Review of Born Pretty Store Gold Mirror Pigment and Top Coat Set

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Having silver chrome nails wasn’t enough- I wanted to get a gold chrome powder set from Born Pretty Store as well!

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This set comes with a 10 mL bottle of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish top coat, 1 gram of gold chrome powder and a double ended sponge applicator.

What I love about this set is that the top coat coat is really all that is necessary in order to create the chrome mirror look.  You can use this clear gel over any polish you already own provided that you let the regular polish fully dry first and that you already own a UV LED lamp.

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Even though the bottle says that this is a primer, you can use it as a top coat as well. It can also make your natural nails look super shiny and healthy if you use it by itself.

The top coat is a good consistency where the gel is not so thin where it can run into pools on the sides of your nail, and it’s not so thick as to be unmanageable.  Two strokes of top coat is all you need to fully cover your nail, and once it is cured, you don’t even need to wipe it down with alcohol.

There are no instructions on the bottle as to cure times, but I find that one minute seems to work the best for me.  Then again, my lamp is not very powerful and far from professional grade, but you can adjust the time to whatever suits your equipment the best.

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The gold pigment comes in a cute clear plastic faceted container with a screw on lid. There is a Styrofoam seal on top of the opening underneath the lid (shown removed upside down in the background of the picture) that prevents the powder from leaking out of the jar during shipment.

To get those wonderful chrome nails, just follow the steps below.

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Paint your nails with a black polish, and let them dry completely. Then apply Born Pretty Soak-off Gel top coat, and cure your nails under a UV LED lamp for one minute. Pictured here is Johnny by Julep.

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Using the sponge applicator, buff the gold powder onto your nails. They should quickly change from black to gold just like magic!

Note that the pigment is ultra fine, so you can’t see any individual specks of glitter.  This powder practically melts into the top coat with hardly any work, and you don’t need to use much of it to do all of your nails.  Imagine how long a gram of powder will last you!

Some people are curious to know whether or not you need to remove the tacky layer from the gel polish before buffing in the powder.  I find that even after using an alcohol pad over this top coat, there is no difference in texture or appearance.  I can’t say that this will be the case for every gel top coat, but Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish top coat appears to be a no-wipe formula.

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Apply another layer of top coat over the pigment, cure your nails for one minute in your lamp, and afterward you can simply wash your hands to get rid of the excess powder on your skin.

Seriously, these nails look amazing in person, and they would make C3PO jealous for sure!

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A tip for easy removal is to use a peel off base coat underneath your regular polish.  It saves so much time when removing gel that it’s insane!  Otherwise to remove the gel, you have a future of filing, aluminum foil, and cotton balls soaked in acetone to look forward to.

No matter if you plan to keep your shiny new gold nails on for a long or short period of time, you will absolutely adore this powder and top coat set.  I just can’t get enough, and based on how much product I used to create these nails, I will be able to keep the chrome magic coming for many years in the future!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment and top coat set (retail price is $14.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/1gbox-mirror-nail-powder-10ml-coat-nail-chrome-pigment-glitters-p-30899.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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Review of Harunouta Plate L009

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If you have been into nail art for as long as I have, you are bound to have quite a stamping plate collection by now.  Yet when I saw this plate from Harunouta, I felt like I had to own it!

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Harunouta L009 plate comes shipped with blue plastic wrap shielding the metal so that it doesn’t get scratched. You must remove this layer before using it.

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It even comes with this pretty cardboard sleeve for storage so that your other plates can’t scratch the metal once the plastic wrap comes off.

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Lace, flowers, and pretty decals adorn this plate.

It’s hard to not love the designs here.  The company fit an assortment of different patterns across this long rectangular plate covering a space of 4-3/4 x 2-1/8 inches.  The size is the same as other long plates, and it is mounted to a white hard plastic backing so that you can’t cut yourself on the metal edges.

I found this plate extremely easy to use.  The etching is consistent and deep, and the lines of the images aren’t too thin so it’s easy to pick up whatever design you desire.

The lace strips in the center of the plate are great for full nail coverage.  I used reverse stamping to color in the flowers with holographic polish.

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Reverse stamping.

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A pretty holographic floral mani using the lace decal in the very center of the plate. The length of the image allows you to have each nail look different while having the same theme, lending it a hand painted look.

The only downside about these lace strips is that they are just a bit too narrow (7/16 of an inch, or slightly less than half an inch) to cover wide nails.  This would work in your favor for the other two lace designs that have scalloped edges as they look like they are meant to be that way, but for the middle design, it gives the nail the appearance of being unfinished.

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Slight gaps on the sides of my thumbnail where the design did not cover the nail bed completely.

The rest of the plate specializes in pretty border decals and floral patterns.  Because they are etched in a curved formation, they lend themselves well to being stamped as a French tip or as a half moon design.

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Gold art deco style nails using the pattern on the far right side of the plate.

An accent nail is also easily achieved by singling out one element from the strip.

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Pearly iridescent nails get bumped up a notch by stamping the design 3rd from the right side of the plate.

One might argue that there is no need for the same design to be etched 4-5 times on the plate, but the layout looks so pretty that I don’t mind.  I think Harunouta made good use of the space on the plate.

You should also keep in mind that because of the circular form of some of the patterns, they will not appear completely vertical and straight on your nails.  This is not an issue if your nails are short because you can only fit a small portion of the image strip onto your nail (refer to the single flower decal in the above photo), but this can be problematic if your nails are very long.  Also, the designs that are closer to the center of the plate in the circle are more curved than the ones along the left and right sides, so you might want to consider the shape of your nails and/or cuticles when choosing a pattern to use.

Overall, I think this plate is a fantastic buy, and you can easily create dozens of different manicures from this one item.  It won’t let you down!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $5.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/126cm-rectangle-nail-stamp-template-lace-flower-design-image-plate-harunouta-l009-p-30340.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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Classy White Pearl Iridescent Gel Nails

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Due to my very hands on side job, my nails have been a wreck lately.  Peeling, breaking, dry- just name it and it probably describes in what kind of condition my nails are.  I heard that gel polish can really help protect natural nails while they grow out, and although I never thought that I would take that plunge, I decided to do it anyway…  at least in part.

The big dilemma is that being a nail art blogger, it’s hard to commit to just one shade of polish for a long period of time.  When gel polish is applied correctly, the manicure can last for weeks, and that just doesn’t cut it in the nail art world!  As much as I would like to take a bit of a break, I feel compelled to try to produce something at least once a week.  So what’s a girl to do?

I thought that a white base would serve my purposes the best.  It intensifies whatever color you paint on top of it, so it was a pretty good trade off.  Plus I could try out one of my new chrome pigment powders on top of it to give it a pearly look.

With a good gel application, thorough preparation is key.  I began by lightly removing the shine from my natural nails by filing the surface with the coarse side of a buffing block.  After brushing away the dust, I put on a coat of Nail Tek Step One primer.  It is essentially alcohol with some additives, so you can also simply wipe your nails down with rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad.  Once the alcohol evaporated, I applied a thin coat of Structure base coat from Red Carpet Manicure and cured it under a light.

I made a jelly sandwich by using regular nail polish over the gel base and sealing it in with a gel top coat.  I own one gel polish color right now, but I have hundreds of bottles of regular nail polish, so it would be a shame not to use part of my extensive collection!  My white base this time was wild white ways by essence.

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This white polish was opaque in just two coats, and contrary to the name, you do not need a light to cure the polish.

Because I was using regular nail polish, I had to wait for a bit to make sure the polish dried fully before I applied gel top coat.  I used Born Pretty Store Soak-off Gel Polish top coat for this manicure.

After curing the top coat, I applied my magical shimmery fairy dust, otherwise known as Born Pretty Store Chrome Pigment #585, with a sponge applicator.

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Pretty iridescent magic in a jar!

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Whoever came up with the saying that you can’t wear white after Labor Day obviously never meant the iridescent kind!

I applied another layer of gel top coat over this and cured it.  This means that beautiful pearly white gets sealed in until I officially remove my gel polish!

These nails already look fit for a bride, but I jazzed it up with an accent nail by stamping a floral design from Harunouta plate L009 onto my ring finger.

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Any one of these patterns would look lovely over a white base, but I chose a bunch of flowers from the right side of the plate for this manicure.

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The stamping polish used is Konad Special Nail Polish in Flash Black.

To allow myself the ability to be able to change up my nails, I applied Seche Vite top coat over the stamped nail.  The next time I want to paint my nails, I can easily remove only the stamped portion without affecting the base color.  This is also a great hack for those who like to stamp because you can erase any bad transfer jobs by using regular nail polish remover with a cotton pad, and you won’t have to start over from scratch.

Photographing how beautiful these nails are was quite difficult as the color changes in different light settings, so I’m humoring you with a few different shots.

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Hope you enjoyed this look!  Happy polishing!

Art Deco Gold Chrome Nails

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I have to admit that once September hits, I tend to be swamped, so I really apologize for being lazy with my blog.  I’m trying to keep up with everything as much as I can!

For this manicure, I tried out some of that cool gold chrome powder that has been all the rage.

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Gold chrome mirror powder from Born Pretty Store.

It works best over gel polish, but because I hardly own any gel polishes, I opted to use a gel top coat from Born Pretty Store over regular nail polish.

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The bottle says that this is a primer, but you can use Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish as a top coat as well.

I also used Ünt Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with this one because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking off gel nails.  The stuff works wonders for easy polish removal!

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I started by painting all my nails black. Pictured here is Johnny by Julep.

I applied a layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish top coat over this and cured it under a LED lamp for a minute just to be safe.

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Using the sponge applicator that was provided in the set, I rubbed the gold pigment onto my nails. They instantly looked shiny and awesome!

After cleaning up the excess powder, I applied another layer of gel top coat and cured it for a minute to seal the chrome look in.  I made a jelly sandwich!

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C3PO can’t beat these nails!

I jazzed up the chrome effect by picking a design off of Harunouta plate L009.

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I stayed retro cool by stamping the design on the far right side of the plate onto my nails.

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I used Konad Special Nail Polish in Black and a clear stamper to place the center of the scalloped fan design onto the half moon portion of each of my nails.

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After applying Seche Vite top coat, I’m all done!

The chrome brings some serious glamour into your life.  And do you know what’s awesome about stamping over gel topcoat?  If you mess up, you can wipe your nail clean with acetone and a cotton ball, and you don’t have to re-paint your base color!

Stay tuned for more of the pigment craze!  Happy polishing!

Review of Born Pretty Store Silver Mirror Powder, Gel Polish, and UV LED Lamp Set

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If you follow any sort of nail art trends online, you must have heard about mirror chrome nails by now.  Everyone has been gushing over this magic glitter powder for months since its release, but in order to use it, gel polish and some sort of UV lamp setup are required.  I thought I was just going to have to sit this one out until I saw this awesome set on the Born Pretty Store website.

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Solve all of your mirror powder woes with this all inclusive set from Born Pretty Store.

Pretty much all of the materials that you need in order to create the silver (also available in gold) chrome look are here, and it’s pretty affordable, too!

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One gram of silver glitter pigment comes in a cute little plastic container along with a sponge tip applicator and a beautiful holographic Ziploc bag for storage.

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The website says that the set comes with top coat, but I received a 5 mL bottle of black gel polish instead. Because gel polish is cured in light, the bottle cannot be transparent, and you can’t see the color inside until you open it.

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The lamp comes with a USB cable and a power adapter so it can be plugged into a computer for its power source or into a standard outlet. I believe Born Pretty will give you the correct adapter based on your country, but the USB plug is handy if they don’t send the correct one.

As you can see in the picture, the lamp has three LED lights, each with a power of 3 watts, so the lamp has a total power of 9 watts.  This is relatively low wattage as a lot of UV lamps have 36 watts of power or more.  This will affect curing times, as I later found out the hard way.

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The underside of the lamp. The black circles are the rubberized feet that help to hold the lamp in place when it is set on a flat surface.

The cable that comes with the lamp is roughly 22-1/2 inches, or less than 2 feet long, so it is rather on the short side.  You may substitute another adapter of your own to use with this unit provided that it is 100-240v AC 50-60 Hz.  These specifications are printed on the adapter plug and on the side of the box.

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Close up of the adapter plug. The USB cable fits into the other side.

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The sides of the box are printed with information on power, voltage, size, and color.

The lamp is available in several different colors, but I was sent the red one.  It is a beautiful metallic apple red, and the size is relatively small with a shape similar to a telephone handset.  The power switch is located on the top of the unit.  If you push it once, the light will turn on for 30 seconds and then shut off automatically, or you can push the button again to turn it off mid cycle.

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Power is yours with the single push of a button.

Disclaimer #1: This was my first time doing gel nails.  I’ve always been a girl who changes her polish frequently, so I’ve never really worked with gels, but I’m a quick learner!  If you see my noob mistakes, don’t laugh too hard at me!

I painted a thin coat of black Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish onto my thumb.  Because the lamp size is too small to fit all your nails underneath the light at once, I cured my thumb separately.  I pushed the button on the lamp once, meaning that I cured the gel for 30 seconds.

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That blue glow is the UV LED light at work.

After the light went off, it seemed like the polish wasn’t cured fully because it felt tacky to the touch.  I’ve heard of needing to wipe off the sticky layer after curing gel nails, so I didn’t think too much of it at this point.

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My thumb after 30 seconds under the lamp. You can kind of see my fingerprint in the polish from where I touched it to see if it was dry or not. Obviously it wasn’t.

I decided to try applying the mirror powder to this nail anyway without wiping off the tacky layer to see what would happen.

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The chrome pigment is a silvery powder with inconsistent glitter pieces scattered throughout it. The jar has a protective seal covering the opening in addition to the lid to keep the product from leaking out during shipment.

As per instructions on the Born Pretty website, I used the sponge applicator that came with the set to apply the powder to my nail.  Just like magic, my nail went from a streaky looking black color to silver.

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Macro shot of the powder applied to my thumb.

You will notice that the look does not have an even chrome finish and that it looks like densely packed glitter.  Applying the powder over a tacky base was not the answer!

For my other nails, I decided to wipe off the tacky layer after the 30 second curing process was done.  What I found was that I could not cure all four nails at the same time with the lamp in this kit.  Also, not only did the gel polish have that sticky feel after the light went off, but when I went to wipe the nails with rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad, the gel almost completely rubbed off my nail!  I don’t have a photo of this because I was freaking out about getting gel all over the place.

I learned later that darker colors of gel polish require longer curing times, so 30 seconds with this lamp will definitely not cut it for black polish.

Also, I had issues with the application of the polish because the gel kept running into my cuticles even though I was painting on thin layers.  Apparently this is a thing with gel polish, so I tried to act as quickly as possible.

I tried curing 3 nails together (index, middle, and ring) in the lamp so that the light could reach them better, and I used 2 light cycles (60 seconds) to set the gel.  The results were better, and I was able to wipe my nails down with the rubbing alcohol without removing all the polish.  After applying the chrome powder, the results were much better this time around.

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The chrome powder formed a reflective satin finish over wiped down nails. My ring finger shows the black gel polish with the tacky layer removed.

Disclaimer #2: You probably noticed the rippling on my index finger.  This happened when I was trying to wipe down my nail with alcohol.  I should note that I also used UNT Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with the gel polish.  Even though Simply Nailogical got this to work, my gel expert friend Bev later told me that gel polish with a peel off base is a no no because it can shrink during the curing process.  Lesson learned!

Because I hadn’t painted my pinky yet and noticed that the mirror powder seemed to make a nice effect over my liquid palisade, I tried painting my pinky with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape to see if it would work or not.

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End result is that it didn’t look as cool on my nail as it did when it was protecting my skin!

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It still looked respectably shiny, and I could peel this manicure off afterward!

However, I wasn’t convinced that this was what chrome nails were supposed to look like.  What would happen if I used regular polish with a gel clear coat?

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I applied Johnny by Julep to my right hand.

I hardly have any gel polishes so I painted a thin layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish base/top coat (sold separately from this kit) and cured it under the lamp for 60 seconds.  I found that holding the lamp in my hand and moving it steadily back and forth over my nails helped to get the light to reach all the nails on my hand in one go.

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Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish primer/top coat.

I opted to use the powder on top of the clear gel coat without wiping it down, and the results were a ton better than they were with the black gel polish alone.

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Smooth, even, and shiny mirror chrome nails.

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Macro shot of my thumb. You can see how the pigment is not a consistently ground find powder but rather varying sized specks. It has a reflective finish in any case.

It took several tries, but I got my mirror nails in the end!  Don’t forget to add another layer of gel top coat once the powder is applied to your liking.

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Disclaimer #3: After watching several YouTube videos on how to achieve this look, I noted that people who used only gel polish applied a base coat of clear gel, 2 coats of colored gel, and a layer of top coat prior to applying the powder with an additional layer of top coat applied at the end over the powder, curing each layer of gel along the way.  Perhaps this is where I went wrong with the black gel polish, but then again, the original kit did not come with a top coat, even though it said that it did on the website.

Overall Impressions

The lamp in the kit is super affordable, but its small size makes curing your nails a little harder to do.  Also the wattage is on the low side, so expect to need to cure colored gel polish with a minimum of 60 seconds.  It’s definitely a beginner UV LED lamp, so it’s a great item for those who are just starting to get into gel polish or those who only are interested in gels in order to get the mirror nail effect.

The gel polish would have been awesome if it had been the clear top coat as was listed in the description of the product.  Black gel polish may not be a good choice for those who are new to gels.  You will need to apply a gel top coat over the powder to preserve the finish, which means that you will have to buy another product that is not included in this kit, defeating the point of having a pre-made set.

The powder itself is amazing, but the finish does change depending on the texture of the surface you rub it on.  I had random men complimenting my nails when I went out later that day, so it creates an eye catching look, especially when it is applied over gel top coat.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment, gel polish, and UV LED lamp set (retail price is $25.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/1gbox-mirror-powder-lamp-coat-nail-chrome-pigment-magic-glitter-p-30909.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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Hot Pink Argyle Print Preppy Nails

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Wow, how is it September already?  School is back in session, and when I think of school, I think of all sorts of prints.  That’s why the argyle diamond pattern on a stamping plate from Harunouta spoke to me.

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Fabric patterns galore on Harunouta plate 10.

I chose to do a girly Barbie pink with green for contrast for this manicure.  The colors remind me of styles from movies like CluelessMean Girls, and Legally Blonde.

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Colors from left to right are City-Pretty Rose from Nicole by OPI, Pretty Edgy from Essie, and Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.

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On Wednesdays we wear pink!  I painted all my nails with City-Pretty Rose and let them dry.

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The argyle print was transferred from Harunouta plate 10 with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, and using the brush from the bottle, I filled in some of the diamonds with Pretty Edgy by Essie.

To help speed up the process, I used 2 stampers so that while I colored in the details of one stamper, it gave the other colored in stamper time to set.  It’s important that you wait for the polish to dry completely before transferring the pattern or else things will turn into a smooshy mess.

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If all goes well, you should be able to stamp the design directly onto your nail from the stamper.

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I repeated the process enough times so that I could apply the print to all of my nails, and then I applied Ya Qin An anti-smearing top coat to preserve the stamped image.

It does take awhile to color in the diamonds and let them dry, but it certainly makes the argyle pattern more eye catching.

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Hope you enjoyed this one!  Happy polishing!

Back to School Chalkboard/Bus/Crayon Nail Art

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Who is ready for the upcoming school year?  Not me!  Most NYC schools don’t start until after Labor Day, so I’ve got a little bit more time for myself before the crazy student hustle begins again!

I teamed up with @tamiiinails on Instagram this time to do a collaboration to celebrate the return of the school year, so we both agreed to have some kind of chalkboard element in our designs.  The rest was up to us!

I decided to use the chalkboard as my accent nail and paint the stripes of a yellow school bus across the other nails.

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I used Lighthouse by China Glaze and Johnny by Julep for my base colors. I guess the shimmer makes my school bus look more magical!

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I painted my nails with the corresponding base colors that would go with my concept.

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I used a striping brush and black acrylic paint to make the double stripe pattern across my nails. I later refined the lines with a detail brush to get them filled out and straight. Then I painted the 1+1=2 on the black nail with white acrylic paint and a super fine detail brush and applied matte top coat from Sephora by OPI over the chalkboard design. Regular top coat from Seche Vite was applied to the other nails for shine.

It’s a fairly simple design, although getting the details to look perfect is where a steady hand and some OCD come in handy!  Believe me, I wish I had black striping tape that I could have used instead!  Speaking of which, if you don’t think you are capable of painting straight lines, you can lay 3 pieces of striping tape on top of the yellow polish to form a stencil for the black lines and paint over the empty spaces with black nail polish.  Personally I’m faster at painting them freehand, not to mention that I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to waiting for my polish to dry before applying striping tape!  But this technique may work better for you.

Also, it occurred to me afterward that the lines resemble the ones on crayon wrappers, so you can also opt to change the colors on your nails and purposefully turn them into crayon nails.  Of course, you can also eliminate the chalkboard altogether and do only crayon nail art as well.

As for the collaboration, here it is!  Simple but cute.

Best of luck to everyone in the new school year!  Happy polishing!