Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top coats and other nail products

I should point out that this is really part of my stash series and not any sort of scientific comparison of topcoats. Of course that isn't going to stop me from telling you my opinions just the same!

L-R: Seche Vite, Colorstay "new" formula, Butter London Hardwear, several NYCs (one is matte, one is Grand Central Station, and one is the long-wearing formula), then we have two different bottles of old-formula Colorstay with slightly-different packaging, and a Rimmel basecoat/topcoat that I only bought because it was a package deal with a polish included. (I don't really think much of the combined ones, I have to say. They don't seem to do either job as well when they try to do both.)

Interestingly, I have no huge favorites here. I like the expensive ones and I like the cheap ones. I like Seche but I'm not sure it's a great value for the price. I would say the same thing about the BL one, except that (1) I got a good deal on it, in the Nordstrom's sale last summer, and (2) it's a huge bottle and I've barely made a dent in it even though I've used it a good bit. Obviously it won't literally last forever, but it seems like it's going to last a long time.

I've been going through a lot of topcoat, because I change polish every couple of days, usually, and also because I've been using a lot of glitters lately, and you know how they eat polish! so that's one reason I have so many. I like Colorstay topcoat, and the New Colorstay bottle is in fact almost empty and I'm working through those old ones, too. (If you don't remember Old Colorstay, it came only in two-packs with a bottle of topcoat in each and every package, which is probably why it's not still around. They didn't have much color choice, and the colors are what I love about Colorstay nowadays!) Actually I think one of the NYCs came in a set, too - that might've been Grand Central Station, because I think then I looked at the bottle and went, "Well, it's just a clear, not a top-coat at all!" and was all indignant, and then I poked around and figured out that everybody seems to use it for topcoat anyway. And it does fine, and it's, what, 99 cents?

I'm going to put basecoat in a different entry, and some Sally Hansen nail care formulas along with those. This is some of the other nail care items I have, besides all that:
This is just intended to be representative of odds and ends of files and remover and such that I have, this isn't everything I have, by any means. Some of these are things I'm new to - I've never had nail thinner until lately, and I don't recall ever buying orange sticks, either. I bought a bottle of Seche Restore a while back, and then I also bought a bigger bottle of thinner at Sally Beauty, but I haven't really needed to use them. Likewise with orange sticks - I bought those ones with the wrapped ends at HEB, and then I bought a big package of plain ones when I went to Sally Beauty before Christmas. I'm sure it'll take me years to use all those up.

Let me just take the other categories of stuff one at a time:
files: I have a lot of files but most of them are just various brands of the same type as in the picture - I haven't graduated to the fancy glass ones so far. (And I quit using those "diamond" kind a couple of years ago when I kept reading how bad they're supposed to be for your nails. Although honestly, I do try to file in one direction and all that and my nails still peel. I can't tell that this variety helps any with that, although I do generally like them better than the diamond kind.)
cotton rounds: I can't think of much to say about them, except that I do seem to prefer the round kind over squares, or cotton balls
aluminum foil: for glitter removal (It's in a ball because that's my recycling.) I also have some finger cots that I use as a substitute for the foil but I don't know where those have gotten off to!
remover: I put the little bottle of Zoya Remove in as an example of removers. Mostly, I use plain acetone. (I have another sample Remove bottle like that one that I usually fill up with acetone, because the smaller bottles are easier to sling around!) I love Zoya generally, and I want to like Remove - it feels good on my nails, and I even like lavender scents, normally - but I guess Remove smells too strongly of lavender to me, or something. If I use it long enough to take off a whole manicure, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. (I don't like strong smells, I guess. I don't wear perfume much any more, but when I do it's very light eau de toilettes. So I guess there's a pattern there.)

Oh, and I stuck the bottle of "No more chips!" in there - it's really old and I hardly ever remember to use it. I guess it should really be in with the top coats but I didn't see it when I took the top coat picture. That was one of the first specialty nail products I ever bought, I think - I remember going in Ulta some years ago when they were a new thing and looking to see what magic potions they had for my always-bad chipping problem. I think my main problem is just that I work with computers all day and am hard on my nails generally. I don't really look for magic potions any more!

I also notice that there's an HEB logo visible in that picture, which I thought might interest some people because I talk about them a lot. It's that red logo up towards the upper right corner. If you don't know this already, HEB (technically it's H-E-B with dots or hyphens in between, because it's initials, not a word) is a big Texas-only chain of grocery stores. I shop there all the time and I adore them. I'd like them just for the groceries, but they also have a very large aisle full of nail polish, and a nail-polish brand, Orchid, that's not officially a store-brand, but nobody else anywhere I know of seems to carry it. They do have tons of stuff that's their own brand, or actually brands, they have several - everything from milk to grass-fed beef to well, orange sticks - and most of it is really good. If you hear Texas people talk about Central Market, that's also H-E-B - it's basically a division they created to compete with Whole Foods. And also awesome. (And no, they're not paying me, I just like them.)

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