Thursday, September 29, 2011

NotD - Technicolour Grass

Is this a fail? I don’t know, really. I really liked my rainbow dots mani, so I thought I’d try some other rainbow-esque nailses. This stripy thing is not among my favourites.

This is what I used today:

  • China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula
  • essence base sealer
  • essence colour&go 80 icy princess
  • acrylic paint
  • essence top sealer
  • Seche Vite

As usual, I started with one coat of each base coat, three of icy princess and sealed it with Seche Vite. I’ve only used this China Glaze treatment a couple of times, so I can’t tell if it works for me yet (I hope, ‘cause Nail Envy is so expensive). It definitely doesn’t lift on me like NailTek does, which is one of the things I had heard about ChG NS&GF. Just FYI, China Glaze’s instructions are not to use this under polish!

icy princess is a bright sparkly silver foil polish. Like all shades of silver I’ve seen so far it doesn’t actually resemble silver, though. ^_~ Though this polish isn’t quite fully opaque even in three coats it is wearable in a single coat.
Foil. Need I say more? icy princess is extremely easy to apply, the formula is thin and dries so very fast. The glitzy particles do align somewhat along the brush strokes, but I wouldn’t even call that brush marks. The flat brush makes the application even easier.
Recommended. It’s a great silver foil that also applies great.

Here’s icy princess in two coats without top coat:

And here’s icy princess in three coats with top coat:

So I wanted to do a stripy tip, almost like a funky French, but after the the fist couple of strokes I could tell that this wouldn’t work (maybe if I had taped the tip off, but I’m a dope sometimes). Instead I decided to lightly brush each colour lightly from tip towards cuticle. A coat of each top coat finished the manicure.

It definitely looks better than the first concept would have, but it’s kind of “degenerated unicorn pissed on a clump of grass” (‘cause a healthy unicorn has sparklier pee, of course).
The real question is which colour am I going to wear next? I have five flakies to try, so I guess some nice crème polish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Swatch - Color Club Blue-Topia

I spent a while plotting and pondering about what kind of nail art to do tonight, but the whole thing was pointless. I’m utterly in love with this colour and it’s beyond excellent all by itself.

Color Club Blue-Topia

It’s no secret that I love blackened colours in general and blackened blues in particular. Blue-Topia is an extraordinary specimen of that genus. It’s not just a blackened blue, it’s a jelly. On the nail it looks like dried-out thick ink, but when I held my nails in front of a lamp (which I like to do to see how streaky a polish really is and if I need another coat) it was exactly the colour of royal blue ink. Wikipedia disagrees with me, but I checked it against my bottle of ink and it was an exact match. So there. I applied two coats, there’s just a hint of translucency left, but it’s a jelly. It’s supposed to do that, right?
And it’s not just a pretty polish, Blue-Topia applied very smoothly. The first coat was streaky, but I was surprised that the second coat was even and just opaque enough to rock. There were a couple of bubbles, but I’m trying a new base coat, that might be at fault. The standard round brush works well, not my favourite, though.
I’ve probably given it away already: So bloody awesome! Go buy!

Here’s Blue-Topia in two coats with top coat:

Bonus image: When I removed Happy Rainbow Time this pretty thing happened:

I semi-related news: I ordered some stuff for blending some new nail oil. The next day I found my remaining supplies, but you can never have too much skin-friendly oils, methinks. I never liked my old dropper bottles, so I also ordered a couple different containers.
What’s your favourite oil blend and current favourite polish?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NotD - Happy Rainbow Time

Nail mail day! I think I’ll stick to buying only limited editions until I’m through with my untrieds (thankfully I only keep a repurposed tissue box for that purpose, so it won’t take too long).

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence base sealer
  • China Glaze Lavender Lingo
  • acrylic paint
  • essence top sealer
  • Seche Vite

First I applied one coat of each base, four of Lavender Lingo and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Colour me faintly baffled, is Lavender Lingo supposed to be anything but pink? If so, I am utterly unable to detect it. I see a cool-toned pale pink, and a fairly sheer one at that. It almost seems like a jelly, so it’s not chalky at all. I’ll keep it for nail art, but it’s not all that flattering on me. At first it looked like it may be opaque in two to three coats, but I had two apply four coats to get rid of any streaks and patches.
The first couple of coats of Lavender Lingo were rather streaky, even three remained a bit patchy. I’m willing to sit and apply until the polish looks fine, but most people tend to get bored after two coats, so that is far from ideal. Too bad, because the viscosity was spot-on. The brush is a decent round one, it’s fine, but not awesome.

This is Lavender Lingo in two coats without top coat:

And this is Lavender Lingo in four coats with Seche Vite:

You all know, of course, that we recently saw the end of Don’t Ask, Don't Tell, which was way overdue. I may not be a US girl or have anything to do with the military, but I smiled so hard I thought my cheeks would fall off any second. Happy Rainbow Time!
The dots are all acrylic paint (because I had them right next to me and the polish is all the way over the *points*), followed by a coat of top sealer and Seche Vite.

Incidentally, yesterday/today (depending on your time zone) was Celebrate Bisexuality Day: have a happy one, everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review - essence toenail stickers

Alright, so the full name is essence show your feet nail fashion sticker for toes, but I’m not putting that in the title.
DON’T PANIC!* There are no toes visible in this post. I do not intend to ever show you my feet.
*(excuse me, yelling and large friendly letters rather look alike)

I hate painting my toenails, I always mess up and paint more skin than nail (well, almost). So recently I tried one of those ‘dry polish’ kind of things (mine were from LOOK by BIPA, but think Incoco or Sally Hansen) and I was really happy. With an added bit of top coat they lasted a couple of weeks with very minor chipping. Since those were meant for fingernails I thought it would be a great idea to buy these essence stickers, hoping they’d be nicely sized (and I was lured by the holo-ness which should have tipped me off, but shopping before having breakfast always makes me stupid o.O).
*wrinkles nose*

Yeah. The essence ones are plastic-y foil stickers, not dry polish ones. They’re really easy to apply and quite pretty, but they’re not all that sticky and the biggest ones aren’t wide enough for my big toes (which aren’t abnormally large). Also I couldn’t get them to stick on my pinkie toes, which have the tiniest, dinkiest nails possible. I’m guessing they need a certain minimum surface to adhere properly.
If you just want to wear something cute for a couple of days, they’ll probably work fine. And I’m positive that the stickers will peel off rather than chip, but honestly: I expect to find little bits of rolled up plastic in my socks next time I put on shoes.

Final verdict:

  • easy to apply and remove
  • pretty, won’t chip
  • you may have to turn the stickers sideways and cut them to size
  • don’t stick that well, if your shoe rubs across the nail (like a strappy sandal) they may peel off

I really wish I hadn’t spent any money on these stickers. While I’m sure there are folks out there who love wearing them, I just don’t expect them to last the promised five days. Hell, I can see them lift a little right now.
Not recommended. Dry polish stickers are a bit harder to apply, but they will last a good while.
Somehow it seems than anything called a ‘fashion’-anything is made to not last more than the minimum time span for whatever kind of product it is. That’s rather sad.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NotD - Happy Harrrrmione Day

Is it that time of the year again? Indeed it is. Talk Like A Pirate Day - and with it Hermione Granger’s birthday (Happy 32nd!) - has arrived. So let’s take a couple of minutes and listen to this song.
Today’s mani is fairly random, I just started with a brown base and added a few bits. It’s not nearly as awesome as this, for example.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence base sealer (I’m sick of typing out the full name -_-)
  • essence multi dimension 39 spicy
  • essence multi dimension 75 tryin’ to be cool
  • black and white acrylic paint
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 11 gold
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • essence top sealer
  • rhinestones
  • Seche Vite

My base for this mani was: one coat of each base coat, two of spicy and one of Seche Vite.

Back when I was a polish blogger newbie I swatched the original spicy, a lovely shimmery brown. essence has since released a new version, this one is a crème polish. spicy is a rich dark brown. And unlike many colours I’ve seen described as chocolate brown this really does resemble semisweet chocolate. Nummy. It’s lovely and opaque, only two coats are needed.
The first coat was mostly even, only on a couple of nails where I had skimped with the polish I had some bare areas. It’s rare for a drugstore polish to apply this smoothly. If you can find a bottle of spicy, pick it up. Most Austrian stores have only a few leftover bottles of essence’s now discontinued multi dimension polishes.

Here’s spicy in two coats with top coat:

I messed up my first attempt of putting the HG in my pinkie, so I covered it in tryin’ to be cool and started over, most nails just have some gold and silver lines and a rhinestone. My favourite nail is the one with the little skull, I’ll have to to a full funky French with a similar tip design some day.

Have you done anything pirate-y today (and no, I don’t want to hear anything about downloading stuff o_~)?

Swatches - essence NATventURista TE

I’m a bit late in swatching these, but as usual my local store was late in getting the trend edition in. I hadn’t really planned on getting all four polishes, but all of them have something intriguing going on.
Some of these polishes are quite sheer, so you’ll have to excuse my stained nails and wonky smile lines. They apply smoothly and are very even considering how sheer they are. The flat brush is a bit shorter and wider than the one found in essence’s colour&go line. I like the added colour-matched design on the caps, it’s a nice touch.

essence NATventURista 01 you’re my dragonfly, sugar

I’m going to (mostly) ignore that the name actually reads as “you ‘re” with a pointless space added. The colour itself is a soft peachy pink with fine brighter pink and silver glitter. I’m not sure how much I like this by itself, it makes my tips look horrible. Maybe on short nails, over an opaque nude or with a clear white French tip under a couple coats of you’re my dragonfly, sugar. This is a true sheer, so layering is the way to get this opaque. Also, it lacks glossiness by itself.
you’re my dragonfly, sugar is quite easy to apply, but I’d recommend not trying to make the coats too thin or it’ll get patchy and ridge-tastic.

Here’s you’re my dragonfly, sugar in two coats without top coat:

And this is you’re my dragonfly, sugar in four coats with top coat:

essence NATventURista 02 mother earth is watching you

So that’s where big brother got it from? Seriously, not funny. At least the polish is quite nice. mother earth is watching you is a light cool brown with loads of silver shimmer. This polish is a bit more opaque, three coats are perfect.
I found this to be very smooth, though there are some minor brush marks.

This is mother earth is watching you in two coats without top coat:

And this is mother earth is watching you in three coats with top coat:

essence NATventURista 03 barefoot through the moss

You probably won’t be surprised that this is the colour I was most excited about. barefoot through the moss is a muted, indeed mossy green shout through with copious green, silver and gold shimmer. So pretty. Three coats are needed for full opacity.
But barefoot through the moss did something weird when I applied the first coat, it looked kind of web-like. At first I thought it looked bumpy because my pinkie and ring finger have more than a few dents, but my dent-free middle finger nail showed the same phenomenon. Weird. The second coat was better already, thankfully. As nobody else seems to have this issue and only those three fingers were affected I’ll presume that it was a freak occurrence. Otherwise the application was fine, bar a few brush marks.

Here’s barefoot through the moss in two coats without top coat:

And this is barefoot through the moss in three coats with top coat:

essence NATventURista 04 chirp, chirp!

I wonder if whoever thought up that name realised that “chirp, chirp!” is the sound of nobody caring. Not the most auspicious moniker possible. That being said, chirp, chirp! is quite pretty, a creamy beige-y kind of base with warm, greenish/pink shifting shimmer. Like you’re my dragonfly, sugar I wouldn’t want to wear this sheer, as it’s not making my tips look any better. This polish could be more opaque, I built it up to four coats and it was approaching full opacity then.
chirp, chirp! was a tad streaky at first, but evened out in the end. I have nothing bad to report other than extremely minor brush marks.

This is chirp, chirp! in two coats without top coat:

And here’s chirp, chirp! in four coats with top coat:

Colour-wise, barefoot through the moss is the only true winner for me. I’ll just have to hope that the weird webby contracty thing was just random funkiness. Not pretty:

I hope there are no fragmented sentences or something in this here post, it’s 3:30 am and I’m so tired…

Friday, September 16, 2011

NotD - Cucumberrific

First of all I need to say this: I had a real problem trying to get the edges neat. Well, I failed really. Using only water-soluble acrylic paint means normal clean-up doesn’t really work the way I’m used to.
Note to self: use normal nail polish as base colour, that can be cleaned up much more easily and makes for neat edges.

It was bound to happen, right? At some point a cucumber mani needed to be done. It’s still far from perfect, but I’m quite happy, especially as the first attempt earlier today was utterly unrecognisable.
For this mani I used only base coat, top coat and acrylic paints, so I won’t post a products list. The base colour must have been too dry when I finished, because it started crinkling when I added Seche Vite, but it smoothed out a bit by itself and isn’t too bad.
The colours are a bit off in the photo, they’re supposed to be more yellowy.

Overall it’s more ‘inspired by’ cucumber mani, the peel kind of turned into a French tip all by itself. ^_~
And now I’m off to oil my cuticles, they’re so dry today!

Do you have a fruit or vegetable you always wanted to paint onto your nails?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NotD - All Laid Out

First post since getting the new layout and design done, it’s odd not seeing the obnoxiously green background. I like retina-searing shades so much (and I suspect my next switch will again be to a rather bright colour). Gotta say, Blogger’s really making it easy to customise blogs without digging through huge amounts of code.
Today’s mani (which is yesterday’s mani, really) picks up on the background design, though on a violet base. Which is also the reason why I spent ages editing the photos. Damn purples always turn blue.

This is what I used:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Violet Frankenpolish
  • black acrylic paint
  • Seche Vite

First I applied one coat of each base, one of my pretty violet and sealed it with Seche Vite.

As usual I won’t go into details about the franken. It’s mostly claire’s matte blue with a dash of essence white hype and some pink and red. Thus it’s a fairly opaque polish with a pretty plasticy finish. I only applied one coat, but there were a couple of sheer spots I discovered later.

Here’s my franken in one coat by itself and with some Seche Vite to make it shiny:

Then I just used a fine nail art brush and black acrylic paint to add a slightly simplified design base on my new background and added more Seche Vite. I’m finding it difficult to see if the black is fully opaque until I apply top coat. :-(

Do me a favour and let me know if you ever come across an issue with this (or any) layout/design, will ya?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Embellish… A Plain Blue Manicure

Once again we’ll look at four ways to embellish a manicure, this time it’s the undecorated blue one I wore recently.

  • index finger: Because not everyone likes diagonals as much as I do I added a stripe of bright sparkly blue right along the centre of the nail with a row of golden dots on either side. This won’t work for tipwear, but will cover dents and scratches near the centre of the nail.
  • middle finger: But because I do love diagonal stripes on my nails I added a purple stripe and silver corner. This is also meant to show you what a simple piece of masking tape can do. The edge between blue and purple was taped, the one between purple and silver I freehanded with a nail art liner. Depending on the angle and placement of the segment this can cover tipwear, chips and scratches, even lifted and broken off chunks of polish near the cuticle if you invert the design.
  • ring finger: This is one of the easiest freehand designs you can do with a striping brush or nail art liner. It even works with a dotting tool or toothpick, but I’d recommend practising with those beforehand. Just a bunch of squiggly lines, they can be wavelike or mimic zebra print… Not ideal for tip wear, but really good for hiding scratches and small dents.
  • pinkie: I haven’t done one of those in ages: a glittery gradient. An incredibly easy way to make a work-safe mani into a sparkly night-on-the-town glitterfest. I only used one glitter polish here, but this kind of mani can look even more amazing with a bunch of different ones. If the glitter has a clear base I’d recommend touching up any chips and whatnot, touch-ups never look good by themselves, but the glitter will mostly disguise that.

General Note: If you’re trying to cover missing chunks of polish you really need to start by filling in the missing piece with a nice thick base coat. Otherwise the difference in thickness will be very visible. If you have the time, I recommend topping it with a glittery polish.

I hope there was something you liked in this batch. I’m using this filler today because I just seem to be losing time. It’s almost 11 PM all of a sudden and I really need to get some work done on my new banner.
How’s your weekend going?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NotD - Parasolific

I’m a little obsessed right now. My love for steampunk didn’t have to be rekindled, instead it has been fortified, I guess, by Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels. So awesome and highly recommended. There’s vampires and werewolves and I don’t even mind.

Here’s what I used:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • essence colour&go 76 hard to resist
  • essence colour&go 80 icy princess
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer
  • black marker pen
  • Seche Vite

I applied one coat of either base, then two of hard to resist and sealed my base colour with Seche Vite.

hard to resist is a vibrant medium blue base with loads of bright blue shimmer. In the bottle it appears to have a bit of a purple edge, but that doesn’t translate onto the nail. If you’ve been painting your nails for a few years you probably own something very similar, so it’s not really an absolute must-have. This polish is nice and opaque, two coats are perfect.
The viscosity is on the thicker end of average, but easy enough to work with. The shimmer is mostly well-dispersed, but there are some subtle brush marks. Other than that I had no trouble with hard to resist. The flat brush is excellent and allowed me to apply this polish very neatly.

Here’s hard to resist in two coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was dry I used a bit of kitchen sponge and icy princess to add a sponged silver tip and sealed it with top sealer.
When that was firm enough I took a black pen to add the black silhouette to my accent nail and added some Seche Vite.

Tip: If you want to use a Sharpie or similar marker pens, test them. Next time you’re about to remove your polish draw one line per pen onto each nail, let them dry for a few minutes and then apply a different top coat on each nail. That way you’ll have a good idea which top coat smudges which pens. Write it down. ^_~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nail Fail - Distressingly Undistressed

I’ve had ‘distressed furniture’ on my list of inspirationy things for a while now. Back when that kind of show was on BBCprime (*pouts at BBCentertainment*) all the time I loved watching DIY shows and the often applied “Paint the Dresser and Sand the Edges” technique.

The original plan, and what I started out with, was: paint my nails brown (and seal it), then add a coat of white, one of mint and then use a brush and some polish remover to take off part of the top layers. It kind of worked, but didn’t look very nice. I then attempted to fix it my sponging the same colours over my chosen areas.
Better, but not at all what I was aiming for. I should just have done the tips, which is where you’d expect some wear.

Also, this mani really made my hands look dark and ruddy in the photos.

In unrelated news (which you already know if you follow me via twitter or Google+), I finally took my PC to the shop and the nice young man replaced the video card right away (and I got more RAM).
What’s happening with y’all?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review - essence better than gel nails base sealer & top sealer

Though I have no particular interest in using essence’s better than gel nails system as it’s intended to be used, I was just intrigued enough to give the base sealer and top sealer a try.

If you’re not familiar with this system, it’s basically glue-on tips that are supposed to mimic gels and consists of a file for preparing the nail, tips, glue, base sealer and top sealer (both of which are applied after attaching the tip), and a remover.
Since my nails aren’t that short the tips are not really something I’d use, but I guess if I had major breakage before a fancy event I might give them a try. Either way, review:

Obviously I don’t use the base and top sealer as they’re intended. I’ve tried using them instead of my usual base and top coats, but found that they’re not suitable to use with several coats of polish between them (hello, sticky, wrinkly, non-drying mess).
In some way they remind me of Sally Hansen’s treatments, but I can’t quite put my finger on why I make that connection. The base sealer is just a bit thicker than the top sealer, which runs freely off the brush when pulled out of the bottle without wiping it off. Both are completely clear and thankfully haven’t thickened so far (which I had half expected due to the SH resemblance).

I’ve recently incorporated these two products into my multi-layered polishing system as follows: Nail Envy - base sealer - base colour (2-4 coats) - Seche Vite - nail art - top sealer - Seche Vite

Some of you might think I’m not quite sane when looking at that list, but that’s what works for me and it helps to protect my nails. What I’ve found since adding base sealer and top sealer instead of random base and top coats is that instead of lasting two to three days my mani is free of chips and tipwear until the fourth day at least and generally only has very minor damage on the fifth day. It might even last longer, but I kind of got bored.
Even when I’m in a polish-picking mood and completely remove all the wrapped edges, which usually means chipping within hours: Nothing. All good.
Minor negative point: when sealing nail art top sealer smudged some polishes even after I let them dry. I’ll have to experiment to see which ones react less than decently.

In conclusion: I can’t tell you how essence’s base sealer and top sealer perform as intended, but for me incorporating them into my routine has worked brilliantly and I intend to keep using them for the time being.

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