Holiday Nails: Part II

“Jingle bells, jingle bells…”

Aaaaaannddd…I’m back with part 2 of the holiday nails post; a continuation of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” post.
In this blog post, I’ll show the holiday nail designs done so far for this year.

20121123-220031.jpg Snow Leopard! A natural nail gel overlay using Trump Gel . White (M001) gradation with all over clear Eriko glitter (001), & brown leopard print. Print drawn with acrylic paint.

20121124-215205.jpgPedicure done w/ Trump Gel. One side dark green (M109)& gold glitter, the other dark red (M409)& gold glitter. A 3D Santa hat on one big toe, and 3D wreath on the other.

20121124-212009.jpg A natural nail overlay done using, again, Trump Gel. A subtle pearly//shimmery white (P001)gradation with a red (mix M402 & P001) ribbon & gold glitter trim design. I drew the red lines freehand with gel.

20121124-212218.jpg Gel nails. Simple gold glitter gradation w/ red & silver star holograms. Matching toes below.

20121124-212342.jpg Pedi was done with regular polish. We did a gold glitter gradation to match the hands. Also added red & silver star holograms.

20121124-212506.jpgAhhhh…one of my proudest works of art. This client, Ms. P, works at the zoo and always let’s me be creative. She just sits there and waits for the results. We used to always have an animal theme going, but since it is the holiday season, I decided to just draw different holiday characters and symbols on each nail. The base is a natural nail gel overlay done using Trump Gel. White (M001)& blue (M711)color gradation w/ clear Eriko (001) glitter all over. Each of the designs were hand drawn using acrylic paint, and I used some star and circular holograms to add a blingy touch to them.

20121124-212513.jpg Top (L-R): “JOY,” gingerbread man & candy cane, wreath w/ holograms, and bells & present w/ few holograms. Bottom (L-R): Christmas tree w/holograms, Rudolph w/ hologram to make a dimensional nose, snowman w/ snowflake & snow, and mistletoe.

20121124-214627.jpg Mrs. Claus & Mr. Claus!!

Aaaaannnnnddddd…finally…my own holiday nails:



20121124-215557.jpg My claws are finally growing again! Yay! Baby claws done using Trump Gel & CalGel. Left hand is red plaid with a ring finger bedazzled. Right hand is green plaid with a gold glitter ring finger w/a bow charm. The base on both hands are a tan/nude color (M802) deep French. I used CalGel red (CG18) & white (CG01) and Trump Gel green (M715) to draw the lines for the plaid. I used Eriko white small holograms to line the deep French.

Well, that’s all the holiday nails I’ve done so far. I can’t wait to get more holiday requests! Channel your inner artist and welcome the holiday with creative designs of your own. Feel free to let me know if you would like to see how I did any of these designs. I am trying to work on some “how-to” posts, but am still in the process of thinking of subject matter.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!



“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christ-maaaaas~”

I have already been getting several holiday nail requests, since the gel nails last for such a long time. 95% of my clients wear gel nails, and they have been coming in to me since the beginning of the month to get their holiday nails started. As mentioned in the previous post, gel nails can last for 4-6 weeks without fills, and if filled, even longer. Therefore, I have done some designs that are all-out-Christmas for clients who plan to wear it for the rest of the year, and some simpler designs for those who plan to fill.

I only did a few holiday designs last year, and so I am excited that I have been getting more original holiday design requests this year. I am pumped to do even more than designs as it becomes closer to Christmas!

One thing I love about holiday designs is the many different options you have. It seems repetitive because its the same color schemes: white, blue, red, green, silver, and gold. And everyone wants snowflakes, stars, and poinsettias. However, when you think about it, you CAN get creative. The options are endless: Starry night, winter wonderland, Santa & the Northpole, glamour & glitz, argyle, plaid, holiday present, Disney Christmas, Hanukkah, and the list goes on. Have a go with your holiday nail designs! Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspects– think outside the box and get creative.

Here are some holiday nails from last year:

20121123-204302.jpg This pedicure is a simple gradation done with polish. Glitzy red glitter.

20121123-204439.jpg (Sorry it’s so blurry). Some Christmas-y 3D pieces I made with acrylic powder.

20121123-204541.jpg This one is actually a fill done over a natural nail overlay. She had a pinkish colored glitter gradation originally, and I added some goldfish glitter, and some red and gold holograms to make it more holiday. I used CalGel for this gel nailset.

20121123-205049.jpg This one is also a fill over a natural nail gel overlay done using CalGel. She wanted to go “super Christmas” with her nails. This one was done 2.5 weeks before Christmas. This is one of my favorites. It is so glitzy and festive.

20121123-205716.jpg A holiday pedicure done using polish. Dark red color with silver glitter over, and some snowflake stickers.


20121123-210017.jpg A natural nail gel overlay using CalGel. This design is very sentimental for me. I “inherited” this client, Ms. C, from my mentor & her former nail tech. In fact, her first nail tech was my nail academy teacher. I was so honored to be her new technician, since they are both amazing technicians and superior artists. This was my very first nailset with Ms. C. She never has an idea in mind, and she does not bring any designs, nor pick one out of the salon’s design books, and I am lucky if she gives me a hint on what color schemes she wants. I found this design idea from one of the iPhone nail apps, called Girls Pic. I did a simple glitter gradation, then I hand painted the design and used silver ab holograms to accent the design. Mrs. C is a very inspiring woman. 86– going on 87 and she is still so full of life. She always gives me life advice, and she is always dressed impeccably, from her hair to nails, clothes to accessories. Wonderful woman and client. She always challenges me as a nailist to creative original designs.

Stayed tuned for part 2 of this blog: This year’s designs. Coming soon.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


Gel vs. Gel Polish & Acrylic

I spend most of my time at the salon explaining the difference between gel enhancements and gel polish. Then, I also often have to explain to clients the difference between acrylic with gel top and true gel enhancement, and also that there is no such thing as gel powder— so, they basically got ripped off.

Now, I know I probably may have already lost some of you, so I will begin with the most basic of basic:


  • Polish is a product used for manicures and/or pedicures.
  • Polish is a product that reacts to evaporation. It dries as it comes in contact with air.It takes about 2-3 hrs for polish to completely dry– no matter what the product is being market as. Fast drying top coat and polish DO help to speed up the drying process, but it’s mostly the surface that dries quickly. Which means, if you push on it too hard, it will dent because the polish layers below are still wet.
  • Polish can be removed with both non-acetone polish remover and acetone.
  • Gel Polish

  • Gel polish can be accompanied by manicures and/or pedicures. Dry care is better for gel polish.
  • Gel Polish is a no chip polish. It lasts longer than regular polish. Usually about 7-14 days. Some will wear it longer, but it is not meant to be worn for very long.
  • Gel Polish is not gas permeable, and will suffocate the nail if worn too long.
  • Think of it as “great nail polish” — not an enhancement.
  • Gel polish dries by being cured under a UV lamp.
  • Most gel polishes are not meant to accommodate designs– such as stones, holograms, or stickers. They are too thin for these embellishments.
  • Either one color, French, or glitter gradation can be done.
  • No top coat is needed.
  • Gel polish cannot be filled.
  • Gel polish can only be removed with 100% acetone.
  • 20121114-001043.jpg
    Gelish, a brand of gel polish. **PC: My friend, Little Ninja

    Acrylic Enhancement

  • Acrylic is a powder (polymer) and liquid (monomer) form.
  • It is an enhancement and, to some extent, encouraged nail growth.
  • Acrylic is very hard and not flexible at all. Usually, it is applied fairly thick.
  • Acrylic is not gas permeable. Hence, the common occurrence of fungus due to lifting.
  • Acrylics can be worn over the natural nail, over tip extensions, or over sculpture extensions.
  • Acrylics are hardened by a chemical reaction between the monomer and polymer and air. There is no drying wait time involved.
  • Acrylics can be worn for 4-6 weeks, or even longer.
  • Acrylic always has a smell. The illegal form, MMA, has an even stronger smell.
  • Many discount salons will use MMA because it is stronger and does not lift as easily. It is very damaging to your nails. Once applied, it latches onto your nail beds, and no matter how careful the removal, layers of your natural nail will also peel off.
  • Acrylics can be filled or back-filled every 2-3 weeks.
  • Acrylics can incorporate and accommodate many designs such as: inlays, 3D, stickers, holograms, glitters, fades, and much more.
  • Acrylics are thick, hard, and inflexible. Therefore, it is important to make sure your nails do not bend back or crack, because usually the acrylic does not crack, but the nail underneath will. And, as stated previously, this can cause lifting and bc it is not gas permeable, it can promote fungus or bacteria growth.
  • Acrylics should never be peeled if lifting occurs. It can and will peel layers of your natural nail.
  • Acrylics require either a high-shine buff or a UV high gloss top coat to give a sheen.
  • Acrylics can only be removed with 100% acetone.
  • 20121114-001406.jpg Acrylic powders & monomer w/ brush.

    Gel Enhancements

  • Gel enhancements are in a sticky gel form. There is no such thing as powder gel. If a salon tells you powder gel, or starts working on you with wider and liquid but calls it gel, you are getting ripped off. That would be acrylic.
  • Not all, but some gel enhancements are gas permeable, so air and water goes through to your natural air. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about possible fungus growth due to product lifting. CalGel and Trump Gel are both gas permeable.
  • Gels are flexible so they move with your natural nail. This makes them more durable because they are much more natural/real. They are not nearly as thick or hard as acrylic, and feel much lighter. However, if you are used to the thickness and hardness of the acrylic, then you may find yourself feeling like your nails are too weak with the gels.
  • Hard gel, on the other hand, are a thicker and stronger gel– which can be used as a great transition for acrylic wearers into gel nails. Trump Gel is one of the first soak off hard gels. Most, and traditional, hard gels do not soak off; they must be filed off.
  • Gel enhancements can be worn for 4-6 weeks (or longer), and can be filled every 2-3 weeks up to 3-4 times. The design and color can be changed during fills.
  • Gels can be worn over the natural nail, tip extensions, or sculpture extensions.
  • Gels are hardened by curing under UV lamps. Different gels require different wattage. Most common is 32-watt. There’s is no drying time involved.
  • Gel enhancements can accommodate many designs: marble, peacock, holograms, glitter, stickers, 3D, and charms.
  • Gel enhancements should never be peeled off if lifting or to remove. This can cause layers of your natural nails to peel off, as well. This will most definitely harm and weaken your nails.
  • Gel enhancements can be removed with 100% acetone.
  • Some gel enhancements, like CalGel require a UV topcoat to give more shine, and to prevent yellowing caused by sun damage. Other gels, such as, Trump Gel, do not need UV top coat.
  • 20121114-002001.jpg Top L-R: Bio Sculpture Gel, Trump Gel || Bottom: CalGel, few brands of gel enhancements w/ brush.

    20121114-003209.jpg 32-Watt UV lamp (Used to cure gel enhancements & gel polishes).

    I, personally, love gel enhancements. They are long-lasting and you don’t need to wait for drying time. The design options are virtually endless. They encourage nail growth, while still feeling light-weight and natural.
    Others swear by acrylics. Some women who have been wearing them for decades, just can’t break themselves away from the acrylic. Their nails are much too thin and weak to appreciate the gel enhancements. However, acrylic nails can accommodate some nail designs that gels and polish just cannot. Such as inlays and shells, and acrylic sculptures can be extended to greater lengths than gels can be.
    Then, there are those who do not wish to have the same long-term commitments, but want something longer-lasting than regular polish. These people opt for gel polish. It stays on long enough for a specific event or amount of time, but come off quicker than gel enhancements or acrylics.
    And, of course, there are people who prefer regular polish because they like the luxury of being able to change nail colors and designs anytime you want. They like the feeling of their natural nails and are happy with their nail growth.

    I know this was a lot to read, but I hope this was a helpful lesson in nail products and mediums.
    The bottom line is: be sure you know what you are paying for if you are getting your nails done. Make sure you know what products are being used, and that they are being used properly:

  • your cuticles should never be cut– only pushed. The dead unattached skin is the only thing that can be nipped.
  • natural nails do NOT need to be filed down at all. They can be buffed to remove shine and natural oils on the nail, but never filed. There should be no use for an electric drill/file when prepping the nail for enhancements.
  • If your tech uses an electric file to file down your enhancements for removal, make sure you don’t feel any heat or pain.
  • Tip extensions and enhancements shouldn’t be pried off. They should be soaked off.
  • Ask questions– you have every right. Tell your technician if you are feeling any pain or discomfort. Let your technician know exactly what you want, and correct them if they are not giving you what you want. You may feel like a difficult or picky client, but it is better than paying for something you don’t want.

    Cosmetics are fun and great, but be sure you are educated with the products you are using.
    You don’t want to be sorry later.

    Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


    Fill Me Up!

    Client N came to me at the salon 4 weeks ago. It was her first time coming to the salon, and it was her first time ever trying the gel enhancements. She was very excited and very open-minded.

    Ms. N is such a cheerful and sweet client, I love working on her.

    Her first time, she stuck with colors she is familiar with: blues, grays, blacks, and whites. We did a baby blue diagonal color gradation with blue, white, silver, and clear iridescent star holograms for her hand.
    For her feet, we used a periwinkle color by China Glaze, with cobalt blue holograms designed as flowers. (I forgot to take a picture of her feet. Sorry).

    20121112-052803.jpg A natural nail gel overlay using Trump Gel. It is a diagonal color gradation with star holograms. (Done 4 weeks ago).

    On Sunday, exactly 4 weeks later, Ms. N came back to see me to do a fill color change, and also to have a pedicure. She picked her pedicure design out a Japanese magazine. It was posted as a design for fingernails, so I had to tweak the design a little bit to accommodate it for her feet.

    20121112-140517.jpg Pedicure done using polish. Pink, blue, & black polishes. Silver glitter polish line. Silver iridescent holograms.

    So, this time, Ms. N decided to do a fill and change her design to the tweed design I posted before. We just changed out the gold holograms for the iridescent silver holograms to match her pedicure. We didn’t remove the blue gradation nails, we just covered that design with this pink and grey tweed nails. Ms. N totally stepped out of her norm and comfort zone to try out this nail design. She has never done pink nails before, she said to me. I am so honored that she remembered and loved my tweed nails from the time she first came in, and requested the same design for her fill.

    20121113-010531.jpg Gel nail fill and design change done using pink & grey Trump Gel. Black, grey, & white acrylic paints were used to draw the tweed design. Holograms are Eriko brand. (Done on Sunday 11/11/12).

    Ms. N will be back again in about 4 weeks to have another fill done. I am excited to see what she picks next! I know it will be a darker color or glitter, though. Because fills can’t go lighter in color; only darker. I will keep you guys posted on Ms. N’s nail adventures in about 4 weeks. Stay tuned!

    Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


    A Black & White Affair

    With the winter season approaching, I have noticed that one of the more popular nail design theme is monochrome. Black and white, complimented with metallics like gold and silver is becoming to be the popular trend this season.

    Monochrome is a great way to look classic, fresh, and edgy all at the same time. Adding a splash of color– like red, or sparkle with gold or silver glitter/hologram/stones can really enhance the look.

    Another plus to black and white themed nails is that it matches just about anything. While you nails never have to match your clothes, it is nice knowing that your nail design/color won’t clash with any jewelry or outfit.

    Just like a classic black and white photo can make a really strong statement, so can monochrome nails. Beautiful colors are always appreciated, but an occasional black and white affair will surely be a show stopper. From girly, to classy, to mod, to chic, to edgy, to classical, the monochrome nail trend is a sure way to turn heads this winter season.
    20121106-040353.jpg This pedicure is done using polish. It is a pearly white gradation with hand painted angel wings and halo. 20121106-040530.jpg A natural nail gel overlay using Trump Gel (M001 & M901). Lace stickers, and black & iridescent white Eriko holograms. 20121106-040810.jpg Pedicure done using polish. Hand painted nail design. Added a touch of red as the pop color to emphasize, yet break up, the monochrome color theme.

    20121106-040952.jpg Repost photo from the previous blog post . A natural nail overlay using Trump Gel (M001 & M901).

    20121106-042215.jpg The pointer and ringer fingers are natural nail overlays, and the middle finger is a hard gel sculpture extension using Trump Gel . I added a touch of gold to make the design really stand out.

    Try out your black & white nail affair with different prints. It will surely make a statement.
    Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!