23 October 2009

Nail Treatments: what works, and what works best ...

Once you start polishing your nails, you kinda need to keep up with it. Even the "safest" polishes stain my nails a rather sickening yellow color.

In all my 'net searches for "how do I keep polish from staining my nails," the gurus say use a base coat. In my experience, it doesn't work. I've never gone without a base coat, and I still have staining. Maybe you need two coats of base, but that's an extra step (and dry time) I haven't tested yet.

To this point, I've used -

Base Coats -
Zoya Anchor
OPI Nail Envy Formaldehye Free
Nubar Nu Nail
Nubar Foundation

They all work. I don't think the base coat does much more than smooth out the nail bed and give some gripping surface to your lacquer. You are paying for their advertising, so I'd go with the cheapest 3-free base you can find. In my case, either Zoya Anchor at $8 or Nubar Foundation at $7 depending on the deals I find during polish acquisitions. I suspect Revlon offers a reasonably priced 3-free base.

As with every treatment, finding 3-free is getting easier, but even the companies that tout their 3-free lacquer are selling 3-full treatments. Buyer beware.

Top Coats -
Zoya Armor is pretty much the only slow dry top coat I currently have ... it was a freebie with purchase. It didn't get regular use until I started topping my manis with Nubar Diamont.

Being that top coats have a very similar ingredients list to base coats, I'd find the cheapest 3-free and use it for both base and top. Once again, I suspect Revlon has a good candidate.

Quick Dry Top Coats -
This is where companies have to stretch the imagination of their chemists.

These quick dries are either 3-full or simply don't work:
Seche Vite
Zoya drops
Qtica drops

If you still insist on putting a layer of silicone (dimethicone, etc.) on your drying nails, it would be less expensive to pick up a bottle at the hardware store.

My two HG speed tops are:
CND Air Dry
Nubar Diamont

CND Air Dry was my favorite for a long time. It drys to a hard coat in about 30 minutes. I had to be careful, but could return to typing within minutes of an "Air Dry" coat. This is the mani that could be extended for seven days. Every once in a while, I'd follow an Air Dry mani with Zoya top coat and the sides of my mani would give before the tips would.

Air Dry plays nicely with tops coats, though it takes a while to dry to a hard enough finish for normal or extreme use.

Awesome longevity.

Nubar Diamont now edges out Air Dry for ease of returning to normal activity. This is, literally, a half hour mani (tops) from start to finish. However, I sacrifice longevity. Diamont is the dominatrix of the treatment bunch. She doesn't like ANYONE on top. Not even herself.

Diamont with a Zoya Armor layer two days later will peel within a day. Ruined mani.

Diamont with a second Diamont layer two days later does not hold or look good. Another ruined mani. She's particular.

The only way I've been able to extend my Diamont mani (from two to four days) is with a topcoat underneath Diamont.

So this is how I've arrived at my current "pressed-for-time" layer system:
1 base
2 lacquers
1 top
1 Diamont
- maybe four days of wear

If I'm not in a hurry:
1 base
2 lacquers
1 Air Dry
- add top coats every three days or so to extend mani for upwards of seven days

To be honest, I end up with enough bare nail near the cuticle with my "Air Dry" system that even though the polish is in good condition, it just looks odd. And I change my polish based on nail growth, rather than polish aging concerns.

Zoya Jinx, polish swatch

Zoya Jinx is a lovely medium chestnut brown.

I've had it for quite a while, but the paper swatch didn't do it any justice.

On the nail it has a fire that is completely missing in the bottle. It makes me wonder how many other wonderful colors I've written off due to a poor bottle show.

This mani is approximately four days old and starting to show slight tip wear, no chipping or breakage.

My current regime is to use:
1 base coat
2 lacquer coats
1 top coat
1 quick dry

This mani has Zoya base and top coats, and the quick dry is Nubar's Diamont. Diamont is an amazing quick dry top, but it does not have the longevity of CND's Air Dry. It also doesn't play well with others. However, when time is of the essence, Diamont is the answer, dry to touch in a short period of time (a minute, maybe) and dry to normal/moderately tough use within 10 minutes.

I don't believe I've had the slightest oops after using Diamont. However, I don't get seven days of wear from a Diamont top mani.

04 October 2009

It's the way you word your questions ...

To all my future college students,

Saying, "It's the way you word your questions that cause me to fail your test," is not the way to endear yourself to a professor.

If you can't be bothered to study, just own up to the fact. Your professor needs the truth to make suggestions ... lies can't help us pinpoint the underlying problem.

When I have students aceing the test, while you are flunking the test ... the problem is usually pretty obvious.

AND, when I tell you to make an appointment to visit with me and go over your test ... MAKE the appointment.

Your professor in Academia

AHHH, rant over. All better.

03 October 2009

As if Milk Allergies weren't enough!!!

Yes, I have a sun allergy.

I developed a funky rash on my lower legs after spending a couple minutes reading while my dogs romped around outside this summer.

It went away, but the next time we did the same routine, the rash came back.

My culprit was the sun. Only the lower legs were exposed and the rash stayed around for several days to weeks, and then disappeared as if never there. It wasn't itchy on my legs.

I have a sun sensitivity. Ye gods, what's next?

Fast forward to our summer vacation - setting, Wauseon, Ohio. I've got SPF 75 sunscreen on (chemical base), I'm wearing a hat, and I have a floor length gown made out of "SPF" fabric draped over my summer clothes. I develop a rash at my collarbone area. And this one IS itchy. Being that I'm wearing the mineral foundation, I don't rash on my face. But this does give me the to idea to run out for sunscreen with a physical sunblock, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Obviously the chemical sunscreen wasn't hacking it.

Welcome me to the micro- and nano-sized particle family. I'm staying for a while.

I apply the physical sunblock and have no more problems the remainder of the trip. My rash fades quickly and stops itching.

Now I just have to worry about white face, and leaving titanium dioxide and zinc oxide residue everywhere. It is on my pockets, on my collars, on the car handle ...

Purple Prairie Botanicals

I've been wearing two sunscreens since:
Purple Prairie Botanicals SPF 30, a very low 1 on the hazard scale of Cosmetics Safety Database.
Olive Oil
Hammamelis virginiana Witch Hazel
Kosher Vegetable glycerin
emulsifying wax
Cocos nucifera Coconut
Butyrospermum parkii Shea Butter
Jojoba oil
zinc oxide
titanium dioxide
vitamin E
Salix nigra extract Black Willow
Rosemary extract

This does have a fairly strong smell at application, and I wish they would use "light" olive oil. But the smell does disappear fairly quickly.

I do have a bit of white face on first application, but it seems to fade within 10 minutes.

It has much better slip than the other sunscreen. I wear this on my face and upper body.

Neutrogena's Purescreen Line, currently a hazard of 3 on the Cosmetics Safety Database:
- Sensitive Skin SPF 60+
- Pure & Free Baby SPF 60+

Titanium Dioxide 4.9%
Zinc Oxide 4.7%

Arachidyl Alcohol
Arachidyl Glucoside
Ascorbic Acid
(Avena sativa Oat Kernel Extract - in Pure & Free Baby only)
Behenyl Alcohol
Benzyl Alcohol
Butylene Glycol
Butylocytl Salicylate
Cetyl Dimethicone
Dimethicone PEG-8 Laurate
Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
Disodium EDTA
Glyceryl Stearate
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer
Pantothenic Acid
PEG-100 Stearate
Polyaminopropyl Biguanide
Polyhydroxystearic Acid
Polymethyl Methacrylate
Polysorbate 60
(Potassium Sorbate - Pure & Free Baby only)
Retinyl Palmitate
Stearic Acid
Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer
Tocopheryl Acetate
Xantham Gum

The two are so close in formula and ingredients as to be the same. I've found that with the oat extract in the baby formula, "Pure & Free Baby" applies slightly more easily. They both drag quite well, unfortunately.

I wear this on my arms and legs.

May I just point put that, man, these have a bunch of alcohol and silicone in them.

43(41) ingredients vs. 13 ... can you guess which one I reach for most often???