Santa’s Sleigh Xing Sign Nails

We’re in the home stretch to Christmas, so I had to get at least one Christmas themed manicure in before the big day.  Inspired by road signs, I decided to paint a “Sleigh Crossing” version to warn people to look out for Santa and his reindeer.

To start, I painted my nails with 2 coats of white polish.

img_20161221_142003.jpg

b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

To make my road sign noticeable, I used neon yellow powder that glows under blacklight.

img_20161221_135104.jpg

Born Pretty Neon Phosphor Powder in color #11.

To use this powder, you must apply a gel top coat over your nails and cure it for about 15 seconds so that the surface stays tacky, then apply the powder with a sponge applicator.  Being neat is a strong plus here.  You don’t want to get the top coat pooling in your cuticles or sides of your nail bed because things will look really messy, and using a latex barrier on your skin will aid with the clean up process.

img_20161221_141413.jpg

After applying the powder over the gel top coat, my nails have a matte look.

You will want to use a fan brush to dust away any excess powder from your nails before applying another layer of gel top coat to seal in the color.  The powder can easily contaminate the brush and bottle of top coat, so if you are truly paranoid, you might consider pouring out a small amount of top coat into a separate container for use with this manicure to keep things neat.

img_20161221_140808.jpg

Once the gel top coat is applied and fully cured, my nails achieve a highlighter yellow color.

The Santa and reindeer silhouettes were painted freehand with a detail brush and craft smart acrylic paint in black.  I really wished that I had a stamping plate that I could have used for this step, but it wasn’t the worst thing that I’ve tried to paint.

photogrid_1482078460409.jpg

Warning: Sleigh Xing!

The reindeer were the hardest elements for me to paint.  I had to redo at least one nail completely because I didn’t like how it was turning out.  The best part about having gel top coat sealing the neon base is that you can wipe away the paint on top without messing up the color underneath.

If you decide to attempt the freehand here, I find that it is easier to start by painting the shape of the body, then add the tail, legs, head, and antlers.  That’s my method, but hey, what do I know about painting animals?  Truth be told, I was cursing the whole time about how I can’t paint reindeer!

So while the design looks the most impressive under a blacklight, sadly they do not glow in the dark.  Seeing as you don’t encounter blacklights in many places, people can’t truly appreciate the full effect of these nails.  They’re still pretty festive, so you might want to attend a rave just for fun with these on.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas if you celebrate!  Happy polishing!

 

 

Review of Born Pretty Holographic Powder and Silicone Brush Set

Ladies and gentlemen, be prepared to be wowed by some holographic goodness in this post.

This set comes from Born Pretty Store, and it includes approximately 1 gram of beautiful, luscious, and stunning holographic powder in a cute diamond-like plastic container, a small sponge tipped applicator, and a double ended silicone brush.  The pigment and the sponge applicator are inside a Ziploc sealed baggie while the silicone brush is in its own plastic sleeve.

img_20161204_002842.jpg

So holographic! Even the baggie is imprinted with holographic foil.

The powder itself is very finely milled.  It is reminiscent of the many chrome pigment powders that are on the market right now.  These tiny particles are much smaller than normal glitter and will adhere to gel top coat to form a mirror reflective surface.  It may look very drab and boring in the container, but just wait until you see it in action.

The brush handle is imprinted with the Born Pretty logo.  If you’re wondering what all that blue stuff is in the handle, they are loose faceted beads.  They add to the cute factor of this set.

There are two different brush tips on the handle, both of which are pliable.  The silicone brush has the same kind of give to it as a Konad stamper.  Makes you wonder if you can use a stamper to apply this powder, although you will not have the same kind of precision using a stamper head that you will have using this brush.

img_20161204_003326.jpg

The two different ends of the Born Pretty silicone brush.

You will notice that one end is tapered and chiseled equally on both sides while the other end has a curved nib.  The former is more flexible than the latter due to the different thicknesses of the tips, but both will apply the holographic pigment just as well.  I found that using the curved end was especially useful because it works with the curve of the nail in covering more surface area at once.  Both tips will give you more precision in getting the powder exactly where you want to apply it.

In any case, you will need to prepare your nails with some gel polish before you can apply the powder.  If you don’t have a colored gel polish, you can paint your nails with a regular nail polish, allow it to dry completely, then apply a gel top coat and cure it fully.  The set does not come with the top coat, but I used one purchased separately from Born Pretty for this review.

img_20161203_234346.jpg

Nails painted with b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black and Born Pretty Store Soak Off Gel Polish top coat.

I used the silicone brush to buff the powder into the cured top coat, and WOW.  Just a little bit of powder goes a long way.

img_20161204_001443.jpg

Holographic crack! Just a little bit of powder will transport you into this psychedelic world.

I find that the silicone brush and the sponge applicator work equally well with this product.  The brush does have the advantage of never wearing out, whereas the sponge applicator will need to be replaced after a few uses.  Also, the brush has a more professional look, so if you have paying clients, the brush will look like a more legitimate tool.

All that’s left to do is dust off the excess powder, apply another layer of gel top coat to seal the deal, and you’re ready to dazzle the world with your nails!

img_20161204_000027.jpg

Color shifting was never so easy!

The holographic effect is so strong that you won’t have to struggle to photograph the results.  Those of you who have tried to take pictures of holographic polishes will know how difficult it can be to capture the beauty of the effect.  You can see the resulting rainbows in practically any light setting, and the camera catches them perfectly.

img_20161204_002341.jpg

I jazzed up my digits with some zebra stripes. As if the holographic goodness wasn’t good enough!

Some may wonder if the color of the polish underneath affects the results.  The short answer is somewhat.  The powder is so pigmented and covers so well that only a hint of the base color can be seen.  You will definitely end up with a mostly silver colored holo.

img_20161210_210333.jpg

Swatches over b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black, crimson red, and white. I also tested it over only the gel top coat. Please excuse the discoloration of my nail! :O

This holographic powder and brush set is my favorite nail art acquisition to date.  This stuff has a stronger holographic effect than pretty much any other holographic polish that I have tried.  Judging by how little product I had to apply to get full coverage, this little jar will last me quite a long time with the added bonus of me never having to worry about the ingredients expiring.  It is also just plain gorgeous and easy to use, and who wouldn’t like that?

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this holographic powder and silicone brush set (retail price is $17.99 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/1gbox-holographic-rainbow-laser-glitter-powders-with-silicone-brush-manicure-nail-decoration-p-34834.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

rsspx31

Holographic Zebra Nail Art

OMGOMGOMG I just got the most beautiful holographic power from Born Pretty Store, and just wait until you see it!  It’s the most holographic thing that I have ever put on my nails!  Of course I couldn’t wait to use it in a mani, so here we go!

This powder needs to be applied over a gel polish base.  I don’t think you have to apply a nail color first as the effect will always be mostly silver, but I decided to use regular black polish (b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black) underneath the powder.  I only applied one coat as it is very opaque (it is one of Bundle Monster’s first stamping polishes), let it dry, then applied Born Pretty gel top coat and cured it under a UV LED lamp.

img_20161203_234346.jpg

Shiny black nails done with one coat of b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black followed by Born Pretty gel top coat.

I used a silicone brush to apply the holographic powder from Born Pretty Store to my nails immediately after taking pictures drying the top coat under the lamp.  It was love at first sight!

img_20161204_000027.jpg

So many rainbows result from this holographic powder!

As an aside, anyone who has tried to photograph holographic nail polish knows how hard it is to capture the effect on camera.  This powder required zero effort on my part to get that shot!  The rainbow effect is so dazzling that it is definitely not camera shy!

I would have been totally content to leave my nails alone, but apparently people have come to expect more than just one color from me.  I let the spirit of Lisa Frank guide me into putting zebra stripes over this wonderfully prismatic base.

wpid-img_20150927_135310.jpg

BP-L006 plate from Born Pretty Store.

I could have hand painted some stripes, but I was doing my nails late at night and needed to get to bed, so I opted to stamp them on instead using plate BP-L006 from Born Pretty Store.  I used the image in the top row, 4th from the left and turned it horizontally on my nails so that I could vary the pattern across them, making the design look more hand painted.

img_20161204_002341.jpg

Conveniently, I used the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from the base color to do the stamping on top.

img_20161204_000941.jpg

A holographic zebra is my spirit animal.

This was a fun mani to do, and I still can’t get over the holographic sparkle from the powder.  Plus I think it’s cute that I now match all the Lisa Frank stuff that I own.  I’m such a child of the 90s.

Happy polishing!

Holiday Stamping over Magnetic Polish

I’ve been on a gel polish kick lately, mostly because I keep using a peel off base coat underneath it now that I know what a pain it is to remove!  It’s such a shame sometimes because I do love the shine and the finishes of the polishes by Madam Glam, but a girl’s gotta paint.

This week I tried out a magnetic polish from Madam Glam.  I’m not ordinarily a fan of magnetized polish because the magnets don’t always work so well over curved nail beds.  However, the benefit to using a magnetic gel polish is that if you don’t like the effect, you can easily “reset” your color with another swipe of the applicator brush and try it out again.  The downside is that if you wait too long to cure your polish after applying the magnet, your design will fade as the polish starts to spreads out.  I did not want to get stuck curing one nail at a time, so you will notice that the magnetic effect does not look overly strong in my swatch.

img_20161202_145911.jpg

Flying Purple from Madam Glam applied straight from the bottle.

I used a magnet from China Glaze that I purchased separately seeing as the Madam Glam magnetic gels don’t come with one.

img_20161204_123652.jpg

This item from China Glaze has three different patterned magnets for use with your manicures.

Simply brush a layer of magnetic gel over an already cured layer of the color, balance the magnet over your nail for a few seconds, then remove it to see the pattern in the nail polish.  If you don’t like how it looks, brush the gel out and try it again.  It is one of the huge benefits to using a gel polish for this technique as the design won’t set until you cure it under a lamp.

img_20161202_132303.jpg

Flying Purple with the star magnetic effect applied on top.

The polish looks pretty enough on its own, so I didn’t want to do anything too crazy.  I opted to put some light holiday stamping as an accent nail using Jumbo Plate 6 from Cheeky Beauty.

img_20161204_123911.jpg

Cheeky Jumbo Plate 6 is great for your holiday needs.

I used the silver bells on the far right, 2nd row down from the rectangular images.  I only wanted one set of bells, so after stamping the image, I isolated the part I wanted to use by cleaning off the excess polish from the stamper using some Scotch tape.

img_20161202_150717.jpg

The silver bells were stamped with b.m.c. nail lacquer in iced silver.

Of course, within a few hours after doing this, the polish on my ring finger managed to completely peel off thanks to the super effect peel off base coat from Ünt that I used.  I didn’t want to change my nails quite so soon, so I applied a different polish to replace the lost chip instead.

img_20161202_151257.jpg

I opted to use the aptly named Silver Bells color from Finger Paints as an accent nail color.

img_20161202_152037.jpg

This time I stamped on a holiday ornament with b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. The image is on the far right side of the plate in the first row of rectangular designs.

I think all the different manicures here look cute and festive.  Do you have a favorite one out of the pictures here?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy polishing!

 

 

Thermal Manicure: Butterflies and Flowers

I  have been seeing so much ugliness online lately, so even though this manicure is out of season in the States, I wanted to create something that looked beautiful.

I took advantage of a thermal gel polish I recently bought from Madam Glam for the occasion.  I’ve been dying to use this but wanted to wait until my nails grew out a little more so the color change effect would be more noticeable.

img_20161117_152026.jpg

Love on Top is a pretty thermal crelly polish from Madam Glam that turns white when warm and magenta when cold.

The color change effect works great with flower and butterfly images, so I used 3 different images from Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2 to create my design.

wpid-img_20150807_232846.jpg

For this manicure, I used the single hibiscus flower in the top right corner of the plate, the butterfly image on the far left 5 rows down, and the combined hibiscus/butterfly image 6 rows down, 2nd from the right.

I stamped the butterflies first on my index and pinky fingers, erasing parts of the image with tape so that they would only cover half of my nail at a diagonal.  I stamped the full butterfly image onto my thumb (not shown).  The single hibiscus was used on the other half of the index and pinky nails while the entire image of the combined butterfly and flower design was stamped onto my middle and ring fingernails, flipping the image on one nail so that the nails didn’t look exactly the same.  I also added a single small butterfly to the middle finger to fill some empty space.

img_20161117_144506.jpg

Stamping was done with b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black.

I was quite pleased with how this turned out, and I’ve been entertained by watching the colors shift back and forth in different temperatures.

Hope you all have had a great week!  Happy polishing!

 

 

Election Day Voter Nails

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, not just for me, but for the nation.  I went to the polls immediately after I finished doing these nails, but I didn’t have time to post the tutorial until today.

I wanted an almost graffiti like look, so I went for a splatter technique in classic red, white, and blue colors.  Go USA!  This method was done with coffee stirrers that I cut in half so that the small opening could fill with nail polish easily (see the bottom right photo below for the size).  Simply brush the end of the straw with the color that you want to use and then blow through the other end to splatter the paint all over the place.  Things will get super messy, so make sure you protect all surrounding surfaces before starting!  Keep in mind that thin polish formulas work best for the actual splattering, and the farther away you hold your hand from the straw, the finer the splatter will be.

img_20161113_102946.jpg

  1. Paint your nails white.  I used wild white ways from Essence Cosmetics.
  2. Brush some red polish (And A Cherry On Top from Sephora by OPI) onto the end of a small straw or coffee stirrer and quickly blow through the other end to splatter the color onto your nails.  Repeat until you are satisfied with the coverage.
  3. Repeat the splatter technique with blue (royal blue from b.m.c. nail lacquer) and white (White Hot by Sephora by OPI) polish.  Obviously, white does not show up much, but it does look good when sprayed over large patches of red and blue.
  4. Be prepared for an intense clean up session!  I painted liquid latex around my cuticles, but I also washed my hands with a pumice scrub to get some of the polish off before wiping up the rest with acetone and a cotton pad.
img_20161113_104253.jpg

All cleaned up! Red, white, and blue patriotic speckled effect.

For the lettering, I cheated and used a stamping plate.  I seriously wish that companies would offer a full alphabetic plate, but I managed to make BM-426 from Bundle Monster work for this mani.

img_20161113_103457.jpg

Plate BM-426 from Bundle Monster. Vote can spelled from love and hate. How appropriate.

Because the letters have negative space, I filled in these parts with silver glitter polish (Silver Bells from Finger Paints) and did some reverse stamping.

img_20161113_103730.jpg

I used a clear stamper with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black to first pick up the letter from the plate, then I colored in the empty part with silver glitter nail polish and let it dry completely before transferring it to my nail.

Optional: Use a detail brush with black acrylic paint to correct and/or thicken up any lines as necessary.  I touched up some of the lettering after the stamping was done to make sure the word was visible enough even though most of the stamping came out perfectly.

img_20161113_104528.jpg

Repeat these steps until you spell out the word you want.  Then go out and vote!

I know that there are quite a few people disappointed in the results of the election.  I’m not going to voice my opinion here because this is a nail blog, not a political forum, so if you want to know my views, please talk to me in person.  It is our responsibility as a nation to try to get along with each other and accept the results instead of insulting people and their choices for supporting the “wrong” candidate.  Our voting system is the way it is for a reason, and all we can do is have faith that our president elect will make good decisions in the best interest for the country.  If not, we will have another chance to elect someone else in four years.

img_20161108_180346.jpg

People fought hard for the right to vote, so go out and register if you are able to do so.  It may not seem like one vote matters, but you never know how things might have turned out if everyone who could vote cast a ballot!

Take care, and happy polishing!

 

Plaid School Uniform Nails

People are already starting to go back to school, so I wanted to do some nails that would match a school uniform.

I specifically had a gray, blue, and white plaid print in mind, so I started by picking out the shades.

img_20160811_115456.jpg

From left to right: Frankly, I Don’t Give A-dam by Sephora by OPI, Ya Qin An stamping polish #8 in electric blue, and b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

img_20160810_125144.jpg

I painted all my nails gray with Frankly, I Don’t Give A-dam by Sephora by OPI.

For the plaid look, I used a plate from Born Pretty Store.

wpid-img_20150927_135310.jpg

Plate BP-L006 from Born Pretty Store. I used the pattern on the far left side in the second row.

It is best to use a clear stamper for the next two steps to ensure that the pattern is lined up correctly.  Please be aware that it can sometimes be very difficult to stamp straight lines because both the stamper head and the nail bed are curved surfaces, so try not to push down too hard with the stamper.  It may take a few tries and a lot of cursing to get this right, but keep in mind that if the lines don’t look straight on the stamper, they probably won’t look straight on your nails, either!  Of course, you can just be lazy like me and stamp slightly curved lines, anyway!

img_20160810_130218.jpg

Stamp the plaid pattern with electric blue polish first.

img_20160810_130832.jpg

Carefully line up your stamper over the blue pattern where you desire it, and stamp white polish with the same design. I purposefully tried to shift the white portion down and to the right of the blue part so that it did not fully cover the blue lines.

I also chose a white polish that I know is not very opaque so that the colors would blend a little more.

Also, even if you don’t line up the patterns at all, it still looks cool.  I just prefer there to be larger areas of the base color poking through.  It’s still a good rule of thumb to keep the lines running parallel to each other so that it doesn’t look like a hot mess.

img_20160810_115442.jpg

Add some top coat, and you’re all done!

Initially, when I painted these, I wasn’t in love with the result, especially because the blue color started bleeding into the white color and making a weird purple tone in the places where the polishes overlapped.  However, the look has been growing on me, and I think these would make stunning nails for any business professional out there.  With the right color scheme, I can see these going great with a nice tweed suit in the fall.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though!  Enjoy the rest of the summer while it lasts!  NYC schools don’t open until after Labor Day, so the kids have a few more weeks of vacation left.  Enjoy the time, and happy polishing!

Pole Dancer Nails

After doing the silhouette of the rhythmic gymnast for my Olympics themed nails, I felt the urge to do something else with a silhouette.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to rely on my freehand painting skills for this one because I have a stamping plate that fits the bill perfectly!

img_20160731_122333.jpg

Can you get jiggy with it?  Plate BP-X07 from Born Pretty Store.

Seems to me like there were quite a few pole dancers and sexy girls on there, so I went with a holographic polish base to fit the mood.

img_20160808_161619.jpg

My holo polish of choice was Things That Make You Go Bloom by KB Shimmer.

img_20160808_163046.jpg

I used bmc nail lacquer in noir black to do the stamping, but I wasn’t that thrilled with the opacity.

img_20160808_162446.jpg

I ended up going over a lot of the images with craft smart acrylic paint in Black to intensify the silhouettes. The poles were corrected with paint and a striping brush, and I had to draw in the bust outline for the girl on the far left.

Of course, the lesson is to make sure you use good quality stamping polishes in the first place so that you don’t have to paint over your stamping to make it look good!  I suppose it would have looked fine in either case, but certain details didn’t get picked up from the plate so well, and my OCD wouldn’t let me leave things like that.

img_20160807_214856.jpg

My “pole” is actually my flute!

It’s still a cute idea, and it reeks of Showgirls.  Don’t you think Nomi Malone would approve?

Happy polishing!

Watercolor Butterfly Nails

I’ve wanted to do some watercolor nail art for awhile, and after seeing a video of an artist using alcohol inks that a friend of mine shared on Facebook, I decided that it was finally time to put the technique to use.

img_20160724_185529.jpg

I started by painting all my nails white. This color is Alpine Snow by OPI.

img_20160724_191544.jpg

For the alcohol inks, I used BiC Mark It Permanent Markers. I got a good deal on a set of 37 of them from BJ’s, so I picked some pretty cool tones from the set.

img_20160724_191306.jpg

Rather than draw directly on my nails with the permanent markers, I scribbled a swatch of each shade onto a plastic bag to use as a palette.

For the next step, I poured some 91% isopropyl alcohol into a small container.  Using a fine brush, I dipped the bristles into the alcohol and then mixed it with the color swatch on the bag that I wanted to use.  The more alcohol on your brush, the more diluted the color will be.  You can easily add more color over the area to make the shade more intense.  Be sure to clean off your brush on a clean paper towel when switching between colors.

img_20160724_190947.jpg

The result after applying Fandango Pink with alcohol and a brush.

Continue adding colors until you are satisfied with the result.

img_20160724_192107.jpg

Pretty pastel watercolor shades. I love this look as is!

I used plate BP-X08 from Born Pretty Store to do the stamping.

img_20160725_212933.jpg

I used the butterflies in the bottom right corner of the plate for this manicure.

img_20160725_212135.jpg

I stamped the design at different angles so that the butterflies looked different on each nail. The polish is b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black.

img_20160724_184728.jpg

A nice topcoat adds a beautiful shine to this manicure.

I absolutely adore this watercolor look.  It adds a dreamy touch to the hot weather we’ve been having in NYC.  Hope you are all enjoying your summer!  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!