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.

Manicure Monday: Red and Gold Splatter

Happy Monday! I want to preface this by saying this is probably going to be the last laid-back Manicure Monday for a while. After today, I dive into writing a novel and possibly starting a new job — fingers crossed! In any case, things are going to be busy and I’m nervous and excited. These nails look like I feel. For this look, I used Deborah Lippmann’s Single Ladies and Essie’s Good as Gold.

I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to do with this look when I started it. Single Ladies is a really squishy polish; it look three coats to get rid of all the streaks. I thought about taking advantage of this and doing a pond mani or something similar, but I didn’t want to cover the pretty metallic gold effect of Good As Gold. The classic gold and red was very necessary here.

Index finger, Ring finger

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. Splatter manis are such a mess, and I kind of wished I had some liquid latex or something. I’ve really got to invest in some, it would make life so much easier.

Single Ladies and other Deborah Lippmann polishes are sold in stores; I got mine from Sephora. Essie is available pretty much everywhere.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Holo Dots

Happy Monday! This week’s look is pretty simple. After being at a loss over what to put on my nails, I finally settled on a dotticure after realizing I’ve never really done one. This is Ellagee‘s Liliana and A Rhyming Dictionary Polish‘s Heathendom.

Liliana is from a 2015 Ellagee collection. Yeah, I had to scroll way back through my Instagram photos to determine how old it is. Before this (and now, too, I suppose), I had a pretty limited experience with Ellagee, only having polishes from collaborations with other indies. This is the first one I’ve ever used that was independent of any other maker. In a word, wow. Seeing Liliana on my nails reminds me why I bought the whole collection. The holo is so strong, and the iridescent flakies floating in the polish are so super pretty. I wish this one was a little more opaque, but it’s gorgeous regardless. I’ve got some others from this collection I’ll be using pretty soon!

The flakies show up beautifully in the shade.

I used Heathendom as my accent here because it’s also a holo, but you can’t see the holo effect in the dots. I wanted an all-over holo effect, but now that I’ve done it, I should have used a blue creme, something that with more contrast. The dots are a bit more visible in the shade than in the sun. It’s a cute look either way.

Liliana was discontinued by Ellagee; other polishes are for sale at ellagee.com. Heathendom was a limited polish made for a collaboration with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; other Rhyming Dictionary Polishes are for sale in their etsy shop (though it appears they’re on a break).

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Glitter Shapes on Nude

Welcome back! I had swatches to show you this weekend, and I had this fantasy that I could write and promote two blog posts while also cleaning my house for my birthday party, attending my birthday party, and then cleaning up after my birthday party. I will be getting you the swatches this weekend, at least. If you missed my birthday manicure on Instagram, you should check it out. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, even if it’s a little more Christmas than I wanted it to be. Anyway, Monday’s here again, and here’s a new mani! This is Julep’s Alexandra, mattified, with a shiny dollop of Lynnderella‘s Golden Lining.

I don’t often like the look of matte nails. I like them on other people, of course, but I always feel like I’m sucking the life out of the polish when I mattify it. Alexandra, though, looks amazing mattified. The pale almond is great on its own, but it’s even more stylish with the matte finish.

Trying to capture the matte/shiny here, just got glare

I didn’t like Golden Lining mattified, so I used an extra bit of top coat over the — I don’t know what to call this shape. Ruffles? Dollops? Scoops? — to make the glitter sparkle. It’s still not as shiny as I hoped it would be, like the contrast between the matte creme and the shiny glitter isn’t as dramatic as I imagined it would be, but I still rather like it. Golden Lining is a beautiful polish and it pairs wonderfully with Alexandra. I’m probably going to use it again this weekend.

I can’t find Alexandra on the Julep site, so it might be discontinued. Golden Lining may also be discontinued, I don’t see it on the Lynnderella site. I also used Essie’s mattifying top coat and Seche Vite.

I bought all of these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Orange Alert

Hello, reader! Today’s mani is a pretty simple one. I’m apparently still into negative-space manis, but really, I just wanted to do something with a textured polish that was still nail-arty, and this was just the direction it took. For this look, I used Emerald & Ash‘s Construction Season with Digital Nails‘s Spectraflair top coat.

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Road Trip collection from E&A. Unfortunately, I don’t have the complete collection, but the ones I do have have been a ton of fun to wear. The texture is unlike any other polish type; It’s a very fine grit, as opposed to chunky glitter or rough sand. It sparkles like sugar. This one happens to be Nickelodeon orange, which makes it my favorite.

I wanted a little something under the negative part of the nail, just to keep it from being completely bare, so I put a coat of Spectraflair top coat under Construction Season. You can barely tell it’s there, but I like the addition. I can’t see it at all indoors, but in the sun, you can see it’s barely-thereness.

Speaking of sunlight, here are some photos I took in direct sunlight. The orange got kind of washed out, and the color also suffers from an uncooperative camera. You can see the reflective goodness pretty well out here at least, as well as the aforementioned Spectraflair.

Construction Season has been discontinued by Emerald & Ash (though they’ve been MIA for quite some time). Digital Nails’s Spectraflair top coat and other polishes are sold in their etsy shop.

I bought these polishes myself.