Shattered Mirror Nails

Not too long ago, I dropped my phone and cracked the screen for the first time ever! It’s limited to only 2 corners, so it doesn’t really get in the way, but for a perfectionist like me, it’s annoying! I’m due for a new phone upgrade anyway, so maybe it’s a sign… In any case, it inspired the creation of this shattered mirror nail art.

I began by painting all my nails with black gel polish. Because I knew I was going to apply chrome powder over my base, I didn’t mind using one of my lower quality gel polishes to do the job. This black gel polish in color 01 from Born Pretty’s Solid Color Series was the very first gel polish I owned and was part of their silver chrome starter kit. My, how far we’ve come since then! Now I know not to wipe off the tacky layer between coats of color and to use a good gel base coat with it! This shade still left much to be desired in terms of coverage as 2 thin coats still wasn’t very opaque, but like I said, I wasn’t picky about it because I knew I was topping it with a chrome powder.

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Each coat cured for 60 seconds in a 48W UV/LED lamp.

I then applied and cured a coat of Clavuz No Wipe Top Coat prior to applying a silver chrome powder from IMethod Beauty over it with a sponge applicator. The results are super shiny and reflective, and you can’t tell that the black polish underneath it had uneven coverage.

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Another layer of Clavuz No Wipe Top Coat was applied over the powder to seal it into place.

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Funky Pineapple Nails

As a flute teacher, I have to be inventive while teaching my students. One of the rhythms that has been somewhat problematic for them is the one with an 8th note followed by two 16th notes, so to try to help them out, I tell them to think of saying the word “pineapple,” emphasizing the “pine” part so that they hold that syllable a little longer. It was only a matter of time for me to do nails based on the fruit, seeing as I end up saying “pineapple” during the day quite a bit!

I decided to swatch this bright shimmery yellow polish from Sally Hansen’s HD collection called Lite. You’ll see that I ended up changing the colors on two of my nails after taking this photo, but I have a goal of trying to get swatch photos of all of my polishes. I think it’s going to take awhile, though!

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2 coats of Sally Hansen HD Hi-Definition Nail Color in 05 Lite were applied for the perfect shimmery canary yellow shade here.

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Art Deco Chrome Nails

Today’s design was loosely inspired by a beautiful chrome polish from Born Pretty called No More Chrome. The color is a cross between champagne gold and platinum, but it stands out for its somewhat pearly metallic finish.

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2-3 coats of No More Chrome were applied for this swatch.

This color begged to be paired with some bold graphic lines, so why not do something art deco?

The source for the pattern was an unlikely one. I used plate BP-L073 from Born Pretty and chose to feature the flower pattern from the center of the right half of the plate. The petals offered the look that I wanted to achieve.

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Summer Neon Geometric Nails

Hi, everyone! I’m a little behind on posts due to a flurry of musical activity on this end, but I’m hoping to catch up on things soon!

Today’s nail art tries to capture the essence of summer with some bright neon colors and bold geometric shapes. To begin, I painted my nails white using a color simply called White Base Coat from Sephora by OPI.

 

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White Base Coat from Sephora by OPI provides a simple white backdrop that is perfect for making neon colors pop.

To do the geometric design, I used plate BP-L070 from Born Pretty Store for the basic pattern.

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For this manicure, I used the design on the far right side of the middle row.

Using a clear stamper, I stamped the pattern with Ya Qin An stamping polish in Black, then I colored in the design with various shades from the Sephora by OPI Neon Lights collection. I chose a pink, orange and yellow shade so when I colored in the pattern, I chose to have pink and yellow stripes with the intersecting parts being orange.

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The colors used are all from the Sephora by OPI Neon Lights collection. Pink is Glowing Somewhere?, orange is I’m So Vivid With You!, and yellow is Mega-Watt’s Your Deal?

I decided to stamp these zig-zag patterns close to my cuticles, and I alternated the color placement on each nail to make it look more continuous.

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All done!

It was pretty easy to make this nail art, and it definitely looks fun for summer! Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy polishing!

Optical Illusion Metallic Geometric Nails

I got some beautiful chrome nail lacquer from Born Pretty recently and wanted to do a nice elegant brushed metal look to compliment it.

The star was really this base color in my opinion. I recall Sally Hansen having similar chrome polish over a decade ago, and the new metallic series from Born Pretty channels the original collection perfectly.

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2 coats of Heroine from Born Pretty gives your nails a beautiful metallic surface.

For the nail art, I chose an image from plate BP-L070 from Born Pretty.

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This manicure utilizes the 2nd pattern from the left in the top row of plate BP-L070.

The faux 3D effect was achieved with double stamping. I first stamped the image onto all my nails with black polish from Ya Qin An.

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Next I used a clear stamper with the same design and silver polish from Ya Qin An and carefully aligned the design over the black polish already on my nails. The second application should offset the lines just enough to create a silhouetted 3D like effect.

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I liked the brushed metal effect, so I applied a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI over the design to preserve the stamping.

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Although this design looks complex, it was super easy to do. Also, because the design is double stamped, any flaws with the transfer aren’t as noticeable and actually aid in the 3D effect! There is definitely beauty in imperfection.

Hope you have a great day! Happy polishing!

 

 

80s Equalizer Nail Art

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a different technique with something I’ve never been great at using: nail foil. Anyone who has experience with it knows that it can be temperamental to use, and even when you get the application right, the wrong top coat can ruin the whole thing and make it look as if it was never there. Yet here I am testing my patience with this material. Off we go!

To start, I painted all my nails black.

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This is stamping polish from b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. Not sure why it looks textured though- it might be the pigments.

To make the decals, you will need a plastic bag or a silicone mat. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster for mine. Start by applying swatches of top coat onto your chosen surface. The top coat will serve as the base of your decal. Wait for your top coat to fully dry before you proceed to the next step.

Next, choose a pattern that you want to stamp and transfer it to a swatch of top coat. You must act very quickly to apply a piece of nail foil over the stamped area so that the foil can adhere to the wet polish. Rub over the piece of foil with your finger, then lift the foil quickly, and you should be left with a cool foil embossed pattern.

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For this manicure, I used the pattern in the lower right hand corner of plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty.

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The stamping polish used was the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from my base color. I did this so that it would not look obvious if the foil did not transfer fully.

The foil was purchased in a large lot from an eBay seller, and there is no brand associated with it. You can see that the foil that I chose to use has a natural rainbow gradient effect, so it happens to match the levels that you would see on an equalizer. In case you don’t know what an equalizer looks like, here’s an example:

Very 80s techno chic.

At this point you can gently peel the decals off the mat and cut them to fit your nails. In order to hide some of the transfer imperfections, I also re-cut the levels of the bars. You can apply a cut decal by painting another layer of black polish or some top coat onto your nail and then gently press the decal onto the wet surface.

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You can see where I cut the levels of the bars for the decals, but they more or less stick to the base color. This look reminds me of Tetris.

Disclaimer: Because I didn’t like the finish of the b.m.c. nail lacquer as a base color, I applied the decals using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

It’s easy to say just apply top coat to seal in everything, but here’s where things can get tricky. I’ve heard that a water based top coat works best with foil, but I don’t have any. I also know that pretty much anything that is branded as “fast drying” will cause the foil to shrink and/or break up. If you don’t use a top coat at all, the foil will quickly rub off on its own. I took a chance by using my Ya Qin An top coat, seeing as it never smears nail art, and it worked pretty well. Thumbs up for Ya Qin An!

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Nail foil success! Too bad this took forever to do.

Fun fact: I’m holding a record that I actually played on! It was for a private project, but it’s still cool as a collector’s item.

In any case, I love how I conquered my fear of nail foil. That’s not to say that I don’t curse a lot when things don’t work out the right way, but at least I know that I have another technique that I can use. Maybe practice does make perfect!

Happy polishing!

Thermal Geometric Manicure

Welcome to March!  In the past few days, we’ve had quite a swing in temperature in NYC where on one day, it was near 60 degrees and beautiful outside to another day where it was 17 degrees with snow covering the ground.  The crazy weather influenced me to do something with thermal nail polish after being in a creative slump this week.

I started by painting all my nails white.

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This color is called wild white ways from essence cosmetics and is fully opaque in two coats.

I recently acquired some thermal color change powder from Born Pretty Store.  It is best used with a gel top coat, so I applied a layer of Born Pretty Soak Off Gel Top Coat to my white base and cured it for about 15 seconds (half the normal cure time) before applying the pigment.

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Born Pretty Thermal Pigment in color #13.

I used the sponge applicator to apply the powder to the half cured top coat, then I dusted off the excess pigment from my cuticles with a fan brush.

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The thermal pigment is already changing colors as the dark gray shade is its cold state.

I applied another layer of gel top coat over this and fully cured it before proceeding to the stamping portion of the design.

Because of the dark gray and white colors in the thermal pigment, I decided that a geometric look would suit this manicure the best.  I used the diamond pattern in the second row, far right side of the plate below in a variety of ways to create a modern look.

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Plate BP-L006 from Born Pretty Store.

For some nails, I stamped the image as is, but for other nails, after stamping the image, I removed some of the other diamonds from the pattern on the stamper with some Scotch tape.

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Tweaking the design. The stamping was done with Ya Qin An stamping nail polish in Black.

I opted to do a single diamond in the center of one nail and half a diamond as a half moon design on my pinky.  I finished it all off with a layer of Ya Qin An top coat.

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The completed design.

The thermal powder is a little splotchy because it’s hard to apply an even layer of pigment, especially because the dark gray color contrasts so much with the white base.  The color change effect is also very sensitive, and even the act of trying to dry off my nails prevented me from getting an evenly pigmented picture of each individual color.

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The left side pictures are cold color temperatures while the right side pictures are hot water temperatures. The hot temperature version is definitely not splotchy while my fingers are still in the water.

It’s always fun to have interactive nails!  And even though the pigment is seldom one solid color, the smoky effect still looks cool underneath the crisp lines of the diamonds.

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We’re expecting more snow here in a few days, so be safe out there!  Happy polishing!