National Doughnut Day Nails

National Doughnut Day was on June 2 this year, and I totally missed it! I love a good doughnut and wanted to show my appreciation, so I came up with these delectable nails to celebrate in my own way.

I cheated by using a stamping plate to make the doughnuts, although in retrospect this would have been a lot faster doing the design by hand! So do be warned, if you try this at home, it will take a few hours to complete all the steps for all 10 nails.

IMG_20170606_025634

The Cake BPX-23 from Born Pretty Store has lots of yummy looking images on it.

Because the plate did not have a full size doughnut image, I decided to make my own out of the image in the 3rd row, 2nd from the right. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster to make the decals, but you can use a plastic sandwich bag or something similar in lieu of a silicone mat instead.

Start by applying thick swatches of top coat to your mat that are big enough to cover each of your nails and allow them to dry completely. I used HK Girl top coat from Glisten & Glow for this step.

Next, take a dark brown polish (Olivia from Julep) and stamp the doughnut image multiple times onto each dried swatch of top coat. Stamp as many or as little times as you like, but try to think of how you want the placement of the design to look on your nail.

Now the fun part: adult coloring time! Pick a color you would like your doughnut base to be (a light brown like Vera from Julep works well) and a color for your frosting on top. Because it was taking forever to make these decals, I stuck with a strawberry pink for all my donuts (Carnival Cotton Candy from Nicole by OPI), but you can come up with whatever flavors you like- vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, grape… you get the picture. Try to stay within the lines, although your patience might get the better of you. Using a dotting tool or a small brush can help fill in all the details.

PhotoGrid_1496730895959

Time to make the doughnuts! Decals are just as time consuming to make.

Allow the decals to dry completely, but in the meantime you can apply a base color to your nails. I chose a nice blue for my background that contrasted nicely with the pink frosting on the doughnuts.

IMG_20170606_024103

For Audrey from China Glaze channels the iconic blue Tiffany’s box.

Allow your base color to dry before you attempt to apply your decals. Gently peel a decal from the mat, trim it to the approximate size of your nail, apply top coat to the back of the decal to allow it to become pliable again, then place it onto your nail in the position that you would like it to go. Do this to all your nails, trimming away any excess, and finish by cleaning up around your nails with a brush or cotton swab dipped into acetone. Apply an additional layer of top coat to bring back the shine and further seal the decal into place.

IMG_20170606_025517

The finished doughnut nails!

These nails channel one of my favorite moments from The Simpsons during a Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer finds himself in an alternate reality. D’oh!

Hope you had the chance to enjoy a nice doughnut to celebrate the holiday! Happy polishing!

 

Photobombing Polar Bear Nail Art

It has been a rough week for me as my LG G4 phone went into an unrecoverable boot loop, meaning that I lost a bunch of pictures, texts, and other such data.  I’m waiting for my replacement phone to arrive while I use a cheap substitute in the meantime, but my whole routine has been upset, and it has caused me to be in a creative slump.

My last manicure was starting to chip, so I forced myself to try to come up with something else.  Because I’ve been so uninspired, I opted to do the @clairestelle8challenge prompt for the 14th: Animal.  I figured that I could do a cute polar bear over a cool toned gradient, and to make it easier to paint, have the bear “photobomb” the scene so that I would only have to paint the upper half of its face.  The photobomb idea also came from the fact that I have small nails that make it hard to paint too much detail, so I was trying to work with my canvas size.

I picked a nice cool toned blue for my base color.

img_20170113_004055.jpg

Maltilda by Julep.

The gradient was a mix of the base color, a shimmery holographic ice blue, and a white shade speckled with silver microglitter.  I applied stripes of each polish onto a nail art mat and used a sponge to dab the mix onto my nails.

img_20170113_005646.jpg

Pictured from left to right: Matilda by Julep, Tali by Julep, and Dandy Lyin’ Around by China Glaze.

img_20170113_005605.jpg

The finished icy gradient looks like snow drifts blowing across an open field.

For the bear, I used Craft Smart Acrylic Paints in blends of White, Dark Grey, and Black.

img_20170113_010729.jpg

I painted the general shape of the bear on top of the gradient with white paint.  Then I blended a little bit of Dark Grey with White to tint the ears.  I also slightly shaded the face around the eyes and snout area with an even lighter version of the mix that I used for the ears.  Finally I added the nose and used a dotting tool to make the eyes with black paint.

After applying some top coat, the bear is done!

img_20170113_011750.jpg

Peekaboo! I see you!

I apologize if the photos don’t look as nice here because I typically use apps on my phone to do the editing, and I got stuck using an old tablet instead this time.  Hopefully I’ll be up and running on the warranty replacement phone this week, but until then, stay warm, and happy polishing!

 

 

Review of Born Pretty Holographic Laser Powder #7

It’s powder mania here on the Fine Polish blog!  I’ve been getting a huge kick out of trying out different chrome and holographic powders, so today’s review is for a red holographic glitter powder set from Born Pretty.

img_20161204_004004.jpg

An assuredly brand new set sealed in the package.

At first glance, the product is not much to look at.  There is no indication regarding the color or instructions for use on the packaging.  The baggie is heat sealed at the top across the hang tag area, so you must tear the packaging at the notches on the sides to open the product, but there is also a Ziploc seal closure located at the top of the white section of the bag that makes it reusable for storage purposes.

The actual contents include roughly 1 gram of glitter powder inside a plastic, faceted container.  The opening is sealed in the same manner as bottles of vitamins are so that the powder does not leak out of the container during shipment.

Also included is a small sponge tipped applicator with a plastic handle.  This is very much like an eyeshadow applicator except it has a smaller handle.  The whole length is 1.5 inches.

img_20161204_003816.jpg

Born Pretty Holographic Laser Glitter Powder set in color option #7.

The glitter itself is very fine and unlike anything that you will see in a craft store.  It looks rather drab in the container but really comes alive once a gel top coat is applied.  The particles are bigger than the ones in other chrome pigments and apply very similarly except for a slight twist.

Begin by painting your nails with a color that matches the pigment that you are using.  Because I am using red glitter, I painted my nails red.  This way, any areas that do not get covered fully by the glitter will be less apparent.

img_20161210_204336.jpg

Tip Your Hat by China Glaze.

Note that if you use regular polish like I did, you will need to wait until the color is totally dry before proceeding to the next step.  If you are using gel polish, cure the color as normal.

Next, apply a gel top coat, but do not cure this layer fully, especially if you are using a no-wipe formula.  The aim is to leave the top coat slightly tacky so that the glitter can adhere to the surface.  I tried fully curing the top coat at first, thinking that this worked the same way as other chrome powders from Born Pretty, but I soon found that the pigment would not stick to the top coat.  I used Born Pretty Soak Off Gel top coat which cures in 30 seconds, so I opted to cure it for only 15 seconds before trying to apply the glitter again.  This extra tackiness is exactly what was needed for the glitter to stick to the nail.

img_20161213_141556.jpg

On the left is my failed attempt to get the powder to stick to a fully cured top coat (30 seconds). The coverage was sparse, if at all, and I could still rub the glitter completely off my nail if I wanted to. The right side shows what the pigment looks like when it is used over top coat is cured for only 15 seconds.

The sponge applicator works well for applying the powder, but it does absorb some of the tackiness from the top coat, so it will only last for a few manicures.  The good thing is that you can buy replacements at the drugstore or your local beauty supply shop if the sponge falls apart.

You can use a fan brush to clean off any excess powder from your nails and skin, then apply another layer of gel top coat and cure it fully to seal the glitter into place and bring out the shine.  Or if you are truly lazy like me, apply the top coat, cure the gel, and simply wash your hands to get the excess glitter off your skin.  Your cuticles may not look as nice, and there is a good chance that you will contaminate the brush for your bottle of top coat with glitter, but this works great for a fast clean up process.

img_20161210_211005.jpg

Check out that shining red beauty! This glitter powder truly dazzles.

Born Pretty’s website claims that this is holographic, but it is not the kind of powder that will reflect rainbows.  The glitter does have a multi dimensional look to it and is definitely more sparkly than your average craft store variety.  It is eye catching, and people will definitely notice your nails when you wear this!

img_20161210_212258.jpg

Because it’s December, I added some holiday stamping over this classic red base color.

For those looking to get a full coverage glitter look, this powder is just the item that you need.  It comes in several other different colors, so you are bound to find a shade that you will love.  For shiny nails like this, it is definitely worth it!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this holographic laser powder (retail price is $3.99 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-laser-powder-manicure-nail-glitter-powder-colors-p-33368.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

rsspx31

Glittery Snowflake Christmas Manicure

Being a musician, December is a busy time of year.  Seems like every group needs to perform a holiday concert this month, but I’ll never get sick of the music, especially seeing how happy it makes people.

One ensemble had a “Let it Snow!” theme for their concert, so I made nails to match.  I started by painting my nails a Christmas-y red with Tip Your Hat from China Glaze.

img_20161210_204336.jpg

Tip Your Hat is a festive red color from China Glaze.

To really make this mani sparkle, I used a loose holographic glitter powder from Born Pretty Store on top of this.

img_20161204_003816.jpg

Born Pretty Store’s holographic laser glitter powder in color #7.

To use the powder, a gel top coat is applied to the nails but cured for only about 15 seconds so that it is still tacky enough to allow the glitter to stick to it.  I used Born Pretty’s gel top coat over the China Glaze color.  The glitter is applied with the sponge applicator included with the set, and then a final layer of gel top coat is applied to seal in the glitter and bring out the shine.

img_20161210_211005.jpg

The effects of the glitter powder are stunning.

To finish up, I added some stamping using plate BP-01 from Born Pretty Store.

img_20161210_211153.jpg

Christmas themed plate BP-01 from Born Pretty Store.

For this design, I stamped the tree design from the center of the plate onto my ring finger, the full sized snowflake image on the far right side of the plate onto my thumb, and made up my own unique pattern using the two single snowflake images from the top of the plate for the rest of my nails.

img_20161210_212827.jpg

Stamping was done with Born Pretty Stamping Nail Lacquer #4 (white).

This look was definitely eye catching, and I had people asking to see my nails all day at the concert.  It’s definitely a cheer filled design worthy of the holiday season!

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!

 

 

Thanksgiving Cornucopia Nails

It’s funny how I yearn to paint more freehand designs these days.  I used to always favor simple nail art in interest of time, but now I don’t mind spending hours paying attention to details and shading.  With such high aspirations in mind, it only made sense that I try to paint a cornucopia in time for Thanksgiving.

I often have a hard time getting started with these projects, so I started off by painting my nails a nice gold color.

img_20161124_001414.jpg

Ambitious by Formula X is a matte metallic gold shade.

I figured that the lightest shade would be the best to use as a base color because anything darker would easily show up over it.

I picked out three more autumnal shades for the background of my design which I planned to smoosh together, and I chose a few extra polish colors which I used for the fruit in the cornucopia.

img_20161124_135658.jpg

Polishes used from left to right: Dusk by Formula X for Sephora, Caliente Coral by Sephora by OPI, Espresso Your Style by OPI, Legend by Formula X for Sephora, S’more Fun by China Glaze, and NY139 by Nicka K.

For the smoosh technique, I used a large stamper and dotted on my fall colors.  I used Ambitious, Dusk, Caliente Coral, and Espresso Your Style for the mix.

img_20161126_212352.jpg

Haphazard array of fall nail polish colors on my stamper head.

To achieve the smoosh look, I stamped the blend of colors directly onto my nails.  Continue to dot polish on the stamper and apply it to each nail until you are satisfied with the result.

It is recommended that you use a liquid latex peel off barrier around your nail beds for easier clean up because things can get messy during this process.  I still had to use cotton swabs dipped in acetone to clean up any excess polish on my skin.

img_20161124_034330.jpg

After clean up, a beautiful fall background is achieved.

What I love about the smoosh effect is how it almost looks like I painted leaves, but in reality it took hardly any effort!  I’m also just a little bit proud of my results because this was my first attempt at a smooshy nail design.  After doing nail art for four years now, it’s hard to believe that there are techniques that I still haven’t tried yet.

I applied top coat at this stage because I had to go out to dinner, so I continued with the painting of the cornucopia when I returned home.  I’m grateful that nothing got smudged or chipped while I was out!

img_20161124_041030.jpg

The cornucopia was done mostly with blends of craft smart acrylic paint with a detail brush. The bodies of the apples and grapes were made with some nail polish applied with a dotting tool, and selected grapes were outlined with acrylic paint so that they didn’t look like a blob of color.

I probably should have sketched out my design prior to painting it because it would have made arranging my pumpkins and fruit easier to do, and it would have saved some paint as I opted to paint whole items in the background first so I could paint the foreground items on top of them without having to worry about placement right away.

In the end, I think I spent about 3 hours painting all the cornucopia elements.  I had wanted to make it look more bountiful, but I got lazy and figured that I got my point across at this stage so I wrapped it up.

img_20161124_035749.jpg

So thankful that I finished the design without any horrible mishaps!

This design holds the record for the most time I have spent painting my nails.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it was definitely one of my most intricate hand painted works.

img_20161124_034938.jpg

I didn’t have the energy to paint corn, so I’m holding it in my hand instead. Candy corn counts, right?

I didn’t mind putting the effort into painting this, but I’m sad that I didn’t use a peel off base coat first so I could save my work of art in the end.  I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through my photos!  The saving grace is that I don’t have to worry about random nails losing their polish during my daily activities!

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  Happy polishing!

Burgundy and Gold French Manicure

I had to go tame with the nail art for a concert over the weekend, so I stayed classy, San Diego with this simple French manicure in classic fall colors.

img_20161119_231114.jpg

I started by painting my nails with Define Good… by China Glaze.

img_20161119_231826.jpg

After allowing my base color to dry, I painted the tips of my nails with Wrapped in Ribbon from Finger Paints.

I did not paint the tip of my ring finger so that I could turn it into an accent nail with some stamping.

img_20160214_155213.jpg

I used the pattern from the bottom row, 4th image from the left on plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store to create a fall looking accent nail.

Initially I stamped the full image from the plate but then removed extraneous parts around a single vine from the stamper with some tape.  The idea was to let the vine curve along the tip of the nail in place of the classic French tip.

img_20161119_232655.jpg

I used Ya Qin An polish in Gold to do the stamping.

img_20161119_234118.jpg

As an afterthought, I applied Rich Gold from Sephora + Pantone Universe over the entire ring finger for some additional bling.

img_20161119_233159.jpg

Macro shot from the other side so you can see the detail of the vine creeping up the side of my nail.

The look is elegant with just enough sparkle for the holidays.

img_20161119_213635.jpg

More than anything, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that my nails have been growing out longer and healthier since my departure from a job that required some very hand abusive activities!  It was nice to be able to paint some French tips, which is something that I haven’t done in a long time.  Now let’s hope all this cold and dry weather doesn’t ruin my hands instead!

Happy polishing!

 

Vampire Inspired Halloween Nails

Halloween is on a Monday this year, so all the parties happened on Saturday (yesterday).  I had at least two different ones that I could attend, so I needed matching nails!

I’m not sure what you would call my planned costume, seeing as it was a mix of different things and not just a pre-packaged store bought item.  I do love dressing up!  Let’s just say that it involved a lot of red and black stripes.

img_20161030_205639.jpg

The color palette from left to right: Ring In the Red by China Glaze, Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora, Curve-aceous by Sephora by OPI, and Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.

I wanted to freehand glittery red blood dripping from the tips of some nails and stamp the pattern of my bodice for the other nails.  The stamping was done with plate BP-L020 from Born Pretty Store.

img_20161030_143908.jpg

Lots of lace on BP-L020 from Born Pretty Store.

The steps for this one are pretty simple.

img_20161030_144616.jpg

  1. Paint the index finger, pinky, and thumb with black polish (Dark Matter) and the middle and ring fingers with red polish (Curve-aceous).
  2. Stamp the lined pattern onto the red nails.  Other methods of achieving this are simply freehanding the lines with a striping brush or using striping tape as a stencil, but stamping is the quickest way to go for most people.
  3. Finish off the stamping by adding a lacey border along the cuticle line.  I used the pattern from the bottom row of the plate, 2nd image from the left.  Add blood droplets to the black nails with a dotting tool by forming a large dot where you want the drop to fall and dragging the top of the drop up to the tip of your nail.
  4. Paint red glitter polish along the tips of your nails to connect the drips together and add top coat.  Done!
img_20161030_143039.jpg

I think they match my costume pretty well, no?

The saddest thing was that after taking a disco nap on Saturday night, I woke up with a horrible headache complete with nausea, so I ended up not going to either party.  Boo.  How’s that for a trick?  I plan to make up for this by eating a lot of chocolate on Halloween.

Happy polishing to all you ghouls out there!  Be safe and enjoy!

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!

Animal Print Fourth of July Nails

Happy Independence Day, America!

Everyone is probably putting stars and stripes on their nails today, so I wanted to do a different interpretation of the American flag.  The first thing that occurred to me when I thought of stripes was zebra print.  So why not do an animal print interpretation of the flag?  Put some leopard spots instead of stars.  It’s like a cross between Betsey Johnson and Betsy Ross!

img_20160703_203644.jpg

My polishes from left to right: Curve-aceous by Sephora by OPI, Dandy Lyin’ Around by China Glaze, Splish Splash by China Glaze, Up All Night by China Glaze, and Silver Glitter by Kleancolor. All these polishes have shimmery finishes.

img_20160703_213110.jpg

I painted 2 nails blue and 3 nails red (the third was my thumb).

img_20160703_213526.jpg

Using a dotting tool, I applied Dandy Lyin’ Around to the blue section haphazardly to start the leopard print pattern. I used a striping brush and craft smart acrylic paint in white to paint the zebra stripes.

img_20160703_214314.jpg

I used a smaller dotting tool to apply dark blue polish around the white dots and filled in empty spaces with a few more dots of Up All Night. I used a dotting tool to also go over the solo blue dots with Silver Glitter.

img_20160703_212739.jpg

After applying top coat, the design is finished.

I admit, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that this design is symbolic of the flag, but it’s kind of cool anyway.  Perhaps if I made sure that there were 13 red and white stripes in total, this would have been more convincing, but I took some artistic license.

Now go enjoy your barbecues!  Happy polishing!