Real Seashell Nails

By now you’ve probably seen those little kits that you can use to create a seashell manicure that include the little bottles of dyed and crushed seashells.  They are pretty cute, but I don’t like paying for stuff if I don’t have to. 

A few weeks ago, we did a day trip to the beach and I took it upon myself to collect a bunch of these really thin shells. 

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I’m sure they have a name, but I don’t know what it is.  They are the kind of shells that you can just easily break with your fingers, and they are really plentiful along the mid-Atlantic coast.

I broke them up into little pieces that were about 1/4 inch or smaller  (That’s about 1/2 cm for those of you in the rest of the world.)

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Then I painted all of my nails with a few coats of NYC – Fashion Safari.  I topped my index finger, pinky and thumb with a coat of Orly – Sky Blue-Pink to mimic the iridescence of a seashell.

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Then, I applied one more layer of Fashion Safari to my middle and ring fingers, and while they were still wet, I sprinkled my crushed up shells onto them.  I tapped off the excess and then patted down the shells that were stuck to the nail.   I then topped it with several layers of top coat in order to make it (sort of) smooth.  Here are my results:

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I didn’t LOVE-love them, but they were okay.  The nails with the shells were pretty thick, and after 4 or 4 days, they started to pull away from the nail.  I do want to try it again, but I think next time I will use a dotting tool dipped into clear polish to pick up the pieces of shell and place them on my nail like a mosaic.  Obviously, this will be a little more difficult, but I think the results will be better. 

Please let me know if you attempt anything similar and how it turns out for you!  As usual, tag me on instagram or facebook  or use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy so I can see your recreations!

Adventures with Elmer’s Glue

Glitter polish.  I love it as much as the next person.  (Actually, I think it’s safe to say that I love it more than the next person, since at any give time there’s a good chance that my husband is the “next person” to me.)  It sure is a bugger to remove, though.  Even when using straight acetone, it can still be a pain to remove completely.  

Then one day, someone somewhere had the brilliant idea of applying a base coat of Elmer’s School Glue on the nails before applying glitter polish so that you could just literally peel the polish of when you were ready to remove it.  When I first heard about this, I just about fell over.  I’m pretty sure that I went out that same day to buy some glue.   

Attempt #1:  I applied a medium-thick coat of glue to my bare nail with a little brush and let it dry completely.  I then applied a few coats of a really dense glitter polish.  It really seemed like everything was going well until I woke up the next morning and found that one of my one of my nails had just fallen off while I was sleeping!  (Well, the nail didn’t actually fall off, but the polish did and it looked just like a press-on nail.)  By the time I was done making breakfast, four more nails had fallen off, so I just easily popped the rest of them off, too.  This all happenbed pre-blog for me, but I actually did take a picture of it at the time:

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So, Attempt #1 was a fail.

Attempt #2:  After lamenting about how my beautiful polish just fell off on facebook, someone suggested that I apply a base coat first, then apply the glue, then the polish.  So, that’s what I did.  The good news was that the polish did not fall off.  The bad news was that it was really, really hard to get the polish off without nail polish remover, and I actually did a little damage to the top layer of my nails when I ripped the polish off.  So, Attempt #2 was another fail.

Attempt #3:  Somebody – and I forget who, so if it was you, let me know so that I can give you credit – suggested that I water down the glue before applying it, so that’s what I did.  I mixed together roughly equal parts water and glue and brushed it only my toenails.  Adding the water made it easy to apply a really thin coat of glue.  I let it dry completely and then painted my toes with my currently favorite glitter polish, Funky Fingers – Sand & Stilettos.  Well, the next morning, none of my toenails had fallen off, so that was a good thing.  The polish actually survived 6 days, including a day at the beach until I noticed that the polish had popped off of my middle toenail on my right foot. 

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(Yes, I’m fully aware that I have stubby toes, so you don’t need to tell me that in the comments or anything.)  Well, since one of the nails was bare, I decided that I might as well take the polish off the rest of the toes.  I took a little bit of picking around the edges with tweezers, but all of the polish on the little toes came off in one chunk.  The polish on the big toes came off in a 4 or 5 chunks.

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In the end, all of the polish came off pretty easily with little to no damage to the nail!

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I just gave my toenails a quick wipe-down with some acetone to remove a few stubborn pieces of glitter, but that was all I had to do!  Attempt #3 was a Success!  (And there was much rejoicing, yay.) 

So, I haven’t actually tried the watered down glue on my fingernails yet, and I know they take a lot more abuse than toenails, but someday I will and I’ll let you know how it goes.  And if you give it a try, please let me know how it works for you!

Splotchy Neon Nails

Splotchy Neon Nails is what I’m calling these, because I can’t think of a better name, although I’m sure there is one:

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Again, these are my sister’s nails.  She felt she needed something cute and beach-appropriate for her trip to Cancun.  Here’s how we got this look…

First, I started with two coats of white polish.  Specifically, I used Sinful Colors – Snow Me White.  Then I put tape around the nails to make clean up easier at the end. 

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I’m hoping you can see the tape that is over the top of the nail, and around the finger at the base of the cuticle. 

I used these four polishes for the colored part:

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L-R: Nina – Blue Blaze, Fresh Paint – Guava, Funky Fingers – Glow Stick, Sinful Colors – Dream On. 

From here on out, the technique was pretty much exactly the same as it was for the white polish for my Beach Inspired Nail Art.  (Check it out for a more detailed description of this technique).  Basically, I took a disposable plastic container, filled it with room-temperature filtered water, dropped nail polish on the surface of the water, and sprayed it with some alcohol-based body spray to get the polish to break up.  Then I had my sister dunk her fingers in the water, which allowed the polish that’s floating on the surface to adhere to her nails.  While her fingers were still in the water, I used a Q-tip to pull the remaining polish off the surface of the water.  It’s hard to do more than about 2 fingers at a time, so you will need to repeat this process quite a few times.  There is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s really not too hard, just a little time-consuming.

We did Guava on the index finger, pinky, and thumb, and Glow Stick on the other two fingers. 

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Then we repeated the steps with Blue Blaze over the Guava nails, and Dream On over the Glow Stick nails.

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Then, one more time we did Guava on the index finger, pinky, and thumb, and Glow Stick on the other two fingers, just to make sure that those lighter colors were showing up well enough on the nail. 

At this point, it was a little hard to appreciate the designs on her nails since there was so much polish all over her fingers.  My sister was an enthusiastic finger dunker so she had polish pretty far up her fingers. 

From here we took off the tape and topped the nails with Seche Vite, a quick dry top coat.  Then using a Q-tip dipped in acetone as well as a little brush dipped in acetone, I cleaned up all of the excess polish.  

Here’s our end result!

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Fun and cute, right?  If you give this look a try, I’d love to see your recreations on either facebook or instagram.  Just make sure you tag Polish Me Snazzy or use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy so that I can see it.  Thanks for reading!

Beach Inspired Nail Art

Here in PA, we have about one more month to sport overtly beachy nails, so let’s get to it!  I am still digging my current mani, so I asked my little sis if I could borrow her nails for this little tutorial.  Here’s the finished product:

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For this look, you will need polishes in these colors: White, light blue, darker blue, coral, nude, gold glitter.

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Specifically, I used (left to right):  Wet N Wild -French White Creme, Wet n Wild Megalast – I Need a Refresh-Mint, Jordana – Boy Oh Boy, Wet n Wild – Blazed, NYC – Fashion Safari, La Colors – Dizzy.  (Yeah, my bottle of Blazed got into a fight with a bottle of grey polish inside my suitcase on a flight.  The grey bottle lost.)

You will also need a disposable plastic container like a yogurt cup, Q-tips, a dotting tool, a makeup sponge, acetone or nail polish remover, and a pitcher.   The first thing you want to do is fill the pitcher with a quart of water and let it come to room temperature.   Seriously, that’s a real step in this process, but more about that later.

To begin, paint the thumb, index, and pinky fingers with the nude color to look like sand.  Then paint the middle and ring fingers light blue:

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Let them dry for 5 or 10 minutes.  Then, in order to make clean up easy in the end, tape around the fingers with the blue polish.  You’ll need two pieces of tape per finger: one about 2 inches long, the other about one inch long.  Take the longer piece of tape and place the center of it across the tip of your finger (behind your nail) and then press it down along the sides of your finger.  Then take the shorter piece and wrap it around your finger just below your cuticle.

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Then apply a coat of the glitter polish to your sand-colored nails.

The next thing you’re going to do is give your blue nails an ombre/gradient effect.  Take a makeup sponge and apply some of the darker blue polish to it.

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Then start dabbing the sponge lightly at the very tip of the light blue nails.  As the polish begins to dry on the sponge, continue dabbing about halfway up the nail.  Work carefully and don’t get too crazy here.  It’s easy to add more dark blue polish to the nail if you need to, but if you sponge too vigorously and get too much dark blue polish on the nail, there’s not much you can do to fix it.  Here’s what it should look like after this step:

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Pretty, right?

Next, take your small disposable container and fill it with your room temperature water.  I just pulled a yogurt container out of my recycling bin.   (What you do not want to use is a Styrofoam cup.   Nail polish will eat through Styrofoam and  leave you with a big mess.)

Then, take your white polish and drop a drop of polish onto the surface of the water.  It should spread out like this:

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If your drop of polish falls to the bottom of the container, you are holding your brush too far above the surface of the water.  If your polish doesn’t spread out like this, the problem is either the water or the polish.  If your water is too warm or too cool, the polish won’t spread.  Also, I just used tap water, but I know that some people claim that bottled water works better for this technique because it doesn’t have that extra stuff that can be in tap water.  There’s also a possibility that your polish just doesn’t want to spread.  Different formulas do spread on the water differently.  Any sort of quick dry polish is going to dry on the surface of the water too quickly for you to be able to work with it.  My $1 Wet n Wild worked well, so get yourself a bottle of that.

Now, spritz the polish that is floating on the water with an alcohol based spray from a distance of about 8 inches.  I used some old Bath & Body works stuff.  As you can (hopefully) see (in my crappy picture), this will cause the polish to break up.

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Next, dip your two blue fingers into the container and just hold them there.   I need to mention that this all needs to be done quickly.  The polish will begin to dry really quickly as soon as it spreads out on the water, so as soon as it spreads out, spray it, and within a few seconds of spraying the polish, dip your fingers in there.

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While your fingers are still underwater, blow on the surface of the water to dry the remaining nail polish.  Then while your fingers are still underwater, take a Q-tip and gather up all of the polish that’s still floating on the surface of the water.  You will be able to just sort of spin your Q-tip in the water and it will collect the polish.  Now it’s safe to pull your fingers out.

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Now you can see the reason for the tape.  It’s to keep all of that extra polish for sticking to your fingers, which will make cleanup a lot easier.

Just a little side note: If this whole messing with water thing just seems a little overwhelming, the middle and ring fingers would also look great with some blue, white, or sliver glitter polish instead.

Now it’s time to deal with our sand colored nails.  Take a dotting tool or toothpick dipped in your coral polish and make some starfish.  Use a stippling motion as you make each of the five starfish legs.   Starfish are sort of lumpy and irregular looking, so don’t worry if they don’t look perfect.  When the coral polish dries, go back and add some tiny white dots down each of the legs.

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Now that you’ve given your fingers a little time to dry, carefully take the tape off of your  Tweezers may help here.

Top everything off with a good, shiny quick dry top coat like Seche Vite.  After your nails have had a minute or so to dry, it’s time to clean up the extra white polish around your middle and ring fingers.  I like to use a little brush dipped in acetone.  Pure acetone is strong stuff, and it’s really drying to your hands and nails, but it gets the job done.

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The little brush I use is the e.l.f. concealer brush.  It works really well and it only costs $1.  In a pinch you can use a Q-tip, but it’s harder to get in really close to the edge of the nail.

And here’s the finished look!

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If you give this a try, I’d LOVE to see your recreations!  You can post a picture on our Polish Me Snazzy facebook page, or use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy on instagram so I can see your work!  Thanks for reading!

 

 

Nails of the Day

Here’s what I’m currently sporting on my nails:

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The pink color is Wet n Wild Tickled Pink and the green color is my Frankenpolish that I made here.

The gold glitter I used is from Sally Girl, available at Sally Beauty Supply.  You know how sometimes glitter polish is in a really thick clear base and it seems like you can’t get the glitter coverage that you want on your nails without applying a bunch of really thick coats?  Well, there’s a way around that.

For this look, I first waited until my pink and green polish was mostly dry.  Then I brushed the gold glitter polish onto a makeup sponge like this:

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Then I waited just a few seconds so that the clear base was mostly absorbed into the sponge, but still wet.  Then I dabbed the sponge with the glitter directly onto my nail.  This technique works like a charm!  I learned this from jessface90 on youtube.  Check out her tutorial on this.

I then applied the NYC You Matte Me Crazy top coat.  I love how the glitter looks with the matte top coat!  The glitter is still shiny, but in more of a frosted glass sort of way.

If you found this information helpful, I’d be honored if you’d share this by using the little “share” buttons below!  If you try this technique, I’d love to see your results, so use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy on instagram or facebook so that I can find your posts.  Thanks for reading!

Tools of the Trade

I’m about to reveal something that may blow your mind…  Here it is: Nail art is not really that hard.  Anyone can make their own nails look really awesome if they know a few tricks, and have the right tools.  Now, before I go any further, there are people out there doing nail art that actually have real artistic ability (do a search for Robin Moses Nail Art some time), and those people are in an awesome class of their own, but I’m not talking about those people right now.   I’m talking about regular people with very average drawing and painting skills.  I’m one of those regular people.

You will have a whole new, wonderful world of nail art open up in front of you if you can acquire just a few inexpensive tools.  Here’s my collection of tools:

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On the left are my dotting tools.  “What the heck is a dotting tool” you ask?  It’s pretty much a handle with a little round metal nub at the end that you can dip into polish or paint and then make perfectly round dots on your nails.  And don’t underestimate the versatility of dots.  You can do a ton of designs with just dots.  Five dots arranged in a circle with a different colored dot in the center is a flower.  Seriously Dots are great.

The first dotting tools I ever got were the three in the middle with the wooden handles.  I got them at Michael’s.  I’m pretty sure you could find something similar at just about any craft store.  After that I got the 5 pretty dotting tools with the plastic colored handles.  I’ve seen that set in beauty stores for over $10, but you can get them on Amazon for under $3.  That’s right, the whole set of 5 tools for under $3.  Just go to Amazon and search for “nail art dotting tools” and you’ll find a bunch of them listed.

Just to the right of my dotting tools is a little multi-functional little guy.  It’s got a dotting tool on one end, and an angled handle with a little brush on the other end.  I got that at Sally Beauty Supply for around $4.  I really like it and used it a lot when I first got it.  Ultimately, I wanted a brush that was just a little smaller so that I could be a little more detailed in my designs.  That first led me to the purple handled brush on the far right

 

My Disney Nails

I’m a Disney fan.  I don’t consider myself to be an over-the-top crazy Disney lover, but I do have an affinity for the Mouse and I enjoy a trip to one of his parks every 5 years or so.

Earlier this year, my hubby and I enjoyed a week of magic down in Walt Disney World.  Leading up to, and during that trip, I made sure that I was always sporting nails that would be Mouse approved.  I thought I’d share those looks with you!

*I do want to put out a little disclaimer that I didn’t come up with these designs 100% on my own, but a number of months have passed, so I’m not exactly sure where I got some of these ideas. There are are some really creative nail artists out there, and I don’t want to get into a beef with anyone for stealing a design.  If one of these designs was originally yours, feel free to contact me so that I can give you proper credit.

Anyway, here are some of my Disney nail recreations:

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The base was a light neon pink.  I loved these nails!  Please forgive the sloppiness around the cuticles in this pic.  My technique has improved since then!

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These aren’t actually my nails, but nails I did on a friend.

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These were pretty tricky to do, but I loved them!  These  were my nails for the first half of our trip.

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These were the toes I sported for our trip.  Yes, those little faces took forever to get right!

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This is the look I sported for the second half of our trip.   These were super simple, and I got tons of compliments on them while we were in the parks!  Note the refillable Disney mug in the background.

Just looking at these pictures reminds me of our trip and gives me the warm Disney fuzzies.  Sporting special nails for a particular event (or vacation in this instance) really does add a little something extra.  Don’t be afraid to nails that are bold and bright, if the occasion is right!

 

 

 

 

All About The Neon

So we’re smack in the middle of summer.  Summer is great for many reasons, not the least of which is wearing neon nail polish!  Actually, summer is pretty much the only season in which you can wear neon polish without looking…  What’s a nice way to say “trashy”?  (You are entitled to disagree with me, but that’s how I feel.)  Anyway, since we are in the season of neon, I figured it was a good time to talk about how we can all sport the most eye-searingly neon nails as possible.

Have you ever purchased a beautifully bright bottle of neon polish that you just couldn’t wait to put on your fingers?  You didn’t want much, just for your nails to be as bright as the bottle of polish.  Then once you got it on your nails, it was disappointingly drab.  It was streaky and see-through, and matte and just didn’t look like anything in the bottle.  It was a sad day.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you CAN have nails that are just as brilliantly bright as the polish appears in the bottle, and for the most-part, there’s just one really important step that you need to take before you slather on the neon polish…(Drum roll, please.)… You need to paint your nails white first.  A lot of neon polish has a pretty shear formula.  Those “highlighter yellow” polishes almost always have a really transparent jelly formula.  Because of that, the only way to get the true color to show up is to make sure it’s on a white background.

And you need to take your time and paint your nails really nicely with the white polish.  Since the neon polish is tends to be shear, any streaks or missed spots in the white polish are going to show through the neon layer, too.  Generally, two good coats of white will make a great base for your neon polish.

There are other bloggers out there (many of whom I like a lot) that claim that painting your nails white first should not have to be a requirement, and the nail polish companies need to step up their game and make true neon polish that doesn’t require a white base.  I say that those sentiments are all well and good, but the truth is, your neon nails will generally be a heck of a lot brighter if you just take the extra 5 minutes to put down a nice white base.

So, let’s get to some examples.  Here are the polishes that I tested:

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I arranged them nicely in rainbow order and took this picture in natural light to try to show the colors as accurately as possible. Starting with the upper left, the colors are:

  • Sally Girl #812157
  • Sally Girl #812158
  • China Glaze – Thistle Do Nicely
  • LA Colors – Hottie
  • Sally Girl – Crazy
  • Spoiled – Did I Dye It Too Blonde?
  • Broadway – Sour Apple
  • China Glaze – Turned Up Turquoise
  • Nina – Blue Blaze
  • Sinful Colors – Dream On

One each hand I painted my:

  • First finger: 2 coats of neon polish on bare nail
  • Middle finger: 3 coats of neon polish on bare nail
  • Ring finger: 4 coats of neon polish on bare nail
  • Pinky: 1 coat of white polish followed by 2 coats of neon polish
  • Thumb: 2 coats of white polish followed by 2 coats of neon polish

I did all of these swatches while watching The Bachelorette.  In retrospect, I should have done them during the day so that I could have photographed them in natural light.   It’s really hard to capture neon colors on camera as it is, and I think artificial light makes it even worse.   I should also point out that I am fully aware that my paint job on some of my fingers is pretty crappy.  I was mostly concerned with getting them all done before Andi gave out her final rose.

Here we go…

Sally Girl #812157:

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This picture is really deceptive.  The color is a crazy bright pink, and with this particular color, it is SO much more vibrant over white.

Sally Girl #812158:

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This is a neon bubblegum pink.  This one is actually just fine without a white base, as long as you do at least 3 coats.

China Glaze – Thistle Do Nicely:

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A hot pinky-coral.  China Glaze makes some really great neon formulas, and this is one of them.  Three coats without a white base looks great.

LA Colors – Hottie:

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This  is actually a bright coral.  This may not be a true neon, because the formula dries glossy instead of matte.  Three coats of this looks good without white underneath.

Sally Girl – Crazy:

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Traffic cone orange.  This picture is a little deceptive.  Without white underneath, it remains a dingy orange.  A white base makes the color blinding!

Spoiled – Did I Dye It Too Blonde?:

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This highlighter yellow is the color that most obviously benefits from a white base underneath.  On the pinky, you can see that the streaks from the thin coat of white show through.  I love how this looks on the thumb!  You definitely need two coats of white under this and then 2 coats of yellow, but the trouble is SO worth it!  You can stop traffic with these nails!

Broadway – Sour Apple:

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This color sure looks neon to me, so I was surprised that it dried glossy.  An amazing formula for a polish that costs $1!  Three coats without white and you are good to go.

China Glaze – Turned Up Turquoise:

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I LOVE this color!  This formula is great, so you don’t need a white base.  This is not a typical neon color, but it is part of China Glaze’s neon collection.  This looks really cool with it’s matte finish, but there is a greenish shimmer in this polish that really shows up when you put a shiny top coat over it.  This color, along with the last two, are actually colors that you can get away with wearing year-round.  Did I mention that I love this color?

Nina – Blue Blaze:

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Again the color in this picture is really deceptive.  I decided to include this color, because like most neons, it dries matte and it really is a bright electric blue in person!  It’s sort of irritating, but this color applies much more smoothly when it is not over white, but the color is much brighter when it is over white.  I think I’ll have to play with this one a little more to get it just right.

Sinful Colors – Dream On:

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This neon purple looks okay if you do 4 coats on it’s own, but a white coat underneath just makes it pop.

And here’s my little trash can by the end of The Bachelorette:

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You can see some of my husband’s peanut shells underneath.  He feels that it is important to shell and eat peanuts while he watches baseball on TV.   So, as long has he doesn’t complain about the nail polish bottles that are strewn all over our house, I won’t complain about the peanut skins that land on the carpet.  The things you do for love.

What are your thoughts on applying a white base under neons?  And what are your favorite neon polishes?