Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wet n Wild MegaLast Wet Cement with Freehand Hearts

Hello again all, I am still alive, I just forgot about my blog there for a minute! J/k j/k, I was being lazy busy.  Anywho, today's nails feature Wet n Wild MegaLast in Wet Cement, a cozy neutral taupe creme perfect for fall.  It was a little difficult to apply evenly at first due to the brush being raggedly cut, but because it has a slight crelly consistency, the second coat helped to even it all out.

I tried (for the first time) making freehand hearts with Lancome Vernis in Love 147M Rouge Valentine. They are not perfect in the macros I know, but they look pretty good in real life so I am a-ok with that!  I used a dotting tool to make two dots side by side, and then used a detailing brush to make the point. I keep reading about nail artists using acrylic paint for their nail art, I bet it would be much easier and less goopy than using nail polish!

I have received my package from llarowe and cannot wait to share my new goodies! And since then I have placed a second order with Polish Me Silly and it is going to be epic. MOAR NALE PAWLISH.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A England Rose Bower with Freehand Teal Flowers

I received a dozen beautiful red roses last week, which inspired me to pull out one of my very favorite reds: A England Rose Bower. It has a stunning depth with subtle holo which makes it appear to glow from within. 

I thought I'd try my hand again at freehanded nail art (very punny I know) and I think it turned out kinda alright this time! I used 2 L.A. Colors Art Deco polishes: Quirky Turquoise to make the flowers and Silver Glitter as the glitter center. 

Although it looks fine in real life, the macro shots show some imperfections, which is due to the uneven and could-be-thinner brush that came with the polish. I need to invest in some better brushes, maybe I will like to feeehand more then.

I just made a super exciting nail polish purchase from llarowe of all fall and/or dark colors. My goal is to stick to a fall theme until winter, and with all my delicious polishes coming that should be easy.  I can't wait to share them all!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Orly Crossroad with Glitter Cross and Corner Design

Today I am wearing Orly Crossroad, which as you can see is in their old bottle; I snagged it on sale at Sally's earlier this year. Crossroad is a deep blue-toned slate gray with a touch of magenta shimmer. The shimmer is almost imperceptible unless you are in direct light, but I actually am into dark cremes right now so I am loving the smooth neutral darkness by itself.

Crossroad could be a one-coater with a thicker coat, but I used two thin coats and they applied beautifully. I wish more polishes were this consistency.  The first picture is the most accurate representation of the color; in reality it does not wear as light as the two pictures below. 

I took L.A.Colors Art Deco in Silver Glitter (a nail art polish with a long skinny brush) and freehanded the cross on my ring finger and thumb and the diagonal corner design on the other fingers.  I just LOVE glitter for nail art, it's practically impossible to screw it up, cuz it's glitter and it's a bajillion little particles all over the place.

I am in LOVE with this color so much, I can't believe that recently I used to wonder why people even liked gray polish.  Because it is dark without being too dark, sexy and demure at the same time, and it matches everything! What are your favorite gray polishes?

Monday, October 6, 2014

The ULTIMATE NAIL CARE GUIDE Chapter 1: 10 Steps to the Best Cuticles You've Ever Had

*This post contains affiliate links of my tried-and-tested favorite products, please read my full disclosure here
As promised, here is the first of a series I will be doing about nail care. I have done used everything I have listed below and do - and always will - provide my honest opinion. Which is easy to do today anyway because I'm only listing my favorites :)

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Do you have dry, brittle, and/or cracked cuticles? Are your cuticles so sharp they could open a letter? Do you cut your cuticles to save embarrassment from your weed-like talons?  Your cuticles can be rescued! I have listed below 10 steps, divided into 5 simple tips that I use and 5 of my favorite products, which will help to cure your sad cuticles so you can have hands that would make your manicurist proud.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! As obvious as it may sound, you are probably not hydrating your cuticles enough.  Begin a regimen of applying one of the products I list below at least twice a day; after you wash your face in the morning and before you go to bed at night are great places to start.  I also keep at least one of the products I list below in my purse and at my desk at work and at home, that way I always have the opportunity to slather something on.

2. Wash only the palms of your hands with soap. This is a very simple technique that you can start using right now for the regular everyday washing of hands after the bathroom, etc. Washing the tops of your fingers with soap will not only wash off the products that you have just applied but will dry out your cuticles.

3. Use an orange stick to push back your cuticles.   What is an orange stick you ask? It is a small piece of cylindrically-shaped wood (which is thought to have come from wood of an orange tree, hence the name) that has been tapered at both ends, either to a point or to a flat wedge.  The shape of the ends and the natural wood can gently push back your cuticles and clean under your fingernails, unlike metal scrapers which can be very sharp and can easily damage your nails, skin around your nails, and cuticles.

4. Wear moisturizing gloves to bed at night.  If I'm feeling extra dry, I wear Aquasentials Moisturizing Gloves on my hands and Earth Therapeutics Moisture Foot Socks on my feet. Or use one of the heavier products below, coat your tips and go to bed with regular gloves or socks. You will wake up to the pleasant surprise of softer skin and cuticles.

5. Absolutely DO NOT cut your cuticles.  If any bad habit is worthy of stopping, it is the nipping of your cuticles. Not even your manicurist is allowed.  (If they start to do it, smack the back of their hand and stop them immediately!)  Your cuticles are there to protect your nails, and just like any other part of your body's skin, develops a protective scar when it gets injured, to shield it from further injury.  If you repeatedly nip your cuticles that will only viciously cycle into harder and harder cuticles every time you cut, not to mention they may also become infected. I know it seems like your thick and hard cuticles will never go away unless you cut them off but THEY WILL GET BETTER OVER TIME! Whenever you get the urge to nip, use one of the products I list below instead, and in time, they will get better.

1. OPI Avojuice
This is hands down (har har) my favorite hand lotion.  The reason why I like it so much is because it applies very light and slippery, then absorbs completely to leave your hands smooth, silky and without residue.  Don't you hate it when you apply lotion just to have it smear all over you keyboard and phone? Not with Avojuice. Now this is not for extremely chapped hands but if you're like me and have sweaty palms that get choked by a normal lotion, Avojuice is the solution. I keep a giant pump bottle on my desk at work and a mini bottle in my purse and use it after every handwashing.  
Con: I've found some of the scents to be not-so-pleasant to me, but I have fallen in love with Hibiscus Blossom and Mango.

2. Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
This is also on my desk at work. It comes in a handy little tin and is perfect for your pocket or purse. There are 2 sizes, 0.06 oz and 0.03 oz, I have a couple of the smaller ones and they are about the size of a silver dollar. The name is a little misleading because it's more of a harder balm than a cream, like chapstick for your cuticles! It has a light and pleasant lemon scent and is easy to apply with your fingers. I like to put this over cuticle oils to seal them in.  
Con: If you have long nails it may be hard to open the tin and getting this stuff out, unless you don't mind scraping some out with them!

3. LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter
This is a cult favorite in the nail world. It comes in a 1.5 oz. container and a little goes a long way, so it will last you (well at least last me) WELL past the 14-month expiration date. Yes this product actually has a listed expiration because LUSH is known for making fresh handmade cosmetics. The consistency is a thick cream which is great for other dry areas of your body like elbows and heels.
Con: The lemon scent can be off-putting to some, I have even heard that it smells like "lemony gasoline".  At first it was strong to me so I only wore it at night but now I quite like it and I even use it religiously as lip balm.
***This product retails for $16.95 USD so please don't buy from my overpriced link unless you don't have a brick and mortar store nearby!

4. Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover
This does exactly what the name says: instantly removes your cuticles in about 15 seconds.  It works great to dissolve all that buildup of not only cuticle skin, but can also help disintegrate calluses. After letting the gel formula sit, gently push back the cuticles with an orange stick, then wash off the product with soap and water. VOILA! Neat and clean cuticles!   
Cons: This stuff is STRONG so make sure you only leave it on for the recommended length of time (15 second for cuticles, 1 minute for calluses) or more than twice weekly until you get comfortable with using this product. If you have sensitive skin, reserve it only for the hardest and/or thickest cuticles because it can be irritating. (Because the skin on my feet is a lot thicker than my hands, I like to use it a little longer on my feet to prep for a pedicure.)  

5. Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil™
This is by far, my #1 FAVORITE cuticle and nail oil of ALL TIME! It comes in an awesome brush pen or a larger dropper bottle. The main ingredient is Jojoba Wax Ester, which according to their website, is the smallest oil molecule that can actually penetrate your nail plate, which makes it the only effective nail oil.  I remember first reading about this product on Lucy's Stash here, When I read that her long and always perfect nails didn't have a break after 4 months of using the product I was sold. And boy, am I glad I found this because my nails have never been so long and flexible, and my cuticles so soft and supple. I use this stuff multiple times a day religiously and freak out if I can't find it.   
Con: Opening the pen to refill it can be a big pain but it is possible and worth it!

 I would love to hear about your favorite tips and products so please let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Glitter Gradient with OPI With A Nice Finn-ish and Ciate All Aglow

YAY FOR FALL! YAY FOR FALL!  I really do love summer and all...but I really do love fall colors more on my nails.  And I am surprising myself by actually trying and loving colors I previously would have balked at. Although it is still bright and sunny where I live, which my camera is thankful for.

Today I have on OPI With A Nice Finn-ish, a warm coppery shimmer, and Ciate All Aglow, a dense gold and copper glitter.  With A Nice Finn-ish is a bit brushstoke-y, and improved only a little after using Fashion Polish's technique of applying a matte top coat underneath the shiny top coat, but it is so pretty that I didn't mind.  I'm SO happy I finally figured out how to utilize All Aglow for a great mani, because it was sitting in my untrieds drawer since last Christmas.

In fact, I have gone through all my untrieds and there are a bunch of colors that will be perfect for autumn, I can't wait to use them all!

I am going back to simple nail art for a while, and boy does it make me happier than spending hours on my nails because I had to redo half of them.  This glitter gradient is foolproof, you just start building up glitter near the cuticle and then drag the brush when it's a bit drier towards the tip of your nail in random lines.  Kinda looks like the glitter is fading out or dripping.  I also used my fingers to flatten the glitter if it got too clumpy.  So easy and beautiful and sparkly.

What are your favorite fall nail polish colors?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ruffian Nails with Barry M Green Berry

I have here one of the several polishes that I obtained while on vacation, Barry M Green Berry. I then freehanded the ruffian design the next day using OPI Alpine Snow because I didn't like how my cuticle area looked so I wanted to cover it up, which is basically the backwards way to do it and it took waaay too much time. SO!  I recommend NOT doing it the way I did lol.

Then, after completing my right hand (I'm a leftie) in an excruciating amount of time, I decided it would be impossible to achieve the same look on my other hand.  So I decided to stamp it instead.  Which did not come out the way I wanted to either.  SO!  I learned two things this manicure: 1) I hate freehanding. There I said it.  But that's A-Ok. There are other types of nail art I can do instead. And 2) I also kind of hate stamping.  At least for the time being.  I just cannot get it to look as good as some of these other amazing bloggers I follow, such as Very Emily and More Nail Polish.

I do think one of my main problems with stamping is that I don't dry off the plate between stamps therefore the polish gets watered down, as you can see happening with my pointer finger.

So there may be more swatches for a while lol.  But also after seeing this from Chit Chat Nails I am very excited to try using nail wraps again!