NOTD: OPI DS Illuminate

After my first disappointment with the OPI DS line (DS Jewel) I was hesitant to try any others. But happily I did and so far I am in love with the polishes I have purchased.  I blogged about Extravagance a short while back and today I have OPI DS Illuminate for you.  It is beautiful.  Another one of the polishes I can't stop looking at.  It think one of the reasons I like it is that it is so close to my skintone and therefore, has that elongating effect to my fingers.  I have also acquired OPI DS Reflection and DS Opulence, so I will be providing updates on those shortly.  I can't wait for OPI to release more in the DS line.  The two latest, Magic and Mystery are not on my list to purchase.

Review:  OPI DS Illuminate is a medium brown bronze with green gold holo effect.  The application is at least a two coater.  In these photos, it is two coats with BC and TC.

Grace and Peace.

NOTM: Go Dragons!!! Orly Royal Navy

Orly Royal Navy
One of my little neighbor friends plays soccer.  I have been going to his games and I promised that I would match my polish to his team’s jersey.  So here is my ode to the Dragons-Orly Royal Navy.  In these pictures, I used 2 coats and as you can see there is VNL, so if you are adverse to VNL you may want to apply a third coat.  Royal Navy is Bright, Vibrant, Strong, and Impactful, just like the Dragons!  The bottle can be deceptive.  I had been looking at this polish for some time at Sally but it looked just like a regular cobalt blue, until I shook the bottle.  The teal sparkles tend to settle at the bottom of the bottle.  Once shaken, there are gorgeous teal sparkles throughout the blue making for a wonderful marriage.  So please, this is one that needs to be in your inventory, especially if you are a blue person.

BTW: It was a hard fought game, and the Dragons won 12 to 11.  Hey Team!!!

NOTD: Orly Royal Velvet – a real Multi-chrome!!!

Orly Royal Velvet-Interior Lighting
I missed out on all the earlier holographic and duochrome polishes.  In my previous life, I was a die-hard, red and berry only person.  Guess I am going through a midlife crisis because I am now LOVING the blues, purples, and greens.  Even more the, duochromes and holos. 

My choice for today is Orly Royal Velvet, which is from their current Precious collection (Spring, 2011).  When I first saw this collection, it was Royal Velvet that caught my eye and then when I saw it worn by other bloggers, I knew that I must have it.  From what I have read and seen, it appears to be a cousin of SpaRitual Health, Wealth & Happiness, but since I have never seen SpaRitual Health, Wealth & Happiness IRL, I can only judge by pictures.  It does appear to be in the same duochrome family.   These pictures don't do this polish justice.  This is one you must see for yourself.

Orly Royal Velvet-Sunlight
Review: Orly Royal Velvet is like having four manis in one.  From one view, my nails are purple, from another teal, and another green and yet another blue.  This is more of a quadchrome instead of a duochrome.  I own other polishes that claim to be duochrome, and it is visible in the bottle.  But upon application, there is no evidence of the duochrome.  Not so with Royal Velvet.  It is visible in the bottle and on the nails.  The application is similar to other Orly polishes I own-smooth.  My all time favorite red is Orly Bus Stop Crimson.  This is polish definitely requires at least 2 coats (as pictured), but it is a keeper.  IMO, if you don’t already own this one, you don’t want to miss out.  This is a true multichrome.

NOTD: OPI DS-Extravagance

OPI DS Extravagance-Flash
I remember the first OPI Designer Series I purchased – Jewel.  I ended up giving it to a friend because I didn’t like it. So I has hesitant to purchase any others—big mistake!!!  I have missed out on several of the DS since then, so now I am on the prowl for DS Glamour, DS Fantasy, DS Original, DS Classic, DS Illuminate, DS Limited, DS Reflection, DS Tapestry, DS Signature, and DS Couture.  I know that a few of these are still available and will soon be in my possession.  LOL!!!  I can only hope that OPI will reintroduce some of the retired polishes and/or introduce more very soon. 

OPI Extravagance-Natural Light

But anyway on to this beauty!  DS Extravagance, thank goodness I did not miss out on this one.  This is a gorgeous, deep, jewel-tone, holographic, shimmering purple.  In the bottle it is pretty, but so much more on the nail!  Don’t make my same mistake.  Add this one to your inventory.

OPI DS Extravagance-Indoor Light

Review:  Consistent smooth OPI application.  In these photos: BC, 2 Coats, and Seche Vite’ TC.
Nail Progress:  I finally filed back and shaped my nails into a more square shape. Square and Squoval shaped nails tend to be stronger and less likely to break.  I am continuing to moisturize my nails 2-3 times daily as documented in my regimen.

My Cuticle Oil and its inception...

In response to a follower’s question about my cuticle oil, I decided to go into detail.  A little over 13 months ago I set out on a Healthy Hair Journey.  While on my journey, I did much research on natural and essential oils and their benefits to hair.  As it turned out, just as they benefit my hair, Natural and Essential Oils also provide great benefits for both my skin and nails.  So because I absolutely despise dry skin, especially my hands and knowing the benefits of moisturizing my hands and cuticles, I decided to develop my own cuticle oil. 

Based on my hair research findings, I knew that my cuticle oil would be based on Jojoba Oil (pronounced “Ho-Ho-Ba”) and Vitamin E to nourish and hydrate my cuticles and nails.  Jojoba Oil has antimicrobial properties, which means it actually discourages the growth of some bacterial and fungal microbes that attack the skin. In addition, the chemical composition of Jojoba Oil closely resembles that of the skin’s natural sebum, so it is easily absorbed and rarely causes allergic reactions, even in the most sensitive individuals.   In addition, Jojoba oil contains many important nutrients, such as vitamin E, and B complex vitamins.   Jojoba oil helps to nourish the skin and helps to prevent hang nails and also strengthens the nails    Jojoba Oil also helps to avoid chipping and breaking, while it nourishes your cuticles and help maintain them.

So as I set out to develop my cuticle oil, I decided it would also include the following:

  • Vitamin E Oil:     When applied topically, vitamin E oil penetrates the deeper skin layers and moisturizes it.  It can also be used for treating dry and cracked cuticles.
  • Sweet Almond OiL:Contains several essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and E, which makes it very useful for treating skin conditions.  All these vitamins rejuvenate the skin. (NOTE: Not to be used by those with nut allergies.)
  • Lavender & Rosemary Oils:   Both help to stimulate blood circulation in the nailbed and encourages nail growth.
  • Lemon Oil:        Has anti-septic, astringent and bacteria fighting properties.  You need a healthy nailbed to encourage nail growth.
  • Lemongrass Oil:      Helps as a strengthener for brittle nails. New discovery: (yet to add to my mixture)
There are a myriad of benefits to natural and essential oils.  Please take some time and research the many different oils.

My current cuticle oil is a mixture of Jojoba Oil (3 parts), Sweet Almond Oil (1 part), Vitamin E (1 part), and essential oils (lemon, lavender, & rosemary)-approximately 3-5 drops per (Adjust based on your preference-too much can be overpowering).

One thing I learned on my Healthy Hair Journey is to try new things.  I am not “married” to any one process.  During my research for my cuticle oil, I came across many recipes for hand and nail treatments that each sound promising.  I may try anyone of them in the future.  I included one of the website I encountered for your own consideration.

(Note:  This is what works for me.  Consult your physician and/or do your own research if you are unsure of the effects of any of these oils; as some essential oils may cause allergic reactions.  Remember, Everything in moderation!!!)

Hope you find benefit in some bit of this information. 

Side Note: My Hair Journey resulted in my hair growing thicker and from ear length to past my shoulders in 12 months.

Grace and Peace.

My Nail Regimen...Soup to nuts!

Well I have been blogging about nails for a few months now and I briefly described my nail regimen at the start. Most things have remained the same but a few have changed so I decided to document my official (for the moment) nail regimen.  As the name of my blog states, “For me, It works”.  I hope it will work for you also.  Again, I don’t claim to be a professional, I just know what works for me.

I change my polish approximately twice a week but I only do a full manicure-cuticles, shaping, and all about once every 1-2 weeks.  I will explain why later.

My Regimen:

Tools for a Manicure
1. First, remove all traces of old polish.  I know that many have a heartfelt philosophy regarding Acetone or non-Acetone.  Personally, unless I am wearing acrylics or patches, I use Acetone.  Because I moisturize several times throughout the day, I am not worried about drying out my nails or cuticles.  I use whichever strengthening/nourishing polish remover I find on sale.  IMO, they all work pretty much the same.  I purchased a remover pump bottle from Sally Beauty Supply to help handle the remover. 
2. If time allows, my next step is to soak my nails in warm water.  In the water I add a denture whitening tablet, and some Vitamin E oil.  I allow my nails to soak at least 5 minutes.  This helps to soften the cuticles as well as whiten my nails.
3. After I have soaked my nails, I dry my hands and apply a cuticle remover.  Here is another area where I don’t have a steadfast staple product.  I rotate between Lemon Brite Varoom Creamy Cuticle Remover, True Blue Spa Disappearing Acts Cuticle Remover (discontinued) and Develop 10 Creamy Cuticle Remover.  Each of these works as they should to remove my cuticles.  I use either an orangewood stick or a cuticle pusher to remove any cuticle buildup.  If by chance I have any hangnails I use my cuticle nippers; never pulling any hangnails. 
4. If I am in need of a trim, I use a nail clipper and/or my Essie Crystal Nail File (LOVE IT!!!)  Once I have trimmed back my nails, I buff and shape my nails using a Crystal File and a buffer block.  This is to make sure there are no snags or ridges.  Buffing the nails helps to remove ridges but you must be careful not to over buff as this can thin the nail.  Crystal files help to seal the free edge of your nail unlike the old school emery boards. 
5. By this point my hands and nails are usually dry and covered in dust.  I take this opportunity to oil my cuticles and give my hands a good exfoliation.  I use whichever body/hand scrub I have nearby.
6. There are several premade cuticle oils on the market; some of which I have tried.  But after some research, I decided to make my own.  I mix Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Vitamin E Oil, and Lemon Essential Oil for fragrance.  After the exfoliation, my hands are soft and refreshed.  I follow this step with a good hand crème.
7. My favorites are Gold Bond Ultimate with Shea Butter and True Blue Spa-look ma, new hands with Paraffin.
8. Each night before bed, I apply cuticle crème/balm and my cuticle oil.  My favorite balm, which of course has been discontinued is True Blue Spa Cuticle Treatment with 59% Shea Butter.  My other option is Orly Cuticle Therapy Crème.  I apply the balm/crème directly to my cuticle, and a apply the oil to my nails-tops and underside.  I try to apply the oil at least twice a day-morning and night.  The key is to keep you nails moisturized.
Steps to Chip-free Polish
9. If I intend to polish my nails, which is most of the time, there are steps to take also.  With these steps that I follow with every polish change, I very seldom have problems with chipping, peeling, or stained nails. 
10.First, it is imperative that all traces of oil are removed from the nail bed.  So I take a cotton ball, dipped in alcohol and wipe down each nail, including the free edge.  Next are the products and steps I take when applying nail polish:
a. Nail Treatment:  I apply 1 coat of either Nail Tek Xtra or Nail Life Nail Revitalizer
b. Nail Strengthener: I apply 1 coat of Gelous Advance Nail Gel Coat
c. Adhesive Base Coat: I apply 1 coat of Nail Life Gripper
d. RidgeFilling Base Coat: If needed, which is not often, Orly Ridgefiller base coat.
e. 2-3 coats of nail polish
f.  Top Coat: 1 coat of Seche Vite’ Fast Dry Top Coat
11. Again, I realize that this seems like a long process but I only do a full manicure approximately every 1-2 weeks.  Following these steps has helped me to keep my nails strong and healthy.

It's not just about the outside...

12. Outside of the manicure process and in conjunction with my healthy hair journey, I also take supplements and drink plenty of water.
Again, this is what works for me.  If by chance some of this works for you, Great!!! 

Grace and Peace.

NOTD: OPI-Don’t Wine…Yukon Do It!!! (By Request)

OPI-Don't Wine...Yukon Do It!
This polish is a long-time untried.  I can’t even remember when I purchased it.  And although I liked it enough to buy it, had it not been for the request from another nail blogger (The Polish Parade), it would probably still be sitting with the other untrieds.  Don’t Wine…Yukon Do It is from the 2004 Canadian Collection.  In the bottle, it doesn’t look like anything super spectacular.  Just another everyday magenta.  However, once applied, it is something special.  It almost has two personalities.  From one angle, it has almost a red overcast, but change the angle and you get the blast if magenta.  I was sitting in church (before service started, LOL!) and couldn’t help but notice the change in color.  It is difficult to capture the true beauty in a photograph.  Don’t Wine…Yukon Do It is a beautiful, raspberry, magenta; bright enough for spring/summer and deep enough for fall/winter.

Review: Application-standard for OPI, smooth.Opacity-BC, In this photo I applied 3 coats, & TC.  Although I used 3 coats, 2 is all that was really needed.  I was just experimenting.

Grace and Peace.

NOTD: Essie - Dive Bar

For the past week, the weather here in Florida has been beautiful, warm and sunny.  What a perfect time to try and get some good sunlight photos and what better polish to wear than Essie Dive Bar.  I have never been a big fan of Essie.  I really don’t like the bottle; it’s too small.  I like a longer handle, more like Misa and Finger Paints polishes.  But this color was very alluring.  It was my first Essie purchase once Wal-Mart started carrying this line.  In total I only own two Essie polishes, Mademoiselle and Dive Bar. 

Green, Blue, & Purple in the bottle
Review: The application of this polish was OK, with the first coat, it was streaky and definitely in need of a second coat.  But with the second coat, Dive Bar is a beautiful, opaque, deep blue-green.  In the bottle, this polish reminds me of a peacock; you see green, blue, and purple, but not so much when on the nail.  In these photos, I am wearing BC, two coats of Dive Bar, and a SV TC.

Taz on my nail table

Note: Meet Taz. He likes to sleep on the table I use to polish my nails.  Maybe because I also place his treats on the same table, when I am not polishing my nails.  Grace and Peace.