Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chunky Holo Mani

If you look at my polish Wishlist, you'll see there are several Nfu Oh flakies on there. I really like this look, particularly layered over black (if you haven't seen these, MeganChair of Polish or Perish did a great post showing quite a few of them over different base colors). However, these polishes are a little pricey and only available online, so I haven't gotten any of them. However, KleanColor, which is already one of my favorite less expensive brands, has helped tide me over until I can get my hands on some by having KleanColor Chunky Holo Black in their line up. The large hex sequins in this polish tend to group together, creating something that resembles the Nfu Oh flakies.

For some reason, my pictures of this just really didn't show how great it looked. In person, this is a dark, shiny black covered with large, sparkly bits that shift in color from blue to green to gold to orange to bright red. It really looked great, and I'm disappointed that I can't show that off.

Anyway, I started with a base of Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme. This polish goes on smoothly without pooling. It also dries very quickly, so it's great as a base. I only used one coat for this, and it was completely opaque. It dries to a sort of satin finish.

I added two coats of Chunky Holo Black on top of that. This polish has a purplish jelly base color and is fairly sheer. You'll definitely want to layer this if you prefer totally opaque colors. It has both large hex sequins and smaller glitter, both of which have a holo effect. I also swatched this over white, and this picture actually show the colors a little better.

On one final note from the complaint department, both of these pictures picked up some bubbling that wasn't visible in real life. Obviously, the bubbles must have been there, but you couldn't see them on me or the nail wheel. I've been having a lot of trouble with bubbling lately, and after some trail and error, I think I've determined that sitting under a ceiling fan set to "gale force" is the culprit. I've started making myself turn the fan off to do my nails, but it isn't easy when it's 95 outside!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Let It Rain Manicure

One of the amazing women I'm lucky enough to know got some good news last week. This manicure is a frivolous tribute, but she was in my head and heart when I did it.The colors I chose remind me of the sky during summer rainstorms.

The main color in this manicure, everywhere except my ring finger, is Zoya Dove. The formula on this polish was pretty good. It looked thin and streaky on the first coat, but became opaque and leveled itself on the second. It's thick enough to stay where it's put and dried pretty quickly. Dove is a light grey with with a slightly blueish tint. Despite the slight bit of blue, it's neutral enough to be very versatile.

My only complaint with this polish was the brush. It's very narrow and not all that flexible. This makes it hard to pick up the right amount of polish to get even coverage; it's either too much or too little. I ended up with pretty significant bubbling on my thumb, which I attribute to having to make about a billion strokes to cover my thumb nails.

For my accent nails, I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Gray by Gray. This is a great polish; it went on smoothly and perfectly in two coats. The SH Complete Salon Manicure polishes have a big, thick brush, which I like. It might be problematic for small nails, but it's perfect for me. Despite it's name, Gray by Gray is definitely more of a slate blue. I finished my accent nails with a raindrop shaped jewel. Here's another picture that shows the raindrop right-side-up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Rain Mani

Almost completely by accident, today's manicure ended up being the exact opposite of my last one. I say "almost" by accident because my last mani included gold stamping using a Sally Hansen polish. This time, I wanted to try a similar Sally Hansen in silver to see how it worked. The long and short of that experiment is: Don't waste your hard earned cash on the Konad Special Stamping Polish in Gold or Silver. Gold doesn't work at all and Silver doesn't work well enough to be worth it. I haven't tried any of the colors yet, so I can't speak to those. Now onto the good stuff.

I started today's manicure with Essie Coat Azure from their Spring 2011 French Affair collection. Coat Azure is a medium, sky blue with a little bit of blue and white shimmer. This polish seemed a little thick going on, and after the first coat was streaky enough to worry me. However, with a second coat it leveled out very well and became completely opaque. The color is great; it's a really rich, summery blue that reminds me of the sky on a beautiful day. It's a perfect shade for summer when you want something subtle and not-too-bright. My only complaint is that the shimmer is much less obvious on the nail than in the bottle. Overall, though I'm happy with this one.

On top of Coat Azure, I stamped a concentric circle pattern from my Bundle Monster plates using Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Silver Sweep. I originally planned to use a different pattern from the same plate, but when I looked at this one, it occurred to me that it would look like rippling water in this color combo. Silver Sweep stamped perfectly and instantly became my go-to silver stamping polish (boo, Konad Special Polish). I don't have much else to say about that, except that it was hard to catch the cool look of this mani in a photo. The silver is so shiny it kind of blurs the pattern in a way that it doesn't in person.

In light of my dissatisfaction with the Konad stamping polishes, I'm curious about the warnings on their sight about not putting them directly on nails. Does any one know what might happen if I did? Or is it just that they're too thick to go on well?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nail Night Mani - Summer Sun

This past Thursday was Nail Night, and several of us gathered with polish in tow to come up with fabulous nail creations. Here's what the table looked like.

I've had an idea for a while of doing a summer manicure using the sun pattern from my Bundle Monster stamping plates. I started with China Glaze Aztec Orange. Despite how it looks in the bottle, the texture of this polish is more like a jelly than a creme. It's a bright reddish-orange, almost exactly between the two, and really doesn't lean toward yellow or blue. It's well pigmented and gave smooth, opaque coverage in two coats. It was squishy enough to be a little difficult to control, so I did have to spend a little extra time on clean up. It came off pretty easily under scrubbing in the shower, so I was happy with it over all.

This picture show a little wear because I misplaced my camera for a couple of days. On top of Aztec Orange, I stamped suns on each nail using Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome. This polish comes in a pen-style tube with a built in brush. When I swatched this polish on my nail wheels, it was thick enough to be a little difficult to spread, so I thought it would be perfect for stamping. I was definitely right! It stamped very well, although I had to work quickly because it dried fast. Given my disappointment with the Konad Special Stamping Polish Gold, I'm very pleased to find this. Here's a picture taken the day after I did these with a phone camera. The color isn't as accurate, but you can see the stamped patterns really well.

Finally, to demonstrate the heat that made me think of this pattern, here's what happened when I went outside to take pictures.

It's so hot and humid, that my camera lens fogged up!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Turquoise Stone Mani

This manicure is based on one done by Michelle of All Lacquered Up. You can see her original version here. I love turquoise, both the stone and the color, so since I'm also into crackles, this was right up my alley. Michelle used Models Own Moody Grey, which she described as "a green-based, wet cement type grey creme." I decided to go for a browner tone, and ended up with Sally Hansen  Xtreme Wear Grey Area. This polish is a muddy, dark taupe. It went on smoothly and was very easy to control. The brush isn't very flexible, but the polish flowed easily enough that it wasn't really a problem. Alone, the color of Grey Area was a good balance of warm brown tones and cool greys.

On top of Grey Area, I added a layer of China Glaze Crushed Candy. I tried to use the same technique that Michelle describes in her post: I applied Crushed Candy in short strokes from the edge toward the middle working in a circle around my nail. Crushed Candy didn't dry quite as quickly as CG Fault Line; in that respect it was more similar to Broken Hearted and Cracked Concrete. I still needed to work quickly, and it was gooey enough that it was inclined to lay down in a thick coat.

The cracks are a little thicker than the veins in turquoise, but it's still a pretty nice approximation. It was harder to apply the polish consistently on my left hand (I'm left handed), so the cracks are more random and thinner. I think this looks even more like turquoise.

Once Crushed Candy was added, Grey Area looked a lot warmer. I really like the idea of using crackles to mimic textures and patterns from nature. For example, I'm thinking of putting a green crackle over another green to make leaves (I'm still thinking about how to create the pattern). Anybody have any other ideas?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Harlequin Mani

My original plan for this mani was to use Gold Konad Special Stamping Polish over white, but I just can't seem to get the gold to work. It just barely shows up! Very disappointing. Since that didn't work, I decided to go with the pattern I'd already selected and use black for the stamping, turning this into a Harlequin pattern.

I started with three coats Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Platinum. It definitely took three coats to level out and be opaque, but the formula was otherwise pretty good and easy to control on the nail. This polish is a pearly white with a tiny bit of shimmer. The color leans slightly toward the warm side, and looks almost a little gold-ish in indoor light. It was definitely worth the $0.25 clearance price.

I did the stamping with Kleancolor Black, which is my go-to black polish for stamping. Then, I added a little heart-shaped glue on jewel to give it a pop of color. As always with full nail patterns, I had a little trouble getting the stamp to go down all the way to the bottom of my nail bed. This doesn't seem to be an issue of size, but is about either the shape of my nails or the way I'm applying pressure. For some reason you can see it less from this angle (you can see that I smeared my stamping a little with my top coat though).

On a final note, while searching for an image that I could use as an example of this pattern, I ran across these shoes, which I LOVE despite the fact that I never wear heels.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sari Mani

This is my first manicure using some long-awaited Konad stamping polishes. I started out intending to use the gold, but it didn't work very well. I've tried it again since then, and still no dice. I'd welcome any tips to get the gold to work. In the meantime, I went with silver instead.

I stated with a base of Wild and Crazy Colors Bombay. Between the name and the color itself, I was immediately reminded of saris (I love Inadian women's clothing). The formula on this polish is pretty good, especially for the low price ($1.99 in my area). It was thick enough not to puddle much and was very opaque in two coats. It dried very quickly to a satin finish, like a neon. The only downside is that it seemed to chip very quickly; it only lasted about two days before it had enough small chips for me to want to change it. I think adding a third coat might have helped with that.

I used Silver Konad Special Stamping Polish to add a design at the top and bottom edges like the embroidery on a sari. The detail didn't photograph very well, but showed up a little better in real life. Here's a close up that shows the detail a little better.

I finished up with a coat of Out the Door to coat to give the whole thing a nice shiny finish. I'll finish with a picture of the kind of sari I had in mind when working on this mani.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nail Night Mani - Across the Universe

The second best thing (after the great company) about nail night is getting to try out polishes I don't own. We all pile a bunch of polish on the table, peruse each others offerings, and try something different. This week, I got to try out a polish I'd only seen online, and yall, I think I'm in love with Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe.

Lissa, this beauty's owner, advised me that it takes at least three coats to get it fully opaque, so it would be good to put it over something else. I started with one thin coat of Revlon Top Speed Royal. Royal is a bright medium blue - royal blue - and is thick and easy to control. It could almost be a one coat polish, though I'd do two to make sure the color was even if I were going to wear it by itself. As the name implies, it dries very quickly. On top of Royal, I put two medium coats of Across the Universe. This polish has a dark blue, transparent, jelly base full of small light blue glitter and large, green and blue, hexagonal glitter. Due to the thick jelly texture of the base, the glitter appears to float in it. It was also easy to apply. The messiness of the application here should be attributed to me paying more attention to chatting than polishing rather than anything to do with either polish. Here's a closer picture to show the depth you can see in Across the Universe.

I finished off with two coats of Out the Door, which was enough to make it smooth and glossy. In the interest of fair warning, it did take quite a while to dry in spite of the top coat. I LOVE this polish, and I think I'm going to have to get some for my very own. 

On a final note, I know that the name of this polish is a reference to the Beatles song, but for some reason whenever I think about it Under the Milky Way by The Church pops into my head instead. So, I'll leave you with that (I couldn't actually find a video of the original version of this song, which is what's in my head, so you'll have to settle for this audio only version).


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Canadian Nail Fanatic Giveaway

Canadian Nail Fanatic is having a great giveaway of OPI polishes. If you'd like to enter, you can find it here.

Moon Flowers Manicure

I love morning glories, and I bought some seeds to plant around the fence in my yard a while ago. While I was shopping for them, I found some seeds for moonflowers. They appear to be similar to morning glories, but they're white and bloom at night. Life being what it is, all of these seeds are still sitting in a drawer, but I have a beautiful mental image of what it will look like eventually.

For this manicure, I started with OPI Steady as She Rose from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection. For some reason both this and Mermaid's Tears made me do floral manicures, maybe because they're delicate shades. Steady as She Rose is a pale greyed pink. On the nail, it has hints of lavender as well. The formula was a little thin, and tended to want to run away and pool up around the edges of my nail. In part because of the puddling issue, I used three thin coats to get it opaque. It dried pretty quickly and very glossy.

On top of Steady as She Rose, I stamped a little vine pattern from one of my Bundle Monster plates using Revlon Top Speed Emerald. I'm going to have to grab a back up bottle of this polish because it is perfect for stamping leaves and plants. On top of the vines, I used a toothpick to add dots of Wet and Wild French White Creme for the flowers.

I absolutely love this manicure and was almost hesitant to take it off. However, it was time for Nail Night, so my next post will show the results of our first Nail Night at one of my nail mentors' house.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blah Blue Mani

I find that the (mostly) sunny (consistently) hot weather makes me want to stick to brighter, or at least lighter, colors. For today's manicure, I decided to go to nice light blue.

I started with Kleancolor Blue Pearl. While they vary somewhat, Kleancolors are usually very good for their low price tag ($1.99 in my area). Blue Pearl is a good example. It went on smoothly, was just thick enough not to puddle, and dried quite quickly. It evened out pretty well, but it really would have needed three coats to be completely opaque. I only used two as I planned to put some glitter on top. By itself, it is a beautiful, very cool, well...pearly, blue with a slight shimmer.

On top, I added a layer of OPI Last Friday Night  from the Katy Perry collection. I'm not going to give it much of a review because I have it in the tiny, stupid four-pack bottle. I had lots of trouble with application and bubbling, but I don't know what to attribute to the polish and what to attribute to the really small brush and bottle. All I'll say is that there is some really pretty, opalescent glitter combined with some unnecessary small silver glitter. I think the extra small glitter added to  the appearance of texture without adding much to the sparkle, so I could do with out it. Here's a blurry shade picture , which shows the sparkles a little better. In the grand scheme, I wasn't very happy with this, so I took it off right after taking these pictures. My next manicure is awesome though, so stay tuned.