Showing posts from June, 2017

Crabs on the beach! Creating a gradient using a stamping plate.

One of my best girls was having some friends over this weekend for a traditional Maryland crab fest, which just called for a fun summertime crabs on the beach mani.

I've seen more than a few versions of "beach" nails, but the color arrangement and design I went with were mostly inspired by this fantastic tutorial from Elleandish.  I've used Toma Shimmer Gold to Shell Pink (an old and now dead thermal I've had since college) for the sand color, OPI I Believe in Manicures for the middle blue, and a light turquoise crème for the tips.  Unlike the tutorial, though, I did most of this with stamping, which I found to be WAY easier than a traditionally created gradient.

Several stamping plates have been released lately that feature a big plain rectangle that happens to be a fantastic way to mix colors into a gradient.  This is ZJoy-04, a really inexpensive plate that's nicely etched and gave me no problems.  How to make gradient rectangles on your stamper work:


Pahlish Queen of Swords

I've mentioned before that boxes (subscription or otherwise) are just not my thing... while sometimes falling head over heels for just one thing out of a box.  Fortunately, the resale market and some splitting groups have been kind to me, so as I saw more swatches of Pahlish's contribution to this past February's FTLOP box, I was able to snap it up.

Queen of Swords wins for both a fab name and for the smoky grape/violet purple color.  There's some scattered holo sparkle in here, and an entrancing orchid pink shimmer that's very prominent.
That would be enough, but the shimmer tilts over to a cool bronze at angles:
And seems to be a purple-to-green duochrome in lower lighting:
I love polishes that have more than one thing going on, but this beauty has the distinction of all of the shifting elements looking balanced and matching the base color beautifully all the time.
I stamped over QoS with a swirling design from STZ-B9 using Esmaltes da Kelly Maria & Wendy cre…

Barielle Buddha-ful

This week, our lab had The Big Inspection (tm), so understated or professional or slightly less colorful than usual was in order.  I'd just recently gotten a bottle of Barielle's Buddha-ful off of ebay, and the soft nude color seemed about perfect.

From the 2011 Spring collection, Buddha-ful is a soft, sheer nude jelly that is absolutely packed with the sort of iridescent translucent flakies that shift from green to turquoise to blue (I call them "ocean" flakies as opposed to the more "fire" flakies in things like Essie's Shine of the Times).  The formula was absolutely sheer enough to be used as a topper, with the only lightly tinted jelly base likely only lightening a base color a little.  It applied smooth and even, drying without texture or streaks at each coat, and built nicely at each coat.  I'm wearing 2 here, but if less VNL is important I think it'd be approximately opaque at 4.

Unlike the old Polish proverb "not my circus, not my …

Comparison: Shleee Covenant, Femme Fatale Evil Queen, and Enchanted Entwined

Ever since the super limited Femme Fatale Evil Queen came out, I was on a hunt for it, and was super excited to pick it up in a destash a few months ago.  When I was filing Shlee Covenant (because my polish is sorted by color), I was struck by the similarities between these two - Comparison time!

For all pics the order is the same, left to right:  Shleee Covenant, Femme Fatale Evil Queen, and Enchanted Entwined (which had been discussed as a possible near-dupe for EQ).

This first bottle shot above tells most of the tale - no dupes here, though all are very much in a similar sisterhood, and Evil Queen sits right in the middle of the other two.

Just like the last time I compared it to a few other things, Entwined is by far the shiftiest of these three, and neither of the other two hit that hot magenta flash, though all 3 do shift very obviously.

Covenant and Evil Queen seem to have the same amount and type of cobalt blue shimmer, while Entwined's is a little sparser and much finer.

Shleee Covenant

If you're not following Shleee on IG or FB, you're missing out on some crazyawesome shimmers.  She posts new creations throughout the week, with the whole batch scheduled to launch early each Friday morning... then once they're gone, only a few ever make a repeat appearance.

I've been loving her recent series of Alien-themed polishes, and when Covenant arrived, my partner said it should definitely be next in line.  With this gorgeous blue-in-wine flash, I had to agree.

Covenant is a deep plummy wine with a slightly brown undertone, packed with a duochromatic shimmer that flashes from cobalt blue over to a warm purple, and sprinkled with very bright holo flake.

The blue-to-purple shift is of course most obvious in lower lighting, but at very steep angles in bright light, a lovely bright magenta flash pops over the edge too.

Head-on in bright sunlight, the holo sparks were out to play, while the deep base color and the cobalt blue resulted in a super vampy look.

The firs…

Blue swirls: Hard Candy Sky + Morgan Taylor Under the Stars

I've been mesmerized by a whole bunch of Russian blogger IG videos where drops of contrasting paint swirled into a base color on the nail make amazing marble patterns effortlessly, and because they make it look so easy I figured I could give it a go.

While the macro shots highlight a few inconsistencies, at normal viewing length I was super pleased with these, and got tons of compliments.

Sky is a Walmart exclusive, part of the anniversary re-release polishes that launched there last year. The pretty electric blue shimmer visible in the bottle above is extremely subtle on the nail (even in macro pics this is a creme finish and not a shimmer).  The last time I tried out one of these HC subtle shimmers, it had a hot mess of a formula.  Conveniently, thinner polishes with a slower dry time are apparently ideal for this kind of drag marbling on the nail technique, so this seemed like a good idea.
I painted one thin coat of Sky and let it dry nearly completely while I did full clean-u…

Musical Theater: Blueness 039

More with the event nails!  Friday, I got to go to a fantastic science + music program downtown, so like I've been doing lately, it was time to dress up with a theme.

Over a base of berry jelly (there were subtle flakies in there that didn't particularly show up on the nail at any point), I've stamped in Born Pretty silver stamping polish using Blueness 039 plate.  I love the random swirling of music notations on this plate - each nail will look a little different, and there's no "right way up" so there's no challenge of lining up the design.  All of the Blueness plates I have were super cheap, but all stamp great - big thumbs up.  I added a layer of matte topcoat over the whole design, and I'm really pleased with how this turned out.


Eat Sleep Polish The Winged Monkeys

Deciding it was time for a switch-up to a non-springtime vampy dark, I pulled Eat Sleep Polish The Winged Monkeys out for a spin this week.
The Winged Monkeys is a black base full of vampy plum holo shimmer.  When wet, it looks just like the bottle - a subtle gleam of wine-colored smoke sparkling over the dark, but when it dries down (yes, even after topcoating as I always do) it appears nearly black in most lighting.
The formula is a touch thick, which is actually helpful since if this pooled in the sidewalls you'd have a very difficult time with clean up.  As it was, this ultra dark shade clings pretty tenaciously to cuticles - careful painting is an absolute must here.  TWM is nearly opaque on the first coat, but needs a second to even everything out, and dries satin so needs topcoat.

Even in bright sunlight, the shimmer somehow sinks into the polish, giving a much more subtle sparkle than what the bottle suggested.  It's a classy off-black that will likely be an attractive…