Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nail Recovery 101: Bringing Your Nails Back From The Dead

Badly applied acrylics, gels and gel polish can do a number on your nail beds. Like the guys at Young Nails have said: "It's not the tools, it's the fools that ruin nails." Barring any permanent injury or nail disorder that warrants a dermatologist's attention, your nails will grow back healthy and happy after you have been "drilled and filled" by following these instructions.

You will need:

Pure acetone NOT from the hardware store.
Orangewood sticks
Cotton balls
Aluminum foil
Gelish VitaGel Recovery formula
Either an LED or UV lamp for nails. These are inexpensive. No need to buy one for over $40.
Gentle natural nail file
Buffing block, fine grit
Nail trimmers
Cuticle oil
90% or better rubbing alcohol
Lint free nail wipes. Paper towels are ok.
Hand lotion

1) Buff the surface shine off the nail if you are wearing polish, acrylics or soak off gels.
2) Soak cotton balls in acetone.
3) Apply cotton balls to each nail and wrap each fingertip with aluminum foil.
4) Let sit for 20 min.
5) Unwrap each foil packet and GENTLY scrape off product with an orangewood stick.
6) Re-wet cotton balls with acetone and reapply with foil wrap.
6) If you want, soak nails in a glass dish with acetone added.
7) Every few minutes GENTLY scrape off product until your nails are clean.

NOTE: Skip steps 1-7 if you have no product of any kind on your nails.

8) Clean fingers with acetone to get rid of all the residual gook.
9) Clip your nails down short with nail clippers.
10) Gently shape your nails with a file.
11) Push back cuticles.
12) Cleanse the nail with alcohol.
13) Apply a thin coat of Vitagel.
14) Place under an LED lamp for 30 seconds or a UV lamp for 2 minutes.
15) Apply gel polish according to directions, if desired.
16) Wipe off tacky layer with alcohol.
17) Apply cuticle oil to cuticles and under the edge of your nails.
18) Moisturize hands with lotion of choice.

The VitaGel will give your nails protection as they grow out, which can take anywhere from 3-4 months. In the meantime, use cuticle oil all around your nails and massage it in. A great nail strengthening cream like Hard As Hoof or Barielle will also help keep your recovering nails flexible and strong.

If you opt not to wear the Vitagel, after removal of acrylics or soak off gels, cut your nails short, gently shape them and use cuticle oil all over your nails, massaging it in. Do this each time your nails come in contact with water, and especially before bedtime.

It will take time and patience, but giving your nails TLC will help them slowly but surely get better.

The best nail strengtheners I know of? OPI Nail Envy and Nailtiques Formula #2 Plus.

Stay beautiful!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Phony Beauty: Avoiding The Fakery: Olaplex

The following was posted by the company who manufactures Olaplex. It is directed to salon pros, but the information is relevant to consumers: (Click on image)

I completely understand the convenience of buying beauty products from,, or even more dubious merchants such as aliexpress. (Would you like a little lead in that eye shadow palette, ma'am?) In a world full of dupes and fabulous fakes that can be found from unauthorized retailers and drugstores, I get it...saving money is great, especially since you can get your hands on "the next best thing".

I invite you to stop purchasing "phony beauty" products that look real, but may be watered down, repackaged or worse yet, contaminated. I unfortunately don't see the influx of counterfeit products ending anytime soon, but every little bit helps. Spend the extra money and stay safe. You may very well avoid supporting the burgeoning "gray market" that diverts products to unauthorized sellers.

Stay beautiful!


Eco Friendly Alternatives to Makeup Removal.

I personally use a wet washcloth after massaging jojoba oil to my face. I highly recommend removing contact lenses before proceeding. The washcloth gives me some exfoliation in the process....always a good thing when you are over 50, and the jojoba oil plays well with pores. This is so much better than perfume laden makeup wipes that are irritating. That dubious distinction goes to Neutrogena Oil Free Makeup Wipes, the grapefruit edition, or any grapefruit based remover. YEOWCH.

For some of you, even using a washcloth can be irritating. This being the case, I would use microfiber or soft cotton cloths, like these I found on I especially like that they are black, thereby hiding permastains.

If you really want to use makeup wipes, consider earth friendly alternatives such as these recommendations from Self magazine. The convenience is still there, good towels will be spared an unfortunate fate and on the plus side, you'll save water.

Just an FYI....coconut oil has been used by many for makeup removal, but it can be very pore clogging if left on the skin. Cleanse, tone and moisturize afterwards to get rid of the residue.

My personal makeup removal routine:

After using jojoba oil and a wash cloth, tone with 10 0 6 astringent, or witch hazel. Moisturize with Shea Moisture Black Soap lotion for oily/problem skin. I also use this on the eye area gently. Castor oil on lashes and brows. Then it is bedtime.

If you have a night time routine you would like to share, please send an email to

Stay beautiful!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tools of the Trade: Brushes on My Table

These are the current brushes I have on my "get ready" table. I am a complete sucker for any kind of beauty tool, with shiny metal hair cutting things and brushes topping the list. The takeaway from this is, you do NOT have to spend a ton of $$$ on brushes. I love the Royal and Langnickel (R&L) Moda and Omnia series as well as the R&L SILK series. Believe me can go down an entire rabbit hole with brushes. Just look up the name Chikuhodo and you will see what I mean. 😳 Bottom line: $pending that kind of $$$ is SO not necessary.

The photos are not perfect and neither is my desk top because this is real life beauty. 😀

Large powder brush: Moda by R&L. Silver textured handle. Nice and dense. I love this one for all over powder.

Hakuhodo oval blush brush, black handle #B110.  It is cut at a soft angle. Gives me the perfect wash of color in a transparent layer. Great for controlling brighter colors. Sadly, not cruelty free so I will not purchase from this brand again. 🙁

Moda by R&L blush brush. This one is a pointed teardrop shape. Fantastic for blending bronzer. 

Tarte double ended shadow brush. This is fantastic for blending out application lines. Better for larger eyes, may be too big for small lids.

R&L Omnia BOM-37 Highlighter brush in gold. Has more bend and a soft snap than Elle Woods, which is a good thing.

Sonia Roselli brow groomer. It does the job. I think you can get a better one for less $. 

R&L green blue handled angle liner brush. I like this for blending out my liner. It is light weight and easy to work with.

Real Techniques #202 liner brush from their Bold Metals collection in silver. Nicely weighted and very well cut. 

R&L Omnia BOM-18 Detail brush in rose gold. This one is great for creating a smoky textured eye liner.

R&L Omnia Shader BOM-12 in rose gold. Apply shadow in one swipe. May be too large for small eyes.

R&L Omnia BOM-02 Powder brush in rose gold. I really like this one for applying an allover soft glow of subtle highlighting powder.

All of these brushes are soft, but the R&L brushes from their Omnia line take it to the next level. They are SO silky and luxurious! If you have sensitive skin, try these.

As an aside.....Artis oval brushes are a gimmick and do not work that well. If you MUST have one, get the #7 for liquid foundation application.

If you won't settle for anything less than the very best, Sephora PRO brushes sold individually are better than anything I have seen, but the handles are lengthy. Even at that, the Omnias are equally as good.

I hope this info helps you out and keeps you from pulling the trigger on that $200+ dollar set you have been eyeing! You REALLY do not need to.

Stay beautiful,


An Ending And A New Beginning!

 I have been involved in the color and style community, on and off, for the last eight years and have decided it is time to move in a new direction. I wish to use this blog in order to talk about things like the new trends in cosmetics, nails, hair, etc. In other words, I really want to move away from just color and include a much wider gamut of beauty/wellness, drawing from my 32 years of experience as a licensed cosmetologist.

You will find info here about hair, nails, product reviews and new trends. As I do my own shopping and attend trade shows, I will report on my findings and let you know what's great and what to avoid, among lots of other subjects. The net I cast will be much wider! Because of this, I will be able to post here way more often.

The world of color is amazing and I am SO glad our God given gift of eye sight allows us to see every shade of the rainbow in three dimensions.
I credit the writings of Kathryn Kalisz, Christine Scaman and the knowledge of Lisa K. Ford, Ferial Youakim, Cheryl Lampard , Nikki Bogardus and Jaclyn Peresetsky for helping me see harmony. Special thanks also goes to Rachel Nachmias, Cate Linden, Sharon Forsythe, Jorunn Hernes, Amanda Roberts, Anette Byman and Heather from Moda In Color for allowing me to private message them and "pick their brains".

To the Facebook groups, True Summer Sisterhood, Light Summer, Bright Spring, Zyla Exploration, Bright Winter and Kibbe Madness, thank you for adding to my knowledge base.

I would also like to thank Lori Rogers and Dorothy Ungerer for their ongoing friendship and guidance in teaching me the value of being patient with others. I have gained much joy in helping you in your color and style journeys.

To "Gertrude Catpacker" and "Paisley Ize". You two are amazing women and helped me do much in the way of critical examination.

Also, thank you SO very much to my dear readers for sticking with me! This blog would not exist without you!

Ok, kids......let's open a brand new door!!



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lipstick and Nail Polish: Coordinating Both Until Your Next Mani

In the 80's (how I MISS that time!) it was pretty customary to make sure your nail polish and lipstick colors matched as closely as possible. Some say this looks dated, others say it looks put together. Now that a few decades have passed, the first rule is....there are no rules!

There is a really nice thing that happens as a matter of course when having a color analysis done. Once you have reached your proper results and received your fan, you'll be pleased to find out that the "thinking has been done for you" as Christine Scaman has mentioned in her 12 Blueprints blog. No matter what color you choose, it's going to coordinate because the undertones of each color are all related. 

When Kathryn Kalisz masterminded the 12 Tones of color and created each palette with her scientific and artistic eye, the word harmony can't be expressed enough. As an example and since I have not given this season enough attention, let's take a gander at Dark Autumn:

Image result for dark autumn palette

Fortunately, the Dark Autumn palette contains a ton of colors that are easy to find, both in makeup, nail polish and clothing for that matter. So many women try to shoe horn themselves into this season. It is no wonder. When put together, it is elegant, expensive looking and expresses a comfortable, relaxing warmth. 

The great news about this selection of colors is the amount of great neutral colors to choose from. Have a white French manicure tip put on, overlay with a sheer wash of one of the neutrals and consider it a very wearable look. 

When choosing a polish color to last a couple of weeks and a few color changes in clothing during that time, the best rows to pick from are going to be in the last two rows of the "lipstick" colors. Do you really want to make it easy for yourself? How about a deep cinnamon brown? That's going to look gorgeous with everything!

I think that blues and blue greens are very fun colors. If you are in a corporate environment, these may have to stay underneath your shoes rather than your fingertips, but if you can wear these, they will contrast and mesh in well with your wardrobe. 

The plums and reds tend to stand out a little bit more. If you are the type of Dark Autumn who loves wearing lots of neutrals, these tones can serve as a nice contrast. However, if you are a stickler for matching and coordinating, you may feel compelled to plan your wardrobe around your nail polish, and that's OK!  

If you really want to make it easy on yourself when getting ready in the morning, choose a lipstick or two that matches or blends in with your polish selection. Put those on your "get ready in the morning" table and see how much quicker dressing-up time goes. For the really ambitious, choose some nice neutral eye shadows and a blush and stick with that until your next mani. See how much time you save getting ready in the morning!



Thursday, July 11, 2019

Figuring Out Your Cosmetics Colors, Post Draping

There is enough in the way of choices available for the 12 seasons that merely settling for second best colors is not necessary

One thing you will notice after a short while is, the range of your best colors has narrowed. By narrowed, I mean by QUITE a bit. You may even find it alarming. I know I sure did. This can take getting used to, but once you find your groove, it will make shopping a whole lot easier. You will be able to walk past the offerings being currently advertised and decide at first glance what works for you and what doesn't. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, beauty bloggers and vloggers seem to collect one of everything, especially if they have extensive beauty rooms and a YouTube channel that has a high level of viewership. For the sake of their audience, it is a good idea to check out and collect "all the shades". 

Chances are you got into color analysis because you have amassed a collection over a period of time. Now you feel as if you are swimming in a sea of products that either don't work at all or are languishing in a drawer well past their expiration date. 

There is a fact you need to be well aware of: Not every color in your fan is going to look great on your face, particularly if you are one of the neutral seasons. This depends on many factors:

Your skin's pigmentation as well as how much color your natural lips have. 

Your natural hair color or your color treated hair.

How light or how dark your eyes are. 

Your personality. Some of us are more flamboyant and sparkly than others, who prefer something more elegant and polished or sporty. 

I can't say that the below advice will work 100% of the time, but hopefully, this will help. 

If you have light blonde to medium blonde hair, stay within the lightest shade to about three steps down on your fan. The darkest two squares might be too deep, especially for lipstick and blush. I would stick to the lightest colors on your strip for blush, because the color will be easier to control during application. The darkest colors might be too much, even for eye liner. If that's the case, go up one shade lighter. 

If you have medium to medium dark hair, the lightest strips may look a bit anemic. Stick with the more medium to medium dark shades. The darkest colors on your fan will definitely be too intense for blush and lipstick. Depending upon how fair you are, the medium to medium light tones may be better for blush. If black is part of your fan, don't wear that around your eyes. Stay with browns or blues. 

For those of you with dark hair, the medium dark to darkest colors on the strip will make great lipsticks. I recommend using more matte or satin formulas if you want to wear the medium toned colors because they will absorb more light and appear heavier. You may go darker with blush, especially if your skin tone seems to "soak in" shades that are too light. If your seasonal category allows it, wear black eyeliner. It may be the only thing that shows up. 

The "leaning warm" or "leaning cool" part of the equation is pretty easy to determine. If you look great in your yellows, yellow greens, oranges and golds in your color fan, then try out the warmer reds, orange reds and corals. 

If you do better with pinks, violets, blues, blue greens and silver or gray tones, then berry, blue reds, roses, cherry and wine colors will be areas to look at, as long as they are the ones that harmonize with your fan. 

The caveat to this is if you are a True season. Generally, a True season person won't "lean" anywhere. For the most part they are pretty absolute. There's True Winters and True Summers that won't go near their yellow. Some even have issues with green. True Autumns and True Springs may shy away from blues and purples. 

In order to hone in on what works best for you, take the time to go to a shop that allows you to test products. Try things on a white tissue paper to double check the undertone. (Swiping on the inside of your wrist will prove confusing.) See how it looks next to your fan. Double check in outside lighting. takes time, but spending a bit of extra time on yourself will save you aggravation and money in the long run.