Taming the Seche Vite Beast

A lot of lacqueristas swear by fast-dry top coat Seche Vite. It is a miracle product that dries manicures so quickly and so thoroughly that smudging your mani is nothing but a distant nightmare, especially if you’re a natural klutz like me who tends to not be fully cognizant of where her limbs are in relation to other objects in her immediate universe.

However, as many have discovered, Seche Vite has its pitfalls. It can shrink your mani, pulling up the edges and tips. If you put it on over dry polish, it makes it curl like one of those Swedish fortune telling fish. No bueno.

Since the topic came up again today on /r/laqueristas on reddit, I decided to share my post verbatim here as well.

Here is what I’ve learned in two years of using Seche Vite:

  1. Minimize exposure to air. The longer you leave the bottle open between applications. Air is the enemy.
  2. Keep the bottle stored at room temp. Use the product only at room temp. Heat and cold both make it get gooey in the bottle.
  3. When it starts getting stringy, it’s done. Thinning it won’t help. No matter what you do, it will pull up the edges of your polish. Toss it.
  4. Use in a room that does not have a strong active air flow. If you have a fan on or are sitting near a vent, get out of the direct air flow. This will make the polish get gummy on the brush, and you’ll get shrinkage.
  5. When using polish, use multiple THIN coats, not thick gooey ones. Thick coats are more prone to shrinkage. Cream polishes are the worst offenders with this. Letting them dry some definitely does not help.
  6. One coat. ONE. COAT.
  7. Don’t put on dry polish. Ever. Use a regular top coat — I currently like Sally Hansen’s Super Shine.
  8. Wrap your tips with color AND Seche for best results.
  9. Stamping? Taping? Seche, then your design once it dries, then a non-quick dry top coat.
  10. Just to reiterate, strings = dead Seche. If it doesn’t flow like water, toss it and save yourself the headaches. It WILL shrink your mani.

In short, Seche Vite can be a game changer. You just have to treat it right. Take it out to dinner, buy it flowers. You know, seduce it a little. Then you get nothing but sweet, sweet fast-dry top coat love.

Questions? Comments? Tips for happy Seche Vite experiences I haven’t learned? Please share!


Overboard With Mod Flowers

Mod FlowersYes, I love florals.

Also, water is wet.

I’ve seen a few mod flower designs lately, so I decided to give it a go on my own. I’m annoyed that, despite being at several retail establishments since doing this mani, I have gotten no compliments. People, do you not see? DO YOU NOT SEE? This is fun and bright and awesome. Why has no one invaded my personal space and grabbed my hands to marvel at the artwork thereupon?

Next time I complain about anyone invading my bubble, remind me that I complained about it here.

Base color is Essie – Go Overboard. Design is China Glaze – Happy Go Lucky, and Sinful Colors Nail Art in Sunset and Sour Apple.

Pretty in Peach

Pretty in PeachI tried a thing.

It didn’t work.

Because I had such a resounding response to the flowers-on-a-pond jelly sandwich, I really wanted to explore with layering designs. My idea was to do different flower petals on different layers of polish to give the design some depth. I actually just did layers of Seche Vite for this. The end result was something that started peeling the very next day, and didn’t offer the depth for which I was striving.

However! I do plan on recreating this soon and learning from my mistakes. For instance, I will start with a base color first, then use different shades on the individual petals. I also plan on using something other than Seche Vite as the clear layer between the colors. Gelous? Sally’s Super Shine? More experimentation will be necessary.

The base color is Essie’s A Crewed Interest, which is my personal perfect shade of peach.

I took this picture with a potato.

Victoriana Lace I wanted to post this even though I realized long after I had removed the mani that the pictures I had taken were all blurry. As a photographer, I am embarrassed to admit this was taken with a DSLR and not, say, a rotten cucumber. Or even a cell phone. My commitment for this blog is to start posting higher-quality pictures. That way, if someone wants to share them, I don’t have to be embarrassed about taking pictures with an old sneaker.

But! It was my first successful venture into the lacey-edged designs I’ve been coveting throughout lacquerista-land for some time. The polish is Butter London Victoriana, even though the color is weird in this photo to say the very least. Let’s just focus on the lace, shall we?

I love how the index and pinky nails look like garters. I have a feeling I will be redoing that part as a mani of its own soon. Quick, easy, and darling.

Swatch Me Go: Orly’s Fowl Play

Orly’s Fowl Play is the polish through which I learned that a glitter already in a jelly base is called a flakie. I don’t know who came up with the name, but it turns up a number of Google results, so I’ll use it even if it makes me think of ditzy valley girls from the early 90s (gag me with a spoon).

Orly's Fowl Play

This is also the polish that introduced me to jelly bases, and it was love at first swipe. So smooth. So glossy. So durable! Jellies seem to chip less than any other polishes on my nails, which I adore since my paper-thin nails are not made for manicure durability, no matter what base(s) I use. I can usually get about five days out of a jelly before I have to move on, whereas anything else is two or three tops.

Anyway, Fowl Play was the start of an era for me, so I wanted to showcase it. It’s also in the previous post with some gold snowflakes. This polish is stunning with gold stamping or freehand art, but I really wanted to showcase its beauty all on its own. This is already on day three of wear, and as you can see, other than some scuffing (it’ll buff out) no chips, no tip wear!

The manicure that started it all.

So, there I was, watching Scrubs on Netflix, painting my nails. I’d done a traditional jelly sandwich on my toes and loved the way it looked but wasn’t feeling glitter on my fingers. I wanted something a little softer, so I decided to do flowers between the layers.

It came out looking pretty neat, so I shared it with my fellow reddit lacqueristas.

2,789 upvotes later, I was starting to get the feeling people liked it.

The biggest thing people kept asking me in the aftermath was, “Where’s your blog or website?” Well, um, you see… I didn’t have one. But, I am smart enough to know to strike when the iron is hot. And here I am.

OliveView FashionSo, without further ado, the manicure that started it all.

My go-to base coat right now is OPI Nail Envy to combat a bad case of the peelies. It isn’t especially durable as a base coat, but my nails were getting kind of gnarly, so I’m living with the quick chipping.

The teal is Zoya’s Frieda, a jelly as smooth as water. Zoya nailed their formula out of the park. No goopiness to contend with here, just a gorgeous, flowing polish that layers perfectly. I nestled two flowers between each layer of Frieda, of which there are four, then did one last unjellied flower on top for that final pop. My topcoat is always Seche Vite unless otherwise specified. These two play surprisingly well together considering the number of layers I have here (Seche, for all its magic, does not love layers).

The flowers were done with China Glaze’s White on White and a small dotting tool. That’s it. That’s all there is to the magic. I feel like I should make up a few steps in between just to maintain a certain amount of mystique, but I don’t want to lie to my new friends.

So… that’s it. Are you happy now?! (I kid. I just love using an interrobang.) I am. If anyone really wants me to, I can make and post a tutorial for this mani. Just say the word! Clearly, your wish is my command. (Kidding again. I was going to start a blog anyway. Eventually. Maybe.)