Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Rugged is your Top Coat? (Hollywood Glamour Mani)

I never realized how funny it would be to start a blog, especially when you realize you are basically talking to empty space! I can almost hear an echo! Anyway, for those of you who are reading, you will be glad to know that I survived Rugged Maniac! Don't ask me how, but I am currently at my computer (covered in bruises, aches, and pains) in full blog mode, so that must mean that I somehow survived the race! My friends took some pretty awesome pictures of me covered in dirt and mud, so as soon as I get those, I will be sure to post a few. Anyway despite the heat, the race was totally awesome and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a really good work out and a fun time with friends!

But now, let's get to the nail stuff! So I know a few days ago I said I wasn't going to do my nails because I was participating in a 5k obstacle run. However, every time I looked down at my bare nails I felt  naked! I changed my mind and came up with this design on Friday night. 

The color I used for my base coat is Maybelline Color Show's, Twilight Rays. This polish is awesome  and its from one of my favorite collections (Maybelline Color Show). Simply put, Twilight Rays is a black nail polish with tiny flakes that shift from gold to rose gold.  On top of Twilight Rays, I stamped the star design using Konrad's gold polish which matched the sparkles in Twilight Ray's perfectly. The star designs come from the Salon Express's nail plates (SE-20). For my ring fingers I used Paris from Sinful Colors, and finally on top of the gold glitter, black nail tape which I purchased on amazon.

I love using nail tape (especially for french manicures) because it creates clean crisp lines, really making a manicure look professionally done. One complaint I have about most nail tapes is that the colors  tend to bleed once a top coat is placed over them. Has anyone else ever experience this? You can sort of see this in the photos. I used black nail tape for this manicure which turned into a sort of silvery gray after I painted on my top coat. The only tape color that does not bleed is the silver one. I think this might be because most nail tapes are manufactured in silver and then painted with other colors. Also, while nail tape is an actual tape (one side of it is sticky), it doesn't tend to stick to nails for very long. I have found that with only one coat of topcoat, nail tape will begin to peel at the edges after the first two days of being worn. To get it to stay longer, I sometimes apply nail glue to the edges or extra top coats to prevent the nail tape from peeling up.
Anyway, to make this mani a little more interesting, I thought I would do a little experiment to see what top coats in my collection would survive Rugged Maniac. I am pretty picky when it comes to top coats and try to stick to well known, reputable brands. Therefore, in my collection my favorite topcoats are by Seche Vite, Revlon, and Sally Hansen. I tend to use Seche Vite a lot because it dries super fast and with a nice glossy finish.

Unfortunately, I ran out of my Revlon top coat so for this experiment I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and Sally Hansen No Chip Top Coat. For my pinky and middle fingers I used two coats of Seche Vite and for my ring and pointer fingers I used two coats of Sally Hansen. This is another picture of my nails on Friday, before the race.
Both top coats gave me a nice shiny, glass finish.....and this is a picture of my nails on Saturday night, after the race.
As you can see in the photos, I would say both top coats had an equal number of chipping and wear around the tops of my nails. There are chips on both the pointer finger and middle finger of about equal size. In all honesty, both top coats held up pretty well through the water obstacles, mud pools, and mud crawling I had to do for the race. All in all, I would say both of these top coats are pretty darn rugged!

Sinful Colors - Paris
Maybelline Color Show - Twilight Rays
Konad - Gold 
Nail Tape (Amazon)

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat 
Sally Hansen No Chip Top Coat

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pour Some Glitter On Me...

I have TONS of errands to run, so just a quickie post for today!

So normally I don't like using glitter on my nails because it always takes forever to get off. Some people suggest doing a base coat of PVA glue because it makes glitter removal super easy, as seen here. Others suggest the tinfoil method for removing glitter polish. Unfortunately, I haven't yet tried either of these methods, though they do seem effective. They are both definitely on my to do list. Anyway, despite my loathing of the traditional glitter polish removal process (gallons of acetone and mountains of cotton balls), I found this polish too sparkly to pass up trying!

For this mani I did a sparkle gradient (using Jordana Gemstones) which is easy to do and yet sort of difficult to describe. Basically you just apply several layers of glitter polish  to the tip of your nail so the concentration of glitter at the tip is so dense that you cannot see your natural nail or nail color underneath it. Then, while the polish at the tip of your nail is still wet, either with your nail polish  brush or a nail polish stick, push a few pieces of the glitter towards the middle of your nail. Do this as many times as needed until you create a gradient effect, with a few pieces of glitter floating around the middle of your nail and the amount of glitter becoming more concentrated as it approaches the top of your nail. If done correctly, your glitter gradient should look something like this...

Jordana - Gemstones
Seche Vite

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sunset Gradient with Bubbles

Hey guys! So I’m feeling a little conflicted at the moment. I am DYING to do my nails, but I am running a 5k obstacle course this weekend and know whatever I do to my nails will be ruined by the end of the day Saturday. I’m absolutely terrified, did I mention that? Anyway, a few months ago a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in participating in Rugged Maniac. I signed up for the race back in March and was super excited about it. I’ve been doing a bit of training for it and was feeling really good about everything, but now that it’s actually coming up I feel totally unprepared. Me, mud and barbed wire DO NOT get along. I’m starting to have one of those, “It seemed like a good idea at the time” moments. Please send me your prayers…and band aids…and gauze bandages...and maybe some aspirin...

Anyway, since my nails are pretty plain now, I thought I would share a mani I did a few weeks ago. It’s a little brighter than what I normally do, but I have to say I received a lot of compliments on this one and I was pleased with the results. I used a gradient technique for the background which for me, takes FOREVER to do because it’s a bit messy, but the end result was worth it. 
For the gradient I used Color Club Warhol (pink), China Glaze Sunshine Pop (yellow), and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Sun Kissed (orange) (Learn how to do a nail gradient by clicking the YouTube link attached to the word “gradient").  In general, when doing a gradient you should first paint your entire nail with the lightest color you are using (that way darker colors you are using show up better). So first, I painted my nail yellow and let that dry completely (If you do not let your base coat dry completely, when you try to sponge on the other colors, some of your base coat might come up and stick to the sponge). Then I sponged the three colors onto my nail moving the sponge up and down a bit so that the colors would blend well. Then I painted a layer of Seche Vite and once that dried, used Konad’s black polish and Mash Plate, Mash-43 to create the bubble pattern. By  stamping the bubbles over the top coat, I was able to achieve a glossy finish for the gradient and a sort of matte finish for the bubbles. I think the combo of glossy and matte came out kind of cool.
If anyone has any questions on how to do a gradient or how I did this mani, feel free to write me a question in the comments section!

Color Club – Warhol
China Glaze – Sunshine Pop
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails -  Sun Kissed
Mash-43 - Bubbles

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

White Lace Mani

So a few weeks ago I wanted to do my nails, but I was feeling sort of lazy. It seemed like too much work to paint two coats for each nail and then let it dry and blah blah blah. So I came up with this...the lace mani. 

For this mani, I first did one coat of Seche Vite on my bare nail. Then for both of my ring fingers, on top of the Seche Vite coat, I used 3 coats of Wet and Wild's, The Gold and the Beautiful. Finally once everything was dry, for each nail I stamped Mash's flower pattern from plate Mash-42.

When I first did this mani I really liked it, but on second thought, I don’t know if I am feeling my ring fingers. I think the glitter might take away from flowers instead of adding to them. I definitely do like the flowers with just my natural nail showing and it sort of reminds me of white lace (hence the title), so I will definitely try this again. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should try next time?

Seche Vite
Konad White
Wet and Wild - The Gold and the Beautiful
Mash-42 - Flowers

Monday, June 24, 2013

Unchained Melody

So I should be doing something more productive today, but I thought, what the hell? Why not put up my first nail design post? So here it is. After I did this mani, the name Unchained Melody immediately jumped out at me, a song well known for being in the movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Random I know, and also a little ironic considering this mani is all about the silver stamped chains...

Anyway, to achieve this look I first did one coat of First Mate, which is a deep navy blue made by China Glaze. After that dried, I did one coat of the Blue/Green Sparkles from the Forever 21 brand, Love and Beauty. After waiting for my nails to be completely dry, I stamped on the chains using Konad silver and  Bundle Monster design plate BM12. Then after that dried, one coat of Seche Vite (an awesome glossy, dry fast top coat) and voila! 

 What I really like about this mani in particular is the sparkle! Though the color is named Blue/Green, as you can see from some of the photos, the glitter actually shifts between blue and purple. What colors do you guys like to use?
China Glaze - First Mate
Love and Beauty - Blue/Green
Konad Silver
BM12 - Chains

First Blog Post!

Hey guys! My name is Cassandra, I’m 22 years old, and I love all things nail polish! I’ve been debating about starting my own blog for a while now, but with some encouragement from friends, I have finally decided to do so. I have been following More Nail Polish and Chloe’s Nails for a few years now and seeing their amazing work was definitely part of the inspiration to start this blog.

So here it is, my very first blog. I am not tech savy at all, so bare with me the first month or so, as I'm sure I will still be messing with the look and style of my blog. Anyway, a little bit about me...I love nail polish (duh), I am a Whovian (props to those of you who know what that is), I collect turtle figurines (my favorite animal) and I have a cat named Mylo. Random, I know.

 Anyway, awesome nail designs to come soon! XOXO