Monday, June 4, 2012

Art Deco Chevrons

This is another manicure inspired by Jane at Nailside!  In fact, I even used very similar colors to her original design.  I had never tried chevrons before, and they were actually easier than I expected.  You can use plain tape, but for this one I used the straight tip guides from one of my french manicure sets.

I started with a base of Zoya Bevin, then did the first chevrons in China Glaze Swing Baby.  I used the same guides and taped off again, then added the final triangle in China Glaze Stone Cold.

After that, I applied a coat of Essie Matte About You.  I think they came out gorgeous!  I am excited to try this design with different colors, it's a pretty easy way to get a cool design.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Matte Gold Glitter

This manicure is the result of another case where I wanted something easy, but not just a plain color.  I had picked up L.A. Girl Glitter Addict in Synergy a couple of months ago and hadn't used it yet.  Actually, Sam, my 6 year old, picked it out from the display at Rite Aid one day when I was browsing!

I decided to start with a base of Ulta Alter Ego, which is a really pretty shimmery turquoise with silvery shimmer.  I have a sort of love/hate relationship with glitter polish - I like it, but before I even put it on I'm thinking about how much of a pain it is to remove.  So I end up not wearing it that often.  I really do love a good matte glitter though, so I topped this one off with Essie Matte About You. 

How do you feel about glitter polishes?  Do you prefer chunky or fine glitter?  Saturated?  Shiny?  Matte?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stamping with Skull & Glossbones

Sometimes I get it in my head that I want to do theme nails (like I've done for Bunco the last 2 months). This month my book club was discussing "Fifty Shades of Grey" so naturally I started thinking about what I could do with grey and black polish.  I thought about doing a water marble or something, but ultimately went for something way easier, some more stamping with my Essence plate.

I started with a base coat of OPI Skull & Glossbones, then used Sinful Colors Black on Black for the stamping.  It worked really well as a stamping polish.  I LOVE this manicure.  In fact, I am still wearing it 12 days later, which is pretty much unheard of for me.  I have some wicked growout at this point, but I don't see the point in doing something new when I need to go get a fill in 2 days.  One thing that's interesting is I have almost zero tip wear, and NO chipping.

I feel like my base color looks a little lighter/less saturated gray in the photos, in real life this looks so sophisticated.  I will definitely stamp with this color combo again!

Friday, May 25, 2012

My First Gradient!

Right now, gradient manicures are THE thing.  I have a ton of them pinned on Pinterest, including this great tutorial from The Nailasaurus.  I have seen people using her technique on multiple blogs I read, and they come out with these gorgeous gradients that I just drool over.

I decided to try one and bought some makeup sponges.  I used a base of China Glaze for Audrey and then mixed it with Wet N Wild Bite the Bullet, a kind of smoky purple, for the gradient effect.  It turned out okay.  I'm not sure if I was not using enough polish, not mixing the colors enough, or not moving the sponge up and down enough, but it did not turn out NEARLY as smooth looking as the other gradients I've seen pictures of.  I may just need to practice more.  It looked pretty cool from a distance, but in the photos you can see the sponginess of it.  I'm going to have to try again soon, and see if I can get it to turn out better.

Have you tried gradient nails yet?  I really want to try a rainbow gradient, so maybe I'll try that next time.  It seems like maybe using more colors could help make it smoother?  We'll see!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nicole by OPI Turquoise Texture

I recently wanted to do something fun, but not too complicated.  I decided to use one of my texture coats that I haven't really worn before, Turquoise Texture from Nicole by OPI.  I saw online somewhere that the crackle will follow your brushstrokes (duh!), so I was excited to try something a little different, a diagonal stroke.  

For my base coat, I used Sally Hansen Fire Opal in Amber Opal.  It is one of the polishes in my collection that is absolutely gorgeous that I totally forget about.  I tried to get a couple of shots of it, but they really don't do it justice at all.

Next I used the texture coat and did a kind of diagonal stroke.  I love the way it turned out.  The color combination was awesome, especially when we got out in the sunlight at the zoo the next day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Essence Stamp Review

About a month ago, I discovered that Essence now has a huge display at the Fred Meyer near my house, and they have a bunch of nail art stuff for super cheap.  I picked up a bunch of stuff to try out, and one of the things I've been dying to try is stamping.  I haven't really wanted to spend the money to get stuff from Ebay, so I thought this would be a good way to try it out.  I definitely paid under $5 for both of these items together.  

I bought the Essence stamping polish in black, and honestly, it sucked.  I only tried it once and it dried before I could get the stamp onto my nail.  I didn't try it again.  For this mani, I used a base of Revlon Perfectly Plum then used Sally Hansen Black Pearl Chrome for the stamps.  From what I've seen, chrome and metallic polishes usually work really well for stamping.

I like how it turned out!  I used a flower design with some dots and a swirl, then I filled just the flower and stamped that on for a little extra pretty.  It was easy to fill only a part of the pattern to make that little accent.  One bad thing about this stamping kit is the scraper.  It sucks.  It's metal and not completely flat, it doesn't wipe the polish off clean and drags on the metal plate, plus it was leaving some scratch marks.  Not good.  I got out an old credit card and used that and it worked like a dream.

The only other downside to these stamping plates is that the designs on the rectangular plate are not very big.  I think I could get most of my nails covered with maybe little gaps on the sides that wouldn't be that noticeable, but they're definitely not big enough to cover my entire thumb.  It seems like everything Essence makes is kind of miniature.

All in all, I'm super glad I bought these.  I love stamping just as much as I thought I would, and I can't wait to get some more plates when my budget allows it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mustache Mani!

Last night was my monthly Bunco night, and our theme this month was mustaches!  I had seen the most adorable mustache nails on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a go.  I think they turned out adorable!

These are actually super easy to do.  All you need is some black polish and a couple of dotting tools.  I have a small dotting tool, but for the larger circles that form the middle, I used the other end of a small paintbrush I have.  I used Wet N Wild 2% Milk for my base coat, and Sinful Colors Black on Black for the actual mustaches.  And of course, a topper of Seche Vite, though you want to make sure the black is completely dry before putting that on so it doesn't smear or bleed.  I watched the tutorial video here to learn how to do this!