Manicure Monday: Ombre Hearts

Happy Monday, reader! A lot of polishes found their way into this week’s Manicure Monday post! For this first-time ombre, I used Essie’s Go Ginza and Devil’s Advocate (thumb and pinky, respectively), Ciaté’s Pillow Fight (index), Julep’s Charlotte (middle), Chanel’s Provocation (ring), and Revlon’s Hearts of Gold FX. I also used Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.

IMG_39382

IMG_39412

So after last week’s break, I actually broke the same nail again and just gave up and cut them all down. I forgot how hard it is to have short nails! I mean, obviously it’s not like having long nails, but there’s a challenge in there. I can’t scratch my back as easily, for example. It’s also harder to paint them, because the edge is so near the fingertip, I can’t wrap the edges as well. They’re already worn on some nails. It’s sad; this mani is going to be chipped to hell by tomorrow.

IMG_39472

IMG_39492

At first, I was just going to use Charlotte as the base on all five nails, but I decided that was boring. I’d never done an ombre like this before and dug around in the bins for purple cremes. You would not believe the time I spent looking for four more purple cremes. Turns out, these are like the only five I had! How is it possible that I can have 1,400+ bottles of polish but practically no purple cremes? I actually did have a few more but most of them were similar shades and didn’t make a difference. I don’t like how some of the purples are warm and some are cool, but the glitter looks good over all of them at least.

IMG_39552

IMG_39622

Hearts of Gold FX is such a fun topper. I love glitter toppers and I love shaped glitters. I love finding mainstream polishes with shaped glitters. I’ve worn it on the blog before, so this time I used the matte top coat to make it extra different. I love the way it looks mattefied! The glitter looks different over every nail, but I think I might like it best over the lighter shades, where the glitter blends in a bit more. In the sunlight, even though it’s mattefied, it’s still blinding.

IMG_39142

IMG_39302

IMG_39182

IMG_39252

Essie and Revlon are sold in stores nationwide; mine likely came from Walgreens. My Chanel is from Nordstrom. Julep polishes are sold on their website and other stores. Ciaté is sold at Sephora.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: No Place Like Chrome

Happy Monday, reader! I hope you guys like shiny silver, because that’s all I’ve got today. This is Essie’s No Place Like Chrome without top coat. Silver for days!

IMG_37082

IMG_37122

I love the Mirror Metallics collection from Essie. I have them all, but I’ve only ever used two of them, and No Place Like Chrome is the only one I’ve used twice. I know metallic polishes come and go, everybody makes them at some point, but I’m so glad I’ve got these. The finish is so fun and unique, making any mani stand out. I’ve only ever worn this polish by itself, but someday I’ll get around to using it as an accent with something. Mirror polish makes any mani striking.

IMG_37202

IMG_37252

The last time I wore this bow was with another strong silver mani. I am actually really surprised by how easy these are to wear. Sure, it’s big, but it rarely gets caught on anything. It’s about as wide as my finger, so someone with thinner fingers might have trouble, but I love wearing these bows. It’s like wearing the biggest, tackiest engagement ring, except it’s glued to one of my nails.

IMG_37312

IMG_37352

In the sunlight, the metallic effect is just as apparent. It’s actually kind of blinding. The bow is especially ridiculous. Check out the flares on it.

IMG_36832

IMG_36962

IMG_36882

IMG_37002

No Place Like Chrome and other Essie polishes are sold in stores nationwide. My bow charm is from Born Pretty Store.

I bought these products myself.

Swatch Sunday: Seche’s Collage Overlay

It’s Swatch Sunday again! Today’s swatch is Seche’s Collage Overlay! This is a serious glitter topper. I’m wearing one brushed coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Fiji, and Ciaté’s Sugar Plum, as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

IMG_23792

IMG_23862

IMG_23922

IMG_23952

Collage Overlay is a clear-based glitter topper with holographic pink bar and hex glitters in various sizes, as well as large white hexes. Application was tricky with this; there’s so much glitter and it tends to clump together, making it a challenge to get even coverage. The bar glitters are pretty long in this polish and can be difficult to work with as well. You can see them sticking off the edges of the nail and into the cuticle. On the plus side, it does dry quickly with some chunky glitter texture. I used top coat for shine and smoothness.

IMG_24012

IMG_24072

So I really wanted to love this look. I really loved it the first time I used it; I paired it with a hot pink jelly for a sandwich, and it made a really great look. I love the glitters in this mix; I love how it’s holo glitter, but it’s not much like any holo glitter I’ve ever seen. The color is unique. I love the white hexes as a monotony breaker. I just wished it brushed on a bit better. It’s a mess.

IMG_24112

IMG_24132

I took some photos outside, and let me tell you, this is blinding in direct sunlight. Look how washed out these sunlight photos are. This will give you some indication of how shiny it is. It was kind of painful to look at.

IMG_23602

IMG_23702

IMG_23652

IMG_23772

Collage Overlay might have been discontinued by Seche. Other Seche products are available in stores nationwide; I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Toggle to the Top

Happy Monday! This week’s look is just one polish, Essie’s Toggle to the Top! I’m wearing three coats of Toggle to the Top with one coat of Seche Vite.

IMG_12012

IMG_12062

Toggle to the Top is a fairly unique polish in the Essie lineup. I can’t think of too many others in their core line that have glitter in them. It’s a rich and deep red, gorgeous on its own, but the glitter adds edge and dimension. It makes me feel super sexy.

IMG_12142

IMG_12182

I kind of messed this mani up with my new brush. The old brush I used to clean my cuticles with eventually became so ragged I had to toss it, and I’m still learning how to work with my replacement. As sexy as I feel in this polish, I can’t stop looking at the mile between my cuticle and the polish.

IMG_12272

IMG_12302

But yeah, I love this polish, and I wish Essie did more like it. I know they (re)released Starry Starry Night, and I failed to get in on that because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I don’t buy too much polish anymore, but that’s definitely one I’d snatch up if I had the chance. I’ve never understood why they shy away from glitter. The LuxEffects collection, while they still have a place in my heart, and kind of old and boring now. Toggle to the Top is a perfect example of an elegant glitter polish that isn’t overdone or tacky.

Toggle to the Top and other Essie polishes are sold nationwide. My bow charm is from Daily Charme.

I bought these products myself.

HPB Presents Neon Splatter!

Hello, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers linkup! Every month, the bloggers from the HPB Facebook group get together and do a themed mani; the mani can be as simple or elaborate as we want, so long as it adheres to the theme. The theme for May is neons and neutrals. For this look, I used Zoya’s Chantal and American Apparel’s Moon as the nude base, and American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Neon Coral, Neon Yellow, Neon Green, and Essie’s I’m Addicted as the colors. I actually did this post two weeks ago before I went on vacation, I’m excited to finally show it to you!

IMG_89032

IMG_89092

I really love this month’s theme, and I had a lot of ideas on how to work with it. My first thought was a watermarble, but I did that for last month’s theme, so I skipped it. I also considered the dry brush technique, but ultimately chose the splatter, because I saw an excellent one on Casual Contrast that totally made me want to try it, and also because I’d never done it before. I put my base colors down, got the straws out, and commenced to splattering. I had so much fun with this mani. It reminded me of when we were bored in middle school and we’d dismantle pens to blow the ink out all over stuff. I gotta say though, the cleanup was way worse than I expected. Totally not for the faint of heart.

IMG_89152

IMG_89182

For these HPB manis, and really every challenge mani, I try to use untried polishes, but this is the first one where all the polishes have been used multiple times. When it comes to neons, the American Apparel neons are my go-tos; they’re vivid without having to use a white base, and the product consistency makes them very easy to work with. However, there’s no blue, so that’s where the Essie comes in; I had it sitting out from a previous swatch, and it was just the right blue to work with my other neon shades. I love that the theme calls for nudes, because as cool as this would be with a white base, it means you can’t use just any neons, you’ve got to use some that are worth a crap.

IMG_89232

IMG_89282

Remember I mentioned Moon used as a base? This is why: super secret glow-in-the-dark action! I put a coat over Chantal, just before adding the splatters. I wasn’t totally satisfied with just nudes and neons, I needed one more element to make this look really special. Between the glow and the neons, this mani is like the ’90s threw up on my nails. These photos were taken in compelete darkness.

IMG_89352

IMG_89392

And these photos were taken in direct sunlight! Really harsh sunlight tends to wash neons out, so they’re not as bright out here as they could be.

IMG_88622

IMG_88752

IMG_88672

hpbpnsmc

Chantal and other Zoya polishes are available from Ulta. Essie polishes are sold at Walgreens and other stores nationwide. American Apparel polishes have been discontinued.

I bought these polishes myself.
 Loading InLinkz ...

Swatch Sunday: Rainbow Honey’s Sakura Matsuri

Happy Sunday! It’s been a great weekend so far! My swatch this Sunday is Sakura Matsuri from Rainbow Honey; I’m wearing one coat of Sakura Matsuri over Essie’s Mint Candy Apple (blue), Ciaté’s Candy Floss (pink), and OPI’s Dutch Tulips (red), as well as a coat of Seche Vite top coat.

IMG_87012

IMG_87032

IMG_87112

IMG_87192

Sakura Matsuri is a clear-based glitter topper with pink matte, red metallic, iridescents in blue and green, and pink and white flower-shaped glitters. Application was okay; it was sometimes hard to get the flower glitters, and when I did, I’d get tons of them, as well as a lot of lacquer on the brush. It was difficult to apply to the smaller nails, and took quite some time to dry. The glitter still had a bit of texture when dried, so I used top coat.

IMG_87252

IMG_87292

This is my first Rainbow Honey polish, and I think it’s adorable. I think it’s pretty unique as far as toppers go, since the flowers are the main focus of the concept, and quite a literal execution with the flower glitters. The polish is fairly monochromatic; the glitters all stay within very light shades of pink. The red accent glitters add sparkle, and the iridescent glitters add dimension. The flower glitters are always the focus of the look, and the other glitters don’t detract from it.

IMG_87382

IMG_87412

In the sun, you can see how the colors vary, and you can see the definition of the glitters best. You can also see how the glitter smudged the red polish. I actually didn’t notice this until I was processing these photos.

IMG_86612

IMG_86682

IMG_86752

ssrhsmmc

The Rainbow Honey online shop is currently on hiatus, and I’m unsure whether Sakura Matsuri is still for sale.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Belladonna

Happy Saturday! My Saturday swatch this week is Belldonna from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer. This polish was a limited edition gift-with-purchase that was only available if you bought the whole What Wouldn’t I Do collection as a set. I’m wearing Belladonna over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Ciaté’s Electronica (pink), and Essie’s I’m Addicted (blue) and with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

IMG_85992

IMG_86022

IMG_86092

IMG_86142

Belladonna is a clear-based glitter topper; the colors are primarily white and black with noen blue, green, pink, and yellow. Shapes include stars, flowers, bows, squares, and diamonds. Application was good; it was a bit tricky to spread the glitter evenly, because there’s just so much of it. While this means you can get too much glitter, it’s not very hard to get the bigger shapes. The product consistency was smooth and easy to manipulate with the brush. The polish dries quickly and with a bit of texture. I used top coat for smoothness.

IMG_86152

IMG_86222

I like Belladonna. I like the toppers that are largely white glitters with some color scattered in. The white means it can be worn over pretty much anything, and the small bits of color ensure you get a fun look. This does feel a bit like a take on the black and white glitter fad from a few years ago, but the range of added shapes and colors keep it fresh and current.

IMG_86272

IMG_86322

These photos were taken in direct sunlight. There’s no shimmer in this base, so there’s nothing that really comes to life in the sunshine. I took a ton of macros, though,  so you can really see the variety of glitters.

IMG_85912

IMG_85742

IMG_85712

ssbeglbdmru

Belladonna, unfortunately, was an LE from 2014 and is no longer in production. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers can be found in their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

HPB Presents Dusty Watermarble

Welcome back, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post! Every month a theme is selected by the group, and this month’s theme is dusty colors. The look itself is up to the blogger; as long as it adheres to the theme, it can be as simple or elaborate as the blogger wishes. I like to raise the difficulty a bit and use only untried polishes, but this month I couldn’t, because I have very few unused polishes that fit the theme. For this look, I used Essie’s Spin the Bottle, Sew Psyched, and Marathin, Zoya’s Bevin, Ciaté’s Pillow Fight, and China Glaze’s Fairy Dust.

IMG_80502

IMG_80542

As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot of colors in this dusty family, so I’m using a lot of polishes I’ve used in the past. I think Spin the Bottle and Sew Psyched were unused, but the others were probably only used once, so it’s not really a big deal. It took a lot of digging through the polish looking for the right colors; I have a lot of pastels and a lot of deep colors, but not too many in between. Marathin was actually the first polish that came to mind, and after a little bit of trial and error, I found a great combination, as well as the perfect way to wear them together.

IMG_80642

IMG_80722

Watermarbling is one of those things I want to do all the time, and yet, I rarely do. I’ve done a few marbled accent nails here and there, but it’s usually as an afterthought; when I’m planning a mani, I usually just pick a glitter topper that pairs well and that’s it. A lot of the time, I’m working with polishes that don’t seem conducive to marbling. I don’t want to use anything with fine glitters or shimmers because it may not spread well, I don’t want to use anything rare, discontinued, or expensive, and I don’t want to use anything with a really unique finish, like a holo. If I’m creating a look around a creme, I’m rarely thinking about other cremes. It’s a shame, because I love cremes; I think the glossy creme finish is the most underrated of them all, and yet I rarely take advantage of them. Even with all these beautiful creme shades and the marbling, I still had to top it with glitter. Fairy Dust counts as a dusty color, right?

IMG_80812

IMG_80882

The following photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. The colors are a bit washed out here, making the dusty colors look lighter and more pastel. Fairy Dust looks overwhelmed as well. On the plus side, I was able to get macros of all my favorite swirls. My ever-elusive right hand even makes an appearance.

IMG_80132

IMG_80172

IMG_80232

From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

Essie, Zoya, Ciaté, and China Glaze are all sold in stores nationwide; mine are from Walgreens, Ulta, Sephora, and Sally Beauty Supply respectively.

Also, remember this is a group project, and there are links below to the other dusty manicures done by members of the group. Show them some love, too!

I bought these polishes myself.
 Loading InLinkz ...

Manicure Monday: Cool Raspberry Swirl With Sprinkles

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s look was done because I realized I don’t do watermarbles as often as I should. I used Sinful Colors’s Timbleberry (pink) as the base, Essie’s I’m Addicted (darker blue) and Mint Candy Apple (lighter blue) in the marble, and Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Prototype PCFS 1.0 as the glitter accent.

IMG_81312

IMG_81382

In a future post, you’ll read about the lack of watermarbling on the blog; basically, when I plan a mani, I’m thinking about what glitters will pair best with cremes, and other cremes are rarely considered. The fact is, I love watermarbling, and sometimes it’s just so hard to find a cool color combination, and also formulas that lend themselves to the process; nothing’s worse than discovering a polish doesn’t spread over the water and knowing I’ve wasted polish. I’d been planning to use Timbleberry for a while, and I had a Lynnderella topper set aside for it. At the last minute, I decided that I was going to watermarble instead.

IMG_81432

IMG_81462

Mint Candy Apple and I’m Addicted were chosen because they just happened to be on my desk. I have them set aside for swatching some glitter toppers in the future. I saw them alongside Timbleberry and thought “Why not?”. The final outcome looks a little like a rocket pop, and more than a little like toothpaste, but I’m really happy with how it came out. My top coat smudged it a bit, but this is barely visible in real life.

IMG_81542

IMG_81592

The glitter was the very last piece the look needed, and to me, it brings the whole thing together. I couldn’t stand the thought of not using any glitter, so I picked this one. The colors aren’t a spot-on match, but it’s pretty close. Overall, I think this ended up being a pretty cool look; you’ve got the bright-but-not-totally-neon bright pink, the cool blues, and a tiny bit of sparkle. I also lucked out having the bow be the exact same color as the blue in the mani.

Outdoor photo time! There’s no large difference among the colors here, but I got some okay macros. Try to see past the smudges. I also got a photo of a nail on my right hand; I always get the best swirls on the nails on the other side of the camera.

IMG_81022

IMG_80962

IMG_81052

mmcrswsmm

Timbleberry might be discontinued by Sinful Colors. I’m Addicted also may have been discontinued by Essie. Both brands are sold in stores nationwide. Prototype PCFS 1.0 is a Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer one-off; other BEGL polishes are sold in their online shop. My bow charm is from Claire’s.

I bought these products myself.

HPB Presents: Spring Hibiscus

Hello hello, reader! Today’s a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post. Every month we get together and do a themed mani, and the theme for March is spring. The mani can be as simple or elaborate as we like as long as it fits the theme; as a personal challenge, I try to use polishes I haven’t used before. For this look, I used Elevation Polish‘s The Merchant’s Son, Ellagee‘s Breena, Essie’s Tart Deco and Sunday Funday, L’Oreal’s New Money and Hyde Park, and Revlon’s Sunlit Grass and African Tea Rose, all topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

Of course, flowers are the harbingers of spring, and as beautiful as they are, I didn’t want to do a floral mani for spring because I knew everyone else would be doing it. I did it anyway. Boyfriend and I are very into tropical plants, and we wanted to make our backyard space even more tropical, so we got a few new hibiscus plants. I snapped a photo of this beautiful peach hibiscus, and I knew I had to make a mani out of it. Boyfriend is also quite the connoisseur of Hawaiian shirts, and this look is inspired by those as well.

IMG_6568

I started this look out with two coats of The Merchant’s Son, three on some nails where it was still a bit translucent. The Merchant’s Son is a thermal, but you can’t really tell under all the flowers. I didn’t even bother to show the thermal effect in action because it would be impossible to see. I picked a thermal because my original idea was to use a gradient. I also used a thin coat of Breena — that’s where the flakie holo comes from — just to add a bit of sparkle. When you can see the thermal effect of The Merchant’s Son, it shows right through Breena. The addition of Breena was probably unnecessary, but I needed one more polish to make an even eight.

IMG_69552

IMG_69632

I did the leaves before I did the flowers, but I did them exactly the same way; instead of brushing the polish on, I stippled it on with a dotting tool. I don’t know what it is, but I’m much more comfortable with the dotting tool as a method. Brushing never works for me. I have small nail beds, and often the brush feels too large or unwieldy, even when my nails are quite long. For this reason, there’s not a lot of intricate detail in the foliage and flowers; I took a cruder colorblock approach to this. I stippled the leaves on — two colors for variety — and then the flower petals, and then the pistils and stamens. For reference, I used Nailstorming’s hibiscus nail art tutorial video. I actually picked my colors before I sought out the video, and I love that we both chose pretty similar colors.

IMG_69672

IMG_69702

This was my first attempt at this kind of nail art, and I’m happy with how it came out. It’s rough, sure, but I didn’t screw it up or anything, you can tell what it’s supposed to be. It’s super in your face. Boyfriend accused them of being stick-on nails and that was kind of satisfying. I got to use a whole eight unused polishes, that’s pretty nice too.

IMG_69762

IMG_69832

The truth is, spring came long ago to Florida. I know other parts of the country are still thawing out, but we’ve been enjoying it for some time now. That’s kind of the reason I didn’t want to do a spring flower mani, I was just so over spring flowers that I just wanted something summery and fun, something that really reflects Florida in March. Speaking of which, here’s some sunlight photos! The holo, or what you can see of it, looks amazing out here. I’m not sure if the Elevation or the Ellagee is my favorite of this look, but they look so beautiful together I couldn’t possibly choose.

IMG_69372

IMG_69522

IMG_69462

Here’s a product roundup, just for reference. I rarely do this, but I rarely use so many polishes for one mani.

IMG_69352

Elevation Polish has discontinued The Merchant’s Son, but you can find their other polishes in their shop. Breena also appears to be discontinued by Ellagee; other polishes are sold in their shop. Revlon, L’Oreal, and Essie are sold in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
 Loading InLinkz ...