Showing posts with label Seche Vite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seche Vite. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top as base adventure ...

You can also substitute the word 'fail' for adventure.

Color Club usually comes out with a seven pack assortment of their seasonal collection, seven colors or six colors and one clear.

They are terrific bargains (especially when I find them at Ross for $7.99!!) with only one down side. The bottles are unlabeled. I've bought several and usually just search swatches and label them myself.

I guess I was not really paying attention and just assumed the bottle of clear was just that.

I often use clear as a base or top coat, so I didn't think twice with this Color Club. Although I'm showing Sally Hansen products, I have and use many others indiscriminately.

One mani (actually several now) I decided to use the Color Club "clear" as a basecoat. The result each and every time was...
The first time this happen I was all like, "wow that sucks." Then every subsequent time after I started thinking the worst of Color Club. Why in the world does every single polish I put over this "base" not sticking?! It didn't matter what top coat I used or whether I wrapped the tips or not.

This is/was Revlon - Tropical Temptation ... pre scabies.

This was all too coincidental and Color Club can't suck this much. Then it hit me! This must be a quick dry topcoat!

Indeed formula matters. More reason for me to finish the following series... *link*

Lesson learned: the Color Club clear in the variety packs is not a base coat.

I would imagine anyone who has used Seche Vite as a base coat has experienced something similar.  I mean after all Seche Vite has been known to cause glitters to spontaneously pop off!

Seche Vite also creates waving topcoat flaps ... see here.

Anyone want to  buy these nail strips?

Anyone, anyone? .... Eww, I'm just kidding.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The thing about topcoats

I guess first things first. What's the point of topcoat?

The use of a topcoat provides enhancing qualities to a basic manicure. First, it provides extra shine, thus resulting in a very attractive clean look to the eye. Second, it has the ability to protect the colored polish underneath, which extends the life of a manicure. This is especially true if topcoat is applied every second or third day and the free edges are wrapped.

Now, with that being said, there are exceptions to this standard definition for a variety of reasons. The fact is, not all topcoats are created equal and neither are our nails. This is wonderful, yet frustrating when trying to find something that works.

I often get asked, "what is your favorite topcoat?". As much as I would love to rattle off a quick answer, it's complicated. I buy, use and rotate a good many topcoats regularly. Why? Because every topcoat I own has a purpose. I need them all!! Mwahahahah! Each gets used based on the results I wish to obtain. Therefore, I have a "favorite topcoat of the moment", based on my (or rather my mani's) needs.

In my mind, I categorize topcoats into a few groups:
1. Quick dry
2. Regular dry
3. Half quick half regular blends
4. Dual purpose (base and top) - usually have average drying time
5. UV cure - usually quick dry/cure

These categories vary of course in drying time, but ultimately it's all about the formula. The formula determines the dry time, wear, durability (how hard or soft it cures) and finish (shiny vs. super shiny). However, even formula can vary within one category; topcoat results will vary based on the different colored polish formulations we use them with AND our own physical nail characteristics.

I specifically talked about some of the pros and and cons of quick drying topcoats in this post and mentioned a small bit about the UV types. There are many things I can say on topcoats in general (hence the length of this post already), but today I want to show you that even a topcoat in the same category can vary with interesting results due to slight variations in formula and individual nail structure (softer or harder nail plate). Further, I'd like to show proof of concept of the following statement in the aforementioned post...

"Quick dry top coat formulations may

a.) be incompatible with certain polishes (or with your own nail chemistry) OR

b.) dry to a much harder finish in comparison to the flexibility of the nail or polish underneath.

Thus in both cases the polish is much more likely to chip because there is not as much "give" as in the natural nail."

On to the meat of this post ... huh huh meat :P <---click to giggle

Touch 'n Go (Brand: LRC) is a brand I found in an online nail supply store. Google and ye too shall find it.

A slight tangent, but when my bottles arrived, one was broken. I took a picture of the bottles that survived in front of this chemistry book. Coincidentally, it communicated my sadness about the recently deceased quite perfectly.

The other topcoat I'll mention today is Seche Vite. This is quite a well known brand so I won't elaborate.

Both of these topcoats can be categorized as Quick Dry.

The other player in this story is the nail polish color:

This is Ruby Kisses - Blues Clue (RNP 140)
Shown as 2 coats, but it could have used a 3rd. This and my only other Ruby Kisses polish recently prompted me to buy a crap load more. I loved the formula and assumed others would be great. That remains to be seen. This picture is under lamp lightening.

It get's more vivid in the sun.

This was 3 coats. I absolutely loved the bright baby blue.

On to proof of concept:
Click the picture to enlarge!
Base: CND Toughen Up x2
Color: Ruby Kisses Blues Clue x3
Top: Touch 'n Go (LRC) x1

This is the second day of the manicure. You will see small cracks on each of the natural nails from the use of the Touch 'n Go topcoat. It reminds me of the desert. You can actually see the cracks in the previous "sun" picture as well.  Click the pictures to enlarge.

The cracks are the worst at the stress points of the nail, where the nail would naturally bend if you applied pressure, more so at the tips less near the base of the nail/cuticle.

These cracks appear because the topcoat dries/cures very hard thus has very little give, while the nail underneath has more give (bends, has flexibility). When I am not sitting on the couch eating Bonbons, I do use my hands. I don't use my nails as tools, but my nails will bend and give during different tasks. They have the necessary flexibility to resists breaks. This topcoat, on the other hand, lacks flexibility; it simply cracks under the pressure. Interestingly, the polish does not chip completely off the nail plate. I suspect this is because the topcoat has adhered well to the colored polish which adhered well to my nail plate via the base coat. Kinda cool!

This phenomena is not isolated to quick dry topcoats. Normal dry topcoats can do this as well, it's just a matter of time. For example, I had a wear test where I used a normal dry topcoat in this post. In this instance, I noticed cracking after about 6 days vs. 2.

This cracking phenomena will be more severe the greater the difference in flexibility between the nail and topcoat. People with very bendy nails using quick dry topcoats will experience more cracking. If they are not using a basecoat that works well for them, then the polish may also chip more quickly. Someone with very hard natural nails my not even notice a difference between quick and normal drying topcoats. Just to prove that point...

Click the picture to enlarge!
Here I have pictured the same manicure (same base, color and top) except one of the nails has been Shellaced before the manicure was applied.

Two of the natural nails are seen with cracks while the Shellaced nail is completely smooth.

I find Shellac to be a nice temporary way to protect the nail as it grows out after a break. That process can be seen in this post and video. Shellac is a soak off gel that is harder than the natural nail. The hardness of the gel makes the final nail surface hard and prevents the Touch 'n Go topcoat from cracking.

Out of curiosity, I re-did this manicure in exactly the same way changing only the topcoat.

This manicure used Seche Vite as the topcoat. After 4 days, I saw no cracking on either the Shellaced or natural nails.

To summarize: This post just goes to show that all of our nails are different and will experience varied wear and durability outcomes with different nail polish formulations and topcoats. We have to find a topcoat/polish combination that works well with our own nail plate characteristics.

There is sooooo much more I could say about topcoats, wear, durability, soft nails and wear etc etc etc. MIND EXPLODES ... more in the future I suppose.

Have you ever noticed cracking with your topcoat? Which one?
Do you have flexible nails that tend to chip more with quick dry topcoats?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wave hello to my top coat flap

Remember China Glaze - Flying Dragon (neon)? Yea me too it was puurdy.  The original post can be found here.

I think we can all agree that it is NOT a good idea to mix Seche Vite with certain polishes OR put it on dry nail polish, especially day (or two) old dried polish.

Well guess what ... curiosity killed the cat ... or in this case the flying dragon ...

I had a big ol' chip on the side and then it started peeling, so I gave it a tug.

Pretty sweet flap! LOOK the suede and shiny look on one nail!
Mani DEAD.

Oh yea, see the damage at the nail free edge?
That's called "buffing out a peel".  Sometimes I just can't take down nail length, it hurts ... emotionally.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quick Dry Top Coats = Conditional Love

Love, Hate, and Frustration.

These words correctly describe my relationship with quick drying top coats. For many, fast dry topcoats are a game/life changer. However, for me, the constant battle with their faults has soured my love for them; hence my love for them is unconditional. In particular, let's concentrate on Seche Vite because it is by far the most well known and used.


1. One word: Fast. Who could not love a mani that dries to the touch in 2-5 minutes and then fully in 20-40 min. Taking into consideration that a regular mani takes ~3 hours to dry fully after the last coat of topcoat, which does not even include well dried coats of base and color in between, this is tremendous.

2. The shininess that one can achieve is just plain silly.  Simply gorgeous.

This is Essie - Masquerade Ball with Seche Vite.

That pic on the bottom right gives me convulsions.

3. Due to it's thick formulation it provides a nice layer of protection.
Here is a before and after picture using Seche Vite.

Before on the left.
After on the right.
Clearly the one on the right is much thicker.

4. The formula of quick dry top coats sets to a much harder finish. This is a pro from a strength aspect, but also a con because at some point too hard = brittle and chipping can become a problem. I'm not saying Seche Vite alone causes chipping or that it can't be prevented.

Hate and Frustration

The many complaints of fast dry topcoats include:

1. Shrinkage at the tip - Granted this problem can be prevented, here is an example:

I don't normally have this problem because I either wrap the tips or swipe the brush down right at the tip. However, this gets tricky with short nails. Another solution I have seen mentioned on the MUA nail boards is using a traditional top coat underneath the quick dry one. I can't attest to this, but it sounds reasonable.

Anyone have a personal experience with using this technique?

2. Shrinkage at the cuticle - this is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Here is a picture of the franken I showed in an earlier post right after I put on Seche Vite (SV). HELLO Gorgeous!
 EXCEPT, the very next day this happen. wtf.

This is another example with a different franken (another blue one). This is the day of application with SV.
First, excuse the rando fuzzy, but this is the day after. The problem occurs when you don't encapsulate the polish as a whole.  Had I left a larger gap between the cuticle and polish, I could have avoided both shrinkage at the cuticle and touching my cuticle with Seche Vite. However, I got so close with the actually polish color it was impossible to "encapsulate" the polish without flooding the cuticle.

So of course you're probably saying to yourself "hey dummy, leave a larger gap." To be even more difficult ... another pet peeve of mine is a large (and growing) gap between the cuticle and color. Sometimes performance tests will be ended short due to this annoying gap from regrowth. So, what I am saying is I struggle with this problem.

Perhaps a regular top coat under Seche Vite would help solve this. Any advice from others? 

3. Dulling after a day or two. Sometimes this dulling is only visible with camera flash, but otherwise since I apply a coat of clear every two days or so to make mani's last longer this is not such a big deal.

4. More chipping than a regular top coat.

Quick dry top coat formulations may

a.) be incompatible with certain polishes (or with your own nail chemistry) OR

b.) dry to a much harder finish in comparison to the flexibility of the nail or polish underneath.

Thus in both cases the polish is much more likely to chip because there is not as much "give" as in the natural nail.

The top coat I have pictured is Seche Vite Ultra-V. It's suppose to be Seche's version of a UV curable top coat. It is absolute crap. Not only does it chip like crazy, but it's a fake UV activated top coat. None of the ingredients listed require UV to cure, so what up wit dat?

5. Thickening of the formula.

About half way down Seche Vite can get a little thick, but that's not something a little nail thinner can't cure. 

6. Incompatibility with some base coats/colors.
Some people report Seche Vite (and only SV) peeling off in layers with certain polishes. I have not had this happen to me often enough to make any comments, nor have I studied the ingredients to judge it fairly from a scientific point of view ... so that is very unhelpful of me on both accounts. However, from a very simple point of view, obviously the formulas don't want to play nice.

What base/color/SV combos do not work for you?

At the very least now we can all unconditionally love Seche Vite together. Yay! What other quick dry top coats do you love?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

OPI Bubble Bath

I'm going to take a one post break from the nail fix series to show OPI's Bubble Bath.

I put on a base coat thinking I might want to do a proper "wear test", but we'll see if my attention span doesn't get the best of me.

Base coat: CND Toughen Up
Other hand:
Can you guess which nail has a Shellac fix??

OPI Bubble Bath:

OPI Bubble Bath
2 coats in natural light. This color evens out the nail bed, but basically looks like nothing.

Application was great. It wasn't streaky at all. The polish levels really well as it dries.

2 coats vs. 3 coats

2 coats

3 coats

With flash you can start to see the milkyness, but in reality it's still a sheer light pink.

Final Mani:

Base: CND Toughen UP
Color: 3 coats Bubble Bath
Top: Seche Vite

Flash:  It's almost reminiscent of a sheer white when flash is involved, but in real light it is not. See next picture for a dose of reality.

Fluorescent light:
This is much closer to reality. Sheer pink with only hints of milkyness. This polish color is like a veil for natural nails.  It blurs things and makes it look flawless.

Since I get absolutely NO light in my apartment this is as good as it gets.

* runs to takes Vit. D supplement.