Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling

I'm finally getting around to trying some of my new franken polishes by Pretty and Polished. Annoying finals keeping me from painting my nails :( Today I tried Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling by Pretty & Polished.

It looked beautiful in the bottle and I was dying to try it. It applied quite easily but is a sheer pink jelly so you may want to put a white or pink coat on underneath.

As you see here, after three coats of polish, it's still pretty sheer. However, it is such a fun polish.

There is practically every color glitter in Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling. I was also pleasantly surprised by the gold shimmer in the polish which is not noticeable in the bottle. Sorry for the preclean-up pictures.

Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling and other polishes by Pretty & Polished can be purchased on her Etsy store at Be sure to sign up for notifications because her nail polishes sell out quickly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nail Care and Painting

I received a request to outline my nail painting method and how to care for nails. It took me a bit to get to but here you go!

Step 1 - Remove Cuticles

Fist, lets review nail anatomy. Most people think the cuticle is the flap of skin surrounding the nail. I thought this too for the longest time, but that is not true. That flap of skin is called the eponychium and should NEVER be removed. The eponychium is important as it keeps bacteria from getting in. The true cuticle is on the nail itself in front of the eponychium and can be difficult to see. This is what we want to remove since the true cuticle can drag down over the length of the nail, causing rough or poor adherence of the nail polish.

So, how do we remove the cuticle now that we know what it is? I use a product called Cuticle Away. You can purchase it on Amazon (, however, I picked my bottle up at CVS. 

First you place a drop on each nail. Try not to touch the tip of the bottle to the nail. That way you avoid adding bacteria to the bottle

Then I used the included orange stick to spread the cuticle remover all over the nail. Since this is the first time I'm removing the cuticle, I have to cover the whole nail because the cuticle could have been dragged down the length of the nail as it grew. In repeat applications, you would only need to do the zone of new growth. Then you let the cuticle remover sit for 45 seconds.

After the 45 seconds are over, you take the orange wood stick and gently scrape the nail to remove the cuticle. You will see gunky looking stuff coming off, that is the cuticle. Once you have done all your fingers, rinse them off with water and repeat for the other hand. Here is a link to a video showing exactly how this process is done.

Step 2 - Paint the Nails!

Now onto the fun part! Here's my little trick, to help with easy clean-up cover the skin around the nail with lotion. To do this, I dip a q-tip in my hand lotion and put a decent layer around my nail. You can see it globbed up a bit on my pinky finger below.

Then, take another q-tip dipped in nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and swipe over the nail to remove any lotion on the nail. I always use a base coat before applying any color to my nails. Why? It helps the polish stick better and it helps keep your nails from being discolored. I currently use Orly Top 2 Bottom, which I picked up at CVS as well. 

Now time for color! I used Zoya Anastasia - a deep purplish-pink with a strong gold transition. I use a 3 stroke method. I start by placing a dot of polish at the base of the nail. I then spread it up one side of the nail, then the other, and finally the center of the nail. This technique minimizes the appearance of brush strokes in the dried polish.

Lacquerized has a great post showing this method -

Then I follow up with a coat of topcoat. For this I use Orly Top 2 Bottom again since it is a dual purpose polish. 

Step 3 - Clean-Up

Now to make that mani look perfect. Remember that lotion we put on earlier? Well now we just wipe it off! Any nail polish on the skin should peel right off with lotion. Easy as pie! However, I forgot to take a picture of this cleaned up mani. Oops :(  If there is any polish left on the skin that doesn't come off with the lotion, you can dip a q-tip in some nail polish remover and carefully wipe the polish away. 

Step 4 - Moisturize
Last but not least we want to moisturize. You can buy all types of cuticle oils and moisturizers, but what I've found that works the best is basic olive oil. All you have to do is put a drop on the eponychium (hooray for learning!) and gently rub it in. That's it! Now you have a prefect pretty manicure in 4 steps!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Milani Purple Gleam

I had to go to CVS yesterday and of course I couldn't pass by the nail polishes. I discovered Milani was buy 1 get one 50% off so I took a look. I couldn't pass up this "one coat glitter" on Purple Gleam.

 It is so pretty and filled with glitter in the bottle. I couldn't wait to try it and my toes needed an update.

I was super surprised when I put this on. It's matte! Even with a clear topcoat it's still pretty matte. I have never tried a matte glitter.

I absolutely love this color! I wouldn't call it "one coat" but it's pretty close. Perhaps it could be one coat if you put it on thick. However, it had perfect coverage in 2 coats and it's such a fun color!

More Gradients

Since my first attempt at gradients, I've become obsessed. They are so easy and pretty! For this one I started with a base of CG Purple Panic.

I then used a make-up sponge to sponge on Nfu Oh #61 on top. It worked wonderfully. Looks like I found a good use for NO #61! 

I chose not to use a topcoat on this manicure since I didn't want to ruin the holographic effect. That was definitely a good choice! I love the flat purple combined with holographic silver!

Hard Candy Beetle

I recently tried Hard Candy Beetle. It's a very fun duochrome glitter. Depending on the light, it changes from purple, to green, to gold. 

Here you can see the gold to purple shift in the bottle. It was hard to get the lighting right to photograph the change on my nails.

This is a wonderful color! I received so many compliments on it. I would recommend putting it over a layer of black polish since it is a little thin. I used about 4 layers over bare nails. As you can see, I was also playing with my new dotting tools and rhinestones. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Holographic Horror!

So I finally got a hold of the fabled and impossible to get Nfu Oh #61. I tried it on a color wheel first to sample it and it was the most perfect holographic polish I have ever seen! I could understand why it's $12.50/bottle and extremely hard to get. Then I tried to put it on my own nails... all hell broke loose. It was horrible to put on. It does not coat evenly at all! I had to put 6 coats on some nails to full coverage. That's ridiculous for an expensive polish. However, once on it did look pretty and has a very strong holographic effect. 

Then I put a topcoat on to protect it... it completely ruined it. In the picture below, the left finger has the topcoat and right is without.

Here's another angle showing just how much the topcoat ruins the holographic effect.

This polish can't even be worn without a topcoat. It started chipping and cracking about 10 minutes after it dried. This polish is so not worth the money. As you can see, I didn't even bother to clean up my nails because it's not going to last. This was such a disappointment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

First Attempt at Gradients

I tried using make-up sponges last night to create a neon gradient manicure. It was super easy and super messy! As you can see

Before clean up

Next time I'm definitely going to try putting cuticle oil or hand lotion around the nail to help make clean up easier. 

To create the mani I used my favorite CG neons: Turned Up Turquoise, Purple Panic, and Pink Voltage. All I did was paint the colors onto the make-up sponge and sponged it onto my nails. I did it on my bare nail with just a clear base coast underneath. Most people use a white base coat to avoid having to stamp many layers. I don't have white polish yet, so I just just did 4 layers of stamping. Covering the stamping right away with a clear top coat helps smooth the transition between colors. I bought cheap make-up sponges for this but they kept breaking and leaving bits on my nail. Once dry I was able to gently rub them off but I may try another brand in the future.

I will definitely be doing this again. I was one of the easiest and most beautiful manicures I've done! I just love it!

DIY Nail Decals

I've never been one to buy nail decals. I usually only like one or two decals out of the whole pack and the rest just sits on a shelf forever. Not to mention, they can be difficult to apply. Also, I'm not very good at free-handing nail art yet so that leaves me with few options. However, I have found 2 alternatives: stamping and making your own nail decals. I've already somewhat covered stamping, and will do so more in a future post when I get a little better at it. In the mean time, I found 2 tutorials for making your own nail decals that look surprisingly easy. Now  we can make out in in whatever designs we want!

The first tutorial is from Julep. It involves allowing several layers of nail polish to dry on a ziplock bag over night. The nail polish is then peeled off and cut into whatever design you like. This decal can be applied directly to the nail with top coat. See the full tutorial here:

The Beauty Department offers a faster, and potentially easier option for DIY nail decals. For this method, you paint your nail polish onto a piece of scotch tape. Once dry, you can cut it in any shape you want and stick it directly to the nail. You can find the full tutorial here:

I will definitely be trying both these methods in the near future. In the mean time, happy painting!

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's Like a Party for My Fingers!

Oh my gosh! It feels like my birthday! I got a couple of exciting packages today. The neon CG polishes I ordered came as well as the large set of stamping plates. I was super surprised to find my order from Pretty and Polished here as well!

From left to right: Pretty and Polished Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling, Jawbreaker and Valentino, CG Purple Panic, Pink Voltage, and Turned Up Turquoise

From left to right: Pretty and Polished Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling, Jawbreaker and Valentino 

From left to right: CG Purple Panic, Pink Voltage, and Turned Up Turquoise

25 new Shany image plates

Of course, I had to try some. I started with a base of Color Club Worth the Risque. I then attempted taping for the first time. Let's just say I have MUCH to learn! Haha. First, I forgot to stick the tape to my skin to remove some of the stickiness and ended up pulling off some of the base polish. Then, I pulled the tape off while the nail color was still tacky so I ended up pulling the neon color. Lessons learn, remove the stickiness and take the tape off asap. Colors from left to right are CG Purple Panic, Orly Hottie, CG Turned Up Turquoise, GC Pink Voltage, and CG Purple Panic.

Since I only had a semi-successful taping first attempt, I decided to mask the imperfections with glitter. Also, I just really wanted to try P&P Valentino.

And, it was a wonderful decision! Valentino is a clear gel polish with many different sized white and black hex glitter. I am so in love! It looks wonderful over both the holographic polish and the neon colors. As with other glitters, it worked best when left to sit upside down. That way I could get the best glitter coverage. The CG neon colors are actually matte. I was not expecting that, but it was a great surprise. You definitely need 2 coats for full coverage but they are so much fun. The combination of the holographic and neon polishes with Valentino on top makes it feel like I have a party on my fingers!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Warrior Ethos!

So yesterday I received Nerd Lacquer Warrior Ethos from Think Geek! It is a red jelly polish different size silver hexagonal glitter with medium black hex glitter. 

As you can see from the bottle, most of the glitter settles to the bottom. Shaking/rolling the bottle was not enough to mix it. After letting the bottle sit upside down for 5 minutes, I had a good mix. If I would have put it on thicker, I probably could have gotten away with 2 coats, but I did three. 

This polish had wonderful glitter distribution and it spread out nicely on my nails. Not once did I have to move glitter around to get even coverage. 

I have to say, this was my first indie/franken polish and I am a complete addict now!! I have never seen depth, color, and detail like this from a commercial nail polish! Nerd Lacquer Warrior Ethos absolutely makes your nails look like those of a warrior. I will definitely be buying more polish from Nerd Lacquer as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lubu Heels and Worth the Risque

Yesterday I got 2 new nail polishes: China Glaze Lubu Heels and Color Club Worth the Risque.

CG Lubu Heels is a deep black/red gel polish filled with small red glitter. It looks stunning in the bottle so, hopefully this transfers to the nails.

CC Worth the Risque is a silver holographic polish that looks somewhat underwhelming in the bottle. We'll see what happens.

Since I was dying to try both I did a Lubu Heels manicure with a Worth the Risque accent nail. I practiced stamping again with OPI for Sephora What's a Tire Jack? I used 3 coats of Lubu Heels and 2 of Worth the Risque to achieve full coverage. 

Until I put the top coat (Orly Bottom 2 Top) on Lubu Heels, you could barely see the read glitter. This is a very rich looking polish that has a very deep blood red feeling. From a distance, the glitter isn't overly noticeable but up close, the red glitter gives it a rich two-tone look. I definitely suggest CG Lubu Heels if you're looking for something dark and sexy.

Worth the Risque definitely looks better on, than in the bottle. It doesn't have a very strong holographic effect, but it's still pretty; not mind blowing. In certain lights, it just looks like a flat gray polish. This is by no means the most exciting holographic polish, but it was easy to find, which can't be said about the better holographic polishes. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Franken Order

Thanks to good timing and fast picking I managed to order my first franken polishes! I've fallen in love with the nail polished by Pretty & Polished but when they are in stock they fly off the virtual shelves! I was lucky enough to snag Valentino, Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling, and Jawbreaker. Now I just have to wait for them to arrive!

Valentino - Full Size

Pretty & Polished Valentino

Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling - Full Size

Pretty & Polished Chelsea Chelsea Bling Bling

Jawbreaker - Mini

Pretty & Polished Jawbreaker

Pictures courtesy of Pretty & Polished

New Haul!

I got yet another haul of nail polish today and I just had to share!

From left to right: OPI I Lilly Love You, NYC Tribeca Silver, NYC Black Lace Creme. Orly Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, and Orly Hottie

Of course I had to try them out. Since I had just done my fingers this morning, I decided to use my toes. Please forgive my horrible dancer feet. I tried out Orly Hottie first. This is a really opaque creme. I probably could have only done one coat and had full coverage, but I did 2 anyway. This is a phenomenal neon pink! I was also curious about the NYC Tribeca Silver so I gave that a try too. It is an extremely fine micro glitter polish, however, there is so much glitter I was able to achieve full coverage in 2 coats. This is a true metallic silver, and it's lovely!

Then of course there is OPI I Lilly Love You, potentially the nail polish I was most excited to receive. It's a pink gel polish with holographic micro glitter, mini square glitter, and flakies. It's beautiful! 

Stamping first try

Last night I tried stamping for real. It's definitely the easiest way to get designs on your nails, that's for sure. However, I still have some kinks to work out as you can see in the pictures. 

As you can see, not all of the design came out cleanly. Some nails are missing parts of the design, while others have extra dots of nail polish from the stamper. 

I discovered that cleaning the scraper and stamp off in between each nail provides the best stamp. The built up nail polish on the scraper creates a bumpy surface which causes imperfections in the design. Also, using a thicker nail polish would help the stamped image be more opaque. However, I kind of like the translucent design.

I used 3 layers Del Sol Electrick! as the base and Sally Hansen Adoring Amethyst for the stamp. It's not very visible here, but I added two top coats of Nfu Oh #39 to create a soft focus look, and hide some of my imperfect stamping.

Here's what it looks like in the sun.  Del Sol Electrick! doesn't exactly have the most drastic color change but it it does turn mint green.

Final verdict: While stamping takes some practice, it's an easy (and pretty quick) way to add designs to your nails. Even as a very beginner, I had very little trouble getting acceptable results on my first attempt. With practice, my technique will get better and at least this is fun practice!