October 30, 2012

Technique: Sparkly Pumpkins + Week 5: Orange

So this is kind of a combined post. Theme of week 5 of the 52 week challenge is ORANGE annnnnd I did a new nail art/technique, hence the long post title :). Here are my sparkly Halloween pumpkins! I usually steer away from any nail art that is too corny looking, but I just love these little cute pumpkins for Halloween. And it really wasn’t all that difficult to do!

First I did a coat of Peachy Kean as a base for the sparkly orange. I don’t have a picture of that, but any orange color would have worked as a base. On top of that I used Fall of Surprises! by Finger Paints. This is two thick coats of it:

So here is 3 pics of how I did the mini pumpkin tips. I did all this black nail art with a nail art polish (has a thinner brush). You can see my critique of nail art tools here.

1. Draw a vertical line in the middle of your nail. This is so you know where the middle of your pumpkin will be. It helps avoid having a crooked and uneven pumpkin.

2. Draw your two humps. I found it easiest to start from the vertical line I drew first, draw half a hump, then start at the edge of the nail and draw the other half of the hump. Then repeat with other hump. Hope that makes sense haha.

3. Then fill in the rest of the area with the black nail art polish.

After that I added a cute little green stem (also with a nail art polish) to these mini pumpkins.

For the thumb, I had a bigger canvas so I did a jack-o-lantern instead of a mini pumpkin.

The right thumb jack-o-lantern doesn’t look this good, but it doesn’t look bad. Just did a smile instead of teeth and did the best I could for triangle eyes on my right thumb. No sweat!

Here is one more pic with the nail art polishes I used! Love this festive look :)

October 24, 2012

Combo: Mint + Whimsical

I love love love this combo. It looks like frosting and sprinkles or some sort of dessert. I just want to eat it right off my fingers!

Colors I used are: Re-Fresh Mint by China Glaze (base coat) and Whimsical by Revlon (Deborah Lippman Glitter in the Air dupe!)

I did this combo because I was not too impressed with Whimsical by itself. Here is a picture of Whimsical without the mint base coat… this is 3 coats of Whimsical too!

So here is Re-Fresh Mint by itself. A pale blue opaque/crème polish would also do the trick! This mint is more blue than green anyhow.

So in all it is 2 coats of Re-Fresh Mint and 2 coats of Whimsical. For the Whimsical polish I "dabbed" it on to make sure I got some nice hex glitter pieces on my nail.
Here is a couple more pics… Yummy!!

October 23, 2012

week 4: GRADIENT

Week 4 of the 52 week challenge is here and the theme is Gradient or Ombre nails!! This is good explanation on the difference between Gradient, Ombre, and Skittle techniques (when talking about nails). I decided to conquer gradient nails this week. For months, gradient nails have been my archenemy. For some reason, I just could not get this technique to work. I have tried MULTIPLE times and things just were not working out for me. However, I finally got some results! I tweaked a few things in what I was doing and switched the kind of sponge I was using. Tips for best results are at the bottom of this post. Here was my final look:

Colors I used (from left to right): No Plain Jane by China Glaze (Base Coat), Good as Gold by Essie, and Swing Baby by China Glaze (accent color dabbed on top of the tips)

-          Here is a good video (The Polished Mommy) to show the technique I did for Gradient nails.

-          Make sure the sponge is saturated to the max! If it is not super saturated you will get a bubbly texture that looks too spongy. However, in the opposite direction if the polish is not soaked into the sponge (just sitting on top), it will not blend well and you will have a hard line between your colors.
      Here is what my sponge looked like ( the sparkly color on the right is Swing Baby which I dabbed on the tips of my nails for a little sparkle)

-          Keep your polishes open so you can quickly saturate the sponge with your gradient colors in between rolls.

-          If you use a sheer polish make sure it is the same as your base coat. In the video in the first tip, she uses black for a base coat. This only worked because her top/gradient polishes were opaque. The purple I used for this look was very sheer, so I made sure to use the purple as my base coat as well.

-          Layer your “rolls” of the sponge so the line between the colors doesn’t always match up.  This helps you have more of a gradient and less of an immediate change between the colors.

-          If the sponge you’re using isn’t working for you, try a different one. The old brand of sponge I tried was making my look to bumpy and bubbly. These sponges worked out well for me.
-          Cut the sponge in half to conserve sponges!

-          For skin clean up, use a plastic cup cut off filled with polish remover and an eyeliner brush. Dip your brush in the polish remover and wipe on a paper towel in between cleaning of the finger. (after you use an eyeliner brush for polish remover, do not use it for your face again)

 TA DA!!!! I’m so happy it finally turned out good!

week 3: REDDIT!

This is a little late since it is already week 4 of the 52 week challenge… but better late than never! I actually did paint these on last week for week 3; I just delayed doing a post about them. The theme last week was inspired be Reddit. So for my design I did my interpretation of the Reddit alien. Ended up being pretty fun and easy nail art. So here it is! I’ll do a post about week 4 in a little bit.

October 19, 2012

Combo: Indigo + Techno

So yesterday I was trying out a few different designs and none of them were working out. It got very frustrating. Here’s what I said to that: when all else fails, add glitter! So here is a simple combo of a pretty circle iridescent glitter and a pretty indigo.
The colors I used were,
Base: Want my Bawdy by China Glaze (Bohemian Collection)

Glitter: Techno by China Glaze

To apply the glitter polish I just made sure the brush was heavily saturated with the chunky glitter and dabbed at my nail, starting at the cuticle. To make the glitter sort of float up did a few lighter dabs farther up the nail. Pretty simple, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to look good. For some reason the indigo is photographing bright royal blue, but it is actually a little more purple than these pics show.

I love this dark indigo with the iridescent glitter, but this Techno glitter would also look great with a mint or light pink polish :)

October 15, 2012

Combo: Teal+Glitter+Matte

So I just broke my middle nail. It was a sad, sad day. I hate when my nails are different lengths so I had to cut the rest! So sad. So I needed a cute combo that looked good on my teeny tiny nails. I think the matte coat really made the Teal color look velvety. I love it! And Usually I don't like matte top coat on top of a sparkle/glitter polish but since this one was such a fine glitter... I made an exception :)

I did the teal on all nails first (Fly by OPI). Then on the 2nd and 4th finger I painted 2 coats of Kissy by Sinful Colors. Then to top it off one coat of Matte About You by Essie.

Tada! there you have it. Simple but very attractive combo.

October 12, 2012

Technique: Freehand Fishtail

I just saw this technique the other day on Reddit Laqueristas. It looks sort of like a fishtail braid. I've seen people do it much thicker than this, but if you layer the polish swipes you can get the stripes much thinner... like this!

After you've done your top coat on all 10 nails, set up all your striping polishes unscrewed in the order you want to use them. Here is mine all set up. Colors from left to right are: Why Not by Sinful Colors, Orange It's Obvious! by Essie, Houston we have a Purple by OPI, Fly by OPI, and Electric Pineapple by China Glaze.

Here's a step by step pic tutorial of how I did this fishtail look. Basically its just an alternating layered striping technique. You just use the polish brush for the stripes. The last step is in the next pic.

After you finish the striping you cover up the bottom in your base color. I used a nail art brush for better control.

- Use a thin polish if you can and make your stripes as thin as you can.  The thinner the stripes the less the layers mix together.
- Use a sheer polish if you want the layer overlaping to show up.
- GO SLOW. this is why I only did two nails each hand. I had to go very slow to paint in a straight line.
- to have more control of your brush, steady your "painting hand" on the surface your painting. i.e. rest the pinky or ring finger of your painting hand on the table your left hand is resting on. This should steady your hand a little bit.

October 8, 2012

week 2: BLUE

Theme for week 2 of the 52 week challenge is blue. You know... like the color :) Below is what I came up with. Its hard to see how pretty the darker blue is in this pic, sorry! Also this isn't very cleaned up but oh well.

So I just wanted to show off this pretty bright blue color. This was the first time I used it because I thought it was a little dark for summer, but it is actually quite bright. It is "Ride the Waves" by China Glaze.

I wanted to do something simple, but also something I haven’t done before. So I did a simple chevron taped design. I started with just a square piece of tape turned sideways at the tip of my nail.

Then, to form the chevron/arrow shape, I used to pieces of tape abut 1/8 of an inch parallel to the square piece. Below is a pic. Sorry it’s hard to see! I really need to get some colored tape for these taping posts.

Then, the same old drill... paint one nail, remove tape, paint next nail, remove tape, and so on. The dark blue I used for the chevron is "Dive Bar" by Essie.
So there you have it. Some simple taping for a chic design. I love blue polish :)

October 4, 2012

Combo: Fall Flecks

So the whole point of this blog is that the nails *should* be easy enough for you to try yourself. I'm all about struggling through a manicure and then posting my tips/techniques/critiques so my readers don't have to suffer with what doesn't work like I did. However, sometimes I just find a nice combination of polishes that look good together that I want to share and then I think "wait a minute, that isn't a tip, technique or critique....so I can't post it"

Therefore, I decided to add a new type of post... From now on, "combo"s will be posts that are simple and to the point with what polish colors I found look good together. Or maybe it will be an old technique I've already posted about with a new combo of colors. So here is the first COMBO post!!
I did this combo because I thought it looked very Halloweeny! I love Halloween and October in general so why not start with the Halloween nails a little early. Besides it's not like I'm painting a pumpkin on my thumb nail. Pretty fall flecks:
I have used this glitter polish before in this technique. It's funny how flakie polishes look completely different depending on what sort of base coat you use. On the technique linked above, the flakie glitter I used (Luxe and Lush) looks more diamondy and blueish silver. On the black I used in this combo it looks orange and green... Almost like copper metal flakes embedded in clear polish. Perfect for pumpkins! And on top of the black polish I think the glitter stands out more. Very Halloweeny/Fall like.

I hardly ever wear black polish so the base coat I used is just the solid black I've had for years. It's Beguiling Black by Maybelline Express Finish. Still worked pretty good though!

This is another polish that looks like orange glitter flecks when you paint it on a dark color. I know the polish looks pink but the glitter looks orange and green.

October 2, 2012

week 1= TAPING


So the first week started this Monday (10/1) and the theme is TAPING! I have done this technique here and here on this blog before. I liked my splatter nails from the weekend SO much that I couldn't part with them just yet. Sooooo I just used them as the base :)
First I taped up my nails. I didnt really use any sort of pattern. Just did one strip of tape on each nail. Made the strips pretty thick so you could see the splatter design. Sorry the tape is kind of hard to see...

Then I painted on the gold color(Go for the Gold by Essie) that I used for the splatter.

Here is the final pic:

So here is a quick list of TIPS FOR TAPING that I have learned along the way:

1. Your base coat must be COMPLETELY dry. Otherwise it will be picked up by the tape when it is removed.

2. If you are worried about the base coat coming off with the tape, stick the tape once on your skin before applying it to the nail. This will make it less sticky, but hopefully still sticky enough to stay on your nail.

3. Remove the tape as soon as you paint on top of it. I usually tape one whole hand, paint one nail, remove tape, paint one nail, remove tape... etc. Then repeat with the other hand.

4. Make the lighter color the base color and the darker color the top coat. If you want the top color a light color you have to make sure it is opaque. You can't really wait for 3 coats to dry to take off the tape.

5. If you are using thin strips of tape, try to pre-cut them before applying. It is quite difficult to use a scissors with taped nails :) Below is how I had the stripes laid out for this one. I cut more than 10 just in case I didn't like some of the sizes.

So there you have it. Quick tips to taping and the start of a year of fun nails weekly!!

52 week challenge... 1 new style every week!

I am super super excited because I found r/RedditLaqueristas at the perfect time. They are just starting a new 52 week challenge!!!

Basically, for 1 year, there will be a different theme to every week (i.e. a color, a technique, or "inspired by...") and a new chance to share the nails you created. It sounds like a lot of work, but I am going to try my best to keep up! I am super excited about it. I will probably not blog every nail design I do from the challenge, but I think it is great for inspiration! If anything I may just post a single pic with a "week #=..." title. Feel free to join along with me in the 52 week challenge.

Wahoo! Yay for having ambitious nail goals :)

Week 1 theme is taping. I'll post my nails in a little bit.

October 1, 2012

Technique: Splatter Nails

So this was my first try at splatter nails. I used this tutorial, so I am just going to do a quick summary of what I learned while trying this technique.

I started with a dark purple base coat (2 coats). This one is No More Film by Essie. (I just love Essie polishes so much!) It looks almost black, but I wanted a good contrast with the splatter so this was perfect.

Below is a pic of my set up. (The gold is Good as Gold by Essie). Basically I just used a plastic straw cut in half (you have more control over the straw if it is short) and a dime/nickel size amount of polish on a plastic plate. You really need a good amount of polish to dip the straw in for this to work. I had to keep replenishing my pile of polish throughout the splattering process.

So instead of going into detail about the process (tutorial is linked at the top) I will just point out some things I learned from doing this the first time…

The below order of operations worked best for me:

1.  Paint all nails with base color. 
2.  Tape around nails of one hand. One tape on bottom, 2 on sides.

3. Splatter with other color. (Good as Gold by Essie)

4.  Splatter lightly with base color. (No More Film by Essie)
5.  Carefully take off tape.
6.  While waiting for first hand to dry, clean up polish on skin with brush/Q-tip and nail polish remover.
7.  Repeat steps 2-6 on other hand.

Some Tips:

- TAPE AROUND YOUR NAILS FIRST. Below, pic A shows how bad the splatter gets all over your hands without tape. Pic B shows how much nicer it was pre-cleanup.

pic A: after splatter (no tape)

 pic B: after tape, pre-cleanup

- You need a layer of polish at the bottom of the straw for the splatter to work. If you are blowing through the straw and no polish is coming out, then you probably need more polish in your dipping pile. The polish will only splatter out of the straw if the hole of the straw is completely covered in polish. The below pics show what will and will not work.

- Don’t blow to close to the nail. The end of your straw should be about 5 or 6 inches from your nail. If the straw is too close you will just get a big blob of polish.

- Use contrasting colors. You can even use multiple colors instead of just 2, but I think a really dark and fairly light combo looks best!

So there you have it. I am just in LOVE with this look! Definitely will do this technique again!