Friday, September 30, 2011

Nail Night: Moss Roses Manicure

First, some news. I've started a side job doing transcription, so while I've been trying to let my nails get a little longer, I had to cut them really short again. I'll be sporting these super shorties as long as I'm typing several hours a day. The new job may also slow down my posting a bit, since I'm there until a little late. I'm hoping that I can still post a few times a week. Now on with the nails!

It's been a while since my ladies and I got together for nail night; we've all been really busy lately. So, it was great to get together, do some catching up, and do some awesome nails.

I started with a base of China Glaze West Side Warrior, which is the polish I was most excited about from the Metro collection. It's a dark mossy green creme and is really rich and lush. The formula was a little runny, and I had to be careful not to let it flood my cuticles. On the other hand, it's very pigmented and was opaque in two coats. The sun peeked out from the clouds for a second while I was taking pictures, so the one below shows a little of the color in the sun.

On top, I stamped a rose and leaf pattern from a plate labeled B42 that I got on eBay using Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome. Based on my recent experience with the Turquoise Chrome from the same line, I was a little worried, but this one worked better. I was really happy with the final result. I liked that I used a really unusual base color, but still looked kind of understated and classy.

What about you? Have you picked up anything from the China Glaze Metro collection? Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Water Marble

I will admit to being intimidated by water marbling. I've loved the look since I first started reading nail blogs and became aware of it. It just seemed like it would be too difficult and messy. However, Colette of My Simple Little Pleasures helped me get over my fear with her fantastic series of tutorial videos. I started with her Blues and Purples water marble tutorial, which illustrates the basic technique and dipping several fingers at a time. She has some more advanced designs on her Youtube channel that are beautiful, but I'm not quite ready for those. So, without further ado, my first water marble.

For this pattern, I used one coat of OPI Bling Dynasty, a brownish gold shimmer as a base. Then I used Bling Dynasty, CND Cedar,  a really old reddish brown I have hanging around (hence the old fashioned bottle in the picture), and Revlon Hot for Chocolate, a dark brown creme, for the water marble.

There are some flaws in the pattern that resulted from my inexperience with the technique, but I loved it anyway. In these fall colors, it reminds me a little of the marbled endpapers in the front of old books. I also learned a few valuable lessons:
  1. Use a cup deep enough that your fingers won't easily hit the bottom of the cup and mess up your tips.
  2. Nail polish melts styrofoam. I can't say for sure that it impacted the outcome of this manicure, but I have my suspicions. Paper cups will be used in future.
  3. Now I know why Collette has tape around her fingers in all her tutorials. I mean intellectually, I understood why before, but now I know. Along with paper cups, tape will be used in future.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nail History - 1887 Edition

This is the first article in what I'm thinking about turning into an occasional series on the history of nail polish and nail care. I've done some research, and the thing I've found most interesting are the articles and ads from previous periods. To start off, I bring you the oldest reference I could find to nail care in the archives of my local paper.

This is an excerpt from the March 15, 1887 edition of the Weekly Banner-Examiner article "The Finger Nails: How Ladies May Keep Their Hands in Good Condition."

The polishing they mention seems to have involved just buffing the nails with a soft cloth covered buffer, and occasionally using a mildly abrasive paste or powder to make the nails smooth and slightly shiny (though a high gloss was apparently considered in poor taste). The full article, which you can read here, also discusses how to properly wash your hands and wearing gloves at night. I also found it interesting that they mention getting a manicure to "put your nails in order at first." I assume this means a professional manicure, and I'm curious to know when professional manicures became available and where they were given (hair salons? somewhere else?).

So, what do you think? Is this interesting? Would you like to see more like it?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mystical Peacock Manicure

The theme of today's manicure was inspired by the name of the base polish, Cover Girl Nail Slicks Mystic Peacock.

Mystic Peacock is a dark teal that leans more green than blue with slightly lighter, subtle shimmer. This color is beautiful and not like anything else in my stash. Unfortunately, the application wasn't quite as perfect. It's quite thin and runny, and I had to use very thin coats to prevent it from flooding my cuticles. It's pigmented enough that it seemed opaque after two coats, but there were some bald patches that showed up at certain angles. So, I think I'll use three next time.

I stamped the peacock design from Bundle Monster plate BM15 with Sally Hansen Color Quick Turquoise Chrome on top. This is the second time that I've used this polish for stamping, and it didn't work as well as the first time. It comes in a pen shaped applicator, and the bristles on the brush were stiff despite my having stored it with the cap on. This made it harder to spread the polish on the plate, but the image of the whole peacock still stamped beautifully on my thumb. I decided to add just a little of the tail to each finger as an accent, which was harder than I thought it would be. The stamps aren't very crisp, but that can be attributed to operator error. The final look was still nice at a normal viewing distance.

I found Mystic Peacock at my local Dollar Tree for $1, so you'll probably have to be lucky to get hold of it (but if you do, it'll be cheap)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scintillating Purple Mani

I'm on my way out the door to Nail Night, but first, a quick post. I've seen a lot of example of layering glitters on blogs, so I decided to try it for myself in this manicure.

The glitter I chose for the first layer is Finger Paints Purple Palette, a light purple, very sheer jelly base packed with small medium purple glitter particles mixed with some small silver glitter. This applied very easily, sliding on smoothly and not running at all. Given the sparkle, it wasn't easy to see through after two coats. I think it would be basically opaque at three coats due to the density of the glitter.

On top of Purple Palette, I added one coat of ELF Golden Goddess, which has a clear base with small gold glitter and larger gold holo hex glitter. The layering made the purple of Purple Palette look a bit lighter and added the extra bling of larger particles and a flash of holo. I finished with two coats of Sally Hansen Quick Dry Top Coat, which is thicker than Out the Door. After two coats, this was totally smooth. As you'd expect all this was pretty hard to remove.

This combo was SUPER blingy and caught tons of light. However, Purple Palette is pretty sparkly on its own. Overall, I think Golden Goddess would be put to better use over a nice creme or subtle shimmer. Used that way, I think it would look great as part of a holiday manicure.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tennessee Ladybugs Mani

Last weekend, I went to a little town outside of Nashville to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. I had to make it a really quick trip, but I was glad to go and celebrate with them and see some of the extended family I don't see often. I wanted to do some nail stamping, but I didn't want it to be too over the top. This manicure matched my dress and was subtle enough not to shock my great aunts.

I took this picture outside my grandparent's house in front of Granny's roses. Aren't they pretty? The base polish color is Sally Hansen Ton of Bricks, a creamy dark red with just a tiny bit of shimmer. This polish applied just fine; it was neither particularly good nor particularly tricky. You can't really see the shimmer, but it still gives it just a little sheen that makes it not quite a creme.

On top of Ton of Bricks, I stamped the ladybug image from Bundle Monster plate BM13 using my go-to black stamping polish Klean Color Black. This combination produced such sharp images that my spouse thought they were decals.

I wonder what kind of nails I'll do for MY 60th anniversary. I just have another 54 years to think up something awesome. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Great Giveaways

September seems to be the month of great giveaways. Here are two more from some of the blogs I follow.

Shadow's Nail Art is currently doing a cool 30 day challenge to follow a pre-set list of manicure themes. It's a lot of fun to see how she interprets each theme. She's doing a giveaway with several nice prizes to celebrate her first blog anniversary.
Ends October 5, 2011

I am Definitely Addicted does polish reviews and some lovely nail art. She also seems to love holographic polish as much as I do. She's doing a multi-prize giveaway in honor of Halloween.
Ends September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Revlon Facets of Fuchsia

Today's polish allowed me to take a much more expensive one off my wishlist. I'm sure many of you have already seen it, but I think there's room for one more review. Before you look at the picture, I should mention that my tips and cuticles look a little beat because the picture was taken a few days into the mani. I waited because we were having some rainy weather, and I really wanted get some pictures in the sun.

 This is Revlon Facets of Fuchsia, which consists of a black jelly base with small fuchsia glitter and large hex shaped fuchsia sequins. This polish was surprisingly easy to apply and to remove. It had a great texture, neither runny nor too thick. For these pictures, I wore two coats of Facets of Fuchsia over one coat of Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme. Subsequent research has revealed that three coats of Facets of Fuchsia produces a very similar look.

For those that don't know, this polish is almost exactly identical to Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance. I wasn't sure exactly how close they were until I read this review by Jackie of Candy Coated Tips. As you'll see in her pictures and cleverly written review, the two are almost indistinguishable. The main difference is the price: Facets of Fuschia is around $4 at Target rather than $18 for the Lippmann polish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sparkling Grape

Just to let you know how behind I am, this is my Labor Day manicure. I was originally planning to go to a cookout at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house on Labor Day, but we decided to move it to Sunday instead due to forecasts of bad weather. Finding myself short on time, I decided to do another bright, simple manicure.

I started with a base of Color Club Gimme a Grape Big Kiss, a bright, purplish pink jelly with a grape bubble gum scent. This polish applied very smoothly and easily. It was basically opaque in two coats, although I used three due to the persistent dark stains on my nails (grumble, grumble). On my ring finger, I added one coat of Klean Color Chunky Holo Fucshia. This polish has a medium pink clear base with medium-sized holo glitter. The glitter is much more obvious if you click the picture to enlarge it.

Interestingly, while I got a little shrink on this manicure in general, it was more pronounced on my accent nails. So, based on my earlier experience, I'd say the Klean Color Chunky Holo glitters don't like my usual Out the Door top coat. However, unlike Raspberry Rush, Grape Big Kiss dried to a nice, hard shiny surface. So, while this mani isn't anything particularly special, it was fun to wear.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Juicy Raspberry Mani

I've had a busy couple of weeks. Between having a lingering cold, a lot to do at work, and a family gathering out of town, I'm a little behind on posting. All this rushing to and fro has also meant a number of simple manicures without much nail art. Instead, I've been using some colors that pop to keep things interesting.

The primary color in this mani is Color Club Raspberry Rush, a medium, bright pink jelly with a light, fruity scent. the application on this polish was good. It went on smoothly and was easy to clean up. It looked nice and juicy after two coats, but I applied a third because I'm still growing out some stains on my nails and needed full opacity. The scent was pleasant and hung around for about two days. For my accent nail, I used an unnamed Hot Topic grass green, which was a pleasant surprise. In the bottle, it looked darker and creamier, but on the nail, it has a juicier semi-jelly texture and got brighter as it dried. Combined, these made for a nice, summery mani; however, there was one problem.

Despite going to bed a good two hours after finishing my mani with a coat of Out the Door, I woke up to this horror show of sheet marks. Since they are limited to Raspberry Rush, I assume that my top coat and polish didn't play well together.

I've been using Out the Door pretty exclusively until now, but I think it's time for me to branch out and start experimenting to find out which top coats work best for different types of polish. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Scherer Chamelon Blue Sky

I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day. I seem to be having a relapse of my cold, but at least I can stay at home and rest up. The pictures I have to show you in today's post were taken earlier in the week when I was not feeling well, so I just put on a single polish with nothing fancy on top.

This is Scherer Chameleon Blue Sky, a metallic duochrome that shifts from lavender through blue to a jade green. The predominant color that shows up in sunlight and average indoor light is the bluish purple shown above. It does have a more intensely purple side, but I didn't manage to capture that in any photos. Below is a picture that shows it shifting a little more blue with hints of green.

Finally, in certain conditions (this picture was taken in my car, for example) it shows up bright green.

While the color on this was great, the formula was a bit of a nightmare. The best word I can think of for the texture is stiff. It wasn't exactly thick, it just didn't flow well. Initially, it seemed to be opaque in two coats, but in natural light, I could see all sorts of bare patches. You can see several in the second photo above. Finally, it didn't wear very well; it was all chipped up after about two days. These photos were taken less than 24 hours after application, and you can already see a few chips.

Between taking the pictures and writing this post I saw pictures of Nubar Indigo Illusion by Lauren of Dizzy Nails. While Indigo Illusion appears to have some warm undertones that aren't present in Blue Sky, the predominant purple and green shades look pretty similar. Indigo Illusion may be a better, albeit more expensive, substitute.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Glitter Sandwich Sort Of

First, I want to note that I went back and added some information to my Ancient Glamour Mani polish review. China Glaze Sexy in the City stained my nails very badly, so you definitely want to use a base coat with it. I thought about posting pictures, but I didn't want to scary the kiddies. Seriously. That bad. 

Back in July, I attempted a glitter sandwich mani, which was a total failure. I still blame the glitter I used for that one, which has put me off Nicole by OPI glitters altoghter (these are just too pricey to not work well). Enough time has passed that I'm ready to try again.

For this attempt, I started with two coats of Sinful Colors Irish Green, a bright green, very translucent jelly. It applies very well, is not runny at all, and dried pretty quickly. Next, I added two coats of Klean Color Chunky Holo Clover, which has small holo glitter in a light green sheer base. Finally, I topped it off with one more coat of Irish Green and finished with a layer of Out the Door top coat to help it dry. Here's a shade picture to show the full amount of the glitter.

In terms of being a pretty manicure that I enjoyed wearing, this is a success. However, I still have to call it a fail on the glitter sandwich front. Irish Green is too sheer to change the look of the glitter much, and the glitter in Chunky Holo Clover is too regular to give the finished product that look of glitter particles suspended in jelly.

My only real problem with this was that the polish shrank really badly. I've heard that this can happen when using quick dry top coat over thickly applied jelly polishes, but this is my first experience with it. I took these pictures shortly after application, but by the next day my tips were fully exposed. The only way I could think of to explain what happened is by using my mad skills in MS Paint.


More Giveaways!

I think it may be a sign that I'm following too many polish blogs that by the time I get to the bottom of my list in Google Reader, there are already new posts on the blogs at the top! Here are two more lovely giveaways from blogs on that list.

Canadian Nail Fanatic features some really beautiful nail stamping art. Her birthday giveaway has several nice prizes.
Ends October 1, 2011

Polishology aslo does some really great stamping nail art and has bonus super cute cat pictures!
Ends September 23, 2011