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Nail Art for the Masses!

Lazerz - with Color Club Beyond, Over The Moon and Illamasqua Cameo

By beautopia · April 14, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

If you follow me on any of my other social media accounts, you've probably already seen this. But I wanted to share it here because I really love all three of these polishes, and I wore this design for like, a week. That's pretty rare for me. What's even more rare is that it lasted that long without chipping. Holos! Yup. </p>

Color Club Over the Moon was the base color here, and it is pretty insane. I've never used a holo with such a great formula, and like most of you, I've tried plenty. It's not thick, per se, but it's not the anemic, imperfection-magnifying formula holo lovers are used to. It applies and wears like a regular, AWESOME, polish. I wore it alone also, for a few days, and I honestly sort of want to wear it again soon. Again, RARE. The color is a clear-toned blue, and the holo is pretty strong. 

Color Club Beyond is a charcoal holo, and while the holo isn't as strong as in OTM, it's better than a lot of charcoal holos out there. The real point that needs made here is, again, the formula. Just excellent. 

Illamasqua Cameo. This thing is good. The color is simply unique. There are lots of periwinkles out there, from China Glaze's new Fade Into Hue to China Glaze's old(er) Secret Periwinkle (these two are benchmarks to me) but Cameo just has a clarity and eye-catching purity to it's tone. It's bright, but not. It's one of those. And it's my new jam. 

Sephora X Chaotic

By beautopia · January 27, 2013 · 0 Comments ·
Sephora X Chaotic
I recently picked up the new Sephora X Chaotic. This is two thin coats over RGB Minty, and I'm pretty happy with it. It covers well in one coat but two is my favorite. Every time my nails caught my eye, they reminded me of a Jackson Pollock painting. Very cool polish, and I recommend it!

Zoya Ornate Collection

By beautopia · October 17, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

The Zoya entry into the Winter 2012 arena is basically amazing. I'm pretty much limiting myself to purchasing only polishes that cannot be passed up, since I've been using Shellac so much and all my clients are pretty much doing Shellac at this point. I need to purge at least 50% of my enormous stash as it is, so I really don't need non-essential polishes at this point. Ornate, or at least most of it, qualifies as essential for me. I offer several season-specific shades of China Glaze, OPI and Zoya at the salon, and by far the most used is Zoya which honestly surprised me. I love Zoya and everything, but I assumed people would go for the more recognizable brands, and since Zoya is for the most part only available online and in some salons it's pretty crazy. 

Anyway, I passed up all but one of the new OPI Skyfall polishes, and considering I'm a huge 007 fan, OPI Holiday collection fan, and Adele fan (I may go back and get Skyfall since she sings the theme song), that's a huge deal. I also don't feel as psyched about the promos I've seen for China Glaze's holiday offering, so Zoya was the only must-buy holiday collection for me. Weird. 

On to the swatches and reviews!!!

Nail Art inspired by The Night Circus

By beautopia · September 5, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

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. 

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Recreating CND for Norman Ambrose St. Tropez Chic

By beautopia · March 7, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

The nail stylists at CND who do fashion week, yeah they're awesome. They are undoubtedly the masters of interesting nail looks engineered for the runway. And with the big leap forward that nails are taking as concerns being viewed as almost an accessory, the runway looks are becoming much more acceptable on main street in a way that wacky runway makeup never could. Luxury nails, be it luxury art like this or luxury polish such as Chanel or Dior, are a very accessible way to add a designer label to your wardrobe in the form of an almost-accessory. Whether the country in the midst of a recession or not, you may not be able to afford that Chanel bag, but you sure as hell can afford to buy a Chanel polish, or to go out and get a fancy manicure that was worn down a fashion week runway.

Anyway, enough preaching about the godliness of nail art, let's get on with the manicure... I came across this manicure on BellaSugar, and immediately wanted to recreate it. CND stylists used CND Gold Chrome and BlackJack and some gold leaf to create a look that they call ‘Treasured Antiquities’…meets ‘New Rock N’ Roll.’ . I don't have those polishes... yet, but I used what I had and it looks just about the same.

Products used:

  • China Glaze 2030
  • Wet n Wild Black Creme
  • Gold nuggeting foil


Click for another photo!

The Hunger Games Nail Art Series - District 2

By beautopia · February 17, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

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.

Products used:

  • 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


Click for more photos!

Nubar Polka Dots Collection

By beautopia · February 16, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

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*

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Anarchy in the UK or Black, White and Punk All Over

By beautopia · January 31, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

I've wanted to do "graffiti" nails for a while and this is as close to that as I've come. I was inspired by a random photo of a mid-70s woman with a ratty old Union Jack tee. You know I love to do Union Jacks, but I thought this deconstructed black, white and grey version really was pretty cool. I've been getting pretty tired of Crackle polishes in general lately, but I thought it was perfect for this design, it makes it look like a nasty, dirty brick wall, so awesome.


Products used:

  • China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat
  • China Glaze White on White
  • Wet n Wild Black Creme
  • China Glaze Crackle Cracked Concrete
  • China Glaze Purple Panic
  • Black and White Striping polish
  • Seche Vite



OPI Nicki Minaj - Metallic 4 Life

By beautopia · January 9, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

One of the two glitter shades from OPI's new 6-piece specialty Nicki Minaj collection, Metallic 4 Life is a sheer black jelly with both small round and large hexagonal silver glitter. It's somewhat sheer, so I'd recommend layering it over a plain black polish so that you can apply and maneuver the glitter around to get the right look without leaving bald spots in your base. These photos are three coats on top of a clear basecoat and you can see that some of my little bald spots didn't stand up to the flash of my camera.

Below, I've also compared M4L to China Glaze Tinsel Town, which from M4L's promo photos I assumed to be similar. That's the not the case, though; happily it's different but just as awesome. Black polishes with shiny glitter, yeah they're awesome.

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Nail Art Inspired by Vera Bradley Baroque

By beautopia · July 23, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Another one of my favorite Vera Bradley patterns is Baroque. I bought a kisslock clutch last Fall when it first came out because the pattern, honestly, is just irresistable. I love the swirlies and the dark grey and citron, especially together. I've been meaning to do a Baroque inspired nail design for a long time, but I couldn't decide just what to do. I'm not good enough yet to re-create these types of swirlies and I didn't have the right sort of grey. I figured that OPI Who The Shrek Are You? would work for the citron, but then came China Glaze Electric Pineapple and the wheels started turning. It's a perfect match for the citron in this pattern. Then last week I got the Metro collection from China Glaze and Concrete Catwalk is a perfect match for the grey. So I set out to do a manicure that evoked the whimsical feeling of the pattern with these colors. Please realize that this is not meant to MATCH the pattern, it's inspired by it. I'm not 100% happy with it, but I do like it.

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