Friday, February 26, 2010

ND2: Friday Night Black Lights

Here it's all about the stripes and the matte black. Any color background will work (and any type of matte, really), along with any type of stripe. I chose to remember the good, ol' football friday nights of high school...not that I really went to many of those. But maybe you've seen those black marks that football players put under their eyes. I was told that it's to stop the glare from stadium lighting reflecting off their sweaty faces and into their eyes. Whatever the real reasoning, it's my inspiration.

image from

From the fabulous Hong Kong Collection by OPI, Jade is the New Black was the perfect color for astroturf. Combine with that some type of matte black (I chose Zoya Dovima), and you have your two colors.

Onto the three step process...

For Step 1, simply lay down your base color over your favorite base coat, completely covering the nail. Layer your shiny top coat over your base color and let dry.

Now for Step 2, you'll need a total of 5 pieces of tape. The only piece you really want to worry about for size is the center piece that will block off the stripe of base color that will be inbetween your matte stripes. You can see in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture that the thin inbetween strip of tape was the one I laid down first to see if they matched up on all my nails.

The inbetween thin slices of tape I used were about 2-3 mm thick, and the 4 outer strips of tape that form the square were about 1/4 inch thick.

The point of the square around the area the matte polish stripes will be, is so there are only two stripes of matte black towards the end of the nail. The look I was going for here was not a continuous stripe, but one that is just a rectangular block on the nails.

Step 3 is simply to paint in the matte color of your choice (here the matte black went with the look I was going for). Before you paint, you want to make sure that your pieces of tape are pushed down onto the nails completely, so no wet paint leaks under leaving a mark in an area that wasn't supposed to be painted. Once you have painted your nail, be sure to pull up the tape quickly, pulling all the pieces in one direction so there is no drag in the fresh polish you just laid down.

Also, because the matte striping ontop of the shiny color is a key point to this design, try not to lay down any top coat to get the full effect of this manicure.

And now you're done! What do you think? What colors would you use for this design?

Thanks for looking. Bye for now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SOTD: RBL Bikini Bottom

Today's Swatch of the Day is Rescue Beauty Lounge's Bikini Bottom. A nice, soft blue.

Rescue Beauty Lounge was a company I was first introduced to about two weeks before they had one of their biggest sales yet. Remember that sale that was right before the new year, where RBL polishes were 50% off? Well I decided to splurge and get a polish I thought would be a bit different for me - a light blue jelly/creme shade.

While I have heard that RBL polishes are known to be creamy smooth and cover in minimal coats, this polish took 3 coats (and when I say three, I mean the last coat was a gloopy mess I tried to paint over two thin coats to speed up the painting process, not something I'd recommend doing).

Verdict on this polish: If you like the jelly/sheer look, go for this polish. It's a soft, light blue shade that reminds me of pool water (think water with lots of Chlorine added). While it needs one too many layers of polish to become opaque, it works if you're willing to take the time to work with it.

Thanks for looking. Bye for now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Nails

Happy Valentine's Day! I love this time of the year - it's such a great excuse to paint your nails! And what colors do you see more often in almost all nail polish lines than pink and red? So in order to do my part to celebrate this commercial holiday, I have two nail designs to show. The first up, is my pro-Valentine's Day manicure, followed by my (somewhat) anti-Valentine's Day nail design.

So first, onto the pinks....

This first manicure is all the hearts and pinks that one Valentine's Day manicure can handle (in my case). I don't think I could pull this nail design off any other time, and I really wouldn't want to. So, lots of pink(s) and a little heart on each nail just to doubly get the point across.

Kinda reminds me of this lovely Valentine's Day pic:

Image from

But, back to the Nail Design.

I started out with three pinks I thought would look nice together - (from left to right) Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Fuchsia Power, Orly Basket Case, and Love & Beauty Orchid (from Forever 21).

So I started out with the lightest color in my collection (which I always recommend doing when layering), and painted two coats of it. Orly Basket Case is a nice medium light pink cream, so there was no spotty coverage or anything like that.

On from Step 1 to Step 2. I cut two small slices of painters tape, no wider than 3 centimeters each. Because nail polish has more plasticity as it dries, you want to paint each nail separately, so you can peel off the painters tape as soon as possible, so you don't get any pull on the layered nail polish with the blue tape that has just come off. I first painted the darker shade of pink at the tip of the nail using Sally Hansen Fuchsia Power, and then I painted the silvery-pink stripe in between the two pieces of tape using Love & Beauty Orchid.

On from Step 2, I added heart decals that I got in a set from the manufacturers of Seche Vite at my local beauty supply.

I did not see a need to use tweezers to pick up these decals, so I simply peeled each one up and put it near the bottom slanted end of the silvery-pink stripe, so that there was some minimal symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. I then used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to cover this nail design.

Now, onto the Anti-Valentine's Day Nail Design!

For this design, I still wanted to use colors that could be associated with Valentine's day, so I used red nail polish as a base. The goal of this look was to be a darker version of my first Valentine's Day mani, so I added black detailing rather than more red or any lighter color.

The two colors I chose to use were Zoya Dovima (that dries matte) and Maybelline Express Finish Crimson.

I used the same process for the pink manicure on this anti-Valentine's manicure, but three pieces of blue tape were needed instead of two, where two pieces set up the line at the beginning of the nail, and the last piece sectioned off the edge of the nail for the black accents to be painted in. After I painted each nail and removed the tape, I added the accent sticker. These are stickers from a set that can be found at Rite Aid.

And here's a last view so you can see all the sparkly goodness of Dovima on the accents. I really like the way the nails with the silver stickers came out. What do you think?

So, that's it for my Valentine's Day nail art. (And yes, I wore this around with my right hand having the red manicure and my left hand having the pink. It was quite fun to be supportive and against Valentine's Day at the same time.)

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day (or just a wonderful Sunday if you don't celebrate this commercial holiday).

Thanks for looking. Bye for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ND1: Half and Half Purple

My favorite nail art design! This is the easiest nail art you will ever do, and it always gets the most complements. I usually choose to layer a deep, dark color over a bright, bold color, because it stands out more.

For this design you will need tape - I prefer painter's tape, so this is where the blue tape comes in! - but scotch tape or something similar will work. (Note: I use Painter's Tape/Blue Tape because it was made to be used for painting, so when you lift it off a surface, the surface won't come up with the tape.)

Now the name of this design, Half and Half, may bring to mind the following image...

Image from

...But rather than a cream for coffee or baking, this design is simply laying one color over half your nail, thereby covering half of the original color put down before it.

The colors I chose to use for this manicure were OPI DS Mystery and Sinful Colors Dream On. The Sinful Colors shade is a bright, neon purple, and the OPI is a deep blackish-purple with tiny gold flakes.

Here's the simple 3 step process:

After applying a base coat, I painted two coats of Sinful Colors Dream On. With this type of manicure where you'll be layering colors, it's always best to go from lightest to darkest, so the Sinful polish went on first.

The other nice thing about using a neon as a base color is that they tend to dry matte, so you can tell when your nails are dry and you can start the next step. Though, if you are ever impatient or in a rush, you can use your favorite fast-dry top coat, just remember that each layer of top coat adds a layer of polish to your nails, and you don't want there to be too many layers in the end, otherwise the manicure becomes thick and is less likely to dry as quickly.

And here's where the magical blue tape comes in.

For this nail design, you don't have to cut each piece of tape the same length and width, you just want each piece to be able to cover the full length of your nail. So the longer the nails, the longer the piece of tape needs to be. This step should be done when the first polish put down is completely dry. You then press each strip down, making sure there are no gaps between the nail and the tape, where the second color might try to slide under when painting.

Step 3 is a follow up of step 2. After you have removed the tape (which is best done when the second color is still fresh and wet, so as not to get drag or pull), layer on the top coat, and you'll have a shiny, beautiful manicure!

Look (below) at those straight lines! My ring finger (the second finger from the right), came out with the straightest line, and you can see the reason painter's tape plays such a large roll in this manicure. You can't imagine how many people will ask you about your nails, how you got such straight lines, and if they're your real nails! (I had at least 10 people ask me about my nails while wearing this manicure.) Behold the magic of the painter's tape:

So, I hope you've enjoyed this short, simple, and sweet Nail Design.

Thanks for looking. Bye for now.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NT1: Storage

My first Nail Tip (NT) for this blog: Storage!

Storage for nail polish is such an important part of nail polishing, that I thought it was worth it to mention this first.

I've only become more organized in my storing of nail polish more recently, so I'll give you some insight into how I store my nail polishes and supplies, in hopes that it will help you with your nail polish storing and organizing.

I purchased the stacking containers I used for my storing from Target. The top level I use for storing nail polishes, and the bottom level I use for storing my other nail polish supplies, such as files and cotton balls.

The trays I use for lining up my polishes are from the Dollar Tree and Office Depot, but you can check out any office supply store to find little trays like these. They're usually located in the desk organization area (where file cabinets and such can be found).

The Caboodles box that I use for storing nail polish I use less often, I have had for years, but I just recently saw a similar version at Target in the makeup section the other day. This size and style of Caboodles really works for nail polish storage because it is the perfect height to fit taller polishes, and it has a mirror attached to the lid, that helps you see all your supply from every angle.

The best advice I could give for making your storage containers work for you, would be to bring your tallest bottle of nail polish with you when you go shopping (so if you have a few polishes that are KO polishes, or similar taller-than-usual polishes, consider bringing those), to make sure the nail polishes can stand up right. If you are using trays to organize your polish, take into account that this adds more height to each bottle, so something that was originally a tight fit may not close now.

For a few ideas of where to get storage containers for nail polish, consider the following:

Other things to consider:
  • Do you want to be able to see all your nail polishes from the outside of the container? (If yes, then you should consider narrowing down your search to containers that are clear in shading.)
  • Consider the size of your nail polish collection currently, and the rate it is growing at. Do you buy a new polish (or a few) each week, or one every other month?
  • Will you want to be able to move your storage around? (The Target storage containers I purchased are easy for me to carry from room to room, and they stack so I can hide them away in my closet. But some people may prefer a wall mounted organization rack, so consider a spice rack or something similar, if this is the case.)
Thank you for looking. Bye for now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SOTD: OPI Absolutely Alice

My Swatch/Shade of the Day today is OPI Absolutely Alice. And I absolutely love this color. I'm not one for glitter, but I do love a good blue, and this is gorgeous...just look....

OPI did an amazing job with the two glitters in this four color collection. The other glitter, Mad as a Hatter, is most definitely a crowd-pleaser, but there is something about this blue-gold color that keeps me coming back.

Look, even in the bottle (as shown in the above image), you can see all the blue-gold glitter.

Now, I found that blurred images show the glitter better, so I'll give you a few more images to look at...

This polish only took me two coats to complete coverage! While it was a pain to take off (all the scrubbing to get the glitter off, even using 100% Acetone), it is well worth it. Stop by your local beauty supply and pick up this polish if you haven't yet!

Thanks for looking. Bye for now.