Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holo and Two-Toned Lattice

With this manicure, I did two-toned stamping. I recently got three China Glaze holos, and this is the first time I've tried any with nail stamping. I thought the effect was pretty cool, although I think next time I'd like to try a stamp that didn't cover as much of the nail. Anyway, the background color is China Glaze Hologram, which is grey with a beautiful polychromatic lustre that shows even under the lattice stamp. I stamped over it with Sinful Colors Black on Black and Revlon No Shrinking Violet with Bundle Monster plate 204.

Revlon Sheer Cotton

This polish exemplifies all that is good and bad about Revlon nail polish: great color with a tricky formula. Some of my favorite colors this year have been from Revlon (Top Speed Lily, a pastel purple that is both bright and soft at the same time; Jaded, a mint-green; Lilac Pastelle, a gorgeous purple-leaning pink); but the formulas are spotty: some remain tacky for hours, some bubble despite carefully applied thin coats, some are too streaky and refuse to even out. I keep buying them because the color, the payoff, is worth the difficulty in application. Sheer Cotton is a beautiful light pink. Most nail polish brands have a range of soft pinks (especially Essie, which excels at exactly that), but what distinguishes this from other shades is that it is light and bright enough to be interesting, while at the same time being entirely ladylike. And with a good topcoat, the result is sort of like a milky porcelain-- just so pretty. The swatches below are three coats.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Navy and Teal French Manicure

And I continue my quest to master the two-toned french manicure. I used Orly Star of Bombay and Essie Turquoise and Caicos. I think that this might look a bit better with slightly longer nails. 

Note: I think that Essie T&C is one of the prettiest minty greens I've seen. It is a beautiful, milky, soft teal creme-glaze that goes totally opaque in three coats. Love it. It's one of my all-time favorite polishes. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Newspaper Nails, 2nd Edition

Please forgive the title; I just had to. It was too easy. So, my first post in the blog was newspaper nails, and I've tried it again, this time using white as a background instead of beige. I learned my lesson from my earlier attempts in which the ink transferred a bit faintly. I used more rubbing alcohol and more and steadier pressure to make sure the ink really deposited on my nails. Another method I have seen from some other bloggers is to actually cut out and fit pieces of newspaper to their nails and paint a clear coat over it-- this sounds trickier than the method I use, but I'm interested in trying it. If it is done successfully, you could have readable nails, as opposed to the transfer method, which reverses the  images.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Navy and Yellow French Manicure

Here is a two-toned french manicure. The polishes are Orly Star of Bombay and China Glaze Lemon Fizz. I think I have a ways to go, but I'm determined to master this technique! The concept is simple enough (paint a background color, use guide-strips to paint the tips), but there are a lot of opportunities to mess things up. The perfectionist in me thinks that this manicure really only works if it's almost perfect, otherwise, it just looks sloppy. I decided to post this because-- hey, it's progress! :) 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Finger Paints Add & Abstract

Here's Add and Abstract, by Finger Paints. The formula was fine: the first coat seemed very watery, but it only needed one more coat to become opaque. It has a nice, subtle shimmer to it. Note: this color looks awful with my skin tone-- teals are tricky for me-- they bring out the pink in my skin which sounds like it might be all right, but trust me, it's not. I end up looking like I sat out in the sun too long. Anyway, the upshot for me is that  I think it might be cool to use in a water marble, but I doubt I will ever wear it on its own. If teals are your thing, though, this is a pretty polish with a quick dry time.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beach Manicures

My friend, Emmy, and I are on Cape Cod for a few days, and I was inspired by her choice of colors for the manicure I gave her (see previous post), so I did a complementary one for myself, which is OPI's Stranger Tides for the background, and Sally Hansen's Silver Sweep* with Mash plate 64 for the stamp.

And here's a couple of shots of the two manicures together. See previous post for info on Emmy's manicure. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Emmy's Manicure

I'm on Cape Cod with my friend, Emmy, this weekend, and I did a manicure for her. She chose OPI's Steady as She Rose for the background and Sally Hansen's* Silver Sweep with Mash plate 73. I thought the effect was ladylike and sort of vintage-looking. Pretty! 

Dinosaur Eggs

And here's another variation on OPI's Steady as She Rose as the background color. I used Essie Little Brown Dress with Bundle Monster plate 211 for the stamp. If I were to do this again, I might try using grey instead of brown, because I think that the brown makes this manicure look a more like an animal print than speckles, which is more what I was going for. I'm not a big animal print girl, but I did like the way this came out in the end. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

French Pirates Rowing With Flowers

I built on my manicure, which was OPI's Steady as She Rose from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection. The french tips are Sinful Colors Seaweed; the flowers are Sinful Color's Nirvana; and the stamp is Mash plate 57. Topcoat is Seche Vite. Nirvana, a close relative of OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, is a pretty, creamy, milk-chocolate color. Its flaw, regrettably, is that it takes an eternity to dry. I was happy to find that it worked as a stamping polish, although I'm still determined to wear it on its own despite its dry time. 

French Pirates Rowing

For this manicure, I used OPI's Steady as She Rose with Sinful Colors Seaweed (a dupe for OPI's Stranger Tides) for the tips. I have both Seaweed and Stranger Tides but decided to use Seaweed because it is thicker and only need one coat. The formula of Stranger Tides is a bit watery and requires more coats for opacity. Topcoat is Seche Vite. 

I was so pleased to finally be able to do a two-tone french manicure that wasn't a mess. I learned the taping technique from Chloe's Nails. Erika has amazing taping skills, and anyone interested in getting some tips should take a look at her blog. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OPI Steady as She Rose

OPI's Steady as She Rose, from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection, is a dusty, dingy (in the good, shabby chic sense) soft grayish pale pink creme. I love these kinds of colors. They are quirky enough to be interesting, but not so crazypants as to obviate their inclusion into more conservative wardrobes. The application was fine; it was opaque in two coats. SASR, regrettably, is not among the polishes that Sinful Colors duped in the Adventure Island collection, so if you want this color, you'll have to spring for the OPI. 

Note: I have also switched over to Seche Vite as a topcoat on the advice of Rebecca from Rebecca Likes Nails. She was right-- this stuff is amazing. It dries quickly and the finish is gorgeous. 

Seaweed vs. Stranger Tides

I've swatched a comparison of OPI's Stranger Tides and Sinful Colors Seaweed, which look like dupes to me. I couldn't see any difference in the photos or IRL. There was a difference, however, in the formula. Seaweed went on smoothly and it was opaque in two coats. Stranger Tides was a bit watery and took three coats to achieve bottle color. I'd say this choice comes down to personal preference: if you're an OPI girl and you love the wider brush, go with Stranger Tides; if you're not, enjoy the $6.50 savings and go for Seaweed. 

The color, by the way, is a soft, muted, perhaps slightly vintage or even a little dingy, sage-green. It's pretty, and even though it's green (which would remove it from the business-casual section of most closets), it's a pastel, and therefore a stealth-green, which you could totally camouflage with an outfit involving a sweater set and pearls. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Starfish vs. Sparrow

I sat on the fence for a long time about whether or not to get any of the new OPI polishes from the Stranger Tides Collection. Eventually, I decided on three: Sparrow Me the Drama, Steady as She Rose, and Stranger Tides. I ordered them, and the day before they arrived, I saw Sinful Colors Adventure Island display in Rite Aid, and bought three: Seaweed, Star Fish, and Open Seas. I'm already a fan of Sinful Colors, and I went into a nerd-tastic trance of joy when I saw that they were duping the OPI collections in kind of an awesomely blatant way. Seriously. There might have been drool. 

So, at first, I thought that Star Fish and Sparrow Me the Drama were dupes, but as you can see from the photo below, SMTD is more of a bluish pink, and SF is a bit peachy by comparison. I admit that I could not discern the difference when I was looking at my hand; it wasn't until I saw the photo that I could really tell. I think that the differences are subtle enough that it isn't necessary to own both. 

I was surprised to find that I liked the formula better on SF. I found SMTD to be a bit watery. It required three coats, and SF only required two. SMTD built to opacity; however, so if you prefer the color or the brand, the wateriness isn't problematic. 

Below is Star Fish on its own. I think that without the comparison nails with the OPI, that SF is an almost dupe and/or good alternative  for SMTD. 


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Melissa's Manicure

So, I visited some friends this weekend, and I gave my friend, Melissa, a manicure using Wet n Wild's Nerds Need Love Too, which I just reviewed in my last post. She picked the plate and the colors herself-- it was totally coincidental that she happened to pick that color. Anyway, the background is NNLT, and the stamp is Bundle Monster plate 207 with Sinful Colors Snow Me White. I thought this one was very summery and cute-- good selection, Melissa! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nerds Need Love Too Swatch

This color, Wet n Wild's Nerds Need Love Too, is not a member of the color family to which I usually gravitate, but for some reason, I like this one. It's a bright, happy color-- perfect for summer.  

Wet n Wild is a brand that I associated with my middle-school years until recently when I became more aware of animal testing and tried to purchase from companies that are cruelty-free. I was pleased to find that there is a drugstore brand (more than one, actually!) that is super-inexpensive, of decent quality, and doesn't hurt small, tufty animals in the service of my vanity. I mention that because I realize that so far in this blog, I have leaned rather heavily on several brands, and I would like to be clear about why that is. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Black and White Dots

 I love this manicure. It seems 80s to me in a way I can appreciate. I was a little disappointed at the weakness of the stamp, but I think it was because the bottle of black polish was too new, and not gloppy enough. I used Sinful Colors Snow Me White and Wet n Wild Black Creme with Konad stamp M60. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Finger Paints Hue Rang? Swatch and Stamp

Hue Rang? is the other shade I got from Finger Paints the other day on sale at Sally's. It is  a creamy-shimmery periwinkle. The formula is very good: smooth and even, and opaque in one coat. I know that it's impossible to generalize about the quality of an entire brand from two polishes, but two for two is a pretty good average so far. 

I added a stamp using Bundle Monster plate 209 with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep*. I thought it had a kind of a retro-futuristic look, if you know what I mean. Kind of like Ikea meets the Partridge Family. 

Black Mesh For Audrey

I always feel a little like I'm cheating when I do a crackle manicure because the effect is intricate and eye-catching, but it's super easy and fast. I used China Glaze Black Mesh over For Audrey, also by China Glaze. Topcoat is Orly Glosser. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Melted Ice Cream Water Marble

I'd never used Revlon polish before this spring (I was slightly put off by the bottle, which I thought was kind of dated and unattractive, and by the price point, which I thought was a little high for a drug store brand), but they have been coming out with some great colors, especially the pastels. I have found that the top-speed Revlons dry at about the rate of average nail polish, and the regular Revlons seem to take an inconveniently long time. For this manicure, I used two Revlons: Lilac Pastelle (a non-quick-dry), and Jaded (a quick-dry), and Essie's Little Brown Dress. LBD, by the way, is a gorgeous glossy dark brown -- like coffee beans. Love it. It's great on it's own, especially as a fall color. 


Here's a happy late spring mani for you! For the background, I used Wet n Wild Toss Me a Lifesavers. For the stamp, I used Sinful Colors Snow me White. I dotted the centers of the flowers with Sinful Color's Unicorn. Please excuse my gorgeous cuticles in the super-close up. Lovely, I know! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finger Paints Amethyst Atelier

 I'd never tried Finger Paints before, and I've been wanting to, so I picked up a few that were on sale at Sally's Beauty Supply. The first is Amethyst Atelier, which is a dark blurple, although not so dark that it is an almost-black. I found the color difficult to accurately photograph. It is definitely more purple than blue, which is not really reflected in the pictures. The formula of this nail polish is amazing, among the best of any I've tried. I think that if I had been a little more adept in my application, it would have been a one-coater. It went on smoothly and evenly.

I have also been using Rebuild from Seche as the basecoat, on the recommendation of Rebecca from Rebecca Likes Nails, to help with some weakness in my nails, and I'm happy to say that I've noticed that they already seem to be stronger and are flaking much, much less. I had tried several different strengthening treatments, and this has been the most effective one so far. 

Pixi Stix

A simple but fun one for today: the background is Sinful Colors Snow Me White. I used Orly Razzle with Mash stamp 72. Topcoat: Orly Glosser. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Magenta Squared

 For this manicure, I used Wet n Wild Megashine Through the Grapevine as the background, with Sinful Colors Black on Black for the stamp, which was Bundle Monster plate 203. Black on Black was a little gloppy, which worked very well for stamping. The slight drag you see on my middle finger came from my topcoat, which was a bit of a surprise since it was the second topcoat over totally dry nails. Minor bummer. Note: I love the new Bundle Monster plates, not just for the designs but for the larger size.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blue Mermaid Manicure

For this manicure, I used three coats of Sinful Colors Hottie (ugh. I really don't like that name) as the base. Hottie is a close relative of Sinful's Nail Junkie: it has the same gell-like consistency, the same ratio of densely packed glitter to polish, except it's blue instead of green. It really is a lovely polish. The glitter consists of smaller and larger pieces that flash pink, green, blue, and gold. I'm generally not a huge fan of glitters on me, but this was too pretty not to play with. So, I stamped the blue waves with Bundle Monster plate 209 and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Blazing Blue*. The silver embellishment on my ring finger is also from BM plate 209 using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Silver Sweep*. I felt that the over-all effect was a little more blue than I had intended, so instead of a topcoat I added Pure Ice Oh Baby!. OB is a milky polish with green micro-glitter. It applies clear but flashes a subtle green.
Note: My nails are brutally short right now. I don't normally keep them this short, but there was some flaking and weakness and general nail unhappiness that required me to cut them. I've decided to embrace the smaller canvass for the moment :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nubar Cardigan

For this manicure, I used two coats of Orly Cashmere Cardigan with two coats of Nubar 2010. I included the last photo so that the flakes in the Nubar would be visible, although for some reason they are far less vivid in the pic than IRL. Topcoat: Orly Glosser. In the end, I thought it was a bit too Barbie's Dream House for me, so I ended up taking it off, but the eight-year-old in me still think it's preeettty :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wedding Nails

I know that french manicures are the look of choice for brides, but I thought I would offer an alternative that has similarities to it but with some variation. I used Sinful Colors Glass Pink for the background, and Wet n Wild French White Creme for the stamp with Bundle Monster plate 11. Then, I used a toothpick to dot three points of Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Silver Sweep*. Topcoat is Orly Glosser. It's funny, in no other part of my wardrobe do I include pink, especially not a super-feminine, sparkle-shimmer (spimmer? sharkle?), princess in a tower color like this, but I do love Glass Pink. So pretty!


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