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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: Revlon Parfumerie & Moon Candy

Hello everyone! Recently I went on a little drugstore shopping binge, and picked up a couple Revlon nail products that I hadn't tried before. The Parfumerie line of scented nail polishes is brand new, and although the Moon Candy line has been out for a while, I thought I'd review both products anyway. 

Revlon Parfumerie "Lime Basil"- $5, depending on where you buy 

Lime Basil is a fresh grass green color that I think will be perfect for Spring (or if you're like me, all year round). This is the only color that I picked up because I wasn't sure if I would like the formula, but I'll definitely be buying some more because the application was super smooth and very full color (I'm wearing two thin coats in these photos). Another plus is that these polishes are part of Revlon's permanent range of nail products, and come in 19 different shades. 

But what about the scent? As far as the scent is concerned, I definitely detected a strong citrus aroma as soon as I started to paint my nails. Surprisingly, I actually kind of liked the scent, because instead of being vaguely chemical, it smells fresh and not at all like a nail polish/perfume hybrid. In order to test out the longevity of the scent, I applied my Seche Vite topcoat (notoriously the smelliest topcoat known to man) and found that the scent miraculously stuck around, and after about an hour or so completely masked the Seche Vite odor. Yeah. I'm impressed.

Even two days after application, the citrus-y scent still stuck around. Granted, it had faded a bit, but it was definitely still there.

Revlon Moon Candy "#230 Satellite"- $6.97

The Revlon Moon Candy polishes are double ended, with a creme finish base color on one end and a topcoat jam packed with holographic flakes on the other. The shade I picked up (Satellite) is burgundy with rose-gold holographic flakes. First of all I love the pairing of rose gold and burgundy, so kudos to Revlon for making on-trend color decisions. Additionally, I thought that the Moon Candies were a good value for money, because obviously each end of the tube could be used on its own or paired with another polish. Yes, the amount of polish on each end is less than your average bottle, but I venture to guess that most of us take quite a while to use up one particular color.

Left: Base color, Right: Flakey topcoat

Anyway, step one in the Moon Candy application is to paint the nails with the base color. The photo above shows my nails with one coat of the base color. I was pretty impressed with the pigmentation of the polish, so I ended up going straight to the holographic flakies after coat #1 had dried (quick dry time, by the way). As with most flake topcoats, patting the polish on instead of swiping the brush as you would with normal polish application is the way to go with the Moon Candies- the particles are simply too large to evenly disperse themselves. I wasn't turned off by this, but it's definitely something to be aware of.

Since patting on the flakes deposits a lot of polish, I waited a good 15-20 minutes before applying my Seche Vite topcoat, which seemed to be an adequate amount of dry time. Lastly, the staying power of the Moon Candy polish was average- not as good as the Parfumerie polish, but not bad. I find that this is often the case with 2-step nail looks.

Hope you found this review helpful, and thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How-To: Easy Snow Flurry Nails

Hi everyone! I can't believe that this is my first post in 6 months... Worst blogger ever. Anyway, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to get back into blogging/nail art, so without further ado, I've created a how-to for these easy, sparkly snow flurries:

Step 1.)  Paint your nails with a metallic, bluish-gray polish. If you don't have a shade like this, a metallic light blue or silver would look nice as well.

Step 3.) Follow the chart below to create the flurries:

Top Row: Paint the top third of your nails white or light gray. Don't worry about neatness, because the next step is to use a large dotting tool and the same polish to create cloud-like scalloped edge.

Middle Row: Next, use a medium sized dotting tool and the white/light gray polish to randomly place dots that cascade from the cloud shape. For some sparkle, use a sparkly blue/blue holographic polish and your dotting tool to add dots in between the ones you just added.

Bottom Row: Next, use a tiny dotting tool to pick out individual silver glitters from any polish that has large glitter flakes. Carefully place them over the white/light gray dots for some additional PIZAZZ.

Lastly, add a topcoat to lock in your design!

Products Used: 
Butter London "Lady Muck", O.P.I "My Boyfriend Scales Walls", Mentality polish "Elation" (available on etsy), O.P.I "The Living Daylights".

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How-To: Funky Oxford Shirt Nails

Hello again! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm super excited to start posting more nail tutorials regularly now that my nails are growing out. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to sit down and create designs (hence the gaps between posts). In any event, I figured that the quality of posts was more important than the quantity, so the design I've created today is one that I'm proud of and hope you'll like!

To start off with, go ahead and grab your supplies...

 You will need (from left to right):
  • A light blue (Essie "Bikini So Teeny")
  • A dark blue or dark turquoise (Essie "Go Overboard")
  • A mint green (Sally Hansen "Mint Sorbet")
  • A dark green (Essie "Going Incognito")
  • A pink-y lilac (Essie "Under Where?")
  • A hot pink (L'Oreal "Members Only")
  • A multicolored glitter or holographic polish (Urban Outfitters "Afterhours")
  • A metallic silver (Sally Hansen "Pedal to the Metal")
Additionally, you will need small and medium sized dotting tools, a striper brush, and a base and topcoat.
Step 1.) Paint your nails two coats of the light blue, mint green, and lilac polishes in the order shown:

Step 2.) Follow the chart below to create collars on each nail:
Frame 1: Use a small dotting tool to plot out the points of the collar. On the blue nails use dark blue, on the lilac nail use hot pink, and on the mint green nails use dark green. (Be sure that the dots you place are evenly spaced).
Frame 2: Use your striper brush to connect the dots. Try to keep the line width consistent, but don't worry too much if one line is slightly thicker than the others.
Frame 3: Repeat frames 1 and 2 with the corresponding colors on the rest of your nails, and then use your striper to paint a thin vertical line from the middle of the collar to the tip of the nail (we'll place buttons here later).

Step 3.) Follow the chart below to create this design on your blue nails:

Top row: Use your striper and your dark blue polish to paint two reasonably thick lines on either side of the center line. Be sure to space your lines evenly and to keep the line width consistent. After the dark blue has dried, use your mint green polish to paint a thinner line inside the two thicker ones. To keep this design from being too predictable, I decided to use lilac instead of mint on my other blue nail.
Bottom row: Use a medium sized dotting tool and the dark blue polish to place a dot where the two sides of the collar meet. As the dot is drying, use whatever color you used to paint the thinner stripes to dot on some buttons along the center line. Finally, use the accent color of the other nail to add a dot inside the dark blue dot you made earlier.
Step 4.) Follow the chart below to create this design on your green nails:

Frame 1: Use your medium sized dotting tool to place a vertical row of dark green dots on either side of the nail. Then place a row of slightly smaller dots on top of the center line to represent buttons. As always, try to keep your spacing consistent.
Frame 2: Once your dark green dots have dried, use the mint green polish and your dotting tool to add slightly smaller dots on top. I used the same medium sized dotting tool to do this, and simply applied less pressure to create smaller dots.
Frame 3: Use a small dotting tool and your light blue polish to add smaller on top of the "buttons". Finally, use the same dotting tool and polish to carefully fill in the collar. Try using a stippling motion to dab on the polish- this helps it spread better. However, you could always fill the collar in with your striper instead.  
Step 5.) Follow the chart below to create the ring finger design:

 Top row: Use your medium sized dotting tool and hot pink polish to dab little flowers inside the space below the collar. I like to do this by creating a "v" shape and then adding another "v" beneath the first one so that the final shape ends up looking more like an "x". Use a stippling motion with your dotting tool for best results.
Bottom row: With the same hot pink polish, add a row of buttons on top of the center line. Next, I added a little pizzazz to the flowers by dotting multicolored glitter polish in the center of each one. Finally, use a metallic silver polish to add smaller dots on top of the hot pink ones, and to fill in the collar.
Step 6.) Once everything has dried, swipe on a layer of topcoat.
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial- let me know if you give it a try!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How-To: Trendy Triangle Nail Art

  Hi everyone! I'm back from Prague and am excited get back into my routine of weekly blog updates! Whilst I was away, I went entirely polish-free to give my nails a chance to grow and strengthen. Now they're finally starting to get to my preferred length again, and as a result I'm super motivated to crank out nail art tutorials! Today's look is a bright, modern, and sophisticated triangular design: 

So without further ado, if you've always wanted your nails to look like an Urban Outfitters bedspread, just keep on reading!

Step 1.) Gather your supplies:

The polishes I've chosen are O.P.I "My Boyfriend Scales Walls", Illamasqua "Milf", Urban Outfitters "Crowded", and Essie "Tart Deco".
My striper brush is by Orly, and I ordered it from Hautelook last month.
Step 2.) Paint your nails two coats of a white or off-white polish.

Step 3.) Follow the pictures below to replicate the pinky nail design:
Left: With your striper brush and green polish, create an "X" on the center of the nail, and fill it in with the same green polish and a large dotting tool.
Right: With your orange polish, use your striper to free-hand another smaller triangle underneath the two green ones. Mine looks pretty messy, but as you can see from the finished look, I ended up going back in and building up the triangle until the edges were clean.
Step 4.) Follow the chart below to paint your ring finger nail:

 Top Row: Use your striper and a periwinkle polish to place two parallel lines diagonally across the nail. Repeat on the other side of the nail. The two sets of parallel lines should intersect to form a crosshatched pattern.

Bottom Row: Next, place horizontal lines across the points at which the parallel lines intersect. This will divide the diamond shapes into triangles. Finally, use a medium sized dotting tool and the periwinkle polish to fill in every other triangle.

Step 5.) Follow the chart below to paint your middle finger:

Top Row: Plot out your first triangle by using a dotting tool to mark the center of the bottom 1/3 of the nail, as well as the two lower points of the triangle. Then simply connect the dots with your striper and orange polish.
Bottom Row: Use green polish and your striper to create a second, thicker peak. Carefully outline the edge of the orange polish before building up the line to the desired width. Be sure to leave a little gap for the final triangle, which you can fill in with periwinkle once the green has dried. 

Step 6.) Follow the chart to create the pointer finger design:

 Top Row: Use the technique shown in the previous chart to plot out the peak of an orange triangle. This triangle should start in the center of the nail, close to the cuticle, and should extend almost halfway up the nail. Next, use periwinkle polish to plot out where you want your two diagonal lines to intersect. Then with your striper, carefully paint in the lines, which should begin at the bottom points of the orange lines.
Bottom Row: Use your orange polish to divide the diamond shape in half, thus creating a triangle. Finally, fill in the lines with the appropriate colors of polish.
Step 7.) On your thumb nail, repeat the pattern that is on your ring finger with a different color of polish. I chose green, but you could always go for the orange.
Step 8.) As always, seal with a topcoat. I'm using the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat that I reviewed in my last post, but will be purchasing new Seche Vite soon!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful, and do tell me if you end up trying it out!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Coat Wars: Seche Vite v.s Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

Hi guys! Before I leave for the Czech Republic tomorrow, I wanted to leave you with one last post (albeit a short one) that compares two well-known topcoats. I have bought both products twice and have used them on top of various nail polish formulas, so I feel pretty educated about both. Anyway, let the topcoat wars begin! 

Left: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, Right: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
Approx. $6 USD at drugstores

 People all over the interwebs have been heralding this topcoat as the Seche Vite of the drugstore, which was what drew me to purchase it instead of the other fifty million brands of topcoat at my local Walgreen's. I can kind of see why this was hyped up as a Seche alternative, but there are definitely some key differences that I'll touch on in a minute.
First, though, let's start with what I like about this product:
1.) The price is right
2.) It's readily available at my local Target, CVS, Walgreen's, and grocery stores
3.) The finish it gives is nice and shiny
4.) The smell is not very strong
5.) The brush is nice and wide, but not too wide.
As you can see, there are lots of positives that Sally Hansen Insta-Dri brings to mind, but the few negatives that I have experienced with this product are sufficiently annoying. Let's start off with the fact that this topcoat is very likely to create air bubbles on the nails, especially towards the end of the bottle's lifespan:

If you look closely at the picture above, you'll notice lots of tiny clusters of air bubbles, especially on my pointer and middle finger nails. (By the way, this design is not my own- I followed a YouTube tutorial by the talented elleandish Anyway, I did not do anything that would effect the smoothness of the topcoat (i.e, vigorously shaking the bottle right before application or applying too much product), so I've concluded that the bubbles are purely the fault of the formula. So that's annoying.
Additionally (and most importantly), this topcoat will smear nail art designs like no other if you aren't super careful. When I use the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, I wait 2-3 times as long for my designs to dry than I do if I use Seche Vite. I don't have any pictures of the smears that occur with this topcoat because in my frustration I never thought to collect evidence, but I'm sure that you can imagine what streaky black striper lines would look like.
Lastly, I'll address dry time. Basically, the Insta-Dri is not dry to the touch in 30 seconds as the bottle claims, which doesn't surprise me and is just a gimmick anyway. In 30 seconds you can lightly tap the nail and not smear your manicure, but you will ruin the smooth surface with an indentation of your fingerprint. In 5 minutes the topcoat is usually an acceptably dry, but still feels much tackier than Seche Vite does after the same amount of time.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
$10 at Ulta and varying prices at

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the infamous Seche Vite. I realize that this isn't absolutely everyone's favorite topcoat, but it is definitely the most talked about and raved about topcoat on the internet. In my opinion, the hype is well-deserved, because this meets all of my most important topcoat needs:
1.) It's the glossiest topcoat I've found
2.) It dries the fastest (5-10 minutes and it's almost completely hardened, dry to the touch in under a minute)
3.) The price isn't hideous (although it certainly isn't the cheapest)
4.) It won't smear nail art
5.) It protects against chipping for the longest amount of time

The only negatives that I can think of are 1.) the smell, and 2.) the tendency of the formula to get extremely gloopy and difficult to use about halfway through the bottle.

In regards to the odor of this topcoat, it has a very strong chemical scent (paint thinner comes to mind) that tends to linger just a little bit. Although the smell is kind of overwhelming at first, I learned to accept it after I saw how amazing the topcoat wore on my nails. As far as the 1/2 bottle gloopyness, Seche Vite actually sells a companion product called Seche Restore, which does exactly what you think it would by de-glooping your bottle of topcoat. Just put in a few drops and your Seche Vite is good as new!

Lastly, I know that the thickness of this topcoat tends to throw people off at first (myself included). The best way to work with Seche Vite's consistency is to put one glob of topcoat close to the cuticle and then quickly spread upwards towards the tip of the nail. If you dip the brush back into the bottle halfway through topcoat application, you may get air bubbles and an uneven surface. Trust me though- after you get used to the formula, all other brands of topcoat are likely to pale in comparison!

In conclusion, the winner of topcoat wars is...

SECHE VITE (despite limited availability and a higher price point)
I still think that Sally Hansen Insta-Dri is an okay topcoat, and even a good one if you don't wear nail art on a regular basis.

Anyway, I hope this review has been helpful (sorry about the rambling, but there were lots of details to address!). Have a lovely day/evening, and I'll see everyone in two weeks!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How-To: Liberty of London Inspired Floral Nail Art

Hi everyone! Today's nail art design is a floral pattern adapted from some beautiful Liberty of London fabric that I saw the other day. The colors on the swatch reminded me a lot of summertime (or at least the summers I wish we had in Texas), so I thought it would be a perfect tutorial for this season. However, I can't say that this is a great tutorial for those of you who lack patience and a pair of steady hands!
Step 1.) Paint your nails two coats of a white polish. I still haven't bought a new bottle of white, so I had to substitute with a very light gray.

 Step 2.) Follow the chart below to replicate the pinky nail design:

Top row: Use a coral polish and a medium sized dotting tool to create a floppy flower on the top half of the nail. This doesn't need to be perfect- just make five dots and then lightly drag the polish to meet in the center. Next, use a nail art brush and a light blue polish to paint two jagged petals of a partial flower. Then, use a black striper to create two stems that poke out from either side of the coral flower. Once the stems have dried, use a nail art brush and a green polish to add some leaves at the very tip of the nail.

Bottom row: Use a small dotting tool and black polish to dab one dot in the center of the coral flower, and five more near the tip of each petal. Use white polish and the same small dotting tool to add a dot where the petals of the blue flower connect. Next, carefully connect the dots on the petals of the coral flower to the dot in the center with a black striper. This is easier if your striper polish is new and not gloopy (like mine >_<). After the black dots have dried, use an even smaller dotting tool (or a toothpick) to add white dots inside the five outer dots. Lastly, use your black striper to add a stem to the blue flower.

Step 3.) Follow the chart below to create the ring finger design:

Top row: Start off by using a nail art brush to paint a coral semicircle on the bottom corner of your ring fingernail. Next, use a lilac polish and a nail art brush to add some long, pointed petals that radiate outwards from the semicircle. These petals don't need to be identical in size or shape- I think it's more whimsical if they aren't! Then use a green polish and the nail art brush to paint a few zigzags on the tip of the nail.

Bottom row: While the green zigzag is drying, use your black striper to carefully outline the coral semicircle. Once the green polish has dried, use the same lilac polish from before to add a few slightly smaller zigzags on top. Next, outline the large petals with your striper and add some additional lines inside the petals.. Like I said before, this is a lot easier with a newer bottle of striper polish. Also, if your lines are too blobby and thick, try using less pressure while painting. Finally, use a tiny dotting tool or toothpick to add some black dots inside the coral semicircle.

Step 4.) Follow along to recreate this design for your middle finger nail:

Top row: With a nail art brush and yellow polish, paint a curved line at approximately the upper third of your nail. Then, paint some more curved lines that cascade down and out from the first. Wait for the yellow polish to dry, and then outline the lines you made with black. I used the yellow on a thicker brush before the black so that filling in the petals will be easier.
Bottom row: Fill in the white spaces that are left inside the petals with yellow polish. Next, use a small dotting tool and black polish to place a cluster of dots on the lower third of the nail. With your black striper, carefully connect each dot to the curve you painted in frame one. While your striper is out, add a few thin lines inside each yellow petal. Lastly, add some coral, lilac, and blue dots inside the black dots with a toothpick.
Step 5.) Index finger time!

Top row: With your blue polish and a nail art brush, paint a curved, droopy petal on one side of your nail. Wipe off your brush and add a base to your petal with some green polish. Next, use a small or medium sized dotting tool and lilac polish to make some partial flowers that are roughly the same shape as the coral one on your pinky. You can add these flowers to any blank space you have left on the nail.

Bottom row: With a nail art brush and white polish, add a small white stripe down the center of the blue petal. Then use a small dotting tool and black polish to add a dot to the center of the lilac flowers. Next, use a toothpick and black polish to add a cluster of tiny black lines on the upper half of the blue petal. Lastly, use your black striper to outline the petal and to add a few lines that radiate from the center of the lilac flowers.

Step 6.) Follow the chart to create the final design:

 Top row: Use your striper to paint two slightly curved lines that meet at the upper corner of your thumbnail. Next, use a nail art brush and your light blue polish to paint an "x" on the other side of the nail. Use this x as a guideline for painting on some jagged petals (like the ones on your pinky nail). Then add a green petal underneath the two black lines you painted earlier. At the tip of the black line closest to the center of the nail, use a small dotting tool and lilac polish to dab on three blobby petals. Wipe off your dotting tool to add three coral dots below each petal, and one white dot in the center of the blue flower.
Bottom row: Connect the three coral dots to the lilac ones by picking up more polish on your dotting tool and using a light, stippling motion to drag the polish upwards. Next, add some more petals by repeating that stippling/dragging process. Lastly, outline the coral, lilac, and green sections of the design with your black striper.
*NOTE: Because my striper is gross and gloopy, the last frame isn't as neat as I wanted it to be. Before I sealed everything with topcoat, I went back and corrected my mistakes- it happens! Chances are, you'll have to do some cleaning up too (this is when patience comes in handy) :)
Products Used:
O.P.I "My Boyfriend Scales Walls", Essie "Tart Deco", Sally Hansen "Mellow Yellow", Illamasqua "Milf", Essie "Bikini So Teeny", Essie "Under Where?", Kiss Nail Art Paint in black, Sally Hansen "Black Out".
Well, that's all, folks! Thanks so much for reading- hope you enjoyed!

Friday, June 21, 2013

How-To: Elegant Lace Nail Art

Hi guys! Lately I've been in a particularly girly mood when it comes to painting my nails, which is the inspiration behind this ultra-feminine lace design. Thankfully, this nail art wasn't too difficult to achieve, despite its detailed appearance. Keep reading to find out for yourself how to recreate it!

Step 1.) Paint your nails two coats of any polish that you think is sophisticated yet girly. The base color of this design isn't too important, so feel free to leave it up to your personal preference!

Step 2.) Use a white striper to paint a thin, curved line approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the nail. The easiest way to do this is to start on one side of the nail and rotate your finger while keeping the striper stationary. Stop rotating once the brush has reached the center of the nail, and then repeat this motion from the other side of the nail, joining your two lines in the middle.

Step 3.) Create a crosshatch pattern inside the curved line you just painted.
 Left: Paint 3-4 evenly spaced diagonal lines. It's easiest to paint the middle line first and then space the others in proportion to that middle line.
Right: Once the lines have dried, paint more diagonal lines that slant in the opposite direction. The newer your striper polish is, the smoother the lines will be. Unfortunately, my bottle is getting a bit old and gloopy! 

Step 4.) Use a large dotting tool and white polish to create a scalloped edge underneath the crosshatched section. (You'll notice that my polish has a gray tinge to it- my regular white is dried out, so I had to use a light gray >_<)

Left: Start out by placing one dot in the center of the nail. This will make it easier to arrange the other dots evenly across the curved line.

Right: Place more dots along the curved line, being careful that the edges of the dots overlap slightly onto one another, but not onto the crosshatched pattern.

Step 5.) Add some dotted details

 Left: Use a slightly smaller dotting tool to place dots of your base color inside the scallops. Try to center these dots neatly, but it's okay if they aren't totally perfect (obviously mine aren't!)
Right: Use a small dotting tool and white polish to place more dots underneath the scalloped edge. I think this looks best when the dots are positioned in between the dips of the scallops. 
Step 6.) Finally, wait at least 25-30 minutes before applying a topcoat. Designs like these are prone to smearing, which is why we need to allow extra drying time.
Products Used:

 Essie "Under Where?", Kiss Nail Art Paint in white, O.P.I "My Boyfriend Scales Walls"
Base and Topcoat: Orly Bonder and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
Well, that's it! Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you've found this interesting! Feel free to share any tutorial suggestions and recreations in the comments below :)