Stocked Up on T.I.P.S.

For the last year my nail situation has been dire. I have been pick, pick, picking at them and the cuticles so much that I am embarrassed to show my fingers in public let alone online in a photo. Nope, not showing you. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Last week I decided to restock my T.I.P.S nail conditioning product because I have been out for some time and have been putting it off waiting for a deal. I bought three bottles and two brushes. I ordered on the weekend and they arrived the following Tuesday. I was very excited when the box arrived.

I opened up a bottle and put it in the bathroom and then I opened up another bottle and put it in the livingroom next to my “TV chair”. So far I am feeling good about getting in at least one to two treatments a day. Either in the morning or at night during my wash up routine or when I am watching something on the tube.

I still have a long way to go but from past experience I am confident in the product that I will be taking pictures soon.

Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads

I was really excited to receive Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads in one of my Top Box subscription beauty boxes. It was a purse size sampler with 28 pads, lemon scented, and acetone free. The ingredients are listed as: propylene carbonate, parfum, propylene glycol.

The sample container of my Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads comes in a nice compact twist container.

The saturated pads are quite thin which I find awkward to work with — I usually use a cotton pad that has some thickness to it. The smell reminds me of citronella candles which is neither good nor bad during the removal process, definitely an improvement on standard nail polish remover scents, but it lingers afterwards.

The thin nail polish remover pads from Belvada.

Does it remove my nail polish? Yes. But if I am not careful it ends up transferring a nail polish stain to my skin around the nails — then I have to use a clean pad to clean that up. I find these pads very messy because the whole pad is saturated (even with it being thin there is a lot of solution). These are impossible to use if you just want to touch up one nail because they are so messy. I also thought I would be able to use one pad for all my nails, not the case. Depending on my nail polish and number of coats it was more like three or four. It does remove polish with glitter and I didn’t find it any harder or easier than regular remover in that sense.

I thought this would be a great travel pack but I definitely need to wash my hands after using them because my fingers feel sticky and to get rid of the lingering scent.

I haven’t been able to find these pads anywhere so I’m guessing it was an experiment gone wrong but if you come across them, unless they are free, I wouldn’t bother.

Topic Links
* Belvada Cosmetics

Bundle Monster Halloween Nail Stamp Plate

Nail Polish Canada (NPC) sent me a Bundle Monster Halloween nail stamp to try. This is my first experience with actual nail stamping. I bought a mini kit a while ago but haven’t gotten the chance to test it out. Since NPC only sent the plate I used the stamper and scraper from my other kit.

A bundle monster nail stamp plate.

I have to say. The whole process took me longer than I thought it would and the results were very poor.

Nail Stamp Attempt #1 — My excitement was pretty high. I decided to play with a few colors (they just happen to all be Julep) to see what kind of results I would get. I thought black, white, and fiona green were pretty much Halloween standards.

My first attempt with nail art stamping I used black, white, and green colors.

First up was measuring the designs with my fingers which surprisingly had a limited fit.

My forefinger against the nail plate images for sizing.

As was my thumb. I never really considered my fingers especially small but according to the designs on this plate… my fingers are dainty.

My thumb beside nail plate for size measuring.

As you can see, my first attempt was less than stellar other than the forefinger design (no idea what it is — bloody eyeball??). Part of the three pumpkins worked but it was too wide for my fingers. Overall, I think I prefer the black on white designs. The white on black would have been nice but I didn’t have enough polish (and it doesn’t fit my thumb).

The final results of my first attempt at nail stamping.

Nail Stamp Attempt #2 — With this attempt I stayed with the white and black.

My color choices for my second attempt.

Again, unless it is a bright thick white, it doesn’t show up on black. I tried a bright orange and a bright red. The bright red however looks awesome on the white — again the same stamp worked.

My second attempt at nail stamping.

Nail Stamp Attempt #3 — With this attempt I kept the black and white and swapped in the bright red for a base color. My work space was starting to get messy at this point and the novelty was wearing off a bit.

My third attempt at nail stamping with red, black and white.

The results were a little better. The red definitely looks nice on white (not surprised) and white on black is interesting too. Black on red didn’t work as well as I thought it would.

The results of my 3rd attempt.

Nail Stamp Attempt #4 — Finally I decided to do away with color as a base and went to white. And red for stamping. I was so tired at this point I didn’t care and pretty much gave up. Nothing was really salvageable from this attempt.

My fourth attempt at using the nail stamp plate.

As you can see from my above attempts, color and formula play a huge role in whether the stamper will work. Dark on light definitely works best; like with all nail art (but I thought I would try anyway). And definitely the slower the formula is to dry the better. But my biggest disappointment was the size of the designs.

It’s best to have plenty of cotton pads and nail polisher remover on hand and to work on a couple layers of paper towel as things get messy when it comes time to do some scraping.

My nail stamp and scraper.

After the fourth attempt I gave up for the night and even though I don’t feel I had any real success I want to try again with smaller designs and a better color plan in mind. With all the other nail arts I’ve tried I have practiced on fake nails beforehand but for some reason I thought this would be a piece a cake and didn’t bother. There is definitely some skill involved in the rolling of the stamper (and how the excess polish is scraped off) that I didn’t anticipate but like with all nail art I think it is something that can be easily developed with practice on a down day.

NPC has lots of Bundle Monster nail plates including more Halloween designs. Their nail plates sell for $4 each and if that is all you order their shipping is free (normally free with a purchase over $25).

Topic Links
* Get this Halloween Nail Stamp Plate from Nail Polish Canada
* Get this stamp plate from Bundle Monster

Duri Rejuvacote Review

Nail Polish Canada sent me a bottle of Duri’s Rejuvacote 1 to review on I have never heard of this product which is from a Brooklyn, New York based company. It is a nail growth system and according to the packaging Rejuvacote is the “Nail Doctor” that will “heal and cure your split, cracked and acrylic eaten nails.”

I am testing out a nail strengthener by Duri.

The nail polish bottle it comes in is actually quite large and holds .61 fl. oz of pink filmy treatment. It has a strong scent when you open it that reminds me of the wart remover I had to use when I was a kid. FYI: nails don’t smell after it dries.

The smell encouraged me to take a closer look at the ingredients and if you are a 3-free or 5-free proponent then this product is probably not for you. Here is the ingredient list on my bottle:

Ethyl Acetate, n-butyl acetate, nytrocellulose [sic], formaldehyde resin, isopropyl alcohol, camphor, calcium pantothenate, gelatin, hydrolyzed keratin protein, formaldehyde, vitamin a, vitamin e.

This bottle of Rejuvacote is not formaldehyde free.

Update: Duri’s Rejuvacote 2 is Toluene, formaldyhide, and DBP free.

In the first part of my test I started with one coat and let it go alone just to see what its longevity was like with no follow up coats and noticed it peels off quite easily within a few days.

Testing Duri Rejuvacoate nail strengthener.

I started over again with fresh nails and didn’t use any regular nail polish for seven days. I noticed some drying at the cuticle edge but not really any other changes. The formula has a nice consistency and applies nicely. It stings if you get it on a hangnail so precision is important.

Hard on cuticles and hang nails.

It does peel but instead of starting fresh again I scraped off loose edges and continued with the next day’s coat trying to keep with the directions of applying for seven days and then removing and starting again. I didn’t use any color polish this first week even though the directions said I could on the second day.

Week two something weird started happening. My nails split like crazy. I almost stopped using the Duri but decided to trim things up and keep going for the three weeks I had committed to using it. As the week continued I contributed the splitting to the nail buffer I used a few months back before using a chrome polish — I actually think this splitting was the outgrowth from that — only because I have had none happen since.

I tried a few color polishes with the Duri in weeks three and four and as far as top coats go, it’s super shiny. As someone who has been wearing a lot of polish the last year I really found myself enjoying the pink tint of the Duri but I was still happy to get back to using some bright colors like this Punch Drunk Pink:

My first polish to use with Duri was Sally Hansen's Punch Drunk.

Last week I jammed my pinky in the vent of the oven door when I was opening it and while I didn’t snap off the whole nail I did damage a few millimetres from the tip. It hung on for another day before I had to trim it back. Normally, when this happens it’s an immediate funeral for the whole tip. But at this point they are starting to grow out nicely and I like the pink glow it gives my nail beds and surprisingly it doesn’t discolor the white tips. Here they are without anything on them:

My nails look good without the Duri too.

Then the other day I jammed my middle finger into the vacuum and snapped off a chip. It’s quite a large chip but I think it would have broken or cracked right down to the nail bed had I not been using this top coat — a broken nail at some point is unavoidable in my opinion but it is always a bonus if you don’t have to trim all the way down to start from scratch.

Broken nails are bound to happen no matter what product you use.

And my favorite part, it dries soooo fast. Super fast. I can put a coat on and do anything within three minutes. This includes when using it as a top coat over nail polish — which really surprised me and made me quite happy. Up to this point I’ve been in love with Julep’s Freedom Polymer Topcoat because it dries so fast and is durable but it is such a small bottle compared to this.

A bottle of Duri costs $12.95 from Nail Polish Canada. I have been using it once a day for over four weeks and I am still not a quarter of the way through the bottle.

I hate how some products disappear like you are burning through them. Even on daily use this bottle will last a few months.

I thought my nails looked good before and while I definitely think they look better, I don’t feel like they are “nails to die for”. I will definitely continue to happily use this product until completion.

I will definitely keep this treatment as an ongoing part of my current nail regiment.

Recommendations: If you are going to try it, commit to it and use it every day for at least three weeks before you decide whether or not it is for you. Continue to condition your cuticles every night and you still need to file your nails regularly to keep rough edges at bay.

Update: I am about three quarters of the way through my Duri bottle and I noticed, like most nail polish, the formula is a bit sticky than when I started. I have emailed the company to ask if I can add a few drops of thinner without affecting the formula and am waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I posted a video on instagram the other day about a crack I suffered in my thumb nail but if you check out my nails they otherwise look pretty good and I’m quite happy with them.

Have you tried Duri Rejuvacote?

Topic Links
* Get your Rejuvacote from Nail Polish Canada

DIY Elmers Glue Base Coat

I ordered some clear empty nail polish bottles on Etsy so I could make a glue base coat. If you haven’t already heard what that is, basically it’s mixing glue with water and applying it like a base coat. It was initially used underneath difficult to remove glitter nail polishes so they can be peeled off instead of soaking fingertips in acetone.

Empty nail polish bottles I purchased on Etsy from CremeDeLaChroma.

Generally I wear my nail polish for about four days. Mostly because I get bored but also because I am a picker. It doesn’t matter that I know it’s bad for my nails — I have some deep neurological deviation that forces me to do it. Before I started wearing nail polish on a regular basis it was my nails and cuticles — it was more unsightly and painful but I digress. When I first heard of the peal off glue base coat I knew I had to try it.

Most of the videos I’ve seen are about a third of a bottle glue with a teaspoon of water or more to get the right consistency. My Elmers glue bottle was a pain in the ass. Seriously, it almost hit the wall at one point.

Trying to get glue in tiny bottle.

First I couldn’t get it to squeeze glue out (yes it was open), then it was squeezing too much out, then the glue was clogging the entry hole of the nail polish bottle. I made a mess. Thank goodness I put down paper towel before starting. I finally finished with the glue, cleaned up the mess, and added some warm water from the tap and shook that baby.

Making a mess with glue.

I applied one coat and it dried within two minutes. I decided to apply another coat and a real base coat (just in case because I am so paranoid about color bleeding these days).

My nails with two coats of DIY glue base coat.

It works. You can’t fiddle with it or wash your hands until you have applied nail polish otherwise it will be washed away. It definitely stays in place for a few days until polish started to lift around the edges. I have tried it a few times so far but am not sure if it is something I’ll make part of my routine.

Topic Links
* Get empty nail polish bottles on Etsy

Zoya Anchor Base Coat

For the longest time I was using Revlon’s basecoat but then someone said I had to try Zoya’s basecoat so I picked up a bottle. I am quite fond of it. It is a bit watery and spreads on in a thin coat. I found myself just wearing it alone a lot over the last few months. It has a nice natural nail finish.

I quite like the consistency of Zoya's Anchor Base Coat

After a few days I find it starts to peel off from wear but I have just been painting on another coat on top — and I can’t tell afterwards. It dries super fast. I am almost halfway through the bottle and it hasn’t gotten gunky like some other top coats (and nail color) do when it starts to get low.

My nails and cuticles are going through a good phase that I have been happy just wearing the base coat quite often.

I would put this on my list of keepers and will probably buy another bottle at some point. Does anyone else have any recommendations for top coats? I’d like to try Butter London’s Horse Power next — it’s a strengthener that can be used as a base coat.

Topic Links
* Visit Zoya’s official site to see what’s new

Turquoise and Caicos

The Turquoise and Caicos was part of Essie’s 2010 resort collection but was repackaged with Set in Stones and an Essie glass nail file. The turquoise nail polish is such a pretty color. I found the polish to be quite watery and required three coats to get an almost opaque look. Had I not been putting on the glitter layer I probably would have went for a fourth coat.

Essie Nail Polish Kit

The glitter… is awesome. It is very reflective, like having little reflective mirrors on my nails. And to top that off there was not a rough or bumpy appearance that some glitters seem to leave. I did not apply a top coat and for the five days I wore it there were no chips.

Turquoise nail polish with a silver sparkle top coat.

As for the mini Essie glass nail file. I did not care for it at all — maybe for an emergency. It is way too rough and does not provide a smooth finish. It feels more like it is pulling on the nail. I will stick with my awesome Quo glass nail file.

The glass nail file Essie included in their Turquoise, Caicos, and Set in Stone polish kit.

Topic Links
* Set in Stones is available from Amazon
* Turquoise and Caicos is available from Amazon

Salon Effects Solids and Prints

Almost a month ago, I bought a solid silver/metal Salon Effects nail polish strips and they were horrible. This was my third pack over the last year or so but my first time using the solid — the patterns are so fun it is hard to refuse them when they are on sale — the previous two packs were prints and they were super easy to apply and I did not have any problem with the strips themselves. This solid colored pack kept ripping and just would not go on right. You cannot tell from my horrible iPod photo (before I got the new one) but the manicure is horrid.

Silver stick on nail strips by Sally Hansen.

I complained about it on Instagram the night I was applying them and one of my followers suggested I email Sally Hansen because she had a good customer service experience with them and said it was important for them to know when there was a problem. Within 24 hours a consultant emailed me back asking for my mailing address and what kind of replacement I would like. My replacement arrived today (cute pattern, eh?).

Salon Effects print nail polish strips from Sally Hansen.

I am not going to use it right away because I have other products in the cue, so to speak, that I want to play with first. But I wanted to mention it because it obviously pays to let them know when you have a legitimate complaint. That being said — she added that I would need to send in the package should I have a future complaint.

Have you had any problem with the nail polish strips? Have you noticed a difference between solids and prints when applying?

Topic Links
* Find Salon Effects online at