Friday, July 30, 2021

Nails ~ Cult Nails Clairvoyant over red (and how to layer different nail polishes)

I wore this around the middle of November of last year, when the weather started to get cold and it seemed like the holidays were really happening. Spoiler alert, they didn't.

In the sun

When I do layering experiments like these, which is what my blog was based on from its true beginnings, I usually get shrinkage. I think it's because different brands/finishes of nail polishes dry at different rates. So what I usually do is either take pictures right away, before it all dries, or here is a technique I have learned throughout my years of layering:

1) I make sure to have at least 1 hour set aside to do this, as it will take a long time for all the layers to dry. If you're going to try it, consider using the restroom, and doing the dishes prior to this. I usually do it on a weekend right before bed, and try to sleep like a vampire in a coffin. The first step is to push back cuticles (optional).
2) I apply Base Coat and let it dry...

In the sun

3) Then, I apply the two layers of base color as close as I can to the cuticle, and let it dry for a bit. My base color here was a really loud orangey red, and as you can see from the pictures, this looks nothing like it. I usually have a drink here at this step to allow for the base color to dry. It is important to make sure that at least the first coat wraps around the tip or edge of the nail. Try to avoid using jellies, as they are notorious for shrinking.
4) I polish with all the other layers, and touch the surface of the first nail that I started with in between each layer, to make sure that it is not too dentable. I usually start with my left pinky, so for instance, I applied the first coat of Doomfire here, and when I get to my right thumb (last finger), I gently sweep the surface with my right index over the first nail (left pinky) and if it flows then I start to apply the other coat right away. If I feel a bit of resistance, where my fingerprint wants to drag the nail polish, then I wait a minute or two, and then feel it again, until it is ready.
     4.1) Most flakies and glitter polishes do this, they "dry" right away, holos too. I typed the word dry in quotes, because it is not really dry but the layer is not too tacky to the touch.
     4.2) Doing thin coats helps, and working in an area where there is breeze or it is cold (Winter is great) definitely speeds up the process. Waving your hands as in putting out a fire also helps. My family makes fun of me because they think I'm fanning myself for no reason.
     4.3) Sparse microglitters and shimmers are the most challenging, consider sponging those.
As opposed to the base color, here it is important that these layers do not wrap around the tip/edge of the nail, because otherwise it will make them look chunky. Trust me...

In the sun

5) I apply a non-fast-drying top coat. Yes, you read that right, that is why allocating an hour for this is ideal. This will prevent mayor shrinkage (especially if your nails are curved like mine). Carefully, drag the brush on top of that last coat of nail polish. I use a lot of top coat so that the brush barely touches the surface, instead the liquid (the top coat) is touching it. Sometimes, glitter pieces will transfer to the top coat brush, but that's ok, as long as the layers don't move too much.
6) Wait. Just keep waiting until everything dries. If it is the end of the day, relax and read a book or perform tasks that do not require you to use your hands. I try to wait about half an hour before applying moisturizer creams or hand lotions. I do not use cuticle oil, but it is also an option...

In the shade

7) Next day, I check for shrinkage.
     7.1) If there was movement around the cuticle, I grab a clean-up brush (I used Elf Essentials Concealer Brush) dipped in acetone (Pure 100% Acetone works best for dried polish), and clean up the uneven color so that it makes a nice gap.
     7.2) If there was significant movement at the edge where I can see the tip of my nail, I simply use a nail file to file that 'naked' part of the nail, and even things out. Alternatively, I may dab a bit of the base color that I used and paint over it without disturbing the rest of the nail too much.
     7.3) If nothing shrunk, hooray!
8) Once everything is really dry for sure, I apply a fast-drying top coat, I use Seche Vite. I make sure to cover the tips/edge of the nail. Wait 5 minutes.


In the sun

This works well especially for darker colors and loud reds such as this one, which are too obvious and unforgiving when they pool into the cuticle. If I take pics for the blog on the same day, and then they happen to shrink the next couple of days I don't really mind it sometimes, and I just leave it. Because, in real life it is not really so noticeable, but the pictures are so zoomed in sometimes that errors are amplified. This is what I think led to the era of filters, because certain viewers scrutinize everything. That being said, I have never used filters here in the blog. I think I have played around with the preset ones on Instagram. My favorite is Ludwig. Anyhow, I digress. I wish you all a good weekend. Thanks for reading my little old blog, and have fun with your nails...experiment!

In the sun

Layering Order:
Dior Base Coat Abricot
2 coats Colors by Llarowe Nice Bridge! Indie Shop San Francisco 2017
1 coat Baroness X Doomfire
1 coat Cult Nails Clairvoyant
1 coat Baroness X Doomfire
1 coat Cult Nails Clairvoyant
Dior Gel Coat Top Coat
Seche Vite Top Coat (next day)

Where to buy in the US:
Both of these indie nail polishes have been discontinued.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Nails ~ Random pics from my phone (6)

For those who like randomness.  Click here for the the 1st edition, here for the 2nd, here for the 3rd, here for the 4th, and here for the 5th!

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. These items were purchased by me or sent to me by a friend. The above are not affiliated links. The opinions on this post are mine. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Makeup ~ Kose Lip Coat Lip Gel Magic

This seems pretty self-explanatory. A lip coat is like a nail polish topcoat, except for the lips. It protects whatever layers of color are underneath. At least in theory.

Front and back of packaging

Kose is a well known brand in Asia. I am no expert because I don't live there, but to me they are like Shiseido. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. They have sub-brands, and several lines within a big umbrella of skincare and makeup products. I have tried a few lipsticks (lipbalms?) from them, which were ok, and their Sekkisei skincare line, which I recently saw at Costco.

Translation of description from google app.

I am not too convinced about the translation but I have posted it above for reference. I think this video gives a better explanation. But like I said, the product itself is pretty self explanatory. In fact, I have seen some similar products pop up on my Instagram's ad feed lately. According to my friend from the UK, this is not even a new concept. They've had Lipcote for years, which is easily found in drugstores like Boots and Superdrug.

The tube right out of the package

I was a bit skeptical at first, and honestly, this is not a miracle product, but it does the job. It seems like it works best with dryish blotted lipsticks, as opposed to creamy, balmy, or glossy ones. I think I am ok with that since I would not expect this to stretch the longevity of a product that I bought for its moisturizing properties and not its staying power. I hope that makes sense.

Appearance, consistency, texture, and color

There are 2 versions, one colorless, and the one I got which is slightly glittery/shimmery. This lip coat will mattify the lipstick slightly, and I believe they say it somewhere in the packaging. They also recommend to blot the lipstick prior to application. I prefer to just apply my lipstick not too generously, and wait for it to set about 20 minutes, and then apply this Lip Coat. I haven't had any issues so far. I follow the directions to shake it, although I think it is pointless without an agitator (i.e.: a stainless steel ball bearing).

Opened tube, very hygienic

The good thing I like about this product is that you can share it if you want. I was getting coffee with my mom the other day, and since prior to that, I had only used it with a plastic applicator which I sanitize in between, I offered it for her to try before ordering our drinks. I used the clean wooden coffee stirrer (plastic stopper works too) and I asked her to try it and let me know her experience. She had her original lipstick look good when I dropped her off after 4 hours.

Lip stain on cup while wearing Kose Lip Gel Magic

Lip stain on cup while wearing only lipstick

I live in Los Angeles County, where face coverings (i.e.: masks) are required virtually everywhere in 2020/2021, so I definitely splurged on this product. I think it was around $22 with tax. I found it at Shibuyala, a Japanese beauty supply store near Downtown. I was sold when I noticed that not only it did not transfer to the mask, but my drink seemed intact. Ever since, the wow factor has worn off, but I still think it is pretty amazing. For reference, I wore a Chanel lipstick in the above picture; and if you're are curious about my drink, it was an Oatmilk Honey Latte (now discontinued).

Left: lipstick with Kose Lip Gel Magic, this swatch was done first, by pressing lightly on the tissue paper after wearing this combo for a long day of errands
Right: without Lip Gel Magic, on the same day, I applied lipstick lightly on top of what I was wearing (the combo I mentioned) just to swatch it for the blog

I hope my swatches made sense, but as always, feel free to send me some questions (there's a contact tab at the top). I think I will definitely repurchase this when I run out, even if the face coverings become outdated. It feels really comfortable on the lips, and even though it is an extra step, the application is easy. I don't know if it will work for the pool, or Vegas hot Summer, or even Orlando's humid Spring days. However, I really believe that it is versatile and functional enough that I would keep it around in my stash and when traveling.

Where to buy in the US:
Unfortunately, this is not easy to find, YesStyle had it for a while and now it is sold out. I found it at Shibuyala in Los Angeles, so if you are in the area you can try to get it there. 

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Other ~ Blogging again

Wow 2020 was really cursed, let's hope this one ends on a a slightly better note.

I meant to post this earlier, but life got in the way. I miss having a creative outlet, so I'm going to give this a shot. I want to start including make up and skincare, just not sure about swatch style. I commend those influencers who swatch foundation, eye shadows, and lipsticks endlessly, and they so nicely put it together for us to see. Bless their hearts. I have allergies and sensitive skin. I also have mild Rosacea. If I swatched a lipstick and removed it to swatch another one, I would get so red around the area, that it would make the next swatch look really bad. I use tretinoin (Retinol) nightly and BHA twice per week, and I peel if I remove too many products in one day.

For the sake of maintaining the integrity of my skin, I'll probably end up be doing arm swatches. I will try my best to describe everything in detail and show pics of the texture for most skincare products. Either way, I personally find arm-swatches to be very helpful, because people's faces, eye shape, and underlying lip pigment are so different, that it makes more sense to see it on a neutral surface like the arm. Moreover, how can I trust anything nowadays with filters and photoshop?

I trust written content a bit more, and I like it when someone tells me a story about the product. Which is why I blog the way I do. I've done my research before purchasing most of these items, because as I mentioned, my skin is very picky. If I buy something on a whim, I will disclose it, and I wouldn't review something that I didn't test. I would not comment on the efficacy of a product if I've only used it once. The reason why I started blogging about Korean and Japanese products is because I found it frustrating to look for swatches and reviews. I use the google advanced features like switch the country, and sometimes that works. However, sometimes the hashtags are in the original language and it is hard to search even for those. I hope that I can describe them well enough for the English-speaking audience, and fill that gap.

Nail swatches will stay the same. My nails are very resilient. I used to swatch up to 20 polishes back in the day in a couple of hours. I hope you find my blog helpful, and I hope to keep it up, because I find it very soothing. I don't know what it is about writing and combining that with the things I am passionate about. If you have any questions about anything I post, please use the comment section or email me (, and I will try to answer inquiries to the best of my knowledge.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3