As of today, nail art stamping is becoming vastly popular; there are new image plate brands popping up regularly.  But all brands are not created equal, the IPs (Image Plates) vary in quality, price, size of the individual designs, number of designs per IP, uniqueness of designs, as well as the size and shape of the IPs.  What I want to do is a mini-series of posts talking about the different stamping IPs that I have used.  But first I just want to give you some information about stamping in general, then I will follow up with weekly posts about the brands I've used and what I like and dislike about each.

When I purchase IPs, there are a few main things I look for:
  1. Quality, Quality & Quality!!!
  2. Size of the individual designs
  3. Uniqueness and Variety of designs
These things are most important to me because if the quality designs on the IPs are no good it's a waste of money.  I want my nails to look like I went to the salon and had them done professionally, not a hot mess.  Also, if the IPs are not good quality, they may not even pick up the image/design.  I have had this experience with the Red Angel IPs.  I have stopped using these plates all together because of the quality of the images and the problems with just picking up the image.  It's hard to determine quality if you have never used a particular brand before, but this is where the research comes in.  YouTube is a great place to find IP testing videos.  Or you can search the brand online and look for any comments and reviews about the IPs.

The size of the individual designs are also important because I wear my nails somewhat long and my nail beds are fairly wide.  I have found out that the full nail designs are just not big enough for my nails in length nor width.  You can get around both of these issues by rotating the image horizontally, and then stamping the image onto the nail twice.  The problem with this method is that it is utterly frustrating to ensure that you align the image perfectly and do not overlap the first stamp.  When you overlap the design, it looks messy...which totally defeats the purpose!!

Uniqueness and Variety of the designs are also important, because I do not want to buy a set of IPs where the majority of the designs are practically the same.  I like having a variety of designs to choose from.  Some days I may want flowers, lines, geometric shapes, swirly patterns, themed designs (especially around the holidays) or just random abstract designs.  Unfortunately, many IP brands just duplicate exactly what other brands have...with maybe a handful of different designs.  To me that's a waste.  Although I love the quality of Konad, I have found that their designs lack variety.  For example,  out of 75 IPs I counted 22 butterflies and 165 flowers of which only 8 are full nail designs!  That's just a shame.

I started out using Konad IPs; initially for the french tip designs.  But, once I became interested in the full nail designs, I quickly realized that the designs were too small for my nails in length and width and they dont have many full nail designs.  After searching YouTube and Amazon.com I discovered that there were other brands available.  Konad is one of the best brands in terms of quality (Dashica Beauty Shop is THE BEST!!!), if you dont have long and/or wide nails.  I have only tried a handful of IP brands, but there are now many available.  So I will do a post a week giving a review of the brands that I have used and just list the ones that I have heard about.  I will post them in order of best to worst (in my opinion).

Stay Polished At All Times...by Lo'Rain