Sunday, October 20, 2013

NOTD/ASP Acrylic Nail Sculpture Kit

(Those who follow on G+ have already seen me talk about this, but this is going to be more in-depth than what had been posted there.)

Contents of the ASP Acrylic Nail Sculpture Kit

I'm no stranger to a home-acrylic manicure, though of course I'm not a professional nor would I consider myself very experienced. I don't wear acrylics often, but every now and then it's a nice special treat. I had the urge to do my nails recently; perusing youtube videos on various nail designs was not exactly helping curb that urge any, either. Of course, I didn't have any of the necessary supplies, so that meant I had to do a little shopping.

I wound up choosing this kit from ASP, because it had "everything" necessary (I will explain why I used quotes in just a second!) for a fair price. This kit's available at Sally Beauty Supply, for $31.99 or $28.99 for Beauty Club Members. I used my monthly 15% off coupon as a Beauty Club Member, so I ended up paying about $25 for it.

The kit is marketed as an "all you need to get started" kit, however you will also need to pick up: a couple dappen dishes, brush cleaner, and a better brush. You might consider more forms and/or tips as well.

What the kit DOES include:

Mini file
3-way buffer
Bonding liquid
Acrylic powder in clear, pink, and white
French white tips
Nail glue
Primer pen
Nail forms
Instruction sheet
Instructional DVD

I haven't watched the DVD (though I really ought to!) so I can't comment on that right now. The file and buffer are not bad, though they do not seem long-lasting. Particularly the buffer. I've used it three times since buying the kit and it's already got significant signs of wear.

There are twenty tips included. There is not a lot of variety in the sizes. Many of them are on the smaller side, I think. My nails are kind of small, however, there were not enough tips in small enough sizes for me to be able to use them. I didn't intend to use the tips anyway so it's not an issue for me but be aware that there really is not a lot of variety in the tips included (with only 20 in there that's kind of a given) so if you do intend to use the tips, you'll want to pick up a pack of tips too, to be sure you have enough in your needed sizes.

The tubes of white and pink powder are very small, and they are not labeled as to which is which. (That's why, as you can see in the picture above, I wrote on the tube which was pink.) The pink honestly just applies clear, to me.

The nail forms are not very good quality either, in my opinion. They are a little stiff, and frequently pop open while you're working which as you can imagine is not at all a good thing!

The brush is, quite frankly, lousy. It's too full and rounded at the tip, the bristles are a bit frayed, but the biggest problem I had with it is that it kept shedding. Even after being cleaned a couple times, it would shed and the bristles kept getting stuck to my nails.

I tried to work around the issues with the brush for two separate manicures, and it was honestly nothing but trouble and paired with the forms constantly popping apart, it led to manicures I was not too happy with.

I really wanted to do my nails again though. I knew I'd brought a bunch of my makeup brushes with me, and I decided that maybe I'd brought one that would be ok for acrylic application. When I opened up my brush roll to take a look, I discovered a brush I'd totally forgotten about owning! This is one I bought from the craft store, intending to use it for nail art though not for acrylic. It wound up being perfect, in my opinion, for the acrylic application! It's the Loew-Cornell size 8 Round brush. It's perfectly tapered at the tip, and makes it so easy to pick up however much acrylic you need whether you're using a larger amount to cover the nail or a smaller bit to fill in an slightly uneven spot. It was just right for me!

In reading the reviews on the Sally's site, I saw that some folks really didn't like the primer pen that comes with the kit, but I am quite fond of it. It's got an angled tip on it, and it's easy to get quick, precise application of the primer with it. I think the tip is ideal for doing fills, when you only need to apply the primer to a small bit of your nail.

Overall, for the amount of money (even with my Beauty Club discount & coupon) this really is not a very impressive kit. I don't know about you, but I really expect more from ASP... but even so the actual acrylic powders are much better quality than the kits sold at Wal Mart/K Mart etc. Seriously... I've used them all, over the years. Do yourself a favor and go to a beauty supply shop and get some good stuff instead! The powders included in those cheaper kits yellow very badly, very quickly. Ick! But still, if you're really needing to get all the basics, and your budget is tight, even with the few extra items you'll need to round this out, it might be an ok option to consider.

Even with the issues with the forms popping open, once I rediscovered my Loew-Cornell brush, I had FAR better luck doing my nails! My application was still not as good as I'd like it to be, but then again I'm an out-of-practice novice. My right hand is especially tricky, being right handed and all. But I am happy with the results from my latest manicure.

I just did a simple french manicure. I didn't want the tips to be stark white, so I mixed white and pink powder together. I didn't measure out how much of each I used, but I'd guess it was about 2 parts pink to 1 part white. (Again, I find the pink to just apply clear.) I also wanted the tips to have some subtle glitter, so I mixed in a small amount of SuperNail glitter in "Snow Cap". (I love this glitter!) This worked because I only wanted a small bit of glitter. If you want the glitter to be more opaque, you will need to apply it separately from the acrylic, and sandwich it between two layers of acrylic.

I applied this to the tips and extended them only slightly past my natural nail, and filled in the rest with clear. I really wanted to keep this manicure simple. I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's subtle and (except the glitter which again is also quite subtle too) rather natural looking, which is exactly what I was going for. I think the next time I'd like to have the tips a touch more white but really, I'm very pleased with how this one worked out. ^_^

Do you do your own acrylics? Have you tried this ASP kit? What are your favorite brands for bonding liquid, acrylic powders, glitter etc? 

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