The first nail-focused beauty blog


The Arsenal – Nubar Foundation Base Coat

nubar-foundation-base-coat I get a lot of questions and comments regarding the tools and treatment products I use to keep my nails healthy and in tip top shape. Since my routine changes as I test new products, I’ve launched, The Arsenal, to share with you the items that are “must haves” in my nail kit.

The bare bones basics of any good manicure is base coat, top coat and color.  I’ve shared with you one of my all-time fave top coats but I’ve never dedicated a post to base coats.  Obviously this is long overdue!

I’ve been a fan of CND Stickey for forever and a day.  I even posted about the “Stickey Sandwich” method back when ALU was just a baby.  However Stickey has a major competitor for the “holy grail” crown in Nubar Foundation Base Coat.

I’ve had bottles of Foundation Base Coat floating around the polish room for years now but it wasn’t until I ran out of Stickey that I discovered its magical powers.  It doesn’t dry tacky like Stickey or Orly Bonder but Foundation Base Coat grips on like glue.  I get amazing wear every time I use it.  And although it’s not a ridge filler, it provides a smooth surface for the polish to glide along even in spite of my less than stellar nail beds. I told you it was magic.

Nubar Foundation Base Coat can be purchased online from for $6.99.  The shipping is steep though so I suggest banding together with some friends to hit the $75 limit for free shipping.

Nubar 2010 10th Anniversary Color Swatches, Review and Comparison

By on May 19, 2010
in Glitter, Nubar, Summer 2010 with 40 Comments
nubar-2010-bottle To celebrate 10 years of creating beautiful 3-Free polishes, Nubar has released a special edition color called Nubar 2010.  A clear polish filled with iridescent flake glitter, this lacquer will make those of you who have yet to hunt down Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure very very happy.

Not only does Nubar continually put out collection after collection of gorgeous colors, they have some of the best treatment products on the market.  Their Foundation Base Coat has achieved “holy grail” status in my book and the Diamont top coat is one of the few quick drys in my arsenal that isn’t thick or tricky to apply.  In my opinion, that’s more than enough reason to celebrate their 10th Anniversary in style.  And Nubar 2010 has plenty of style.  Check it out after the jump!

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Nubar Royal Gems Collection – Coming Soon

By on August 24, 2009
in Fall 2009, Nubar with 0 Comments

If you’ve been wondering how Nubar would follow up the utlra stunning Going Green collection, I’ve got the answer. Next month Nubar will launch the Royal Gems collection; a set of seven rich jewel tones and one glitter bomb that can be worn alone or layered.

The Royal Gems collection includes:
24k – pure glimmering gold shimmer with gold glitter accents
Ruby – shimmering red with red glitter
Tiger’s Eye – warm medium brown shimmer
Emerald – sparkling green shimmer with green glitter
Sapphire – blue glitter in a base of royal blue shimmer
Platinum – lustrous silver with silver glitter accents
Amethyst – rich royal purple shimmer with subtle blue micro glitter accents
Tiara – rich multi-faceted glitter which can either be used alone or as a top coat that takes on the color of any shade with which it is paired.

The Royal Gems Collection will release on September 15th. Nubar polishes retail for $7.49/ea and can be purchased on

I will have swatches of these and the Modern Matte collection for you soon so stay tuned.

Matte Top Coats – Let’s Compare

Love it or hate it, Matte Nails are the big trend for Fall. With all the matte nail polish collections coming out, it will be a hard style to ignore. If you’re not ready to jump in feet first, why not try a matte top coat instead? Using them to mattify any polish in your arsenal makes it a more versatile and budget friendly way to embrace the look. Give your tried and true shades an update with a new finish.

From flat to satin there are a plethora of choices in the non-glossy top coat realm and I’ve tried them all so you don’t have to. Check out the results after the jump!

First things first. There are certain things you give up in using a matte top coat.

  1. These are not fast drying products so you have to be willing to put in the time to get the look.
  2. The more matte the top coat, the more unforgiving it is. Brush strokes or unevenness can plague you if your application isn’t perfect. As with all new things, practice, practice, practice.
  3. Matte top coats absorb oil and water as you go about your daily routine so the finish will become more satin over time.

Essie Matte About You ($10, and Rescue Beauty Lounge Matte Top Coat ($18, are the most mattifying top coats I’ve come across. If you desire that truly flat finish this is your best option. The cloudiness does lighten the shade a touch but not significantly.

Nubar V For Men Matte Finish Nail Protector ($8.99, comes in a close 2nd to Essie and RBL in terms matte-ness and I love that it’s more forgiving in terms of application. It applies smooth and even every time.

Now for those wanting a satin style nail, the next three options are ideal. They take down the gloss giving a more buffed look. Orly Matte Top Coat is actually discontinued but still available on for $4.95 so get it while supplies last.
Orly Nails for Males ($6.99, performs similarly to the Matte Top Coat in spite of its dark appearance.

Finally, Barielle’s Matte-inee Top Coat will be launching soon on

I received quite a few questions regarding InStyle’s June issue. One of the tips in the Summer beauty section was about matte nails. They suggested using “your base coat as a top coat to remove the shine from your lacquer.”

Here’s my problem with that. They showed ="font-weight: bold;">butter London’s Nail Foundation ($18, as an example yet they neglected to explain that only ridge filling base coats dry matte. Using your clear or tacky base coats won’t achieve that look. Overly opaque or shimmery ridge fillers won’t get it done either.

Nonie Creme of butter London used her Nail Foundation over Yummy Mummy backstage at Alexander Wang to matte down the shine and in this instance using a base coat totally worked. She even sent me a pic from her iPhone to share with you (above).

However when I used it over my test shade, OPI No Room For The Blues, it didn’t turn out as well. The nude pigmentation in the base changed the color drastically. If you don’t mind that, it’s a simple mattifying solution but I still prefer a matte top coat.

So did this clear up a lot of your questions reagarding matte top coats? Which do you prefer… matte top coats or matte polish? Or do you wish this whole matte thing would just go away already? Sound off Fanatics!

Nubar Going Green Collection Review & Swatches

nubar, going green collection, nail polish, nail color, 3freeWe interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you…. GREENS!!! I know I promised to show you the other half of Retro Diva but I’m sorry, a collection of GREENS trumps all. As soon as I got my hands on Nubar’s Going Green eco-themed collection I knew I couldn’t (more like shouldn’t) wait to show them to you.

A whole collection of green polish. It’s like a dream come true. Did Nubar employ stealth psychics to stalk me and read my mind? Is this the result of years of MUA nail board begging for more fabulous greens than we can handle? Who cares, they’re gorgeous and they’re real! Check them out after the jump!

I’m not going to bog you down with a lot of chatter about these. In regards to the formula the bottom line is this; smooth, thin, well pigmented, two coat coverage, fast drying. In other words, pretty damn perfect. Each color glided on with ease. Now can we talk color?? I know you wanna!

I don’t know that I’ve seen a more gorgeous polish in my life than Greener and I’m not exaggerating. It’s heart stopping stunning and as incredible as it looks in pictures, it’s even more jaw-dropping in person. A true emerald shimmer, this exemplifies jewel tone and I own NOTHING like it.
Forest is a slightly mossy green creme. Can you even stand how flawless it is? Can you?? Just when I thought I’d never love another green creme the way I swoon over RBL Recycle, along comes Forest trying to steal my affections.
Speaking of Recycle, I knew the first question from you guys would be about how they compare. Recycle is decidedly darker and a bit bluer in its base tone. And if you ask me to choose a favorite between them, I’ll cut you! Seriously, it’s not a fair question!

Earth is a sparkling jade green. The light green micro-shimmer dances over the blue-green hue giving it depth and character. It’s very rich yet serene. Staring at it puts me at peace.

Conserve is a deep teal shimmer with slightly chunky glitter. It dries with a satin finish and bit of texture from the sparkle.

Can I get a HOLLA for the HOLO Reclaim? Don’t judge my cheesiness people, I’ve been waiting for a great green holo polish. The ones I have are all pretty light and not noticeably green. This one is a fabulous springy, grassy hue packed with fine holographic glitter. I wish it had been sunny so I could show its full holographic power but it’s a gloomy, rainy day in the Cleveburg.

Wildlife is a duochrome that flashes both bronze and fern shades depending on the angle. I don’t know fanatics, this one just isn’t grabbing me. I think it’s the alien-esque glow at the sides that are turning me off. It’s definitely got that “in the wild” type feel, I just don’t think it’s for me.

Nubar recently announced that they’ve partnered with PETA and have been certified as Vegan & Cruelty-Free. So you’ll soon see this cute little guy appearing on Nubar’s web site and packaging. Congrats Nubar!

Nubar polishes retail for $7.49 each and can be purchased online at The Going Green collection is listed as Coming Soon so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of its on sale date.

Are you all totally flipping for these or WHAT? Share!

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