August Favorites and the 31 Day Challenge

So, I only have 3 new polishes that I’ve particularly loved in August.  I guess  there’s nothing wrong with that.  

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The first is China Glaze Peonies & Park Ave from the City Flourish Collection.  I’m not really sure when this collection came out, but I think I got this polish on clearance last summer.  I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to find this in stores, but you can still buy it online.  It’s just a really pretty almost-neon pink.  I used it as the base for my scrapbook nails, and it was while I was wearing those nails that I realized how much I love this color.

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The next one is Sinful Colors – Snow Me White.  I keep not putting this polish away, so it’s been sitting on my coffee table for pretty much the whole month.  Because of that, I keep using it.  I think it’s the only white I’ve used all month.  I’ve used it at least 4 times, and it’s just great and easy each time.

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My last favorite polish this month is Orly – Hot Tropics from the Summer 2014 Baked collection.  I was able to get mine on clearance, and I’ve seen this color still in stores recently.  It’s the most beautiful bright purple.  The thing that makes it special though, is the gold shimmer in it.  SO pretty in the sun. I haven’t put it on my toes yet, but I think this would be a great toe color.

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That’s it for my August favorites, but I want to fill you in on what I’m doing from September 1 to October 1.  I’m doing the 31 Day Challenge!  If you’re not familiar with this, it’s something that a lot of nail artists and bloggers undertake just to stretch themselves and improve their nail art skills.  Here’s the list of each day’s challenge.  Really, you can do it anytime, but most people do it starting September 1.

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I thought about doing this for a half of a second last year, but it just seemed too overwhelming.  I’ve been contemplating this for a few weeks now, so I think I’m ready to go for it!  My plan is to post a picture of my nails with a little description each day, but no real tutorials.  If one of the looks seems worthy of a tutorial, I’ll tackle that after the whole challenge is over. 

By the way, this is not any sort of exclusive thing.  Anyone who feels like it, can go for this challenge.  A huge part of the fun of this is checking out everybody’s nails each day on Instagram/facebook/nails blogs.  Feel free to join the fun!  Chalkboard Nails has been a great promoter of this challenge.  Check out her blog for inspiration, if you need it. 

Anyway, I look forward to sharing this big undertaking with you!  I’ll be back on Sept 1 with some red nails!

 

Tip Top Nails Competition

I learned from Wonderful Wolf, a fellow nail blogger that Tip Top Nails, a South African nail polish company is hosting a nail art competition on their facebook page.  Here are the rules:

1.  You can only use 3 colors and they need to be chosen by a male in your life.

2. Your focus needs to be on an accent nail.

3.  No acrylic paint or stamping.  This is supposed to show off your freehand skills.

4.  It’s also a photo contest, so your picture needs to somehow reflect your inspiration for your nail art.

This just sounded fun to me.  When I told my hubby Mike about it, he did some sort of evil laugh and said something about how he had all the power.  He chose a hot pink, bright blue and white.

Then I hunted around the house for some inspiration and I found some cute cupcake scrapbook paper that seemed to have potential.  Here’s the look I ended up with:

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I haven’t officially submitted my entry yet.  I think I might submit the picture with the close-up of 3 fingers since that shows the detail on the accent nail the best, but I’m not sure yet.

Anyway, you have until the end of August to enter this contest if you’re interested!   Check out Tip Top Nails South Africa’s facebook page for all of the details.   Let me know what you think and if you are going to enter!

 

Scrapbook Nails

You know how you can transfer newspaper print onto polished nails using rubbing alcohol?  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google “newspaper nails.”)  Well, I started to wonder if you could just transfer ink from any paper onto nails with alcohol.  Specifically, I started thinking about how cool it would be to transfer the print from scrapbook paper onto nails.  I mean, you can get a whole huge sheet of scrapbook paper for like, $0.59 at the craft store, which is way cheaper than any sort of nails stickers.

When I first started thinking about this, I did a little searching online to see if I could find any info anyone who had attempted something like this.  I did find some people who had printed out digital scrapbook paper and successfully transferred it to their nails.  I’m a little stingy with my printer ink, though, and so I didn’t really want to pay for downloadable scrapbook paper and then use a million dollars worth of ink to print it out.  Plus, I wanted an excuse to go to the craft store.  So that’s what I did.

I figured it would be best to use the thinner scrapbook paper instead of the really heavy-duty kind.  I also looked for a pattern that was had some cool small detail, and here’s what I picked out:

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Then I cut out some little nails-size pieces.

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I painted my nails like this:

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The pink is China Glaze – Peonies & Park Ave.  It’s an almost-neon pink, and the more I wear it, the more it grows on me!  I let my nails dry for about a half an hour before I moved onto the next step.

I poured a little rubbing alcohol into the lid.

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After a little trial and error, I found that it worked best to dip the paper into the alcohol and then press it print side down onto my nail and hold it for about 30 seconds.

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Really press it down well, especially around the edges of the nail.  If it looked like it wasn’t transferring very well, I used a brush dipped in alcohol to re-wet the paper while it was on m nail and then I pressed it down a little longer.

Here was my first nail!

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After removing the paper, there was often still some paper residue stuck on my nail.

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To remove that, I just made a finger on my opposite hand wet and gently rubbed the nail.  The paper residue would sort of pill up while I was rubbing it, and I could easily brush it off.  I was really careful while I was doing this so that I didn’t rub too hard and remove the ink.  Once all of the paper was rubbed off, I applied  Seche Vite top  coat.

Here are the finished nails on my right hand. Oh, I added some stars to my pink nails..

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And here’s my l left hand:

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While the ink didn’t transfer 100% perfectly, I am pretty happy with this first attempt!  If you give this a try and figure out any tips along the way, please let me know.  Make sure you post a picture on facebook or instagram and use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy so that I don’t miss it.  Happy polishing !

Jelly Sandwich Time!

Jelly sandwiches are not really a new thing in the nail polish world, but I run into enough people who give me a blank stare when I use the term that I thought it warranted a post.  A jelly sandwich is a layer of glitter that is sandwiched between a few layer of a jelly polish. 

What is a jelly polish, you ask?  Thank you for asking.  A jelly polish is a sheer, colored polish that generally looks like a Jolly Rancher when it dries on your nail – colored, but still see-through and really shiny.  The appearance of wet jelly polish always reminds me of the paint you used to paint those plastic faux stained glass sun-catcher things as a kid.  Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Sometimes polish brands will release a collection of jellies, but I think most lines of polish have a few jellies in the mix already.  Sometimes you can tell a polish is a jelly just by looking at it in the bottle, but the best way to tell is to open up the bottle and look at the polish on the brush and around the neck of the bottle.  If you can see through it easily, you’ve got a jelly.  If you can just sort of see through it, you may have a “crelly” on your hands.

A crelly is somewhere between a cream polish and a jelly.  (I feel like it’s a dumb word, and I avoid using it if possible, but really, there’s no other word to describe polishes like this.)  Have you seen those glitter polishes that are in a light colored, milky sort of base?  That’s  a crelly base.  Crellies work well for jelly sandwiches too. 

Here is the first jelly sandwich I ever attempted:

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Eh, it turned out okay.  I didn’t love it.  This was with a sheer nude polish from Avon called Barely There that I’ve had forever.  I would call this one a crelly.  The glitter polish I used is Fantasm from Valley Girl Lacquer.   (Valley Girl Lacquer is an indie polish company.  Check out their etsy shop.  They have some awesome glitter polishes!)

Just for reference, here’s what Fantasm looks like over black:

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you can definitely see how when you sandwich the glitter between the layers of “jelly” how it mutes the glitter effect. 

Here’s another jelly sandwich that I did using Fantasm and a purple limited edition polish called Deception from Wet n Wild.  I love this purple, and I’m sorry you can’t get it anymore. 

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I LOVED this manicure! Deception is so sheer that I think I used 2-3 coats of polish under the layer of glitter and then another 2-3 coats over the glitter, but gosh it was beautiful!  The way the glitter reflected light through the polish made my heart so happy. 

Here’s one final jelly sandwich:

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This is using Wet n Wild Megalast Bubblegum Pop and China Glaze Glitter Up.  (This Wet n Wild color is exclusive to Dollar General / Family Dollar as far as I know.)  This one I medium liked.  This pink is really fun but really… pink.

What are your thoughts about jelly sandwiches?  What are your favorite jelly polishes? 

Five Below Haul

I went into a Five Below store.  That’s a rarity, because well, I’m a solid 20 years older than their target demographic.   I had been in a Five Below a year or so ago, and I had a vague recollection of seeing nail polish there, so when my path crossed a Five Below a few weeks ago, I figured that it might be worth checking out. Was it ever!

Five Below is a chain of stores that specialize in trendy gadgets and accessories and whatnot  that appeal to the teen and tween crowd, so not surprisingly, the nail polish they carry is all very young and trendy.  They carry two lines of nail polish: Funky Fingers and Fresh Paint.  They were all $2 each or 3 for $5, which you could mix and match between the two lines.  I ended up with 6 polishes.  My little sis was kind enough to let me use her nails for swatching.  Here they are:

Fresh Paint: Guava

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This is a beautiful neon peach.  Although the middle and pinky fingers have a white base underneath, you don’t need it for it to be amazingly bright.  The formula is really great and it’s also a dupe for China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy!  I had been itching for Flip Flop Fantasy for a few months, but I didn’t want to spend $7.  I actually went into a Sally Beauty Supply right after I picked this up and did a little comparison, and yep, they’re identical.

Fresh Paint: Sugar Crush

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This is an iridescent topper that pulls primarily orange, but also green, blue and yellow. It’s not really a glitter, but little flakes.  We tried it over Guava, white and black.  It looked great over Guava!  It sort of took Guava from just neon to classy neon.  It was not that amazing over white, but it was really fun over black!  I’m definitely going to be wearing it over black in the cooler months.

Funky Fingers: Glowstick

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This is a neon yellow that leans a little toward the green side of things with a subtle iridescent sheen.  Again, the middle and pinky fingers have a white base, which did make this polish a little brighter.

Funky Fingers: Pep Rally

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This is a really fun neon glitter with matte blue and pink hexes in different sizes, big green iridescent hexes, small metallic purple hexes, and small orange and purple bar glitter.  We swatched this glitter over Glowstick, white and black.  It really looked cool over all of those colors!  There are a few drawbacks with this polish.  The clear base is really thick and a little hard to work with.  I think I will end up using the makeup sponge method to apply this glitter.  Also, the glitters themselves were pretty thick, so it may take 2 or three layers of a thick top coat like Seche Vite to make the nails smooth.

Funky Fingers: Unicorn Farts

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This polish is all medium size metallic hex glitters in pretty much every color.  The glitter gives off light is a linear sort of way that gives the glitter the appearance of being curved, but it actually does lay flat on the nail.  The clear base is similar to that of Pep Rally, so I think I’m going to end up using the makeup sponge method with this one as well.  We tested it over white, black, nude, and green.  Actually, with the green I attempted a jelly sandwich, but it got a little thick and goopy   because of the thick clear base. This polish is just really fun and shiny and versatile, so I know I’ll get a lot of use out of it.

Funky Fingers: Sand & Stilettos

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This polish should be called The Most Sparkly Polish In The World.  these pictures just aren’t doing it justice.  This is a light purple -almost gray- holographic micro glitter.  In the picture, I believe we have 3 coats on bare nail on the first, two coats over white on the middle finger, and two coats over black on the ring finger.  The glitter is so dense, that it’s opaque in 3 coats, which is pretty amazing.  There are two kinds of holographic glitters: scattered and linear.  Scattered reflect all different colors all over the place.  Linear reflects a more defined rainbow so that you can actually see bands of color.  I really feel this polish is both scattered and linear.  You definitely get different colored sparkles all over the nail, but when sunlight hits the bottle of polish, I can see a rainbow, too.  I have this color on my toes now and I just feel like my toenails are covered in tiny diamonds.   Seriously, it’s the kind of polish that you just can’t stop staring at.

The polishes from this haul are so fun and I feel like they go together really well!  I think I could do a ton of different looks only using these 6 polishes.  If you follow me in instagram, you may have seen my current doticure using Guava and Sand & Stilettos.  They’re so fun together!

Thus concludeth my Five Below haul.  I highly recommend that you check out the polishes at Five Below, and if you do, please let me know what you think and what polishes you get!

 

 

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?