29 June 2012

Feature Friday - Stars and Stripes

Hi all!  With the 4th of July just around the corner, I thought I would show you my Independence Day inspired mani before the weekend.

I started with my base of SH Double Duty.  I did two coats of ChG Frostbite and stamped the stars from Cheeky's CH 4 plate with SHXW White On.  I topped that with a coat of SV.  Then, I taped off a diagonal and painted on my favorite red, WnW 414.  I placed another piece of tape on the same diagonal and stamped the stripes from the same plate over the red with the White On.  Everything was topped with SV once more, and that's it!  Here is the plate and images I used:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

28 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - New York Color Starry Silver Glitter

Hello!  So, I bought this next polly at the same time that I bought my other NYC polishes, so it's fairly old.  It's called Starry Silver Glitter.  I actually saw this in a store recently, so they still make it.  It's holo micro glitter and blue and silver round glitter in a clear base.

The formula is very good.  It went on smoothly and evenly.  However, you do have to work to get the round glitter on your nail.  I actually didn't try too hard, so that's why there is not much in terms of the round glitter.  It dries shiny, but you need a top coat if you are looking for high shine.  I did not use a top coat so you could see the natural finish.  And it is not gritty at all.  Left to right below, you are looking at two coats over black (ChG Liquid Leather), two coats over white (OPI Alpine Snow), two coats, and one coat.
L to R: Two coats over black, two coats over white, two coats, one coat

L to R: Two coats, one coat

L to R: Two coats over black, two coats over white
I used SH Double Duty as a base.

27 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - Revlon Royal

I have the much loved and hated Revlon Royal for you today.  It is a deep royal blue jelly.  The formula was meh.  The first coat is a little uneven with some balding.  The second coat levels nicely, but a third coat would be needed for full opacity.  And despite this being in the Top Speed line, I found the drying time to be more like Bottom Speed.  It was slow to dry, and even my SV top coat didn't seem to do much for it.  I have used this color in a tape mani before (see here).  And I had to wait twice as long as usual before I could safely tape it off.  The brush was okay, but mine is a little wonky.  There were a couple of bristles that were looped, so I had to cut them out.  Overall, it's a nice color, but a little tricky to work with.

SH Double Duty and SV for base and top.

26 June 2012

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday - Cuticle Removal

Hey there, hi there, ho there!  Today, I'm going to talk about how I remove excess cuticles.  There are tons of tutorials out there with video, so this will be quick and to the point.  I currently use Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator, which I got from Sally Beauty.  I also use a cuticle tool that has a pusher on one end and a curette on the other.  I do this once every week or two.

I put the cuticle remover on two nails at a time.  I let it sit for a minute or so, then get to work.  Using the pusher end of my tool, I gently push the cuticle back (if you are not sure where the "true" cuticle is, look it up online first to avoid damage and/or infection).  Then, I go over the outer edges with the curette to remove any remaining bits of cuticle.  I don't not apply much pressure at all.  I just lightly run the tool over the nail bed, and let it do all the work.  Then, I rinse my nail in water.  I use a towel to dry my nail, and gently rub the cuticle area with the towel to gently remove any residue and push back the cuticle.  I just repeat this process for each finger.  That's all, folks!

Pusher end

Curette end

25 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - China Glaze Holly-Day

And, the streak is over!  How about a Green Monday?  Oh, well.  Anyway, this is China Glaze Holly-Day, a rich green creme.  This was opaque in two coats.  Holly-Day has awesome application, and a great brush, too.  However, make sure you double up on the base coat and make sure to get your base even across the entire nail.  I got some slight staining mostly around the edges where my base coat wasn't as thick.  :o(

SH Double Duty as base and SH Insta-Dri on top.

22 June 2012

Feature Friday - Neon Gradient Stripes

In the spirit of full disclosure, I had hoped to revisit the gradient mani.  However, I wasn't really crazy about the colors I chose.  I thought they would look a little more bright and summery, but the orange ended up being too muddy for my taste.  So, I decided to reach for my tape...and my virtual bandage!

I started with a base of SH Double Duty.  Then, I painted on two coats of ChG I'm With the Lifeguard, from their Summer Neons collection.  I sponged on ChG Papaya Punch to create a gradient.  I topped this was a coat of SV.  Then, I used my thin painter's tape (the roll is only about 1/8" thick).  Even at 1/8", this was still thicker than I wanted, so I cut each piece of tape in half length-wise to make it even thinner.  I added the strips of tape, and painted on one coat of SC Black on Black.  Then I topped it all with another coat of SV.

21 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - Sally Hansen DVD

Good morning!  I've got a blingy-bling polish for you today.  This is from SH's HD line.  It's called DVD, and it really cool!  I'm not quite sure how to classify this one.  It's a super sparkly duochrome that flashes blue and purple (blurple!), or it could be called an iridescent.  And the finish could even pass as a foil.  I am very happy to report that the brush was on this line is also a round brush instead of the SH paddle, and it worked very well.  The formula on this was fantastic.  Application was smooth and even.  This is my usual two-coat swatch.  It was almost opaque in these two coats, but not quite.  One or two more coats would do the trick.  While this looks incredible on its own, it would be even more beautiful over a light base.  And it is positively blinding in the sunlight!

Blurred for Bling
SH Double Duty and SH Insta-Dri for base and top.

20 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - Sally Hansen Wet Cement

This is another color from SH's Xtreme Wear line.  I loved the brush on this line so much, I was eager to buy more!  It's called Wet Cement, and that is pretty much what it looks like IRL.  It's not a bad color.  However, my skin tends to lean red, and this color just emphasized that terribly.  Lucky for me, I did not buy this color with the intention of wearing it.  I wanted it as an accent color and maybe for stamping if it performs well.  I'll let you know on that whenever I get around to test running it.  The formula on this creme was pretty good, but it did need the second coat.  You could probably get by with just one thicker coat.  And, of course, the brush was great!  Are there any colors that just don't play well with your coloring?

SH Double Duty and SH Insta-Dri for base and top.

19 June 2012

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday - Clean Up

Hi guys!  Today, I thought I would tell you about how I clean up my often messy paint jobs.  All I use is my nail polish thinner and an elf concealer brush.  The nail polish thinner I use is Beauty Secrets, which I get from Sally Beauty.  Some people prefer pure acetone, but I think it is too drying and damaging to my already sad cuticles.  I get great results using thinner without as much damage.  The elf concealer brush is $1.00 at Target.

After painting my nails, I dip the brush into the thinner, and lightly dab it on a piece of tissue to remove the excess.  If your brush is too loaded, it can flood the cuticle, and dissolve the edges of the polish too much.  Then, I use the brush to remove the polish from my skin.  I also use it to remove any polish that flooded my cuticle.  With darker colors, it's best to wipe of the brush after picking up polish to avoid inadvertently transferring that polish to other areas.

I can't take the credit for this trick.  I actually learned this method many years ago from the girl who did my pedis back then.  She used this method to clean up.  She also used this method to do french pedis.  She just painted on the white tip, without worrying about how messy it was.  Then, she used the brush to remove the white to create a nice, crisp, curved nail line.  She was the best!

18 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - Sally Hansen Pacific Blue

Today's color is from SH's Xtreme Wear line.  Another blue for Blue Monday!  I'm on a streak.  I bought this one because the name reminded me of Hubberoo.  He grew up surfing off the coast of CA and this is called Pacific Blue.  First of all, I cannot tell you how incredibly giddy I was to open the bottle and find a regular, round brush!  *insert happy dance here*

This is a very bright, blue creme, and I love it!  Formula was good, too.  It went on opaque in one coat, but I threw on a second coat anyway.  And can I please draw your attention to my middle finger?  No, not because I want to throw a gesture out there.  I just want to express my excitement that I did NOT clean up that nail at all!  Technique is improving, people!  And the not-a-crazy-paddle brush helped a lot.  I know a lot of people out there love the flat, fat brushes.  They just don't work on teeny tiny little nail beds.  Anyway, enjoy the awesome blue of Pacific Blue!

SH Double Duty and SH Insta-Dri for base and top.

15 June 2012

Feature Friday - Black on Pink Polka Dots

I hate to admit this, but I love black with pink.  So I decided to try stamping some black polka dots over a pink base.

I started with SH Double Duty as a base.  I painted on three coats of CC I Believe in Amour (from my mismatched Ross set, so the name is questionable).  Then I stamped using SC Black on Black.  The polka dots are from Cheeky's CH6 plate, shown below.

On the accent nail, I decided to go with the bow from CH15, shown below.

I topped them off with a coat of SV to finish.

The polka dots didn't transfer completely.  Is it just me, or do they look like little black olives?  LOL

14 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - Sally Hansen Sonic Bloom

Hi all!  Today, I'm showing you SH Insta-Dri's Sonic Bloom.  It's a bright red creme, but it's not straight red.  It almost has a slight coral slant to it.  The formula was pretty good.  I did end up going with two coats here because the first one didn't seem to give solid coverage, but it was close.  And you know I'm not a fan of their paddle brushes.  They just do not play well with my little nail beds, so of course, I had lots o' cleaning to do.  This is a really fun color, and it's a big departure from my usual.  Streeeeetching!  If you do go with it, double up on the base coat...she's a slight stainer!

SH Double Duty and SH Insta-Dri for base and top.

13 June 2012

I'm Swatchin' You - China Glaze Liquid Leather

Goooood morning!  This next polish is the very first China Glaze (ChG) polish I ever bought, because you can never have enough black!  It's a black jelly called Liquid Leather, as I'm sure many of you already know.  Of course, ChG makes great polish, and this one is no different.  Their brushes are pretty good.  However... (isn't there always a however with me?)  It does drag a bit on the first coat with this color.  But once you get a second coat on, it smooths right out.  Great coverage in two coats, and tons of shine...normally.  I decided to mattify it because nothing is hotter than a matte black.  Yum!

On a side note, do NOT try stamping with this black.  How do I know, you may ask?  EPIC. FAILURE.  That's how I know.  Very stressful day...I can't even go back there. *curling into the fetal position and sucking thumb*

SH Double Duty and Essie Matte About You for base and top.

12 June 2012

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday - Crystal Nail File

If you've read about me on my "About & Stash" page, you know that I used to paint my nails all the time when I was in high school, which is longer ago than I care to admit!  During that time, my nails used to peel like mad.  I figured it was just because of all the painting and nail polish remover.  I thought those products just made my nails weak.

Well, one day, my dad took me with him to this home show.  They had a bunch of booths with everything from cabinetry to crafts and beauty products.  The first booth we passed was selling nail files.  I stopped to check it out.  The guy at the booth asked to see my nails.  At the time, they were naked, and my peelies were plainly visible.  The guy started telling me how the nail files they sold would stop the peeling.  He asked if he could demonstrate the file on one of my nails, which he did.  The file looked like a gray stone.  The file worked beautifully.  Although I didn't quite believe it would stop my nails from peeling, I did like the way it worked compared to the plain emery boards I was using.  So I bought the set.

I can honestly tell you that since I've been using this file, which I've had for more than 20 years now (there, I said it! LOL), my nails have not peeled since.  As you can see in the photo above, my file is in two pieces.  I dropped it many years ago, and it broke.

Here's what I do.  I simply file my nails with the wider end (which is rougher).  And yes, I do file back and forth.  With this file, there is no need to go in one direction.  Then I quickly go over them again with the thinner (smoother) end, which seals the edge of the nail.  That's it!

Unfortunately, I have no idea what the name of the company was.  The file just came in a blue velvet bag that simply says "Professional Naturally Beautiful Nails."  It came with a little holder and sleeve for the file, which I got rid of after I broke the file.  It also came with 3 buffers.  If you ever come across a file that looks anything like this, buy it!  I have not bought files in more than 20 years.  To care for this, I occasionally wash it with mild soap and water, and air dry.  It has never worn down, and stopped my peelies for good!