The first nail-focused beauty blog


Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions here. If you would like specifics or have follow up questions, use the contact form to connect with me directly.

What does NOTD mean?
NOTD comes from the Makeup Alley nail board and is an acronym for Nails of The Day. The term was adapted from the Makeup Alley makeup board’s FOTD (face of the day) posts.

What is MUA?
MUA stands for Makeup Alley, a message board community and product review site. The MUA nail board is where I started sharing my polish fanaticism online and the place that inspired me to start ALU.

What is your nail filing technique?
Please read Nail Tip Of The Week – Filing from November 2007 for my tips and tricks on shaping.

Why is there always a space between the polish and your cuticles in pictures?
The MUA nail board girls termed this look, “the gap.” I only do this when I’m swatching colors for you to see. In my normal manicure routine, I polish the entire nail but that usually requires cleanup with remover so to save my cuticles during a 6-12 color swatch session, I leave “the gap.”

Can you describe the different types of nail polish finishes?
Veteran MUA member Suze explained polish finishes so perfectly, I’d be remiss not refer to her brilliance.

  • Shimmer – subtle (usually metallic) color mixed very evenly in base color (typical color balance has more pigment than shimmer, but there are also sheer shimmers )
  • Micro-shimmer – very fine metallic/sparkly particles mixed evenly throughout base color (this finish is often smooth to the touch)
  • Micro-glitter – fine metallic/sparkly particles suspended in base color (this finish may feel a little rough to the touch, but not always)
  • Glitter – chunky and more visible glitter particles suspended in base color (this finish often feels rough to the touch)
  • Frost – icy/frosty finish with a predominant metallic look (typical color balance has more frost than pigment)
  • Lustre – pearly finish – can be pearl/white, gold, silver or iridescent – not as predominant a finish as a frost, sometimes light-reflecting
  • Creme – no shimmer – a milky, creamy finish….can be sheer or opaque
  • Prismatic micro-glitter or shimmer – fine rainbow colored particles that flash multi-colors & reflect light, some have a holographic or “3D” quality. (Also referred to as Holographic/Holo)
  • Iridescent – usually gives a color a “flash” of another color, depending on how light is reflected on the surface. Opalescent is similar, although typically has a distinct ‘pearly’ quality.

My additions:

  • Matte – satin or flat looking polish. no gloss or shine
  • Duo-chrome – a shimmer polish that appears as two or more shades, depending on the light

Your cuticles are perfect, what are your secrets?
First of all, I’m flattered by the compliments but my cuticles are far from perfect. They will always be a work in progress but there are a few products I swear by. Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover is the BEST and a bargain. After soaking tips, apply gel for 30 seconds and gently push back with a metal cuticle pusher or orange stick.

CND Cuticle Eraser is a great creamy moisturizer and the AHA’s gently exfoliate excess skin. LUSH Lemony Flutter lasts forev and a day, smells fantastic and isn’t at all greasy.

How many bottles of nail polish do you own?
Too many to count! Let’s just say that when I hit 1,000 bottles I gave up keeping track.

How do you store all your polish?
Storage is an issue for any collector, not just us beauty gals. Fortunately polish bottle are relatively small and easy to store. My favorite containers are the Sterilite 6 qt. plastic shoe boxes you can buy at discount stores like Target.

It’s when your collection hits the 100s that storage solutions come into play. I am fortunate to have an office dedicated to ALU (aka The Polish Room) where I have a great Office Max cabinet to store all my polish. Keeping your bottles away from extreme temperatures and sunlight is the best way to extend the life of your polish.

UPDATE: As of 2009, I use IKEA Helmer storage units for nail polish storage. The drawers are the perfect height for nail polish bottles and each unit holds approximately 500 bottles. I started with 3 units but recently added another 6.

Do you buy all your polish? How do you get collections early?
I do buy a lot but in the interest of full disclosure, brands do send me samples early for review. Though whether I review a polish and what I say about it is entirely at my discretion. Accepting samples does not guarantee a review let alone a positive review. If I write about it, it’s because I want to share it and I think you want to see it.

Why didn’t you review (insert name here) collection?
Like I mentioned above, I only review a collection if I’m excited to write about it and I think you want to see it. That being said, my time for swatching, photographing and editing polishes is limited. I try to cover as many of the seasonal collections as I can but I can’t get to them all. I attempt to accommodate your requests but some collections, like sheer and bridal shades, are so not me that I just can’t justify writing about them.

Can you swatch Polish A next to Polish B, C and D?

When I review collections, I search my stash for comparable shades and when I find close dupes I either write about my finds or show comparison images. While I understand that no one wants to end up with a duplicate polish, it’s difficult to accommodate every request.