Sunday, December 25, 2011

Easy Christmas Trees

Last year when I did a shooting star manicure look, April from Concrete and Nail Polish commented that the same look would work well for Christmas trees. I didn't try it last year, but I wanted to try it this year, and I have to tell you - this is the easiest Christmas Tree nail art you will ever do!

Christmas trees for every nail!

image from

You will need three colors for this manicure. From left to right (all by OPI): Skull & Glossbones, Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow Suede, and Fresh Frog of Bel Air.

A light, neutral shade like Skull & Glossbones is the perfect background for the green of the pine trees that make up Christmas trees. This is two coats with a quick-dry top coat on top.

For Step 2 you will need two strips of blue tape per nail. Using the two strips of tape to form a triangle, where the top of the triangle will not come to the top of your nail (so you will have room to add the star at the top of the Christmas tree).

Step 3 is a repeat of Step 2, but this time you will add the glitter top coat. Fresh Frog of Bel Air makes the perfect glitter top coat for the Christmas tree because the green glitter adds sparkle to the tree, while the silver glitter adds a snow-like look to the tree (or like Christmas baubles that hang on the tree).

Repeating Step 2, cut two strips of tape for every nail, but this time you will start by placing one strip of tape along one side of the tree that was made in Step 2, where the other strip of tape will mark off the other side of the tree, so the glitter top coat will only go over the tree that was already painted on (as shown in the photo above).

Step 4 is to simply add the stars to the top of the trees you have created. If you have the nail stickers Kiss released this Halloween, one of the sets of Halloween themed stickers had a sheet with yellow-gold stars interspersed throughout, and these are the stars that were used for this manicure. If you are going to use jewels or gems for the stars, start by placing a drop of top coat on the tip of the tree before placing the jewel so it sticks. If you are using nail stickers like the ones here, you can skip that step.

After adding the stars to the top of each tree, simply add a top coat to seal it all in, and you have a Christmas Tree for each nail!

Thanks again to April from Concrete and Nail Polish for the great idea! I think it works great as Christmas Trees, and I'm so glad she mentioned it - I don't think I would have tried it otherwise!

So what do you think of this nail design? Does it look like something you'll try? What did you wear on your nails for Christmas?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wrapping Paper with Revlon

Here is a quick and easy Christmas nail design: Wrapping Paper (and using only Revlon polishes)!

Wrapping paper usually features a repeated pattern, and a red plaid pattern is perfect for Christmas nails!

image from

For this nail design five colors were needed. From left to right (all from Revlon): Mon Cherry, Crimson Shimmer, Comet, Carbonite, and Powder Puff.

Step 1: Paint on your base color. This is two coats of Powder Puff followed by a quick drying top coat to speed up the dry time. (Also, since the base color will be mostly covered up, two coats of any color should be sufficient, since streaking isn't noticeable under the colors that will go on top of this.)

For Step 2 (and Step 3 to follow), you will need to cut very thin strips of the blue painter's tape to begin the plaid pattern. In order to cut thin strips that are relatively even, it is easier to cut off a small section of painter's tape from the whole role (about 1 inch/2.5 cm) to then cut into the fine strips that will be used. After you have a small section of painter's tape cut from the roll, decide on how wide you want each strip of tape to be, then using the edge of the scissors as a guide for the width of the strip, press the tape strip onto the scissors so it sticks to one of the cutting-edges of the scissors. By pressing down the strip of tape onto the scissors - rather than holding the piece of tape with one hand to cut with the other - you can judge how little or how much of each tape section you want to cut off.

After cutting your consecutively small strips of tape, lay the strips down on each nail in a pattern where the negative space between the tape strips will repeat in a small-large pattern, where the small section is where Carbonite will be painted, while the large section is where Mon Cherry will be painted. Remember to paint one nail at a time, using first one color then the other, so that you can peel off the painter's tape as soon as you are done painting a nail to ensure a clean edge (that the nail polish will not dry and pull up with the painter's tape).

Step 3 uses the same small strips of tape as Step 2. Here you will lay the strips of tape going in the opposite direction as the strips in Step 2, so as to create the plaid effect. The easiest way to make sure the tape strips you are laying down go in the opposite direction of the original tape strips is to choose one or two main stripes of nail polish that you painted on in Step 2 and try to get these new tape strips to run perpendicular to those stripes, creating 90 degree angles.

Step 3 is the last application of color and uses the tinted/glitter polishes to lay over the other colors, so as to show the pattern through the polish to achieve the plaid look. If you are not using these specific Revlon polishes, look for polishes that are tinted/jelly-finish rather than a creme finish, so as to achieve the look of a real plaid pattern.

And here is the finished product:

Once you think your layers of polish are sufficiently dry, add a top coat!

So what do you think of this Christmas nail design? What are you wearing on your nails for Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Glitter Swatches: WnW, SH, OPI, SOPI

This holiday season many companies - many more than last year - came out with glitter polishes. Most are limited edition polishes, so they are only available while there are still bottles left, and after that they can only be found on internet sites (usually marked up in price).

So in case you are still undecided about picking up some of these glitter polishes at your local beauty supply or cosmetics stores, I thought I'd compile some comparison swatches so you can get a better look at these glitter polishes.

On to the swatches:

On the index and middle fingers is a single layer of Back Alley Deals, with the right-most nails having two layers. Every other finger also has a half-coat of OPI Alpine Snow - Matte so you can see a bit more clearly how two coats doesn't give complete coverage because the white polish still shines through the purple glitter.

Back Alley Deals consists of fine violet glitter with less magenta hexagonal glitter pieces in a clear base.

One coat on left-most nails (index and middle fingers), with two coats on right-most nails. Alternating half-coat of OPI Alpine Snow - Matte used to show the glitter density.

Fine silvery-black glitter with larger, sparser hexagonal glitter that is silver but shines multi-colored in a clear base.

Two coats on one coat on left two nails, two coats on right two nails. Alternating half-coat of base color in OPI Russian Navy - Matte.

This is one of the denser glitter polishes out of the many glitter polishes available. A dupe to Lorelei's Tiara by China Glaze, Showgirl Chic is made up of small silver glitter with larger blue hexagonal pieces of glitter spread throughout in a clear base.

One coat on left two nails, two coats on right two nails. Half-coat of base color on alternating nails in OPI Russian Navy - Matte.

Bling-tastic consists of tealy-blue glitter that is small (but not micro), with larger silver hexagonal glitter in a clear base. This polish is less dense than most of the other glitters seen this holiday, because the small blue glitter is not micro-glitter, and so it is less dense throughout the clear base than the other small glitter pieces used in the other lacquers.

One coat on left two nails, two coats on right two nails. Alternating half-coat of under-color in OPI Russian Navy - Matte.

Cost is No Issue is made up of fine turquoise glitter with larger blue/teal glitter in a clear base. This one almost covered completely in two coats.

One coat on left two fingernails, two coats on right two fingernails. Alternating half-coat of base color in OPI - Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees (Suede).

Fresh Frog of Bel Air is made up of small green glitter with larger hexagonal pieces of glitter in silver, all in a clear base. This did not cover fully in two coats.

One coat on left two nails, two coats on right two nails. Alternating half-coat of base color in OPI - Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees (Suede).

Good Tidings We Bling (the bottom of my bottle has an excalamtion point at the end of Bling, while Sephora's online listing does not) is made up of small red and green glitter with large red and green hexagonal glitter in a clear base. There is also medium-sized black hexagonal glitter!

And now for some comparisons:

First we have Wet and Wild Diamond in the Rough versus Sephora by OPI If You've Got It, Haunt It.

Following the same one coat then two coat pattern, the one coat on the left-most fingernails exemplify how these two polishes are different. On the index and ring fingernails is Diamond in the Rough and If You've Got It, Haunt It is on the other two. Since Diamond in the Rough seems to be a dupe for Some Like It Haute by China Glaze and Dancing in the Dark by Deborah Lippmann and Sloane Square by Nails Inc, I thought it'd be a good comparison polish to the SOPI since If You've Got It, Haunt It used to be only available from the Halloween 2010 collection from Sephora, and the other colors were mentioned as being possible dupes to the SOPI.

In the above picture, you can see that If You've Got It, Haunt It differs from Diamond in the Rough with having the same fine black/silver glitter, but with just slightly bigger black glitter and equally big silver glitter that only flashes blue and green (with very slight orange/red flashes at some angles) in a black-tinted base. For some reason, this combination makes this glitter layer more completely, so that two coats of the SOPI are all you'll need, while the Wet and Wild could use a third coat.

On the index and ring fingers are one coat and then two coats of Bling-tastic with Fresh Frog of Bel Air in one coat on the middle finger and two coats on the last nail. Bling-tastic looks like a dupe for Gone Gonzo! by OPI, and since Fresh Frog of Bel Air is from the same collection, I thought it would be interesting to compare.

The main differences between the two seem to be that Bling-tastic is more dense, wile Fresh Frog of Bel Air has more silver glitter per brush-stroke. Both small glitters and larger hexagonal glitter is the same size between both polishes.

If you're in the market for glitter polish, the Wet and Wild Ice Baby limited edition collection has nice dupes to more expensive glitter polishes that look exactly the same (the three polishes I showed look awfully similar to the Dance Music trio Deborah Lippmann just released). Out of all the polishes swatched above, I found the Sephora by OPI to have the easiest brush to hold and polish with. The Wet and Wild were the most awkward to polish with because of the short square handle. Bling-tastic and Fresh Frog of Bel Air were the least dense and would need at least three coats to be opaque, while Cost is No Issue and Showgirl Chic are dense enough to be worn at just two coats. Price wise, the Wet and Wild were the cheapest and the Sephora by OPI (which is only available online) is the most expensive, but the OPI and Sally Hansen were both about the same cost (which makes the Sally Hansen seem expensive for a drugstore polish).

If you're still looking, the fact that there are many dupes within the different Holiday glitter collections from the different polish labels makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

I hope you found these swatches helpful and that you've already stocked up on glitter polishes for the coming winter since the spring polishes are already showing up! Thanks for stopping by!