Manicure Monday: Radiant Gradient (What’s Green is Gold is Green Again)

Happy Monday, reader! I have to preface this post by stating that I’m aware this isn’t my best work. I’m new to using nail vinyls and I’m still learning how to use them. I thought I’d given my polish enough to time to dry, but the vinyl still pulled a lot of it up, and I tried to paint it back on, and that’s why it’s a little messy. If any of you are seasoned nail vinylists, give me your tips! Anyway, for this look, I used a base of China Glaze’s Rare and Radiant, and the gradient is Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Too Many Misters and We’re Vincible. The vinyl is the Zig Zag Zip design from Ribbits Stickits.

I started with the base of Rare and Radiant. I love this polish because it has such a dramatic shift, but I always have a hard time using them as a base for nail art because of it. It’s always easier to throw some glitter on top, which was what I almost did, but I decided to challenge myself. I almost feel a little bad for covering it up.

Working my way through my Indie Shop haul has been fantastic. I’m trying so many new things! I’m trying not to use my vinyls up right away, but I’m really excited about having them. I’m just going to need to get better at using them. I was sure an hour between applying the base and sticking the vinyl on would be enough; that’s how long I wait when I use Scotch tape and I rarely have my polish come up with that. I’ll do better next time for sure. My gradient turned out well, at least. BEGL cremes are becoming my new favorites!

China Glaze is sold in stores; this bottle is from Sally Beauty Supply. BEGL polishes are sold in their online shop, which is currently on hiatus. Ribbits Stickits vinyls are available on their website.

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Desert Gradient

Happy Monday, reader! I’ve been in the mood for nail art, so here’s some nail art! And really I mean that I finally remembered to buy some sponges so I can do some gradients. I’ve missed them! For this look, I used Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Thrill Me to the Marrow (pale pink) and Robo-Aggression (gray), Pepper Pot Polish‘s The Big Fuzz (peach), and Elevation Polish‘s Sample JY #26 (glitter).

For the gradient, I put down two coats of Thrill Me to the Marrow, then started a three-color gradient, only my nails are too short for three colors to really show up. You can see there’s a faint bit of coolness at the bottom near the cuticle that immediately fades into warmth from The Big Fuzz. In a way, it actually turned into something cool, but I’m still a little sad it didn’t get more visibility. The Big Fuzz and Robo-Aggression worked pretty well here; the peach was a little on the sheer side and I worried about how well it would show up, but it did the job. Robo-Aggression is a gray creme rockstar.

Sample JY #26 is the main polish I wanted to use, and it’s a pretty typical Elevation topper. I’m a huge fan of the metallic round glitters they use; they remind me of coins. The polish has three different colors of them: gold, silver, and copper, as well as black and white hexes and squares. It’s the perfect topper for this gradient.

The BEGL shop is still on hiatus, but plans to return soon. The Big Fuzz was an Indie Shop Atlanta exclusive; other Pepper Pot Polishes can be found in their etsy shop. Sample JY #26 was a prototype; other Elevation polishes are available in their online shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Silver Splatter

Happy Monday! Over the weekend, I attended The Indie Shop Atlanta, and today, I’m not using any of the polishes I bought. I had a great time at the event, and I posted my haul photos on Instagram; I hope to get a more detailed post about the event up this week. For today’s look, I used Butter London’s Bumster, Essie’s Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low, and Julep’s Braiden. I also used liquid latex for the first time today, more about that later.

Before I started today’s look, I really didn’t know where I was going with it until I started, I just knew I’d be using some silver over a nude base. Bumster is a great neutral; I’m a huge fan of these neutrals that lean a lit yellow or green, they’re just the slightest bit ugly. I wish I used these shades more.

I don’t know why I thought silver for this, other than I thought the shine and shimmer would look amazing with the neutral creme. I’m also not sure why I went for a splatter mani, but I kind of like where it went. I didn’t originally plan to use Braiden, but Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low didn’t add enough contrast.

Here’s where the liquid latex comes in. Over the weekend, I bought my first bottle of the stuff from Ribbits Stickits. I put it around each cuticle and extended it down to my knuckle, because I’ve done this before and I know the mess it makes. I wasn’t a fan of the smell. I did a second coat, because I’d heard in passing that this makes it easier to peel off. It ended up sticking my fingers together and peeling off prematurely. Also most of the mess ended up getting on the parts of me that weren’t covered, like my palms and wrists. This was a messier-than-usual splatter, and got polish on everything on my desk, from my computer monitor, my phone, my clothes, you name it. Despite everything, liquid latex is the game-changer everyone told me it was going to be.

Butter London, Essie, and Julep polishes are sold in stores. Ribbits Stickits liquid latex is sold in their online shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Reverse Monet

Happy Monday, reader! My look today is an experiment; I’m using a fan brush for nail art for the first time ever! I bought a cheap drugstore nail art kit just for the fan brush in it, and I’ve finally gotten around to using it. For this look, I used a faded bottle of Sinful Colors’s Dream On, Kleancolor’s Neon Orange, and Island Girl’s Aloha Paradise.

I started this look off with a good base of Dream On. Like I said, this polish faded dramatically. It was once a vibrant neon purple that became the coral you (kind of) see here. Even when I got this polish, I wasn’t a huge fan of it; it takes all of three coats to cover all the streaks and leaves behind a cheap-looking flat finish. I love Sinful Colors polishes to death but this one was never my favorite.

I originally didn’t include Aloha Paradise in this look, but ultimately, the look needed something for contrast. Dream On and Neon Orange are both on the sheer side; obviously the coverage builds, but for nail art, something with good coverage is ideal. It didn’t look like anything without the teal to liven it up. After that, I just kind of brushed the polish back and forth over the nail until I started getting dry brush strokes. It looks amazing up close like this when you can see the brushy details, but from far away, it just looks like a brown mess.

Sinful Colors and Kleancolor are sold in stores. I found Island Girl in Hawaii.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Light and Magic

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s look was an experiment in combining matte and glossy finishes to create some texture, and I think I did well. My polish here is Monster Polish‘s What’s Wrong With This Jumper?; I used Seche Vite for the glossy elements.

I swatched this polishes ages ago, and I swore that when I did a proper manicure with it, I would take advantage of its natural matte finish. It’s a beautiful polish either way, so I thought doing this would give it the best of both worlds; you get the most holo on the shiny parts, but the matte softens it. This is the kind of nail art this polish was meant for (though maybe not this execution).

Unfortunately, this has already started to chip. I should have used a coat of top coat before the last coat, and ultimately, before I added the nail art, but I’m running low and need to conserve what little I have. I definitely plan to try this again in the future with another beautiful matte polish.

In the shade. The contrast between gloss and matte is most evident here.

Monster Polishes are for sale in their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Glitter Crack

Happy Monday, reader! Remember crackle polishes? Today I dug out an old polish, one of my first-ever China Glazes and one that crackles, no less. Sometimes I forget how long I’ve been doing this nail polish thing, and this polish comes as a stark reminder. This is China Glaze’s Gleam Me Up with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Lighthouse on the Lake.

Lighthouse on the Lake, this beautiful deep blue creme, has been a big player in my collection recently. I’ve used it as undies for glitter swatches and nail art, and it always looks great with whatever I pair it with. That’s really true for every BEGL creme, but this is the one I’ve used most often.

I can never get good macros on cloudy days.

Gleam Me Up is blue glitter crackle madness. I don’t even hate this polish. The glitter is dense enough that the crackle effect is crisp, but lets enough of the base color through so that everything is uniform. Honestly, it’s a fun combo. I kind of want to get some other crackles out to see what I’ve been missing.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available from their online shop; BEGL is currently on hiatus while the maker is on maternity leave (!!!). China Glaze polishes are sold in stores.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Golden Surprise

Welcome back, reader! It’s Monday, and I have some nail art for you. At least, if you can see it. I’ve had a string of these tone-on-tone manis that were all fails; the most recent before today was this silver-on-silver look I wore over the weekend, a look that worked in my head but looked completely different on my nails. This is Enchanted Polish‘s Good Life with Literary Lacquers‘s I Heard the Bells.

Good Life is an excellent polish. It’s such a strong gold polish, it’s got a strong holo, and it has this gold-to-green shift that completely changes the tone of the polish. It’s this cool-toned shift that makes the nail art visible. I did a few criss-crosses with striping tape, hoping the difference between glitter and holo would create some distinctive lines. There’s not enough contrast without the shift.

The art got a little messed up on the ring finger. I’m a little grateful you can’t see it.

In the shade.

I Heard the Bells is a pretty wonderful polish too. It’s full of fine glitters, but doesn’t dry with a texture, and it’s actually pretty easy to take off. I always get this polish out around the holidays — it is a holiday exclusive, after all — and incorporate it into a Christmas mani, but since I had it sitting out, I couldn’t resist using it. It’s a shame you can’t really see it here.

Enchanted Polishes are sold in their online shop. Literary Lacquers are sold on etsy.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Low-Key Celebration

Happy new year, reader! I’ve got my first manicure of the year, and my hands are so cold I barely got it done. Seriously, I’m so cold, my hands are wrinkly. For this look, I used Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Flash Forward Fantasy with Nails Inc.’s Princes Gardens.

This is a pretty basic look, and I think my nail game is off to a good start this year. Of course, it’s cold and dark outside, which means I couldn’t show you the gorgeous shift in the base polish, but I love that it’s almost a mannequin polish on me. I like that the glitter went on without overpowering the base shade, which is definitely a plus on short nails like these. I don’t have a lot to say about this look. I’m so cold.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available from their online shop. Nails Inc. is sold in stores.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Cognac Sparkle

Happy Monday, reader! It’s been too long since my last post. I knew November would be a busy month for me; all in this month, I’ve gotten a job, written a novel (almost done!) and cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner. I knew something was going to have to give to get everything done, and unfortunately, it ended up being the blog. I’ve got lots of swatches to catch up on — I’ve been painting, just not posting — so I’ll have lots of content coming up. Some of it’s from when my nails were still long and pretty (rip).

Today’s look was done with Butter London’s Tea and Toast, OPI’s Muppets World Tour, and Orly’s French Tip Guides.

I have this thing about Tea and Toast, like it’s the ugliest color in the bottle, but I absolutely love it on my nails. It’s really stylish, but I always have this apprehension before I put it on, like I’m about to do something terrible, but it always comes out lovely.

I picked Muppets World Tour for this look because I wanted something that would still have a lot of shine without covering the base too much. As it turns out, this polish had more glitter in it than I expected, and it’s hard to see the half-moon and naked nail underneath. On the whole, though, I like the look. It sort of looks like a gradient instead of a half-moon, and glitter is the best. No arguments here.

Unfortunately, I think both these shades are discontinued. Butter London and OPI are both easy to find in stores.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Cold Blue Hearts

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s mani was my first successful-ish look with vinyls. I had a sheet of tiny heart vinyls, and it’s been so long since I got them that the company who made them has since closed up. The first time I tried to use them, I messed up and just did not get a good look. I messed up this time, too, but not as badly. For this look, I used Ellagee‘s Cyrena and Sweet Heart Polish‘s Summer Breeze.

Cyrena is a sister polish to Liliana, which I wore recently and loved. This is a cooler icy blue version, complete with the same iridescent flakies, strong holo, and jelly-like opacity. Summer Breeze is about the same color, but with more pigmentation and less holo. I wanted a look that was more or less light blue monochrome. I think I got it pretty close.

So, about the vinyls. I don’t know if it’s because the cutouts were so small, or because my nails are small, but I had a really hard time getting good crisp lines, especially at the tips of the nails where they narrow and curl up on themselves. For the most part, you can tell the hearts are hearts, and only a few look blobby. This is because I added the tips to cover all the ones at the tips that were less defined. I freehanded the tips, and they’re a little sloppy, especially on the right hand, but I can deal with it.

Cyrena has been discontinued by Ellagee; other Ellagee polishes are available on their website. Summer Breeze was a box exclusive and is no longer for sale; other Sweet Heart Polishes are sold on etsy.

I bought these polishes myself.