Reciprocal Gradient Nails

It’s been too long, I know!  Today I have the day off.  I haven’t had one of those in forever.  I think my part-time job is actually going back to part-time, so I’m anticipating that I will have more time for the fun things in life again, like writing regular posts.  IMG_4636

I won’t delude myself by thinking that you all have nothing better to do than sit around and refresh your screens to see if I’ve posted something new, but I like to think I can add a tiny bit of pretty color to your lives.

I haven’t had as much time to devote to fancy nails lately, but I did try out a new (for me) technique that I wanted to share with you.

Behold the reciprocal gradient!  I’m not gonna lie – this was time-consuming.  Here’s how to get this look…

Start with doing a plain old gradient nail.  I leaned the hard way that this technique works best if your polish colors are not too drastically IMG_4625different.  A lighter and darker shade of the same color works well and the more opaque your nail polish is, the better.  I think pastel colors – like pink to green or purple to yellow – would work really well with this technique, too, as long as your polish is really opaque.

I took a bit of a short cut when doing the gradient for my first coat.  I just pained my nails two coats of the light pink and let that dry.  Then I brushed a little bit of the dark pink polish on a makeup sponge and dabbed that onto the nail, starting at the tip and moving up toward the middle of the nail.  As I blotted the polish from the sponge to the nail, the polish starts to dry, so less and less transfers to the nail.  That’s how you get the gradient effect.  I went over the tips again with a little more polish on the sponge just to make sure they were nice and bright.  After I finished my gradient, I applied a quick dry top coat to help blend it together.

IMG_4627 I don’t own little triangle stickers, so I took a sheet of labels, a ruler, and a pen and made my own little triangles.  I measured the length and width of my nail to figure out how what size I wanted my triangles to be.  Then I cut them out and stuck them to my nails IMG_4626after the gradient was dry.  To get the stickers to conform to the shape of my nails, I cut a little slit in the base of the triangle.  It’s important to make sure that you’ve got a good seal between the sticker and your nail when you’re doing nail art like this.  If there are any gaps or ripples between your nail and the sticker, the polish is going to get underneath, and you won’t end up with crisp lines.

IMG_4628Next I took a makeup sponge and brushed both my light and dark pink onto it.  One step I ALWAYS for get to do is to wet the sponge first.  If you wet your sponge and then squeeze out all the excess water, it won’t absorb nearly as much polish and it will help the colors blend a little better.  I never remember to do this until it’s too late, so I lose a lot of polish in my sponges when I do a gradient.

Anyway, now we get to the reciprocal part.  In my initial gradient, I had the light pink polish at the base of my nail and the dark pink polish at the tip.  The key to the whole reciprocal thing is to revers the gradient, so I sponged on IMG_4629the polish with the light pink polish on the ends of my nails and the dark pink polish toward the base.  See?  I worked on two nails at a time.  I blotted on several coats of polish until I felt like the dark polish on the tips was well covered by the light polish.

This was actually my second attempt at a reciprocal gradient.  My first attempt was a miserable nail fail.  In my first attempt, I used two really bright colors – a neon pink and a really bright blue.  The fail part happened when I attempted to do the second layer of the gradient.  My blue polish was not opaque enough to cover up the neon pink, so the blue ended up looking purple.  I did a ton of layers in an attempt to get the blue to look blue, but it just turned into a thick, gloppy mess.  That’s why it’s really important to make sure that the polish you use is going to be opaque enough to really cover whatever color is underneath.

IMG_4630After peeling the stickers off, I quickly applied a quick drying top coat.  I then cleaned up around the edges of my nails with a little brush dipped in acetone.

IMG_4633I was actually prompted to try this technique as part of a weekly nail art challenge on instagram.  (Check out #wnac2015 on instagram!)  The nails were also supposed to have an element of holographic-ness, so I added a little flower shaped holographic glitter on each nails as well as a top coat that had some holographic glitter in it.  I was actually really happy with how these turned out!

This technique is not really that hard, but it is time-consuming.  This is not the kind of thing you want to try to tackle if you have somewhere to be in a half an hour.  It’s more the kind of thing you can do while you watch your favorite long movie.  (The Sound of Music, Titanic, Gone With the Wind,…)  Let me know if you decide to tackle this technique!

So, thanks for reading, commenting, liking, and following!  Find me on instagram @polishmesnazzy !

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February Favorites

I figure that if I get my monthly favorites posted within the first two weeks of the following month, they are not completely irrelevant yet.  That’s my logic and I’m sticking to it.

The last few months have been extra super busy for me because of my work schedule, and I am itching for life to settle down so that I can get back to posting regularly.  I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I’ve been told my work schedule will go back to normal in a few week. Yay!IMG_4566

I did manage to come up with some favorites for the month of February.  And I thought the would look nice in a star formation.  Lets start at 12:00 and go clockwise….

At noon we have Wet n Wild Fergie – Going Platinum.  This polish, is amazing!  It’s a foil finish, so it has a little more sparkle that just a straight metallic polish.  Also, metallic polishes tend to show brush strokes, but this doesn’t at all.  It’s opaque in two easy coats.

IMG_4517Really, this is just a great polish.  All of the stuff I just said also goes for Wet n Wild Fergie – Gold Album.  Gold album has the exact same formula and finish.  It’s just gold instead of platinum.  (That last sentence was probably unnecessary.)   Plus, they are only $3 per bottle!  I don’t love all of the Wet n Wild Fergie polishes, but Going Platinum and Gold album are definite winners.

At 2:30 we have China Glaze – Thistle Do Nicely.  This is from the 2014 spring collection, so it’ll be tough to find in stores.  This is not a shockingly unique polish or anything.  It’s just a really pretty neon coral.  IMG_4516And while it’s not an eye-searing neon, it does do that cool thing where it looks like it’s glowing when the light is a little dim, like at dusk.  With the brutal February we had in PA (and pretty much every other state east of the Rockies) I was itching for something that felt like springtime.  This is a polish that just makes you feel happy inside when you wear it.

In this picture, I topped it with an shredded iridescent glitter which looks flaky-like.  I added a matte top coat for extra fun.

At 5:00, is Fresh Paint – Honeydew.  IMG_4341 This polish is a lovely light minty, springtime-y cream polish.   The formula is a tad on the thick side, but it’s almost a one-coater.  One of the reasons that I’m really loving this polish right now is because it works well for water marbling.  Someone on instagram (I can’t remember who, so I’m a little sad that I can’t give that instagramer proper credit) said that she had good success water marbling with Fresh Paint cream polishes, including Honeydew.  Well, that gave me the inspiration I needed to take another stab at water marbling… She was right!  I tested several fresh paint polishes and they all spread beautifully in the water and were easy to manipulate.  I’m so happy about that!  I hate using expensive polishes for water marbling, because I feel like so much is wasted.  Fresh Paint polishes are always 3 for $5 at Five Below, so… that’s awesome. IMG_4355

At 7:30 we have LA Colors – Candy Sprinkles.  This is such a fun polish!  It’s a rarity for a cheapo line of polish to have a crelly polish with awesome glitter like this.  I had been eyeballing this one for a little while before I finally picked it up.  This polish is sort of versatile, too.  You can do 2 or 3 coats of the polish on its own if you want a really dense glitter look, or you can just do one coat over pink or purple polish if you like your polish a little more sparse.  Very fun, and totally worth the $1.5Pictured is two coats of Candy Sprinkles over one coat of a pinky-lavender polish.

IMG_4468At 10:00, we have this beauty.  Such a classic.  Sally Hansen – Pacific Blue original formula.  And this picture is one coat.  I know, it’s amazing.  The nail polish world mourned when Sally Hansen reformulated this polish last summer, but I still see the occasional bottle of the original formulaon the shelf in drugstores.  Really, I just saw one at the Rite Aid in Middletown, PA like, four hours ago.  The new formula is a darker blue with a shimmer running through it.  The original is just this perfect cream color.  They both say “420 Pacific Blue” on the cap.  Stupid, sneaky Sally Hansen, thinking we wouldn’t notice.

So, those are my February favorites.  Do you have any of these polishes?  What have you been loving lately?  Thanks for reading, following, and liking both here and on instagram.  You people are the greatest!

Mastering the Homemade Peel-Off Base Coat

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with glitter polish.  It’s so sparkly and beautiful, but removing it with nail polish remover is next to impossible.  It’s even a chore with pure acetone.  To remedy this, somebody somewhere came up with a peel-off base, and soon the DIY-ers were coming up with homemade solutions, most of which involved Elmer’s School Glue.

I jumped on the glue wagon, and through trial and error, I think I’ve finally mastered the DIY peel-off base! IMG_4561

I found that it works best to take an old empty polish bottle and fill it half full with glue.  Application is just so much easier when it’s in a polish bottle with a nice little brush.  I used an old Seche Vite bottle.  (I cleaned out the bottle with Q-tips and acetone.)

After you fill the bottle half up with glue, fill it the rest of the way up with water.  When I tried to use straight-up glue without watering it down, I found that the polish would pop off way too easily with out me even trying to take it off.  Plus, it was just thick and hard to apply.  A 50/50 glue/water ratio seems to be just perfect.  Mix it up well.  A toothpick will help you get the job done well.

Once you have your watery glue mixed up, apply a thin layer to your bare nails.  Another early mistake I made was applying a base coat, then the glue, then the polish.  The base coat really did it’s job, and even with the glue layer in there, the polish was REALLY hard to peel off.

Wait until the glue is completely dry.  It’ll lose it’s shine and become semi-matte.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this.  We’ve all used glue before.

Once the IMG_4549glue is completely dry, add your polish.  It doesn’t have to be glitter polish.  Obviously, you can use this peel-off base with any polish, but the real benefit of the stuff is that it makes glitter polish easy to remove.  I used Sally Hansen Diamond Strength – Wedding Crasher.  It’s just so pretty and sparkly!

IMG_4555I felt the mood to fancy it up a bit, so I added Sinful Colors – Love Sprinkles on top.  Really, I love this combo!  I wish I would have thought about it before Valentine’s Day, but I guess pink polish and hearts are okay anytime.

I did my nails on Sunday evening.  They lasted for about 48 hours before I got my first major chip.  They made it through two showers and lots of hand washing and cooking – not too bad!

Since I got a chip, I decided it would be a good time to test the peel-off-ability of the polish.  I had to work a little to get each nail sIMG_4559tarted.  I found that it was harder to peel the polish off from the cuticle end.  It was much easier to start at the tip of the nail where there was already a little tip wear happening.  IMG_4558I used a metal cuticle pusher to work the polish off the nail.  For most of the nails, the polish came off pretty easily in one or two big pieces.  Some nails took a little more effort than others, but overall, I felt the polish came off pretty easily.  For me, I felt this was the perfect balance between being easy to remove and not falling off before I wanted it to come off.  IMG_4560

Here are my nails after I peeled the polish off.  This is the state of my nails as I type this.  (Please ignore the peeling tips, yellow stains, and terribly dry cuticles.)  As you can see, there’s still a little bit of polish that I will need to use remove the last little bits of polish, but I can deal with that!  IMG_4562

Considering that I got a pretty good sized chip in my polish after only two days of wear, I don’t think you could make it for much more than 2 or 3 days using a peel-off base coat.  If I had plans to wear a glitter polish for a week, I would probably just use a regular base coat to ensure good wear and just deal with removing it the old fashioned way.

I’ve gotta go and put something new on my nails now!  Please let me know if you’ve had any experience with a peel-off base or if you are going to give the DIY version a try.  Thanks for reading!