Saturday, April 20, 2013

Feather Nails

I've seen various pictures and tutorials for feather nails since I got really into nail art.  It always looked really cool, but also time consuming, so I never gave it much consideration.  Some time about a week ago, though, I got it into my head that I wanted to try feather nails, so when I was at Walmart, I bought a pack of 50 feathers, figuring it'd be enough for several manis.  The bad news is, there were so few small feathers in it that the ones I used here were probably the only usable ones in the entire bag.  The good news is, my first attempt went much better than I'd ever envisioned!

My process for this was to start with a base of 2 layers of Rimmel Caramel Cupcake.  I let that dry, then put on a coat of topcoat.  While it was still a little wet, I stuck the tips of the feathers on, then immediately put on 2 thick coats of Out the Door.  I let that dry a while, then clipped the ends of the feathers off the nails (if you put the topcoat a bit farther out on the feather, it makes it easier to remove).  I then put another coat of OtD on, waited about half an hour, then went to bed, as it was 3 in the morning.  The next day, I filed down the little bits of feather still sticking off the nail, and put on a two final coats of OtD, and voila!  The most layers of nail polish I think I've ever put on!

I took pictures of each individual nail, but when I looked at them later, some were blurry so I left those out.  I also didn't realize how absolutely awful my cuticles looked in these pictures until I'd already taken the polish off.

The only nail the feather actually fit nicely.

So many bubbles.... This nail was definitely the worst though.

I really liked the colors on this feather better than most of them.

So as you can see in the closeups, they're not amazingly Pinterest-perfect, and I got a lot of bubbles in all the layers of topcoat, but I really really liked them, and I actually left them on for 3 whole days because I didn't want them to go away.  I want to try them again at some point, but I'll either have to find a better place to get feathers (JoAnn probably has some, but I have to drive a bit to get there, whereas Walmart is right near my school), or keep buying a whole bag of feathers to do one mani.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beige-to-Bright Gradient with Dots

Inspired by this mani that I saw a while ago, I decided to try and use that idea to satisfy the thought in my head that I wanted a mani that was neutral with bright tips.  I think the design definitely looks better with the dots, rather than just a beige to bright gradient, but I'm not quite sure if I like it or not.  

I used a shimmer topcoat which I think is limited edition, currently available in special displays at Rite Aid, called Shimmer Blast.  It's an iridescent "rainbow" microshimmer polish, but it definitely leans toward the blue/purple end of the spectrum, which was why I figured it would go nicely with all the blue and purple shades in this mani.

Colors Used
Base - Ulta Set the Nude
Thumb - Cosmetic Arts unnamed purple
Index - Sally Hansen Pacific Blue
Middle - Sally Hansen Blue Me Away!
Ring - China Glaze Four Leaf Clover
Pinkie - NYC High Line Green
Topcoat - NYC Shimmer Blast

Sally Hansen Gem Crush: Sort of like Liquid Sand

With textured nail polish being the new "thing" recently, I decided to write a bit about one that I'd tried recently.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to be textured, but after several coats, that's the way it ends up.  Unfortunately I never got pictures of it with topcoat, to see if it smoothed out, but one coat over a solid base was smooth enough that I think it would.  Three or four coats was getting to be more than most topcoats could handle.

First up, here's a picture of one coat of Be-Jeweled, a lilac microglitter with larger pink holo hexes, over Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Lively Lilac.  I think as toppers, these would work best with a color similar to the main color of the glitter, as the microshimmer is too small to really stand out over a contrasting polish.

Now here's four coats of Be-Jeweled, still over Lively Lilac, although by this point it would be pretty much opaque by itself.  It's still the same color as it was in the picture above, but for some reason my camera kept trying to make it more periwinkle.

I thought that I wasn't going to like it very much, and planned on just swatching it to take pictures, then removing it and doing something else, but I liked it so much I left it on for almost 4 days.  Okay so 3 of those days I was spending the weekend at the marine station I studied at last summer, but still....

I also have Gem Crush in Lady Luck, which is a magenta microglitter with large silver holo hexes.  Swatching it on paper, it also seemed to dry to a textured finish in 3-4 coats, but I was running low on acetone and didn't want to put it on all my nails, then have to take it off.

I've seen the Gem Crush line at most drugstores that carry Sally Hansen, including Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart.  I live in the middle of nowhere, so there are probably more places you can find it, too.  They're usually in the $5-6 range, though there are often BOGO50% sales on Sally Hansen.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Simultaneously Best and Worst Attempt at Magnetic Polish Ever

I have about 5 different bottles of magnetic nail polish that I got last year when that was the big "thing" in nail art.  I never quite mastered the technique, as I have very long nails that curve sharply toward the sides.  As a result, the edges of my nail usually aren't close enough to the magnet, and if I try rotating the magnet, I end up moving it just enough to mess up the rest of the pattern.  These pictures ended up rather shadowy, but this was my best magnetic mani ever, hands down.  Well, left hand down, anyway....

I got nearly perfect lines on every single nail, although one edge of my thumb missed the magnet.  Then on my right hand...  I couldn't hold the magnet close enough to the nail, and stay still enough for the pattern to really work, so I tried to cover it up with glitter, but the glitter I chose was Kleancolor Peaceful Heart, which is extremely sparse--I should have gone with a smaller but denser glitter polish.  I did manage to get two hearts out, though, which I'd never done while swatching it.  The extra polish around the hearts made it take forever to dry, though, and I ruined both of those nails within an hour.

As dismal as my right hand turned out, I remembered how much I LOVE the finish of these polishes when they turn out well.  I'm definitely going to be trying out another one sometime in the near future.

Spring Dragonflies: So much more awesome than Butterflies!

My computer may or may not be trying to put itself out of commission once again.  The screen on my laptop has been broken for a while, so it's hooked up to a monitor, and now the monitor is trying to die on me.  So as of right now, I'm writing this post with a monitor flashing on and off every second or so.

The other day, my fellow biologist boyfriend showed me this article about dragonflies, and suggested them as my next nail art idea.  I initially tried doing a pattern of several small dragonflies on each nail, but it turns out that I'm artistically challenged, and that did not go so well.  I then redid them to look like this:

The color I used for the wings doesn't show up very well, and it didn't in person, either, which sort of disappointed me.  It was a purple-green duochrome that looked a lot better in the bottle than it did on the tiny areas where I used it for this design.

I added the dots because my nails looked too empty without anything besides the dragonflies in the corner, but I didn't want to actually paint grass and clouds and make it a spring-y scene, so this was my simple tribute to these awesome killing machines...err...cute little buggies!

Much better.  Although after having done it, I got the idea that I should have done gold dots around the edges, just for some additional color in there.  The base is an unnamed polish from Ross, topped with Sinful Colors Cinderella.  The bodies are NYX Girls Carbon, and the wings and dots are a franken I made with one of the "Travel To..." micas from but I don't remember if it was just in a black base or colored, or which mica it was.  That was wonderfully informative, yes?

I hope to be posting more regularly now that o chem is no longer taking over my life (on account of I dropped it and am going to retake the whole sequence next year and hope I manage to get all As) and I have more time, although I'm not sure how well that will go if I end up having my computer die entirely.
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