Review of Beauty Big Bang 3 Piece Brush Set

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving! I’m back with a quick review of a 3 piece brush set from Beauty Big Bang.

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These brushes don’t come with a storage case although they do have protective open ended caps to preserve the brush heads during shipment. The handles are clear plastic and are labeled with sizes 0, 00, and 000. I’m guessing that Kolinsky is the name of the manufacturer.

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The end of the brush handle has an angled tip that can be used to push back cuticles.

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Flaming Manicure

Not too long ago, I played the opera Die Walküre by Richard Wagner, the 2nd of 4 [very long] operas that make up Wagner’s Ring cycle. Everyone was expecting some appropriate nail art from me, so I chose to do a fire design based on the last scene of the opera. It’s the only place where I had to play the piccolo in my part, so it just made sense to me.

Because it’s a fiery scene, I started by painting my nails with a red based black polish called chelsea from nails inc. It’s perfectly opaque in 2 coats, although you can see more of a red tint if you only use one coat.

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Mardi Gras Nails

This week is full of holidays, so here is some Mardi Gras nail art to get the good times rolling!

I planned to do a rather intricate design, so I didn’t go for a solid shade across all my nails. I decided to use a golden shimmery yellow (Nadia from Julep) alongside a glossy black (Johnny from Julep) for my base colors.

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I first did a preliminary sketch of my mask with pencil and paper to give me the confidence to paint it across two of my nails. The sketch looked way better, but I also was painting this design late at night and was getting increasingly more worried that I wasn’t going to get enough sleep because I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought!

In any case, I used craft smart acrylic paint in black to paint the mask, then used a striping brush with gold holographic polish (Heart of Gold from Born Pretty) to paint diagonal lines across the mask to form a diamond harlequin style pattern.

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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!

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!

Rainbow Musical Nails

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to update the blog lately, so I apologize for that.  These nails are from May, so even though I’m posting in June, I’m filing this under last month.

I really felt like doing a rainbow gradient across just the tips of my nails, so I had to pull out a whole arsenal of polishes for this one.  Pictured below from left to right are the following colors:

OPI- Privacy Please
Sephora by OPI- Curve-aceous
Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare
Formula X for Sephora- Danger Zone
Confetti- Ice Ice Baby
Sephora by OPI- Gleek Out
Sephora by OPI- Who Let the Dorks Out?
Formula X for Sephora- Hyped

I tried to pick polishes with shimmer in them so that the overall look would be more unified.

I started out by painting my nails with a nude color base.  You can opt to only do the gradient if you have nice looking nail beds, but I wanted to even out the tone.

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Privacy Please by OPI- a neutral shade that makes it look like I have healthy nail beds.

Using a small sponge, I applied dabs of each color in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Each nail has 2 colors on it starting with red on my thumb and ending in purple on my pinky.

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The rainbow gradient is beautiful by itself.

I wanted my rainbow to have some more sparkle, so I added a stroke of Ice Ice Baby, an iridescent glitter, to the top half of each nail.

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The lighting doesn’t pick up the different reflections of the glitter, but it’s there.

Finally I took craft smart Acrylic Paint in White and drew in a few lines with a striping brush to draw two lines across the tip of each nail.  I made little note heads with a dotting tool and painted in the stems with a detail brush.

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The notes are entirely optional, but I wanted to acknowledge my music career with this design.

I think it’s pretty and represents what a colorful part music plays in our lives.

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My two loves: my flute and nail art.

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?  😉

Happy polishing!

Clownfish Finding Nemo Nails

The other week, I painted clown inspired nail art, so naturally the next thing I thought to paint was clownfish!  Finding Dory is coming out soon, so I couldn’t help but put Nemo on my nails.

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Colors used include from left to right: Radiant by Formula X, Zing by Formula X for Sephora, and White Hot by Sephora by OPI.

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I also used craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, White, and Dark Grey for some of the details.

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I started by painting most of my nails with Radiant.

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For the clownfish stripes, I used white acrylic paint to form the basic shape, layered it with white polish to give it a more even texture and shine, and then I outlined the white sections with a striping brush dipped in black acrylic paint.

You might be wondering why I applied white acrylic paint first rather than painting white polish directly onto my nails.  In my experience, layering polishes over each other causes the colors to bleed, even if the base color is dry.  The thicker the coat, the more the bottom color melts into the top one.  Acrylic paint does not have that effect because it simply dries as a separate layer on top of the nail polish.  Had I only used white nail polish, there would have been a good chance of it turning slightly orange or getting slightly streaked with the other color.

Also, white polish is not a one coat color.  You need to apply it at least twice over an area to get decent opacity, so it was easier to use acrylic paint to get the opacity right off the bat without making a total mess.

The clownfish stripe design is also awesome for beginner nail artists because the lines don’t have to be so precise.  It just looks like a mod pattern from afar.  Also, the black lines on a clownfish aren’t exactly the same width, so it’s easy to forgive any variances in thickness in the painting.

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I didn’t try to exactly copy the pattern of the fish in this photo, but you get the idea.

I only painted Nemo on my thumb because I wasn’t going to do a full set of characters from the movie.

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I started by painting my thumb with Zing, then I painted a rough outline of where Nemo would go with white acrylic paint. I used Radiant to color in the section orange, outlined the entire shape with black acrylic paint, added the stripe and eye details with white acrylic paint, and finished by painting in the rest of the face and fin details with a dotting tool and a small brush.

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A good clear top coat seals all the layers together and smooths out everything to a fine polished finish.

Nemo is just the cutest!  And yes, I own a plushie of him.  🙂

Just keep swimming, lovelies!  Happy polishing!