Thursday, August 30, 2012

NotD - Orange Blossom

I loved my orange polish so much I wore it by itself for a day before coming across a sponge and deciding to do some sponging.

Here’s what I used for this mani:

  • essie rock solid
  • Douglas nylon base coat
  • Astor Fashion Studio 151
  • essence Miami Roller Girl 01 Bienvenido A Miami
  • s-he 115
  • Trind top coat
  • Seche Vite

First I applied one coat of each base, four of Astor 151 and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Say, didn’t Astor have “Fash’n Studio” polishes? Ah well, at least the spelling improved rather than the opposite. 151 is a very bright, but not neon, clear orange crème. It’s a shade that every lover of brights should own. The one downside is the bad opacity, even four coats still remained slightly sheer.
But the application was awesome, the polish spread well, no streaks. Anyone who doesn’t mind VNL or plans to cover the tips could easily wear this in two coats. The brush is fine, an old-school round one.

This is 151 in two coats without top coat:

And here’s 151 in four coats with top coat:

The next night I stippled on Bienvenido A Miami and 115 and added a few quick flowers in 115. Then I sealed everything with Trind top coat and Seche Vite.

I really like how this came out. It could easily have turned out too autumnal, but the colours are super bright and happy.
I unrelated news: I have installed Disqus and seem to have successfully imported ID and Blogger comments (there are some minor formatting issues, but hey, at least the comments are there). I’ve done a couple of tests, but I’d appreciate if some of you would test the system, even if it’s just to say ‘testing’ or ‘bleep.’ If it doesn’t work, contact me please (the top of the sidebar has all necessary links).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A brief FYI

I will be switching from Intense Debate to Disqus shortly. Recently I've been having issues with ID, like random comments being moderated and then not showing up after I approve them. I chose not to go back to the native Blogger system right now, because I'd lose all ID comments for the time being, while Disqus can import both ID and Blogger comments. And if it doesn't work out I can still go pure Blogger later. New comments shouldn't be a problem, old ones will take forever to show up, since the migration process isn't all that quick. Sorry for any inconvenience while I fiddle. If you have strong feelings one way or the other, please share. I'm always open to suggestions.

Friday, August 24, 2012

NotD - Scrolled Quasi-French

This bright pink called to me recently. I had planned to do some animal silhouette accent nail thing, but couldn’t get the sketch right, so instead I used a random doodled idea, somewhat similar to an old mani.

Here’s what I used today:

  • essie rock solid
  • Douglas nylon base coat
  • Manhattan Lotus Effect 51K
  • essence gel-look top coat
  • Seche Vite
  • acrylic paint in lime green
  • deep pink rhinestones

First I applied the base mani: one coat of each of rock solid and nylon base coat, three of 51K and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Manhattan 51K is a vivid medium pink, this changes quite a bit depending on the lighting. Sometimes there’s a fairly strong violet edge, sometimes it’s a clear pink (that’s why I didn’t correct the photos and the swatch and nail art pics are different). This polish is reasonably dense, three coats are opaque.
This applies beautifully, the second coat may be less than opaque, but it is very even. The levelling isn’t perfect, but that’s what top coat is for, right? I had very little clean-up to do, which I credit to the medium viscosity and flat, straight-cut brush.
The colour isn’t terribly exceptional, but it is gorgeous and 51K applies very nicely. Recommended.

Here’s 51K in two coats with top coat (blame my temporary blindness to the visible tips):

And this is where we should have a photo of 51K in three coats with Seche Vite, but despite distinctly remembering that I took those photos they just aren’t on the camera. Colour me confused, I must have imagined it.

After the base was firm I mixed up some lime green acrylic paint and painted on a french tip with a connected scroll-thing. It took a few coats to get completely opaque. After that was done I applied a coat of gel-like top coat, pressed a pink rhinestone into the centre of the scroll and added two coats of Seche Vite.

Can you believe that August is almost over? Is it fall yet?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NotD - Vegetabile Motifs

Hrm, according to Google and spellcheck ‘vegetabile’ is not commonly used in English. But I don’t care. I always liked that word and it’s way more fitting than ‘floral’.
As usual with purples, all photos have been corrected to remove the overly blue tint.

Here’s what I used:

  • essie rock solid
  • Rimmel 60 seconds 625 Sir, Yes Sir!
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 11 gold
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • essence gel-look top coat
  • Seche Vite

First I applied two coats of rock solid, three of Sir, Yes Sir! and one of Seche Vite.

Sir, Yes Sir! is a rich plum crème, slightly muted and quite gorgeous. Some might consider this colour autumnal. It’s the kind of purple that suits me best, even though I adore vivid blue-toned shades, too. I’m not sure why I expected this to be a two-coater, it really needs three (or four thin) coats.
The first two coats were rather uneven with Sir, Yes Sir! The viscosity is a bit higher than average, but the polish levelled well and wasn’t prone to pooling or dragging. The application was effortless and easy, aided by the flat brush with a rounded tip.
Overall: definitely recommended, just remember that the opacity is not as great as I had hoped.

Here’s Sir, Yes Sir! in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Sir, Yes Sir! in three coats with Seche Vite:

I then decided to add some leaves to my nails using the golden liner. I one of my usual ‘not knowing when to stop’  moments I added some golden dots near the cuticles and then decided that I hated them. So I changed them to squiggly grass/root/branch things and added some silver accents. Since I had wibbled for a while over how to fix the dot situation I first added a coat of essence gel-like and then one of Seche Vite.

Christ on a bike, is it hot. Me no likey. I may have to migrate north if that’s how it’s gonna be from now on.
In unrelated things that are not news at all: Adobe Flash sucks so very very much. Who’s looking forward to Flash becoming obsolete? Go html5!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Swatches - essence Miami Roller Girl TE

Am I late in posting these swatches or what?

This collection was not all that thrilling, the only really interesting item was the gradated blush, but the polishes were all right so I picked them up, too.
There are four very crème colours, each in a 10 ml (.33 fl. oz.) bottle, with a fairly wide flat, yet thick, brush with a rounded tip. Any wider and the brush wouldn’t have worked on my pinkie nails.
Pardon the changing backgrounds, please. I didn’t swatch them all on one day and forgot that I hadn’t gone back to the pink at first.

essence Miami Roller Girl 01 Bienvenido A Miami

A very bright yellow crème, sunny and cheerful, it’s moderately opaque and requires three coats.
The first coat was very patchy and Bienvenido A Miami required all three coats to get completely even. It also didn’t level too well.

This is Bienvenido A Miami in two coats without top coat:

And this is Bienvenido A Miami in three coats with top coat:

essence Miami Roller Girl 02 Miami P’Ink

This vibrant pink crème has hint of coral in the bottle, but it doesn’t really translate to the nail. Two thick or three thin coats are opaque.
Miami P’Ink is rather thick, but applies nicely. The second coat was pretty much perfect.

Here’s Miami P’Ink in two coats with top coat:

essence Miami Roller Girl 03 Four Wheel Drive

Four Wheel Drive is a warm medium pink crème, very dense and opaque in two coats.
I found this polish to be very smooth and even, a dream to apply. Love it.

This i Four Wheel Drive s in two coats with top coat:

essence Miami Roller Girl 04 Miami Heat

Miami Heat is a orange crème, not too bright, but still a happy shade. This is easily the least opaque polish, I needed four coats to get this fully opaque.
It’s a bit thinner than the other polishes and very smooth. I had no problems with this one.

This is Miami Heat in two coats without top coat:

And this is Miami Heat in four coats with top coat:

I’d call these colours staples, if not basics. The pinks applied very nicely, and the yellow and orange weren’t half bad, either.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Swatch - Colorama Blackout (plus glitter)

Where did all that time go again? I’ve been poorly, my fridge broke and I’ve been stressing out in general. Also I decided that having a half-finished knit-crochet combination beret is ridiculous and finished that up.

And then I realised that it’s been a while since I posted anything. So here’s Maybelline Colorama 677 Blackout:

Blackout is a stark black crème polish, dense and easily opaque in two coats. It’s absolutely nummy.
I found it rather easy to apply, the viscosity is quite average and makes the polish easy to handle. Blackout was even and free of streaks after two coats. The brush is fairly narrow, flat, and cut straight with soft bristles.
This is a really good basic black, recommended.

Here’s Blackout in two coats with top coat:

Last time I added an out of focus glitter frankenpolish pic just to have a pretty photo in my post. The glitter in question was layered over Blackout. Here’s an in-focus shot:

On a side note, I finally got around to pick up a few CDs I’ve wanted for a while (yeah, I know, I’m a dinosaur, but I just like having the physical album and extracting mp3s myself). So far I’m enjoying Showroom of Compassion a lot (huuuge CAKE fan), La Roux is unsurprisingly awesome, and Hang Cool Teddy Bear has me really surprised. It’s … weird, especially if one is mostly familiar with Steinman-era Meat Loaf. I’ll have to listen to all three albums a few more times to really wrap my head around them or something. :-D

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mini Layout Fix (Ongoing)

I finally got around to looking up how to get Intense Debate to work on the mobile template, but now the photos are stretched. My other blog seems to work fine, strangely. I’m working on it, maybe I’ll manage to get it all to work properly some day.
Might take some more layout overhaul.

Bonus Out of Focus Glitter (old frankenpolish):

Hope y’all mobile readers will excuse the distortion for now.

ETA - Oh, for the love of... If the photos are distorted, hold your mobile device sideways. Worked with my phone at least. Let me know if you have problems, will ya?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Guide to Seche Vite

I’m going to guess that pretty much anyone who’s interested in nail polish knows of Seche Vite, a favourite top coat of many, many bloggers, including yours truly. I’ve decided not to split this guide/review into pros and cons, simply because the point is to show y’all how to deal with Seche Vite with the least possible headaches.

What is Seche Vite?

Seche Vite is a quick-drying top coat, renowned for its drying speed and glassy shine.

Seche Vite differs from many other top coats in its application: it has to be applied over wet polish in a fairly thick layer without touching the brush to the polish below. This can be tricky and means that it shouldn’t be used to refresh a scuffed manicure; though I haven’t experienced the phenomenon myself, I have read reports that applying Seche Vite over dry polish can lead to lifting. If I want to add another coat of Seche Vite after a day or so I just put on a coat of some cheapie top coat or clear polish first. Problem solved, worked perfectly fine for me.
Also, many users have trouble with shrinkage: as the combination of nail polish and Seche Vite dries, it shrinks slightly and the tips of the nails become visible. That is very easily solved: just wrap your polish and top coat, i.e. apply it across and slightly under the tip of your nail. This technique also works great to prevent chipping with any top coat.

Drying Speed

One major advantage to Seche Vite is that it really does dry quickly, be aware though that drying time differs depending on temperature, humidity, base coats, which and how much nail polish was used, body chemistry and freshness of the top coat.
For me (and I tend to have issues with drying time in general) over base coat and a couple coats of polish, Seche Vite is dry to the touch in less than five minutes, after around 20 to 25 minutes it won’t crinkle when I apply pressure from cuticle towards tip. Becoming undentable can take up to an hour.

Taking care of your Seche Vite

One complaint I’ve often heard is the ‘zomg, my SV thickened and I had to throw half a bottle out.’ Almost as frequent are the voices exclaiming ‘why should I pay extra for Restore, it’s just expensive thinner.’
I have to beg to differ. Restore is specifically geared to replenish Seche Vite, which like all polishes and treatments loses its more volatile components due to evaporation. Unlike many polishes, treatments, top coats and thinners, both Seche products still contain toluene.
If you love Seche Vite my recommendation is this:
Buy the Pro kit - which comes with a standard .5 fl.oz. bottle, a 4 fl.oz. refill bottle, and a funnel cap nozzle thingy I’ve never used - and some Seche Restore (I recommend the 2 fl.oz. bottle, the .5 will run out rather quickly).

You’ll notice that when you’ve used between 1/3 and 1/2 of your small bottle of Seche Vite it will get harder to load the brush properly. At that point add a few drops of Seche Restore and shake vigorously, repeat until the viscosity in the small bottle of Seche Vite matches the refill bottle. Just tilt both bottles next to each other and you’ll see how much more quickly the SV refill moves. When you’re happy with the viscosity in your .5 fl. oz. bottle, top it off from the large refill bottle.
Remember: restore first, then refill. Otherwise you might accidentally overfill and you won’t have space left to add Restore.

At some point you will see a drop in efficacy, generally due to contamination (i.e. you touched the underlying polish with the top coat brush too often), at that point I just get a fresh .5 fl.oz. bottle. If it takes a significantly longer time for your Seche Vite to dry than it did when you first got it or it gets scratched and scuffed very quickly, that’s when to get a new bottle. So a single bottle won’t last forever, but depending on how good you are at not getting polish in your Vite you can refill very often and save a lot of money in the long run. Just try a small bottle first to check if you even like how SV works.

How to apply Seche Vite

First let me repeat: the polish shouldn’t be dry yet, just apply your final coat of nail polish on all nails in your usual sequence and then go back and apply your Seche Vite starting with your ‘first nail’. If you want to, you easily have time to clean up first. You certainly don’t need to go finger-by-finger or do one hand at a time. I find that going over the polish too soon, i.e. the second you’ve applied your polish to the nail will make contamination much more probably.
As I mentioned before you really want to avoid contaminating SV. The recommended technique feels a bit strange if you’ve always been told to apply the thinnest coats possible. With Seche Vite you load up the brush with a good bead of SV, just the amount that won’t immediately drip back into the bottle. Place the drop near your cuticles and drag it forward without touching the brush directly to the wet polish. Before you re-dip take a quick look at the brush, if you see polish on it, just wipe it off on a tissue or kitchen paper (anything lint-free).
Please excuse the lame photo, I don’t like using the timer, but my sister sucks at photography and is even more useless at anything beauty-related. (Sorry, sis.)

Did I miss anything? if you do have questions, please do ask in the comment section.
And just for the record: I’m not being paid for writing this or anything. I just couldn’t take the bitching I see all over the place any more. Well, that and Seche Vite just is my favourite top coat.

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