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!

 

 

Art Deco Gold Chrome Nails

I have to admit that once September hits, I tend to be swamped, so I really apologize for being lazy with my blog.  I’m trying to keep up with everything as much as I can!

For this manicure, I tried out some of that cool gold chrome powder that has been all the rage.

img_20160905_021130.jpg

Gold chrome mirror powder from Born Pretty Store.

It works best over gel polish, but because I hardly own any gel polishes, I opted to use a gel top coat from Born Pretty Store over regular nail polish.

img_20160905_013931.jpg

The bottle says that this is a primer, but you can use Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish as a top coat as well.

I also used Ünt Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with this one because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking off gel nails.  The stuff works wonders for easy polish removal!

img_20160905_002024.jpg

I started by painting all my nails black. Pictured here is Johnny by Julep.

I applied a layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish top coat over this and cured it under a LED lamp for a minute just to be safe.

img_20160905_100637.jpg

Using the sponge applicator that was provided in the set, I rubbed the gold pigment onto my nails. They instantly looked shiny and awesome!

After cleaning up the excess powder, I applied another layer of gel top coat and cured it for a minute to seal the chrome look in.  I made a jelly sandwich!

img_20160905_023245.jpg

C3PO can’t beat these nails!

I jazzed up the chrome effect by picking a design off of Harunouta plate L009.

img_20160816_235822.jpg

I stayed retro cool by stamping the design on the far right side of the plate onto my nails.

img_20160905_020829.jpg

I used Konad Special Nail Polish in Black and a clear stamper to place the center of the scalloped fan design onto the half moon portion of each of my nails.

img_20160905_105034.jpg

After applying Seche Vite top coat, I’m all done!

The chrome brings some serious glamour into your life.  And do you know what’s awesome about stamping over gel topcoat?  If you mess up, you can wipe your nail clean with acetone and a cotton ball, and you don’t have to re-paint your base color!

Stay tuned for more of the pigment craze!  Happy polishing!

Review of Born Pretty Store Silver Mirror Powder, Gel Polish, and UV LED Lamp Set

If you follow any sort of nail art trends online, you must have heard about mirror chrome nails by now.  Everyone has been gushing over this magic glitter powder for months since its release, but in order to use it, gel polish and some sort of UV lamp setup are required.  I thought I was just going to have to sit this one out until I saw this awesome set on the Born Pretty Store website.

img_20160905_014714.jpg

Solve all of your mirror powder woes with this all inclusive set from Born Pretty Store.

Pretty much all of the materials that you need in order to create the silver (also available in gold) chrome look are here, and it’s pretty affordable, too!

img_20160905_015351.jpg

One gram of silver glitter pigment comes in a cute little plastic container along with a sponge tip applicator and a beautiful holographic Ziploc bag for storage.

img_20160905_013618.jpg

The website says that the set comes with top coat, but I received a 5 mL bottle of black gel polish instead. Because gel polish is cured in light, the bottle cannot be transparent, and you can’t see the color inside until you open it.

img_20160905_014343.jpg

The lamp comes with a USB cable and a power adapter so it can be plugged into a computer for its power source or into a standard outlet. I believe Born Pretty will give you the correct adapter based on your country, but the USB plug is handy if they don’t send the correct one.

As you can see in the picture, the lamp has three LED lights, each with a power of 3 watts, so the lamp has a total power of 9 watts.  This is relatively low wattage as a lot of UV lamps have 36 watts of power or more.  This will affect curing times, as I later found out the hard way.

img_20160911_213022.jpg

The underside of the lamp. The black circles are the rubberized feet that help to hold the lamp in place when it is set on a flat surface.

The cable that comes with the lamp is roughly 22-1/2 inches, or less than 2 feet long, so it is rather on the short side.  You may substitute another adapter of your own to use with this unit provided that it is 100-240v AC 50-60 Hz.  These specifications are printed on the adapter plug and on the side of the box.

img_20160911_212546.jpg

Close up of the adapter plug. The USB cable fits into the other side.

img_20160911_213404.jpg

The sides of the box are printed with information on power, voltage, size, and color.

The lamp is available in several different colors, but I was sent the red one.  It is a beautiful metallic apple red, and the size is relatively small with a shape similar to a telephone handset.  The power switch is located on the top of the unit.  If you push it once, the light will turn on for 30 seconds and then shut off automatically, or you can push the button again to turn it off mid cycle.

img_20160911_212822.jpg

Power is yours with the single push of a button.

Disclaimer #1: This was my first time doing gel nails.  I’ve always been a girl who changes her polish frequently, so I’ve never really worked with gels, but I’m a quick learner!  If you see my noob mistakes, don’t laugh too hard at me!

I painted a thin coat of black Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish onto my thumb.  Because the lamp size is too small to fit all your nails underneath the light at once, I cured my thumb separately.  I pushed the button on the lamp once, meaning that I cured the gel for 30 seconds.

img_20160905_021814.jpg

That blue glow is the UV LED light at work.

After the light went off, it seemed like the polish wasn’t cured fully because it felt tacky to the touch.  I’ve heard of needing to wipe off the sticky layer after curing gel nails, so I didn’t think too much of it at this point.

img_20160905_022352.jpg

My thumb after 30 seconds under the lamp. You can kind of see my fingerprint in the polish from where I touched it to see if it was dry or not. Obviously it wasn’t.

I decided to try applying the mirror powder to this nail anyway without wiping off the tacky layer to see what would happen.

img_20160905_021516.jpg

The chrome pigment is a silvery powder with inconsistent glitter pieces scattered throughout it. The jar has a protective seal covering the opening in addition to the lid to keep the product from leaking out during shipment.

As per instructions on the Born Pretty website, I used the sponge applicator that came with the set to apply the powder to my nail.  Just like magic, my nail went from a streaky looking black color to silver.

img_20160905_022718.jpg

Macro shot of the powder applied to my thumb.

You will notice that the look does not have an even chrome finish and that it looks like densely packed glitter.  Applying the powder over a tacky base was not the answer!

For my other nails, I decided to wipe off the tacky layer after the 30 second curing process was done.  What I found was that I could not cure all four nails at the same time with the lamp in this kit.  Also, not only did the gel polish have that sticky feel after the light went off, but when I went to wipe the nails with rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad, the gel almost completely rubbed off my nail!  I don’t have a photo of this because I was freaking out about getting gel all over the place.

I learned later that darker colors of gel polish require longer curing times, so 30 seconds with this lamp will definitely not cut it for black polish.

Also, I had issues with the application of the polish because the gel kept running into my cuticles even though I was painting on thin layers.  Apparently this is a thing with gel polish, so I tried to act as quickly as possible.

I tried curing 3 nails together (index, middle, and ring) in the lamp so that the light could reach them better, and I used 2 light cycles (60 seconds) to set the gel.  The results were better, and I was able to wipe my nails down with the rubbing alcohol without removing all the polish.  After applying the chrome powder, the results were much better this time around.

img_20160905_101035.jpg

The chrome powder formed a reflective satin finish over wiped down nails. My ring finger shows the black gel polish with the tacky layer removed.

Disclaimer #2: You probably noticed the rippling on my index finger.  This happened when I was trying to wipe down my nail with alcohol.  I should note that I also used UNT Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with the gel polish.  Even though Simply Nailogical got this to work, my gel expert friend Bev later told me that gel polish with a peel off base is a no no because it can shrink during the curing process.  Lesson learned!

Because I hadn’t painted my pinky yet and noticed that the mirror powder seemed to make a nice effect over my liquid palisade, I tried painting my pinky with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape to see if it would work or not.

img_20160905_101503.jpg

End result is that it didn’t look as cool on my nail as it did when it was protecting my skin!

img_20160905_102241.jpg

It still looked respectably shiny, and I could peel this manicure off afterward!

However, I wasn’t convinced that this was what chrome nails were supposed to look like.  What would happen if I used regular polish with a gel clear coat?

img_20160904_230132.jpg

I applied Johnny by Julep to my right hand.

I hardly have any gel polishes so I painted a thin layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish base/top coat (sold separately from this kit) and cured it under the lamp for 60 seconds.  I found that holding the lamp in my hand and moving it steadily back and forth over my nails helped to get the light to reach all the nails on my hand in one go.

img_20160905_013931.jpg

Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish primer/top coat.

I opted to use the powder on top of the clear gel coat without wiping it down, and the results were a ton better than they were with the black gel polish alone.

img_20160904_232234.jpg

Smooth, even, and shiny mirror chrome nails.

img_20160904_231300.jpg

Macro shot of my thumb. You can see how the pigment is not a consistently ground find powder but rather varying sized specks. It has a reflective finish in any case.

It took several tries, but I got my mirror nails in the end!  Don’t forget to add another layer of gel top coat once the powder is applied to your liking.

img_20160904_230946.jpg

Disclaimer #3: After watching several YouTube videos on how to achieve this look, I noted that people who used only gel polish applied a base coat of clear gel, 2 coats of colored gel, and a layer of top coat prior to applying the powder with an additional layer of top coat applied at the end over the powder, curing each layer of gel along the way.  Perhaps this is where I went wrong with the black gel polish, but then again, the original kit did not come with a top coat, even though it said that it did on the website.

Overall Impressions

The lamp in the kit is super affordable, but its small size makes curing your nails a little harder to do.  Also the wattage is on the low side, so expect to need to cure colored gel polish with a minimum of 60 seconds.  It’s definitely a beginner UV LED lamp, so it’s a great item for those who are just starting to get into gel polish or those who only are interested in gels in order to get the mirror nail effect.

The gel polish would have been awesome if it had been the clear top coat as was listed in the description of the product.  Black gel polish may not be a good choice for those who are new to gels.  You will need to apply a gel top coat over the powder to preserve the finish, which means that you will have to buy another product that is not included in this kit, defeating the point of having a pre-made set.

The powder itself is amazing, but the finish does change depending on the texture of the surface you rub it on.  I had random men complimenting my nails when I went out later that day, so it creates an eye catching look, especially when it is applied over gel top coat.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment, gel polish, and UV LED lamp set (retail price is $25.99 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-mirror-powder-lamp-coat-nail-chrome-pigment-magic-glitter-p-30909.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

rsspx31

Rhythmic Gymnastics Nails

I’m very fortunate to have made friends with some very talented nail artists on Instagram through the magic of collaborations.  About a month ago, we started a group chat discussing the plan to do an Olympics theme, so each of us picked a sport to represent.  Because of the time differences between us 13 nail artists across the world, I was one of the latecomers to the conversation.  A lot of sports had already been picked, but when I saw that rhythmic gymnastics was available, I jumped on it!  I had visions of the ribbon twirling in my head.

For those who have never seen a routine, you really ought to watch at least a little bit of the video here!  The amount of skill needed for this sport is insane!

For the color palette, I picked the following polishes.

img_20160731_213950.jpg

Pictured from left to right: Bunny by Julep, Only Gold For Me by Sephora by OPI, Folies Bergère by Cupcake Polish, and Copa Girls by Cupcake Polish.

Because the mat in the Olympics is white, I painted all my nails with Bunny to serve as a base.

img_20160731_214951.jpg

Go for the gold! Bunny by Julep has gold micro glitter.

I tried to play up the gold of the micro glitter with Only Gold For Me, which is actually a glitter top coat.  I applied it with a sponge to soak up the extra fluid from the top coat, but it still makes a lovely natural glitter gradient.

img_20160731_230501.jpg

I used different colored acrylic paints by craft smart to paint the Olympic rings which were a required element for all the designs of the collab. I used a striping brush and a dotting tool with holo polishes from Cupcake Polish to paint ribbons and balls soaring through the air.

photogrid_1470022196122.jpg

You’ll notice that I added more glitter to fill in empty spaces around the Olympic Rings in the bottom left hand picture. I didn’t want any glitter getting in the middle of the rings, which is why I didn’t apply it over my entire nail to start.

I used a striping brush and a detail brush with black acrylic paint to outline the ribbons and the balls so that they would stand out more in the design.

img_20160731_231952.jpg

Five gymnasts usually compete as a team, so I had two ribbons and three balls represented in the design. Coincidentally, there are also five rings in the Olympic symbol.

I imagined that I would have a silhouette of a gymnast twirling a ribbon on my thumb.  I have pretty short nails, so this was the only space where I had room to do this.  I had to sketch this out with pencil and paper first before I tried to paint it.

photogrid_1470022137754.jpg

I used a detail brush with pink holographic polish to paint in a twirling ribbon, then I painted the silhouette of the gymnast with black acrylic paint and outlined the ribbon. The gray line is the handle of the ribbon.

Here’s the finished look!

img_20160731_220713.jpg

Yay for rhythmic gymnastics!

I had the foresight to use a peel off base coat with this design so that I can keep it forever.  For the record, Ünt peel off base coat really does work well!

 

img_20160807_111322.jpg

It’s sure a lot easier to arrange peelies for a pose than it is to get my hand in the right position!

As for that collab, I think that everyone did a fabulous job!

Best of luck to Team USA in all their events at the Olympics in Rio this year!  Happy polishing!