Grape Manicure

Hello! Sorry to have been MIA again, but I was depressed about my peeling, brittle, breaking nails. In my haste to remove some of my last few manicures, I’ve been using 100% acetone, which really wreaks havoc on natural nails, so I needed a bit of a break. I ended up repairing a broken nail with some acrylic powder, which accounts for some of the lumpiness in the manicure you’re about to see because I didn’t apply it to the whole nail and apparently didn’t file it down very well, either. Oops. But hence the inspiration for my [sour] grape manicure.

In my head I saw grapes on top of a terracotta tile like the decor you might find at Home Goods, so I opted for a buff neutral color (Alison from Julep) to go with the nails that would have grapes on them. The other nails got painted with one of the accent colors that I planned to use for my grapes: Purple with a Purpose from OPI.

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I love the shimmer in the purple polish from OPI, and the buff/peach colored nails have what Julep calls a “soft focus finish.”

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Patriotic Independence Day Nails

Happy July 4! It’s America’s birthday, so my nails are painted with red, white, and blue colors to commemorate our nation’s flag.

The easiest way to do this manicure is to start with a white base. I chose Ya Qin An Stamping Nail Polish in White because it dries quickly and is completely opaque in 2 coats.

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I used Bundle Monster’s BM-H25 plate to do the stamping. I featured the images on the top and right sides of the plate in this manicure.

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The stamping technique that I used requires the application of two different polish colors to the same design and a single scraping away of the polish so that a gradient effect is not created. It easily becomes a complete mess of colors if you’re not careful with this!

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Globe Trotter Travel Nails

I have some serious travel envy after seeing people’s vacation pictures online! Meanwhile I’m stuck in NYC painting my nails. So what’s a girl to do? Make some appropriate nail art!

I started out by painting all my nails black because I planned to use a chrome nail powder on top of this to create that gorgeous blue background you see in the featured image.

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Seems like I’ve been using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI a whole lot lately!

After letting the polish dry, I applied a layer of Born Pretty Soak Off Gel Top Coat to my nails and cured it under a lamp for 30 seconds. The chrome powder was applied with a sponge applicator onto the top coat layer, and I sealed in the powder with another layer of gel top coat and followed up by curing this layer for about a minute.

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Born Pretty chrome powder in color 3 has a royal blue tint with purple undertones when it is applied over black polish even though it looks like an iridescent white in the container.

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Chocolate Bar Nails for National Junk Food Day, July 21

How many of you guys knew that July 21 was National Junk Food Day? It’s funny how everyday we can celebrate all these random things, but looking up the national days is a great way to get some inspiration going for my nail art!

I decided to paint some chocolate bars for my junk food, so I looked for a good brown polish to serve as my base color. I chose Lug Your Designer Baggage from China Glaze for that candy bar look.

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Lug Your Designer Baggage from China Glaze has subtle gold flecks in the polish that make it appear more luxurious… or more like crisped rice in my chocolate bar.

I defined the squares of chocolate in my bar by mixing shades of brown and black craft smart acrylic paint. I used a detail brush to paint the lines, but a striping brush can also do the job.

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I painted in the darkest lines first, outlined them in a slightly lighter shade, then highlighted sections of the lines to define the squares.

I made a French manicure by swiping a layer of Need for Speed by Formula X for Sephora across the tips of my nails to represent the foil wrapper around the chocolate bar, then applied a generous layer of Seche Vite top coat to finish off the look.

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It looks fairly convincing, no?

In terms of freehand nail art, this was relatively simple as the design consists of many different lines, but it always boils down to how much patience you have. The truly lazy will want to go with the route that I took with my right hand, which was to only apply the silver French tip on top of the brown base color. I mean, you can use your imagination to come up with the rest of the details… right?

Hope you enjoyed this sweet manicure. Happy polishing!

Review of Lylaa Silver Chrome Effect Nail Polish

How many of you are still drooling over the silver chrome look? I never thought that achieving this look would be possible with regular nail polish, so I was a little skeptical when I decided to get this set of Lylaa polishes from Beauty Big Bang. I’m not familiar with the brand, and most chrome polishes still have a brushed metal look rather than the mirror shine of it’s powder and gel combo counterpart, but this one does pleasantly surprise.

The set is a base coat and chrome polish duo. Each bottle contains 6 mL of polish, so the bottles are on the small side. The good thing is that hardly any product is used when you apply the formulas.

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This set of chrome lacquer and base coat comes in a small plastic bag. Beauty Big Bang stickers are applied to the bottoms of the bottles. No ingredients are listed.

The brush in the bottle is flexible and somewhat wide, so it is easy to paint your nails in about 2 strokes.

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Bottle shot of the silver chrome nail lacquer. Notice how you can see every bristle on the brush because the silver formula is so thin.

The base coat worked really nicely. The formula does not have a strong odor, but it does smell faintly fishy. This base coat really smoothed out the ridges on my nails and made them look really healthy. If you had any idea how damaged and dry my natural nails are from constantly doing nail art, you would realize that the way they look with this base coat is nothing short of a miracle!

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One coat of Lylaa base coat was applied to achieve this smooth and healthy gloss to my nails.

In order to successfully achieve the chrome look, you must fully allow the base coat to dry, otherwise the polish will distort with each brush stroke and look chunky once the chrome lacquer is applied.

Speaking of, the chrome varnish is very watery in appearance and smells strongly of paint. With one layer applied, you can see a smoky metallic finish start to appear, but ideally two coats of lacquer should be used to achieve the look below. Each layer of the chrome lacquer dries nearly instantly, which is another huge bonus.

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These nails are impressively shiny and reflective with 2 coats of chrome nail lacquer applied over Lylaa’s base coat.

Honestly, I have never seen a chrome polish really look like chrome. These nails got many compliments because they really stand out compared to your basic colors. It’s so rare to see shiny silver nails without having to use a gel polish and powder. I’m sure this will appeal to the many people who do not want to have to get a curing lamp or go to a salon to get this look!

On the downside, a lot of top coats tend to dull down the reflectiveness of the lacquer. I tried several different ones (Glisten & Glow, Seche Vite, Ya Qin An, and Dazzle Dry), and none seemed to preserve the original luster of the chrome look. The nails were still very attractive, but they achieved more of a brushed metal finish in the end.

You can try to wear the polish without applying any top coat, but the chrome lacquer rubs off throughout the day. Even with a top coat applied, the lacquer does not last very long. Something about the pigments in the chrome varnish make the top coat peel away fairly easily, and you will find it hard to survive a full day without some form of peeling happening. The actual silver color does stick somewhat to your nails so it doesn’t look as obvious as chipped polish does, but the smooth finish is ruined.

The polish can be removed with regular acetone, but the base coat does act a little funny and becomes slightly balled up and rubbery in texture as you try to dissolve it. You may need to use a little more elbow grease than usual, but it is nowhere near as hard to remove as glitter or gel polish!

In the end, if you love the look and don’t want to go through the hassle of a gel polish application or you don’t have a lamp to cure it with, you can go ahead and try this polish out. If you don’t mind the wear and tear that can happen to the finish of the polish throughout the day, then you will absolutely love it. But if you want to go the distance, I suggest you try the original gel polish and powder method of getting the mirror effect.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail polish set SKU:J2177 (retail price is $6.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code CHRISS will get you 10% off your order, and Beauty Big Bang offers free worldwide shipping. Happy polishing!

https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/silver-mirror-effect-metal-nail-polish-varnish-top-coat-metallic-nails-art-tips-nail-polish-set

https://www.beautybigbang.com

10% off coupon code: CHRISS

Review of Beauty Big Bang Galaxy Holo Flakes, SKU J2425

After seeing a lot of posts regarding loose holographic flake glitter, I decided to try out some for myself. Today’s product comes from Beauty Big Bang, and it shipped to me in less than 3 weeks from the day I ordered it. It’s not exactly instant gratification, but it was insanely fast considering that it comes from China, and shipping was free.

The packaging is fairly simple. The holo flakes are contained in a small plastic jar which is placed inside a zip sealed bag. Also included is a dual tipped sponge applicator that is similar to the kind that you would find in an eyeshadow compact.

 

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The real beauty of the glitter isn’t apparent until you open up the container. This is best done over a piece of paper or a paper towel because loose glitter can get messy quickly. In any case, the flakes are truly holographic and not just silver. They catch the light and have rainbow reflections.

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As indicated by the name of the product, the glitter consists of both fine particles as well various sized flakes. The biggest flakes are no bigger than 2 mm, and all the pieces are attractively irregularly shaped. This variety is perfect for making an easy galaxy manicure and looks great when used either generously or sparingly.

My only complaint is that you only get 0.2 grams of the glitter in the package. A little does go a long way, but the container is definitely not filled to the brim with glitter. This does make it easier to open and use without spilling the product on everything, but just like with a bag of potato chips, you somehow feel a little cheated. That’s what you get when a product is sold by weight and not volume.

You can use the flakes in a few different ways. One is to pour a small amount into a bottle of clear top coat to make your own holographic top coat. Another would be to paint your nails and then sprinkle the flakes onto the polish while it is still wet. I chose to use a gel top coat to apply the flakes, which is the suggested method on the Beauty Big Bang website.

I decided to use regular nail polish as a base as I don’t enjoy removing gel polish from my nails. I went with a basic black color to really make the holo flakes stand out.

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What’s A Tire Jack by Sephora by OPI is one of my go to black polishes.

After the polish was dry, I applied a gel top coat from Born Pretty to my nails and cured it under a lamp for about 10 seconds. 30 seconds is the amount of time that it takes to fully cure the polish, so my aim was to still ensure that the top coat was sticky enough to let the holo flakes adhere to the surface. Generally you will want to cure this layer for no more than half the normal time to guarantee that the glitter will stick to your nails.

I then took the sponge tipped applicator and dipped it into the pot of glitter and patted it onto the sticky top coat. I repeated this process a few times until I was satisfied with the look, then applied another layer of top coat and cured it for the full recommended time. You can use a fan brush to remove any extra glitter from your cuticles or simply wash your hands after your top coat has cured. That’s all there is to using this product!

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Beautiful holographic flakes make a manicure look out of this world.

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Loose glitter is always a welcome addition to a nail artist’s stash because of its versatility. This one is beautiful and easy to use, and it looks very unique. As stated before, a little bit goes a long way, so you can get a few manicures out of this. If you’re a holosexual, you will definitely want to purchase this product right away!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail glitter SKU:J2425 (retail price is $5.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code CHRISS will get you 10% off your order, and Beauty Big Bang offers free worldwide shipping. Happy polishing!

https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/0-2g-box-galaxy-holo-flakes-laser-nail-powder-chrome-flakes-nail-glitter

https://www.beautybigbang.com

10% off coupon code: CHRISS

Review of Beauty Big Bang Thin Round Nail Glitter Sequins, SKU J1329

Today I’m reviewing some fun nail glitter that I got from Beauty Big Bang’s website (all links are listed at the end of this post). Craft stores don’t usually carry circular glitters, so it’s fun to try out a different shape when doing a glitter placement technique.

This glitter comes in a small plastic jar which is placed inside a zip sealed bag to keep everything self contained. It’s not much to look at, but it does the job. The lid of the plastic jar is black with a Beauty Big Bang sticker on it, but the jar itself is clear so that you can see the contents inside.

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The jar of sequins is in a nice zip sealed bag for shipment. You might want to keep your container in this bag for storage if you are worried about the glitter escaping the jar.

This product contains five different colors of circular glitter in three different sizes. The color combination that I chose was for SKU J1329, which is a blend of metallic gold, copper, silver, magenta, and blue sequins. There were a lot more gold and copper sequins in my mix compared to the blue, silver, and magenta ones, but the colors are beautiful and shiny and go well together.

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Closeup of the plastic jar and the glitter inside.

To apply the sequins, I first painted my nails black using Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora. I then applied a layer of Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping Top Coat by nails inc. over one nail and placed each individual glitter piece using a picking tool and pushing it into the top coat while it was still wet. After my design was set, I applied another layer of top coat over the glitters to seal them into place.

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Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora.

What I like about these sequins is how thin they are. They do not stick up excessively from the top coat, so they are a sleek addition to a basic manicure. Nail art does not get any easier than this!

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Beautiful metallic sequins make a basic black manicure colorful and fun!

This glitter is solvent resistant, meaning that the color will not change once you apply your top coat. This also makes it great to use for a jelly sandwich technique.

I also love the round shape because it reminds me of confetti. The three sizes work together perfectly, and you can also choose to stack them on top of each other to create another different look. There is a lot of glitter in that little jar, so you will be able to use this item for many manicures to come!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail glitter SKU:J1329 (retail price is $3.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code CHRISS will get you 10% off your order, and Beauty Big Bang offers free worldwide shipping. Happy polishing!

https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/glitter-round-thin-sequins-stickers-decals-nail-art-decoration

https://www.beautybigbang.com

10% off coupon code: CHRISS