Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ciate Velvet Manicure in Blue Suede

Thursday I stopped into Sephora to pick up the Nails Inc Sprinkles Collection and a helpful sales associate showed me this new collection from Ciate.  Similar to their Caviar Nail Kits, the Velvet Manicure comes in a kit that includes one bottle of polish, "crushed velvet powder" in a corresponding color, and a small brush to dust off excess powder.

The kits come in three different shades: a berry, a deep blue, and a gray.  The kit I chose is called Blue Suede and the photo above shows how the kit is packaged.  (Also within the kit is an extra tray that is meant for you to use to collect the excess powder that falls off when you are applying it to your nails.)

Now in case you haven't seen this trend before, in the same manner as a caviar manicure, you paint on one coat of your base color on all your nails and let it dry.  Then, going one nail at a time, you paint on a second coat of the base color, then quickly try to sprinkle the powder over the whole nail.  Top coat would change the effect, so it is not recommended to add.

I've included a few different photos for you to see how the effect looks up close.  Because these photos are macro photos, you can also easily see how messy this can become - there are still numerous little blue "velvet" hairs on my fingers and the nail polish bottle, even though I used the brush in the kit to dust off the excess powder.

In the below photo you can get a better sense for the soft-look this gives nails.  Although this photo is a bit out of focus, it demonstrates how appropriate the name "Velvet Manicure" is, because this look leaves your nails with a soft, fuzzy-looking quality.

Now just for comparison purposes, I have tried using flocking powder on my nails before, and while that gave a similar effect, I feel that the "crushed velvet powder" in this kit is a bit more fine than flocking powder you can find at a craft store, making it a bit more appealing to wear.

Each kit retails for $19US and is now available in Sephora stores, or you can check out the complete selection on HERE.

The positives of these kits include:
  • The powder to go on the nails matches the polish color perfectly
  • The small brush included in the kit is useful for brushing off excess powder (including the stuff that ends up getting stuck down the sides of your nails)
  • I particularly like the color options available, and although I've only tried the Blue Suede kit, I know I'll wear the nails polish that came in the kit (3am Girl) by itself, so you can get use out of the kit even without incorporating the powder aspect of it into your manicure
The negatives of these kits include:
  • At $19US these kits are less costly than the Caviar manicure kits, but this price might still be steep for many people
  • The kit does come with a brush to dust off excess powder, but no matter how much dusting you do, you'll still find excess velvet hairs floating around on your hands, clothes, etc.
  • This is a fun nail art/trend, but can really only be warn in a temporary setting because of the nature of the crushed velvet powder.  Water and any daily activity will diminish the effect (though in some cases, this may last longer on your nails than a caviar manicure)

So what do you think of this nail kit?  Have you already seen this at Sephora stores?  Do you think you'll be picking up any of these kits?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stars and Stripes

4th of July is here again!  So it's time for a nail design to celebrate!

The colors used for this nail design were the requisite red, white, and blue.  For the blue I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Thinking of Blue, which was a great blue to use because one coat offered complete coverage, where the color underneath does not show through the blue on top.  For the white, OPI's Alpine Snow - Matte was used.  For the red, a mid tone bright red was used from American Apparel in Downtown LA.

Step 1 was two coats of the white.  Whatever white polish you choose to utilize, that will be the first color you will paint on your nails as your base color.  If you are not using a matte polish -- one that dries fast -- then it would be beneficial to use a fast drying top coat after you paint on the white polish to speed up the wait time between the first step and the second step.  As a side note to painting your nails with the white polish, you don't need to bring the white polish all the way to the beginning of your nail, because in Step 2 you will be painting over most of the white and covering up the upper part of your nail in blue.

Step 2 is where the blue painter's tape comes in.  You will just need two small strips of tape per each nail (unless you decide you want more red stripes on each nail).  Depending on your nail length you can use wider strips of tape to mark off the areas where the white stripes will be.  Going nail-by-nail lay on the two pieces of tape where each strip is parallel to the other.  Paint one color then the other color as quickly as possible and pull off the tape in the direction each strip of tape is laid down on the nail.  (You want to work one nail at a time and take off the tape as quickly as possible, because the longer you leave the tape on the nail, the more the nail polish you painted on over the tape starts to dry and sticks to the tape leaving "strings" of polish when you try to pull off the tape.)

Here for Step 3 you add your stars!  The stars used for this nail design were nail studs from Kiss called "Nail Artist - metallic" that were purchased at Walgreen's.  Each stud has a sticky backing, but you'll still want to press the star into your nail polish (that's still wet) to hold the star in place. 
If you do decide to use stars on this nail design, you can make everything look more uniform by making sure one point of each star is facing up and centered on your nail.

Step 4 is to add top coat!  This is essential to keep the stars stuck to your nails.  Here you may need to do more than one coat of top coat in order to seal in the stars.  In order to try and make sure your colors do not bleed together (especially over the white), paint the top coat on your nail diagonally in the direction the polish is drawn so the brush is not dragged down the nail blending one color into the next.

And once your top coat is dry, you'll have your 4th of July nails that have both the stars and stripes that are associated with the red, white, and blue of this day.