Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Glittering Galaxy

Hi! Welcome to the sixth installment of Tutorial Tuesday! I thought that I wouldn't make it this week, but so far so good. I've had a few requests for a tutorial on galaxy nails before, so it's finally here. I actually really like galaxy nails and I don't know why I don't do them more often. They're super easy to create and almost foolproof!

I had originally planned on doing a pink/purple-based galaxy, but it ended up being more blue-based. The trick to altering the colour of your galaxy is the based on the colours you add on top of the white polish in the tutorial. Next time I'll actually go through with the pink/purple galaxy, because the ones I've seen look so pretty!

I tried to keep the tutorial as simple as possible to lead to a perfect galaxy every single time. The tl;dr version goes like this: black, shimmer, white, colour, glitter, dotted stars. This 'formula' has so far worked every time for me, and I hope it works just as well for you too! :)


Alright, enough small talk, here's the tutorial!

  1. Start with a base coat and a black base. Let that dry.
  2. Dab an iridescent or sheer shimmery polish on a makeup sponge. Sponge it onto your nail in the shape of your galaxy.
  3. Repeat the previous step with a white polish, but dab your sponge on a paper towel first to remove excess polish. Dab small amounts inside of the shape you made before. 
  4. Repeat with other brighter colours, applying less polish than before. I suggest light pinks, mints, purples and blues.
  5. Dab on a glitter top coat with the polish brush wherever you would like. I suggest sparse glitters in a clear base that includes various glitter sizes.
  6. Add stars using a white polish and a dotting tool. I prefer smaller stars in clusters on top of the galaxy shape.
  7. Seal it with a top coat and you're done!

I hope this tutorial was helpful to some of you! See you on Thursday with more nail art! :)


Monday, April 29, 2013

7 Deadly Sins Challenge (Gluttony): Sugar Spun

Hi everyone! I moved back home yesterday which was quite the fiasco, and as a result I'm feeling incredibly drained nail art-wise. I managed to muster up some energy for the first prompt for gluttony in the deadly sins challenge: "Delight yourself with a sugar spun inspired manicure." To be honest, I never really liked sugar spun manicures. I hate the idea of thick nail polish, and these are no exception. I'm not entirely pleased with these, but they'll have to do!

I tried to keep things subtle by using light colours and doing the spun sugar look over a glitter. This glitter is new to my collection and it's unlike any other that I have. The milky base makes it like a glitter/jelly sandwich in a bottle! I tried to do my spun sugar as fine as possible to avoid thick clumps. I placed drops of polish on aluminum foil, allowed it to dry a bit to become tacky, and then draped the tacky polish across my nail with a dotting tool. You can find lots of tutorials for this look on YouTube!

I started with a base of American Apparel L'Esprit, followed by Hard Candy Sweet Tooth. On my middle and index finger I used American Apparel L'Esprit and American Apparel T-Shirt to do the sugar spun look with a dotting tool. I finished it off with pink and blue rhinestones on each finger by the cuticle.

Be sure to visit the other talented bloggers to see their spun sugar manicures!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

7 Deadly Sins Challenge (Lust): Bed Of Roses

Hello! My week of minimal sleep and lots of study is finally over. I finished my last exam yesterday morning, and it went pretty well, I think. I'm in the midst of packing up my room now, and I'm heading back home tomorrow for the summer. My first year as a university student is complete, and summer awaits! Hopefully this means that I can focus more time on getting back on my blogging game :)

Here are my nails for day two of the deadly sins challenge. Today's prompt is: " Let your body talk and feel free to do whatever you want" while keeping with the lust theme. I decided paint some realistic roses on my nails. My thought process behind this was that roses are romantic and seductive, but also that every rose has its thorn... or something. I'm not sure, just go with it haha.

I've really been into these more realistic nature patterns. I'm experimenting a lot with shading and highlights, and less outlines. I really enjoy doing these because they feel very natural and actually less methodical. They're a lot easier than geometric prints and these only took about half an hour from start to finish.

I started with a base of OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons. I used a striping brush and Sephora by OPI And Then He Said... to paint the basic shape of the roses. I then shaded with American Apparel Port, followed by American Apparel Hassid and a bit of OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons to highlight. For the stems and leaves I used American Apparel Hunter followed by American Apparel Army Jacket for highlights.

Don't forget to visit the other participants in the challenge for more lust-themed nail art!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nature In Monochrome

Hello! I have my last exam tomorrow morning and then I'm officially done my first year of university! I still can't believe how quickly time has flown by, especially during this final stretch. I'm glad to be free of school work for awhile, but saying bye to all of the friends I've made will be bittersweet. People have already been moving out as they finish exams, and it's gotten quite lonely around here :(

On a lighter note, I'm really excited to post these nails for you. I saw this pattern on a mug while shopping awhile back, and I finally mustered up the courage to try it out. The painterly style was pretty overwhelming and I was quite sure that this wasn't going to work out, but I went ahead and tried it anyway. In the end I'm really glad that I did them and I'm super happy with the results.

This style was actually a lot easier to paint than I expected, and didn't take a particularly long time either. The way I did it was by working from lightest to darkest, adding more shades as necessary. The trick was to use minimal amount of polish on my striping brush, using residual polish to create semi-opaque, feathery brush strokes.

I started with a base of OPI Green-wich Village. Then I went in with a striping brush and American Apparel T-Shirt to paint all of the outlines and shapes. I shaded with American Apparel Echo Park, followed by American Apparel Hassid.

And here's a close up shot to show the detail. I'm so pleased with how these turned out! :)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Mermaid Scales (Glitter Gradient Halfmoon)

Hi everyone! One of my big exams is today, so the stress is really starting to kick in. It's also from 7-10 PM, so I'll probably be fighting sleep while writing it. I only have one more week until it's all over though, so that's doing a pretty good job at keeping me motivated! I know a lot of other students must be in the same boat, so I hope that you're coping with the stress alright and good luck to you :)

I said last week that I would like to do a tutorial for glitter gradient halfmoons, so here it is! I've grown really fond of this look and it's quickly become one of my go-to styles. I love it as a full manicure or as an accent nail, or in a skittle. It's a really versatile look, and always very pretty :)

I used a beautiful blue-green glitter this time around and paired it with a mermaid scale accent. I've never done a placement glitter look like this but I'm very pleased with the results. The scales weren't as difficult as I expected, and didn't take too long either. Overall, I'm really happy with how these nails turned out!

I started with American Apparel Dance for the halfmoon nails and China Glaze For Audrey for the rest. I applied loose hex glitter with a dotting tool to make the scales. The glitter that I used for the gradient is Sinful Colors Nail Junkie.

  1. Start with a base coat and any base colour that you want. Let that dry. Use a striping brush to paint the outline of your halfmoon. You can perfect the line later with the glitter, so you don't have to be too neat.
  2. Paint the rest of your nail with the outline colour.
  3. While the polish is still wet, start applying loose hex glitter one by one on the perimeter of the halfmoon. I use a dotting tool dipped in water to pick up my glitter, but you can also use a toothpick. If you don't have loose glitter, you can fish out pieces from any glitter polish.
  4. Apply one more layer of glitter around the perimeter.
  5. Use a finer glitter polish that matches your hex glitter to create the gradient. Use a makeup sponge to apply polish near the glitter layers and fade it outward.
  6. Apply more pieces of the hex glitter along the gradient.
  7. Seal with top coat, and you're done!

Hope you liked this week's tutorial! Enjoy the rest of your work week!


Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Deadly Sins Challenge (Lust): Mint Chevron

Happy Monday! Here's something exciting to share with you all. Starting this week, I'm very excited to participate with a large group of talented nail bloggers in a new challenge! The challenge was created by the lovely Alice of One Nail To Rule Them All and Helena of Nail Wish. Each week for seven weeks there are two themes to complete based  on one of the seven deadly sins. Click here to see the image with each of the prompts (artwork by Marta Dahlig)! I'm really looking forward to working on this challenge in the company of such a wonderful group of ladies, and I hope you like the manicures that are to come :)

The first week is Lust and the prompt says, "Be a bad girl and make something you have wanted to do soo badly." I have a long list of things that I've been wanting to try out, and chevrons have been on it for ages. I think I've tackled them once or twice before and they were both disasters that never made it on the blog haha. I've seen many perfect tape manicures that achieve the chevron look but since I don't have scrapbooking scissors, I sucked it up and freehanded these.

With a bit of slow, steady patience the resulting chevrons aren't so bad! The two pairs I did don't really match up in size but I'm still satisfied. I really like the ones on my index finger and the glitter really helps it, I think. To add a bit to the 'lust' theme, I added a big fat heart to my middle finger, which I'm also very happy with :)

I started with American Apparel Office on all of my nails except for my ring and thumb, where I used Essie Beyond Cozy. I painted the chevrons and heart with a striping brush and American Apparel T-Shirt and then filled them in. Then I outlined them with Essie Beyond Cozy.

Be sure to visit the other ladies below for more beautiful manicures!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

Hi all! I was itching to paint some florals on my nails, but I didn't want to go for my usual ditsy prints. After staring at polishes for awhile I finally settled on a cherry blossom print. This look has been done so many times before, but this is the first time I tried it. The resulting look is very spring-appropriate and pretty, and it garnered a lot of compliments too :)

These nails were 'simple' to execute in my mind, but ended up being a lot more work than I expected. I started off with a more 2D look, but I wasn't happy with that, so I started over using the watercolour technique. This took a lot more time and frustration, but I'm much more pleased with the results.

I started with China Glaze Kinetic Candy on all of my nails. I then went in with a striping brush and OPI You Don't Know Jacques to paint the branches, highlighting with OPI San Tan-Tonio. I painted each petal with American Apparel Coney Island. I added a drop of American Apparel T-Shirt to the center of each flower and then diluted it with acetone on a paintbrush. With OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips I added three small dots to each center with a dotting tool, and diluted that as well. For the leaves I used Essie Navigate Her. Finally I added texture to the sky background using a very diluted mixture of American Apparel T-Shirt and acetone.

Hope you liked these cheery cherry blossoms! Thanks so much for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Scarf Print

Hi! I had my first exam this morning, and it went pretty well. Then again, the course is called 'Golems & Robots', and it's actually about golems and robots on stage and screen throughout history. Feel free to laugh- I only took it because I needed to pick up another course at the last minute :P My last two exams are next week and they should prove to be a lot tougher- physical chemistry and cell biology! I've been painting my nails like a machine lately though, so hopefully I have enough drafted to get through the week :)

Today's manicure was inspired by scarf prints. Originally I planned to combine it with a nautical look, but I instead opted to pair gold with simple black and white. I tried to emulate the look of various chains on my middle and index fingers, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. I've seen designs like this that use real chains, so I might try that next time!

I started with American Apparel Gold Flash on my ring finger and American Apparel T-Shirt on the rest. For the scarf print I mapped out the chains first with a striping brush and American Apparel Gold Flash. I filled in each section with American Apparel Hassid and then painted on the chains over top. For the ring finger I sketched out triangular shapes first, then painted the stripes and re-outlined everything.

What do you think of scarf prints? Have you translated them onto your nails yet? Thanks for looking! :)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Birds In Flight

 Hello! Today's tutorial revisits an old design of mine that became quite popular. I had a lot of questions asking for a tutorial for this print, and here it finally is! This swallow design is a really easy one to paint, and only requires a few quick steps.

I started my nails off with a white-blue gradient to resemble the sky. The gradient isn't part of the tutorial, but it's completely optional. I've seen really cute swallow print manicures with solid backgrounds, one of which uses black swallows on a light pink background. Very chic!

The polishes I used for the gradient are American Apparel T-Shirt, American Apparel American Denim, and American Apparel Cameo Blue. I blended these together on my nail using a makeup sponge.

  1. Paint your nails with your base coat and then a solid colour. Let that dry.
  2. I prefer the design with a gradient base, but you can skip this step and just keep your solid colour.
  3. Use a polish of your choice and a striping brush to start creating the bodies of the birds. Paint several curved lines on your nail, and thicken one end of the line to a slight point for the heads and beaks.
  4. Paint a small 'v' shape at the thinner tip of each line for the tail feathers.
  5. Paint a slight 'C' shape through the body for the wings, closer to the thicker end of the body.
  6. Thicken up the wings closer to the body, ending the wings at a more pointed tip.
  7. Seal it all with a topcoat and you're done!

I hope this tutorial was helpful to you and thanks for looking!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Cutouts & Camouflage

Welcome to the start of a new work week! My first exam is this Thursday, so life is starting to get slightly more hectic. I'm going to keep working hard to keep the blog running though, and next week will bring an exciting new announcement ;) For now, you'll have to settle for this army green manicure that I'm actually quite fond of. I combined camouflage print, cutouts, and glitter into this design. I didn't have an entirely concrete plan going into this one, so I was worried about cohesiveness, but it all worked out in the end!

Initially I wasn't a huge fan of the camo print trend, but then I saw these nails by the talented Emma of Globe & Nail earlier this year. The less structured blend of colours really caught my eye and the design's been in the back of my mind since then. I finally decided to try it out and I love the result! I really like it paired with the nude cutouts, and the olive green microglitter in the gradient and the print really helped to tie everything together.

I started with American Apparel Army Jacket and for the cutout nails I used American Apparel Dance. For the camo print I removed most of the polish from the brush, and swiped on random patches of colour with American Apparel Hunter, American Apparel Gold Flash, OPI You Don't Know Jacques, Essie Navigate Her, and Nubar Meadow Sparkle for the glitter. I outlined the cutouts with a striping brush and filled them in with American Apparel Army Jacket, further outlining the cross with American Apparel Gold Flash. For the gradient I applied one ring of loose hex glitter around the halfmoon using top coat and a dotting tool. Then I applied Nubar Meadow Sparkle to extend the gradient, finishing it off with another ring of loose hex glitter and a few individual pieces placed closer to the tip.

I hope you like these as much as I do! I might do a tutorial for the glitter gradient halfmoons next time I try them out :)


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Up In Flames

Hi everyone, I hope you're having a nice Saturday. If there's one thing worse than doing your nails without a plan, it's doing your nails with a plan that fails. I picked out two colours and just went with it for this design. Usually things work out okay, but sometimes, like today, there are those rare instances where nothing works. After a lot of trial and error I finally ended up with these: a chevron-like pattern with a small, curved gradient at the cuticle.

I usually plan out how I'll apply the polish beforehand, but not this time, so this isn't my neatest work. After a lot of experimenting with the gradients and colour placement, the layers upon layers of polish ended up quite thick :( Despite all of this, I kind of like the design. It reminds me of the blue and orange flames on a Bunsen burner haha.

I started with a base of American Apparel Summer Peach on all of my nails, but ideally I should have used American Apparel L'Esprit on my thumb and ring finger. Then I outlined the curved chevron pattern with a striping brush and American Apparel Imperial Purple. I applied the gradient near the cuticle with a makeup sponge, and also applied the same colour along the tip of my nail. Then I fixed up the pattern one final time.

Thanks for looking and have a good weekend!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blue Moon

Hi all! Hope life is treating you nicely! The weather here has been bipolar, and I just woke up to a window full of snow. I'm not too impressed with April thus far, but hopefully things turn around next week. Anyway, this is a manicure that I did while at home, so I didn't have my usual polishes and tools. It's kind of exciting to go home for that reason though- I get to revisit all of the neglected polishes that weren't deemed worthy enough to travel with me to university. In this case I got to try two newer spring polishes and a pretty blue glitter.

I had done glitter gradient halfmoons in my "Romantic Rebel" design for Valentine's Day a couple of months ago. I decided to have another go at them with a different colour scheme. I still like the first version better, but I'm pretty pleased with these! I usually have trouble pairing this glitter with other polishes, but I think I found a winning combination :)

I started with OPI You're Such A Budapest on all of my nails. Then I used a striping brush to paint on and fill in the halfmoons with China Glaze Fade Into Hue. I used a dotting tool to pick up and place individual pieces of hex glitter from Sephora by OPI Indi-Go With The Flow along the halfmoon. Then I used the polish brush to concentrate more glitter around that area, dragging the brush toward the tip to create a gradient.

What do you think of these glitter gradient halfmoons? I'd like to try them again with different glitter soon! :)


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Fishtail Braid

Hello and welcome to the third Tutorial Tuesday! I'm really excited about today's design because I love how the whole manicure turned out. I'm actually still wearing this design on my nails as I type this, which is pretty unusual. So enough introductory chatter- let's jump right in!

I already posted these nails on Instagram on Sunday, but saved this blog post for Tutorial Tuesday. This fishtail design is one that I came up with last spring. I've actually done a photo tutorial before for it, but I decided to redo it for Instagram. I changed it up by using four colours instead of three, and I also think that these new instructions are easier to understand.

I'm very pleased with how this manicure turned out. The gradient came out nicely despite being very finicky, and I'm enjoying these colours together. The ones I used are Essie Nice Is Nice, Essie Play Date, American Apparel Summer Peach, and China Glaze Kinetic Candy. I think they're perfect and refreshing for the spring/summer season :)

  1. Select four polishes. Start with your base coat and your base colour. Let that dry.
  2. 'Sketch' out your fishtail design using your darkest colour and a striping brush. These lines do not have to be neat. Paint lines starting from the tip of the nail, following the direction and order of the lines in the photo.
  3. Continue doing this, working your way to the cuticle.
  4. Fill in the section at the tip of your nail using the brush from the polish. From there, fill in the very next section that doesn't touch the first section, i.e. skip two sections. It's okay to paint over your sketch lines, but be careful not to paint into other sections.
  5. Repeat filling in sections with your next colour.
  6. In the sections that still have the base colour showing through create thin diagonal lines down the middle, parallel to the direction of the section.
  7. Create small diagonal lines on each side of the line from Step 6 for a leaf-like pattern.
  8. Go over all of your sketch lines again to neaten everything up.
  9. Finish with top coat to smooth out all of the polish, clean up, and you're done!

I hope that you liked this tutorial! If you try out this design I'd love to see photos of your nails! You can comment with them below, tweet them to me or tag me on Instagram! (See links below or on my sidebar). And please leave suggestions for more tutorials that you would like to see! :)


Monday, April 08, 2013

Cotton Candy Cutouts

Hi all! Sorry for another late update tonight. I've been having the hardest time writing blog posts lately. It's like all I want to do is paint my nails and post photos, minus all of the usual rambling. I've been putting much more effort into blogging and nails since this year started though, so I guess it's taking a lot out of me. I'm having trouble finding things to say while keeping 'fresh'. Any advice to beating a blogging rut?

I went for another gradient for these nails, using some trusty cotton candy colours. After doing tribal print and triangular cutouts on "Hidden Holo" I decided to try out the look again, this time going for an hourglass shape. I'm not sure if I like how the cutouts look but I'm very pleased with the gradient tribal, especially the one on my middle finger. I'll definitely be trying it again!

On my index and middle fingers I started with American Apparel T-Shirt. I used American Apparel Coney Island on my ring finger and American Apparel American Denim on the rest. For the cutout nails I used a sponge to paint gradients with Essie Nice Is Nice two blend the blue and pink. I then painted a white 'X' across my nail, filling in the sections closest to the cuticle and tip. For all of the nails I proceeded to paint the tribal designs using a striping brush and a dotting tool. I started at the cuticle of each nail, painting with whichever colour matched the gradient. Then I worked at the tip, finally using the purple at the middle to blend the colours together.

Hope you like these, and see you tomorrow for Tutorial Tuesday! :)