows, then the CND Shellac Luxe Top Coat and you’re done, hopefully for at least 14 days.
Wear still depends on application technique, your chemistry and how you use your hands. It might also depend on the top coat – you can choose Shellac Duraforce if you need strength, or Shellac Xpress Topcoat if you prefer.
7. CND Shellac Luxe Removal
To get the removal down to a scant 60 seconds, CND chemists increased the spacing in the cross-linked structure of the formula to allow acetone to get in and loosen the top coat and colour. Any remaining residue can be pushed off the nail with an orange stick or nail brush. You want to watch the following video to see how crazy easy it is!
If you’re a Shellac gel polish fan, would you switch to the new Luxe version? Well, maybe you will not, but you’re sure going to want to try Shellac Luxe just to experience that nifty 60-second soak off.
If you’re already a Vinylux devotée, why would you switch to Shellac Luxe? Maybe to eliminate the chance that you might smear your mani before the colour is dry? (Before 2010, one of my beauty-director friends used to mess her fresh mani right there at the salon every single time because she couldn’t flip through magazines while impatiently waiting for her polish to dry.
And yes, Shellac Luxe is a professional system intended for salon use. But if you’ve already got yourself the right UV LED light – CND-branded because then you know it’ll cure the formula properly so there’s no risk of a reaction – and you’ve studied the application process and technique from across the table from your favourite technician, you can do it yourself. And one more time: it. soaks. off. in. 60. seconds.
Shellac Luxe Resources
Learn more at CND Shellac Luxe website or view the videos below to get details about product features and other useful information.