Sunday, October 23, 2011

NotD - Gilded Neon Without Mole

Lots of holidays these days. I may have snickered when I found out about Mole Day, especially when I found the NMDF website (it looks a bit unintentionally ironic, no?). Since I don’t think I can pull off anything truly mole-y I thought I’d just mention it for the nerdy silliness. Mole Day is celebrated on October 23 between 6:02 AM and 6:02 PM (the whole 6.02x10^23 thing) and in my time zone starts right this minute.
For this mani I found the basic combination of neon and glitter quite easily, it took a lot longer to figure out if I could do some subtle embellishment to take the mani a step away from just layering. Surprisingly my camera didn’t die of neonness this time, but it turned the polish way more green than it is.

Here’s what I used today:

  • China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula
  • Astor Protection 3 Base Coat
  • Maybelline Colorama 51 French White
  • ArtDeco Ceramic Nail Lacquer 542
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 11 gold
  • essence colour&go 67 make it golden
  • Seche Vite

You know how this goes by now, right? I did my usual neon application tonight: one coat of each base coat, two of French White and some Seche Vite. After that was mostly dry I added two coats of 542 and more Seche Vite.

542 is a gorgeous, brilliant neon yellow, which gains a faint greenish hue the more it’s built up. Unlike most neons this didn’t dry to a matte finish. Like most neons this won’t build up to full opacity easily, two coats over an opaque white base are perfect.
I probably could have rocked this in one coat over white, because it was incredibly free of streaks. I chose to apply two for an even more intense colour. The formula was just amazing, not even China Glaze’s are that smooth. And for a mini 542 had an excellent brush, round and a bit short, but very supple.
I’ve had that for a while and grabbed it from a separate display, so I don’t know if it’s still available, but if you see it: highly recommended.

This is Ceramic Nail Lacquer 542 in two coats over a white base with Seche Vite:

I wanted to do something odd tonight, so I chose to make it a funky french with white and golden glitter.
First I applied a wavy white tip…

… and added some detailing with the golden liner.

This was followed up with a coat of make it golden and some Seche Vite.

BTW I did some bitching on twitter until I figured out that Avira Antivirus 2012 somehow doesn’t interact well with Blogger’s sidebars. If you have that wonky issue where all the elements from the right sidebars show up underneath the posts you may have to fiddle with the settings.

Wait a sec. I have gold, i.e. Au, neon, i.e. Ne, and nail polish is pure chemistry. I figure that counts as the chemistry connection. (And feel free to send me a mole of gold. Though I want to write mol every time. Curse you, English!)
How would you have done a mole-inspired design?

Friday, October 21, 2011

NotD - An Apple A Day

I had a completely different post planned, but a glance at my calendar made me change direction completely. Why? Because today, October 21st, is Apple Day.

This is what I used tonight:

  • China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula
  • Astor Protection 3 Base Coat
  • China Glaze Hot Apple
  • Orly Green Apple (it’s more yellowy than it looks here)
  • acrylic paint
  • some random top coat
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of each base, three coats of Hot Apple on nine nails and Green Apple on the accent nail. Then I sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Though I’m not much of a red polish kind of girl, Hot Apple has a special place in my heart. It was one of the products I got with my first US polish order. It’s one of those crèmes I can’t describe in other words than creamy, the fairly high white content that always makes reds a little pinkish. Hot Apple is mostly red, though, and thus not as opaque as some creamy reds. It definitely requires four coats for full opacity, three will yield an almost fully opaque result unless you look at them from just the right angle.
But if you don’t mind a bit of VNL, I found Hot Apple to be extremely even, so it definitely is wearable in two coats. It applied free of any streaks and levelled beautifully. The only issue I have with this is that if you dip the (usual round and decent) brush in and wipe one side, as I usually do, there’s a bit too little polish on the brush. Strange.

Here’s Hot Apple in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Hot Apple in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colours were dry I used acrylic paint to add just a single dark red apple to the accent nail and sealed it with more top coat, first a coat of some random generic TC as to have a wet base to add more Seche Vite to.

So have an apple or at least something apple-y (pie counts ^_~) today, folks! I might just whip up some tasty fruity oaty bar muesli, since it’s almost breakfast time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Flakies Project - Part Two

So the project continues, this time I have three blues as base colours and as expected, the darkest looks amazing and on the lightest the flakies barely show up. So much so that my camera refused to focus properly. (Yeah, I shamelessly blame my trusty Canon.)

For the line-up of flakies, their descriptions, and to see them swatched without coloured bases please visit the first post of my Flakies Project.

on essence fall for me:

on Catrice Blue Cara Ciao:

on essence midnight rocker:

Even though it’s obvious that light colours make for underwhelming bases, I’ll still keep swatching one per colour family for completeness’ sake. They are pretty enough and the flakies do show up, they just don’t stand out that much and they photograph very poorly. So don’t let the rather meh photos discourage you if you’re thinking about layering flakies over your classic French manicure or something.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Flakies Project - Part One

I promised to do skittle swatches of my flakies (not that I have many) and this is how it will work:
Until I’m happy with the combinations I’ve covered I will post as frequently as I can, applying the same base colour on each nail and different flakies on each finger. Since I currently own a mere half-dozen flakies, I’ve decided to break them up into two sets per base colour, leaving the pinkie in just the chosen base colour and applying three flakies one the other nails (let’s pretend that I don’t have thumbs right now).
All base colours will be crème or jelly polishes as mixing in shimmers and glitters might be confusing; I want all glitteriness to come from the flakies themselves. I’ve got a whole bunch of colours to use as my potential bases, but only a few have truly been chosen. So feel free to request something, be it a specific polish or a general colour, I’ll do my best to include it (or something similar if I don’t own the one you named).

When viewing the following images, please remember that swatching any kind of glitter is a pain in the tush and there will be random flakies on the skin. I spent hours swatching for just these few images, you can easily see how hard it was on my skin. In some photos the lighting and skin tone will look odd, but y’know: it’s the polish that counts.
As always, click on any image to get to its Flickr page and view it there however big you want.

The flakies are Golden Rose Scale Effect 04, 05, 06, 08, 10, and Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure.

  • 04 - clear base, flakies flash mostly cool green to golden green with the odd red or blue one
  • 05 - yellow base, flakies flash golden green to orange-gold
  • 06 - blue base (looks more intense in the bottle than on the nail), flakies flash blue (with just a hint of purple) to warm green, a few red flakies
  • 08 - clear base, flakies flash orange-red most strongly, but there’s blue, pink, green, and yellow
  • 10 - pink base, flakies flash orange-red with hints of magenta
  • Hidden Treasure - clear base, flakies are slightly smaller and flash golden orange

on essence white hype:

on Rimmel 60 seconds 805 Grey Matter:

on essence black out:

So, yeah. Don’t judge flakies by the bottle. Some look very different in the bottle, but almost identical on the nail. For others, the opposite is true.
As a general rule, the bases are very sheer, Golden Rose 10 is the exception here (it will probably look quite odd over greens or yellows). If you order online, google proper swatches first; if you’re at the store, tilt and enjoy. Mostly, the strongest colour is the only thing that really shows up.

I originally planned to do this daily for a week, but I don’t think my cuticles or nails could handle that, so I’ll mix the comparisons between regular NotDs. So far I haven’t decided on how I’ll group the other base colours, maybe I’ll do them by colour, maybe split by pasel/brights/darks. We’ll see.
And as I said before: feel free to request. I might completely forget one absolutely vital shade or another.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Swatches - essence urban messages

Here we go, another post featuring the polishes from an essence trend edition.

As so often in recent TEs, there are five colours in urban messages. All of them are very shimmery - or rather microglittery - and come in 10 ml (.33 fl. oz.) bottles with round, flexible brushes, which I find quite nice. Each polish required three coats, though with careful application (and depending on the thickness of the coats) nightline might get away with two coats.
The formula wasn’t completely consistent, some polishes were patchy or streaky. But all were even (or mostly even) in two coats and I found none of them difficult to apply.

essence urban messages 01 street styler

Oh, street styler, how pretty you are! This is the only polish with differently sized glitter in the dusty teal-ish blue base. There are fine sky blue and bigger silver particles. The overall effect is pleasantly weird.
Though street styler was patchy at first, it eventually evened out. Not a real problem.

This is street styler in two coats without top coat:

And this is street styler in three coats with top coat:

essence urban messages 02 skyscraper

skyscraper is a bit odd and I’m kind of ambivalent about it. The combination of extremely fine blue-green microglitter in a putty-coloured base is unexpected and surprising. I wouldn’t normally even wear this weird putty thing, but the sneaky colour intrigues me.
This one was ever so slightly runny, yet almost free of streaks and it levelled very well. I have no complaints about skyscraper’s formula.

Here is skyscraper in two coats without top coat:

And here is skyscraper in three coats with top coat:

essence urban messages 03 it peace

I keep surprising myself when I remember that I own a few bottles of creamy pinkish red polishes like this. Except that it peace also has the strange juxtaposition of blue/purple/magenta microglitter.
Though the first coat was very streaky, the second was almost perfectly even. Otherwise, it peace applied nicely.

This is it peace in two coats without top coat:

And here is it peace in three coats with top coat:

essence urban messages 04 nightline

The first coat frightened me a little. The base just looked like a sheer black, but upon applying the second coat nightline just turned almost perfectly opaque. You can barely tell that the base is black, the blue microglitter - with just a hint of purple and magenta - made it look like a blackened blue.
This, too, was very streaky at first, but it was practically perfect after the second coat.

Here is nightline in two coats without top coat:

And this is nightline in three coats with top coat:

essence urban messages 05 wall of fame

I had to edit the photos of wall of fame quite a bit, because it looked close to neon on each and every one. The base is a not quite pastel, ever so slightly dirty/greenish yellow, the microglitter is golden and barely leans toward green and orange. Overall this is the most monochromatic colour in this collection.
wall of fame was a tad streaky, but all in all the formula was good and I had no issues.

This is wall of fame in two coats without top coat:

And this is wall of fame in three coats with top coat:

Though I like all colours, the ones that were must-haves for me were street styler and especially nightline. I highly recommend taking at Gejba’s swatches at parokeets, she really captured the shimmer which doesn’t properly show up in my swatches. I blame the lack of sun in my flat. I can see the glitter, but the camera just wouldn’t pick it up for most colours.
Send me money and I’ll buy a new flat with lots of sun (not that that would help much with this kind of weather). I’d probably die of sun-shock, though, ‘cause I’ve never had much in the way of natural light. ^_^

Which of these colours do you find most intriguing?

Friday, October 7, 2011

NotD - Sprinkled Pink

I’ve been into multicoloured manis a lot recently (could you tell?). But I still like to have the base colour show through. Curvy line to the rescue!

Here’s what I used today:

  • China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula
  • essence base sealer
  • essence colour&go 08 ultimate pink
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 3 black (I’m a dope, so this isn’t on the photo)
  • a bunch of coloured polishes
  • essence top sealer
  • Seche Vite

After applying both base coats I added three coats of ultimate pink and sealed it with Seche Vite (which I finally thinned, the last dregs from the big refill bottle were so gloopy).

ultimate pink is your basic bright pink crème, not all that special, but a great staple to have. It dries a bit darker than it looks in the bottle, but the cap is amazingly accurate. The opacity is average; two coats still leave VNL, three are perfectly opaque unless you apply extremely thin coats.
I found the formula easy to work with, smooth and even, it levelled amazingly. ultimate pink also dries to a very shiny finish, which is great for top coat-haters. Y’all know that I love the flat and not too wide brush used for essence’s colour&go line.
If you own a few bottles of pink you may already own a very similar shade, but it is gorgeous and easy to apply. So yeah, I can definitely recommend this polish.

Here’s ultimate pink in two coats without top coat (see how shiny it is all by itself):

And here’s ultimate pink in three coats with Seche Vite (they really matched the colour of the cap perfectly, didn’t they?):

Today I’ll show you the main steps again.
After the base was dry I roughly sketched out the to-be-multicoloured area with the black liner. No need to be too precise, the black will be redone at the end. Just try not to get any into the area that is supposed to remain pink.
If you do mess up: I hope you waited for your top coat to dry, because then you should be able to carefully use a brush and acetone/polish remover to remove the polish. The top coat you’ll add later will disguise the resulting scuffed/dissolved surface.

Then the dotting started. I used quite a few crème polishes for this and layered them as random them as possible.
Depending on the amount of time (and patience) you have you can make the dots any size you want. Big spots take less to apply, but will take longer to dry if you don’t like quick-drying top coat. Starting with a coarsely splotched layer with smaller dots on top could be a good compromise.
If you’re really out of time: acrylic paint. It’s utterly easy to work with and dries immediately.

Keep layering.

Once I was happy with the dots I reapplied the black line separating the pink from the multicoloured part. I then added essence top sealer to give the following coat of Seche Vite an even base. Though the pink should still have been safe to add the SV to without adverse reactions.

Have I done this before? Either I did or I saw this somewhere else, but I really can’t remember right now. It feels very familiar.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Swatch - China Glaze Concrete Catwalk & more Flakiness

I should probably declare October to be Flakies Month, but that would inevitable make me not want to swatch all the flakies. Anyway, don’t be surprised if you see loads of flakies in the near future.

China Glaze Concrete Catwalk

Concrete Catwalk is a deep grey crème. It’s always hard do say if a grey is truly neutral, the lighting can easily play tricks on you, but to me it does look quite stark. However it has an innate creaminess which softens it a bit. Two coats are perfectly opaque.
This polish has a perfect formula, it’s slightly on the thicker side, yet applies smoothly and mostly evenly. The first coat had a few bare spots, but it was utter perfection upon applying the second coat. As always: China Glaze’s round brush is nice, but not great.

Here’s Concrete Catwalk in two coats with top coat (which on all photos was super-reflecty. Boo):

This time I used Golden Rose Scale Effect 04 to add some flakiness to the grey:

Now as for swatching the flakies: I’ll definitely do some kind of skittle swatch. Would you prefer to see the same base on each finger with different flakies or differently coloured bases with the same flaky polish layered over them?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nail Quickie - Blue Over Flakies

Is there anybody who doesn’t like flakies? Statistically there should be, but that’s something I just can’t grok. Over the past couple of polish orders I picked up five bottles of Golden Rose flakies, two are extremely similar but all are awesome.
BTW: I’m aware that my ring finger nail is too long, I’ll fix it later.

Here’s what I used for this simple layered mani:

  • China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula
  • Astor Protection 3 Base Coat
  • Astor Fash’n Studio 070
  • Color Club Blue-Topia
  • Golden Rose Scale Effect 06
  • Seche Vite

Today’s base mani was slightly different, because I didn’t want to do a full 070 mani and then try to remove it from the accent nail. That always end in tears or at least in cottony fuzzy nails. So I applied a coat of each base, two coats of Blue-Topia on my accent nail, three of 070 on the other nine and sealed all with Seche Vite. So please excuse the accent nail in the swatch photos.

070 is a vivid, cold blue crème, very similar to what Wikipedia calls royal blue. The opacity is a bit odd. I’m sure you all have encountered shimmery polishes that look opaque until you tilt the nails a bit and lo! sheerness abounds. This is the first crème polish I’ve noticed doing that. I only applied three coats, but I believe four to five coats, depending on their thickness, would be fully opaque.
This polish applied pretty well; the first coat was streaky on some nails, even on others. I found 070 to be quite runny and to level very well. It didn’t dry as quickly as I had hoped, considering the thin formula and therefore thin coats. The round brush works well enough, but is nothing special to me.

Here’s 070 in two coats without top coat:

And this is 070 in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was mostly dry I added a coat of Scale Effect 06 and another coat of Seche Vite.

As simple as it is, I love this mani to bits. Flakies are awesome in general, but I love how they look turquoise-y green on the bright blue and emerald green on the dark blue. And there are occasional random red flakies in there.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t like flakies?

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