Review & DIY Drugstore Gel Nails w/ leopard print nail art {Cosmar Gel Kit}

Hello Beauties!

Ok, brace yourselves… this is a long post! Last weekend I went out in search of a polish or gel to repair a broken nail. As I was walking around the aisles of CVS I found this Quick Nails Brush-On Gel Kit. It was $11.49 and I thought, why not! It beats paying $30+ at a salon to have them done. Plus this product doesn’t require UV lights to dry.

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So let’s get started… first off here are some of the tools I used for this look. The gel kit {I know… obviously, right?}. Any black nail polish. I used Wet n Wild in ‘Black Creme’. Toothpicks {not to be used for the teeth} & a dotting tool. Orly nail polishes in ‘Sterling Silver Rose’ & ‘Crushed Mauve’ and lastly Orly Top 2 Bottom Basecoat and Topcoat (pictured at the end, but any base and topcoat will do).

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Next… what in the world comes in this gel kit?? Well I’ll tell you… An instruction sheet, 2-sided nail buffer & shaper, manicure stick, 24 square nail tips & 26 petite nail tips, pink nail glue, brush cleaner, gel overlay and finally the gel activator. BTW- I LOVE that this nail glue comes with that little red piece. It has a sharp needle inside so you can cover the top of the glue when finished and it leaves a hole for the next time you use it… I know… genius right! No more finding something sharp to stick in there when the glue hardens.
Ok, so a little inside scoop on the gel activator (the smallest of the three). You’ll notice that it doesn’t have a brush attached to the cap like any normal “polish” would have. Well, that’s because this stuff is so powerful it mutates the brush… don’t ask how I know, lol! Ok, ok… I’ll tell you 😉 I accidentally left the brush from the brush cleaner in it and the brush started curling into a C within 5 minutes! Yikes… so needless to say, that brush stays in the brush cleaner!

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Alright already… let’s start with the good stuff!

1. Give yourself a little mini manicure by cutting your nails down, but not too short. You’ll want the nail glue to attach to your nail not your skin. File the tops and the edges with the nail file provided. Be careful not to file them down on the top too much otherwise your nails can become thin.
2. Find the right size nail tip and add a drop of glue to the backside. Press the nail tip down onto your finger nail while it’s still attached to the wheel and squueze onto your nail including close to the edges. Use the nail tool if necessary. Add some more glue on the top where the fake nail meets your real nail making sure there are no air bubbles. You don’t want water to creep in there because it can cause mold… gross! Once it’s on there twist the wheel, it comes off really easy.
3. Finish with the rest of the nails and file down any rough edges.
4. Now comes the fun part.
a. First unscrew all the caps to the three bottles so you can go back and forth between them easily.
b. Start by applying the gel overlay to the nail. I applied 4 coats.
c. While the gel overlay is still wet take the brush from the brush cleaner and dip it into the gel activator and sweep it over the wet gel. (also 4 coats).
d. Wipe off the excess gel activator from that brush onto a paper towel in between dips and then dip the brush back into the brush cleaner and again wipe off the excess on the paper towel. You basically want to keep that brush as “gel free” as possible so the activator doesn’t harden it.

IMG_6385Once the gel was completely dry (I waited about 15 minutes just to be sure) I filed the tops down a bit and repeated the steps above until I had the desired thickness I wanted. This is what mine looked like after 2 rounds of gel application.

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Next polish the nails with Orly Top Coat

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Followed by Orly Crushed Mauve.

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You can end the madness here, OR…. add some cool leopard print… This step is optional, but I thought it was kinda fun and trendy. Using the flat end of the toothpick, take the Sterling Silver Rose and randomly place dots on the ring finger (or whichever finger your little heart desires). I also did my pinky finger. Then take the small dotting tool and the Wet in Wild black polish and carefully place brackets (  ) and C shapes around the pink dots. Fill in any empty spaces with random shaped black dots.IMG_6388

This is what it should look like:

IMG_6390[1]and finally… paint only one finger with the Sterling Silver Rose (I chose to do the pointer finger this color) and finish with the top coat. Voila… The finished product!!

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So overall… I really like this product! It is super affordable and they last! I haven’t had one nail chip or come off. They feel like real acrylic nails and I’ve gotten tons of compliments which makes me feel like they don’t look like an amateur did them (AKA: ME). The only thing I will say is that doing them on yourself is a bit tough, especially doing my right hand and I noticed the gel layering was a little uneven because I guess I wasn’t consistent in how much I put on each nail. Also, I wish the nail tips didn’t have that funky heart shape at the top. I think it would be hard to do a pretty French tip because you could see the shape under the gel. Other than that, I’m very happy and impressed with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking to do their very own gel set!

I hope this helped you in some way shape or form! Catch you on my next post 😉 Till then Laugh often & Love always ❤

Xoxo,
Cristina

St. Patrick’s Day inspired nails {Makeup by Cristina}

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Hello Beauties!

I’m probably the only person who always forgets to wear my green on St. Patty’s Day! So, this year I have a fool proof way of not getting pinched! 🙂 I’ve got my nails in this gorgeous ‘Go Go Green’ color. The polish is Maybelline Express Finish. It’s a super light color so this coverage took three coats. It has some gold undertones, perfect for that Pot O’ Gold effect 🙂

Hope you love it! Till the next one Laugh often & Love always!

Xx,
Cristina

DIY Nails On a Budget Tutorial – Valentine’s Day themed {Makeup by Cristina Underwood}

Hello Beauties!

Wow! It’s already the middle of February, where does the time go?? I am so excited to bring to you my very first post (YAYAYAY!!! **Cheering*** Clapping***) I know this post is a little late, but I just had to share what an amazing Valentine’s Day I had this year with my husband. He made me a steak dinner, and home-made chocolate covered strawberries! Doesn’t it all look delish 🙂

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Since part of his gift was giving me a “day off” of all mommy duties I was able to pamper myself to my very own mani/pedi.  I had gone to the Dollar Tree store about a month ago and purchased some nails and nail glue so I thought this would be the perfect afternoon to use my new goodies (ok well not really “new” they were a month old already, but you get my point). I created 2 different ways to wear these nails so I was SUPER excited about that! I would say that was money well spent! 🙂 Hope you enjoy this tutorial, here we go!

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Step 1: These are the fake nails I purchased at the Dollar Tree. They came in a pack of 12 nails so I bought 2 packs for both of my hands.
Step 2: First things first, you have to find the right size nail for each of your fingers. If the nails don’t fit exact take a larger one and file down the sides. That way you can’t see your real nail on the sides and it blends nicely.
Step 3: Once you’ve established which nails fit on which finger line them up in a row so that it’s easier for you to glue them on with no confusion. This may seem like a meaningless step, but hey… you never know what distractions will come your way when you’re pampering yourself 😉
Step 4: I used this La Cross manicure set to cut my nails, file them down, and then cut my cuticles. Any manicure set that you have will do 🙂

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Step 5: Now for the tops of the nails… Instead of using the nail file in the manicure set I used this Sani-Block (I guess that’s what it’s called?? who knew.. lol) from Sally’s Beauty Supply. It has the three sides to Buff, Smooth, and Shine the nails. *This step is super important. You want your nails to be as smooth as possible so when you glue the fake nail down it adheres to the whole thing and not just spots*
Step 6: This is what it should look like when you’re done 🙂
Step 7: I bought this nail glue at the Dollar Tree also and so far it seems to be holding strong!
Step 8: Apply the glue to the back of the fake nail and the press it down onto your real nail. Hold for about 10-15 seconds (Apply as much pressure as you can but don’t hurt yourself, this should be painless… after all we’re pampering ourselves remember). At this point you can file the nails slightly add a top coat and be done! Aren’t they pretty?! But to be festive I went a few steps further.

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Step 9: I’m a “short nails” kinda gal… so I cut mine down to a length that was manageable and filed the rough edges out.
Step 10: Using the Orly 2-in-1 nail polish (on the left) I applied 1 coat to the nails. Remember the Maybelline Express Finish (on the right) in this picture cause I’ll be using it in the last step 😉
Step 11: Time to make a heart stencil. I used a tape that is meant to help reduce scars for this step! lol 🙂 You know us moms, we improvise! You can use whatever your little heart desires… I’ve seen others use scotch tape and even band aids. Anyhow… whatever you choose to use fold it in half and with scissors cut a half heart shape and then carefull pull the pieces apart. Tape this to whatever nail you’d like to have a design on. I did my ring finger.
Step 12: These are the 2 nail polishes I used for my Valentine’s Day inspired nails. They’re from O*P*I and unfortunately they didn’t have names on them because they are sample sizes. :(….

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Step 13: Apply 2 coats of the matte O*P*I nail polish (over the tape stencil too). If you can put your nails in front of a fan or wait a few minutes for them to dry before going onto the next step that would help, but if you can’t move on 🙂
Step 14: *Remove the heart tape from your ring finger* Apply 2 coats of the gorgeous glittery O*P*I nail polish and to help it dry faster apply 1 coat of the Maybelline Express Finish nail polish in step 10…and… VOILA! A brand new beautiful set of nails!

Stay tuned for my next blog post… it’s a black and gold Arabic inspired makeup look with the beautiful LookAMillion from the UK! Till then remember to Laugh often and Love always!
xoxo, Cristina