(1) I have been looking for a nice creamy yellow for a while now... and finally found "Rocco" in the ibd Just Gel line. Sunday, I tried to use it, and it went on really thin & streaky. After THREE coats, I could still see bared spots. My original plan was to do black & white dots in a gradient over it, but with as thin as it was, I decided maybe glitter or a coat of Gelish neon yellow over it was good idea.
I talked to a cosmo (full Cosmetologist) friend of mine and she said, "How about a neon/glitter sandwich!?!?" So, we settled on a glitter. In the meantime, I applied one coat of "Honey Ryder", which I LOVE, but being traditional polish, it doesn't hold more than a few days (at least, not on my RIGHT hand). I used OPI remover to get the Liquid Sand off (since I topcoated the Just Gel with OPI's Axxium topcoat -- which is not acetone-permeable -- the gel polish was not affected), buffed with a 240g, wiped with IPA99, applied a coat of Axxium "Glow Up Already", cured, applied a thin coat of Gelish "Copa Cabana Banana", cured, Axxium Soak Off top coat, cured, wiped with IPA99 again, and applied CND Solar oil. Finished photo will be posted on my work page later today.
(2) I originally bought 10 CND Vinylux shades, and a top coat, to see how it held up to the hype (I later bought four more). It's being touted as "7+ day wear, no base coat required, dries in 8 1/2 minutes, removes in one minute, gets stronger in natural sunlight, no lamp required"... and I wanted to give it a test (or three).
* Client A (my husband) used to get weekly basic manicures with a coat or two of matte base coat (he got up to 5 days out of those). Then, I tried CND Shellac on him; that lasted three applications, and each time, at about a week, he had denting & scuffing. OPI GelColor holds much better, so we've been doing that for the last year, and he gets a full two weeks out of them (probably could get more, but I never recommend going any longer than that, since over time, the product becomes brittle & harder to remove). With Vinylux, we got a full week, but there was definitely scuffing (similar to those he had with Shellac) and a couple of tiny chips (remember, though, he's working & using his hands & using tools in our garage). His verdict? "Exactly what they say; I got a week's wear; could probably have gone longer if you wanted to test that. Better wear than traditional polish, and I liked that it was dry faster... but I don't like the smell" (remember, since it's an enhanced traditional polish, it still has the VOCs present; make sure your room is vented).
* Client B has been wearing traditional polish and doing weekly manicures for a few months (taking a break from CND Shellac, which lasted 10-ish days on her, but she didn't want to try OPI since it took a bit longer for application & removal -- by about 7 minutes -- and she has zero patience... lol). She, too, liked how fast it dried. The morning after I did them, she went to Nantucket (she'll be gone a few weeks), so I had to get her report by text. Her specific words: "LOOKS BRAND NEW! Love this stuff!" She sent me a pic, but it's fuzzy, so I didn't post it.
* Client C decided to try it (with glitter) on her toes. On toes, my clients typically get 4-6 weeks wear with traditional polish, then the grow-out starts to get to them. I figured that for clients who want their toes to match their Shellac'd fingernails, this is a good alternative to Shellac'ing their toes, too (an upcost of $13). Half the collection matches existing Shellac shades; the other half do not. Matching their gel polish was something that OPI had over CND... until now. I will report Client C's findings next month; I'm curious how long these hold vs traditional for her.
(3) CND also has two new soak off gel systems: Brisa Lite Smoothing Gel and Brisa Lite Sculpting Gel.
* Smoothing is meant to give a little extra backing to clients who can't wear Shellac for the full 14+ days. I have an item on my menu called "Diva Service", which is "a very thin layer of gel (for extra strength) under CND Shellac application". I had two clients, and my daughter, try it for me. All three got longer wear than when they wear CND Shellac by itself; closer to the 14 days the company touts (& about the SAME as Gelish and GelColor last, without the underlayment of gel). Since Shellac is the easiest to do craft foils, glitter, & pigment on top of, this product is perfect for those clients. Smoothing adds 5m to Shellac's soak off time (15m instead of 10m), and an additional 2m under the lamp, which means an extra 10-15m (total) in my chair.
* Sculpting is meant as a traditional enhancement, but they recommend nothing longer than "medium length". To make it easier to understand, I tell my clients it's an "in between" - goes on & cures like gel, but comes off like L&P. You can do standard overlays, use tips, or sculpt nails longer using forms. When you're ready to remove them, you file down some length, thin them down by 50%, wrap them in foil & cotton w/remover; they come off in 30m or less. Traditional gel must be filed off, which to some, is a down-side. Even when done properly, the natural nail always loses a layer or two in the process, leaving them weak & thin until the nail grows back out. Traditional L&P has odors, which, even when your salon is properly vented, means you & your client are inhaling those vapors. So far, I've only tried it on my daughter. Her Shellac, by itself, lasted about 8-9 days. L&P nails with tips held up, but the smell got to her (even in my well-ventilated studio). Traditional gel lasted 12 or so days before they'd start lifting (she admits to not being good with her Solar oil, btw, which would definitely help). I did her first application w/tips & artwork; took about 2 1/2 hours (same as a set w/tips using L&P or gel). She caught one a week later in a window, so that one came off; I repaired it. At her rebalance (13 days ago), she had some lifting around the edges (way less than she did with either L&P or traditional gel), which I filed off before filling them back in. Sunday (9 days in), she popped half of one off; I repaired it with a tip & traditional gel (it was all I had at home). This is her redo; I'll post the finished-artwork pic, as well, on Friday if you're interested.