Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NotD – The Future Isn’t Necessarily Shiny

I had no idea when I started to remove my chipped polish what I was going to do today. In the end I grabbed a few polishes I still had lying around my desk and started to paint.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • LOOK by BIPA Diamond Hardener
  • China Glaze Sci-Fi
  • essence multi dimension 65 midnight rocker
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 3 black
  • MNY 407A
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat

First I applied a coat of each treatment, two of Sci-Fi and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Sci-Fi is one of China Glaze’s lovely Khromes, a pale purple metallic polish. Like the rest of the collection this is great for stamping (though you have to work quickly), an excellent base for glitters and it the pigmentation is amazing. Two thin or one thick coat will be fully opaque.
This polish applies beautifully. The only flaw is that Sci-Fi shows off every ridge and bump, so a good smooth base is vital. There are very minor brush marks. China Glaze always use a slender round brush; it works well enough, though I prefer flat ones.

Here’s Sci-Fi in two coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was dry I painted a curved stripe of midnight rocker and the black liner.

Then I added a partial coat of MNY 407A – the larger segment and the stripes - and another layer of Seche Vite.

Lastly, part of each nail – the narrow sliver plus stripe - was mattified with matt top coat.

The whole glitter and matte thing isn’t terribly obvious.
How do you like to wear your Khromes and other metallics?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NotD – Monochromatic Metals

I was so disappointed when I tried out my new IQ polishes. In the store two of the new shades, the pink and blue metallic ones, had a distinct green duochrome effect. Anywhere else, be it in daylight or artificial light, on the nail or in the bottle, they just are coloured metallics. I can sometimes see the barest hint of green in the bottle, but as I said: disappointing.

IQ Nail Effect 7 Metallic Blue

Metallic Blue is a cool-toned medium blue metallic polish. I don’t think I have any blues like this, not because it’s all that special, but because it’s just not my kind of blue. If not for that fake duochrome look at the store I wouldn’t have bought it. But it is a nicely pigmented polish, two coats are fully opaque.
Like all metallic polishes (other than foils) this has very noticeable brush marks. But Metallic Blue’s viscosity is lovely and it applies smoothly and neatly. The brush is round and rather slender and plays nicely with the formula.
On a side note, I really like the bottle design. I like the conical bottle, the matte black cap, just pretty.

This is Metallic Blue in two coats with top coats after a couple of days, so please excuse the crack in the index finger nail:

IQ Nail Effect 4 Metallic Purple

I find it strange that this colour is named Metallic Purple, as it’s clearly a pink metallic polish. Like the blue one, this is not a colour I would naturally reach for and I mostly picked it up for the duochrome look. And like before, this is opaque in two coats.
In texture and application Metallic Purple is identical to its blue sibling.

Here’s Metallic Purple in two coats with top coat:

I thought I’d do a bit of sponging with these two colours, just adding some silver (China Glaze Millennium) to balance the colour scheme. It looks kind of flag-y now, doesn’t it?

I’m finally having some luck again, as this post was rescued from my formerly dead laptop (it runs pretty well with a new hard drive, I’m happy with my new PC nevertheless). So no nubbins today!
What made you happy recently?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nail Quickie – Pirate or Soldier

I’ve had a bad week. Even if I don’t count the broken computer I’ve had a bad four days. Getting the new PC was a pain, the day before yesterday I decided to wear a new pair of shoes and you really don’t want to see my blisters (I’m limping around rather slowly). Breaking a few nails over those four days (damn sturdy packaging) was the least of my troubles. I don’t believe in fate, otherwise I would blame this on my prideful naked nails post. Winking smile
So yeah. Back to nubbins. I’m also struggling to start painting my nails early enough. After miraculously shifting my sleep pattern to a more sensible rhythm I’m missing my post-midnight painting hours.
</excuses and whinging>

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • ArtDeco Ceramic Nail Lacquer 120
  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Hidden Treasure
  • Seche Vite

First I applied two coats of Nail Envy, three coats of ArtDeco 120 and sealed it with Seche Vite.

120 is a muted army green crème polish with a rather strong grey tone. As army/military greens go, this is the ideal shade for me; most are too warm toned. 120’s opacity is fine, three coats leave no VNL.
I had to apply this polish fairly thickly, when I tried to apply it thinly it dragged a bit. Otherwise I was happy with the formula. 120 is a good polish, as most of ArtDeco’s Ceramic line seem to be. The brush is round and supple, the only thing I can think to say about it is that it holds quite a bit of polish, so wipe it off well.

This is 120 in two coats without top coat:

And here’s 120 in three coats with Seche Vite:

Because of aforementioned time issues I just added a coat of Hidden Treasure and another coat of Seche Vite. The effect is odd, to say the least. I really don’t know if I’ll ever wear that combination again. I think the flakies are just too warm-toned to harmonise with the green.

What’s on your mind tonight?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swatch – NYX Girls Robotic

I’ve used this polish quite a bit recently, but somehow I never got around to actually swatching it.

NYX Girls NP139 Robotic

Robotic is a mind-blowing polish, the slightly sheer black base is packed with blue and green microglitter, which result in the illusion of a blue/teal/green shift. The glitter is visible even in low light. The overall opacity is all right, three coats are perfect.
I found Robotic easy to apply, the formula is rather thin, but since the brush doesn’t hold a lot of polish it isn’t prone to pooling. The polish evens out at two coats. I adore this polish, both for the colour and because the glitter doesn’t align with the brush strokes. The brush itself is round and a bit dinky, but I had no problems with it.
Absolutely recommended! Robotic is utterly gorgeous and definitely worth checking out.

This is Robotic in two coats without top coat:

And this is Robotic in three coats with top coat:

I’m sorry about my brief hiatus. Last Saturday my laptop broke and blogging on my slow and minuscule Acer Aspire One is not fun. Feel free to look at my computer buying woes here, but please be aware that I may have cussed a bit there.
Of course I now have to get used to everything, new screen, I can’t find my Photoshop Elements and am now using GIMP again, even Windows Live Writer looks completely different than the version I used before.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

B3 Interview with Ivy of Jeweled Thumb

Once a month I have the opportunity to interview a fellow beauty blogger through Beauty Blogs Backstage. This month it was my great pleasure to ask about all the things (well, seven really) that I've wondered about since I started following Ivy's blog Jeweled Thumb long ago.

Let's get to the interviewin'!

1. Is there a technique you're trying to master right now?
Not really a technique but figure out how to deal with my skin and get makeup to last but not get dry and caked up by the end of the day. This is proving to be very difficult.

2. Which type of make-up brush was a revelation for you?
The only thing I can think of is the Bare Escentuals liner brush. It has a super fine point and isn't too floppy. I used it all the time when I did makeup on others, now I can't really be bothered but it is still a great brush!

3. If you could create your ideal make-up remover what would it be like?
It would need to take off everything, including waterproof mascara and be a cream or gel type so as not to be wasteful. Oh, and be cheap!

4. What's on your nails right now?
Sula Sorbet. It's a Paint & Peel polish I picked up really cheap at Big Lots. They dry really quickly so it's great for a pick-me-up when you don't have time for a full manicure, but it doesn't last if you use your hands for anything!
5. Do you have a song that gives you an instant happy?
You Don't Know Me by Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor). I always turn it on whenever I'm stuck in traffic, instant happy is a great way to describe it!

6. What 'vice' are you completely unashamed of?
I've worked really hard over the years to not care what people think especially about stupid stuff, so any of them? Top of the list are silly shows on TV like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Make It Or Break It" among others.

7. Summer is here at last! Describe your dream vacation, please!
Alaska? Hah, ok I hate the heat. Any place my husband and I can go to relax. I'd love to go to Europe. He's been practically everywhere but I manage to get dreadfully ill the moment I make plans to leave the country.

Ivy was an absolute pleasure to interview (and I absolutely agree about the obnoxious heat!). Thank you, Ivy.
Now go and follow Jeweled Thumb. And those of you who blog beautiliciously: Come on over and join us at Beauty Blogs Backstage!

Friday, June 17, 2011

NotD – Who Wants Raw Fish?

Did you know that tomorrow, June 18, is International Sushi Day? No? Well, now you do.
I’m actually not that much of a sushi lover. I find raw fish a bit bland, I don’t want to eat anything that can’t be classified as chordata… The only thing I really like is kappamaki and sushi rice in general.
Nevertheless, sushi is awesome. Therefore: Happy Sushi Day.
(Bleu model was a pain to photograph, so all images have been photoshopped. I realized after I’d uploaded them that it should be even more green. Bleu indeed.)

My base colour for this mani is a pretty shade of slightly muted turquoise, Bourjois So Laque! 44 Bleu model. Its opacity is barely decent, two coats are wearable, three thin coats are almost fully opaque.
Otherwise this has a gorgeous formula. Bleu model applies smoothly and evenly, the rather thin polish tend to pool a little, but as long as the brush isn’t loaded it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The brush is supple and flat, but unlike the ‘1 seconde’ polishes it’s just the right width.
I like this polish, but it’s a bit expensive so I won’t get any more unless the colours are truly special.

This is Bleu model in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Bleu model in three coats with Seche Vite:

Then I used a dozen or so polishes to put sushi and maki on my nails.

*yawns* My energy levels are in the cellar right now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Naked Time & Treatment Talk

Since none of you screamed at me last time not to show you my naked nails, that’s what you get today. Simply because I’m having one of those “Can’t brain today – I have the dumb” days and I don’t trust myself to do a post-worthy mani today.

So: WARNING! Naked nails below!

At the moment my nails aren’t too bad. I have a single patched corner on my right thumb and a couple of nails with marks from bending. There’s some discolouration, but I’ve had much, much worse and I don’t usually feel it’s necessary to try and eliminate the staining.
What you see near the tip of my index finger nail is my typical residual post-patch damage. Other people don’t necessarily have that (or not that badly), but I have naturally weak, thin and brittle nails and can’t really buff away superficial damage.


Strange thing: my nails used to be fairly flat, but over the last couple of years they’ve started to curl more. They used to be similar to the pinkie nail.

For me, OPI Nail Envy has been a great investment, so far I haven’t found another treatment that works as well for me. My nails don’t peel any more and the cracks (parallel to growth direction) have vanished. When I switched to different treatments the peeling started again.
I’ve been asked before why I always apply two coats of base coat. Firstly, my nails are full of ridges (especially the thumbnails) and as I mentioned before, I can’t really buff them too often. So I generally use Nail Envy and a ridge filler (or some other self-levelling base coat) to get a smooth surface. Secondly, I don’t trust a single thin coat to prevent staining. Two coats that are left to dry thoroughly just feel like a better barrier to me.
Also, I just have a ton of treatments that didn’t do a thing lying around and I’d rather use them up than throw them out, especially those that I’ve had for years and wouldn’t feel comfortable giving to friends or selling.

With base coats on, my nails don’t look half bad:

Be glad I didn’t show you my toes, I have remarkably unattractive feet. Feel free to show me your naked nails in the comments if you want to. Normal html should work or just post the link.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

NotD – Retinal Hazard

After much procrastination I finally made myself sit down and write this up properly.
I mixed up the base colour some time ago and just never got around to using it before. I’m not all that happy with how some nails turned out, though. Also, my cuticles suck today, despite giving them some happy Lemony Flutter Time.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • LOOK by BIPA Ridge Filler
  • Maybelline Colorama 51 French White
  • Nuclear Coral Frankenpolish
  • essence black and white 01 black out
  • Seche Vite

This time my base colour was an application of one coat of either base, then one coat of French White plus Seche Vite and finally one coat of Nuclear Coral plus more Seche Vite.

As usual with frankenpolishes I won’t go into it to deeply. Nuclear Coral contains quite a bit of neon polish, but also some white. I’d say it’s creamier than a true neon, but more opaque too. I still prefer it over a white base.

This is a coat of Nuclear Coral over French White with Seche Vite:

Then I used black out – severely thinned – with a fairly fine brush to add some hazard symbol inspired designs and some random ones. Another coat of Seche Vite finished the mani.

I actually painted my nails early in the morning today (after no sleep, but that’s not and excuse ;-) ), so I was able to catch the sliver of sunlight on my windowsill that I usually sleep through.
*gasp* Sunlight photo!

With that many separate coats of Seche Vite this mani should be ridiculously sturdy. Nevertheless, I shan’t try to open cans and poke holes in stuff.
So, um, any interest in seeing my nails sans polish? They’re not too scary.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NotD – Subway Green Revisited

Unlike some previous trends (mannequin nails *shudders*) I do like crackle polish, nevertheless I never seem to get around to actually buying more colours. I still have just that single bottle of Isadora Subway Green I showed off a couple of times (here and here).
This time I wore it over a weird pale shimmer.

Here’s what I used:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • LOOK by BIPA Ridge Filler
  • MNY 407A
  • IsaDora Graffiti Nails 806 Subway Green
  • Seche Vite

I chose this combo simply because I had very little time and was terribly tired. Therefore I simply applied a coat of either base coat, two of 407A (here’s the swatch), waited a bit and finished by applying Subway Green and a bit later Seche Vite.

I obviously didn’t apply Subway Green close enough to the cuticle on a couple of fingers. The problem with crackle polish is that it just doesn’t look as nice if you apply it with more than one stroke. Isadora has a nice wide brush, but getting an evenly thick coat is still highly improbable.

Which are your favourite crackle polishes? Are you as sick of seeing the same promo pics in your RSS reader/dashboard over and over as I am?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NotD – Chasing Mattes

Admittedly, this is a swatch with a additional matte image and not what I’d usually call NotD. But as that’s what I felt like wearing that’s what you get.
Both photos are photoshopped to display the colour as correctly as possible. Somehow I also managed to get the lighting completely different. How did I do that?

essence sun club 02 bbc chasing waves

chasing waves is a crème polish somewhere between turquoise and aquamarine, not too bright but not a pastel either. I’m rather impressed at finding a creamy and fairly opaque colour without chalkiness. I’m wearing this in two coats today, but three would have been better. After I put on the matte top coat the VNL reappeared, matte is just so unforgiving.
Though the first coat was very streaky, the second coat wasn’t and I consider chasing waves wearable from two coats on. The fairly thin consistency spreads nicely, but isn’t wont to pooling. Unlike the golden bronze polish from the same collection this bottle doesn’t have a completely wonky round brush, but it does have a couple of longer bristles.

This is chasing waves in two coats with top coat:

I felt like something simple and matte tonight so I just added a coat of essence matt top coat:

So I guess this is a bit of a filler post, but I’m just feeling lazy right now despite the rather lovely thunderstorm we had earlier today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Swatch – s.he 310

s.he 310 is so pretty, a soft minty green base with spring green shimmer, which shows up on the nail but doesn’t photograph well. It reminds me of a Catrice polish, Sold Our For Ever (310 is just a tad brighter). As you’ll see in the photo, this polish looks brighter on the nail than in the bottle. The opacity is great, two coats are all you’ll need.
This sweet green applied smoothly and evenly, without bubbling or dragging. The formula works really well. 310 has a simple round brush (similarly to 305 the brush is slightly wonky, but it didn’t cause any problems).
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by both colour and application. Recommended.

Here’s s.he 310 in two coats with top coat:

Another notch on th polish for the minty green section of my board. Are you sick of this kind of colour yet?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NotD - Rock On, Rock Off

After my last mani (thanks, y’all for the lovely comments!) I felt like doing something more wearable. Dark blue to the rescue!

Here’s what I used:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • LOOK by BIPA Ridge Filler
  • essence multi dimension 65 midnight rocker
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 9 green
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • Rimmel Pro SuperWear top coat
  • Seche Vite
  • essence nail art glitter mix 02 style it up! – silver stars (I later noticed that I appear to have the same stars in a jar, too)
  • Glamour Nails 02 purple stars

I applied two coats of midnight rocker over my basecoats and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

midnight rocker is a dark (midnight *gasp*) blue jelly-crème* polish, and for once it’s not a blackened blue. I adore this colour and finish. And it’s opaque in two medium-thick coats, if you apply very thin coats you might need three.
I had some bubbling, but I’m positive that my base coats are at fault (the tiny bubble on my middle finger is one that happened when I added Seche Vite and then overlooked). midnight rocker is very even and applies nicely. The round brush is decent, but not one of my favourites.

*it’s not quite sheer enough for a true jelly but has that “almost translucent, light reflects way below the surface” quality

Here’s midnight rocker in two coats with Seche Vite:

Somehow I seem to have entered a Zen state of mind at this point, because I completely forgot to photograph this step-by-step. Then again, that’s not really necessary.
I used the liners to paint two green lines in a V shape and one silver line between them. Then I repeated the following procedure one nail after the other: coat nail with Rimmel TC (which picked up some of the liners’ shimmer and distributed it without smudging the lines – nice), embed some stars, add another coat of Rimmel TC. I let the nails dry for a couple of minutes and sealed them with a coat of Seche Vite.

I love this, it’s dark, sparkly and glam without being silly or overly tacky.

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