Metal and Lace Manicure

Here’s a quick tutorial for this rather edgy looking metal and lace manicure.

I started by applying a gunmetal gray polish from Formula X for Sephora called Hypnotize. It is close to opaque in only one coat and dries with a naturally flat metallic chrome finish to look street chic.

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2 coats of Hypnotize from Formula X for Sephora were applied to all my nails.

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Winter Landscape Nails

I mentioned the other day that my work with New Camerata Opera was hugely inspiring and that it spurned the creation of some glam punk sheep nail art. I didn’t want to leave the 2nd production of the double bill out, so for closing night, I did nails that were loosely based on the opera Savitri by Gustav Holst.

I used the trees from the projection and the color palette of the costumes as the inspiration for some winter landscape snowy trees nail art.

I started by painting my nails a pale shade of blue. This polish from Julep is called Joanna and is a cross between periwinkle blue, lavender, and gray with the prettiest shimmer in the formula.

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2 coats of Joanna look like sheer heaven.

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Review of BK Super Matte Surface Oil Top Coat

Ever feel like there are some days where you just don’t want to shine? This matte top coat made by BK will help keep your nail polish looking perfectly finished and chic.

The product is labeled as a “surface oil,” which I think is a bad translation from Chinese for top coat. Indeed, the contents look and smell like a clear lacquer rather than an oil based product.

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BK Super Matte Surface Oil doesn’t come inside any fancy packaging, although the bottle looks nice. It arrives in a plastic bag, and what I presume are the ingredients are listed on the back of the bottle in Chinese.

The brush is a medium width and easy to control. The top coat itself has an almost frosted look to it and has a good viscosity that is a little on the thin side, making it easy to apply.

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Fleur de Lis Medieval Renaissance Nails

Hello, and happy June! I’ve been busy with performances again, so I’m trying to catch up on manicures and reviews now.

Last week was my guy’s birthday, and he bought himself some new gear to go with his ever expanding Renaissance Faire wardrobe! It got me thinking of medieval prints for this week, so I came up with this antique looking fleur de lis manicure.

To start, I painted all my nails black. What’s a Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI is my go to black polish, although I’m going to have to switch it up pretty soon because the bottle is getting close to empty after all these years!

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The fleur de lis design was taken from a plate from Bundle Monster’s Time Machine series.

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The Time Machine BM-XL131 plate from Bundle Monster screams medieval times.

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Frosted Leaves Winter/Spring Manicure

Hi, everyone! Who else is sick of the weird weather patterns lately? NYC just got dumped with a load of snow on the 2nd day of spring, so I came up with a little snow day manicure with my day off.

I picked a pretty pastel blue-gray color from Julep called Zoey. It’s great for spring, but it shares the cool tones of winter.

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2 coats of Zoey by Julep, shown without top coat.

Spring usually conjures up images of flowers and buds so I chose a pretty leaf design from plate BM-702 from Bundle Monster for this manicure.

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I used the image from the upper right hand corner for this manicure.

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Optical Illusion Metallic Geometric Nails

I got some beautiful chrome nail lacquer from Born Pretty recently and wanted to do a nice elegant brushed metal look to compliment it.

The star was really this base color in my opinion. I recall Sally Hansen having similar chrome polish over a decade ago, and the new metallic series from Born Pretty channels the original collection perfectly.

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2 coats of Heroine from Born Pretty gives your nails a beautiful metallic surface.

For the nail art, I chose an image from plate BP-L070 from Born Pretty.

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This manicure utilizes the 2nd pattern from the left in the top row of plate BP-L070.

The faux 3D effect was achieved with double stamping. I first stamped the image onto all my nails with black polish from Ya Qin An.

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Next I used a clear stamper with the same design and silver polish from Ya Qin An and carefully aligned the design over the black polish already on my nails. The second application should offset the lines just enough to create a silhouetted 3D like effect.

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I liked the brushed metal effect, so I applied a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI over the design to preserve the stamping.

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Although this design looks complex, it was super easy to do. Also, because the design is double stamped, any flaws with the transfer aren’t as noticeable and actually aid in the 3D effect! There is definitely beauty in imperfection.

Hope you have a great day! Happy polishing!

 

 

Birds and Music Manicure

As some of you know, I am a professional flutist and do this nail art thing as my hobby. It’s only fitting that today’s manicure pays homage to the job that pays my bills!

I wanted to create an antique parchment look for the background. It was hard to find exactly the right color, but I opted for this neutral tan called Samoan Sand from OPI to do the job.

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Samoan Sand by OPI. It takes a few coats to get it opaque, but it’s a perfect nude shade for your nails.

To stain the “parchment,” I used some alcohol ink made from a BiC Mark It Permanent Marker in Woodsy Brown. To do this technique, color part of a plastic bag with the permanent maker, then take a small brush, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and pick up the marker pigment with the brush. You can then paint with this alcohol ink on your nails.

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My attempt at creating a stained look with alcohol ink.

One thing I didn’t like about the color of the marker that I chose was that the brown had more of a red tint to it than I thought. It definitely changed the color of my base shade more than I would have liked, and I probably would have used a different base color had I known that that would happen. This was only one of many mishaps that occurred while I was painting this manicure.

Because of the 3-4 layers of nail polish that were needed to make Samoan Sand opaque, I had to wait quite awhile to let my nails dry enough before I could proceed to stamping my chosen pattern, shown on the plate below.

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Perfect for musicians: plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty Store.

Being a flutist, I’m always learning music that sounds bird-like so the image from the top row, 4th from the left appealed to me the most. Using black stamping polish from Ya Qin An, I transferred the image to my nails. I used a clear stamper to make sure the lines of the staves were fairly straight and perpendicular to my nails. I also took care to try to stagger the image to make the design look more unique.

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Stamping from a single image from plate BP-L059.

You’ll notice that there’s a suspicious looking burn mark in the middle of one nail. That was not supposed to be there originally. I made a mistake while double stamping the lower part of that nail- the first transfer had thin stave lines, so when I went over the bottom part a second time, I failed to line up part of the image correctly in one place. I tried to lightly rub the area with a cotton swab and acetone, but the black polish started smearing over the nearby areas. I ended up removing a larger section of polish than I had intended to, refilled it with Samoan Sand, and reapplied the alcohol ink, but the remnants of the smudged black polish still formed a ring around the area. I decided that this added to the antique flair and went with it. This just goes to show that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but you can still roll with the punches.

Speaking of, I had also horribly smudged my pinky nail right before I was going to take the photos for this manicure, so I had to completely redo that nail for these shots as well. Sigh.

In any case, I applied a layer of Ya Qin An top coat to prevent the stamping from getting smudged, then applied a layer of Matte Top Coat from Sephora by OPI to finish up this manicure.

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This one’s for the birds!

Here’s to hoping that the next manicure won’t have so many nail fails involved! Happy polishing!

 

Matte Black Lace Manicure

Here’s a super easy manicure you can recreate for an elegant look.

Start with a neutral base color.  I used Samoan Sand from OPI for a perfect nude color.

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I love the simple perfection of nude nail colors.

Next to add some stamping!  Find a plate with some pretty lace designs on it.

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Plate BP-L020 from Born Pretty Store has all the lace you’re looking for.

I used a black stamping polish from Ya Qin An to transfer the first two designs from the second row of the plate and mixed up their orientations on my nails to make it look as if I had a continuous layer of lace over my nails.

After applying a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI, all is completed!

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The finished lacy look.

In all reality, I needed to do something easy so I could take more time to recover from my flu.  I’m finally coughing a little less, but I’m still ill.  I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to get some sleep!

Happy polishing!

 

 

Wedding Cake Inspired Manicure

I’ve surprisingly been able to keep up with the February @glamnailschallenge prompts so far.  Feb. 8’s theme was Wedding Cake, so I channeled my inner Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes to come up with a wedding cake design to put on my nails.

I started by painting all my nails white.  I chose Bunny from Julep because it has subtle gold microglitter in it that would match the gold stamping and accents that I planned to add later.

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Bunny by Julep.

For the icing scrollwork, I chose to stamp on a pretty filigree from plate BPL-027 from Born Pretty Store.

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I chose the pattern from the upper left hand corner for this manicure.

I used Charge It! from Sephora by OPI to do the stamping.  I tried to align the point of the design with the center of my nail, and I also left a little bit of space between the point and the cuticle so that it would more closely resemble a cake layer.

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Subtle gold stamping finished off with a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI to give it the look of fondant.

Because I wasn’t so sure about the next part of the design, I added pearl rhinestones from Born Pretty Store so I could get a “finished” shot before I proceeded just in case I didn’t like how it turned out.

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Tiny flatback pearl rhinestones were applied to the center of each nail in the same part of the design with Kiss Nail Art Glue and some tweezers. I am holding the color Charge It! from Sephora by OPI, which was used for the stamping.

The next part consisted of adding a band of gold fondant to the top of my cake layer, otherwise known in the nail art world as French tips.  I used the brush from the bottle of Charge It! to paint a stripe of polish across the top of each nail and then added gold striping tape underneath it to neaten up the line.  I applied some more matte top coat, and declared this manicure finished.

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I’m amazed by how much matte top coat makes this look like a layer of fondant.

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Requisite bottle shot.

It’s funny how I kept wondering what I was going to do for this theme, and I managed to put this look together in the end.  I feel like doing nail art is like choosing an outfit for a special occasion- you just have to look through everything you have and figure out what goes together the best.

Happy polishing!

 

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.

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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!

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I painted my nails with the corresponding base colors that would go with my concept.

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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!