Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ManGlaze Santorum

Oh, ManGlaze Santorum, how I love you! You're not tested on animals, you're made in the USA, and you let me make a political statement without saying a word. <3 In fact, you're so awesome, I give you my Pixies ode:

I know that politics are a potentially volatile topic, so for those who prefer to discuss the nail polish and not its political statement, the review is first, followed by the photos. However, this polish is political, and #1, I believe it would be an incomplete review if I left that unaddressed, and #2: come on! How often do we have a political nail polish? It's like spotting a unicorn! So, I have provided additional information on the story surrounding this polish after the photos for those who are curious. 

Man Glaze Santorum is a brown matte polish-- seriously, the best formula I've ever tried for a matte, which usually turn clumpy mid-manicure! I do recommend, though, that you have a bottle of lacquer thinner with this or any other matte polish, because by the end of the manicure, it will be thicker. Bonus to this polish: If you put a top coat on, you can see that this is a complex color with tiny dusty pieces of glitter in various shades of brown and warm metallic colors such as copper and gold. It's really very pretty! 

Below Left: With seche vite (topcoat), Right: no topcoat. 

Now, if you are curious about the social-political message of this polish, allow me to provide you some links to explain:

And for those of you who wear this polish like I do, with something resembling glee, I give you approbative devil horns and welcome you to join me in reading The Catcher in the Rye in the general direction of the three Tea Partiers picketing in front of the library on Sundays. <3

Pink and Black Spats

Okay, so here is my odd spats manicure. It looked different in my head! Ah well, enjoy anyway! 

OPI Pandamonium Pink
OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees
Techniques: Taping and dotting

Monday, January 30, 2012

Raspberry Gradient

My efforts to improve my gradient skills continue. I modeled this after this cool manicure. I used OPI Miami Beet, a beautiful fuchsia cream that I'm having some trouble capturing accurately in photos. Here is a more accurate pic from Scrangie.  I sponged on Sinful Colors Black on Black with a small piece of a makeup sponge. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monochromatic Lilac Foil and Creme

I love tape manicures! Here's another one, I wanted to keep the colors monochromatic, but play with the finish, so here is a lilac foil and creme. The foil is LA Colors Metallic Purple, and the creme is China Glaze Light as Air. About the polish: MP is a one or two coater that dries quickly. LaA is a slightly dirty lilac creme, another one or two coater with a smooth, nice formula. 

Above: in sunlight

Below: with flash

Below: process shot

LA Colors Metallic Purple by itself

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blue and Grey Tape Manicure

Here is my first effort to do a tape manicure. I've seen them for a while, especially on Chloe's Nails; Erika is, in my opinion, the reigning queen of tape manis. I used LA Colors Static Electricty (blue), and China Glaze Recycled (grey). I did an asymmetrical line to make a variation on the funky french manicure.  I know that many bloggers like to use Scotch tape for manicures because you can see through it and make sure there is a good seal. I like painter's tape because I have better luck with the seal. 

Below: LA Colors Static Electricity on its own. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Life and Manicures: The Over the Shoulder, Walkin' Out the Door, Two-Handed Double-Bird

For those who read my recent Narcissistic Jerk post, here is another, related, manicure for you. I present to you the Double Bird Manicure! I designed this for those of us who are too dignified and mature to actually flip someone off, but acknowledge that sometimes there are people who deserve not just one bird, but two. I tried to make it pretty. After all, if you're going to be profane, you might as well be pretty. 

Below: The Two-Handed Double-Bird. (Sorry the photo is fuzzy, I took it with Photobooth, so unfortunately, it's not as sharp as the others.)

Below: China Glaze Holo by itself. 

Base Color: China Glaze Hologram
Stamp Color: Sinful Colors Black on Black
Stamps: Red Angel 102

 Note: I was inspired from a comment made by Nail Nerd in response to my recent Narcissistic Jerk Mani. Thanks! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mod Stamp With Raspberry Cream

The base color is China Glaze's Traffic Jam, from the fall 2011 collection. It is a bright raspberry cream that leans slightly more blue that it appears in these photos. It's a very nice color and oddly demure for such a bright pink. It has a good formula an is opaque in two coats. 

For the stamp, I used Red Angel plate 103 with Sinful Colors Black on Black. 

Below: Taken With Flash

Below: Taken in Sunlight

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Garters and Fishnets Manicure

For this manicure, I decided to go for the contrast of a subdued, lavender grey with a lace and fishnets stamp. I also did a variation of this without the fishnets for a, uhm, less overtly slutty effect. 

Below: American Apparel Factory Grey by itself. 

Below: Without the fishnets, this manicure looks much more demure. 

Base: American Apparel Factory Grey (Good formula, two-coater)
Stamp: Sinful Colors Black on Black 
Mash plate 57

About the polish: I have to say, I love American Apparel polishes. And I'm a little mystified at why this is, since their concept is pretty simple: mostly cremes in various colors-- so where's the magic? Well, two things: first, what they do, they do well. Most of their polishes have good formulas and are two-coaters. Second: packaging. I love the bottle shape, the font,-- maybe it's lame of me, but the presentation is great. The one drawback is the brush, which I think is a little skinny and doesn't fan out very well. It makes the application a bit tricky. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Life and Manicures: The I Keep Dating the Same Narcissistic Jerk Manicure

Okay, so, normally I keep my personal life out of this blog, but today I was looking through my polish, trying to figure out what I wanted to wear. I was looking at the pinks, the lavenders, and I thought how pretty they are, and what a poor reflection of my current state of mind. So then I thought, why not mix life and manicures? Therefore, I bring you the hideously ugly, gross, snot-green and brown, craptacular homage to my love life, the "I Keep Dating the Same Narcissistic Jerk Manicure." The green is for nausea and the gold stars are for my excellent judgement and taste. Enjoy, friends! 

Base Color: China Glaze Trendsetter
Waves: Essie Little Brown Dress, BM Plate 209
Stars: China Glaze 2030, BM Plate 206 and Mash Plate 50
Dots: Finger Paints Cordur-Orange

White and Tiffany Blue Gradient

I'm trying to improve my gradient skills. Its funny, you'd think that a gradient would be an easy technique, but for some reason, I find it tricky. 

Base Color: Wet n' Wild French Cream
Gradient Color: China Glaze For Audrey
Techniques: Sponging (using a piece of a makeup sponge)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Amber's Valentine's Day Manicure

I was visiting some friends and family this week, and I forgot my camera. Of course, I gave people manicures. I did this early Valentine's Day one for my friend, Amber, and I had to use my cell phone camera! Booo! The quality is really bad and for that I apologize, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. 

Amber is pretty adventurous with her manicures, and she asked me for something crazy, so I had fun. I gave her a base of skittle  nails in Valentine's Day colors, and then used different stamps and patterns. 

Base Polishes:
Index: Sinful Snow Me White
Thumb and Middle: China Glaze Traffic Jam
Ring: OPI Pandamonium Pink
Pinky: OPI Design Series Extravagance

Stamping Polishes:
Sinful Colors Snow Me White and Black on Black
China Glaze: Traffic Jam

Red Angel Plates: 103, 110, 114, and 120. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tie Dye Nails

Base color: OPI Pandamonium Pink
Stamp Colors: Sinful Colors Black, White, and China Glaze Traffic Jam
Red Angel Plate 107
Techniques: Stamping, cleanup with paintbrush and acetone
*To get the tie dye look, instead of brushing color onto the stamping plate, drop different colors onto the design, and allow them to blend when you wipe off the excess polish. 

I got Pandamonium Pink a few weeks ago on a whim. I had been thinking about getting it ever since I saw it swatched on Chloe's Nails (that girl has serious skills, definitely take a look at her blog if you haven't already). In some ways it's a standard pink cream, but it is a very well-done, very pretty, standard pink creme. It is cool-toned but not lavender (which makes it feminine without making it a ballerina pink or a pink-purple). The formula is thin, but is capable of giving you a perfect application. It's just a nice polish.
I got the Red Angel plates at least a month ago, and I haven't done much posting with them yet, so I figured it was time. All my fellow polish-nerds will know about Red Angel plates, but for those who are just getting into polish and stamping and marbling and all that, RA plates are worth considering because they have some cool, retro-looking designs, which sets them apart from many of the Konad, Mash, and Bundle-Monster plates. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

American Apparel Poppy: Swatch, Stamp, and Comparison

American Apparel's Poppy is an-almost neon orange cream. My camera picked up the color fine, but when I went through Picnik to add the watermark, the color changed and I had to tinker with it. It actually is this bright, though. It's as bright as it can be without actually being neon. 

Below, I have it stamped with Red Angel plate 103. For the stamping polish, I used American Apparel's California Trooper. I did a really hasty stamping job because I was losing the light and I wanted to photograph it today. This was my first time using CT as a stamping polish, but I think it will work fine if I am not rolling the stamp on as quickly as I did for these pics. 

Below: Yes, it actually is this bright. I also think it's one of the few colors that can actually make me look as if I have any melanin in my skin. Like, at all. The formula is nice. It takes two coats for full coverage. 

Below: American Apparel Poppy and Sinful Colors Thimbleberry side-by-side. They aren't dupes, but they are definitely close. I would say you don't need both. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Branches

I was feeling stuck for what manicure to do, do I asked my friend, Louis, to choose. He chose this manicure. I changed it a little, but the idea is the same. The background is Ulta Mint Condition; the branches are Kiss Nail Art striper in black; the snow is Wet n' Wild French Cream. Techniques I used were freehanding and dotting. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Galaxy nails, Episode III.

Here is my most recent effort to do space nails that look like these. This time, I kept it simple and used only two colors: Orly Star of Bombay (a navy blue cream) for the background, and for the stars and space dust, I used Wet n' Wild French Creme. Techniques were sponging using a makeup sponge, and dotting using toothpicks and dotting tools. I made the dots as small and irregularly placed as possible. I think this is a pretty respectable result, but I'm not quite satisfied yet, so I will probably do at least one more space nails post!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Part One: Achieving Bottle Color With Pure Ice Rio

I really want to like Pure Ice polishes-- they don't test on animals, they're inexpensive, they've got a lot of bright, shimmery colors-- but I have to say, I've found them problematic in terms of achieving bottle color in a reasonable amount of coats. By reasonable, I mean three or fewer. I was in a store looking for the elusive Revlon Whimsical (which I didn't find), when I was ambushed by a rack of Pure Ice. Despite my past experience with the brand, I decided to give it a try. Once home, I applied five coats and still wasn't close to bottle color. Now, I don't love layering polishes, but I considered this a challenge. 

1. Below: My bottle of Pure Ice Rio. Look at how pretty it is. I'm sure you can see how I was taken in!  And just FYI, my camera isn't doing this justice. It's a deeply saturated fuchsia with purple undertones and shimmer. 

2. Below: Three coats of Rio. Boooo. 

3. Below: I decided to layer Rio over a more opaque polish, which I have swatched below before adding the Pure Ice. From the left, OPI Miami Beet, Sinful Colors Feeling Great, OPI Extravagance, and China Glaze Gamer Glam. Miami Beet is a fuchsia creme; the photo isn't showing the color accurately. Look at this one. 

4. Below: The same polishes with two coats of Rio added. 

5. Below: The two best matches were OPI Extravagance and China Glaze Gamer Glam. I think the OPI  is almost a dead-on match for Rio's bottle color. 


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