Friday, August 26, 2011

My Gelish Manicure

I bought a groupon-like deal from Shiokdeal, a Singaporean website similar to Groupon but without the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" box on the website. That was my number 1 mistake.

I wanted to try a gel manicure, the kind that is applied like nail polish from a bottle, and dried under a UV light, because I was considering buying my own UV machine and either gelish/shellac polishes to DIY, but I wanted to see what it was like in real life before making the investment, and this was the worst $22 I ever spent.

The salon I went to is in the Adelphi, on the third floor. It's called Image Beauty Spa. I'm not afraid of putting their name out here because I want to show everyone what my experience with them was like, and this is a fair comment, perfectly justified, and not defamation because my pictures show their workmanship for it is.

A gelish manicure is a gel manicure, from the OPI brand. The difference between it and regular polishes is that it won't dry without curing under a UV lamp. The benefits are that it's supposed to stay on for 21 days, like Shellac, if you know what it is.

Anyway I made an appointment and went to the salon the next day. This was several weeks back. The salon turned out also to be the kind that did facials and stuff, with a separate room for manicures. The manicurist wasn't the friendliest, and when I went in, she told me to just take a seat, then shoved some nail wheels in my direction, saying "nah. choose!" I figured she meant choose the colour. I wanted white with glitter on top, but as it turned out, the glitter would cost $5.

She started off by wanting to file my nails, but hearing the awful stories from the girls on the Nail Board about manicurists shaping their nails all weird, I had filed my nails in preparation the night before. I told the manicurist I didn't want my nails filed, and she asked, "Sure? Your nails not round not square. Funny shape." But I told her I still didn't want my nails filed though I felt a little insulted. I thought a "not round not square" nail shape would be squoval.

I asked her about doing my cuticles, and she said that would be an extra charge of $5 again, so I refused. I was pretty stunned by then, because I had done some reading online, and I knew that if you applied the gel polish on your cuticles and cured it, it would lift because it's not on your nails.

Then the manicurist started filing the surface of my nails, so I quickly stopped her. I had read and knew that filing the surface of the nails wasn't necessary for the polish to adhere for 21 days, it could adhere despite not being filed, and filing the surface of your nails is a terrible thing to do because it really weakens your nails, so I stopped her after she did my little finger.

She slapped on the primer, might I say too, ALL over my nails and the skin around it. Then applied the base coat. Then two coats of colour, and a top coat, which was again smeared on the skin around it. The only time she was careful to scrape the polish off my skin was when applying the white polish. It's as if it doesn't matter when the polish is clear because no one will see it.

I was awfully appalled, because it's not not filing your nail surface that will make the polish lift, it's the painting on your skin! She further told me that she had been doing nails for 4 years. I couldn't believe it. I could paint nails better than her, and I didn't attend nail school nor have I been a manicurist for 4 years.

Want to see the results?

Look how she painted the cuticles on BOTH thumbs.

Now look how she painted the skin on the sides of both nails.

See how the colour is so uneven? And bubbling! WTF. It's not even supposed to happen with gelish!

See how she painted my cuticles?

She did wrap my tips, but clearly didn't know how to cure the polish properly because there's shrinkage here! Look at the middle finger!

I know to most people this isn't too bad, but I really expected more from a "professional", and from a gelish manicure. If I can do my nails better than her, then she shouldn't call herself a "professional". I know that I don't paint that well, particularly when using white polish, but gel polishes are different, they're usually self-levelling, and pretty even, but this manicure sucked. It was dentable even when I left the salon.

The funniest part was that I met someone I knew after I left the salon. My toes were painted with Color Club's Wishlist Red, a gorgeous red glitter in red polish. I told this person that I just had a manicure, and he looked down and complimented my toes. (It's a man, and I guess not all men are familiar with the differences between a manicure and pedicure). I told him that it was actually my fingernails that just got done, and he looked at it and said "Oh, um, that's nice too."

This was a horrible experience for me. I took this off by myself 2 days later, by using the foil method. My little finger which got filed down was all jacked up, in the end I had to buff the remnants of the polish out. I guess this is why shellac is more popular than gelish, no filing needed.

I made a complaint to shiokdeal, and I guess they forwarded my complaint to the shop. They decided to give me a refund, which I'm very grateful for because the crap on my nails is not worth SGD22. However, they also said "After investigating, though there is another side of the story to this episode" in the email they sent me. I asked what this other side was, still waiting for the answer!

Anyway I'm just putting this out here to forewarn anyone thinking of getting a gelish manicure from that shop. Also, I'll probably buy my own UV machine and polishes and try them out myself. Look how shiny it is!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Etude House GR606 + ChG Atlantis + Essence Choose Me = Awesomeness

I layered these glitters on top of Etude House GR606, which you can see in its full green perfection in my previous post. 

This is it with one coat of China Glaze Atlantis. Very pretty, really creates some kind of depth here, the kind of luminescent jellyfish in the deep sea, but not quite that deep. 

Now layered with Essence Choose Me, also a dupe to OPI Catch Me In Your Net and Zoya Charla.

Now with even more glitter and gold shimmer to it!

Ahhhh, so pretty. I kept looking down at my nails because it was just so shiny and pretty and glittery, and I wore this because I was going for a manicure the next day and I figured I'd let someone deal with the awful glitter removal and staining.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Etude House GR606

A very dark green jelly-creme polish.

Similar to Nars Zulu? Probably. But I don't have that, so I can't say for sure. If you're looking for a nearly-black green jelly-creme polish, then this is it!

Perfection in 2 glossy coats!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pretty Pink Fans

I love the new BM plates, and as soon as I saw this pretty fan design on it, I knew I wanted to make a pretty girly manicure.

The base colour from Sinful Colors, I can't remember the name but it is a pretty light pink with little bits of silver flecks, probably a very easy to find colour as long as you're not looking for the exact shade, and it's stamped with OPI ChicaGo Get A Manicure. 

I love pretty pink manicures like this!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My MAAH Franken!

Everyone's heard of the legendary OPI Mad As A Hatter glitter polish, and of course it's incredibly hard to find now. I think it's a really pretty polish, and dupable with the right colors of glitter, so here you go!

I used purple, silver, gold, orange, green, blue, pink and black glitter for this, with one spoonful of each, and two spoonfuls of the silver and purple because they seemed to be the more dominant colours. 

I don't have the actual MAAH polish, but frankened this by using close up pictures of swatches on the internet. What do you think? Close enough?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rainbow Dots!

Rainbow dots! I wanted to do this for a long time, and so I finally decided to do it, and went in search of appropriate colours. 

You can see me holding some of the colours I used, but most likely you can find similar colours in your stash. I had to mix the red and a bit of neon orange to get the shade of orange used here, and I had initially used OPI Who The Shrek Are You for the green, but found it too light, so I dotted over it with a darker Nina Pro green. 

Do you think it's tacky? I kept getting weird looks from people when I had this on. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kleancolor Holo Chrome + Stamping

I got this as an extra in a swap recently and am absolutely delighted with it! This is Kleancolor Holo Chrome, a blurple with holographic glitter in it. 

Look at the pretty sparkles!

Look how glittery and holographic it really is!

I added some stamping, this image is from one of the new Bundle Monster plates. I get too lazy to go find my BM plates each time I use a design from it and am posting about it, but I figure that if you really like the design, you just have to shuffle through your BM plates to find it. I love the new BM plates, they have such unique designs, and they are of a decent size! The old BM plates were really tiny in image size comparison.

 Pretty silver balls bouncing on my nails!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fake OPI green polish

In my previous posts, I posted a fake nude and green polish. I had also posted pictures of my fake green polish on the Nail Board on Makeup Alley ages ago, and got comments on both my blog and my post on wanting to see actual swatches. So here you go!

Haha looking at the label it is obviously totally fake. This polish smells so terrible, it honestly smells like wall paint, and it doesn't dry without seche vite. It's a really pretty green, and the pictures don't do the polish justice because it doesn't show the lovely gold shimmer. However, it is pretty frosty and brush-strokey, which is not too bad if you know how to handle it. Usually I can't, but this polish is pretty thick so I think I managed to maneuver it pretty well.

I'm not a big fan of greens though, so I don't like this polish that much, but it is still a pretty polish.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fake OPIs v Real OPIs

I guess all of you would want to know the answers first, so here we go!

Question 1:

Survey Results:

Answer: The nude and the green polishes are fake. And while this means that the rest of the answers I will give you to the other questions are redundant, I shall still do so for the sake of comparison.

Question 2:

Survey Results:

Answer: The green is fake.

Question 3:

Survey Results:

Answer: Neither!

Question 4:

Survey Results:

Answer: The nude is fake!

So to summarize, these are the fakes:

I do have other fakes, I just chose the most convincing ones. The other fake I have has a white cap, and that's clearly not an OPI. Plus part of the cap is jacked up. 

So how do you tell a fake?

1. Shape?

Sometimes a fake OPI has a slightly slimmer, or fatter bottle shape compared to a real one. I don't have pictures of these, but if you look at other blogs, some do show that fake OPIs can be slimmer than real ones. 

Shape of the base- Now look at the base of the polish in each bottle:

Which have weird shapes? Most prominently it is the silver and the pink polishes. These are real OPIs. The fake nude OPI polish has a pretty nice base actually. This shows that OPI has no quality control, which we all know already considering the 4 versions of My Private Jet and 2 versions of Not Like the Movies, and the list goes on. 

2. Font?

Fake OPIs don't always use the same font as real ones. 

The font on the nude polish is slightly larger than the font on the silver polish.

The font on the green polish is even smaller than the font on the nude polish. Both are fakes. OPI fonts are fairly standardized. 

3. Symbols on the back of the polish?

These are both genuine OPIs:

But the pink one has 4 logos on the back, and the white one has 3. Now why the disparity, you might ask?

Well, the pink polish is ChicaGo Get a Manicure, a black label (ie. before 2006, not big three free). The white polish is Alpine Snow, a green label polish (I believe there's a black label Alpine Snow too). 

The black label polish has 4 symbols. The green label polish has 3 symbols. BUT this is not conclusive. Go look at your stash! I have some black label polishes with 3 symbols and some with 4. Some green label polishes with 3 symbols, and some with 4 symbols! My Alpine Snow Matte (blue label) also has 4 symbols! UTTER MADNESS AND CONFUSION! 

Thus we can only conclude that the number of symbols on the back of a polish is inconclusive. 

4. Labels?

Well this is probably the most conclusive of all evidence. Which is why I didn't show it to you for the poll. It would be a dead giveaway! For a very thorough explanation on this, please look at this blog post by Tim Tam, an online seller of nail polishes in Singapore. 

But let me also present to you my take on it:

The first clue which tells you that the green polish is a fake OPI is the name. "An Affair in Red Square". Red is not green. If you know OPI and the (in)famous Suzi, they sometimes name their polishes with some sort of reference to the colour. "An Affair in Red Square" should be blatantly and obviously red. If you can't even tell that the polish should be red, then you better learn English well, because the Chinese merchants of these fake OPIs clearly don't. 

Again, another indication. This particular shop I bought the fake polishes from in Beijing had all their polishes labelled "An Affair in Red Square" or "Alpine Snow". Even if you don't know OPI polish names nor do you have an OPI app on your iphone listing all their colours, "Alpine Snow" should indicate to you that the polish colour should be similar to snow, ie. white, gray, light glitter. I've only seen snow once in my life, in Shanghai during winter, and it's not a very clean country, so snow did turn gray after a few hours. Maybe snow isn't gray in your country, but wth it shouldn't be the colour of snow after someone has peed on it- beigy nudish yellowish. 

BUT if you observe the pictures above carefully, you would have realized that the serial number on a real OPI is very BOLD compared to the faint fake OPI serial number. 

For reference's sake, here is the green label OPI and the black label OPI: the serial numbers on both are BOLD, though of different sizes. 

5. Serial number engraved on the bottle/handle?

I don't think this is a clear indication at all, despite what other bloggers have said. Because some of my OPIs have no serial number on them at all, but I did purchase them from proper sellers, either online or in stores here.

Furthermore, there is an etailer (ahem, transdesign/nailsupplies) notorious for shaving off the serial number. Something about OPI not wanting etailers to sell them, but I think this is not a clear indication of a fake/real OPI.


There is no fool proof way to tell a fake OPI from a real OPI, as these fake OPI merchants are getting smarter and smarter at what they do. If they can do it with Prada handbags, why not nail polish?

The only way which I have concluded so far is the font of the serial number on the label of the bottle, and as Tim Tam concluded, you should be able to peel off the top label to reveal another one on the bottom.

Other indications would be the shape of the bottle (fat/slim), funny handles, the names of the polishes, and if you know the polish well enough, the actual colour. My fake OPIs from China smell like death. Worse than kleancolors. They smell like wall paint and never dry without seche vite. That's another indication.

I also started writing this post because of Traci, from The Trace Face Philes, who came by a fake Mad As A Hatter polish. She emailed me to ask more about my fake OPIs, so I decided to do this since I was thinking about it for a while already. Anyway if you want to check the authenticity of the MAAH polish that you bought off ebay, refer to her post here.

I also don't profess to be an expert in knowing what's real or fake, but I do hope that this post can provide a little guidance!