Unicorn Mermaid Nails

I’ve been holding off on using gel polishes after a bad skin reaction to the curing lamp a few months ago. I was really scared that my nails might fall off because my nail bed started peeling back, and the skin around the nails was itchy and getting hard before peeling off! Truly a nightmare. I’m a little wary about overdoing it with the lamp now (what, you’re not supposed to do gel manicures more than once in a day?), so I purchased some fake nails and decided to go about my swatches in this manner instead. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing sets for people now that I have all these fake nails!

In any case, I was super excited to use some holographic powder to create a fun and whimsical unicorn mermaid manicure, so as per the usual steps, I applied gel base coat from iMethod Beauty, cured that for 60 seconds, then applied and cured 2 coats of black gel polish. The color was 007 Blackpool from Aimeili, and it’s a trustworthy but affordable gel polish that provides the perfect base for chrome and holo powders.

IMG_20190328_013154.jpg

Disclaimer: this is an old swatch on my actual nails because I was too lazy to take a new photo of a polish that I already swatched.

I then applied a layer of no wipe top coat from iMethod Beauty and cured it for 60 seconds before burnishing in their holographic powder with a sponge applicator. After all the black polish was covered by holo, I swept away the excess powder with a brush and applied another layer of gel top coat.

img_20190805_182033

With a dazzling effect like this, who can say they don’t like holo?

Continue reading

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.

img_20190420_012830-1

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.

Continue reading

Cat Lovers Nail Art

Welcome, spring! I wanted to do something soft and pastel for the season, so here are some cute and cuddly cat nails in pink and gray!

I started by painting my nails a pale pink. This one is color 003 from Mefa. I applied 3 thin coats, curing each layer for 60 seconds in a 36W UV/LED lamp.

IMG_20190316_122608.jpg

3 coats are necessary to get full coverage with Mefa gel polish in color 003.

Continue reading

Review of Born Pretty Christmas L005 Stamping Plate

Just when you thought Christmas was over, here I am bringing you a review of a Christmas stamping plate! In all honesty, this plate (the Christmas L005 plate from Born Pretty Store) has more designs on it that have to do with winter than they have to do with Christmas. I didn’t even create a Christmas manicure with it!

The plate comes in a Christmas themed cardboard sleeve with the open end sealed with a label printed with the item’s barcode and number. Instructions are printed on the back of the packaging.

IMG_20181228_182943.jpg

The bottom photo shows the plate with its “protection sticker” (blue plastic film) still attached.

Continue reading

Cute Holiday Penguin Manicure

I was inspired by the cute images on the Beauty Big Bang XL-033 stamping plate to create this fun holiday penguin manicure. It combines a wrapping paper print with candy cane stripes along with it just for fun!

I started with an almost white base. This color is called Steph from Julep, and it has the slightest hint of pink along with a gorgeous shimmery finish. I didn’t pick a pure white because I knew I was putting the penguin on one of my nails, and I wanted his belly to be a pure white that would stand out compared to the base color.

IMG_20181210_001711.jpg

2 coats of Steph by Julep were applied for this swatch.

Continue reading

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Manicure

We recently had our first snowfall storm in NYC, and wow, did it make a mess out of the city! Nothing takes the magic out of snow away like sitting in traffic on unplowed streets for hours and hours! The weather inspired me to create a gray skied manicure with a lovable icon of Christmas to try to bring the wonder back.

I started by painting my nails gray with Laguna Moon Classic Soak Off Gel Polish in color CL064. Because I was using gel polish, I applied 3 very thin coats cured at one minute each in a UV/LED lamp.

IMG_20181117_005232.jpg

3 coats of Laguna Moon’s CL064 shade turns your nails into a chic gray with the added reinforcement of a gel polish.

My initial plan was to mostly use stamping techniques for this manicure, although things did not go exactly according to plan for me as you will soon see!

Continue reading

Radioactive Frankenstein Manicure

It’s less than a week away from Halloween! Do you know what you’re putting on your nails yet?

I’m probably going to end up changing my manicure again before the big day, but I wanted to do a cute take on Frankenstein first! It’s been awhile since I’ve done some freehand nail art, so it was nice to pull out the brushes for this one.

I started by painting my nails black except for my ring finger, which I painted green. I used What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI for the black color and Radioactive from Formula X for Sephora for the green shade.

IMG_20181024_013629.jpg

This color combo looks very Wicked!

Continue reading

Unicorn Nail Art

Happy March, everyone! I’ve been meaning to do some unicorn nail art for awhile just for fun, so let’s get on with this magical manicure!

My base color was an indigo wonder from Beauty Bigbang, 009 in their Holo Polish series.

IMG_20180305_012301.jpg

Beauty Bigbang Holo Polish 009 is full of magical rainbows that are perfect for a unicorn theme!

I’ve been feeling lazy about doing freehand stuff lately, so I opted to use plate L045 from Harunouta to assist me with this manicure.

IMG_20180305_012415.jpg

I chose to use the unicorn from the top row, 2nd image from the left, and the shooting star 2 images to the right of that for this manicure.

Continue reading

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!

 

 

Balloons in the Sky Nail Art

Leave it to my precocious 9-year-old student to keep me on my toes with nail art ideas.  This time she wanted me to do balloons.  I envisioned a bouquet of them floating up into a sky with puffy clouds, kind of like in the movie Up (although I’ve never seen it).  I’m pretty sure this was not what she had in mind, but my muse doesn’t always cooperate!

The first step was to choose a nice sky blue.  I loved Destiny from Formula X for its pearlescent effect.  The color has subtle lavender and pink undertones that give it nice dimension.

img_20161005_212925.jpg

Destiny by Formula X.

After applying some top coat, I used Craft Smart acrylic paints to do the rest of the manicure.

img_20161005_214619.jpg

The clouds were simple to do. I painted a circle and added two more smaller [uneven] circles on each side of it to form each cloud. They kind of look like Princess Leia buns!

img_20161005_213943.jpg

The balloons weren’t too hard to do, either- they’re basically ovals in different colors that overlap each other. I used a thinned out striping brush to paint the strings and an ultra fine detail brush to paint in the little white highlight on the top right of each balloon. I added a little nub for a knot for the balloons at the bottom of the design.

The hardest part was really just having the patience to keep cleaning my brush in between each color balloon and making sure the paint was dry before moving on to the next color.

img_20161005_214953.jpg

Macro shot. My one complaint is that the balloon strings didn’t tie together at the exact center of my nail. Then again, I think I painted this at 1 in the morning!

It’s a very cheerful design that brings a smile to people’s faces.

img_20161006_094418.jpg

A friend noted that the clouds look somewhat 3D.  This is achieved in part by having the top coat applied before painting the clouds.  The clear layer in between means that they are literally floating over the base color.  Also, acrylic paint tends to have more texture due to its fast dry time, and my white is starting to get a little clumpy in the bottle if truth be told.  It worked in my favor for the clouds, but to counteract the thickness of the paint for the strings, I made sure that my brush was slightly damp with water before dipping it into the paint so that the lines would stay thin.

You better believe that my student loved the design in the end.  She thought I had either used stickers and/or stamping, so she was totally amazed to hear that everything was hand painted.  *pats own back*

In terms of freehand nail art, this is definitely on the easier side of the spectrum, but the scale of the design is what makes it hard to get right.  Don’t hesitate to try it, and let me know if you do!

Happy polishing!