Manicure Monday: Bronze Glitter Gradient

It’s like I dipped my nails in shiny chocolate. It’s not chocolate, though. It’s glitter!


As you can see, I used two polishes this week. Wet ‘n Wild’s 2% Milk is a very pale, very sheer pink. The first coat was so sheer that it was nearly invisible. The second coat was less so, but was still very transparent and natural-looking. I’ve never gotten the point of these sheer pinks that don’t cover anything. I guess they’re useful for French manicures, but I never got the point of those either.  Orly’s So Go-Diva is a bronze glitter suspended in a clear base, and I had some trouble with this one. Before I started working with it, there was this layer of clear polish hovering over the glitter, and so when I pulled the brush out, I’d have maybe five pieces of glitter on an otherwise bare nail. I got this look by applying it with an eyeshadow sponge; the sponge soaked up the extra lacquer and still let me place the glitter where I wanted it.


I could have done a better job with the gradient, probably. Since 2% Milk was so sheer, I felt I needed a thick layer of glitter to cover the nail line, and so that’s why it goes down so far. I tried to exercise some control, I honestly did. This is actually the second attempt at this manicure today; my gradient work was awesome, but I tried a jelly sandwich thing with the pink, but I ended up hating it and took it off. I’m not especially happy with this gradient, but I like it enough to keep it on. However, it has crossed my mind to just sponge the glitter onto the whole nail and keep the sheer pink out of it.


This is a good festive manicure, I think. I never do themed or holiday nails, but I love when they happen by accident.

Wet 'n Wild's 2% Milk, Orly's So Go-Diva

Wet ‘n Wild’s 2% Milk, Orly’s So Go-Diva

You’ll see that layer of clear is gone from the Orly bottle. Out of curiosity, I tested it to see if the glitter spreads any better, and it does. I think I’m just going to pour out that extra bit of lacquer from every bottle from now on.

Manicure Monday: Hearts of Gold Over Blue

I waited until the coffee kicked in to start this entry. Best coffee is best best best coffee best.

Note the blue cuticle on the middle finger. I had a hell of a time getting my cuticles clean.

Note the blue cuticle on the middle finger. I had a hell of a time getting my cuticles clean.

This week I faced two challenges: having a polish that stained my cuticles to hell, and trying to get large glitter out of a bottle. My blue polish, Orly’s Witch’s Blue, is a beautiful jewel color. It’s dark and mysterious and dramatic. I knew the holo gold hearts in Revlon’s Hearts of Gold would stand out nicely against it. What I didn’t count on, though, was the fine gold glitter overpowering the background color, or the haphazard way the hearts landed. I did manipulate them a little with a toothpick, but mostly wherever they are is where they landed. Also, I really had to work for these hearts. A little further down, you’ll see that the Revlon bottle is about a third of the way empty. Yeah. I wasted a good bit of it just trying to get the hearts out.

I went back and traced my cuticles after I took that first photo. It's better now.

I went back and traced my cuticles after I took that first photo. It’s better now.

I love the colors in the hearts, though. Holo glitter is beautiful! I just keep looking at my nails and fanning them back and forth to watch the rainbow.





Not the rainbow.

Not the rainbow.

Orly's Witch's Blue, Revlon's Hearts of Gold FX

Orly’s Witch’s Blue, Revlon’s Hearts of Gold FX

They’re kinda messy, kinda sloppy, but I’m into it.

Manicure Monday: Blue and Silver Gradient

This week I have two fantastic polishes and a beautiful shiny gradient.If it wasn’t so gross and cold and overcast outside, these nails would be absolutely blinding.


I started with two coats of OPI’s Austin-tatious Turquoise. It’s a bottle I’ve had for a few years now, acquired in that legendary Ulta haul where I had a ton of reward points and left the store with like ten bottles of OPI. I don’t know, the bottle count changes each time I remember it. It’s like a fishing story. Unfortunately, I had a lot of problems with this color. The first coat was thin and uneven; the second did not cover or improve anything. I was only able to gain opacity when I started sponging it on to create the gradient. I was really disappointed by it, because it’s beautiful in the bottle. It takes a lot of work to get it to look good on my nails.

This is me trying to demonstrate the duochromatic properties of Austin-tatious Turquoise. It almost worked.

This is me trying to demonstrate the duochromatic properties of Austin-tatious Turquoise. It almost worked.

Shine is the total opposite. Opaque in two coats, it makes this gradient reflective and, well, shiny. There isn’t a better name for this polish. I liked the silver so much, I added a rhinestone to each nail to add more. Overkill? Probably. Pretty? Totally!

OPI's Austin-Tatious Turquoise, Orly's Shine

OPI’s Austin-Tatious Turquoise, Orly’s Shine

Manicure Monday: Yellow Lattice on Grey

I ran out of Seche Vite this weekend trying to smooth down a heavy glitter manicure, and didn’t have enough of to finish this week’s mani. I had to resort to my backup, the el cheapo LA Colors top coat that takes ages to dry and can’t be applied until the lacquer itself is dry. When I woke up this morning, a couple of the nails on my right hand were dimpled and rough from being pressed into teddy bear fur, and I’d done them hours before I’d gone to bed. This stuff seriously takes until 2014 to dry.


This was my first time using striping tape to make thin, clean lines. Some of the nails came out really well. On some of them, I forgot the order in which I put down the tape pieces and smudged a few of the lines. The dots, thankfully, cover most of those. On the whole, it’s kind of a mess: there are more stripes on some nails than on others; none of them are consistent. That, and with the top coat problem, I’m kind of just counting the days until I take them off.

Julep's Lexie, Orly's Decoded, Sally Hansen's Hard to Get (again)

Julep’s Lexie, Orly’s Decoded, Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get (again)

Here are the colors I used this week. Lexie was a little hard to work with; even after two coats, I still had steaks and bald spots in places. Decoded is one of my favorites, though. It’s pretty much opaque in one coat, dark and mysterious. I’ll be sad when this one is empty.

Manicure Monday: Red and Rose Duochrome

This might be kind of a departure from what I’ve been doing with my nails lately. It’s been a really long time since I had a solid color without any embellishments, and I’ll look at them and think “Hey, dots” or “I should try those decals” and then I tell myself to stop because they’re fine.


This is actually two colors, a semi-opaque red with a really tiny shimmer, and a rosy duochrome layered over it. At certain angles or lighting conditions, it shines pink, blue or lilac. On its own, it’s an odd color, but it is beautiful over this red.

You can see some of the other colors here. Kind of.

You can see some of the other colors here. Kind of.

Having red nails always reminds me of being in Rhode Island with my mother and my grandparents. My mother’s cousin, I think it was, was a nail tech and gave us manicures at least once. Actually, now that I think back on it, this was one of my earliest experiences with nail art. At some point, she gave us a manicure set, one complete with polishes, tools, fillers and fortifiers. I remember most of the colors being sheer, pretty neutrals, except for a bold red. That’s the one I went for, and even though I remember thinking that red was old and busted (blue polish was the new hotness and that was all I cared about wearing), I loved the way it looked on me. It was noticeable, attention-getting, it spoke volumes from my small nails and short fingers. Ever since then, there’s always been something about red nails that I can’t get enough of.

Bonder, LA Colors Animated, Orly Synchro, Out the Door

Bonder, LA Colors Animated, Orly Synchro, Out the Door

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Manicure Monday: Teal and Gold Glitter Gradient

I love glitter. I love everything about glitter. I feel that no manicure is complete without it. I love flicking my fingers and watching the light bounce from each shining speck. I love finding loose glitter days after I used it, thinking of it not as the herpes of the craft aisle, but as a reminder that there’s no such thing as too much glitter.

Teal and Gold Glitter Gradient

I am in love with this. I can’t stop staring. Between the glitter and the three coats of top coat it took to smooth it down, they’re really shiny, and it threw light everywhere. Of course, no photo I took could capture both the shine and the detail of the glitter, but this was the one that managed to do some of both.


Sorry the photo is off-center, I’m a little ashamed to post it, but I’m having a really hard time with my point-and-shoot camera. It eats batteries like I eat candy and I have maybe thirty seconds to a minute to take a photo before it shuts off and I have to turn it back on and start over. I would use my SLR, but it’s really difficult to take photos at close range, or maybe it’s just better than I am and I don’t know what I’m doing. I could use my phone camera, but it’s harder to take stable pictures with. This way, everything is consistent.

Anyway, those are the polishes I worked with this week. The main color is Rise and Shine from Sinful Colors. I believe it’s the first time I’ve ever used it. You can’t tell from the photos, but it’s got a really subtle blue-green shimmer, and dries with a matte finish. The glitter is Orly’s Too Fab, which I found in a Sally Beauty Supply bargain bin last month or so. The bottle was full when I started.

My last attempts at glitter gradients were pretty lousy until now, and I am so surprised this one came out so well.