The Great 2017 Press-On Nails Experiment, Part 5

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Today we're going to talk about the products that I like when I'm using the press-on nails.

Glue

I know a lot of people on line have complained about the Kiss brand glue that comes with the press-on nails, but I really like it. It sticks for as long as I want it to, i.e., for one week, which is the longest I want to wear a specific set of nails. Each full set comes with a small tube of glue, and the bulk sets come with a larger bottle. You can get the larger bottle here.

Nails

The only brand of nails I tried were the Kiss brand, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. I like the Kiss nails because they're very thin at the cuticle end, making the fit look more natural. They have a variety of styles, lengths, and colors. You can find them here, but I've found the selection and price is much better in-store. Of the stores I'm willing to go to (yes, I am looking at you, Wal-Mart), I found Walgreen's has the best selection.

Polish

My new favorite polish for any purpose is the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, in spite of my notoriously poor skills in applying said product. It does not require an ultraviolet or LED light. Instead, you apply the color, then seal it with a separate product. The reason I like this product is because it saves the skin on my hands from extra UV exposure, while still looking like a gel manicure. Beware: the sealant dries to the touch very quickly, but the polish will remain pretty soft for a longer period of time.

Base Coat

I use the OPI Sensitive and Peeling Nail Envy product for my base coat. I've always liked OPI products, and this is no exception. It protects my nails while the nails are applied, and also when I'm taking a break between sets.  

Remover

In order to remove the nails that require nail glue, you have to soak them in acetone, which is a pain the ass. To make this go more quickly, I bought the Kiss All or One artificial nail remover. It's basically a container that has space for your thumb and four fingers and is filled with acetone. The openings have little plastic brushes inside to provide friction in getting the acrylic removed. You still have to soak the nails for 10 minutes, but then the brushes take of the soft acrylic remains with little trouble. You can replace the acetone in the container as needed, so you can buy the container once, then refill it with the cheap generic acetone. You can get the container here, although again it's less expensive in-store.

This will probably be my last entry on this experiment, unless I find something new that really blows my skirt up. Press-On Nails have come a long, long way since the 80's. Enjoy!

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.

The Great 2017 Press-On Nails Experiment, Part 4

Monday, May 15, 2017

The next experiment involved two changes. The first was the inclusion of an OPI Nail Envy base coat on the nail bed in  order to seal the nail bed against moisture between the nail bed and the artificial nail. This is a technique recommended by a nail technician on a forum I read, and it's not only supposed to seal the nail bed, but protect and strengthen it from damage. The second was the use of unpainted nails.

Here is what I bought for the base coat:

This essentially looks like a clear nail polish, and comes off easily with nail polish remover. I've started using this between nail applications, in an effort to keep the nail bed strong.

The next new product was the unpainted nails, which comes in a packet of 100 along with a larger container of nail glue.


These went on similarly to the original French nails described in Part 1. Each container provides enough nails to support five applications of a full set of nails if you want to use the same sizes every time. I gave my extras (the ones that didn't fit my nail bed) to Sister Stacey. As usual, I made a mess with the glue, and then had the added opportunity to make a further mess with the nail polish:


Aside from the shitty job I did in applying the nail polish, these appeared to have a similar look to the ones I applied in part 1. In this case I used Sally Hansen's "Miracle Gel" product in "Street Flare."

Pros: Nice natural look. Gives the opportunity to decorate the nails as you wish. They stayed firmly in place until I removed them on Day 8.

Cons: The color hides visual clues that the nail might be lifting, making the base coat even more important. I suck at painting my own nails, so they don't look as tidy. As the nails grew out, the line between the cuticle and the painted nail became more obvious. I suspect painting the nails before you applied them would mitigate this.

Final Verdict: These require more effort than the other varieties, since they're not painted, so the only time I'll probably wear these is if the brand I prefer (Kiss) does not have a set in a color I really want.
________

Part 1 may be found here.
Part 2 may be found here.
Part 3 may be found here.
Part 5 may be found here

A Letter to My Auntie

Friday, May 12, 2017

We lost my Auntie to cancer this week. She has been terminal for some time, and she was so very ill towards the end that I consider her passing a blessing. No one wants to suffer (or see someone they love suffer) in such a manner.

When my Auntie was first diagnosed in February of last year and we were told how serious it was, I decided to take that opportunity to tell my Auntie what she meant to me, before it was too late. I never got this chance with Moe, and it was important to me to tell her how I felt.

I've decided to share what I wrote, because it also makes a fitting eulogy for one of the best people I've ever known.
_____________

Dear Auntie Michel,

As the news of your cancer diagnosis sinks in, I want to take this chance to tell you what you mean to me. Whether you’re with us for two more months or twenty more years, I cannot let another day go by without telling you how you’ve changed my life and what you mean to me.

Of all the people I know, you have demonstrated to me most clearly that being kind is always, always worth the effort. When I think back over my life your presence has been a constant reminder that being kind matters, that doing for others in even the smallest ways can make a difference in the outcome of someone’s life. You have a unique ability to soothe, simply by being there, and your presence in my life has long been a nonjudgmental anchor for me in a sometimes tumultuous existence.

Your example has encouraged and inspired me, again and again, to do better. To treat others better, with kindness and respect, regardless of who they are or where they came from.

You have taught me that regardless of what happens to us in our lives, we all have a choice about the kind of person we become. Losing Moe was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but by your example, you have shown me the bad things don’t have to define us or shape our lives without our permission. We can choose to use our experiences, no matter how terrible, to become the people we want to be, and make a difference in the lives of others. I always knew and admired this about you, but what a gift this has been in the years since we lost Moe. I will never get over her loss, but I don’t have to let it define me in a negative way, and you taught me that, with the example of your life.

During the very worst times of my life, you have been there. You have loved me without condition or judgement, and shown me a new way simply by being who you are.

You’ve often told me that you admire my intellect, and wish you had more of an opportunity to develop and educate yourself. But my own opinion is just the opposite - I often wish I had your gifts, and admire you more than I can say for your ability to be one of the very best people I’ve ever met. You are decent, and kind, and patient - the very best Auntie I could have hoped for, and far more than I deserve. With some fairly rare exceptions, intellect doesn’t change the course of people’s lives. Your own virtues are the ones that move the world, one person at a time.

I know you’re scared by your diagnosis, and I’m scared with you. But as you face this, I want you to know that regardless of what happens, your presence in my life has changed me. I’m a better person because of you. I have a better life because of you. The world is a much better place because you’re in it, and I couldn’t love you more.
____________

I'll miss you, Auntie. More than I can say.

If anyone is so inclined, the family would appreciate donations to the Massachusetts General Hospital GCS Research Fund in memory of Kris Kier

The Great 2017 Press-On Nails Experiment, Part 3

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Next up in our trial was imPRESS One-Step Gel Manicure. Here is what I bought:






These nails are applied not with nail glue, but with these little glue tabs that are pre-applied to the artificial nails.





In this case, I applied only two nails before taking them off. My issue with the way they look is that the glue tabs are very gel-like, and are relatively thick. As a result, the part of the nail that abuts the cuticle was higher than the cuticle, making the nail look like it was simply resting on top of the nail bed. This looked very unnatural to me. Here's a sample from the Internet, as I didn't take a picture of the ones I tried:





It was my opinion that the nails applied with the nail glue looked much more natural (and apparently stay on longer, to boot). Here's the Kiss French for comparison:





I kept the set I bought, just in case it's operator error, so I can try again.

Pros: Easy to apply, easy to remove, easy on the nail bed.

Cons: unnatural look at the cuticle, don't last as long as the nail glue application technique.

Final Verdict: Not for me, unless I can figure out how to apply them without a fake cuticle look. 

Part 1 may be found here.
Part 2 may be found here.
Part 4 may be found here
Part 5 may be found here



The Great 2017 Press-On Nail Experiment, Part 2

Monday, May 8, 2017

My next experiment with new, modern press-on nails was another Kiss product, along with a new type of nail glue. I decided a brush-on glue might serve me better than the tube in terms of mess-making.

Here's what I bought: Kiss Everlasting French in Really Short.



Here is the nail glue I bought: Brush-on nail glue from 5 Second Nail Cosmetics.


This was not a successful experiment. Here they immediately following application:


As you can see, lifting appeared almost immediately. There clearly wasn't a good seal between the nail bed and the artificial nail.

This was made exceeding apparent the next day after I took a shower:


You can literately SEE the water bubbles between my nail bed and the artificial nails. I took them off after less than 24 hours of wear. Because again, NO FUNGUS.

I believe the reason they lifted immediately is that the brush on glue does not provide enough volume to fill the ridges on my nail bed. The reason I need false nails to begin with is that my nail beds are permanently damaged from slamming doors on them, living in a not-friendly-to-nails environment for many years, and generally ignoring them for decades. There are ridges, and places that are so weak they crack in the same place no matter what I do, and bumps, and in one case, an actual deformed nail bed from slamming a door on my finger when I was still growing. It's all lopsided and grows in a curve. Weird.

Pros: The nail glue was much more tidy to apply than the tube.

Cons: Immediate lifting due to a incomplete seal. The "Really Short" length from Kiss is exactly as advertised - REALLY SHORT. Too short for my preference.

Verdict: A nice try, but I'll probably toss this nail glue and stick with the tubes, messy as they are. I'm still sold on the Kiss brand product, but prefer their "short" and "medium" lengths. 

Next up: imPRESS one-step gel manicure with dual-layer adhesive.



Part 1 may be found here.
Part 3 may be found here.
Part 4 may be found here
Part 5 may be found here

The Great 2017 Press-On Nails Experiment, Part 1

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store, and I noticed a product near the blood pressure machine that caught my eye. The product was press-on nails, and I bought a set, wondering what advancements had been made since the days of Lee's Press-On Nails, which tended to fall into the "you'll poke your eye out" category, both for their length and for their distressing tendency to fall off at the most inopportune moments.

So I bought Kiss Everlasting French in Medium Length: 


I made a big ole mess when I put them on, of course. They're attached with a tube of nail glue, which was included in the kit, and since I'm such a neophyte, I did a poor job of keeping the glue off my skin, my desk, the towel I was using, etc.

Here is what they looked like on Day 1:


I thought they looked pretty darn snappy for a $6 impulse buy.

Here's what they looked like on Day 7:


As you can see, they still looked okay, but I was noticing "lifting" between the artificial nail and my nail bed. This is one of the things dermatologists are concerned about when discussing artificial nails - water can get caught between the nail bed and the artificial nail, thus inviting bacteria and other undesirables into the fold. Since I'm not really a fan of having fungus-among-us, I removed them on Day 8.

Pros: They look as good as salon nails for several days after application. The nail glue application method does not require roughing up the nail bed to increase adhesion, which I really liked, as this is the reason I stopped getting gel manicures.

Cons: The danger of fungus growing between the nail bed and the artificial nail. They take about 20-30 minutes to remove, as the nails need to be dissolved off with acetone. I'd rather do that than prying them off and removing the top layers of my nail bed, though.

Verdict: An inexpensive, attractive alternative to salon nails that's easier on the nail bed than other products. I would advise taking them off after a maximum of one week of wear to prevent infection and fungus on the nail bed. 

Next up: Kiss Everlasting French in Really Short applied with brush-on nail glue from 5 Second Nail Cosmetics.

Part 2 may be found here.
Part 3 may be found here.
Part 4 may be found here
Part 5 may be found here

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Friday, May 5, 2017

I bought a new audiobook the other day. It's called On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder.

I listened to this yesterday. And then I listened to it again. And I'll probably listen to again several more times until its message is burnt into my brain.

It is my opinion that every American who is concerned about the current administration and the shenanigans associated with the 2016 election should read this book. Actually, I think all Americans should read this book, but if this election has taught us anything, it's that Americans are not exceptional when it comes to falling for the con of nationalism and the emotional manipulation of would-be tyrants and oligarchs.

Timothy Snyder, the author of this work, is a the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University. He received his Ph.D in modern history from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He speaks five languages, and reads four more. He's written a number of books on the history of Europe, with particular emphasis on the Holocaust. I call this extremely qualified to speak on this subject, but I'm sure the alt-right would describe him as a "liberal academic" or an "elite tool of the left" or something. Because in 45's America, being extremely educated in a specific topic, and then speaking about that topic, is a bug and not a feature. But we know better, don't we?

For me, this book is so important because it's basically a professional historian's handbook for the Resistance. He compares sociological historical events from the twentieth century to our current situation here in the United States, and his conclusions are scary as fuck. So he provides some lessons - and some guidance - about how patriots (but not "America! Fuck, Yeah" patriots) can resist the historical trend and stand up for democracy in these most troubling of times. From where I sit, this could just as easily have been titled "How to be a Decent Citizen in a Representative Form of Government." That's not very catchy, though.

I don't want to synopsize the work, since it's really quite short anyway, and a good summary by the author may be read here. And while I encourage you to read the entire book, this article is a good place to start.

The main points:
  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend the institutions. 
  3. Beware the one-party state.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Beware the paramilitaries.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed. 
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language.
  10. Believe in truth.
  11. Investigate.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries.  
  17. Listen for dangerous words.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  19. Be a patriot.
  20. Be as courageous as you can. 
The book gives historical examples of why these things matter, and how citizens of other countries failed to employ these strategies to their everlasting grief. And it gives every citizen - every single one of us - a blueprint for the Resistance, things you can do now, today, to stop a historical trend that would most assuredly end badly.

It's certain that I have given more in service to the United States than 45 and his entire family combined. And I will not let them and their cronies continue to move us into tyranny, oligarchy, dictatorship. Not without a fight.

#RESISTANCE