Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rainy Day

Well, the rain has made itself feel right at home here in Brisbane, and it doesn't look like it wants to leave anytime soon. Typical school holiday weather really. To compensate for the dreary weather I've done some cheerful rainy day nails to remind myself that the rain isn't all bad. It's great weather for cuddling and sleeping in! Plus the people living next door to me are raising their house at the moment, so it keeps the tradies away early in the morning.

I think it's pretty obvious how I did this, but I'll give you a tutorial anyway.

Step 1: Apply your protective basecoat and then paint your nails in a light grey colour. I used China Glaze's 'No Name Yet'. (I'm guessing they got lazy when naming that one...)

Step 2: Using a medium/large size dotting tool (see my tool page if you're not sure what a dotting tool is) create a couple of white clouds towards the base of your ring finger and thumb on both hands. This is where different sized dotting tools come in handy instead of using a toothpick or bobbypin. The white polish I used is OPI's 'Peace, Baby!'.

Step 3: Once the white has dried, take a silver shimmer or glitter polish and using your dotting tool go over the white parts to give them a bit of shine. I used OPI's 'Happy Anniversary'.

Step 4: Apply your clear top coat and use a rhinestone picker (see tools page) to place 3 teardrop shaped rhinestones onto your ring fingers and thumbs while the polish is still wet. I like to do a second coat on top of the rhinestones to really stick them in place. Alternatively, you can use nail glue to stick them on, but your top coat should be able to hold them without any problems.

So that's it. I was planning to do another konad design, but the rain inspired me. I'm sure I'll end up doing another konad design soon though. I have alot of ideas floating around at the moment. Stay safe in the rain! And if you like my designs please subscribe :)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Garden Of Love

My konad arrived yesterday! I was so excited to try it out that my last mani only lasted 24 hours. I gotta say, this konad thing is harder than it looks. I mean, it's very straight forward, but there must be a few tricks to really mastering it that I've yet to discover. If you have any konad related secrets, please share! Here's my first attempt at konad:

Realistically, not too bad, but you haven't seen the nails done by my non-dominant hand and I'm in no way inclined to show you! My top coat also streaked the konad polish a bit which didn't help :(

So this is what I ordered, and this is the basics that you will need if you want to give konad a try:

I got 5ml of the black konad polish, 11ml of the white, a scraper and stamp (the pink things) and a plate. I got plate m83:

I ordered all of my supplies from an Australian based seller, Meliney Wholesale Nail Art Supplies. They post internationally, and their shipping is free worldwide if you're only buying the plates (and spending over $15). If you're buying other supplies as well such as the polishes they charge $10, but if you live in Aus and don't qualify for the free shipping they throw in a free gift so make sure you check that out. If you're thinking of setting yourself up for konad I suggest buying a couple of polishes at once so that you only end up paying the shipping fee once. I recommend getting the 11ml bottles. I got the black in the 5ml bottle because I thought I'd use the white more than the black, but the bottle is TINY. Coz it's only 5ml. Duhhhhh.

So anyway, here I am doing all this promotion for someone else!  Moving on. Here's how I achieved my design:

Step 1:  Apply your protective base coat, then paint your nails in a pink colour. I used OPI's 'Come To Poppy'.

Step 2: It's konad time! I suggest putting some paper towel under your plate as it can get a bit messy. Have your scraper and stamp at the ready. Take your white konad polish and cover the design you want to use.

Step 3: Use your scraper and firmly and quickly scrape off the excess paint. Quickly take your stamp and roll it over the paint remaining on the design. Sorry I don't have photos of the scraping and stamping, I found that you need to work quickly once you've scraped off the excess paint otherwise the paint left in the design won't stick to the stamp. Here's what your stamp should look like once you've rolled it over the paint left in the design:

Step 4: Roll the stamp over your nail from one side to the other rather than top to bottom/bottom to top. I really struggled with knowing where the design would end up on my nail, sometimes I missed half my nail. Is there some trick to this? Or is it just practice?

Step 5: To cover the mess at the bottom of my nails, I pulled out my sponges that I use for doing gradients and dabbed a combination of pink and white polish onto the base of my nails. I used OPI's 'You're a Pisa Work' and 'Peace, Baby!'. I used a method similar to the one I used in this post.

Step 6: I can't resist a bit of glitter, so I added a silver glitter polish over the sponged area. I used Ulta3's 'Silver Glitter'. Apply your clear top coat and you're done!

So there you have it. My first bumbling attempt at konad. I think it's going to take a bit of practice to become good at it, so please bear with me in my future attempts. The polish is so expensive for the amount you get that I don't want to practice on anything other than my nails >.<  Unfortunately I don't think konad comes with instructions unless you buy one of the overpriced kits (which come with unexciting plates), so if you do want to try konad I suggest watching a few youtube videos first. I have a few ideas for things I want to try with this plate, so I dare say I'll have another post up in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I've revised my nail polish review page, so you can now search polishes by brand or colour. Check it out here!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Snow Queen

I'm back! My exams are over, so you can expect new posts on a regular basis :) But before I launch into my next design I just want to warn you that over the next week or so my blog might be a bit messy as I work on a layout etc that I'm happy with (you might have noticed I have a new header, let me know what you think). So if you notice that there are parts of my blog missing or links that don't work, please bear with me for a bit, I promise I'll make it better :)

So on to my next design. I'm really starting to feel the cold at night here in Brisbane, so I'm doing another Winter-inspired design. I never thought I'd paint my nails entirely white, but here you have it:

This is Revlon's ' Powder Puff'. It's a matte suede just like 'Emerald City' (in my last post). The difference being that 'Emerald City' only required 2 coats for opacity and 'Powder Puff' required 3. I found that once I put the 3rd coat on it didn't look quite so matte,and the extra coat meant it didn't dry fast like 'Emerald City' did, hence the sheet marks >.< So lesson learnt, with these Revlon matte suedes only do 2 coats! Just like 'Emerald City' however, if you did want to do a shiny fast-dry top coat it would bring out the bit of shimmer in the polish.

No tutorial for this one sorry guys, but it's pretty straight forward. Apply your white polish to every nail, and when doing your final coat, do your nails one at a time and stick the glitter in while the polish is still wet. I used a dotting tool dipped into clear nail polish to pick up the glitter, or you could use your rhinestone picker if you have one (check my tools page if you want to know more about dotting tools or rhinestone pickers).

This one didn't end up looking quite like I had imagined in my head, so there's a good chance it won't be long before I have a new design up. I just ordered my first Konad plate as a reward for making it through this semester of university, so I'm eagerly awaiting it's arrival. Check back soon!

P.S. We broke the 1000 visitor milestone! Thank you! If you like my blog please subscribe ^.^

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Brain Mush

Hey kids! Sorry it's been awhile, I've been a neglectful blogger :(  My assignment took me longer than I expected to finish which then resulted in less time to study for yesterday's exam. For anyone who's ever had to force themselves to read 500 pages of information dryer than the Sahara desert in less than 24 hours in order to pass their subject, I salute you. You will also understand why my brain has turned to mush. I've vowed to do my reading weekly next semester like I'm supposed to. YEAH RIGHT. We'll see how that goes... Anyway, you guys don't really care about my mushy brain, you just wanna see my nails. So here they are:

This was evidently the result of brain mush. I should have waited til today to do my nails rather than being over-eager and doing them last night. Due to the brain mush, this was purely experimental with no planning involved. This polish was the third Revlon one that I bought at the Myer stocktake sale, so I wanted to try it out. It's called 'Emerald City' and it's a matte suede. In my last post I said that I wanted to do a quick review of the 3 polishes that I got, so I'll do that in a moment.

Firstly though, about those beads on my nail...I had ordered some tiny steel beads off ebay (3 times actually, from 3 different sellers), and each time they arrived at my door I'd open the package to find that the container had come apart during shipping and that half the beads were missing and the half that remained were all mixed up. Here's a comparison of what my beads should have looked like, and what they did look like:

Would you accept that? I didn't. I got a refund all 3 times. One seller responded to my complaint by asking me to just re-sort the beads in to their colours. Ummmm excuse me? There are supposedly 2000 of these beads in each wheel and they're literally 1mm big. Would YOU want to re-sort them? Didn't think so. The third time I even asked the seller to tape the lid shut to avoid this. They ignored me. So I've stupidly ordered some for a fourth time. This fourth seller sells them in a different packaging, so fingers crossed this packaging stays intact. If you guys are going to buy these steel beads online, I recommend getting them from a seller who doesn't package them in the wheel. In saying that though, all my other beads etc have been packaged in these wheels and I've had no problems. Must just be something about these steel thingies.

Anyway, I have 3 wheels full of mixed up steel beads and no idea what to do with them, so the idea behind this was to simply cover the tip of one nail in clear top coat and then shove my finger into the beads. I HAVE THE BEST IDEAS! Not. It kinda worked I guess. But as you can see in my photo some of the balls had already fallen off just half an hour after putting them on. I did put a clear top coat over them to seal them on my hand that's not in the photo, but that just made the colours run. Kind of like the colours run off 100's and 1000's when they get wet. Actually, it was exactly like that. So top coat as a sealant isn't an option. If you're going to do something similar I suggest using nail glue. Also, shoving your finger into the beads isn't the greatest idea. I suggest using a rhinestone picker (if you're not sure what these are check out my Tools section) and placing them on a couple at a time.

My gosh, this post is getting long. Sorry! I still want to do a quick review of those Revlon polishes though, so if you don't care much for Revlon you can stop reading here.

Here's a couple of photos of the 3 Revlon polishes I picked up a week or so ago. The first one is in indirect sunlight, the second is in direct sunlight:

The colours in a clockwise direction are 'Girly', 'Emerald City', and 'Sublime Strawberry'. I would recommend all of them.

I'll start with 'Girly'. I think this colour might have been from the Edgy Elegance collection in 2011. It's a very pretty lavender-silver colour. It's probably best described as a frosted look. The camera didn't really pick it up, but it has a very interesting effect, there are distinct patches that are silver, and distinct patches that are lavender, but at the same time they blend together. It's very hard to explain. The formula on this is easy to work with, and it looks great with a matte top coat. Also, when I was taking this one off my nails, I found that the remover striped away the purple first, leaving a platinum silver underneath. This could be interesting to play with if you want a 'distressed' look. I might play with this sometime. My only annoyance in this polish was that it took FOREVER to get off. Might be worth soaking your nails to get this one off.

Second up is 'Emerald City'. I bought this one out of pure curiosity, plus the name relates back to the Wizard of Oz, so I had to have it. The bottle describes it as a 'matte suede', and I was curious to see what a matte suede looks like. For $4 in the sale I couldn't pass this up. I was pleasantly surprised. Very easy formula to work with, and it dried completely within about half an hour, which shocked me since I didn't use my fast drying top coat with it. As it's a matte I would have lost that effect by applying a top coat, so I'm a bit skeptical as to how long it will last without chipping. I'll update this post to let you know at some point. In saying that though, if you do want to use a top coat it really does look stunning with a bit of shine, it really brings out the subtle shimmer in it. I've put a clear top coat on the tip of my swatch in the photos above. Another interesting tidbit: it feels like teflon. Strange huh? Water runs right off it!
UPDATE: Without a top coat Emerald City lasted 5 days on my nails before chipping. That's better than most of my other polishes WITH a top coat. Of course, I did have a bit of tip wear after a few days, but that's to be expected with any polish.

Last but not least, ' Sublime Strawberry'. This is one of Revlon's scented polishes, so I bought this one out of curiousity too. The consistency on this one wasn't quite as nice as the other two I bought, but it's still workable if you're fast. I just found that it got tacky quickly. I was quite surprised about the strawberry smell. It really did smell nice, even when I was putting it on. I was convinced that once I put a top coat on the smell would disappear, but it still smelt pretty even with the top coat. I mean, I'm not gonna walk around smelling my fingers, coz let's face it that would just be creepy, but from a novelty perspective it's a bit fun.

So that's it! If you don't have access to China Glaze or OPI (or those other 'salon' brands), or just want something a bit cheaper that's still got a good formula, I recommend Revlon.

Sorry that was such a long post, think of it as compensation for my disappearance during exams. My last exam is on Monday, so maybe by Wednesday or Thursday next week I'll have a new post up. After Monday I'll have 5 weeks of HOLIDAYS! So you can expect blogging to go back to normal :)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Disaster Strikes!

So I really have to apologise in advance for this one. This is going to be a massive whinging post, and my thoughts will probably be a bit scattered. Here's what my nails look like now:

Yea I know. Totally unexciting. Studying for exams results in a lack of time for exciting nails. However, I did get a chance to use my new matte topcoat. I'm not totally convinced. Guess that's what I get for buying a cheap $4 one. I'll look out for a better one, because I want to give the matte look a fair go.

Anyway I guess you're wondering why this is a disaster. Well here's what my nails looked like 12 hours ago:

Note the massive chunk missing out of the polish on my thumb. This post was SUPPOSED to be a tutorial. I guess someone out there had other ideas for me. This wasn't the design I was meaning to show you either. So here's what went wrong:

  • Everything was going FINE. Until I dropped the brush. It landed on my pants.
  • In an attempt to salvage my pants (which are now fine by the way), I managed to screw up the polish on a couple of my nails. I had to take the polish off those nails completely and start again.
  • While starting again on said nails, I managed to screw up the tips on 2 or 3 more. This just ended up resulting in a lumpy mess on 50% of my nails. No biggie, I figured my top coat would smooth this out.
  • The design I was supposed to show you didn't go according to plan. I had seen a technique somewhere for making your own 'stickers' by painting your polish onto sellotape and then cutting the tape into shapes once the polish had dried. Maybe I did it wrong, or maybe I just used a terrible polish, but the 'stickers' were completely unflexible and wouldn't mould to my nail. I'll give the technique a go some other time before disregarding it completely.
  • So what did I do? I took my cheap Ulta3 gold glitter and painted a diagonal line on all my nails. Yep, fine, not exciting but I needed to do more study so figured it would do.  
  • I guess my fast drying top coat wasn't a fan of the cheap gold glitter polish. An hour later when I went to bed part of the glitter polish literally slid off my thumbnail when I accidently touched it against something a little harder than I should have. My top coat usually takes 15mins TOPS to dry.

So the above photo is what I had when I woke up this morning. Obviously, I took it all off. But what's that? Just to put the cherry on the cake, my nails are now stained pink. But ONLY WHERE THE GLITTER POLISH WAS. How does that even make sense? Sigh.

Anyway, it's all better now. I'm sorry this didn't turn out to be a tutorial like I'd had planned. And sorry for the whinging. Study makes me go a bit insane.

Also, this was the first time I tried Revlon polishes and I wanted to tell you about them. But I might save that for another time. I will say though, that if you're a fan of Revlon polishes and you live in Australia then to get your butt down to Myer's stocktake sale. They have 30% off full priced bottles, plus a bunch of bottles that are on clearance too. I got 3 bottles for less than $15, including one that wasn't clearance.

So that's it for now. My first exam is on Saturday morning, so I won't be posting again before then, but hopefully over the weekend or Monday I'll have the time to do another design/post. No promises though.

PS...The polishes in my photos are 'Girly' and 'Sublime Strawberry' by Revlon. I recommend them both. The matte topcoat I have is by BYS. I don't recommend that. Also I don't recommend the gold glitter polish by Ulta3. The silver one I used in my last post was fine, but the gold is super gloopy and my top coat didn't like it. Blerrrrr...

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Winter Freeze

Yesterday marked the first day of Winter here in Australia, and while it doesn't snow where I live it can still get pretty cold (by my prissy standards anyway), so I wanted to do something Winter inspired. I have to say, I had absolutely NO IDEA where this design was headed, I just knew I wanted to use blue and white for a snowy theme. I didn't want to be so literal as to draw snowflakes, so I pulled out the sponges again in the hope that if I just started dabbing at my nails with them something magical would happen. Well here's what happened:

I don't know if I'd call it a 'snowy' effect as such, but it does look kind of chilly. I used OPI's 'Peace Baby!' (white), 'No Room For The Blues' (blue), and Ulta3's appropriately named 'Silver Glitter'. Original. Yes, I went and bought a couple more $2 bottles of Ulta3 from Big W. I probably wouldn't buy them on a regular basis, but I figured for something like a basic glitter it's not going to hurt me to have a $2 bottle rather than a $20 OPI bottle. (Yes, OPI costs between $20 and $25 per bottle in Australia. It pains me when Americans whinge about it being $10 a bottle there).

P.S. Yes my nails are shorter than usual :( The cold weather has made them a bit brittle, so after a couple broke I just cut them all down to match.

Step 1: After applying your protective base coat, apply 1 or 2 coats of your white nail polish. It doesn't need to be perfect, you're going to be covering the majority of it anyway.

Step 2: Put a small amount of blue nail polish on to a bit of scrap paper or something similar. Taking your sponge (I use eye shadow applicators, but any sponge will work), gently dab the polish on to your nail randomly. Make some parts darker than others and leave other parts of your nail untouched. Repeat this step with your white polish. Keep dabbing at your nail alternating the two colours until you're happy with the effect. Once you're happy use some nail polish remover the clean up the area around your nail. Don't worry about the spongy indents at this point, your top coat will smooth these out.

Step 3: Taking a fine silver glitter polish, put a thin coat over your whole nail. Apply your clear top coat and you're finished.

Super easy! And if you screw up no one has to know because it's a random application of colour anyway :)

My university exams start in a week, so I'm not sure how much time I'll get for my nail art in the next few weeks while I'm studying, but I'll do my best to keep posting for you :) Wish me luck!