Friday, December 30, 2011

Spacey Layering Experiment

Good morning! Today I have another space-tastic look to show you. Here is the final result, and then I will go through the photos of each layering step as I completed it.

OK COOL! So let's get into it here. I started off with two coats of Wet N Wild Black Creme, which is, you guessed it!, a black creme.

Then I added one layer of Pure Ice Heartbreaker, which gave the manicure this AMAZING emerald sparkly look. I kind of wanted to stop the manicure at this step and call it a day, but I had to keep pushing forward into unknown layering territory for you all!

So next I added one layer of Inglot 204, which is a true blue flakie. No hints of green or teal in this flakie, unlike my Nfu Oh 50 or Finger Paints Flecked or Motley.

It's getting interesting, right? The blue and green are pretty close in color so the lack of contrast is really intriguing to me.

Then I finished off the look with one layer of China Glaze Atlantis, which is holo glitter pieces in a turquoise jelly base. This was the final step, so if you want a full hand visual, please refer to the first photo in this post. ;)

Here's a close up of the layers!

And here is the look blurred so you can see the magnificence of Atlantis!

Then FINALLY Rebecca suggested that I should try mattifying the look. So I did, because I know that it is important to take great advice. :) I just picked up Hard Candy Matte-ly In Love because China Glaze Matte Magic always shrinks on me, so that is what I used here.

I hope you guys enjoy this combination! I had a lot of fun choosing my layering polishes, like some weird mad polish scientist. I usually am not a fan of so many things together but I think this look managed to stay pretty subtle.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve Combo

OHHHH BOY YOU GUYS! It's almost 2012, and you know what that means!? PARTY MANIS! Today I've got my first New Years Eve manicure option that I am considering. Not gonna lie, I am pretty much in love with it.

The gold base nails in this manicure were done with the Essence Circus Circus duo stick Don't Feed the Tiger. This is a European polish that I was lucky enough to get my hands on thanks to my lovely friend Ruth! One end is a gold foil, and the other end is a glitter topper. The glitter topper is the whole reason I bought this polish.

Square. Black. Glitter.

If you guys have been reading my blog for a while, you are probably aware of my love for both black glitter and square glitter. Well, this has BOTH. So obviously I am absolutely batshit crazy over it.

The glitter topper is not easy to apply, though. It was probably one of the more difficult glitters I have worked with. It took lots of pushing around to get the glitter in the places that I wanted it. Totally worth it though.

If you want to recreate this look, consider trying Color Club Antiquated and Wet N Wild Tangled In My Web. I know TIMW is not exactly easy to get either, so as a backup plan, you might try LA Girls Glitter Addict in Uninhibited.

The double accent nails are a base of Wet N Wild Black Creme and then two coats of NYX Gold Glitter. This polish used to be called Gilded Glitter, but when NYX did their revamp to include Deborah Lippmann style bottles, they renamed it Gold Glitter.

Gold Glitter is everything that I wanted Essie As Gold As It Gets to be. Unfortunately, the Essie flakie pieces are a bit too small for my taste, so after trying it, I went ahead and ordered this NYX polish. I like it a lot more -- it is more dramatic and the flakie pieces are more... sharp?

Here you can see all of the polishes that I used in this mani, and you can see what the Essence stick looks like! Pretty neat if you ask me!

I'm sure many of you would agree that black and gold are the go-to colors when you think New Years Eve. This manicure seems so NYE appropriate to me, and I think it is the color combination that is making me feel that way. Well, and I guess the glitter also looks like falling confetti, too!

So tell me, which nail combo do you like better, the Essence duo or the black with the gold flakes? I am curious! I honestly don't know if I can pick. :) EDIT I have a lot of people asking me why I'm not keeping both styles -- I definitely am!! I just am interested in which combination you guys like better for curiosity's sake. I didn't mean that I have to pick between them for my manicure. :) /EDIT

Time to get your resolutions drafted... only a few more days until the clock strikes midnight to announce a new year! Do you have any special NYE manicures planned? Or nail related resolutions?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Houndstooth Stamping

Today's nails made use of a stamping plate that I got a while ago, but haven't used yet! I bought Konad M63 specifically for this houndstooth design, because it's one of my favorite patterns. I have tried to use it a couple of times, but all of my attempts came up short. Mostly, I think it was because the polish I was using wasn't transferring as well as I wanted it to.

So I got some actual Konad black stamping polish, and gave it another go.

Hooray, it worked! I did the stamping over two coats of Zoya Posh, which is actually a red matte color, but when you put topcoat over it it looks like a regular red nail polish.

I actually started this design with the intention of leaving it matte, but I thought that Posh would look much nicer glossy. I was right, by the way.

I am still working on my stamping, though I suspect that it will be a rather long road. I love this look and I am so so happy that I got this stamp to work with me the way that I envisioned it!

Besides being super hot and sexy, I think this mani also still works for Christmas/winter nails.

You may have noticed that I took my nails down a bit, too! After doing dishes and getting my house back in order after the Christmas madness, they had taken a bit of a beating. So I shortened them a smidge and I am actually quite pleased with the length now. I dunno about you guys but I feel like sometimes short nails are just the thing I need. :)


Monday, December 26, 2011

My Christmas Nails

Hello! Today I have my Christmas manicure to show you. I would have liked to have posted this on Christmas Even when I did it, or on Christmas when I wore it, but I seriously just have not had time to get the pics done! :) I was too busy having an excellent holiday with my family.

So here they are, the nails I wore for Christmas.

I realized a few days before Christmas that I had the red and green hex glitter snowman polish in my collection but that I hadn't used it yet! I wanted to make sure that I used it before Christmas was over, because that type of polish really doesn't work well during the rest of the year. ;)

I started with a base of THREE coats of China Glaze Frosty. I still had some visible nail line but it didn't matter because I was doing the glitter anyway. It was much more sheer than I expected it to be, though.

Then, I painted on a glitter gradient using the brush of the snowman polish, which Rhonni from Nailtique picked up for me (because they don't sell them here)!

I wish that I had had time to do something more complicated and fantastic for my Christmas Day manicure, but given my circumstances I was pleased as punch with the way that these turned out.

My only complaint was that this manicure got quite thick, with all of the layers of Frosty, and it took a long time to dry properly. I was pretty impatient and kept dinging it when I was trying to wrap presents and things.

My family really liked these nails a lot, and I liked them too. I was very glad to get some use out of my snowman polish before it became irrelevant for another year! :)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

butter LONDON Victoriana

Today's post is my first butter LONDON swatch! Yesterday I asked people on the CN Facebook if they could guess what polish I was wearing just from the description, and Krissi successfully guessed it! I was wearing Victoriana, which is an amazing blue-teal with a very distinct silver shimmer.

I had been wanting this polish for quite some time, and I finally caved and bought it at Ulta recently. It is my first and only butter LONDON... so far! :) I had heard great things about their polish formula. I couldn't believe it when I tried it for myself! The polish applied like a dream. This swatch is two coats, and it cooperated so well that I didn't even have to do any clean up on this manicure.

The shimmer in this polish is very pronounced, and it gives the polish a really cool textured effect. It sort of looks metallic from a distance, and then when you look at it closer, the speckles really add a lot of visual interest.

Here is a close up of the polish so you can get a good idea as to what the silver bits look like and how they work.

butter LONDON nail polish is sold at Ulta and retails for $14. I've also seen it at Dillard's, and they actually had some colors that weren't at Ulta, too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Magnetic Layering Fun

Hi everyone! Is anyone else hardcore slacking on their Christmas presents? I think I am just barely keeping my head above water! :) I have been trying to keep up with my posting but I am afraid I am just a touch behind.

Today's nails started off with a base of Ulta Grin and Berry It, which is a lovely pink color that leans towards the reddish side. Then I added on a coat of Nails Inc. Trafalgar Square, which is a gunmetal colored magnetic polish.

For those of you unfamiliar with magnetic polish, here is the explanation offered by Nails Inc.
This unique formula has been specially developed with metallic particles to create a pattern on the nail using magnetic forces. As the magnet is held over the nail, the iron powder in the formulation gravitates toward the magnet forming the pattern/design secretly hidden in the magnet for an astonishing finish! 
So you hold the magnet over the wet polish and this wavy sort of design that you see in my photos will show up! It's very cool. It can be kind of tough when you are first learning though. I kept touching my nail with the magnet and it would totally ruin it! If you are just using the magnetic polish instead of layering like me, though, you could just paint on another layer and try again, instead of removing the nail and starting over.

I figured that if I put a color underneath the magnetic polish, when it got all magnetized the underwear polish would show through. I was right... BUT I quickly learned that the magnetic polish will "loosen up" as it dries.

Here is a cell phone pic comparison of a nail RIGHT after I removed the magnet versus a minute later. It continued to spread out and finally settled how you see it in the rest of this post's photos.

I tried holding the magnet on for a long long time as well as immediately applying Seche Vite (the fastest drying topcoat ever)... no matter what I tried the particles would continue to spread out. Oh well!

To add to my troubles, I didn't get a chance to take photos of this manicure until the next day, and I had developed some shrinkage at the cuticles by then. I'm not sure if it was user error or if the polish just doesn't play nice with SV.

Still though, for all of my trial-and-error experiments and minor problems, I love this manicure! The magnetic effect is unlike anything else and it really gets noticed. I had a lot of people ask me what it was and, when I explained it, they were really wowed and impressed by the effect.

I purchased Trafalgar Square at Sephora, where it retails for $16.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Snakeskin

Today's post is a special one! Kayla of Nails by Kayla Shevonne, Rebecca of Rebecca Likes Nails, and I all decided to get together and do Christmas colored animal prints and post them on the same day! The only rules were that you can only use red, green, and white. Kayla took leopard and Rebecca took zebra, while I couldn't quite decide what I wanted to do at first. Eventually, I settled on snakeskin!

I don't have any snakeskin stamping plates (although I know they exist!), so I had to take a bit of a different approach to achieve this look. My original idea was to freehand on scales with a dotting tool. I did some extensive testing with this method, and I did like it! But I was asking Michelle for her opinion on which of my color combinations looked best and she suggested that I look at this tutorial by Love4Nails on YouTube for creating a snakeskin look.

I LOVED her suggestion and immediately scrapped my previous idea! I ran off to find some tulle; I only had lace, but it got the job done! After a few modifications to the tutorial, I was on my way!

So the basic gist of this manicure technique is to start with a random combination of colors on your base. You could even use one color if you want, but since I was making a Christmas snake I put both red and green on. I made them sort of organic shapes like you might see on a snake. The green I used was Zoya Veruschka, and the red is Illamasqua Scarab.

Then, you take a piece of lace or tulle and wrap it around your fingernail (after the base is dry). Lightly sponge on a TINY bit of white polish (Sally Hansen Whirlwind White). It is really easy to go overboard on the sponging. You don't want it to be TOO dense.

When you peel off the lace, you are left with snakeskin! All you need to do to finish it is clean up a bit and topcoat it. Easy!

This was my first time using Illamasqua Scarab, and I have gotta say this polish is a STUNNER. I am really eager now to do a full mani using it.

What do you think? Does it read as snakeskin to you? I am thrilled with the results of this manicure technique and am really looking forward to trying it out with some other color combinations in the future.

Stop by Kayla's and Rebecca's blogs today to see their takes on Christmas leopard and zebra print! And make sure you check out the Love4Nails tutorial, too... her results are GORGEOUS and actually quite different than mine!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

China Glaze Twinkle Lights

Today's post is a quick swatch of China Glaze Twinkle Lights! Twinkle Lights is a polish from this winter's Let It Snow! collection.

I wore this to my mom's annual huge Christmas party, and let's just say it was perfectly party appropriate! My swatches are two coats, polish only, with Gelous and then SV.

As you can see, this is a glitter polish. It's gold, red and green glitter. So holiday perfect. The red is easiest to see as you look at it closer, and then the green comes out a bit too. The red shows through the gold best, though!

At a distance, this polish just looks like shiny, sparkly gold.

Here's a macro shot of Twinkle Lights so you can see it's actual glitter composition. It looks pretty evenly divided between the three colors, right? But remember, like I said, it looks mostly gold on the nail!

A good polish for the glitter lovers out there. Super shiny, good consistency, not difficult to apply. It only took two coats for opacity. My only complaint was wear time, but I usually don't get very good wear out of glitter-only manicures anyway. I had this on for about a day and a half and then it started chipping off in big chunks and sheets.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Half Moon Wreaths

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I finally have some holiday nail art to share with you! I have been busy lately, and then I got sick, so I have sort of slacked on the holiday manicures... but I hope this will make up for it!

I present to you... holiday wreath half moons!

This look is SUPER festive and really cool (if you ask me, anyway). It starts off with a base of Color Club Worth the Risque, which is a silver polish with a faint holo effect.

Then, I freehanded on the base of the wreath half moons with Zoya Veruschka. Any similarly dark and foresty green would get the job done if you don't have Veruschka. I just used my favorite, regular ol' nail brush to do this. I then added on small bits of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Going Green and Wet N Wild Black Creme to give the wreath some depth and dimension. You want to be careful when you are adding on the black though, as it can quickly become really thick and dark. It might help you to add it on in tiny bits and then sort of spread it out with a dry nail art brush.

Using the small end of a dotting tool, I added on the holly berries in China Glaze Red Pearl. I did the dots twice to ensure that they were highly pigmented.

Then, using the smallest and thinnest nail art brush that I have, I freehanded on the bows in ... wait for it ... CHINA GLAZE VELVET BOW! How apropos! I learned a few nails into the process that the tops of the bows look best when you make them out of rounded triangular shapes.

I am loving this look, and it isn't too complicated once you get down to it! I think wreaths make the perfect twist on the classic half moon style.

What do you think? Would you wear this look? What other holiday-type manicures would you guys like to see me attempt? :)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Festive gradient dots

Hello everyone! So sorry I haven't made a post in a while. I started feeling like I was developing some sort of cold or flu type thing on Friday and it has really only gone downhill since then! I went to the doctor today and got some medicine, so hopefully I will be feeling better soon.

Today's nails are based off a design that I first saw on my friend Laurie. She then told me that she based her nails on a design from Nail Nerd!

I chose China Glaze Red Pearl and Sally Hansen Whirlwind White to give this mani a bit of a holiday flair. It doesn't scream "HOLIDAY!!!!!!" like some weird Christmas banshee, but I think it's still subtly getting the message across!

To achieve this look you start with a base of white. Then, using a torn off bit of a triangle makeup sponge, build up a gradient by sponging on the red color. If you're not familiar with the sponging method, check out Rebecca's tutorial.

Then, using a dotting tool, add back in white dots over the gradient. Finish with topcoat!

It's a really cool look, isn't it? I was very happy to come across it. It looks like I put a stencil over my nails and then spray painted it on or something.

And here it is from a distance!

I hope you guys like this design, and I also hope to do some holiday nail art soon for you guys! Hope you are having a lovely December so far! :)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Pretty & Polished Franken Swatches

Hello everyone! Today's post is a seriously special one! The lovely Chelsea from Pretty and Polished just opened up an Etsy store recently where she is selling her frankens. Her creations are really unique so I just had to get my hands on a few of them! Today I am showing you the swatches of the three that I got. More information on these polishes and where you can buy them can be found at the end of this post.

Midnight Rider
Midnight Rider is a fantastic and unique polish. It has a dark blackened purple jelly base and has a bunch of different sizes and shapes of glitter in it, including small red, pink, and purple hex with large red hex and large purple squares. Square glitter is one of my favorite things in the world.

Here is three coats of Midnight Rider on my pointer and ring fingers, and two coats over black on my middle and pinky.

And here is a full mani of Midnight Rider over black. Just look at that square glitter! So yummy. It's like someone threw sexy confetti all over my nails.

Melodramatic is a GORGEOUS polish that is VERY hard to photograph properly... haha. I had to swatch this twice to get it correct. It is a sheer emerald teal-y base. The polish has teal and purple microglitter in it that give it some nice dimension.

This is three coats of Melodramatic. This would make a nice layering polish, too, as it could add a great layer of sparkle to any polish without covering it up completely.

It applied very easily, and the glitter is not gritty at all. One layer of topcoat and it was really smooth for me.

It is so shiny that it almost looks metallic! The color combination of polish and glitter in this one makes me think of a peacock. I have been wearing it all day and it is truly stunning.

Galax-E is the perfect polish for those of you that love the look of galaxies on your nails but don't want to spend the time doing the sponging/nail art method.

It is a black base with beautiful holographic glitter in it. It flashes and sparkles as it catches the light. Honestly it really does look like space! I had trouble capturing its sparkly nature, so imagine my photos... but even more glittery! That will give you an accurate visualization of this beauty.

This one wasn't gritty either. It goes on really beautifully and evens out with one layer of topcoat. The black looks deep and rich.

And if you look closely you can see that this one has ... SQUARE GLITTER! My Kryptonite! Awww yeah.

Chelsea also has a number of other frankens in her shop, these are just the ones that I picked out! She has a Galactus-based collection with a few holos in it, some more great mixes of pigment and glitter, and some star and bar glitters even show up in a few polishes!

Pretty and Polished frankens are all hand mixed with love and care. They are all cruelty free, which means that they are not made with any ingredients containing animal products. Most of them are sold in 5ml miniature bottles (a few are in standard, larger bottles) and come with stainless steel beads so you can keep your polish perfectly mixed.

She also offers custom ordering, so if you are in love with a particular polish and want it in a larger size than the 5ml, you can message her through her Etsy shop.

So head over to her shop and support a true independent artist in her quest to prettify the nails of lacquer heads everywhere! :)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nfu Oh #50

Hello! I hope you all are having a fantastic day. Today's post is a quick swatch of Nfu Oh #50 over black.

The polish itself is flakies contained in a pinky-purple tinted jelly base. Obviously, when it is layered over black, the base doesn't show up at all, and the flakies really shine on their own. As you'll see, they are quite beautiful!

The flakies go on with a nice density. I used two coats of #50 over Wet N Wild Black Creme for this mani.

As you can see, the flakies have a really interesting duochrome shift from teal/green to blue. Duochrome flakies! DID YOU HEAR ME!?

Most of the time the flakies show green/teal -- more so than how they photograph. But from certain angles, the blue really blooms into life!

Doesn't this look like shattered ice over a dark arctic sea? Like a fat polar bear sat on the ice and it shattered and started floating away.

Nfu Oh flakie polishes retail for $12.50 on Last time I ordered from them they were offering free shipping for orders over $25.

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