Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Galaxy nails - then and now!

I think one of my very first attempts at nail art were galaxy nails. These ones:

I didn't know what I was doing but by golly, I was doing them! I don't think I had seem or read any tutorials but I gave the concept a go.

I have since watched a few tutorials and my latest attempt is far more pleasing:

The stars are a bit bigger and less precise than I would have wanted but the galaxies themselves look pretty good. I started with a base of 'Shruikan', a black holo polish by Celestial Cosmetics, and sponged on a white polish. I sponged a dark blue holo ('You Win or You Die' by Celestial Cosmetics also) around the other edges of the white with a lighter blue holo ('Sea of Tranquility' by Celestial Cosmetics) through the middle, blending the blues in a bit. I then went right through the middle again with the white, just a few dabs here and there at the centre of the galaxy. Finally, I neatened the whole thing up by sponging the black holo around the edges a bit.

The holo polish is such a good idea for galaxy nails. So easy to get the galaxy look with far less effort. I'm really quite pleased with the result!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Springtime jacaranda blooms

It's that time of year when jacaranda blooms burst onto the trees for a few weeks and make everything lovely before they fall to the ground and become mushy slippery messes. In celebration of this time, and in tribute to the fallen tree at Sydney University, the tree in front of which I had stood mere weeks ago holding up my graduation certificate, I painted little jacaranda branches onto my nails. Well, I attempted to paint them twice, failed miserably, and then sensibly practiced on paper a few times before I thought it looked right.

I really like the misty wispy cloud effect I've got going on these. I painted the nails blue ('Granny Panties' by Pretty Serious) and used a makeup sponge to dab on a gradient with the blue and 'My Boyfriend Scales Walls' by OPI, deliberately moving the sponge around in a random fashion in order to not end up with a neat gradient.

I painted on the branches using a striping brush and the flowers using a detailing brush, building three shades of purple on top of each other ('Eerie' by Picture Polish, 'Purple Rain Cocktail' by Celestial Cosmetics, and 'Hide and Seek' by Emily de Molly) using an almost dry brush.

The leaves were also painted on with a detailing brush, layering a couple of shades of green in order to match the blossoms ('Re-Fresh Mint' by China Glaze and 'Erratic Behaviour' by Emily de Molly).

Before sealing it all in with a topcoat, I added a couple of dots of purple to each flower using a Sharpie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Halloween nails part II ... and a footnote that didn't deserve it's own post really.

I'll start with the footnote.

Halloween was on a Monday and my real Halloween nails had been on for quite some time. So slopped these on quickly that morning.

It's the usual paint-drip manicure turned blood-drip manicure.

The thing with trying to get red polish on a black base is that ... you can't. Not really. But what you can do is use red paint instead. However, as you can see in some on the nail, the red paint dried a bit orange so I decided to go over that with some red polish and then again with some red glitter polish. It looked better after that. Gloopier!

My real Halloween nails of this year were these:

I can't even begin to express how proud I was of these! I painted the nails grey and used a sponge to do a quick black-to-grey gradient on the top of each nail. Using a striping and detailing brush, I added the trees and the crosses and tombstones with black polish. Going with the experimental theme I had from my last manicure with the spiderwebs, I pulled out the acrylic paints and painted Jack on freehand. Much easier than using polish. Also, I could scrape mistakes away with a toothpick! I used a Sharpie to outline him and give him his stitched-up smile. Even though I applied the drying drops to this whole thing, I waited about an hour before attempting to topcoat it for fear of smudging his little face. It all worked out fine, though!

I wore these as they were for the most part and then added a matte top coat a few days in.

I had been resisting the matte top coat because I find that matte polish chips as soon as you look at it but I got a good few days of wear out of these after applying the topcoat, and I only did that when tip-wear was already beginning to show anyway. I really liked these matte-ified. I really like these nails!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween spiderwebs

So, first of all, these didn't last long. They were supposed to be a whole bunch of other things but I decided to experiment with Sharpie nail art instead. I've tried that before, and though the actual drawing on of designs was pretty simple and good, topcoating it ruined everything. The whole lot streaked like mad. I tried waiting for ages before applying the coat and that didn't seem to help so I abandoned the whole thing.

But look ...


The key, I have discovered through trial and error. is to use this stuff:

I used a couple of drops of this before topcoating the whole lot, using the blob-and-push method and it worked! The possibilities are now endless!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Skittles dotticure

I had a notion that sticking to simple things would make it easier for me to get back into the swing of nail art. So, here we go again! Using my favourite black polish as a base (which is doubtless going to get a workout in the following weeks as Halloween approaches), this is just a simple polka dot manicure using polishes from the ILNP Ultra Metallics range.

They turned out okay! The holo blast of the Ultra Metallics aren't really demonstrated very well in this manicure but there is still a distinct sparkle and enough glitz to keep the whole thing interesting.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Watemarbling my way back into nail art

It's been a while. I broke my thumbnail a little while ago. I'm in the 'file them all down to match' camp when the break is more or less contained on the free edge of the nail, so they all got nubbinised and I stopped doing the nail art thing until they grew out enough to make it worthwhile. A few days after they had,  I got knocked over and broke the thumbnail on my other hand.

It's just been dreadful! Such suffering! Such woe!

So, having done none in a while, the nail art mojo left me. It goes on hiatus every so often and I really want it to come back so I thought I would give it a push with a sub-par, bubble ridden watermarble. The colours are good though, right?! All cheapie Sinful Colors polishes.

The bubbles are very distracting but I don't know how to fix that. Will practise some more and see what insights I get. Also, the clean up job doesn't look great in the above picture but bear in mind that this is what I began with:

I'm an idiot who didn't have any sticky tape and who completely forgot that they had liquid latex! "It will be fine," I thought. "I have acetone to remove it with!"

Dreadful idea. It took a billion years.

Never mind, it's all done now and even matches the dress I am wearing today!

Friday, July 29, 2016

More Celestial swatches!

From Celestial Cosmetics' upcoming 'We Breathe Fire' collection, from which I received four polishes as samples for promotional swatches. The polishes were inspired by mythological creatures, dragons in particular, and the inspiration is visible in the shades of the release.

First off, Firnen, shot under my desk lamp first because there hadn't been any sun in Sydney for a few days while I tried this on.

I know Celestial has traditionally had a particular affinity with purples, creating some lovely purple holos for various collections and celebrations, but I think perhaps it's time to give that crown over to the greens. The greens have been stellar lately!

This forest-green shade is speckled with gold-to-copper shifting flakies which catch the light in natural daylight, as above, or indoors under artificial light.

When you take it out into the sunlight, it looks almost fuzzy with the sheer volume of the holo particles contained in the polish. It's a lovely polish, and a good formula - it took two coats for full opacity.

Next up, Glaedr. Again, the first two shots are under my desk lamp.

I don't really believe in polish colours, or any colours, having a particular season, no matter how hard the internet insists to me that this is the case. But, I have to say, this shade is probably exactly what people think of when they talk about 'a summer bronzed' look. It's a coppery-bronzy colour, with gold-to-copper flakies and a good dash of holo.

The flakies disappear when the holo is out to play but can be seen in the shade.

This was also a very easy polish to wear, with only two coats to reach opacity.To be honest, I'm a bit on the fence about that one. I like the colour but I'm not sure I needed the flakies, which kind of just looked like bumps and lumps when the polish was applied. However, I know there are flakie-fiends out there who will adore the flakiness.

From a bright cheery bronze to the moody steel of Saphira. Desk lamp first, as before.

Though the polish is described as being blue, I think it is more accurately a grey polish with a blue overlay as the next pictures will show.

I'm trying very very hard not to say blue steel here ... but that is what I get from it. A light steel-grey with a blue glow. Like that thing that I am trying not to say.

It's a great colour, though perhaps lacking the volume of holo I would generally prefer. It's also slightly less pigmented than the other polishes, requiring three coats to achieve full opacity.

If you love this, and of course you do, get it immediately. There is a good chance that there may not be a second batch due to a shortage of the pigment used.

And finally, Shruikan.

My teenage self is positively giddy right now! Black! AND sparkly! Like my soul!

Celestial has had a black holo polish before, 'Silent Night', but it may need to be demoted to 'Silent Approaching Dawn' after this. This is a much darker black base and the holo has much more impact.

In the shade, the flakies suspended in the polish are visible, shifting green-to-blue and bronze-to-copper.

In the sun, well, the holo does its thing. How perfect would this be as a base for galaxy nail art? Very, is the answer. Very.

It is also on the thinner end of the spectrum, taking as it did three coats to achieve opacity. But those extra layers actually help to create a fair bit of depth with the flakies, so I'm not sure that I mind too much.

That's that! Perhaps I will go listen to some My Chemical Romance now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Got to catch them all ... !

I'm in the library, with the worst overhead lighting. The picture isn't brilliant but it will do for now, at least until I see daylight again and perhaps add more pictures to the end of this post.

The polishes are all Pretty Serious cremes and the whole thing took a while because of drying times. For the pokeballs, I painted the nails white, waited for that to dry and then taped off the lower half to add the red to the upper half. Once dry, I freehanded the black stripes with a small nail art brush, adding a black blob with a doting tool. After that dried, I went back in with a slightly smaller dotting tool and added the white inside the black circle. Then more waiting before a thick topcoat.

Pikachu was an afterthought and really looks like it, too. I'm not going to bother writing how I did that as the end product is not great. Suffice to say it was mostly dotting tools and a small detailing brush.

Off to catch some more!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Vampy gradient

Well, vampy fairy, maybe.

The gradient, a simple two colour one, was actually not very noticeable at all except in bright light. The purple is a teeny bit darker than it perhaps ought to have been. But pretty subtle is still pretty. As these were weekend nails, they got fairy-dusted up with ILNP's 'My Private Rainbow (X)' holo top coat.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Punning it up with Celestial's Pun-Tastic range

Who doesn't love a good pun?!

Me. That's who. Me. Puns make me cringe and shudder and wail and that only seems to encourage the sadistic punsters in my life. And now even polish is turning against me! Luckily, they are great colours, so that eases the pain somewhat, I suppose. 

Let's begin with 'Irr-Elephant', grimacing quickly at the name and moving on!

Direct sunlight

This is a bright candy pink. Barbie pink. PINK pink. SO PINK. I'm not much of a pink person, mostly because the colour clashes with my skin tone so much. Objectively, I know this is a pretty colour but it is overwhelming on me in a way that it would not be for many other people.

Lamp light

It has vivid holo throughout and sparkles merrily in the sun. In the shade, as the next picture will show, there is still a lot of cuteness as there are silver flakies scattered through the polish.

Natural light

The colour is a bit overwhelming on me as a block but I was determined to make it work - and I think I did. Polka dots make everything better:

Seen here working some 80s vibes with 'Silent Night', an older Celestial black holo polish. Pink pink, hot pink, 80s pink. I totally get this one now!

Moving on! 'Don't Listen, He's Lion' is a green holo with scattered bronze-copper flakies that lend a pretty great effect of a speckled dragon egg in the shade.

Natural light

These speckles take a back seat in the sun as the polish just comes alive!

Direct sun

There are echoes of 'Unicorn Fields' in this polish in the golden sheen, though this is a much lighter green.

 Lamp light

And the best news? Despite glittery flakes through the polish, it was a cinch to remove! No scrubbing, no foil. Easy peasy.

Onwards to 'I Don't Give a Fox'. 

Direct sun

So pretty. A beautiful holo that shifts colour dramatically from an indigo-leaning blue to an turquoise aqua hue and everything in between.

Lamp light

Natural light

It is similar to my favourite of these swatches, the topaz-like 'Freaking Meow T'.

 Direct sunlight

Freaking gorgeous. Words defyingly gorgeous. Words making-upingly gorgeous.

Indirect sunlight

Lamp light

Natural light

It's just so pretty! And that was the lot for this round of swatches! Bye!