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 !

Advertisements

Fun Times with Glossy on Matte

This past week I’ve done two different manis that have featured the same technique: glossy designs over a matte finish.    This technique is IMG_4465so simple, but the end result is pretty impressive looking!  I found that this works bet with dark colors that have a cream formula.  I tried this with some lighter colors and polishes with some shimmer in them, and it’s much harder to see the matte/glossy contrast.  So, here’s all you have to do:

1. Pick a nice, dark, cream polish and paint your nails.

2. Apply a matte top coat.  I use one from NYC that works just fine.  No need to purchase something fancy.

3. After your matte top coat is dry, add your dots or stripes or whatever to your nails with a clear polish.  Please note: you don’t want to use a fast drying topcoat as your clear polish.  It will dry up before you can complete your design and you’ll end up with a clumpy mess.  Just plain, clear Wet n Wild polish or NYC polish (the $.99 kind) works perfectly.

IMG_4478For the first look, I used Wet n Wild Megalast – Careful, It’s Vine-tage as my base.  This polish was from their limited edition matte collection that came out last fall.  Even though the polish was supposed to have a matte finish, it only looked semi-matte to me, so I put a matte top coat on it anyway. Then I took some various sized dotting tools and my $.99 clear polish and made some dots.  That’s it!

For my second look, I used Wet n Wild Megalast – Echo Dark, a navy polish from the same matte collection.  This polish bums me out a little because it looks navy blue in the bottle, but on the nail it really looks black most of the time.  Anyway, I applied a matte top coat, and then took my striping brush dipped in clear polish and made diagonal stripes on my nails.

The first time I ever tried this technique was back  in September and you can read about that here, if you so desire. I got way fancier with that design.

For some reason, I always do glossy designs on a matte base, but you could always switch it around and do matte designs on a glossy base.  Really, the possibilities are endless with this technique.  Any animal prints would look really cool like this, or you could even do something as simple as a matte nails with just a glossy french tip!  And since it works so well with dark colors, it’s perfect to do now before everything turns pastel and neon for the warmer months.

Anyway, I hope you feel inspired to make yourself some beautiful nails!  Thanks for reading!

Love Note Nails

Here are the actual nails that I am wearing on Valentine’s Day.

IMG_4418It’s been a long time since I did a mani with a white base, and I forgot how bright and crisp it looks!  White looks great in the summer when my skin is a little darker, but it also works well with my pale winter skin.  I also forgot how great a simple doticure can be.  (Side note: My hubby asked me what dots have to do with Valentine’s Day.  He takes things very literally.)

I’ve seen lots of manis online with this cute little love note design.  I can’t take credit for it!  I think that Hannah, an Aussie nail blogger first came up with the design.  This design is so simple, but so cute!  Check her out: http://thenailtrail.com.au/  I’m a little jealous of her beautiful nail art, and I’m really jealous that she’s enjoying summer weather right now.  Here in PA, we are getting wind chills of 20 below 0 Fahrenheit this weekend.  Darn arctic blast.

I did this design for the Weekly Nail Art Challenge on Instagram.  This challenge is great for a couple reasons.  I like that it is only once a week, so that’s very doable.  I also like that there is a monthly theme (February’s is Contrast) and then weekly prompts.  This week’s prompt is Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t really have any great inspiration when it came to the contrast element of my mani, so I just opted to use contrasting colors.

I started by painting all of my nails white…. Obviously.  The black and red are just craft paint.  So much easier to clean up than nail polish!  I used a small dotting tool for the dots on all but my middle and ring fingers.  Then, using my tiniest brush, I painted the envelope design.  I started with the “V” that makes the outer flap of the envelope, and then added the other lines.  Then using my tiniest brush dipped in red, I wrote the word “love” on my ring finger.  Since I’m pretty terrible at writing with my left hand, I ended up just doing a few hearts on my ring finger on my right hand.IMG_4422

I find that the easiest way to make hearts is to use a dotting tool to make two barely touching dots.  Then I use either a small brush or a dotting tool to drag the dots down into a point.

I debated a bit whether I should make these matte or glossy… I was feeling in a glossy mood.

Well, that’s it!  Thanks for reading, following, and liking!  Have a great weekend filled with love!

XOXO Nails

I’d better quick get around to posting a few more Valentine’s Day nails before they become completely irrelevant!  Here’s a simple little look I did:

IMG_4355The base polish is LA Colors – Candy Sprinkles.  LA Colors polishes are generally about $1.50.  I know they sell them at Dollar General and cheap places like that.  My experience is that LA Colors polishes are kind of hit-or-miss, but since the price is right, I’m usually willing to take a gamble.  This is definitely my favorite polish in the line, so far.  I’m definitely going to be wearing this one again in the spring.

The designs on my middle and ring finger are all done with craft paint.  For both nails, I started by painting my design in white, and then when in with the colored paint, leaving a border of white showing.  If I had just used a solid color of polish, I probably wouldn’t have done the white background/border thing, but since the base color was heavy on the glitter, I figured it would be a good idea.  I think it helps the designs pop.

I have one more nail art design that I need to get posted here before tomorrow, so be on the lookout for that!  I know Valentine’s Day can be a depressing day for some, but just know that God loves.  You are loved more than you can know!  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Conversation Heart Nails

Valentine’s Day.  Some folks love it, others hate it.  I rolled my eyes a lot at Valentine’s Day stuff when I was single, but since I’ve got a good hubby now, I find the day to be perfectly pleasant.  The lamest Valentine’s Day that I can remember was in 2003.  I liked a guy who totally had me in the friends zone.  The guy I liked had a roommate who was totally not my type, but he liked me.  Somehow on Valentine’s day, I ended up going to Wendy’s for dinner with both of them and then we went and saw Shanghai Knights (stupid movie).  I sat between the two of them in the theater… The guy I was pining for on one side, and the guy who was pursuing me one the other.  I was like Emma between Frank Churchill and Mr Elton…. I so glad I found Mr Knightly… And my hubby is older than me so this whole analogy really works well!  Anyway…

IMG_4249Regardless of your feelings on Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect opportunity to sport some cute nails.  Today I bring to you a simple conversation heart inspired mani.  This is so simple that it’s really not worthy of a tutorial.  I just painted each finger a different pastel color and then took my littlest brush in some craft paint and added the “conversations”.  I used red paint, but I added a little white to it so that it would be that sort of washed out color that you have on real conversation hearts.  I topped it off with a matte top coat.

While looking through my polishes for pastel colors, I realized that I had very few.  I actually ended up making the light orange and light purple polishes by mixing some of my polishes in with white polish.  The light green was a polish that I frankenpolished last summer.

To keep things real, here is my seldom seen Cinderella hand:

IMG_4247That is, the had that does all the work but receives none of the glory.  My right had never gets to go to the proverbial ball.  Never gets any of the praise on instagram.  If my hand had feelings, I’m sure it would feel a little put out.  Overworked and neglected.

Really though, painting tiny letters is not the easiest thing, and painting tiny letters with your non-dominant hand?  Extra hard.  That’s why you don’t usually see my right hand.  It’s usually just a sloppy version of my left hand.

Once in a while someone will ask me if I always do both hands, and the answer is yes, 95% of the time.  The only time that I haven’t always done both hands was back in September when I did the 31 Day Nail Challenge when I did my nails every day for 31 days straight.  A lot of those designs were really time-consuming and intricate, and I just didn’t have the time or the skills to always do my right hand.  Even when I wouldn’t make my right hand completely match my left hand, I would still do my nails on my right hand so that they complement my left hand.

Okay, I’ve rambled on far too much here, so I’ll wrap this up.  Thanks for reading, commenting, liking, and following!

Frosty Blue Nails

Here’s a quickie tutorial that requires minimal skill.  Those are the best kind of tutorials, right?

I started off painting my nails with China Glaze – Capacity to See Beyond from the Giver collection.

IMG_4206

I was able to find the complete Giver collection on clearance at Sally Beauty Supply!  I didn’t buy the whole collection – only three – but I FOUND the whole collection!  I had had my eye on this polish in particular, but I just can’t bring myself to spend full price on polishes that are over like, $4.  This one really is a beauty, though!

After letting the base color dry really well, I cut some little round labels that I had into quarters and applied them to my nails.

IMG_4208IMG_4209

These little stickers are the same size and the reenforcer stickers and you can get these pretty much at any office supply store.  I like cutting them into quarters for two reasons.  1. I’m frugal, and if I can get four nails covered with one sticker, I’m gonna do it.  And 2. I think it’s a lot easier to get a good, tight seal between the sticker and your nail along the sides of your nail when you are working with a smaller piece of sticker.

For this look, I put the curved edge of the sticker right across the middle of my nail, but you can use these same stickers for either a half moon mani or a french mani, depending on your placement of the stickers.

Next I painted the top half of my nails with L’Oreal – The True Diamond, which is a shimmery white top coat.  I’m pretty sure this is not available any more, but a silver glitter topper would work really well, too.  Then before the polish could dry, I peeled the stickers off really carefully with tweezers, and I was left with this:

IMG_4210I wanted to add a little something, so I took my tiny brush and Wet n Wild Fergie – Going Platnum and added a little line where the polishes meet.  Really, though, if you don’t have a tiny brush or you don’t trust your hand to be steady enough, you can skip this part.

IMG_4211I got my little brush at Michael’s with a coupon, so it only cost about $3.  I love it!

Here’s the final result:

IMG_4213Cute and simple and perfect for these frosty months!  Thanks for reading!

Nativity Nails

I love nativities.  I have a beautiful olive wood one that I inherited from my grandparents that I love!  I’ve got a big one in the front yard.  I’ve got lots of little nativity ornaments on my Christmas tree.  For me, these serve as a great reminder of the reason we celebrate Christmas: Christ’s birth.  Because of this, I really like to take a break from the Santa/snowman/candy cane manis and replace them with some nail art that reflects the true meaning of Christmas.

I had a couple ideas rolling around in my head, so I decided to make my right and left hands each a little different.  Here’s my left hand:

IMG_4090The black is craft paint.  The rest is nail polish.  The star glitter was fished out of a glitter polish from a Wet n Wild Fergie polish.  I love these nails!

Here’s my right hand:

IMG_4091I don’t do a lot of these vertical type manis, but I thought this would be a good opportunity.

Here’s a close up of my Baby Jesus nail:

IMG_4092

Except for the blue base color and the sparkly background “light”, this was done entirely with craft paint. It always creeps me out a little to see a picture of my nails this close up.

And here’s the reason you should keep practicing your nail art:

IMG_4110

These are the nativity nails that I did last year.  I have since had a TON of practice, learned a few tricks and techniques, and gotten a finer paint brush.  Sometimes progress comes in such tiny steps that it’s sort of hard to see, so looking back a full year to see my improvement is really encouraging.  I’ve still got lots of room for growth!

Thanks for reading!

Advent Nails

I’m guessing that some of you are super familiar with Advent, while others of you are like, “Wha…?”  Advent, which simply means “arrival” is celebrated by Christians for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, Jesus’ arrival.  (Yeah, we all know that He wasn’t actually born on December 25, but that’s when we celebrate His birth anyway.  Can we please avoid arguments about that?  Thanks.)  Anyway, each of the four weeks has a theme.  Week 1 is hope, week 2 is peace, week 3 is joy, week 4 is love.  Lots of churches, including ours will light one candle the first week, 2 candles the second week, etc., and read scripture and/or sing songs that revolve around the week’s theme.

My hubby and I were asked to light the candles and read the scripture for this past week, so I figured that I should have appropriate nails.  Here they are:

IMG_4016IMG_4023

The gold is Wet n Wild Fergie – Gold Album.  I topped it with a multicolored glitter polish.  The purple on my middle finger is Gap – Pop Star.  I’m pretty sure this polish is more than a decade old.  The background color for the candles is Wet n Wild – Echo Dark that I used most recently for a matte jelly sandwich in this post.

Here’s a close up of my ring finger:

IMG_4016

Everything on this nail, besides Echo Dark is craft paint.

I’m really happy with how these turned out!  They are so festive, but are a nice change of pace from snowmen, reindeer, and Santa.

Thanks for reading!

Ferny Nails and My Pile of Untrieds

So, first off, here are some ferny nails that I did:

IMG_3905

These were inspired by Mr Candii Pants, who actually is a miss, not a mister. Check her out on youtube and/or instagram.  She does some of the coolest free hand nail art.

The base color for these was Fresh Paint – Firefly.  It’s an almost-white-but-actually-a-pale-bluish-grey color.  And it’s a one-coater!  By the way, do you prefer “gray” or “grey”?  I like “grey”.  It just seems like a nicer, softer spelling.

I painted all of my purple ferns first, then blue (I think), and then green.  It’s just way easier to do all of one color at a time, when possible.  I used a shiny top coat, but I think these would have worked well with a matte top coat also.

Now onto a completely different subject:  My untried polishes.  Here they are:

IMG_3936

Now, some of these are untried because I got them on clearance when they were out of season.  Others are untried because… I don’t know.  I don’t really have any good reasons.  I decided that I really need to tackle this pile, so I’m going to make a good effort to reach for these polishes until they are all tried!

I’ve tackled two so far.  Here’s Wet n Wild – Echo Dark from the recent matte collection:

IMG_3934

It’s a little tough to see, but I actually did a jelly sandwich with this polish.  I was pleasantly surprised that the polish still looked blue in person instead of black.  I didn’t love the formula though.  I can’t quite pinpoint why I didn’t.  It took a while to really dry, so my nails ended with some little marks in them.  That irritates me like crazy.

I also tried Sally Hansen – 3K or More:

IMG_3939

The sun came out for me, so I got a nice sparkly picture!  This is a nude polish with a gold shimmer in it.  I don’t know how I feel about this polish yet.  I feel like it looks really pretty in the picture, but I don’t think this shade of nude looks the best with my really light skin.  There’s a bit of a yellow undertone, and I generally do better with cooler shades.  It’s growing on me, though.  This is a good pallet cleansing polish.  After wearing Echo Dark for a few days, I felt like I needed something a little more neutral.  This polish might be a little hard to find.  I got this in a clearance bin awhile ago.

Oh, can you tell my nails are shorter in the last picture?  I had some nail peeling going on, so I just gave them all a chop before one just broke off.

Well, thank you all for reading!  Find me on instagram and facebook!

Golden Leafy Nails

Right now I’m spending a good chunk of my free time raking up all of the leaves in our yard, so it seems like the appropriate time to sport some leafy nails. Here they are:

IMG_3868IMG_3865

I just can’t make my right hand pose nicely.  It’s all awkward or something.  Anyway, the base for these nails is NYC – Royal Chic.  I sort of think this is from a collection that was out not that long ago, so it might be a little hard to find now.

IMG_3867

The wet polish looks just like Hershey’s Syrup.  I feel like this polish should smell like chocolate.

Then I added some leaves with Wet n WIld Fergie – Gold Album.  Every time I use that polish I can’t believe how beautifully gold and sparkly it is.

I was sort of tempted to just “leaf” my mani like that, but since I had already pulled all of my fall colored polishes off my rack, I decided to go ahead and add some color.  I used polishes that tend to to be sheer so that the gold would show through.  I just used a little brush and added a little bit of color to each leaf.  I topped it off with a shiny top coat.

After four days of wear, I had no major chips, just some tip wear.  I touched up the tips of my nails with the brown polish and then for kicks I added a matte top coat.

IMG_3895

I really like how this looks with a matte top coat!  The metallic leaves just really pop off of the brown background!  I think I’m going to get a full week’s wear out of these.  Hooray for that!

Thanks for reading!