80s Equalizer Nail Art

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a different technique with something I’ve never been great at using: nail foil. Anyone who has experience with it knows that it can be temperamental to use, and even when you get the application right, the wrong top coat can ruin the whole thing and make it look as if it was never there. Yet here I am testing my patience with this material. Off we go!

To start, I painted all my nails black.

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This is stamping polish from b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. Not sure why it looks textured though- it might be the pigments.

To make the decals, you will need a plastic bag or a silicone mat. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster for mine. Start by applying swatches of top coat onto your chosen surface. The top coat will serve as the base of your decal. Wait for your top coat to fully dry before you proceed to the next step.

Next, choose a pattern that you want to stamp and transfer it to a swatch of top coat. You must act very quickly to apply a piece of nail foil over the stamped area so that the foil can adhere to the wet polish. Rub over the piece of foil with your finger, then lift the foil quickly, and you should be left with a cool foil embossed pattern.

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For this manicure, I used the pattern in the lower right hand corner of plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty.

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The stamping polish used was the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from my base color. I did this so that it would not look obvious if the foil did not transfer fully.

The foil was purchased in a large lot from an eBay seller, and there is no brand associated with it. You can see that the foil that I chose to use has a natural rainbow gradient effect, so it happens to match the levels that you would see on an equalizer. In case you don’t know what an equalizer looks like, here’s an example:

Very 80s techno chic.

At this point you can gently peel the decals off the mat and cut them to fit your nails. In order to hide some of the transfer imperfections, I also re-cut the levels of the bars. You can apply a cut decal by painting another layer of black polish or some top coat onto your nail and then gently press the decal onto the wet surface.

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You can see where I cut the levels of the bars for the decals, but they more or less stick to the base color. This look reminds me of Tetris.

Disclaimer: Because I didn’t like the finish of the b.m.c. nail lacquer as a base color, I applied the decals using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

It’s easy to say just apply top coat to seal in everything, but here’s where things can get tricky. I’ve heard that a water based top coat works best with foil, but I don’t have any. I also know that pretty much anything that is branded as “fast drying” will cause the foil to shrink and/or break up. If you don’t use a top coat at all, the foil will quickly rub off on its own. I took a chance by using my Ya Qin An top coat, seeing as it never smears nail art, and it worked pretty well. Thumbs up for Ya Qin An!

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Nail foil success! Too bad this took forever to do.

Fun fact: I’m holding a record that I actually played on! It was for a private project, but it’s still cool as a collector’s item.

In any case, I love how I conquered my fear of nail foil. That’s not to say that I don’t curse a lot when things don’t work out the right way, but at least I know that I have another technique that I can use. Maybe practice does make perfect!

Happy polishing!

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Review of Born Pretty Neon Phosphor Pigment Powder #11

Looking for nails that are great for clubbing, or do you just desire a burst of bright neon color?  The neon pigment powder in today’s review is just the thing that you’re looking for.

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Born Pretty Store’s neon pigment powder in color #11.

The powder is a very fine loose pigment that is stored in a small faceted plastic container with a screw top lid.  Unfortunately, it does not have a seal over the mouth of the jar, so some of the product does leak out into the bag during shipment.  It is, however, only a fine dusting that makes things a little messy.  On the plus side, the powder is inexpensive and Born Pretty manages to fit two grams of it inside the container as opposed to the normal one gram that is inside most of their similarly packaged glitters and powders.

The bag itself has a zip seal running along the top, so you can always store the container inside the bag if you are concerned about it leaking out again.

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Also included in the package is a sponge tipped applicator.

I would suggest that you place a piece of paper or a tissue underneath the container and over your work area before opening it and using it to allow for easy clean up later on.  Wearing a face mask and eye protection is also recommended if you are sensitive to dust.  I’m sure it is cosmetic grade and safe to use, but the powder is very fine and can therefore easily float into the air and be inhaled.

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Bright neon yellow powder.

When I first used this powder, I tried it over black nail polish and soon found that it did not turn out very cute.  I also found out that it does not work well will negative space manicures because the powder smears across everything once another layer of top coat is applied.  Also, being neat is very important when using this product.  Below are the pictures from my first failed attempt, so live and learn by my example!

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Things that I learned from using the product the first time: Neatness counts, negative space manicures aren’t a good idea for this look, and using black polish as a base color will make the powder appear green.

I also discovered that the powder looks AMAZING under the gel curing lamp and under blacklight.  It doesn’t mean that the manicure glows in the dark, but if you’re going to a rave, these nails are definitely going to stand out!

Below is a proper tutorial for how to use this neon powder.

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Paint your nails white or a color that matches the color of the powder. I used b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

If you are using regular nail polish, allow the color to dry completely first.  For either gel or regular polish, apply a gel top coat over the base color being very careful to not let it pool in the sides of your nail bed or your cuticles.  Cure your nails for about 15 seconds so that the formula stays tacky.  This is necessary to get the powder to adhere to your nail.

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Using the sponge applicator that comes with the set, apply the powder over the half cured gel top coat. It does not take much powder to get full color coverage.

Pro tip: For extra easy clean up, use a liquid latex barrier such as Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape around your nails.  You don’t have to do this as the powder will easily wash off your skin after you apply and cure another layer of gel top coat, but it does keep things looking more neat.

Once the powder is applied over the base color to your liking, use a fan brush to dust away any excess powder from your nails.  Take special care to clean any powder from your cuticles.

Once you have removed the excess pigment, apply another layer of gel top coat to your nails and cure it fully as directed on the package.  However, despite clean up, do be aware that there will be a chance that your brush or bottle of top coat will get contaminated with the powder.  You can wipe your brush on a clean tissue before dipping it back into the bottle to help prevent this, or pour out a small amount of top coat into a different container for use if you are especially paranoid about contamination.

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The finished look! Bright and shiny neon yellow nails.

The color is extremely vibrant, so the pigment works great.  Its real appeal is what it looks like under blacklight.

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This stunning pigment really pops under a blacklight.

Because the color reminded me of the newer hazard road signs, I decided to make a Santa Sleigh Crossing Sign version with acrylic paint over this neon base.

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While it is messy to use, this neon pigment has serious color payoff.  It is especially eye catching under blacklight, but the color is attention grabbing even in normally lit situations.  Just make sure to use a white base color when using it to get the best effect.  Judging by how much powder gets used for a manicure, this container will last forever, so don’t just save it for special occasions.  Get creative!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this neon powder pigment (retail price is $1.99 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/2gbox-neon-phosphor-powder-nail-gradient-pigment-powder-manicure-nail-decoration-p-36691.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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!