Friday, December 30, 2011

Drug Store Stamping Mani

I was very excited to see a pack of Konad style nail stamping plates with a double ended stamper and a scraper at my local CVS a few weeks before Christmas (it was actually in the gifts section, rather than beauty). I was even more pleased when I discovered that the designs on the plates were pretty unique in my relatively small stash. However, G of Nouveau Cheap got an entirely different set of plates in her pack. While, the plates in my set were identical to those shown on the package, G's were much more similar to some that I bought on eBay some time ago and have seen elsewhere since. For me, this was definitely worth the $10 price tag, but buy at your own risk.

The base color for this mani is Revlon Royal Cloak. I was drawn to this color because it is really unique. It has a medium blue-purple creme base with light, pearly shimmer and flecks. It was hard to really show what this looks like in a photo, as the flecks are subtle but visible in person.The application on this polish was fine, with nothing either particularly good or bad to report. I believe I used two coats (I wore this a while ago, and I didn't make a note. The shame!).

On top, I stamped a stylized heart design one of the Salon Express plates using Konad Special Stamping Pearl White. This polish seems to work best over a dark color and created a nice crisp image.

So, did anyone else pick up this pack? Were your plates like mine or something else?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pale and Pretty Glitter Sandwich

Despite the fact that  it was a trend way back in the spring, I'm still working on creating one that I really like. My last effort looked nice enough, but didn't really have the suspended glitter look I was going for. This one has flaws of it's own but does indeed create that look.

For this attempt, I chose Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Polar Bare for the jelly. This  polish is a very sheer off-white. I honestly couldn't even guess how many coats you'd need to use to get this opaque, it just isn't made for that. Application was smooth and clean up very easy. I used two coats under my glitter, which is KleanColor Aurora. It has large pearly white sequins, light and medium pink stars, and some smaller silvery glitter particles in a pink tinted clear base. Like most of the KleanColor glitters I've used, Aurora was very thick and a little gooey. I had to sort of pat the polish on to get the larger particles to lay down nicely on the nail. For this combo, I used two coats, then topped it with one more of Polar Bare. I finished with a Revlon quick dry top coat because I'd read that it was less likely to cause shrink in these jelly polishes.

I really like how these two polishes look together, and I enjoyed the final product, which look light and luminous but not bright. The obvious problem was some bubbling, which I'm guessing has to do with the patting method of applying the glitter. I also still got some shrink, leading me to the conclusion that these KleanColor glitters just don't play well with top coat. Finally, it was a little thick due to all the layer. All that aside, it looked great at a normal nail viewing distance, and I really liked wearing it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Mani

Merry Christmas to everyone who's celebrating today; I hope you have a great day. I'll be spending mine with various family members, and enjoying some traditional Christmas chili. I decided I wanted something festive, but not directly Christmas themed for today's manicure.

I started with a base of China Glaze Ring in the Red, which is a red jelly base with either red or silver glitter in a couple of different sizes. The glitter looks red in the polish, but appears to be silver around the edges where I've done clean up. This polish is actually incredibly sparkly and has a lot of depth in person. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph well, as it was really overcast  when I took the pictures. The texture on this polish was very nice, but it's quite sheer. I used three coats for these pictures, and it's not quite opaque. One more might have done it, but I was happy with what I had.

You can see the glitter a little better in this indoor picture. On top, I used some floral decals that I really like. Unfortunately, I don't have the package for these any more, but they are really good. They are very flexible and conform to the nail without any edges that stick up or peel off. I topped the whole thing with Out the Door.

I'll be posting a lot more over the next week (and in an ongoing way), so I'll see you soon! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nail History - 1919 Edition

Today's nail history article is a little special for two reasons. First, it features some nail advice for the gentlemen, which is pretty rare in my reading of these older articles. Secondly, it involves a nail EMERGENCY. Ok, so the nature of the emergency is not specified, but I tend to assume it involved either a job or a lady. As for the advice itself, I'm curious about the "extreme pointed" nail shape she references. I haven't been able to find any pictures of men's nails from the period, so I'm not sure what may have constituted "extreme" at the time. Personally, I'm not crazy about a very pointed nail shape on either gender, so it may be that I agree with Ms. Jewett's response to this anxious fellow.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Labradorite Manicure

I haven't seen very many reviews of the main polish in today's mani. I did see a few pictures of it way back around August, but I hadn't seen it anywhere in my town until very recently, when it showed up all of a sudden at Kroger.

This is Maybelline Express Finish Cool Couture, which is a medium grey creme polish with turquoise shimmer. The shimmer is very fine and a little shy in indoor light. So, inside it tends to blend into the grey and give the whole nail a slate blue color, which is pretty on it's own. However, in bright or natural light, the shimmer shows up. Then, this polish reminds me of the stone labradorite, as you can see in this picture. For my accent nail, I added one coat of an unnamed BonBons turquoise bar glitter. The color matches the shimmer in Cool Couture perfectly.

The formula on Cool Couture was a little tricky. It was a little thick and very patchy on the first coat. After the second coat, it evened out pretty well, but I still had a few bare patches here and there. With careful application, you can make it work in two medium coats; it just requires a little extra attention.

Finally, here's a bottle picture. The shimmer is a little more pronounced here than on the nail, but it gives you a good idea of the color. On the whole, I really like this polish. It's an unusual combination of colors, which I think is great for winter.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Black Friday Mani

The title of this post may be a little misleading, since the manicure in question is neither black nor what I wore on Black Friday. My spouse works at a Banana Republic Factory Store, and they needed extra hands for the Black Friday sale, which actually started at 10 p.m. Thursday night. So, I worked from 9:45 p.m. on Thursday until 6:15 a.m. Friday, and then again from 5 p.m. Friday until 1 a.m. on Saturday. I'd say that's enough retail experience to last me a year! After putting in all those hours, I decided to reward myself with a few bottles of Banana Republic brand nail polish.

The base color for this mani is Banana Republic Pacific Taupe, a creme that I would say is a little warmer than what I usually picture as taupe. It's more brown than grey, which is part of what I like about it. It went on smoothly enough, but I had a lot of patchiness around the base of my nails after two coats. If I were wearing it alone, I would definitely have needed a third to even it out.

Instead, I decided to reverse my original plan and do some sponging around the bottom of my nails instead of the top. For this, I used Banana Republic Razzelberry, which weird spelling aside, is a lovely peachy pink small glitter. I think both colors look a little cooler in my pictures than real life because it was cloudy when I went out to take pictures.

While I like both of these polishes, I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have gotten them at full price. They're regularly $7, which is at the very top end of what I'm generally willing to spend. My polish budget is limited, so I usually only get OPI or other polishes in this price range if I'm really excited about the color or they're on sale.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Mani

Okay, so Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but the nails I wore for Thanksgiving would work for any time in the fall. In fact, I've been planning this mani for quite a while, but for some reason I kept not getting around to it.

I started with a base of China Glaze Brownstone, a rich reddish-brown creme from the fall Metro collection. This polish had a great consistency and went on perfectly in two medium coats. Given all the shades of red polish available, this one is surprisingly unique. It's really more brown than red and feels very earthy. 

On top of Brownstone, I stamped a pattern of three leaves from Bundle Monster plate BM04 using Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome, my usual gold stamping polish. For some reason, I didn't realize how large the leaf pattern was, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was big enough to cover most of my nail everywhere but my thumb.

I realized that I used this same gold polish to stamp on top of Westside Warrior too. They're so rich and warm, they just seem perfect with gold on top. Do you have any fall back color combinations? Things that always seem just perfect together?