Category Archives: Deals and Steals

Who Needs Minx Nails?

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Hello my fellow nail fans. I *almost* didn’t do a post on this subject because this isn’t my nail art. But they got so much attention that I wanted to tell you all about how cool they can be. I like to peruse the clearance sections at Sally Beauty, Ulta, Target, grocery stores, etc. for any kind of nail products that might be on a deep discount. I found these babies at Sally Beauty and thought, “Wow those look like Minx nails!…wait $5.00?! They’re MINE!”

So if you don’t know about Minx nails, a brief description: basically they’ve patented a solid coating that can be applied to natural or artificial nails using heat and pressure. They look like sets of nail-sized sheets of pre-designed nail art and they come in ALL SORTS of colors, patterns, images and metallic finishes. Here’s an example of a few sheets of them:

They’ve been around for a few years and there are many imitators but one thing that, in my opinion, set Minx apart and keeps celebrities like Rihanna, Beyonce, Victoria Bechham, and Katy Perry coming back for more is their use of metallics. There is no nail polish (that I’ve found so far) that can match the mirror-like reflective metallic finish of Minx nails. If you wanted that flashy metallic finish on your nails, you’d better be ready to plop your butt down in a Minx-certified nail technician’s chair and pay up to $65 for a manicure ($85 for a pedicure) to get them done properly. Oh and they usually last about 4 to 8 days for a manicure…yep…up to $65…for as little as 4 days. Guess what has 2 thumbs and wasn’t in line for Minx nails? *points thumbs at myself*

But it’s been a few years since Minx got popular and imitators (like Dashing Diva) have created their own Minx-like nails for the at-home nail diva like myself. I found these babies in a package that looked like this and purchased them without a second thought. I ended up saving them for this past weekend for Halloween! The quilted appearance is actually a raised texture and they definitely caught the attention of friends and strangers alike…one lady in an elevator with me reached out and rubbed one nail then caught herself and apologized. I’m used to people staring at and touching my hands so I wasn’t offended at all…but it was funny. :-D

So these, like many fake nails can be applied with special 2-sided adhesive nail stickers for super temporary use (like a day) or with nail glue for a longer lasting manicure. I opted for nail glue but first I prepped my own nails by applying 2 coats of top coat. I also jazzed them up a little by filing them down from the square tips you’ll see in the picture below to the almond shape in the top picture, my current favorite nail shape. I think the almond shape looks so edgy yet feminine and elegant; a nice middle ground between the borderline scary stiletto nail shape and the regular old square or round nail tip. It makes my fingers looks so long and graceful….ok let me stop looking at them and wrap this post up. Yes I am typing this post with them affixed to my nails RIGHT NOW. Gosh, I love these. And I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more like them.

So don’t be afraid of fake nails folks!! Just make sure to protect your natural nail and you too can enjoy the look of celebrity nails at a greatly reduced price.

The original square nail tip shape…

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…filed down to almond tip shapes. You can even see my reflection in the facets of the nail surface!!!

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Look at that shine in the direct sunlight!!!

Julep Nail Color – Save more than 50%! Expires June 2nd

Hi nail polish fans,

My Lucky Magazine daily email today featured a new nail polish brand called Julep. Now the deal is for a “Must-have Summer Polish Set” that includes 4 fun colors for the summer and cuticle oil for $27.93 (regular price $64.95). Whenever a new polish brand enters an already crowded nail product market, I take notice because it must have taken quite a bit of work to get to the level of being featured by Lucky Magazine.You’ll have to go here, pick the Julep Summer Must Have Set and enter ‘luckydaily3′ at checkout to get the Lucky Magazine Deal. This deal is only good until June 2nd at 10:59 a.m. (it started today at 11:00 a.m.)

Julep is a nail parlor and product company that originated in Seattle, WA with the goal of providing a healthy, relaxing, empowering environment for women in groups to be able to sit down and enjoy each others’ company while being pampered. ‘Nail parlor, eh?’, I thought. Sounds fancy! :-D I went to their website and checked out the About Julep page and was intrigued to find that PBS has profiled the company on their show “Trendspotting”. It was a VERY interesting video! Their 4 nail parlors are in Washingston so I won’t be able to take part in the full experience anytime soon but $27.93 for 4 polishes and cuticle oil for a brand with the $14/bottle price point is a deal.

I like their vision and what the company stands for in making fashion-forward, environmentally-friendly, healthy products. Let me know if any of you guys take a chance on Julep and pick up this deal today.

Free Zoya Summer Nail Color TODAY ONLY

Great googly moogly! I don’t know why these sites give so little warning, but TODAY ONLY UNTIL 11:59pm, Zoya is giving away one of their summer nail colors FOR FREE, all you have to pay for is shipping and handling! You can choose one from their Summertime, Sunshine, or ModMatte collections.

Quick background about Zoya – While many popular nail polish brands boast that they are “3-Free” (which means their formula is Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene), Zoya is actually “4-free” as none of their formulas contain the above 3 nor do they contain camphor. Zoya is also a vegan company! Zoya is quickly gaining popularity and now is a great time to try it for yourself. Click here and you’ll be taken to the Zoya blog page that explains how you can claim your free bottle of polish. But do it today!

If you’re interested in what chemicals actually make up nail polish, check out this article from the Nails Magazine site explaining how nail polish *works* and the whole deal about terms like “3-Free”.

Method and Products for a Long-Lasting Manicure

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Alpha and Omega…of a manicure

More so than any other question about my nails, I’m asked what makes a long lasting manicure. If you’re willing to pay extra money at select nail salons, you may want to opt for Soak-Off Gel Polish (the pros and cons are described in detail here on All Lacquered Up). There are several companies that make it but most are familiar with the OPI brand, who makes a line called Axxium Soak-Off Gel Polish. Another option that is growing in popularity is CND (Creative Nail Design) Shellac, which is a hybrid of soak-off gel polish and regular polish (as described here on All Lacquered Up). As both of these methods require the use of UV light to dry the nails and the application techniques require skilled hands, these options are best left to the professionals AND they are much more costly than a traditional manicure. But the advantage is you’ll have a long-lasting, chip-free manicure for 2 (maybe even 3) weeks.

I will admit, I haven’t tried either of these methods because I like to change my nail color every 2-4 days, but I’ve heard only good things about them. However, Soak-Off Gel Polish/Shellac isn’t for everybody…so what’s a do-it-yourself nail diva to do for a long-lasting manicure? In the past year, I have tried several methods and I’ve got it narrowed down to 3 steps if you use the right products…

1. A good base coat. Much like a house needs a strong foundation, you need a good sticky base coat to create the bond between your nail and the nail polish color of your choice. I’ve been using CND Stickey (yep, it’s spelled Stickey) lately just to test it out and it seems to be doing well. But Orly Bonder is my tried and true, go-to base coat and I feel it is the best if you’re looking for longevity from your manicure.

2. A professional-brand nail polish color. There are LOTS of drug store brand polishes out there that are much less expensive than the more popular professional brands (OPI, Orly, China Glaze, Essie and Zoya–if you’re vegan). But drug-store brands just don’t cut it if longevity is your goal. Sure the colors are cute and the price is cheap, but generally the formulas are not made to last. A good professional-level brand really does the trick when applied with 1 thin coat of your color on top of the base coat then once that’s dry, another thicker coat of the color. I picked up the 1 thin, 1 thicker method of nail color application method after observing professional nail techs and I believe it creates a smooth, fast drying, but highly pigmented result. If you’re not a fan of paying up to $8.50 per bottle for nail polish, I would suggest checking out sites like www.retailmenot.com for coupons at stores like Ulta or your local drug store (if it carries professional brands). OR you can check the clearance shelves at Ulta, Sally Beauty, etc for reduced-price, off season or discontinued colors. I just picked up Orly Star of Bombay and Honeymoon In Style at Sally Beauty this past weekend for $1.99 each! Completely random finds, but totally worth it in my humble opinion. :-D

3. A good fast-drying top coat. No one likes sitting around watching paint dry, but I know we all hate the telltale signs that you didn’t wait long enough…smudges, imprints, dents, and the like. As I have yet to perfect the methods for fixing mess-ups, I’m promoting prevention–I suggest Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seche Vite not only creates a shiny, hard exterior for your manicure but it also dries really hard in about 10 minutes. I’ve even brushed my nails softly by mistake after about 5 minutes with no smudging. It’s really good stuff. If you *really* want to speed up the process add 1-2 drops of Essie Quick-e nail drying drops to each nail and the drying time will be SIGNIFICANTLY cut down. Quick-e nail drying drops may or may not be from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…I won’t be asking Essie too many questions about the formula…

1 other method/product recommendation you can try: If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure that won’t get dull over time, use CND Super Shiney Top Coat (yep, Shiney). It is fantastic for that “just left the nail salon” shine but you must apply it every 2 days! I learned this the hard way. :-/ I wouldn’t suggest applying Seche Vite every 2 days because the formula is pretty thick and you don’t want layers upon layers of top coat on your manicure when it comes time to remove it. But CND Super Shiney is purposefully thin and applying Super Shiney every 2 days won’t give you a Super Thickey manicure over time.

*BONUS* If your nails are longer than your nail bed, you can try the method of “Wrapping The Tips” which is to apply the base coat and 1st coat of color as you normally would, then apply the 2nd coat of color and top coat a bit on the underside of your nail. Go ahead and open up a new internet tab and head on over to All Lacquered up again for a detailed description of this method. I’m not adept at this method because I like to keep my nails short. Short nails were required when I played the viola in symphony orchestras and string ensembles from elementary school to the end of high school. As an adult, I just don’t like the feeling of long nails. *shrug*

Now if you follow these steps–and you don’t work in a field where your nails are constantly assaulted–you can get up to a week out of your at-home manicure with no major chipping. That said, if you like to get salon manicures weekly, do not be afraid to take your own products! Whenever I get a salon mani/pedi, I hand the nail tech my Orly Bonder and Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat and they don’t even blink anymore. Sometimes I even bring my own nail color unless I see something in the shop that I like better or have been meaning to buy for myself. I have yet to ask for a discount for bringing my own products though……

SO I’ve only gotten one lonely suggestion for my 1st Nail Art Challenge/Contest post. :`-(! BUT I’m feeling generous because my birthday is this week SO I used the Sally Beauty Club coupon I earned for the month of April to snag an extra bottle of Orly Bonder this past weekend. If you make a suggestion for my contest, you just might win both Orly Bonder (my go-to foundation) and Essie Quick-e (my “I’M IN A RUSH” final step)…THESE ARE THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF A MANICURE…according to me. :-D That’s the prize pack as it stands right now so click the link above and enter my contest dag nab it! I’m bribing you! Sheesh!

P.S. I’ve been regularly reading the All Lacquered Up blog for about a year now and the lady who runs it has taught me most of what I know. Definitely bookmark it in addition to my blog of course!

China Glaze Freebie – Expires Today!

Hi Nail Polish fans!

If you’re a Sally Beauty Club member, you can get a free bottle of China Glaze with any $10 purchase. Unfortunately, I just found out about this today and it expires today. You can go here to print the coupon. You have to present your Beauty Club card and print the coupon to get the deal.

Nice way to stock up on some summer nail colors if you can make it to a Sally Beauty store today. :-D

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