Thursday, February 28, 2013

China Glaze Ruby Pumps

I've been itching to try out my first China Glaze polishes, and I decided to wear Ruby Pumps first because I couldn't resist the lure of that beautiful red glitter!

I used a base coat of PVA glue and then applied Ruby Pumps to all my fingers except my thumbs and ring fingers.  The formula was glorious - it's thin but the tiny glitter bits are suspended in a highly pigmented red base and it was a breeze to apply!  I'm surprised as to how much I love the little China Glaze brush!  I used two coats of Ruby Pumps (three on my pinky!) for these swatches - if anything, I would have put another coat on, but you can get by with two.

On my thumbs and ring fingers I applied two coats of Rimmel Rapid Ruby.  This is a dark red creme that's easy to apply and almost a one-coater!

I then applied OPI Goldeneye over my accent nails.  Goldeneye is a lovely gold glitter polish with a clear base from the Skyfall collection.  I finished off with two coats of top coat to smooth the glitter out a bit (and cover up some of the dings I got in the polish, whoops!  Luckily glitter is very forgiving!)

I absolutely adore Ruby Pumps and I love this combination!  If you don't have a good red glittery polish, you should definitely consider going and getting this one.

Notes on wear time and removal:  See this post.

Base & top coat:Base - PVA glue
Top - OPI Top Coat
Polish used:China Glaze Ruby Pumps - two to three coats
Rimmel Rapid Ruby - two coats (ring and thumb nails)
OPI Goldeneye - one coat (ring and thumb nails)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Matte Black Zebra Nail Art

Hey guys, I have a really simple tutorial for you. I did a Matte Black Zebra mani that looked amazing. I got comments from a lot of people, wondering how I did it. I'm sure a lot of people have heard of this idea; using matte and glossy polish.

I don't have a Matte Black polish so I just layered a Rimmel Matte Finish over the top of Maxfactor Noir and it had the same effect. I used two coats of Noir for opacity. I have to say, with prolonged use of this polish, I am growing less and less fond of it. With the little bottle it does not cover the nail smoothly and effectly with a normal amount of polish on the brush. I recommend buying a larger bottle for a larger brush (possibly A England Camelot which looks gorgeous, or something from OPI).

After I layered the Matte Finish over Noir, I got a black striper and painted some stripes. If you don't have a polish bottle with its own striper brush, you can definitely just use your own and a normal black polish for this.

I always do two, maybe three lines in the centre of the nail when doing zebra or tiger stripes. I place at different positions on each nail. Then I alternate each side with long stripes and short stripes. Very simple and looks fabulous. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OPI Just Spotted The Lizard

When I was just a nail polish beginner (a.k.a. recently) I bought this polish because it shifts colour on your fingers??! and I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.  I have a soft spot a mile wide for duochromes.  Even so, I didn't expect to love Just Spotted The Lizard as much as I do!  (This is from The Amazing Spider-Man collection, by the way).

The bottle colour is gorgeous - a shift from yellow-gold through green to blue.  The blue colour doesn't translate to the nail at all, unfortunately, but it's great to look at!

On the nail, the colour is predominantly a sparkly yellow-gold foil, shifting to green on the sides of the nail.  It looks best in artificial inside light.  In the sun, the colour is almost all gold and it glitters like crazy!

I used two coats for these swatches.  The formula is quite runny but very easy to work with!  You have to be careful with application, though, because brush strokes in the polish are quite distinct and visible.  It's not horrible if you apply carefully but if your application is all wonky then it will look a bit strange!

Notes on removal: I had no issues with removal other than tiny gold glitter flecks getting on my fingers, but they're easy to remove as well.

In other news, I'm going to be starting a new job soon and I just had a meeting with my manager to talk about scheduling etc.  I made sure to ask whether it was alright to wear nail polish, and she said that there was no problem and no restriction on colour, as long as it wasn't chipped or ratty!  I told her I can't stand chipped polish and we had a bonding moment over nails.  She says she likes OPI and Essie!  I'm glad I don't have to worry about taking polish off for work so I can keep up with blogging.  Phew!

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - OPI Top Coat
Polish used:OPI Just Spotted The Lizard - two coats

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nail Art with Barry M and OPI

Hey guys. For today I have my very first semi-successful taped nail art. I have tried before using tape but they have all been so unsuccessful that I almost cried. There has been a lot of different advice for how to properly use tape and how long to have the tape on, etc. In previous attempts as soon as I painted on top of the taped area I took the tape off, for disastrous results. So this time I waited until the top coat was dry before taking the tape off and I'm happy to say it was definitely a much nicer finished look than before.

I used two coats of Barry M Navy (over a base coat of course). Navy is a beautiful deep blue with a shimmer to it, that is opaque with two coats. I waited about fifteen minutes for it to dry. Then I placed the triangle pieces of tape I had cut before I started over the top of all my nails. I made sure that it was completely sealed.

I think next time, putting the tape a bit further down my nail for larger triangles of blue would be a better idea. I painted two coats of OPI The Spy Who Loved Me and waited around fifteen minutes for it to dry. The Spy Who Loved Me is a gorgeous pink based red glitter. The glitter has tiny gold and red sparkles. I haven't actually used this polish by itself so I'm entirely sure how many coats it would need to become opaque. However, I would think you would need at least two coats. Once dry I slowly peeled the tape off. I think waiting a bit longer might produce some nicer lines. Because some of the edges didn't look quite perfect, I used a short striper brush with OPI GoldenEye over the edges to cover it up.

I'm so happy how this turned out. After so many failed attempts something resembling straight lines was really exciting. If anybody knows a sure-fire way to use tape in manis, it would be great if you could tell me! I hope this gives some ideas for others. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

PVA Glue as Base Coat (Take Two)

After my less-than-inspiring first try at a PVA glue peel off base coat, I decided to try it again with China Glaze Ruby Pumps and OPI Goldeneye over the top.  This time, I used a thicker layer of the glue and a small normal paintbrush instead of my stiff plastic-bristle brush so that the brush didn't end up scraping the glue off my nails as I applied it.

Now, let's take a look at the day-by-day account:
Day One: The mani survived the day (with lots of hand washing etc) and also a hot shower.  I got a small chip on one of my thumbs and the polish on my right index finger started peeling at the free edge, so I put some top coat on it and wrapped the tip to make it stay down.

Day Two: I had small chips on a couple of my nails but other than that, everything looked fine.  I kept the mani on for 3/4 of the day before taking it off, but I think that it would have survived another shower or two!

Removal: The removal had me in raptures.  I was making little exclamations of joy to myself, alone in my bathroom, as I peeled all the polish off my nails.  Wow.  Thanks to the thicker base coat of PVA, all the polish on my nails peeled off in single sheets, without any damage to my natural nail.  There was a bit of polish remaining on the sides of my nails where I'd obviously missed applying PVA, so I needed a bit of remover to clean up.

Overall: After finding this attempt at PVA base coat successful, I can make an informed recommendation that this method is fantastic for short-term (1-2 days) wear and really takes the dread out of scrubbing/acetoning your fingers to death when you wear glitter polish.  This is a method I'm definitely going to be using a lot in the future!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

OPI The World Is Not Enough, You Don't Know Jacques and Natio Camel

Hi there again! I have to say that I really like today's mani. Very classy, almost business-like with a hint of sparkle.

I used Natio Camel for my primary fingers. I love Natio. This is a beautiful creme very light tan skin colour. There were no streak marks and it has an even coverage. I used two coats but you could definitely use just one coat. 

For the accent fingers, I used two coats of OPI You Don't Know Jacques which is a gorgeous dusky brown. The formula is slightly thinner than Camel so for full opacity you need at least two coats. Over the top of You Don't Know Jacques I layered one coat of OPI The World Is Not Enough which is from The Bondettes (the Skyfall mini series).

It was hard to capture its sparkle in the pictures. It is a grey based glitter with tiny flecks of green and pink. The colours are very subtle so you don't notice what the sparkle is until bright light hits it.
I apologise for the messy state of my nails but I couldn't take photos immediately. I haven't tried this combination before, I was really just picking polishes from the pile and thinking lets have a go. However, I am very impressed with the finished product. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

PVA Glue as Base Coat Review

If you've ever worn glitter nail polish, you'll probably also know how annoying/frustrating/time consuming it is to remove.  The foil method (here's a tutorial by Berry Polished if you don't know what it is) definitely works, and works well, but it leaves the sides of my fingers feeling brittle, dry and all sorts of yuck.  I don't mind using it, but if there was a method just as easy that saved my poor fingers, I would take it.

Enter PVA glue.  This idea apparently stemmed from Essence's Peel-Off Base Coat, and bloggers realised that the ingredients were basically the same as PVA.  The concept is that you paint your nails with the glue, apply polish (especially glitters) and when you're done, you can just peel it off without damaging your nails.

So I went to an art and crafts store and bought a $2 bottle of PVA glue (checking it was non toxic and water based and all that), then dug a brush with stiff plastic bristles out of the family art box and got to work.  If you have an empty nail polish bottle with its brush lying around, that would work too.

I squeezed some of the glue onto a bit of foil and then applied it to my nails.

This is the partly dried glue.  As you can see (from this terrible photo, sorry!), the glue looks milky white.  I applied a very thin coat and I definitely should have made it much thicker.

Half-dried PVA base coat

 You know that the glue has dried when it goes clear, as you can see from the following photo.

Fully dried PVA base coat
After the glue is clear and dried, go ahead and apply your glitter polish!  I used Pretty Serious Seasonal Sunset, three coats with top coat.  I didn't have any issues with application over the glue.

Below I've noted changes from day to day.

Day One: I've been treating this mani as I would any other with normal base coat on to see if it can survive my day-to-day life.  The mani survived many hand washes in cold water (some with soap) and a hot shower in which I washed my hair.  There isn't any tipwear or chips!

Day Two: The tip of my right index finger was starting to peel off a bit, so I slapped some more top coat on it.  At the end of the day, I've got tipwear on a few nails and some chipping going on.  My left index finger has started to peel at the tip.

Day Three: I left the polish on for another half a day, and by then, most of my fingers were starting to peel at the tips when I poked at them.  Most of my nails have small chips - overall the mani looked okay from far away, though.

Removal: I found the removal of the polish much more difficult than expected.  I'm pretty sure that this is my fault because I didn't put a thick enough layer of PVA down as my base coat.  My coat was quite thin, as I noted earlier in this post, and I think that's why some parts of my nails peeled very well and others came off in little shards.  I found the cuticle stick wasn't much help so I used my fingernails to pick the polish off.  On most of my nails, the polish came off in bits but on a few nails I could peel off most of the polish at once, which was very exciting!

Natural nails pre-remover

There was some residual polish remaining on my nails so I used some polish remover to scrub that off.  I didn't experience any peeling of my natural nail and there's no staining either.  Hooray!

Natural nails post-remover
Overall: Despite the issues I had with removal (because I'm pretty sure I can solve that problem), I felt that my experiment in using PVA as base coat was a success!  The wear time was shorter than that of a normal base coat manicure, but still long enough to last me; I usually wear one mani for three days or so before I'm compelled to take it off!  Removal was a bit difficult due to my thin PVA coat but it didn't leave me with dry fingertips like the foil method of removal does and neither did it require any tedious scrubbing.

I'm definitely use this method with glitter polish again (for my next mani, in fact, because I need to know what happens with a thicker coat of PVA!) - it's easy to do, wears like a normal base coat and doesn't effect application!  This is definitely a win and takes a lot of the stress out of glitter polishes!

(See my successful try at the peel off base coat here)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ruffian Manicure with Chi Chi and Sally Hansen

I'm not particularly creative but I love trying out the amazing designs others have suggested.
This is a ruffian manicure as shown by Chalkboardnails, a design recommended to me by Alicea that looked absolutely amazing in the pictures. So here is my take on it.

I wanted a chance to show off one of my Gem Crush polishes by Sally Hansen. I used Big Money, which is a gorgeous glitter, primarily gold but also filled with baby pink flecks as well. Opaque with one coat. While not the easiest to create delicate lines with it definitely flows on evenly and dries quickly. Be careful when removing it, as glitter goes everywhere. 
Chi Chi polishes are really nice to use, with two coats they are opaque, and they are definitely brighter than a lot of others I've found.

I did two layers of the base coats, Chi Chi purple and orange (they don't have specific names unfortunately) and then two layers of Big Money starting a little bit lower than the base colour. With thin layers it can be done really quickly, though that depends on the polishes you use. This a great and easy way to show off a range of your polish collection.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Max Factor Fantasy Fire (Part Two)

Hello all!  Today I have my swatches of Max Factor Fantasy Fire to show you.  I absolutely love this polish, it's so sparkly and the colour shift is fantastic.

I started with a base of A England Camelot and OPI Blue My Mind.  I used Blue My Mind because I wanted to see how Fantasy Fire would look with a different base colour closer to the purple-blue in Fantasy Fire.  I used one coat of Camelot and two coats of Blue My Mind.

I then applied a coat of Fantasy fire over the top.  Over the black, Fantasy Fire had a predominantly red-bronze sparkle shifting to gold and green.  Over the blue, the sparkle was predominantly purple without much of a visible shift.

In full sunlight (I fully capitalised on the five minutes of sunshine that comes through my window in my room during the day!) the Fantasy Fire over the black particularly looks as if it's glowing golden-bronze from within.  Beautiful!

The colour shift is more apparent in indoor light than in the sun.  I like the effect of the black + Fantasy Fire combo better than the blue.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this polish and I'll definitely wear it over black or another dark colour again!  I'd also like to do more experiments to see how it looks over a dark red polish.

Notes on wear time and removal:  I wore this mani for three days.  There was little to no tipwear and I only had a few tiny chips that weren't obvious unless you were staring right at the nails!  I had no issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - OPI Top Coat
Polish used:A England Camelot - one coat
OPI Blue My Mind - two coats (ring and thumb nails)
Max Factor Fantasy Fire - one coat

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Max Factor Fantasy Fire (Part One)


Here it is, Max Factor Fantasy Fire! I have to say I had seen this often in the Max Factor section at my local shopping centre and always thought to myself, 'If I had money, I would definitely buy that polish'. Well, Alicea was lovely enough to have purchased a second bottle and now I'm finally trying it out.

I did not expect it to be an overcoat polish at all. But I have to say its effects are mesmerizing. I layered one coat of Fantasy Fire over two coats of Lacquer Noir. Noir is a little difficult to get a full coat with one dip in the polish,I think because of the little bottle and the little brush. I don't normally like have lots of polish on the brush, because it makes thick layers, but it is definitely necessary for this polish. Other than that, it goes on smoothly and is a lovely black creme.

Fantasy Fire is super easy to work with and looks absolutely amazing over black. 

I tried to take a photos showing the different shades the glitter shines but I don't think I got them all. It changes from a beautiful green, to a deep fiery red and sometimes the purple base shines through too. Definitely a must have polish.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My First China Glazes!

I found a smallish pharmacy that said it had discount beauty products, so I went and checked it out - I was ecstatic to find bins of $10 China Glaze polishes!  I didn't think that China Glaze was sold in any brick and mortar stores in Australia and I didn't have any in my collection, so I was very excited.  There was a good selection of colours, most of them neons, but I picked three out of the pile to take home - Ruby Pumps (I'm a sucker for sparkly red - it's probably a result of watching The Wizard of Oz too many times as a child), Snow Globe and Flying Dragon.  No swatches here, but I'd like to show off the bottles I bought!

Ruby Pumps is a beautiful red glitter polish.  The glitter particles are tiny and such a lovely red colour, I'm very excited to try this one on!

Snow Globe is an iridescent glitter polish with large glitter particles.  I'm looking forward to layering this one!  Look how snowy and sparkly it is!

Finally, I have Flying Dragon.  This one's a neon magenta-purple with tiny little blue glitter particles throughout, and I'm pretty sure there's some kind of shimmer in there too!  It's a bit more eye-searing in real life, which should be fun to wear!

There was a bin of $14 OPI polishes as well, and I saw a bottle of My Private Jet - it looked brownish and had holo particles in it.  I'm not a huge lover of holographic polishes (though they are very cool) so I didn't pick it up, but if anyone wants it, just send me an email and I'll see what I can do!


On another note, my Mum let me paint her nails!  She is very anti-polish and looks at each of my new manis with varying degrees of disdain (but an increasing amount of interest - my plan is succeeding!).  After seeing my current mani, she asked me whether I'd like to paint her nails for the weekend so she could have time to wear polish then take it off for work later.  I'm not sure whether this is an effort on her part to understand something of my life, or whether it was just curiosity.

Either way, I was very excited and I gave her the choice between OPI Suzi & the 7 Dusseldorfs and Rimmel Green With Envy.  She chose Suzi.  I base coated her nails ("What does that do, Alicea?") then applied two coats of colour ("I can feel my nails contracting.").  She refused top coat and complained when I missed a little bit on the sides of her nails. It was heaps of fun anyway and I'm glad she let me do it!