Ring Palette Review

After getting into this nail art thing, I’ve found myself becoming more and more obsessed with finding cute rings.  After all, what better way to highlight a nice mani than by wearing jewelry that compliments it?

Imagine my excitement when I saw this cute ring palette on Born Pretty Store’s Instagram:

Jewelry that is also functional?  Yes, please!  Sign me up!

It comes shipped in a nondescript plastic bag, so it isn’t exactly gift ready if you were thinking of buying this for a nail art obsessed friend.  Shipping, although free, takes about 2 weeks for it to come from Singapore, so plan ahead.

img_20160118_131121.jpg

Not exactly the most attractive packaging. Buy a box and repackage this baby if you are planning to give it as a gift.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ring comes with a little plastic cup for water.  It fits in the hole of the palette and is so cute.

img_20160118_131237.jpg

That notch in the palette isn’t just for decoration- it’s a water cup holder.

The unfortunate thing about the cup is that it does not snap into place.  Because it fits so loosely in the hole, it is prone to falling out and therefore makes it impractical to use as part of the ring while painting.  What makes the situation worse is the fact that the hole is in line with the finger band, meaning that your finger will naturally push the cup flush with your skin level as you slide the ring on and make it even more prone to falling out.  A smarter design would have taken this into account and positioned the cup notch at a different angle away from your finger.

img_20160131_145620.jpg

You can see that your finger will push the water cup out of the hole based on the positioning of the notch in the palette.

img_20160118_024958.jpg

If you want to use the water cup to do your own nails, this position is the most practical one to keep it from falling out. It’s still safer to leave the cup on the table.

It’s even more practical to have a client wear the ring as you paint her nails because her hand can stay flat on the table, preventing the cup and colors from spilling.

img_20160131_153235.jpg

The water cup fits best when the wearer’s hand can stay flat on a surface. Have the ring positioned with the cup pointing up towards the nail so that there is a little more space underneath the ring to accommodate it.

The truth is that the water cup issue wouldn’t have even bothered me if the ring didn’t come with it.  A real full size artist’s palette has a thumbhole notch in it, so I thought the hole was mimicking that feature solely for decorative purposes.  Besides, if you are using the palette with nail polish, you can’t clean your brush with water anyway.  Filling the cup with acetone would only be wasteful because the acetone would evaporate faster by being placed in an open container.  I say ditch the cup if you are using the product for yourself.

As for the band size, the width is pretty generous.  You can see from my previous pictures that it fits on my thumb without a problem, and the band is open ended, so it is slightly adjustable.  The diameter of the band is roughly the same as that of a penny.

img_20160131_150014.jpg

The penny almost perfectly covers the circumference of the band of the ring.

As a palette, it does its job just fine.  There are shallow indentations on the surface to hold 5 different colors, and there is space to blend your paints in the middle of the ring.  The benefit of having the ring versus using a traditional palette is that you can keep the paint/nail polish closer to your nails, and it is super portable if you like doing your nails on the run.  Plus how adorable is it to have a ring that functions as a palette?

img_20160123_181901.jpg

Even at a slight tilt, the paint does not drip out of its compartment because of the indentations in the palette.

Clean up is a breeze when you’re done with your manicure.  I wiped the ring down with a paper towel and some alcohol after using it with acrylic paint, and it looks as good as new.

While there are issues with the design for use with their supplied water cup, I still think that this is a fantastic buy.  I can’t get over how cute it looks, and it’s fairly easy to use while painting your nails.  It should be noted that this ring also is available in another design that looks like a paw print, although it does not look like that that option comes with a water cup, which is probably a good thing.  Either way, this ring is a great gift for someone who loves nail art or for yourself.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this ring palette (retail price is $5.08 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy painting!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/mini-finger-nail-palette-free-hand-manicure-ring-palette-p-23985.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

rsspx31

Winter Sweater Snowflake Nails

I’ve never done an ugly sweater manicure before, so I figured it was about time that I fixed that situation.

img_20160127_133041.jpg

My color line up for this manicure consists of Konad Special Nail Polish in White, Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine in Happy Hour!, Finger Paints Nail Color in Monet Money, and Nicole by OPI in Carrie’d Away.

I didn’t want to have to stamp every single nail, so I opted to do gold glitter for 2 nails and painted the other nails with Happy Hour!

img_20160127_133227.jpg

Sparkly gold glitter polish and royal blue nails make a nice combo.

I painted a thick stripe of Monet Money over the blue nails in the approximate width of a section of the snowflake design from the stamping plate I was planning to use.  I thought about making a nail decal, but doing the color blocking directly on my nail seemed like the faster route.

img_20160127_133310.jpg

Color blocking done with Monet Money by Finger Paints.

img_20151228_011612.jpg

Plate BPL-032 from Born Pretty Store. I used the pattern in the top row, 2nd image from the right.

Using Konad Special Nail Polish in White and BPL-032 from Born Pretty Store, I carefully lined up the snowflake pattern with the green color blocked section and stamped it onto my nail.

img_20160127_133344.jpg

The stamping isn’t perfect because the squishiness of my marshmallow stamper distorted some of the straight lines, but the pattern lined up nicely overall.

After adding some top coat, the look was done!  Guess the sweater was more cute than ugly in the end.  Happy polishing!

img_20160127_115906.jpg

Snowy Cityscape Nail Art

Raise your hand if you got hit by winter storm Jonas over the weekend!

It only seemed fitting to do some sort of snowy nail art after being dumped with over 20 inches of snow in NYC.  With a travel ban in place on the day the blizzard came, I used the time to do some nail art.

img_20160126_162819.jpg

The color palette: Snowcone by Orly, Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, and Wham! by Formula X for Sephora.

I began by painting all my nails with the aptly named Snowcone polish by Orly.

img_20160126_165004.jpg

This beautiful sky blue is brought to you by Snowcone from Orly.

I used a plate from Bundle Monster to construct my city.

img_20160126_162459.jpg

Plate BM-414 from Bundle Monster.

To make a little bit of a variation on some of the buildings, I tried to stamp the pattern at varying heights, and I also erased parts of the design by painting over the tops of some structures with Snowcone.

img_20160126_165032.jpg

Stamping done with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black and plate BM-414 by Bundle Monster.

Wham! is a great glitter top coat from Formula X that mimics snow quite well.  I applied one coat to the top 3/4 of my nail so that the buildings would not be completely covered by glitter.

img_20160126_165103.jpg

Wham! by Formula X creates a realistic looking snowfall with its different sized glitters.

Important note- I should have let the stamping polish dry completely before applying Wham!  I’m so used to instantly applying Seche Vite top coat over all my designs that I forgot that stamping polish can get streaky if a different clear based polish is used on top of it.

I did try to clean up some of the streakiness by adding touches of Snowcone over the parts that didn’t look so nice.  I think the overall effect is pretty cool.

img_20160124_215856.jpg

Winter in the city.

Hope you’re all staying warm and safe out there!  Happy polishing!

Arabesque Nail Art

My fiancé is also a musician, and he recently sent me a link to a Ibanez JEM series guitar designed by Steve Vai.  Even though I don’t play the guitar, I really want it!

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ibanez-jem-uv-steve-vai-signature-electric-guitar

I imagined posing with my nails on the neck of the guitar and decided that some nail art was in order.

img_20160118_130744.jpg

Tools of the trade: craft smart Acrylic Paint in White, Too Too Turq by Sephora by OPI, and Evolve by Divergent.

I started with a turquoise base.  I wish I had the sea foam green color of the JEM, but it’s hard to believe that I don’t own a polish that is exactly that shade.

img_20160118_024958.jpg

Too Too Turq by Sephora by OPI, a part of the collection from their collaboration with Betsey Johnson.

I drew in some lines with the acrylic paint and a nail art pen (look for a review coming soon here), but a striping brush works just as well.

img_20160123_183034.jpg

The beginning of the vines.

I added little flourishes off the vines to represent leaves.  Artistic license is your friend here.

img_20160123_183120.jpg

This much of the design looks a little like bamboo.

To fill in the empty spaces, I added dots of varying sizes with a dotting tool.

img_20160123_183155.jpg

Feel free to doodle as you please and let your creativity flow.

For a little extra shimmer, I added the Evolve top coat by Divergent.  Yes, the nail polish is affiliated with the movie of the same title.

img_20160117_020833.jpg

Turquoise and white arabesque fantasy.

While I most likely will never own the guitar, I can at least enjoy the color scheme and a design that is loosely based on it.  What are you inspired by?  Let me know!

Happy polishing!

Review of Born Pretty Store YE-261 Audrey Hepburn Water Decals

 

Do you think nails that are all painted one color are boring?  Are you yearning for nail art but aren’t good at painting?  Water decals are the answer to your prayers.

I remember my mom using water decals long before nail art became such a huge thing.  They were the coolest way to get little hearts, stars, and flowers onto your nails with no fuss.  The designs are printed onto very thin, clear flexible film and slide off their paper backing when wet, so all you have to do is transfer the sticker onto your nail, blot it dry, and you get nails that your friends covet.

Water decals have come a long way since those simplistic designs.  When I saw these decals featuring Audrey Hepburn in her role as Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, I knew I had to have them.

img_20160110_170439.jpg

YE-261 nail decals featuring Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly.

You get actually get more decals on the sheet than what you think.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the polka dot patterned cardboard backing covered up the rest of the stickers.

img_20160110_170826.jpg

The decal sheet measures 6 cm wide by 12.5 cm tall. You get 60 stickers in total, not including the one that says YE-261. 😉

The only bad thing about having the cardboard covering parts of the sheet is that the paper sticks a little to the surface of the decals.  There is supposed to be a protective clear plastic sheet of film that covers the patterns to separate them from the cardboard packaging, but I think they forgot to put the film over the decals for this particular pack.  The good news is that any damage done to the decals isn’t very noticeable.  Parts of the image may look slightly smudged, but I would recommend that you remove the cardboard backing if your pack of decals comes without the protective film.

On the back of the package, you can find instructions on how to use the decals.

img_20160110_170640.jpg

The translation is a little dodgy, but it’s a good example of why it’s important to proofread!

For those of you who have no idea what the instructions say, here is a native English-speaker’s rendition of what the manufacturer intended to print:

JUST STICK THEM ONTO YOUR FINGER AND TOENAILS

Product service instruction

• Trim your nails, apply your base color, and let the polish dry.

•Remove the thin sheet of film from the top of the decals and cut around the patterns that you wish to use.  Soak the cut pieces in water for 10-20 seconds.  In the winter, use warm water for best results.

•With the backing paper still wet, slide the pattern off the sheet.  Wet the surface of your nail and slide the decal on your nail into a satisfactory position.

•Blot off any excess water with a paper towel so that the decal is totally dry in order to set the position of the pattern.

•Apply clear top coat and let your manicure dry.

img_20160110_171110.jpg

A close up look at decal sheet YE-261.

The watercolor renditions of Ms. Hepburn are stunning and chic.  However, it has to be noted that the words are misspelled.  Upon close examination, “beautiful” is actually spelled “beauliful,” although you can correct this error by crossing the “l” with a detail brush and some black paint or nail polish.  Also, “Angel on earth” comes out looking like “Angd an eaeth.”  My guess is that the typographer had trouble reading script letters and had little understanding of the English language, so he typed the words incorrectly.  You can choose not to use the words, as I’m sure that the real reason you want to buy these is for the artwork.  Even if you do put the words on your nails, chances are that no one will take the time to figure out what they say because they will be too stunned by the beauty of the portraits to notice.

The decals are all various sizes, so you are sure to be able to find something that fits proportionally well to your nails.  The images of Ms. Hepburn range in height from 0.6 to 1.2 cm and in width from 0.6 to 1.1 cm.  “Beautiful” is 0.3 by 0.9 cm and “Angel on earth” is 0.5 by 0.9 cm.  Anything that is too large for your nails can also be cut down with a small pair of scissors.

They are very easy to use as well.  For my manicure, I followed the steps listed previously.

img_20160110_171244.jpg

Cut out the patterns that you wish to use.

img_20160110_172512.jpg

Soak the decal in water for a few seconds until the paper backing gets saturated with water.

img_20160110_172650.jpg

Slide the decal off the paper backing with your finger. The image pictured here is actually floating on top of the water in the container. Also note that the skin tone of the design is white and not transparent, so you can use these decals over any nail color you choose.

img_20160110_171925.jpg

Wet the surface of your nail so you can adjust the position of the decal to your liking, and blot it dry with a paper towel before applying top coat. The borders of the stickers become totally invisible once top coat is applied, so it looks like you painted the artwork yourself.

img_20160110_172018.jpg

Even with misspellings, these decals look awesome.

I’m in love with how classy these nail stickers look, and they’re a definite must-buy for anyone who loves Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  At such a low price, who can resist them?

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing these water decals (retail price is $3.69 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/sheet-nail-water-decal-audrey-hepburn-marilyn-monroe-nail-transfer-sticker-p-21079.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

 

Audrey Hepburn/Breakfast At Tiffany’s Inspired Nails

I have been hanging onto these Audrey Hepburn water decals for the longest time now, so I wanted to finally use them in a manicure.

img_20160110_170439.jpg

YE-261 water decals from Born Pretty Store.

This manicure is so simple to do once you have the decals.  I started out by picking out which ones I wanted to use and cut around my selections with a small pair of scissors.

img_20160110_171244.jpg

My left hand and right hand decal choices. The words have some typos (“beauliful” and “Angd an eaeth” should read “beautiful” and “Angel on earth”), but no one really notices that they are misspelled unless they look closely.

I also prepared a small container of water in which I could soak the decals later.

For the polish colors, I wanted white nails for the decals and black nails for contrast.

img_20160110_170940.jpg

Left: Johnny by Julep. Right: Alpine Snow by OPI.

img_20160110_172128.jpg

Does anyone else feel like playing Othello after seeing this?

I worked with the decals one at a time, first soaking the decal in water for about 10 seconds before sliding it off the paper backing, applying it to my nail, and blotting it dry with a napkin.

img_20160110_172512.jpg

Underwater Audrey.

img_20160110_172650.jpg

The decal can float on the surface of the water after you slide it off the paper backing.

img_20160110_173123.jpg

The final decal layout.

I wanted to add some pearl studs to liven up the black nails.  After all, Holly Golightly wears quite an impressive pearl necklace along with her iconic black dress.

img_20160110_171442.jpg

Pearl rhinestone decoration wheel from Born Pretty Store.

I opted to use two different sizes of pearls to mimic the necklace, so I placed a larger sized pearl in the center of my nail and flanked each side with a smaller pearl.  I used Kiss Nail Art Glue to secure the beads.

img_20160110_171925.jpg

The finished look. Of course I made sure that Audrey had her tiara on for her closeup.

I know using water decals is kind of cheating for a nail artist, but I really loved the artwork and couldn’t resist buying these.  I don’t think I’ve used water decals since I was in junior high (trust me, that was quite a long time ago), so it was great to see how much more advanced the artwork has become.

In any case, classy ladies will love this manicure, and if you have any friends who are fans of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, these decals make a great gift.  Using code RSSPX31 will save you 10% off any regular priced items in your order from Born Pretty Store.  Happy polishing!

Nail Art Problem #4 and Review of Polish Mixing Balls

If you’re like me and have a large nail polish collection, you’ll inevitably have several bottles of polish that you haven’t used in such a long time that the color has separated from the formula.  Some people think that at this point, you have to throw out the bottle, although sometimes you can fix the problem by shaking the bottle for minutes on end.  But what if I told you that there is a product you can buy that will save you the hassle of all that?

img_20160107_215602.jpg

Stainless steel mixing balls to the rescue!

I fondly remember my mom shaking a bottle of nail polish in preparation to do her nails and hearing the metal balls inside the container go clickety-clack against the glass.  Some polishes come with these mixing beads already, but not every bottle has them, and therein lies the problem of getting the formula back to normal again once the polish separates.

These little ball bearings are such a time saver because adding one ball to a bottle will mix the polish to its original consistency within a minute, and they are cheap, too.  You can find the link for the product at the end of this post, but $2.90 will get you 20 of these balls.

img_20160107_215430.jpg

They arrive in a little zip-sealed bag from the merchant.

The balls are fairly small.  The website claims that they are 5 mm, but they are more like 4 mm in diameter.  They do have some weight to them so that they can cut through viscous nail polish easily.  It should be noted that they aren’t perfectly round and have scratches on them and have more of a multi-faceted surface, but they perform the job they need to do just fine.

Glitter polishes tend to settle and separate more than other ones because of the weight of the glitter being heavier than the polish formula, so it wasn’t hard to find a bottle that needed mixing.  I tested the blending capabilities out by putting a ball into Meet Me At the Disco by Sephora by OPI below.

img_20160107_215348.jpg

Left: Separated polish before mixing. I actually shook the bottle a little before taking the photo to listen if there was a ball inside already from the manufacturer (there wasn’t), but you can see that the polish is still pretty separated. Right: After adding one mixing ball to the bottle and shaking it for less than a minute, the polish looks evenly blended.

I also had a bottle of crackle polish from Sally Hansen in Antiqued Gold from when it first became popular years ago.  I thought this bottle would definitely have to be tossed- the pigment would hardly move even when the bottle was inverted, and I had tried to shake it back to normal before without any luck.  But lo and behold, I added just one of the mixing beads to the bottle, shook it for under a minute, and everything returned to normal!

img_20160107_215239.jpg

Behold, the magic of ball bearings! The top photos are what the polish looked like originally, and the bottom photos look like I bought a brand new bottle from the store, but all I did was shake the bottle after the addition of a single bead. If you’re wondering about the difference in the caps, I couldn’t open the bottle because the crackle design was shrink wrapped around the handle so that the plastic overlay would turn instead of opening the bottle, so I cut the film off.

I wasn’t so sure that the formula would be any good even after mixing it, but it still crackles after all these years!  Score!

img_20160107_220036.jpg

Close up view of my nail with the freshly reinvigorated bottle of Antiqued Gold crackle polish by Sally Hansen.

I’m not into creating my own polish colors, but adding a ball to a bottle of clear coat and adding different kinds/concentrations of glitter to it would make for a fun DIY project.

Also, if your polish has become too thick, you can add a few drops of nail polish thinner to it along with a bead and kick the formula back into usable condition again.

It’s safe to say that I highly recommend these little metal balls.  I never thought I would get such joy from such a little purchase!  I would add one or two to all of my bottles of polish, but I would need a few hundred more!  They are definitely worth the price, so why not buy a pack and try them out?

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing these stainless steel polish mixing balls (retail price is $2.90 USD for 20), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/20pcs100pcs-nail-polish-mixing-balls-stainless-steel-beads-glitter-polish-p-15225.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

rsspx31