Flaming Manicure

Not too long ago, I played the opera Die Walküre by Richard Wagner, the 2nd of 4 [very long] operas that make up Wagner’s Ring cycle. Everyone was expecting some appropriate nail art from me, so I chose to do a fire design based on the last scene of the opera. It’s the only place where I had to play the piccolo in my part, so it just made sense to me.

Because it’s a fiery scene, I started by painting my nails with a red based black polish called chelsea from nails inc. It’s perfectly opaque in 2 coats, although you can see more of a red tint if you only use one coat.

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Easter Bunny Manicure

I know I’m posting this tutorial a little late, but at least it will be a reference for future Easters to come! After seeing the Easter bunny around town a few times, I decided to make some Easter bunny nails that didn’t look as creepy as the ones that I saw! Seriously, some of those bunnies are terrifying!

To start, I painted 3 coats of LV010 from Ünt. This company is best known for their legendary peel off base coat, a product that I use in combination with a lot of my gel manicures to make them easy to remove seeing as I change my polish quite often, but they also have a full range of colors and cosmetics. This beautiful light pink polish dried with a vinyl finish, but it also took forever to set and was streaky for the first 2 coats. If you have a lot of free time to do nothing, this is a good polish, but it definitely does not dry in a New York minute. It was disappointing considering how well loved their Ready for Takeoff base coat is.

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This beautiful swatch of LV010 from Unt needed a lot of time to dry, and it still wasn’t fully set when I started doing the rest of the nail art. Oops.

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Irish Unicorn Nails

If you blog, you’re almost always expected to come up with nails for every holiday. While I never used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all that much, my nails certainly have been on board for the past few years! This year’s inspiration came from a student of mine who dressed up as an Irish unicorn for her lesson. I became obsessed with her headband, so she gave me a homework assignment to create some nail art based on it.

My first step was to paint all my nails green. I used Paper Chasing from China Glaze.

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The perfect kelly green- Paper Chasing from China Glaze. Be warned, though- this stuff will stain your nails a shade that Elphaba would find normal!

For more impact and sparkle, I used Emerald City holographic glitter from Dimension Nails over the polish. To apply it, I painted a coat of Paper Chasing over a nail, dipped it into the pot of glitter while the polish was still wet, then used a fan brush to sweep away the excess. This process was repeated for each nail.

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Welcome to the Emerald Isle!

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Geometric MTA Inspired Nail Art

The MTA has been renovating the stations on the A train line here in NYC for quite some time now.  I haven’t had to take the train into the city for months, so I only recently saw the beautiful new panels they installed in the Rockaway Blvd. station.

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Morning light looks gorgeous through the little stained glass circles.

I wanted to capture the design in some nail art, so I thought the Infinite Ombré kit from Formula X would be perfect for this.

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The Infinite Ombré set from Formula X consists of the following colors (pictured clockwise from left side): Platinum Prime, Timeless Teal, Infinite Indigo, Limitless Lemon, and Boundless Berry.

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I started by painting all my nails with Platinum Prime.

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Using a striping brush and white acrylic paint by craft smart, I painted lines at various angles across my nails. The only thing I made sure to do was to make triangular shapes.

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I made little circles at each point of a triangle with a dotting tool and the various gel tints from the Infinite Ombré kit.

I have to confess that I work in a rather poorly lit area when I paint my nails, so there is a single green dot on my index finger in the above picture because I layered the yellow and blue tints over each other.  In dark lighting, it looked like it turned out to be the same teal color as the blue tint, so I didn’t bother trying to make green dots again.  It wasn’t until after I looked at the pictures on my camera that I realized the layering effect worked, so if you try this at home, you can add a few more colors into your mani by layering the gel tints over each other.

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A nice top coat smooths things over.

Let this be a lesson that you can find beauty and inspiration anywhere if you open your mind to it.  Happy polishing!

EKG Heartbeat Nail Art

Call me a romantic at heart, but I love the look of the EKG heartbeat in jewelry and nail art.  It’s such a cute idea to exploit the heart in the graph, so when I saw this plate from Born Pretty Store, I instantly wanted to use it.

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BP-71 plate from Born Pretty Store is for the romantics out there.  I used the design on the far right side of the plate for this manicure.

It made sense to have the background of the EKG be white with black lines for the graph, but I wanted to color in the hearts in with red glitter as well.  I ended up using the following polishes in this manicure.

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From left to right: Ring In the Red by China Glaze, b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black, and Bunny by Julep.

I decided to highlight the EKG on my middle two nails rather than stamp the same design across my whole hand.

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Bunny by Julep has some gold microglitter in it while Ring In the Red by China Glaze has densely packed different sized small red glitters throughout the entire polish.

Because I have short nails, I knew I would not have enough space to fit the entire 3 lines of the EKG design on them.  After stamping with noir black, I used Scotch tape to lift away one line of the design from the stamper.

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I stamped the entire design first and then used tape to erase parts of the image that would interfere with the look.

Using the revamped image, I stamped it onto my nails.

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Basic black can be cute.

I was annoyed that the image didn’t pick up clearly with the stamper alone, so I decided to take a detail brush and some black acrylic paint to neaten up the lines.  At this point, I might as well have painted the design by hand, but it’s a lot easier to trace over the stamped areas rather than draw it without a guide.

Next, I took a small dotting tool and used it to color in the hearts with Ring In the Red.  I left a little bit of a black outline around each heart to make it stand out.

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A neatened up version of the design with glittery hearts.

After applying top coat to all my nails, I added a black rhinestone near the cuticle of the nails painted with red glitter polish.  The gems looked like butterflies, although they could also be bow knots or X chromosomes for all I know.

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Butterfly rhinestones finish the look because when you’re in love, your heart is all aflutter.

It was sort of a cheesy concept, but I think it’s cute.  Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!  Happy polishing!

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Review of 6-in-1 Dotting Tool and Pen Set

I’m always looking for a way to avoid having to clean my nail art brushes, so what really attracted me to this set was the fact that there was a pen head included with 5 different sized dotting tool heads.  Drawing with dotting tools never really worked for me, but maybe if there was a pen head…

Before we get to the demonstrations, let’s address the basics behind the product.

The pen comes shipped in a plastic tube.  Additionally, there is another piece of plastic tubing surrounding the pen nib to protect it from getting bent.

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The other dotting tool heads are conveniently stored inside the handle of the pen.  Talk about a space saver- you basically have 6 nail art tools in one little package!

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The detached parts of the dotting tool and pen set.

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Here you can see what the connecting holder looks like. The dotting tool nibs fit into the center of the holder while the pen nib fits into a small half-circle shaped groove.

The pen handle is made of plastic that is coated with a pink brushed metallic finish.  The dotted design that you see is inlaid on the handle and is silver colored.  This decoration looks pretty and stylish, and it also gives the handle a bit more grip compared to a smooth surface.

What I think would have made the design even better is if a matching cap was included or if both ends of the top half of the handle could be fitted into the base.  I for one will be making sure not to lose the original packaging so that I can keep dust and dirt out of the top half of the pen.

The pen tip looks very similar to those found on fountain pens and has a small chiseled edge.

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View of the top side of the pen nib.

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View of the underside of the pen nib.

Using a bottle of polish as an inkwell, you can dip the nib into it and write with the tip as if it were a normal pen.

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Writing is possible with this pen. I used OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark to scribble out some numbers.

I suggest lightly dragging the tip of pen over your surface in order to draw or write with paint or polish.  You will find that if you push too hard, the nib will split and make your lines thicker, and you also risk scratching your surface.

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Using the pen with white acrylic paint over Too Too Turq by Sephora by OPI.

I do feel like I am more in control of the paint when I use the pen nib over painting with a brush because it feels like I am drawing with a regular pen.  Another upside is that to clean the nib, I simply wipe off the excess paint or nail polish with a tissue with no acetone or water required.  Also, the handle is easy to hold compared to the thin handles you normally see on nail art brushes.  The downside is that I have to frequently re-dip the tip into my medium because the nib cannot store that much polish.

The dotting tools are great and would make an excellent set for any nail artist.

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The various sized dotting tool nibs included in this set.

The largest dot measures roughly 4 mm across while the smallest dot is about 1 mm in diameter.  The 3rd and 4th dots in the picture above seem so close in size that I wish the set included another tiny tip in lieu of one of the two aforementioned nibs.  I feel like a smaller point would especially come in handy for coloring in stamped decals and for making water marble designs.  After all, we nail artists work on miniature canvases- the details are what make what we do so special.

It’s a little hard to change the dotting tool heads in the middle of a manicure because the tips are only an inch long.  When you’re trying not to smudge your nails, size matters!  But if you’re crafty, you can figure out how to manipulate one of the larger heads to do different sized dots by varying the pressure.

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Dotted arabesque manicure. The same dotting tool head was used to create all the varying sized dots in this manicure by varying the pressure and amount of paint on the tip.

Overall, I think this set is a smart buy for any nail artist.  It’s easy to store and even easier to use thanks to the handle being the same size as your average pen barrel.  Clean up for these tools is a breeze, so if you don’t want to fuss with your brushes, this is definitely the tool for you!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this dotting tool and pen set (retail price is $7.48 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/6pcsset-nail-dotting-multi-size-dotting-head-nail-tool-water-marbling-tool-p-21724.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

rsspx31

Glow in the Dark Christmas Light Nails

The holidays are upon us!  In a week, it will be Christmas, and I got my lights up just in time…  on my nails.

I know other people have done the Christmas lights thing before, so to make mine different, I used some glow in the dark nail polish that I got from Born Pretty Store (use code RSSPX31 for 10% off).  Way to light things up!

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How awesome are these neon glow in the dark colors under blacklight? These are polishes by BK in 02, 04, 06, 10 and 18.

I wanted to mimic strings of lights hung in a window, so I used black polish (Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora) for my base.

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Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora make a very chic looking mani by itself.

I started the artwork by painting green lines across my nails with a striping brush.  Most people like to put loops of lights in their design, but as cute as that looks, how often do you ever see people hang their lights up like that?  The wires are usually pretty straight yet somewhat crooked from being wound up inside a box.

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Green wire is painted on with a striping brush and green acrylic paint by craft smart.

The glow in the dark polishes aren’t very opaque, so to make them stand out against a black background, I decided to paint the light bulbs across the wire with white acrylic paint and a detail brush first.

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The base coat for the light bulbs consists of white acrylic paint from craft smart to help make the colors pop.

Next I used a dotting tool to apply a generous blob of different colored BK luminous polishes over the white bulbs.

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Pretty Christmas lights!

The magic happens when you turn on a blacklight.  The colors really pop!

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My Christmas lights are on!

In terms of how well these light up in the dark on their own…  I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything glow in the dark for a very long time.  Even after “charging” the nail polish under a bright light (or black light) for a minute, I only get a few seconds of happiness before they fade to black again.  But you better believe that I’m keeping these on for when I go out this weekend!  I know there’s got to be a black light on somewhere!

Hope you enjoy this holiday season and take some time to enjoy the beautiful decorations that are up!  Happy polishing!