Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review & mani: UberChic Beauty's The Far East 01 Koi pond mani with UberChic Beauty The Far East 01 plateplate

(Press sample)


Today I have a plate review for you, UberChic Beauty's The Far East 01 plate...As usual, I made a video review of the plate for your viewing pleasure:

And, of course, I have still shots of the plate, to display all of its awesomeness:

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01

I don't think there's a single image on this plate that I don't love. Koi fish? Check. Beautiful Geishas perfect for reversed-stamping decals? Check. Awesome ninjas? Check. Beautiful flowers and babmboo and medallions and fans and dragons and...on and on and on. So much beauty in one place.

Here's a shot with a ruler to give you a sense of size:

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01

And, the all important stamping test:

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01 stamping test

UberChic Beauty The Far East 01 stamping test

Excellent detail for stamping goodness!

I'll admit I had a hard time deciding which image to use first--this plate makes my brain 'splode with ideas--but finally settled on the awesome Koi images. I started with Barielle Sheer Nonsense, from their Hot Chic collection (click here to see my full review):

I stamped the little koi image and part of the big koi image and then colored them in using Sally Hansen White On and Barielle Orange U Jealous; I stamped the characters directly on my ring finger in Wet n Wild XX, and in China Glaze Passion on my middle finger. Then I applied my reversed stamping to my ring and pinkie fingers:

Koi pond mani with UberChic Beauty The Far East 01 plate

Koi pond mani with UberChic Beauty The Far East 01 plate

So delicate, so pretty. It's like a cloissone box or broach on my very own fingers...Classical and elegant.

What do you think--what masterpieces would you love to make with this plate?

Happy stamping,

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: UberChic Beauty Collection 5

(Press sample)


I have another awesome collection from UberChic Beauty to show you today! I only recently discovered UberChic, so when I found out they were coming out with another three-plate collection (collection 5), I was over the moon, and it has absolutely lived up to my expectations!!

Of course, without a doubt, you know I did--here's the video review of the plates:

And here are the still shots:

Plate 5-01:

UberChic Beauty 5-01

UberChic Beauty 5-01

UberChic Beauty 5-01

That rose!! Those lilies!! The delicate doily-like pattern, done in a mirror image so if you're crazy for symmetry like me, you got this!. Fun geometrics--those dot strings and the pods up at the top! And I love the cute little bees and the sweet full-nail flower patterns. So much fun to be had.

Let's talk about size; the size comparison for this one reflects the size of the images on the other two plates, as well:

UberChic Beauty 5-01

UberChic Beauty 5-01

`Plate 5-02: 

UberChic Beauty 5-02

UberChic Beauty 5-02

UberChic Beauty 5-02

OMG, I love that bubble/circle image at the top. And the intricate veined leaf. And the ringed tree-trunk image. And the rosette image at the bottom. And, and, and...

And, plate 5-03: 

UberChic Beauty 5-03

UberChic Beauty 5-03

UberChic Beauty 5-03

And another one that knocks it out of the park. I'd buy this plate for that waterlily image alone, no joke. And then there's the lacy flower image and the matching single flower...and those fingerprint-like swirls at the bottom...and those rays of chevrons...and the connect-four image...sigh...

So how do they stamp? Let's take a look:

UberChic Beauty collection 5 stamping test

UberChic Beauty collection 5 stamping test

UberChic Beauty collection 5 stamping test

Great detail--there is a little bit of imprecision in the last image; images that have both large areas and small areas can be challenging sometimes, so try to scrape lightly with this one and you'll be fine.

What do I think of the collection overall? LOVE, love love love LOVE. Great images, and such awesome variety--elegant flowers, fun flowers, small flowers, big flowers. Fun geometric images. Intricate flourishes and flounces and filigrees. And, as with their other collections, I love that she picks out little parts of the full-nail images so you can mix and match for more design creativity in your manicures. And most important of all--the quality is top-notch. I can't recommend these plates more highly.

You can find this collection on the UberChic Beauty website--while you're there, check out the awesome seasonal plates they've got going on, too.

Happy stamping!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Incoco's Top It Off Collection

(Press Sample)


A while back I told you that Incoco had come out with a cool new concept--their Top It Off collection, nail wraps that have a pattern on them but are clear, so you can put them over whatever color you want. I think this gives an added element of flexibility and fun to anyone's polish and nail art wardrobe.

The collection currently has five looks, and they sent me two to review:

Incoco Fifth Ave has geometric slashes of a floral-ish pattern that also looks to me like seashells or the tops of parasols:

Incoco Fifth Ave

Incoco Fifth Ave

And Incoco Street Smart is a geometric delight filled with chevrons and angles--I sooo adore this one:

Incoco Street Smart

Incoco Street Smart

I love the versatility of both of these sets--they go with any color and any style you want.

So let's check out how they look! One of the first ideas that occurred to me when I first saw this collection was that I can put it over awesome polishes like here is Fifth Ave over DazzleGlaze Sunsets of Tahiti, a beautiful pink-coral duochrome:

Incoco Fifth Ave over DazzleGlaze Sunsets of Tahiti

Incoco Fifth Ave over DazzleGlaze Sunsets of Tahiti

And I wanted to see how a matte polish would look under these, so I put Incoco Street Smart over Zoya Harlow:

Incoco Street Smart over Zoya Harlow

Incoco Street Smart over Zoya Harlow

So how did they work out? I found these just as easy as any other Incoco appliques to work; they stretched just like the other appliques and also removed easily for replacement within a few seconds if you make a mistake. One difference here is that you need to line these up with the base polish or applique that you've put under them; I didn't clean up my edges so you could see how I did. You can see that I didn't have much problem at all getting these to line up; I could go in and remove the teeny bit over overlap with some acetone if I wanted to, but IRL, you honestly can't even tell and I see no reason to bother.

Can you tell that something has been put over your first layer of manicure? This was something I wondered about, because some nail stickers and decals are pretty obvious, and I thought these might end up looking like those plastic covers that people put on their couches. No worries whatsoever--once they're in place, you can't tell they're there. I do have a small wrinkle in one that you can't see in the picture, and even then, it's not obvious or annoying.

I was also concerned that these might pick up fingerprints when I touched the sticky side, and I'd end up with janky old fingerprints showing through my mani. But I touched these full-on with my fingers, and it left no visible fingerprints whatsoever. Clean as a whistle.

These do function as a shiny topcoat. This is why I tested out a matte polish, and yes, the wraps turned the matte into a shiny polish just as if I'd added topcoat, and even brought out the sparkly-shines the way a topcoat would.

So what do I think overall? I think these are really innovative and I really like them. They're fast, they're easy, and they work over any polish you want to combine them with, so you aren't restricted to one color for a particular design. I hope they'll continue to expand on this line with patterns in other colors (White! Silver! Gold!) and other designs.

You can find these and the three other designs on Incoco's website; while you're there, check out the Fashion Forward fall 2015 collection, which I'll be reviewing for you shortly.

Happy wrapping!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

NOTD: Haunted Puniken Patch (Shinespark Jack O'Lantern + UberChic Beauty Halloween 01)

(Press sample)


The moment I set eyes on the awesome orange juicy-ness that is Shinespark Jack O'Lantern, I knew I wanted to do a stamping sandwich with it--and that I wanted it to be Halloween themed. Yes, I know this is early to be showing you Halloween manis, but I promised when I reviewed UberChic Beauty Halloween 01 that I'd show you a mani using the plate soon. So here we go!

Here's another look at the plate:

UberChic Beauty Halloween 01

Before I applied my first coat of polish, I stamped a couple of little jack-o-lanterns and the scaredy cat from the plate, using Barry M Cotton (an awesome stamping polish, btw). I applied one coat of polish, and strategically placed my glitters. Then I stamped a few more punikens, and applied a second generous coat. Here's how it turned out:

Spooky pumpkin patch manicure

Spooky pumpkin patch manicure

Boy, that cat looks pretty darn scared...The jack-o-lanterns are spooky, but not that spooky--what can he be so scared of? Let's pull back and see:

Spooky pumpkin patch manicure

Spooky pumpkin patch thumb

OMG! It's a ghostie and it's coming right toward him! No wonder he's so scared!!!

Ahem. But seriously. Can I say how much I love the stamping sandwich effect? It always looks better in person than in pictures, but it adds so much dimension, really makes it look like some of the punikens are farther in the background. I love this--such a fun, playful look for the season.

Happy stamping!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: UberChic Beauty XL stamper, XL sticky stamper, and Luxe stamper

(Press sample)


Hey guess what!?! UberChic Beauty just released (like literally minutes ago) a variety of new stampers. They sent me three to test out: an XL stamper that isn't sticky, and XL stamper that is sticky, and a Luxe stamper with an awesome fancy handle.

I did a video comparing the stampers to each other and to both the Creative Shop stamper and what I'm calling the Winstonia-esque stamper (because that's where I sourced it in my last comparison video, see below; UberChic has also just released their own version of this style, as well); I also tested all of the stampers with an 'easy' polish and with a 'difficult' polish, so you can find the stamper that best fits your needs:

I'm going to go over the same information here, but there are some aspects of the stampers and the stamping that are easiest to see in the video, so definitely take a look at that if you have time.

Before I start the comparison, let's take a look at what I received:

UberChic Beauty Non-Sticky XL Stamper:

I received my stampers in limited edition tins; there are a limited number of these available, and once they're gone, they're not coming back:

Engraved lid--very classy!

Love that they come with a scraper

All nestled snug in their tin. :)

I think the tins are pretty nifty (yes, I said nifty); if you live in a multi-animal home like me, anything that keeps another layer of protection between your stamper and pet hair is a good, good thing--but I think these are also pretty cool for storing other things in too, including stamping plates. I'm thinking my Messy Mansions might fit in here...

Notice also that each stamper comes with TWO stamping heads, one light and one dark--this makes me extremely happy. It allows you to have excellent visibility no matter what color your stamping polish is; it also gives you an extra head for when you're making decals or doing reversed stamping. (And extra stamping heads aren't cheap--I paid $7 for my replacement Creative Shop stamper head!)

The non-sticky XL stamper is a lot like the Creative Shop stamper at first glance:

UberChic Beauty XL non-sticky stamper vs. Creative Shop stamper

UberChic Beauty XL non-sticky stamper vs. Creative Shop stamper

The handle design is basically the same; but, the stamping head does look different and performs differently (more on that later). The Creative Shop stamping head is flatter and has a different texture.

UberChic Beauty XL Sticky Stamper:

This one comes in a gold tin...sigh...

And I love this little touch. :)

The UberChic XL sticky stamper is pretty much the same as the non-sticky stamper, except the stamping head is a little squishier and a LOT stickier:

UberChic Beauty XL Sticky stamper vs. Creative Shop stamper

Finally, I received the UberChic Beauty Luxe stamper:

Is that Tiffany blue?? Not officially, but it reminds me of it...perfect for the Luxe. :)

UberChic Beauty Luxe

The Luxe has a slightly smaller head than the other two, and is non-sticky. And of course, the main difference here is in the handle; if the big handle on the others isn't comfortable for you, this handle tucks nicely in your hand and gives excellent control when stamping.

For all of these stampers, I simply washed them in dish soapy water and patted them dry. I did NOT prime them, and I don't believe you should need to, either.

Comparison of features

Okay, let's get on into the comparison. From left to right, we'll be comparing the Winstonia-esque stamper, the one that used to be the XL stamper back in the day; the UberChic Beauty Luxe stamper; The UberChic Beauty XL sticky stamper; the UberChic Beauty XL non-sticky stamper; and the Creative Shop stamper:

UberChic Beauty stamper comparison

UberChic Beauty stamper comparison

There are three main differences we are looking at here:

1) Size: The XL non-sticky and the XL sticky have abut the same stamping area as the Creative Shop stamper; the Luxe is a little bit smaller, and they are all larger than the Winstonia-esque stamper.

2) Texture: Obviously the XL sticky is stickier than the XL non-sticky; the Luxe was a little bit more sticky than the XL non-sticky, but nowhere near as much. My hope when I received these was that the XL stamper would pick up polishes that are a little more finicky and give my Creative Shop stamper some problems, while also giving me a large surface area. We'll see what happens below...

3) Handle: I know some people don't like the handle on the Creative Shop stamper; if you're one of them, the Luxe stamper is for you. I'd never stamped with this style of stamper before, and found it really comfortable. I also felt it gave a bit more control.

So how do they stamp?

The most important thing about a stamper is whether or not it can stamp, pshaaaa! So I tested each of these five stampers with two polishes; one that I know stamps pretty easily (Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Night Flight) and one I know creates an issue for some of my stampers, including my Creative Shop Stamper (Eat Sleep Polish Sheets of Empty Canvas). Let's take a look at how they performed (all tests are with UberChic plate 5-03; it has fine, detailed lines that make it tricky, especially with finicky polishes):

Winstonia-esque stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight:

Winstonia-esque stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight

This is why this is my previous go-to stamper. Absolutely flawless. Of course, it has a smaller surface area, so I'm looking for something that has the bigger head.

Creative Shop Stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight:

Creative Shop stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight

Also perfect. A little color warping, but that is only with paper, I don't see that showing up on my nails.

UberChic Beauty XL Non-Sticky Stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight:

UberChic Beauty XL non-sticky stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight

Lovely--perfect image, no problems here.

UberChic Beauty Sticky Stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight:
UberChic Beauty XL sticky stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight

Perfect! Hopefully this will hold up with the finicky polish...

UberChic Beauty Luxe Stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight:

UberChic Beauty Luxe stamper with Sally Hansen Night Flight

Also perfect! Wow, we're on a roll. So much awesomeness to choose from!

What about with a more tricky polish?

I love my Creative Shop stamper for the huge surface area it gives me, but I've found that it's a little bit picky about who it likes to hang out with. Some polishes, well, it just doesn't want to have anything to do with them. So one of the reasons I was very excited to test out these stampers was to see if one of them (particularly the XL sticky) would give me the larger surface area and still pick up the tricky polish.

For this test I used Eat Sleep Polish Sheets of Empty Canvas. Let me be clear about this--I don't mean to say this polish is bad and shouldn't be used for stamping. I LOVE it and use it as my black stamping polish when I'm doing reversed stamping and decals because it doesn't bleed. As you'll see, my Winstonia-esque stamper picks it up pretty darn well. But, it's a matte-finish polish, so it dries quickly; even the best stampers can be challenged by it, and some stampers just plain don't like it. Pair that with a finely-detailed image, and you can forget it. So, I'm still looking for a truly XL stamper that will work with it. Let's take a look:

Winstonia-esque stamper with ESP SoEC:

This is the stamper that works best with this polish. As you can see, it's not 100% perfect, but it's darn close; the flaws are small and don't really make a huge difference when you're not looking at a magnified image. As opposed to...

Creative Shop stamper with ESP SoEC:

Yes, I promise you, this is the best swatch I can get. Most often it picks up nothing at all with this polish, or only a very fine shadow of a line or two. 'Nuff said.

UberChic Beauty XL Non-Sticky Stamper with ESP SoEC:

I have to be honest--I didn't expect this stamper to do a good job with this polish, since it's similar to the Creative Shop stamper. But that difference in texture and shape in the stamping head apparently makes a big difference--this is extremely impressive. It's just as good as the Winstonia-esque stamper, and possibly even a bit better.

UberChic Beauty XL Sticky Stamper with ESP SoEC: This kind of quality with a tricky polish? Amazing. I'm sold. I need back-ups, stat!

UberChic Beauty Luxe Stamper with ESP SoEC:

I've never owned a stamper with a handle like this before, and as you can see, the first try didn't go perfectly. But because I'm not experienced with this type, I tried again:

Better, right up there with the Winstonia. A few tiny flaws, but nearly perfect. Give me a session stamping with it and I have no doubt I'll get a top-notch image in no time, even with this super tricky polish. sum up... 

I'm extremely impressed with the quality of these stampers. They all pick up typical stamping polishes with no learning curve, and no priming--just a quick wash with dish soapy water. And while I would have been happy if only the XL Sticky had picked up the tricky polish, they were all really successful with it--despite being new to me. So:

  • If you have the same issue with tricky polishes, any of these will do, but the XL sticky will work best and most easily. 
  • If you don't like the larger handle, the Luxe can give you a larger surface area, and still work well with trickier polishes, with a little practice. In fact, I really liked the extra control it gives.
  • These stampers live up to the high-quality I've come to expect from UberChic Beauty, and I believe you'll be extremely happy with them.

These stampers and a few others just went live on UberChic Beauty's website this morning; check them out here. 

Happy stamping--I'm gonna go pick up huge areas with picky polish using my new XL sticky stamper!