Nails, nails, nails

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Before I even got my hands on the Sally Hansen Salon Effects in the "Girl Flower" design I did around my birthday (before and after), I bought the strips in "Frock Star," which is basically a rainbow made of glitter flecks. It looked great applied in the pictures I saw when Googling around.

"Frock Star" was a HUGE pain in the ass. I don't know whether the strips have gotten old, melted a little in the heat waves we've experienced recently or what, but it was a pain beginning to end. (I've read similar assessments online, so maybe the 100-degree temperatures had nothing to do with it.)

I started off trimming my nails, filing and buffing them, and making sure they were clean by swiping them with some nail polish remover. Then I started the application process by peeling the polish "sticker" away from the clear sheet protecting it. Impossible. I didn't have any trouble doing this with "Girl Flower," but for some reason the clear sheet just would not part ways with the polish. In fact, the wax sheet came off far more easily than the clear sheet, leaving me with little choice but to apply the polish to my nail with the clear sheet still attached, hoping it'd come off easier after it was on my non-flat nail. I was wrong and this resulted in a very chipped polish.

I ended up having to bend the edges of the entire nail strip and loosening the entire thing up to remove the clear sheet. Luckily, I have short nails, so I had plenty of polish "sticker" to sacrifice to this tedious process. The ripping/detaching of the strip at the edge of your nail was a lot more difficult than it had been with "Girl Flower." "Girl Flower" came off very easily and tore exactly at the edges, creating a nice, perfect line. Not so with "Frock Star." I think because of the built-in glitter pieces, the strip had to find places where it could compromise a little, which made for a jagged and imperfect edge.

Once the strips were on, I rejoiced. And then I accidentally scratched (read: hurt) myself while running one of my nail edges against my skin. These glitter pieces are REAL. And they are not friendly. I quickly applied a coat of clear polish to each of my nails, focusing extra special attention on the edge, but even that didn't perform any miracles. I can't tell you how many times a piece of glitter jutted out and hurt me over the next couple of days.

In addition to this PITA, because the polish strip is virtually a strip of glitter polish layered upon glitter polish (bless the person/machine that had to perform this task), it was really not all that flexible. I would venture to say that it's thicker and heavier on the nails than "Girl Flower." Edges started curling on my nail plate within the hour.

Aesthetically, it was loud. I didn't think it could've been too much louder than "Girl Flower," but it was. I don't recall anyone giving my "Girl Flower"ed nails the side eye or outright staring at them, but that happened on several occasions with "Frock Star." It was very, very sparkly. If I never get engaged and have no money for a sparkly rock, I will fuse "Frock Star" to my nails. Every time I wriggled my nails in daylight, I swear it looked like the Atlantic Ocean glistening under the afternoon sun. A very fun "color," but a little outlandish, depending on who you're in the company of. My mother thought I should've saved the strips for a party. (As if I'd go through that sort of trouble for a solitary party! But I did save half my strips, and I will probably pull them out for the Christmas-New Year's week. Dark winter nights could use a little sparkle, if you ask me.)

Unlike "Girl Flower," "Frock Star" did not fully survive my dishwashing test. I came away with more than a couple of "chips" in my polish. Fortunately (this may have been the one good thing about "Frock Star"), the glitter is so haphazard that I doubt anyone would notice a chip here or there.

By the end of the second full day I'd had "Frock Star" on, I just couldn't take it anymore. I started peeling at it, which felt strangely cathartic. It felt as if my nails were breathing fresh air again. I spent another day with the polish on and decided to remove it completely.

Which ... was another pain in the ass. I think I started out trying to use nail polish remover but ended up just peeling them all off. Which felt good in its own way.

So all in all, "Frock Star" is not worth the effort it took. If it's glitter you want, get yourself a bottle of glitter polish and do the layering yourself. Even then, it won't be nearly as tedious as the application and removal of "Frock Star."

My second nail "adventure" recently was my first Avon nail polish. I made my first-ever Avon order recently because my friend Amy just started selling Avon products. You can check out her online shop here.

I ordered the Pink Power nail color because I've been looking for a creme, pastel pink with a fairly white base for a while now and I'd failed miserably in finding one. I bought Essie's "Ador-a-ball" without testing it first. That's a sheer light pink, which translates to French white on my nails. Avon's Pink Power color, however, was exactly what I was looking for, maybe a touch pinker than I'd like, but it's very close. And it only cost $3 instead of the $6 or so I paid for my Essie color at a local discount beauty store. What's more, it comes with a breast examination booklet.

As for application, I found the Avon brush to be quite plasticky and harder to use than most other brushes I've used in the past. The first coat was pretty sheer, but the second coat did the job. I've had the color on from Sunday to Sunday and it was still going strong -- more than I can say for most other nail polishes, including OPI. I washed dishes, did laundry, you name it. The polish itself felt a little thicker or tackier than other polishes I've used. Even after drying, it feels a little elastic or malleable to the touch. I had a little trouble removing the excess paint off my skin after applying, but after a couple of days, it loosened up and washed away fairly painlessly.

I'm curious about Avon's other colors, since oftentimes texture and wear depends greatly on the color. This one has its advantages and disadvantages, but for $3 it's not a bad deal.

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