Thursday, December 23, 2010

NotD – Defensive Manoeuvre

Finally, an interesting idea for themed nail art. It struck me, as one might have guessed, as I was playing tower defence games (one of my many guilty pleasures). Warning: I only cleaned up at the very end and sponged a lot, so most of the images feature polish-tastic cuticles.

I started with a plain, muted brown base, using essence Desert Fox (here’s the swatch), and marked where the creepers’ path was going to be. The road will be repainted later, so it doesn’t have to be neat.

Then I added the terrain through sponging. Some nails were turned into grassy plains, some into arid dirt and a couple into icy wastelands. Layering two or three colours per nail makes the terrain prettier and more realistic.

Next I repainted the road and added some detailing. The grassy bits also got some bight dots, because we all like flowery fields, right?

Now it was time for the creepers. I considered using black nail gems, but didn’t want to overload the nails, so I just added black dots and a few recently destroyed represented by red splotches.
Then I decided where I would put the towers and chose the proper gems. I then chose matching polish colours and added little shooty dots between the future locations of the towers and the creepers.

Lastly, I added coats of Seche Vite and embedded my tower gems in them. Note the right hand in a rather uncomfortable pose while I almost dropped the camera. I’m such a rightie.


I guess I’ll keep this on until after Christmas dinner (meaning Christmas Eve, since that’s when we tend to celebrate in Austria, even in mixed Catholic/Muslim/Atheist families), so I suppose this is some kind of Anti-Christmas mani… What are you going to wear for whatever you celebrate these days?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NotD – Citrus Blossom

I’ve been without good ideas recently. So today I thought I’d let my mani grow naturally. If the photos turn out weird: I’m trying out a borrowed camera to try and help my decision process (my current one is about six years old and wasn’t the newest model back then) and all photos are sans flash today.

Here’s what I ended up using:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • NYX NP 01 Carnation
  • Maybelline Colorama 51 French White
  • NYX Girls NGP 140 Sour Lime
  • Seche Vite

I decide to start with a yellow base and applied one coat of each treatment, four of Carnation and sealed it with Seche Vite.

NYX Carnation is a soft yellow crème polish on the bright edge of pastel. Somehow it seems like it should be more opaque than it really is. After applying the first coat I thought that two might be almost perfect, but in the end even three weren’t enough.
Carnation is, like most yellows, a bit tricky to apply. It was very streaky in two coats and only evened out in four. The brush is round and a bit stubby, but it did make precise and neat application necessary. It did not, however, allow me to apply Carnation evenly.

Here’s Carnation in two coats without top coat:

And this is Carnation in four coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was mostly dry I used a striping brush with French White to add the off-centre chevron (there’s no need for this to be perfect as it will be neatened after the next step) and a dotting tool to create a little flower near the base of the nail.

Then I used Sour Lime with a smaller brush (not as narrow as a striping brush, though) to fill in the tip and with a dotting tool to add a little bit of colour to each petal. Then I tidies up the white lines and sealed the mani with Seche Vite.

I always love pale yellow with white, but I think the bright sparkly lime really give this the edge it needs. What colours would you have used?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Comparison – Purple Daze

I’m loving purple polish right now, who knows why. So these past few days I’ve been wearing two new purples, which I’ll show you in this post.

L.A. Girl Rock Star NL 132 Groupie

Groupie is a bright mid-purple, which in the bottle appears to be extremely densely packed with electric blue and magenta microglitter. It positively glows. However, the amount of particles is not as great as it appears and it needs three coats for perfect coverage.
This polish applies very smoothly, it’s even in two coats and shows no brush mars, which is always lovely. Groupie’s round brush is quite good, despite a couple of stray bristles.
I love this colour, it’s so bright and sparkly I didn’t feel that putting any kind of nail art over it would be right. When a corner bent after the first day or wear and left an ugly crack I did add a couple of lines in a V shape on every nail, but it just bent again and the black polish cracked, too. Boo. So I didn’t photograph that. But that’s just my sucky nails. Groupie is awesome and highly recommended.

Here’s Groupie in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Groupie in three coats with Seche Vite:

China Glaze First Class Ticket

At first I thought that this might be a muted version of Groupie and y’know what? It kinda is. First Class Ticket has a similar mid-purple base, which is just a tad more reddish. It’s more frosty, though, the particles are finer and mostly blue and purple, giving the polish an indigo feel. This, like Midnight Mission, is opaque in two coats.
First Class Ticket also applied beautifully and smoothly. It showed only the faintest of brush marks. As always, China Glaze’s round brush was easy to control and neatly applied the polish.
This I also love, it’s like a grown-up version of Groupie. Where Groupie is flashy, vivid and intense, First Class Ticket is still happy and sparkly, but in a darker and more sophisticated way.

This is First Class Ticket in two coats with Seche Vite:

I did put some more black ‘nail art’ on that, but it sucked. In a bleh kinda way. I need to do something awesome, I know I had an amazing idea recently, but I totally forgot. *has a sieve-y brain*

This post took me so long to type up. *sighs* Typing on a new keyboard is always weird and aggravating (so sorry if I missed any typos today). But I’m glad to have another Logitech, I love their peripherals. Of course the reason I went to the electronics store were less nice. I woke up to a broken router and thus no internet all day, ‘cause I need my sister’s PC to set the new one up properly. *pouts*
What do you do when you’re forcibly internetless? I sort of just lazed around and pouted (and did some blog post writing).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Swatches – MNY I Am An Iced Angel

I’ve already shown you one of MNY’s current LE I Am An Iced Angel, MNY 407A, in this post. Today I have the other two colours for you. I’m afraid you’ll see more swatch posts in the near future, ‘cause I have a whole bunch of pretties that I need to try and a lot of them just look so awesome unembellished. But don’t worry, I’ll do some interesting stuff, too.

MNY 408A

This is the only of the three colour with chunkier silver glitter. The base is a nice charcoal grey, which is densely packed with silver and green/purple shifting shimmer rather than the more common orange and green. 408A is reasonable opaque and requires three coats for full coverage.
The application was smooth and free of problems, I found that this polish levels nicely and only shows faint brush marks. The glitter remained nicely scattered. As usual with MNY I liked the relatively narrow flat brush with its supple, easy to control bristles.
I’m guessing that this polish is supposed to resemble the LE’s glitter mascara, which is also dark grey with silver and holo (albeit the common orangey kind) glitter. I really think 408A would look nicer without the chunky glitter, it just seems incongruous to me.

This is 408A in two coats without top coat:

And here’s 408A in three coats with top coat:

MNY 409A

409A is a sheer, shimmery icy blue with a faint hint of a turquoise shift. This colour has a light blue base with bright blue and silver shimmer and fine whitish glitter. Here the glitter blends in well with the shimmery base. I only applied four coats, which wasn’t opaque, but I guess that six or so might work (an opaque base would be more sensible).
As above, this polish applied very well. As you can see in the photos, the shimmer was beautifully dispersed and the polish was even in two coats. 409A has the same brush as 408A, so I’m sure you can fugure out if I liked it. *winks*
I wasn’t sure if I should even get this colour when I was at the store, but I’m so glad I did. It’s just so pretty and depending on the number of lavers, 409A is either subtly icy or fairly bright.

This is 409A in two coats without top coat:

And here’s 409A in four coats with top coat:

I really like all the sparkly polishes I seem to stumble over all the time these days, even though I’m also trying to collect more crèmes for nail art. Glitter and shimmer make me happy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

KotD – A Most Uncreative Winter Design

Firstly I have to say that while those are most certainly my nails, I did not make up the design. Nor am I the first to apply it to nails, not at all. I have no idea who did, but y’know, everyone seems to be doing this. *trots off to search for a cliff to hop off*

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • China Glaze Midnight Mission
  • Seche Vite
  • China Glaze Jitterbug
  • China Glaze Millennium
  • Konad image plates m5 and m70
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Shine

As usual I started with a basic application of my base colour. I finally got my hands on some Nail Envy, so I used a coat of that, then one of Diamond Strength, two of Midnight Mission and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Midnight Mission is a divine deep blue infused with silver shimmer, like shimmering ink and thus beyond lovely and very flattering. It’s also nicely opaque in two medium-thick coats. Winner.
I had no issues whatsoever with Midnight Mission, it applied beautifully and is smooth no matter how thin you prefer your coats (if you tend to apply nail polish very thinly you’ll need three coats, though). China Glaze’s round brush is easy to control and left me with very little clean-up, for which my ravaged cuticles were very thankful.

Here’s Midnight Mission, which my camera didn’t want to photograph at all, in two coats with top coat:

Then I gave sponging another try and this time it actually did work out (much better than this). I simply used a chunk sawed off a kitchen sponge and Jitterbug. Very pretty, methinks.

Then I stamped on the snowflakes using my trusty (and rarely used these days) Konadin’ supplies and Millenium. Of course the only actual snowflakes I had were part of a full-nail design on image plate m70, so getting rid of the weird lines was a bit tricky and required quickly wiping leftover bits of unwanted polish off the stamper while hoping that the actual flake didn’t dry due to the delay. I also used a simple star design from m5, which I felt looked close enough, again only using one bit of the triple star at a time. A coat of Diamond Strength sealed everything nicely.

Very cute, even though everybody (and probably even their pet hamsters) has done this. Seasonal manis – tacky or awesome?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Frankenpost

Recently I had what I thought to be an amazing nail art idea. Actually, I still think the idea was awesome, but it just didn’t work. I did franken two colours for it, though, both of which are rather delicious.

First we have Mental Mint, I dunno why I picked such a clichéd name, but that’s what the label says and now I’m stuck. ;-)
It’s different than all my other mints and pretty damn opaque in two coats, which is always neat.

This is Mental Mint in two coats with top coat:

Then there’s Carrara, which I wanted to be a palest shimmery pink to emulate a delicate rose marble. The colour worked out nicely, it has some drying and opacity issues though.
It definitely needs four coats and now that I know I’ll add another coat of Seche Vite after the first two coats to get it to dry properly.

This is Carrara in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Carrara in four coats with Seche Vite:

What’s the last thing you frankened? Or what colour would you like to mix up?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swatches – essence fairytale TE

Is it time already for another Trend Edition? Seems so. Earlier this month essence released the fairytale TE, with lots of sparkly stuff (the liquid liners are quite nice). This time we got six polishes with very similar finishes, except for one.

essence fairytale

What they all have in common is the squat bottles (à 8 ml/ .27 fl.oz FYI) with a nice round brush. Though the bottles take up more space in my Helmer I do like the fact that these won’t fall over then I pull out the drawers like some other do (*cough*Eyeko*cough*). But I don’t really like how short the brushes’ stems are, you just get a bit too close to the edge of the cap.
All but 03 have a foil-like finish, but are more sheer than you’d expect from a true foil and not as metallic-y. The polishes were ever so slightly runny, applied smoothly and were even in two coats, though none were opaque in less than three. Only 03 had no brush marks whatsoever, but overall the brush marks were extremely subtle.

But take a look for yourself!

essence fairytale 01 fairy berry

fairy berry is a yummy shade of slightly plummy purple (as so often a tad more reddish than on the photos) with lots of silver particles. This one required three coats for proper coverage.

This is fairy berry in two coats without top coat:

And this is fairy berry in three coats with top coat:

essence fairytale 02 pixie dust

This polish is a soft pink champagne colour. I’m not positive, but I think I see golden particles as well as the usual silver ones. pixie dust is not opaque in four coats, so I suggest a nice opaque base – maybe a pink or silver chrome – for full coverage.

Here’s pixie dust in two coats without top coat:

And this is pixie dust in four coats with top coat:

essence fairytale 03 once upon a time

once upon a time is the odd one out in this collection. It’s a lot bolder than the other colours and a glass-flecked glitter polish rather than a sheer foil. The base is a rich reddish pink, though it looks rather red on the nail, with golden, red and what appears to be a smattering of holo glitter. once upon a time is a bit thicker than the other colours and if you don’t have enough on the brush it can be a bit patchy. The glowy colour makes up for that though. Three coats are beautifully opaque.

Here’s once upon a time in two coats without top coat:

And here’s once upon a time in three coats with top coat:

essence fairytale 04 humpty dumpty

Now this one is intriguing. humpty dumpty is a very muted purple, almost to the point of being a taupe, but with enough colour to appeal to me. It also contains the ubiquitous silver glitter. The texture and opacity are identical to fairy berry, so three coats will do perfectly.

This is humpty dumpty in two coats without top coat:

And here is humpty dumpty in three coats with top coat:

essence fairytale 05 tinka’s dress

tinka’s dress is not one of my favourites, the peachy colour is not as flattering as the other colours and I think the warm base colour doesn’t work as well with the silver particles. It’s also very sheer, and needs more than four coats.

This is tinka’s dress in two coats without top coat:

And here’s tinka’s dress in four coats with top coat:

essence fairytale 06 welcome to wonderland

I’m surprisingly fond of welcome to wonderland. This cool pale pink with the usual silver particles has just a touch of lavender and is a very pretty wintery shade. It’s another super-sheer polish and requires 4+ coats to eliminate VNL.

This is welcome to wonderland in two coats without top coat:

And here is welcome to wonderland in four coats with top coat:

Overall this collection will appeal to anyone who’s into purples, peaches, pinks, who loves glitters and foils. I believe most people, with the exception of crème-only gals and guys, will find at least one colour they love. For me, once upon a time is a wonderful surprise, I might even use it for a holiday mani, and the three purplish shades (if I count welcome to wonderland as a purple) are just gorgeous.
Though it's possible to get all of them to full opacity, I think they'd also look great layered over metallic polishes, like China Glaze's Khromes, which would also drastically reduce the necessary number of coats.

I’m scratching my head a bit at the names, though, because Alice in Wonderland is not a fairy tale at all and neither is Peter Pan, really. But I guess I’m just being bitchy here.

Which are your favourites? Have you already grabbed some or are you planning to (if the fairytale TE is not out yet where you live)?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

NotD – Slain By Sparklies

I may have overspent at the drugstore today, for despite not planning to buy more than a couple of essence’s fairytale TE nail polishes I just couldn’t resist. And they’re not even my kind of colours (most of them, anyway). Also there was a new MNY LE: I Am An Iced Angel, with a few lovely colours and a gorgeous glittery mascara top coat.
So today’s manicure grew out of one of MNY’s new polishes. Please excuse the cuticles, I oil ‘em, I Lemony Flutter ‘em, but the sudden cold weather really did a thorough job on them.

Here’s what I used today (eep, my bottles have halos…):

  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • MNY my varnish 407A
  • essence fairytale 06 welcome to wonderland
  • essence fairytale 04 humpty dumpty
  • essence fairytale 01 fairy berry
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying two coats or Nail Thickener, three of 407A and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

MNY 407A is a sheer iridescent pink/green/grey shimmer polish, which from some angles looks greenish grey with silver shimmer, only to morph into a pink with silver shimmer and a pinkish lavender. Three coats are far from opaque, so VNL-haters will need an opaque base.
I loved 407A’s formula, it applied smoothly and free of streaks. Also, it’s fairly runny and made applying very thin coats easy. The brush is MNY’s usual supple, narrow, flat one, which I really like.
I suspect that this will be lovely for layering as well as being gorgeous on its own, so if you have access to MNY, take a look (and also check out the glitter mascara, which looks much better than on the website).

Here’s 407A in two coats without top coat:

And this is 407A in three coats with Seche Vite:

Today I thought I’d do a step-by-step again (not that it’s really necessary as the design is pretty simple). I started by applying welcome to wonderland diagonally across the tip.

Since those two colours are not ideal directly adjacent, especially as 407A shifts, I added a double line of humpty dumpty between them, using a medium-length striping brush.

Then I used a dotting tool and fairy berry to place a row of dots between the lines and a small, almost floral, detail to the base of the nail. I think that really balanced the more busy tip quite well. Then I sealed everything with another coat of Seche Vite.


Who’s good at identifying finishes, ‘cause the fairytale polishes baffle me. They seem to hover between shimmer and foil, so I really don’t anticipate swatching and reviewing them, because then I have to decide what to call them. :-P

Friday, December 3, 2010

NotD – Of Flakes and Flakes

Has it been snowing where you live (except for folks from the far, far south, I expect that you’re getting all crispy and summery these days)? I’m a bit ambivalent about snow, it’s pretty and all and I love the feeling of snowflakes on my skin, but walking on snow is a pain since hardly anyone clears it away these days. Great, now I sound like that stereotypical grumpy old person yelling at kids to get off my lawn and the good old days. And I don’t even have any lawn.
Anyway, today I’m still in my easy quick mani mode, so what I’ll show you is a pretty layered one. I tried out another new base coat, my Diamond Strength is pretty much empty and annoyingly, Mueller didn’t have any so I picked up a bottle of Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener instead (it’s pleasantly runny so far).

I’ve been looking for a decent white crème polish since I’ve more or less used up my China Glaze White On White and Trind CC103, but somehow the only white polish I could find was meant for french tips and not all that even. So the base of this layering effort is a ridiculously streaky coat of white.
The next colour I used is the one I frankened for my Power Rangers nail art and named Iced Mallow, a shimmery, slightly silvery white (Colorama marshmallow & white crème & dollop of China Glaze  Millennium). Here it is – on my newly shortened and not yet perfectly shaped nails – in two coats with Seche Vite:

Then I just added two coats of essence colour&go 25 glisten up! (someone recommended this to me and I can’t remember who… thank you, whoever you are, it’s awesome).

glisten up! is very sheer, hence the layering as my nails are never happy when I’ve been wearing patches for some time, a bright lightish blue filled with a lovely range of glitter. From some angles the only thing that’s clearly visible is the fairly fine round blue/orange holo glitter, but there’s also brightly flashing cool green microglitter and tiny to smallish flakies that shift from a muted pink to that exact same green.
Like most essence polishes, this applies beautifully and very evenly. The microglitter is perfectly dispersed without any brush marks, though an excessive number of strokes per nail can align the flakies a bit.
This polish is fantastic for layering, I have to try it over green at some point and I just love bright sheer polish over a white base, they always look better than pastels. Highly recommended.

Here’s glisten up! in two coats with Seche Vite over my silvery white franken:

Thankfully I was able to reschedule my presentation, so I should have more time for more interesting stuff. Whatcha wanna see?

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