Nail care mini series: my favorite polishes and a round-up

On the last stop of my mini nail care series, I thought I’d just share with you some of my favorite polish colors and brands that you see on my regularly on my blog and Instagram, as well as colors that have made it into photos this week.

Some of my favorite gel polish colors

It’s no secret I love a great, classic red polish, and that’s what I wear at least 70% of the time. But I also love to switch it up to the unexpected. Certainly not a modern fashion statement only–there’s plenty of vintage advertisements that show funky colors! And we have even more options now, so why not have a bit of fun with it?

In terms of brands, so far I’ve enjoyed and used Sephora by OPI, Gelish, IDB, and Couture Gel Polish. I’ll happily turn back to any of those brands for new colors or repeats. And I also have a color from NailLuv I’ve yet to try. I’m always on the lookout for something new!


Left to right (above): Sephora by OPI Gelshine in High Maintenance (isn’t currently available but this was my main red for over a year) / Gelish in Hot Rod Red with accent nail in Gelish Meet the King (the gold), with Hot Rod Red and IDB in Black Lava / Sephora by OPI Gelshine in I’m Wired (coral pink)

purple and green

Left to right (above): Gelish in He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not / Gelish in The Great Googly Moogly over Gelish in Amazon Flirt (glitter lime green over neon green) / Gelish in He Loves Me, He Loves me not again with accent polka dots in Gelish in Sheek White

blues and green

Left to right (above): Gelish in Ooba Ooba Blue (says it’s neon but it isn’t) / Sephora by OPI Gelshine in Havana Dreams (very pale blue, took several coats to be opaque) / Gelish in A Mint of Spring


Left to right (above): Couture Gel Polish in High Roller / Couture Gel Polish in Pretty Little Liars

Because I’m on vacation I haven’t had the opportunity to reply to comments on my posts! But I know a few of you have asked me about what to do if you have tons of regular nail polish, and how I ‘sandwiched’ normal polish between a gel base and top coat. It’s not something I’ve done a lot, but you can apply a base coat (or two), cure the coats, then use regular nail polish as normal, and then use a gel top coat (or two) and cure that.

Of course, you can’t cure the coats of regular polish… so you have to wait around like normal and it has to be absolutely dry before you apply a gel top coat and cure it. I’m spoiled by gel’s no-dry time so I don’t find that fun to do particularly. I don’t find the polish lasts quite as long but it’s pretty good. So I just wanted to mention it again as it is an option if you want to use stickers to do any nail art (or half moons), or use colors you can’t otherwise get in gel polish!

Nail care mini series at By Gum, By Golly

Well everyone, this was one action-packed week of nail love here at By Gum, By Golly! From using gel polish to tips on how to keep your nails looking good, we’ve covered quite a lot. (And part of it while I’m off in Dublin!) So I just thought it might be helpful to round-up all the other posts in one place for future reference:

All posts in this mini series have been tagged for easy access, too! You can find them all here:

Now you finally have all the ins and outs of how I paint my nails and keep them looking good without too much fuss on a regular basis. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Happy nail painting, and have a wonderful weekend!

Filed: Tutorials, Vintage Dibs and Dabs

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Golly, 9 Comments!

  • Thanks to you so much for the tips and all the interesting facts! Never thought I would be really interested in having gel nails, but now I can´t wait to start with it!


  • Thanks for this series! I have the gelish set and have to confess I’ve only done it twice. The second time was a bomb because I forgot a step and had to spend 40 minutes just taking it off. I’ve been too scared to try again but you have given me inspiration and courage. I want beautiful nails too! One question: does the nail polish ever get old and time to toss?


  • Tammy Lee May 3, 2014 at 8:25pm

    I am a member of the ugly nail club but with your tutorial I may be able to turn in my ugly nail card. Thanks so much, this has be the best tutorial!


  • Thank you so much for this series! Your first post about the history of your nails sounds like my autobiography (nail biting, flaking, wide nail beds and all!) ! I usually assume that anyone who has beautiful nails has always had them. It’s encouraging to know the tools someone else with the same issues has successfully used.
    The other HUGE takeaway for me was the point that you don’t HAVE to “rough up” the surface your nails with gel, because that was the one issue that made me hesitant to use it. My nails are so thin that whenever I’d get the gel manicure it would literally destroy them until the whole length grew out again. So just knowing that I don’t have to do that was all I needed to change my mind!
    Thanks again!


  • Thanks so much for this series! I was thinking about gel polish nails for about a year and was scared that it will ruin my nails totally!

    During the last week I devoured your posts and today I bought my very first gel polish set, ´cause everything you wrote sounded so good:-)


  • Update: tried it yesterday and my nails look great! Why did I wait so long to do this?!?!?


  • You can also do regular nail polish over gel. I generally do a clear gel manicure, then slap something on over top. It’s super easy to change with a non-acetone polish remover if you get bored, and I find it lasts about 6 days before the tip wear/minor chipping starts to annoy me. From 1 day of just polish, that’s kind of amazing. The gel lasts 10-14 days before it just starts peeling off for me. I need to change it every 10 days, but don’t always manage to!

    Actually, I should probably change the gel today. 🙂 I’ve loved reading this series! Thank you.


  • […] I looked back at this year, outside of my nail care series in spring, I didn’t do a single tutorial. Which was surprising to me, since the three posts […]


  • Wow the nail care mini series is just amazing. I just love nail painting and the best thing is my gel nail polish doesn’t come out for weeks. My friends are sooo jealous of me and I just Love it…


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