Leopard and Jungle Print Manicure

It’s a jungle out there, and here are the nails to prove it!

I started by painting my nails with Aimeili gel polish in 073 Kale. This army green provides the perfect backdrop for jungle foliage. 3 thin coats were applied and cured for a minute each in a 36W UV/LED lamp.

IMG_20190218_005338.jpg

Aimeili gel polish in color 073 Kale.

Continue reading

Icy Winter French Manicure

Ah, winter. The snow and the ice sure make the season beautiful, but it’s also flu season, and guess who is still recovering from that? Yep, you guessed it- it’s me! I didn’t intend to take another break from doing nail art, but I was horribly ill for many days, unable to do anything but sweat from my fever and sleep. I’m doing better now 2 weeks later, but I still can’t get rid of my cough! It’s only just slightly nerve wracking when you want to paint your nails.

In any case, I decided to make a snow drift inspired French tip design for this week. I started by painting all my nails a beautiful icy light blue color using the aptly named polish Silent Snowfall from Femme Fatale.

IMG_20180124_010937.jpg

It only took two coats of polish to get this light shade perfectly opaque. It also has the prettiest shimmer thanks to the fine holographic glitter added to the formula.

The French tips were done with plate B119 from Blink and Ya Qin An Stamping Nail Polish in Silver. Continue reading

Holographic Pink and Black Lace Manicure

Today’s nail art is based off a pink and black color theme, which is always a classic combination. I also really was in the mood to use some holographic polish because it’s been awhile since I enjoyed some rainbow action!

I started by painting my nails with What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI and Born Pretty Holographic Stamping Polish in color #2.

IMG_20171112_003753.jpg

Everything is so shiny! These nails look killer already even without any nail art.

I wanted to do French tips combined with stamping, so I applied an extra swipe of black polish across the tips of the nails that were painted with the pink polish.

IMG_20171112_004019.jpg

Half of a French manicure in action.

Continue reading

Texas Strong Nail Art

Apologies for the lack of activity lately. The beginning of the new school year is always a tiring and busy time for me, and I haven’t had much time to paint my nails.

A friend from Texas had requested that I do some Texas Strong nails in light of the recent hurricane activity there. The victims of Hurricane Harvey have been pushed aside in the minds of many after Hurricane Irma hit the US not long afterward. Many prayers go out to those who are still recovering from both disasters. I’m grateful that those that I know who are in the affected areas are safe.

In any case, the first thing that came to mind with my Texas Strong design was to paint the state’s flag and a small version of the state on my nails. For those who don’t know what the Texas flag looks like, here it is:

Flag of Texas.svg
Public Domain, Link

I started by painting my index finger blue and the rest of my fingers white.

IMG_20170912_005106

The blue polish is called Oceanic and the white polish is called White Matter, both from Formula X.

I did the star by hand with a small brush and craft smart acrylic paint in White. To get a more symmetrical look, I placed dots where the 5 points of the stars would be and then connected the dots.

IMG_20170912_004342

To ensure that I got straight lines between the white and red sections, I applied a piece of striping tape to use as a painting guide, then I brushed on red polish (Pyrotechnic by Formula X) over the top part of my nail.

The text “Texas Strong” and the state of Texas on my pinky were hand painted with a detail brush and craft smart acrylic paint in Black. A generous amount of Seche Vite top coat finished off the look.

IMG_20170910_020912

It’s a simple design that gets the point across. I wish I could have done something big and grand, but I’m still struggling to find the time to do everything these days.

Hope everyone is safe and well out there! Happy polishing!

Wedding Cake Inspired Manicure

I’ve surprisingly been able to keep up with the February @glamnailschallenge prompts so far.  Feb. 8’s theme was Wedding Cake, so I channeled my inner Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes to come up with a wedding cake design to put on my nails.

I started by painting all my nails white.  I chose Bunny from Julep because it has subtle gold microglitter in it that would match the gold stamping and accents that I planned to add later.

img_20170208_194556.jpg

Bunny by Julep.

For the icing scrollwork, I chose to stamp on a pretty filigree from plate BPL-027 from Born Pretty Store.

img_20170208_193623.jpg

I chose the pattern from the upper left hand corner for this manicure.

I used Charge It! from Sephora by OPI to do the stamping.  I tried to align the point of the design with the center of my nail, and I also left a little bit of space between the point and the cuticle so that it would more closely resemble a cake layer.

img_20170208_195247.jpg

Subtle gold stamping finished off with a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI to give it the look of fondant.

Because I wasn’t so sure about the next part of the design, I added pearl rhinestones from Born Pretty Store so I could get a “finished” shot before I proceeded just in case I didn’t like how it turned out.

img_20170208_194929.jpg

Tiny flatback pearl rhinestones were applied to the center of each nail in the same part of the design with Kiss Nail Art Glue and some tweezers. I am holding the color Charge It! from Sephora by OPI, which was used for the stamping.

The next part consisted of adding a band of gold fondant to the top of my cake layer, otherwise known in the nail art world as French tips.  I used the brush from the bottle of Charge It! to paint a stripe of polish across the top of each nail and then added gold striping tape underneath it to neaten up the line.  I applied some more matte top coat, and declared this manicure finished.

img_20170208_190001.jpg

I’m amazed by how much matte top coat makes this look like a layer of fondant.

img_20170208_194234.jpg

Requisite bottle shot.

It’s funny how I kept wondering what I was going to do for this theme, and I managed to put this look together in the end.  I feel like doing nail art is like choosing an outfit for a special occasion- you just have to look through everything you have and figure out what goes together the best.

Happy polishing!

 

Review of Born Pretty Neon Phosphor Pigment Powder #11

Looking for nails that are great for clubbing, or do you just desire a burst of bright neon color?  The neon pigment powder in today’s review is just the thing that you’re looking for.

img_20161204_003615.jpg

Born Pretty Store’s neon pigment powder in color #11.

The powder is a very fine loose pigment that is stored in a small faceted plastic container with a screw top lid.  Unfortunately, it does not have a seal over the mouth of the jar, so some of the product does leak out into the bag during shipment.  It is, however, only a fine dusting that makes things a little messy.  On the plus side, the powder is inexpensive and Born Pretty manages to fit two grams of it inside the container as opposed to the normal one gram that is inside most of their similarly packaged glitters and powders.

The bag itself has a zip seal running along the top, so you can always store the container inside the bag if you are concerned about it leaking out again.

img_20161221_135526.jpg

Also included in the package is a sponge tipped applicator.

I would suggest that you place a piece of paper or a tissue underneath the container and over your work area before opening it and using it to allow for easy clean up later on.  Wearing a face mask and eye protection is also recommended if you are sensitive to dust.  I’m sure it is cosmetic grade and safe to use, but the powder is very fine and can therefore easily float into the air and be inhaled.

img_20161221_135104.jpg

Bright neon yellow powder.

When I first used this powder, I tried it over black nail polish and soon found that it did not turn out very cute.  I also found out that it does not work well will negative space manicures because the powder smears across everything once another layer of top coat is applied.  Also, being neat is very important when using this product.  Below are the pictures from my first failed attempt, so live and learn by my example!

photogrid_1482381847841.jpg

Things that I learned from using the product the first time: Neatness counts, negative space manicures aren’t a good idea for this look, and using black polish as a base color will make the powder appear green.

I also discovered that the powder looks AMAZING under the gel curing lamp and under blacklight.  It doesn’t mean that the manicure glows in the dark, but if you’re going to a rave, these nails are definitely going to stand out!

Below is a proper tutorial for how to use this neon powder.

img_20161221_142003.jpg

Paint your nails white or a color that matches the color of the powder. I used b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

If you are using regular nail polish, allow the color to dry completely first.  For either gel or regular polish, apply a gel top coat over the base color being very careful to not let it pool in the sides of your nail bed or your cuticles.  Cure your nails for about 15 seconds so that the formula stays tacky.  This is necessary to get the powder to adhere to your nail.

img_20161221_141413.jpg

Using the sponge applicator that comes with the set, apply the powder over the half cured gel top coat. It does not take much powder to get full color coverage.

Pro tip: For extra easy clean up, use a liquid latex barrier such as Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape around your nails.  You don’t have to do this as the powder will easily wash off your skin after you apply and cure another layer of gel top coat, but it does keep things looking more neat.

Once the powder is applied over the base color to your liking, use a fan brush to dust away any excess powder from your nails.  Take special care to clean any powder from your cuticles.

Once you have removed the excess pigment, apply another layer of gel top coat to your nails and cure it fully as directed on the package.  However, despite clean up, do be aware that there will be a chance that your brush or bottle of top coat will get contaminated with the powder.  You can wipe your brush on a clean tissue before dipping it back into the bottle to help prevent this, or pour out a small amount of top coat into a different container for use if you are especially paranoid about contamination.

img_20161221_140808.jpg

The finished look! Bright and shiny neon yellow nails.

The color is extremely vibrant, so the pigment works great.  Its real appeal is what it looks like under blacklight.

img_20161219_115731.jpg

This stunning pigment really pops under a blacklight.

Because the color reminded me of the newer hazard road signs, I decided to make a Santa Sleigh Crossing Sign version with acrylic paint over this neon base.

photogrid_1482078460409.jpg

While it is messy to use, this neon pigment has serious color payoff.  It is especially eye catching under blacklight, but the color is attention grabbing even in normally lit situations.  Just make sure to use a white base color when using it to get the best effect.  Judging by how much powder gets used for a manicure, this container will last forever, so don’t just save it for special occasions.  Get creative!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this neon powder pigment (retail price is $1.99 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/2gbox-neon-phosphor-powder-nail-gradient-pigment-powder-manicure-nail-decoration-p-36691.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

rsspx31

Back to School Chalkboard/Bus/Crayon Nail Art

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.

img_20160828_001212.jpg

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!

img_20160828_002806.jpg

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

img_20160828_001046.jpg

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!

Springtime Floral Manicure

Ever have one of those days where you drop your nail polish brush and get polish on your pants and your camera and then find out that you smudged your nails in the process of trying to keep the brush from falling?  Yeah, that was me when I was trying to do this manicure.  I think I must be more burned out than I thought I was!

In any case, I love springtime because of all the beautiful flowers everywhere.  It started with seeing daffodils sprout up all over the place, but now the trees are also in full bloom.  It’s great that I have so many plates of floral patterns to match!

I decided to use plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store for this manicure.

wpid-img_20151003_183030.jpg

Flowers upon flowers! I used the image in the top row, 3rd from the right.

img_20160404_111231.jpg

Color palette for the day (left to right): Peace, Love & Green by Finger Paints, Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #12, Cab Fare by Sephora by OPI, Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #10, and b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

img_20160404_120506.jpg

I started out by painting my middle and ring finger nails with Cab Fare and the other three nails with Peace, Love & Green

img_20160404_121339.jpg

After allowing the polish to dry, I applied gold striping tape to the tips of the green nails.

I wanted to get away with stamping the flowers on my nails without having to color in anything, but I wouldn’t have had a nice enough contrast in the design, so I had to make nail decals to color in the petals with white polish.

img_20160404_120843.jpg

I used Born Pretty Stamping Polish #10 to transfer the design to a stamper.

img_20160404_122419.jpg

With a small dotting tool, I colored in the flower petals with white stamping polish (used for its opacity).

img_20160404_121849.jpg

After applying a layer of clear top coat over the whole design and letting it dry, you can peel the nail decal off the stamper.

img_20160404_121722.jpg

After trimming down the decals to fit my nail beds, I applied another coat of clear polish over the yellow polish before placing the decals on top of my nails.

For the final step, I took advantage of my clear stamper to add green stamping polish over the stems and leaves of the pattern.

img_20160404_120727.jpg

I started by stamping the entire image with Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #12.

img_20160404_120609.jpg

Using Scotch tape, I removed the flowers from the design. I had to be quick so that the polish wouldn’t stick to the stamper, so I couldn’t be more precise about preserving every detail that I wanted to be green.

img_20160404_115719.jpg

The clear stamper makes it much easier to line up the design over the existing one.

I know it wasn’t a perfect transfer, but it created a bit of a 3D effect as one of my friends pointed out.  Besides, how gorgeous does that look?  The contrasting white and green polish over the orange and yellow really makes the flowers and leaves stand out.

I’m still trying to find time to finish my taxes, but I hope to have more posts up soon!  One day at a time for me for now.

Happy polishing!

London Bridge Nail Art

I had to fine tune my last manicure to be more functional because the glitter kept catching on everything and falling off, but I wasn’t about to get rid of that lovely flag yet because of how long it took to paint.  I knew I had a template for London Bridge on one of my stamping plates, but I opted not to use it the first time around because I thought it didn’t look enough like the real structure.

img_20160222_132424.jpg

Cheeky Jumbo Plate 3. I wasn’t totally digging the London Bridge graphics on this one, but I used one anyway. It’s in the 5th row, 2nd image from the right, and a single version of it is in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right.

London Bridge is a sandy color, so I picked a nice tan polish and decided to go with a sky blue background.

img_20160222_133040.jpg

From left to right: b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black, Infatuated by Formula X for Sephora, and Vera by Julep.

After removing the glitter from my original manicure, I repainted those nails with Infatuated.  For a full tutorial on how to paint the flag, please refer to my last post.

img_20160222_175644.jpg

British pride!

To add color to the bridge, I stamped the image onto several stamper heads before coloring it in with Vera and a small dotting tool.

img_20160223_004710.jpg

A set of stamp heads makes working on several images a piece of cake.

img_20160223_004924.jpg

I used a dotting tool to color in the image. I could have been more precise if I used a detail brush, but I hate cleaning nail polish off my nail art brushes.

I didn’t bother to put the stamper heads back into the holder to transfer the image onto my nails.  After letting the polish dry a little, I took a head and gently rocked the stamper back and forth across my nail to make sure the image transferred.

img_20160223_005106.jpg

Closeup of my index finger.

The plate image still looks hokey in my opinion, but it’s still somewhat recognizable.  The simplified design along with the color scheme also makes me think of sand castles.

img_20160223_010155.jpg

London Bridge hopefully won’t fall down like it does in the song!

So ends my Anglophile week.  I’m playing a recording session tomorrow and Friday that will also be filmed, so I’ll need to change my nails lest people start wondering why a NYC musician is sporting UK nails!  I’ll be sad to lose the flag, though.  I hate working with striping tape, but I love how clean the lines turned out.

Happy polishing!

UK Nail Art

One of my friends went to London for the month, so naturally she put in a request for London themed nail art.  I joked that I could simply paint my nails all gray and say that it was London fog, but I didn’t think that was what she had in mind.

I could have opted to paint some of the landmarks- Big Ben and London Bridge came to mind, but I feel like my ability with acrylic paint couldn’t do justice to the structures.  In the end, I decided to make the fuzzy texture of the hats of the royal guard flanking the British flag.  If I had long nails, I would have included a face with the hats, but with my current length, I felt like the heads wouldn’t have the right proportion if I went that route.

I really wanted the flag to look nice, so I decided to use striping tape to keep the lines super straight.  I hate using striping tape because it involves lots of drying time, patience to apply many pieces of tape correctly, and the possibility of messing up your nails when removing the tape, but my friend deserved the best.

img_20160222_003617.jpg

Flag colors: White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Blue It by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear, and And A Cherry On Top by Sephora by OPI.

Because your nails have to be complete dry before applying any kind of tape, I painted my thumb, middle and ring fingers with White Hot to start the drying process as soon as possible.

img_20160222_004100.jpg

Please excuse the nail discoloration- the red glitter from my last mani somewhat stained my nails.

While the white polish was drying, I decided to do the fuzzy hats.

img_20160222_003848.jpg

The “hats” are done with What’s a Tire Jack? by Sephora by OPI and Recollections Signature Glitter in Ebony.

img_20160222_004631.jpg

To apply the glitter, I first painted my nail with black polish.

img_20160222_004903.jpg

While the polish was still wet, I sprinkled on the glitter. Keep a piece of paper on your table to catch the excess so you can pour it back into the container when you’re done.

img_20160222_005309.jpg

I used a fan brush to dust away the excess. I cleaned up the extra pieces of glitter by running an orange stick along the borders of the polish on my nail.

img_20160222_005753.jpg

After patting down the glitter a little, the resulting manicure looks rather chic and interesting. Lovers of texture polish will love this look.

I waited a few hours for the white polish to fully dry before attempting to apply the striping tape.  Be sure to test a small area of your nail with the tape to see if you will ruin your base color before proceeding.

img_20160222_005933.jpg

This was the layout for the striping tape. You can see that it already resembles the British flag.

When working with striping tape, it is best to use thin coats of polish so that the color you are painting doesn’t bleed into other areas when you remove the tape.  Also, try to remove the tape as soon as possible so that the polish doesn’t start stretching and/or blending with the base color as you pull each piece off.  Because of this, I don’t have pictures of every single step, but suffice it to say that I colored in the blue areas first and the red stripe down the middle of the flag as shown below.

img_20160222_010201.jpg

You can see that even though I tried to follow my own tips, some of the blue polish leaked into the white area. You can fix this later by going over these spots with a dotting tool and some white nail polish.

Of course, I totally forgot to color in the horizontal red stripe, so I had to reapply the tape to fill in that area, and I left it on to paint the red diagonal stripes as well.

img_20160222_010731.jpg

I reapplied striping tape to fill in the horizontal red stripes. I used a striping brush to draw in the diagonal stripes by hand.

Incidentally, painting the flag by hand is a ton faster. Start with a blue base color, use white acrylic paint and a striping brush to paint large stripes, and then add red polish over the white paint.  You will save yourself hours of drying time and not be super frustrated with placing all those pieces of striping tape.

img_20160222_003500.jpg

My finished Union Jack done with striping tape.

But wait, what did I do with my thumb, you ask?  I painted another flag of course…  because it’s so clear that I loooooove using striping tape.  The steps are pretty much the same as for the bigger flag, but I took more pictures this time.

img_20160222_233642.jpg

Lots of striping tape.

img_20160222_233714.jpg

I painted the red stripes first with the assumption that if I bled into a blue area, the blue polish would cover up any red mistakes more easily.

img_20160222_233751.jpg

I used the brush from the bottle to paint the blue sections, so that’s why it’s a bit messy.

img_20160222_233838.jpg

After removing the striping tape, I still had to use red polish to finish the cross in the center, but you can also see what happens when you leave striping tape on for too long. Because the polish set more during the time that I used taking extra photos, the colors pulled up with the tape and created a bleeding effect along some of the edges.

img_20160222_011417.jpg

I wish my thumb looked cleaner, but it’s not bad.

img_20160222_003030.jpg

The guards are at attention!

My friend loved the nails, thankfully, and now another friend has put in a request to do a South African theme in honor of her homeland.  I better start doing some research on the area!

Incidentally, I didn’t apply top coat to the glitter for the photos, and most of the glitter will flake off if you don’t.  The texture doesn’t look as nice once you apply top coat, but it’s a real pain feeling like you’re shedding glitter on everything, so I had to change those nails.  But that’s for the next blog post…

Happy polishing!