Monday, May 16, 2016

Zoya Naked Manicure

Warning: this post contains photos of bare nails -- and not the nicest nails either. 

Hey! We've been sans internet for a few days -- our cable suffered a direct lightening strike during a thunderstorm last week. It literally blew the cable apart and fried the cable modem, the tv boxes, all of the connectors and the upstairs tv while simultaneously creating a weird, very localized electrical surge that somehow bypassed surge protectors to destroy the wifi base station, Fuzzy's Samsung flatscreen, her Vonage box and her dvd player. Fun times, bring a date! Our upstairs tv, an ancient old big box tube television still using a coaxial connector from its cable box, actually went POW! and issued forth billowing clouds of foul-smelling smoke, filling the house with the stench of dead electronics.

On to more interesting matters!

Zoya's Naked Manicure system, released last spring, is a series of polish products containing all kinds of therapeutic ingredients, ridge fillers, and light diffusers that work together to create an immediate fresh natural nail look or French manicure with longer-term benefits to the nails over time. Oriented initially toward folks transitioning from gel manicures to natural nails, this system is perfect for use either wholly or in part by anyone looking to create a fresh, natural-looking manicure or those who simply want to use toxin-free products specifically designed to benefit the nails.

I was immediately curious about this Naked Manicure system, and not just because my bare nails are exceptionally unappealing with their himalayan ridges, dryness and notable yellow polish stains. I wondered about the nature of the products, how they would apply and feel on the nail, what they would look like, what they would smell like. How different would they be from the stuff I already use?

The reviews I read and photos I saw were encouraging, and I eventually ordered enough component items for a complete manicure: Naked Base basecoat, Pink and Lavender Perfectors and Satin Seal topcoat. I have periodically used them individually with non-Zoya products as part of my regular routine, as well as together in the way they were designed and I can tell you that the products play well with other brands and that this system is not only effective, easy to use and fast-drying, but looks and feels delightfully high end. 

You can read all about the composition and benefits of the individual items on the Zoya site, I'm not going to go into all that stuff here. For me, the most innovative aspect of the line is the Perfectors. For tinted transparent polish, they make a significant impact. There are five sheer shades to use over basecoat individually or in combination according to the color of your natural nails. There is also a translucent white Tip Perfector you can use to create the clean, white free edge of a French manicure, but I haven't tried that yet. 


Zoya Naked Manicure products, left to right: Naked Base, Lavender Perfector, Pink Perfector, Satin Seal.

The Naked Base basecoat contains beaucoup ingredients to benefit the nail surface, and is essentially a treatment and basecoat in one. It has a thin-to-medium viscosity and goes on in a thin, fast-drying layer. I've read that its performance is on par with Zoya Anchor, and that some folks have taken to using it as their routine basecoat. It's not a ridge-filler though.


The Perfectors all share a thin-to-medium viscosity with a silky smooth formula that is fast-drying. These guys not only do a great job color-correcting, they are also awesome ridge-fillers and self-levelers with special light diffusers that create an exceptionally smooth, even, clean-looking finish. I've used them as ridge-fillers under sheerish polishes with excellent results. The Lavender Perfector is my favorite, it really does help to neutralize discoloration -- you can see it work as you apply it. Of course, when your nails are as stained as mine are, results are relative. Still, I like it. So does Allure Magazine, who gave it their Best of Beauty Breakthrough Award for 2015.

The Satin Seal topcoat is also very cool. Zoya calls it a bi-phasal product. I'm not sure exactly what that means but I can tell you that you must shake it well before using it or it doesn't develop the satin finish, which Zoya claims is the closest possible to the finish of a natural nail. To me, it better approximates the appearance of a well-buffed natural nail. It creates a radiant glow with a soft shine, more than what you'd expect from a typical satin finish. 

Photos show my natural nails before and after Zoya Naked Manicure. I used Naked Base basecoat, one coat of Lavender Perfector, one coat of Pink Perfector and a topcoat of Satin Seal. 


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after


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I know the staining is still prominent, but hopefully you can tell that these products do make a difference. And if they can do it for my variously afflicted nails, just imagine how well they'd work on yours! Not only does the system make your natural nails look better, the stuff feels great too, the finish has a delicious silky texture that is to die for. Plus there are all of the unseen therapeutic benefits that will have cumulative effects if you use the products regularly. 

If I didn't wear colors and change my polish every day, I'd definitely be wearing Naked Manicure. If I ever stop blogging, that's exactly what I plan to do when I'm not wearing color. You can buy Naked Manicure products in Zoya's ready-made kits if you want to, but I found it just as easy to purchase them piecemeal and get only the items I knew I would use. It would be easy and fun to put together a custom kit as a gift for someone who enjoys nail care but doesn't often or can't wear color. Just the Naked Base, a Perfector (or two, maybe) and the Satin Seal topcoat would do it.

Excellent stuff, I recommend it!

love,
Liz

5 comments:

  1. I have wondered about this stuff...Of course I've read reviews, but I wondered if I'd like it. I went through a horrible time in the fall-winter with my nails, BUT they are long again, and I am finally stain-free (and that's the only way I'd try Naked Manicure). I also wasn't sure how the white tip polish would work out for me, since my nails beds are not actually even in my fingers, which affects the look of evenness of the white part. Does that make sense? :) This does look nice on your nails. It's got a very pretty finish.

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    1. And thank goodness you guys were okay in that storm! Brian said they have gotten a ton of rain too.

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    2. I think you'd enjoy this system, Melissa, especially with your nails in good shape -- this would be a fabulous way to show them off! I have the tip perfector but am loathe to try and freehand a free edge. It feels like it would just complicate things. Since your nails are free of polish staining, I don't think you need it unless you really want to go for that French manicure look. The perfectors won't discolor your free edge -- they'll probably brighten it to where you wouldn't feel the need for the white anyway.

      It's really nice having series of products that are designed to work together and the results are fantastic. Even Fuzzy and John could tell a difference in my nails and you see how stained they are.

      We've had lightening strikes on the house before, but not recently and never on the cable. I hope it never happens again, it was HUGE PITA dealing with Time Warner on the phone for hours before they'd finally set up a service appointment, collecting all the damaged boxes and connectors, hauling them down to the Time Warner office for replacements, sorting all that out and then setting everything up again. I have no clue how the accompanying electrical surge managed to jump to that one outlet, bypass the surge protectors and take out the wifi base station, Fuzzy's tv, dvd player and vonage box. It was the only outlet affected, the rest of the electrical in the house was fine.

      We've needed the rain, it's been kind of a dry spring here. The last two days have been incredible, though, bright and sunny with temps around 70 for a high, no humidity to speak of and a nice little gusty breeze. Probably the last days like this that we'll have until October.

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  2. Good to see you back! I was a bit (okay, a lot!) concerned - wondering what drastic not-a-good-thing was going on in your life to divert you from your blog. Holy moses, that electrical barrage sounds like a freak show - must have been macabre. It is as if the discharge was intent on taking out every electrical gadget plugged in, even getting past the surge protector. You must have had an "interesting" weekend. Hope home owner's insurance will help you all recover.

    This Zoya nail system was getting a lot of buzz last year on the nail group I hang out in on FB. I wasn't too interested in it. I lavish my nails with oil and cream, and have sheer polishes for those almost-no-nail-polish-on looks. My base is my ridge filler. As for the satin look and feel, I have matte topcoats that do that. (I do love the feel of matte topcoat!) And, hahah, my polish money was going to the new (colored) collections coming out! I do think, however, that as you say, a thoughtful selection would be a great gift for someone who takes care of their nails and likes them to look pretty without having colored polish on.

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    1. Macabre is exactly the word, Lara! Especially considering how much daily activity in this house revolves around the internet and television. It was like an episode of The Twilight Zone: *Rod Serling voice* "Imagine, if you will, a world turned upside down...." Luckily the surge only affected the one outlet in the living room, so all the computers and their ilk were ok. Unfortunately, that outlet just happened to be the one powering our wifi base, Fuzzy's tv and dvd player and her Vonage. But how it managed to take out those devices when they were all on surge protectors is a mystery in this world. And the surge protectors are still working fine, as is the outlet! WTH! I throw up my hands in the face of such freakishness!

      I have to check with Amazon about those surge protectors and see if they came with any kind of guarantee.

      I grabbed John and went out immediately after it happened to get a new tv, a nice moderately sized flatscreen that connects to the cable box via HDMI. A lot of good it did me since the cable was shredded and the box was dead. It took Time Warner two more days to get someone out here. He fixed the cable no problem and I'd already obtained replacements for all the boxes so there was television upstairs. It was a major downer to discover that the wifi base wasn't working. But then Fuzzy took it right out to the Apple Store here and they gave her a new one for free!

      I read this one review of Naked Manicure where the reviewer kind of accused Zoya of pulling a fast one. But these products really are different from anything I've used before. I'd like to get some of them for my sis, who's a body worker, but I don't think she'd take the time to wear them. She does, however, enjoy painting her toe nails, preferably red!

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