Friday, September 9, 2011

You asked - I answer

This is a day I will never forget. This is the day that my very first color, My Kind of Cool Aid arrived!

It has taken me two days to get this post together. But I figured I would do a post that answers all the questions I get asked most often about my nails, nail care and polishes. Most of these questions come from people who meet me randomly. Sometimes I think I am going to type up a pretty little FAQ and when people start asking me the questions just hand it to them. See people ask, but they don't realize they are talking to a nail fanatic, so I go in depth with my answer and they tend to tune out about half way through. So this way I won't see you tuning out half way through, so I am putting my questions and answers here instead. This is a pretty long post, so read it when you have time to kill. I'll put some of my favorite random blog pictures on here just because. :) For those of you who are new to my blog think of it as a Q & A and a photo recap in one. And you'll also see how all over the place I am since the pictures and the post have nothing to do with one another! Welcome to my life!

Love this photo. My friend took this of me. Everything in this photo is perfect! I just love it!
Are your nails real?

Yes my nails are 100% real. I did wear acrylics or gels for about 15 years before kicking the habit. I used to go get my nails done on and off at salons. Sometimes I did my own, other times I went to salons. I noticed every time I went to salons, it hurt. Like burning hurt. I would occasionally take off the enhancements and see rings from filing on my nails and they would always be tender and paper thin. I think this speaks more to the quality of the salons I was going to, as I believe there are some really good salons out there, I just wasn’t going to them. I noticed when I did my own nails, I didn’t have this problem, but they would still be somewhat weak. I started educating myself and learned that getting your nails done, didn’t have to hurt. I decided rather than trusting a stranger to do my nails anymore I would do them myself. I got pretty good at it too. Before I knew it my friends wanted me to do their nails. Since I am not licensed, I never really wanted to. I think there is a reason people are licensed, while I am educating myself, it doesn’t mean I know what they may know. (Although I am so into nails, that I THINK I could go in and take a state board exam and pass – or maybe I am just arrogant when it comes to my nail knowledge. But I would like to get licensed one day. I stand behind the professionals in this field, especially those that I am now finding now that I am educated in what to look for. I love getting professional pedicures and meeting women who have pushed through and got their license and take it seriously!) Anyway, eventually I decided I didn’t want to wear enhancements anymore, and if that meant short nails so be it.

I love how this design came out - just seeing it makes me want to do my nails like this!

So how did you stop wearing enhancements? Every time I try I have to go back to them because my nails are so weak.

When I decided to stop wearing enhancement I looked at everything on the market that was created to help repair nails. In the end this is what worked for me. I used Dr. G’s Liquid Diamond Nail Hardener swabs on my nails every day. This liquid soaks into your nails and is not a polish at all. Once that dried I topped my nails with Mavala Nail Shield Strengthener. This is a two part base coat. One has fibers in it and the other smooths it all out. I still use Dr G’s today if I feel my nails are getting a little weak. I don’t really use the Mavala Nail Shield system anymore though. But at the time I was getting tears below the free edge on the sides of my nails, and this was great at preventing that.

I knew it was going to take 6 or more months to grow out the damaged nails, but I wanted long nails NOW! So I was very diligent. It didn’t matter how tired I was, every night I took out my Dr. G’s & Mavala products and reapplied. I did this for about 3 months straight. By this point I was getting some free edge and my nails were getting stronger, but just not strong enough. So I bought Mavala Scientifique. Now I knew at this point that it contained enough formaldehyde that no product in the U.S. could compare. (FDA does not allow the use of that amount of formaldehyde in U.S. made products.) I read up on the dangers of formaldehyde and yup I was scared, but I wanted long nails more. Sad I know. But with this product you are careful and apply it very carefully to the free edge only. So I felt that it was a little safer in that way. And let me tell you that stuff works! My nails were as hard as rocks within seconds! No kidding! I have had my one little bottle for over 3 years now and still have about half the bottle left! I’ll tell you why. I used it for about 3 months once a week as instructed, and then I noticed my nails were strong enough that I didn’t need it anymore. In fact if you keep using it and your nails are already strong, they get so hard they will just snap off. Yikes! I would use it occassionally from there maybe once every few months or so, but not really often at all. I haven’t used it in about 7 or 8 months now since I was testing my base coat, but I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I know it's potentially a dangerous product due to the amount of formaldehyde.

SO – long story short – that is how I got my nails strong enough to let go of enhancements for life.  
This was when my hair was much longer than it currently is now and I did a faux bob in my hair. Love this look. My hair is short enough now, where if I curl it I think it will just be this length. I have to try it.

Messing around with some green polishes I created. Wasn't a fan of this in person, but it looks cool in the picture!

How do you take care of your nails?

I don’t have to go to extremes anymore. Now I try to take 2,000 milligrams of Biotin every day. But honestly I mostly take it during the week when I am working, and I almost always forget on the weekends. I do a manicure about once a week and use my base coat, polish and then top coat. I let each coat dry in between and I wrap the ends. I can get my polishes to last about 8 days with no chips and minimal tip wear. I get too antsy and rarely make it past 5 days before changing my polish though. I wear gloves when I clean most of the time and I am constantly putting lotion on my hands throughout the day. I keep lotion at my desk at work, in my purse, in my car, by each sink in the house. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was lotion under my couch cushions! LOL! I put on cuticle oil, balm or cream every night before bed. (Well most every night!) I keep that on my nightstand so I don't forget.

A stamping design I did and love
nail art my daughter did on my nails when I was sick. She's so good to me!
Do you change your polish every day?

OK so I just answered that one. LOL! No I don’t change my polish every day. I typically do change it every 4 or 5 days though, unless it’s the weekend, sometimes I will try 5 or 6 colors on the weekend, if I am creating or more if I am swatching. But sometimes I have to stick it out a full week if I am testing a new color for wear.
Fl blogger meetup! I figure if I post this I will remember to schedule another meetup! I've been so lazy lately and I miss my girls!
My fav blogger buddies - Libby's Pink Vanity & Once Bitten

How do you get your polish to last – mine always chips?

Most of the time it's all in how you do your manicure. People tell me that they chip within a day or two. OK there are a few things that can be at play here. I always ask if they use a base coat and a top coat? If the answer is no (which when I am asked this by the non fanatics, the answer is almost always no), then that is my first suggestion. Get a base coat for your needs. (Get it On is a great one for someone who has normal to slightly weak nails, issues with peeling and polish staying put. It'll release the last week of Sept.) Let your base coat dry completely before applying polish. A good one like Get It On, will dry pretty quickly. Then put a not to thin or thick coat of polish on your nails and wrap your tips with the polish. Put on a second coat of polish and let it dry for about a minute. Then apply a quality top coat and wrap your tips again. Let this dry and you should be good to go.

This book contains all my Cult Nails secrets
If you use a base and top coat and are still chipping, something else is at play here. It could be your application. Are you applying lots of very thin coats or one very thick coat? You want to apply enough polish to be able to polish your nail in three or four swipes. Don’t worry about patchiness on your first coat, it will smooth and even out on the second coat with a quality product. Improper application can effect the duration of your manicure.

If this still isn’t your issue, then you may be using the wrong base coat. There are basecoats that are nothing more than a sticky base coat to help your polish adhere better. This is perfect for those who don’t need help with their nails. There are base coats that are suitable for most, like Get It On.  There are ones for those who have weak nails, and ones for those who have hard nails,  or peeling nails and just about everything in between. Assess your nails and use the right base coat for you.

Lastly it could be a body chemistry thing. I wear many different brands of polish, but there are two brands I stay FAR away from. Others have great success with these brands, but for some reason, no matter what I do they bubble or chip within the first day or two of me wearing them. They just do not mesh with either my base coat or body chemistry. So regardless of how much I like their colors, I just don’t wear  them. OK not true if I REALLY like their color and can’t find it elsewhere, I will buy it and wear knowing what the outcome will be. Will I ever learn?
A friend of mine took this picture. I remember her telling me "Just relax & be sexy!" I was trying to channel sexy here. It only took about 100 pictures for me to relax! LOL!

This is my purple creme - it is darker in real life. I am wearing it with a purple glitter I made. Another potential color one day.

I can’t grow my nails like you, mine always break - what's your secret?

Well I gave my secret above, but here is another thought. There are a few reasons why some people's nails seem to not grow. Some people live different lifestyles. I know it’s a shock isn’t it? Some people love rock climbing, you can’t have long nails if this is your hobby! OK that is extreme, but the reality is we need to look at our lifestyle and determine what the best length and shape for us is.

Second, when people say this to me and I look at their nails, 9 out of 10 times, their nails and cuticles are a friggin mess! The nails are all different lengths and shapes and their cuticles are ragged or dry. Well um if you didn’t brush your teeth every day, would you expect to have fresh smelling breath and a mouth full of pearly whites? No you wouldn’t! So if you ignore your nails and don’t take care of them, what do you expect? Yes I just compared peoples nails to stinky mouth with bad teeth. LOL!

The key to healthy nails is maintenance, just like your teeth. You need to make a routine of it. When you wash your hands, use lotion. Your hands and nails need to be moisturized regularly. File your nails in a shape that works for you. Don’t just trim them, file them to soften the edges. A glass file is great as it will seal the edges and prevent breaks in the future - check out the Cult Nails glass file, it's the best one ever!! Apply some type of cuticle oil, balm or crème once a day. And at the very least a treatment base coat to help protect your nails. You will see a difference immediately! And remember, your nails are jewels not tools. Stop using your nails to open a can, or to peel a sticker. Treat them nicely and you will be rewarded with nice nails. All this takes hardly any time too! Just a few minutes a day and maybe another 30 minutes more one day a week for a manicure. That’s it. So while you are sitting there enjoying your favorite show on TV, take care of your nails.

Some little monsters at the Lady Gaga concert. Love them!
These are more Cult Nails related questions - but I get asked these all the time too, so I figured I would add them in. Why not this post just needs to be longer! LOL

Another picture my friend took that night. Man this makes me want to grow my hair not cut it! hmm now I am second guessing this "short" hair.

Can we get more flakies please?

Absolutely! I have about 4 or 5 already created to send to the lab. I was thinking of doing an all Flakie collection, but where we need to add some more basics to the line, I am holding out. So you will be seeing more interesting flakies coming as we grow! Not to mention flakie polishes cost more to make. We paid almost twice as much for Iconic as our other polishes and did not pass that cost on. So it is a bit more difficult for us to do too many flakies at once since we do have costs to consider. But wait until you see what we have coming up! It won’t end with Iconic and Unicorn Puke! I promise you that!
Snakeskin manicure - Love this look! 

This is the moon rising over the ocean. Love the beach! I haven't been in forever! Makes me want to go take a walk!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you enjoyed this post!


  1. That purple manicure just slayed me! It's my favorite color of all time and I need both the creme and the glitter in my life like now!

    Thanks for answering these questions! I didn't realize that about the holographic polishes! I hope the FDA will approve a new product soon so that holos can come back!

    I wish you much success! XOXO

  2. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to owning my own bottle of Unicorn Puke. I love that name!

  3. Wow!! Long post..But totally worth it!! Love ur polishes..havent been able to buy yet as shipping to India is quite an expensive affair..M gonna call when someone I know is coming down from US. Cant wait to get my hands on them!

  4. So excited to try your base coat when it comes out! As much as I try to take care of my hands and nails, my polish chips *way* too soon! And I know I'm not the only one super excited about these upcoming flakies, it's just too bad about the extra cost. Thank you so much though for making your colors so super reasonable to buy, you know we love them. :)

  5. Did you remove the question about holos? I came back to read it again as I was trying to remember exactly what you said, but I don't see it anymore!

  6. moondancerjen - I am tossed between the purple glitter and a pink one I made. I wore the pink on my birthday and all my friends insist that I make the pink one part of my collection, but on here - everyone prefers the purple. I may just have to do an entire glitter collection!

    Kejal - I think that was the longest post ever! I debated on breaking it up into two or three posts - maybe I should have! LOL!

    royalmiltea - hopefully some of these suggestions helped you. When I am really good, I lotion my hands really thick and put gloves on while I clean, so I am moisturizing my hands while I clean. I noticed when I don't moisturize enough and my hands dry that's when I chip.

    Jessi - I did. I received so many emails from people wanting to buy it from me, that I thought it might be better to just delete it. :) If I can't use it in the polish, I'm not comfotable selling it. I can't wait to be able to put out holo polishes. I hope it'll be soon.

  7. Thank you, that makes sense. There are people online you do sell it, so if they snoop around enough they'll find it. I'm just wonder why the FDA banned it for nail polish. I read the MSDS sheet for it and it didn't seem too bad, besides the inhalation risk of the powder itself as it's metal particles. Wasn't the original My Kind of Cool Aid holo? Was that using SpectraFlair? I have a bottle of MKoCA and some SpectraFlair so maybe I'll experiment!

  8. Jessi - There are definitely ways to buy it easily online now, so I was surprised to get so man requests. What I don't really get is that individually each of the ingredients is FDA approved for use in cosmetics, yet together one of the ingredients is in too high of a concentration to be approved. I am no scientist, so why individually the ingredient is OK and together it isn't I don't understand. But that information came directly from Spectraflair working with our chemist. Yes originally MKOCA was going to be Holo and yes that would have been the product in it.

  9. wow beautiful nail colors . really good looks and i like green color. awesome posting great your idea i love it