This month's Nail It! magazine had a really cool spread about this color combo; fluorescent pink, cobalt and white, and I was immediately a fan. The pink isn't just any neon pink, it's that light, bright neon Pepto pink that seems pretty hard to find. I used Essie Punchy Pink, which is one of my favorite neons, though between us, it chips like Hell. I used it along with Zoya Purity and Ulta Whatever Floats Your Moat, a cobalt I recently acquired. You could also use something similar like Revlon Royal, OPI Eurso Euro or even a more vibrant shade like Essie Butler Please. Either way, color blocking with these colors just makes it even more eye-catching. I painted the nails white, then added a pink triangle to the moons, then did an angular, exaggerated french with the blue, then one it was pretty dry, I added a white stripe down the center. Pretty simple, but if you're hand-painting maybe a little time consuming. If I did it again, I'd go find those utterly brilliant chevron-shaped french nail guides and use those. Why do these things always occur to me once they're no longer useful? Sigh...
Last week I had the outrageous honor of giving a first-time manicure to a friend and co-worker of mine, Theresa. Since she's a hair stylist, we definitely wanted to use Shellac so it lasted more than a few hours on her. I used Cityscape (light dove grey) and Silver Chrome to colorblock the nails randomly, then after curing, I added Rubble (stone taupe) in places and before curing, I engraved and dotted a little to make the above design. I finished it up with a nice coat of Shellac top coat and this is the end result. Very cool for the beginning of Autumn.
If you haven't heard of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, you should check it out. It's an amazing book that almost defies description. It's a complex story basically about a conflict between two magicians, and as hokey as that description may sound, it's worth reading. The imagery in this book is so spellbinding, and since I read the book a few months ago, I've been wanting to do some nails inspired by it. One of the defining things in the book is that the circus and all it's patrons and performers are decorated or clad in only black, white, and red. So of course the nails are in the same colors. In my head, I wanted this manicure to be grand and romantic and sort of magical, and though it fell short of those far-reaching expectations, no manicure was ever going to be as grand and magical, not to mention as romantic, as the book was.
For this manicure I used only CND Shellac (Hollywood, Cream Puff and Black Pool, plus some loose glitter), which was a pain in the arse, to be honest. It was easy, but it was time-consuming, what with all the layers and curing between details. But in the end, it will be worth it because I only wear Shellac when I work on clients so I don't ruin my nails, and I wanted this design to last. All the designs are abstract interpretations of portions of or ideas in the book. The juxtaposition of dark and light, and romance play large parts.
You may have heard of Julep Nail Vernis at some point recently, be it on the Sephora site or one of their stores where the polishes are $14 a pop (for a .27oz bottle, whoa). Or you may have seen the name on Twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest, jeez man that name is everywhere. I watched the Julep Mania for a few months with a jaded eye until I finally gave in. If you haven't heard the name Julep, well, it started with a salon in Seattle, then grew to include a nail polish line, and now there is a monthly subscription box where you can have a selection of these polishes delivered to your door at a much lower price than their retail stickers.
If you'd like to join, here's a referral link if you click it, thanks in advance, that's awfully nice of you:) (if you refer people, it counts toward getting a free month, pretty nice) Don't forget to enter your code COLOR2012 to get the intro box for a penny. There are other codes to only pay $5 and $10 but I used the penny one and it worked just fine.
- Take a quiz about your favorite things and Julep will magick up your perfect style profile (you don't have to buy the one they choose for you)
- You pay $19.99 (or a penny if you use the code COLOR 2012, duh which one would you rather pay?) and they send you your intro box. This box at this point comes with your two colors and a fairly amazing pedi creme, or three polishes and no creme if you choose the It Girl style profile).
- If you like it, every month afterward you will have a four day period, between the 20th and 24th of each month to decide if you want to skip that month's box, or if you'd like to choose another style profile.
- If you continue past the intro box, you get billed your $19.99 for your first monthly on the 27th of the month, which is the day the box is sent out.
Here are some interesting things to add:
- Each month has a new theme, and there are several new polishes added to the line each month, so there's nearly always something new.
- Recently they have been doing a thing where you can add on two (sometimes more) items to your box for $4.99 each (which is way cheaper than you pay at Sephora).
- You get a 20% discount on anything that's not "new" that month in the Maven Boutique. (In my opinion the price on these items is still pretty steep, though I did purchase Taylor at retail price so who's stupid now, lol).
- Each month in addition to polish there is another product. Last month it was a lip gloss (which I really liked) and this month it is a tote bag and a polish remover in a pump.
- They always send little extras which range from files, cuticle oil, creams, to free polish vouchers, to candy, so it's sort of fun to open each month.
- Each month tons of "Golden Boxes" get sent out randomly to subscribers and they include the polishes from every style profile box that month which is actually a pretty rad idea.
- The customer service is very fast, very nice and very effective.
Essie Shine of the Times - $8 most drugstores
I have seen Essie Shine of the Times in just about every drugstore and big box store I've visited in the last month or so, so I know it's relatively easy to find at this point. I had been seeing it everywhere on the internet and decided I didn't need it because I have Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, a bunch of Nfu-Ohs, the Finger Paints flakies, and more random flakies and honestly don't use them often, but SotT really impossible to resist in the end because when I finally gave up and just picked the polish up in my hands to examine it, I realized it was different than all the others I mentioned above. The shards of mylar are more finely milled, which does a couple things; 1) there is more variation in color because since these are light reactive to a point, the larger the shard, the less color in the area the shard takes up (therefore the smaller the shard, the more shards per area equaling more color!), 2) the surface appears, and is to a certain extent textured rather than just a bit of interesting color being randomly scattered over the surface making the finish look irregular and sort of gross. So overall, SotT is better than a lot of flakies. SH Hidden Treasure had, to this point, been my favorite overall in the mylar glitter category as it had somewhat small particles and was very dense on application. SotT is the new point to which the bar has been raised, y'all. woot! The only weird thing is that there are some random plummy purple colored specks in the polish. You'll see what I mean below.
I love mylar over dark colors, but because this is so dense and makes such a neat textured looking surface, I decided to use a light, delicate color under it for once; China Glaze White on White.
For the second installment in my Hunger Games nail art series, I did nails based on District 2. In the books, that district is described as having several principal functions; it is home to stone cutters, it supplies the majority of Peacekeepers, they manufacture weapons, and the snow-capped mountain housing the military nervecenter called "The Nut" by the rebels. So in this nail set you see The Nut, the district number, elements of a Peacekeeper uniform as shown in movie trailers, a stone wall, and a gun silhouette. All elements are hand painted.
- China Glaze Concrete Catwalk
- China Glaze Recycle
- China Glaze White on White
- China Glaze Sea Spray
- Wet n Wild Black Creme
- acrylic paints
- Seche Vite Topcoat
Nubar Polka Dot Collection - $20 at bynubar.com
The Polka Dots set actually contains Black Polka Dot, White Polka Dot and a Diamante Topcoat for that price. Not too shabby. I really liked both of these polishes. I applied WPD over black and BPD over white to give you as much contrast as possible.
Both polishes are nice, but I prefer Black Polka Dots. It's a lot more unique, and black glitter is just cool. Both have mostly small glitter with a dash of larger hex glitter. It's not hard to get the glitter to transfer but you'll have to maneuver the bottles around before applying to get the hex glitters near the top. Don't know why. The black one is pretty straight forward, but the white one... the glitter is this pearlescent white, first of all. It's pretty but it likes to suck up your base color and go all discolored. I let it stay on the black one for a while and the small glitter turned blue. Plus the white large hex glitter are prone to be broken when you get them on the nail so about 30% of them are shards instead of a hex. Either way, I like it. I actually liked when the glitter went blue, it looked cool, but if you want white, this might be inconvenient. The black makes anything look really cool and speckled and makes the purchase of the set worth it, in my opinion.
Side note: I just noticed Nubar has soak-off gel polishes... Has anyone tried them yet? I'm pretty much decided on buying the Orly GelFX kit but just wondering. I daydream constantly about China Glaze developing soak-off gels. That'll be the day.... *le sigh*