Fun Halloween Themed Nails

Happy November! This post is coming a little late because I’ve been swamped with trying to get a lot of pictures edited and ready for the blog (not to mention work!), but I think you guys will still enjoy seeing my journey for this manicure!

I did my nails the night before Halloween, and while I didn’t have any spectacular plans to go out, I did want to be festive. I went with a various selection of stamped images on top of a dark background.

To start, I prepared my nails with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape and then painted my nails with Legend from Formula X for Sephora.

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I kind of wish I hadn’t painted the peel off tape first because this shade is gorgeous and deserved its own swatch photo!

Next I took a small piece of a makeup sponge and applied Jetsetter from Formula X and blended it with Legend to create a vampy gradient.

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Because each shade has shimmery particles in it, the textures blend extra well together.

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World Tour Nails

Happy September! I’m in the process of putting together my first passport application right now. It’s shameful that I still haven’t been outside of the US yet! I have some potential gigs coming up that will require a passport, so I figured that I better get that application in as soon as possible!

Today’s nail art features a world tour of sorts, containing all sorts of landmarks from different countries.

To start, I painted all my nails a pretty pearly light blue color to represent the sky.

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Faded Blues by Ulta Professional is a lovely sky blue that is opaque in 2 coats.

To give my sky texture, I went with a smooshy technique using 3 colors: light blue (Faded Blues by Ulta Professional), medium blue (What I Like About Blue by China Glaze), and iridescent white (Of Quartz You Can by Finger Paints). I applied dots of each polish onto a stamper and smooshed the colors together with another stamper so that I could apply the mixture of colors to my nails with both stampers. This allowed for a little more control over the smooshed look versus simply dabbing the polish straight from one stamper onto my nails.

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Unicorn Pastel Smooshy Nails

Today’s manicure is all about trying to make some pretty looking nails. I haven’t done any smooshy nail designs since my first try in November, so I decided to use a pastel unicorn-ish palette with colors from the Life’s A Beach Sephora by OPI collection along with some stamping.

I started by painting all my nails white so the light colors would show up better.

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Sephora by OPI polish in White Hot.

To do the smooshy nails technique, I used a large stamper and dotted different colors of polish onto the surface. I immediately used the stamper to smoosh the polish onto my nails in a haphazard manner and repeated the process until I was satisfied with the look.

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I used light blue, peach, and lavender polishes for the unicorn palette. The colors are called Havana Dreams, I Gotta Blush On You, and It’s Hippo To Be Square respectively, all from the Sephora by OPI Life’s A Beach collection.

You will find that using liquid latex around your nails will help make the clean up process easier, but using regular tape will also do the job if you don’t own liquid latex. I used Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape here which removes fairly easily.

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My finished smooshy nail design. Excuse the liquid latex on my fingers as I kept it on to make cleaning up the stamping part easier.

The finishing touch was to add an avant-garde pattern over the smooshy design. For this, I used plate BP-L070 from Born Pretty Store along with Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #2 (silver).

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This design used the 4th pattern from the top left side of plate BP-L070 from Born Pretty. It reminds me of Frank Gehry designed buildings.

The result is a gorgeous color combo worthy of any summer festival or brunch.

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Silver adds the final unicorn color themed touch to this manicure.

This look was super easy to put together, and it’s great if you like light colors.

Hope you have a great weekend ahead! 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.

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  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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Review of Born Pretty Store Silver Mirror Powder, Gel Polish, and UV LED Lamp Set

If you follow any sort of nail art trends online, you must have heard about mirror chrome nails by now.  Everyone has been gushing over this magic glitter powder for months since its release, but in order to use it, gel polish and some sort of UV lamp setup are required.  I thought I was just going to have to sit this one out until I saw this awesome set on the Born Pretty Store website.

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Solve all of your mirror powder woes with this all inclusive set from Born Pretty Store.

Pretty much all of the materials that you need in order to create the silver (also available in gold) chrome look are here, and it’s pretty affordable, too!

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One gram of silver glitter pigment comes in a cute little plastic container along with a sponge tip applicator and a beautiful holographic Ziploc bag for storage.

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The website says that the set comes with top coat, but I received a 5 mL bottle of black gel polish instead. Because gel polish is cured in light, the bottle cannot be transparent, and you can’t see the color inside until you open it.

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The lamp comes with a USB cable and a power adapter so it can be plugged into a computer for its power source or into a standard outlet. I believe Born Pretty will give you the correct adapter based on your country, but the USB plug is handy if they don’t send the correct one.

As you can see in the picture, the lamp has three LED lights, each with a power of 3 watts, so the lamp has a total power of 9 watts.  This is relatively low wattage as a lot of UV lamps have 36 watts of power or more.  This will affect curing times, as I later found out the hard way.

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The underside of the lamp. The black circles are the rubberized feet that help to hold the lamp in place when it is set on a flat surface.

The cable that comes with the lamp is roughly 22-1/2 inches, or less than 2 feet long, so it is rather on the short side.  You may substitute another adapter of your own to use with this unit provided that it is 100-240v AC 50-60 Hz.  These specifications are printed on the adapter plug and on the side of the box.

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Close up of the adapter plug. The USB cable fits into the other side.

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The sides of the box are printed with information on power, voltage, size, and color.

The lamp is available in several different colors, but I was sent the red one.  It is a beautiful metallic apple red, and the size is relatively small with a shape similar to a telephone handset.  The power switch is located on the top of the unit.  If you push it once, the light will turn on for 30 seconds and then shut off automatically, or you can push the button again to turn it off mid cycle.

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Power is yours with the single push of a button.

Disclaimer #1: This was my first time doing gel nails.  I’ve always been a girl who changes her polish frequently, so I’ve never really worked with gels, but I’m a quick learner!  If you see my noob mistakes, don’t laugh too hard at me!

I painted a thin coat of black Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish onto my thumb.  Because the lamp size is too small to fit all your nails underneath the light at once, I cured my thumb separately.  I pushed the button on the lamp once, meaning that I cured the gel for 30 seconds.

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That blue glow is the UV LED light at work.

After the light went off, it seemed like the polish wasn’t cured fully because it felt tacky to the touch.  I’ve heard of needing to wipe off the sticky layer after curing gel nails, so I didn’t think too much of it at this point.

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My thumb after 30 seconds under the lamp. You can kind of see my fingerprint in the polish from where I touched it to see if it was dry or not. Obviously it wasn’t.

I decided to try applying the mirror powder to this nail anyway without wiping off the tacky layer to see what would happen.

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The chrome pigment is a silvery powder with inconsistent glitter pieces scattered throughout it. The jar has a protective seal covering the opening in addition to the lid to keep the product from leaking out during shipment.

As per instructions on the Born Pretty website, I used the sponge applicator that came with the set to apply the powder to my nail.  Just like magic, my nail went from a streaky looking black color to silver.

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Macro shot of the powder applied to my thumb.

You will notice that the look does not have an even chrome finish and that it looks like densely packed glitter.  Applying the powder over a tacky base was not the answer!

For my other nails, I decided to wipe off the tacky layer after the 30 second curing process was done.  What I found was that I could not cure all four nails at the same time with the lamp in this kit.  Also, not only did the gel polish have that sticky feel after the light went off, but when I went to wipe the nails with rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad, the gel almost completely rubbed off my nail!  I don’t have a photo of this because I was freaking out about getting gel all over the place.

I learned later that darker colors of gel polish require longer curing times, so 30 seconds with this lamp will definitely not cut it for black polish.

Also, I had issues with the application of the polish because the gel kept running into my cuticles even though I was painting on thin layers.  Apparently this is a thing with gel polish, so I tried to act as quickly as possible.

I tried curing 3 nails together (index, middle, and ring) in the lamp so that the light could reach them better, and I used 2 light cycles (60 seconds) to set the gel.  The results were better, and I was able to wipe my nails down with the rubbing alcohol without removing all the polish.  After applying the chrome powder, the results were much better this time around.

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The chrome powder formed a reflective satin finish over wiped down nails. My ring finger shows the black gel polish with the tacky layer removed.

Disclaimer #2: You probably noticed the rippling on my index finger.  This happened when I was trying to wipe down my nail with alcohol.  I should note that I also used UNT Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with the gel polish.  Even though Simply Nailogical got this to work, my gel expert friend Bev later told me that gel polish with a peel off base is a no no because it can shrink during the curing process.  Lesson learned!

Because I hadn’t painted my pinky yet and noticed that the mirror powder seemed to make a nice effect over my liquid palisade, I tried painting my pinky with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape to see if it would work or not.

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End result is that it didn’t look as cool on my nail as it did when it was protecting my skin!

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It still looked respectably shiny, and I could peel this manicure off afterward!

However, I wasn’t convinced that this was what chrome nails were supposed to look like.  What would happen if I used regular polish with a gel clear coat?

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I applied Johnny by Julep to my right hand.

I hardly have any gel polishes so I painted a thin layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish base/top coat (sold separately from this kit) and cured it under the lamp for 60 seconds.  I found that holding the lamp in my hand and moving it steadily back and forth over my nails helped to get the light to reach all the nails on my hand in one go.

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Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish primer/top coat.

I opted to use the powder on top of the clear gel coat without wiping it down, and the results were a ton better than they were with the black gel polish alone.

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Smooth, even, and shiny mirror chrome nails.

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Macro shot of my thumb. You can see how the pigment is not a consistently ground find powder but rather varying sized specks. It has a reflective finish in any case.

It took several tries, but I got my mirror nails in the end!  Don’t forget to add another layer of gel top coat once the powder is applied to your liking.

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Disclaimer #3: After watching several YouTube videos on how to achieve this look, I noted that people who used only gel polish applied a base coat of clear gel, 2 coats of colored gel, and a layer of top coat prior to applying the powder with an additional layer of top coat applied at the end over the powder, curing each layer of gel along the way.  Perhaps this is where I went wrong with the black gel polish, but then again, the original kit did not come with a top coat, even though it said that it did on the website.

Overall Impressions

The lamp in the kit is super affordable, but its small size makes curing your nails a little harder to do.  Also the wattage is on the low side, so expect to need to cure colored gel polish with a minimum of 60 seconds.  It’s definitely a beginner UV LED lamp, so it’s a great item for those who are just starting to get into gel polish or those who only are interested in gels in order to get the mirror nail effect.

The gel polish would have been awesome if it had been the clear top coat as was listed in the description of the product.  Black gel polish may not be a good choice for those who are new to gels.  You will need to apply a gel top coat over the powder to preserve the finish, which means that you will have to buy another product that is not included in this kit, defeating the point of having a pre-made set.

The powder itself is amazing, but the finish does change depending on the texture of the surface you rub it on.  I had random men complimenting my nails when I went out later that day, so it creates an eye catching look, especially when it is applied over gel top coat.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment, gel polish, and UV LED lamp set (retail price is $25.99 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-mirror-powder-lamp-coat-nail-chrome-pigment-magic-glitter-p-30909.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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Review of Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape

Peel off tape has been all the rage ever since it first started appearing in nail art videos.  Naturally, I wanted to get my hands on a bottle of to see what the fuss was about.

I tried out Born Pretty Store’s liquid palisade and was impressed with how easy it was to use.  I haven’t sampled any other brand’s liquid latex, so unfortunately I don’t have anything to compare it to, but this bottle worked like a charm.

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Liquid Peel Off Tape from Born Pretty Store.

The liquid tape comes in the same kind of bottle as Born Pretty’s stamping polish.  Its rectangular shape stores next to other similarly shaped bottles nicely.  The applicator for the palisade is a regular nail polish bottle brush, so the formula goes on easily.

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Applying this liquid tape is as easy as putting on nail polish.

The formula itself smells fruity and is the perfect consistency where it isn’t too runny or thick, so it’s a pleasure to use.

To aid with peeling the tape off, I recommend applying cuticle oil to the skin around your nails before applying the tape.  I also would suggest that you paint a generous layer of the latex so that it peels off in one piece.  It dries pretty quickly, so having a thick coat of palisade won’t keep you waiting.  Instead you will end up saving a lot of time by doing this step properly compared to if you had to scrub away at excess nail polish with acetone and cotton swabs, and you will protect your skin in the process.

You can see how I used it to clean up my nails easily while doing some funky paisley nails.

 

I also used the peel off tape in conjunction with nail vinyls to make a gradient effect for a mermaid scale manicure.

 

As for how easily it peels off, check out how it stuck to the nail vinyl when I removed it.

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The liquid tape came off in one complete piece with hardly any additional clean up on my finger necessary.

Any other residue can be scraped off with an orange stick, but as long as your skin is moisturized prior to using the palisade, you shouldn’t have a problem removing the tape.

My final verdict is that if you like doing gradients or water marbling, you need to have this product because it is worth every penny to not have to worry about cleaning up your skin afterward.  It’s also convenient to use with stamping or if you’re overall just sloppy when you paint your nails.  😉  You get 15 mL of liquid latex in a bottle, so it will last you for quite a few manicures.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing a bottle of liquid peel off tape (retail price is $4.59 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 polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/15ml-white-peel-liquid-tape-peel-base-coat-nail-liquid-palisade-nail-latex-p-22612.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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Mermaid Inspired Nails

I know it’s a little early to be thinking of the beach, but I know a few people who recently went on vacation to Florida and Barbados, and I couldn’t help but be jealous.  The closest I’m getting to any sand these days is on my fingertips!

I also wanted to take advantage of these beautiful holographic vinyl stickers I got from Born Pretty Store.  They have a fish scale design, so I instantly thought of doing a mermaid themed design.

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These sticker templates are pretty even on their own. They are pattern JV203 by Tiebeauty.

As for the color palette, I tried to use glittery gold to represent sand and shimmery teal green and blue for the scales.

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From left to right: Glitz by Formula X, Cuckoo for this Color by OPI, Keep Me On My Mistletoes by Sephora by OPI, and Shay by Julep

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I started out by painting my middle two fingers with Cuckoo for this Color and my other nails with Glitz.

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To help aid with clean up of the gradient, I applied some liquid tape from Born Pretty to the skin around the teal nails.

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After making sure the polish was completely dry, I applied one of the vinyl stickers to my nail.

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For the gradient, I dabbed Keep Me On My Mistletoes and Shay onto a plastic bag and applied the combination onto my nail with a sponge.

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Keep sponging the mixture from the bag onto the nail until a nice gradient effect is achieved.

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After removing the sticker, you can see some parts are not perfect. I cleaned up excess polish by tracing the scale outline with an orange stick and filling in any gaps with the appropriate color.

I repeated the process with my ring finger.  To finish off the design, I added a few pearl studs, securing them with Kiss Nail Art Glue.

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She sells sea shells by the seashore.

Hope you’re enjoying the wonderful weather we’ve been having lately!  In no time, it will be summer.  Happy polishing!