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Saturday, January 26, 2013

How-To: Scarab Beetle Nail Art

Hello, lovely viewer! Today I'm sharing with you a scarab beetle design that I came up with last week but was too lazy to document. Now I've gotten around to taking step-by-step photos for those of you who want to give it a shot!

Since there are over 30,000 species of beetles that belong to the Scarabaeidae family, I wasn't too concerned with accuracy- chances are, there's at least one species of scarab beetle that looks like the ones on my nails! However, I was actually inspired by scarab jewelry, specifically Ancient Egyptian amulets and such. Anyway, I'll stop rambling and show you how to recreate this design!
Step 1.) Paint your nails a dark, irridescent turquoise color.

Step 2.) Start to create the scarab's head by following the chart below.

Left: With a copper colored polish, paint a slightly curved swipe on the upper 1/4 of your nail. If your nails extend over the tip of your finger, you can use the tip of the nail polish brush to do this. If you have very short nails, I'd recommend painting the copper portion with a smaller nail art brush to prevent getting any polish on the skin.
Right: Use a large dotting tool and a light turquoise, slightly coppery polish to adorn the top of the scarab's head. Since this is a very unique and kind of expensive color (Butter London "Two Fingered Salute"), substituting with a light, shimmery green would work as well.
Step 3.) Bust out your black striper and start to outline the head: 

Frame 1: Paint a line where the turquoise meets the copper. The easiest way to do this is to rotate your finger while keeping the striper brush relatively still.
Frame 2: Outline the greenish dot. Make sure that your striper only has polish on the tip to prevent any accidental blobbing. Then gently make a curved line on one side of the dot.
Frame 3: Paint a curve on the other side of the dot, and then join the two lines with the remaining polish on the striper.


Frame 1: Divide the turquoise section in two with a vertical line.You may have to go over the line to thicken it up, depending on the size of your striper.
Frame 2: Make two slightly curved lines on either side of the vertical line.
Frame 3: Fill in the space with either your striper brush or plain ole black polish.
Step 5.) Give your scarabs some eyes:
Left: With black polish and a medium sized dotting tool, place two dots on either side of the light turquoise section.
Right: Add some PIZZAZZ. I used a polish that has large, multicolored hexagonal glitter suspended in a clear base for this. Pick up one glitter flake with a toothpick and carefully place it on top of the black. For continuity, I picked out flakes that were the same color.
Step 6.) Add some additional detail to the wings:
With the same copper polish as before, use a small paintbrush (mine is a signature brush) to add lines that mimic the curved edges of the turquoise polish. This looks the best if the lines are thicker at the base and then taper a bit at the ends. To do this, get a small blob of polish on the end of your brush, place it near the cuticle, and then gently drag it upwards.
Step 7.) As always, seal in your design with a good topcoat!
Products Used:

Illamasqua "Viridian", Pure Ice "Fast Lane", Kiss Nail Art Paint in black, Butter London "Two Fingered Salute", Sally Hansen "Blackout", O.P.I "The Living Daylights"
Base and Topcoat: NailTek Foundation II and Seche Vite
I hope you guys try this one out, and thanks for reading!  

Monday, January 21, 2013

How-To: Lady Rainicorn Nail Art

After creating my Finn and Princess Bubblegum nail art, I began to realize that virtually EVERY Adventure Time character could be transformed into a quirky/cute/colorful nail art design. So without further ado, here's my interpretation of Lady Rainicorn nail art!


Step 1.) Paint your nails an opaque white. I've used two coats of Essie's "Blanc".
Optional: Make a sketch of your design. Since this tutorial shows you how to copy my design, sketching really isn't necessary, but I thought that showing you my process might be helpful if you're unsure of how to go about creating original nail art.
This is the sketch that I came up with- the finished design is usually slightly different from the original sketch, but putting your ideas on paper before you start painting helps A TON.

Step 2.) Gather your acrylic paints and squeeze a little bit of each color out on to a palette. You can use palette paper, but I prefer to re-use plastic lids.

Feel free to use less expensive acrylics- I just happened to have these around because my mom and I are both classically trained in painting. A lot of people really like the cheaper, Apple Barrel acrylic craft paints.

The tools I'm using are a very small signature brush, a large dotting tool, and a slightly larger but still very small tapered paintbrush.

Step 3.) Mix your paints with a palette knife (if you don't have one, a plastic knife or a small spatula will work). I recommend looking at a picture while you do this to ensure that the colors will be true to the cartoon.

Step 4.) Follow the chart below to create Lady Rainicorn's mane and rainbow body.

 Frame 1: Paint Lady's light yellow mane. As you're doing this, remember to reference your other nails to make sure that the mane looks like it flows almost seamlessly. Next, outline a space below Lady's mane with purple. This will give you an oppotunity to correct any mistakes you made have made on the mane.

Frame 2: Fill in the space. The purple should stop about hafway down the nail. You may have to apply a second coat of paint before the colors become opaque. Luckily, acrylic dries faster than nail polish!

Frames 3 and 4: Paint on a blue stripe below the purple, and a green stripe to finish off the tips. Depending on the length of your nails, feel free to include more of Lady's rainbow. Also, don't feel like you have to paint your stripes as thick as I have- thinner stripes = more room for rainbow-ing.

Step 5.) Paint on Lady's face. (I totally forgot to take pictures demonstrating how to paint the basic shape of her head, but there really aren't any tricks to this. Just look at reference photos and make sure that her mane connects to a small section of mane on your thumb nail).

Frame 1: Outline Lady Rainicorn's head with your tiniest brush and black paint, and then flick the outline of her snout up into a small curve for the smile. (F.Y.I: Feel free to skip any outlining- it's definitely the hardest part). Then with a large dotting tool, dot on a black spot.
Frame 2: With the same dotting tool, use white paint to deposit a large highlight inside the black dot. If you apply less pressure when you dot on the white paint, you should be able to create a slightly smaller circle.
Optional: Outline Lady's mane to give the nails a slightly more cartoon-y look. I prefer the look of an outlined mane, but if you don't think you can outline with your non-dominant hand, don't sweat it. 

Step 6.) Finally, Seal in your design with a high-gloss topcoat to add some shine to the matte acrylic paint.

I hope you decide to try out this Lady Rainicorn design- it takes a little time and patience, but the end result is pretty adorable if I do say so myself... GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How-To: Easy Stained Glass Nail Art

Hi guys! Today I thought I'd show you how to create stained glass nail art that you can easily replicate on your dominant hand. Most of the stained glass manicures that I've seen involve very geometric colorblocking, which can be hard to do well with your non-dominant hand. So after a little experimenting, I decided that sponging on a gradient was both easier and better recreated the hazy vibrance of stained glass.

Step 1.) Apply a basecoat and paint your nails one coat of white. This ensures that the gradient will look vibrant and opaque.

Step 2.) Once the white polish has dried, paint 3-4 stripes of differently colored polish onto a porous make-up sponge. These stripes don't have to be perfectly equal in width- thicker and thinner lines will only add to the effect.

Step 3.) Follow the chart below to create a gradient effect on your nails.

Frame 1: Line up the strips of color on the sponge with your nail- the deepest color should begin at the cuticle and then fade to a hazy blue/purple. However, the colors are totally up to you- I've just decided to use colors that remind me of sunsets. Next, gently pat the sponge onto the nail. If you press down too hard, the sponge will actually deposit less color because pressure encourages the polish to be absorbed into the sponge.  
Frame 2: Immediately after sponging on two layers of the gradient, brush a fast drying topcoat over your nails to softly blend the colors.
Frame 3: Use a Q-tip dipped into nail polish remover to clean up around the edges.
Step 4.) Follow the chart below to add a stained glass design. 
Frame 1: Use a black striper to outline the sides of your nail.
Frame 2: Connect the lines you made on either side of your nail to box in the gradient. The easiest way make slightly curved lines like these is to gently rotate your finger while keeping the stiper almost still.
Frame 3: Begin to build an intricate looking design by using the same striper to create a large X.
Frame 4: Start to make random lines that branch out from any point on the X. Keep adding lines until you feel as if you've captured the look of a stained glass window. Personally, I like to break up the straight lines with occasional curved ones.
Step 5.) Wait 25-30 minutes before adding a topcoat, just to be safe. Accidentally smearing your black lines would REALLY suck!
Products Used:
Kiss Nail Art Paint in black, Essie "Blanc", Urban Outfitters "Crowded", Illamasqua "Milf", Sally Hansen "Mellow Yellow", Butter London "Dahling".
Basecoat and Topcoat: NailTek Foundation II, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti Chip Topcoat.
I hope you guys try this design out. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Friday, January 4, 2013

How-To: Easy Poptart Nail Art

Hello, wonderful! Today I have a nail art design that was inspired by a trip to Target. As I was walking by the packaged snack foods, I spotted a huge display of poptarts, and immediately realized how CUTE they are. Seriously- fingernails are even kind of shaped like poptarts, so I figured that they'd translate into nail art pretty easily.

Now, I know that a few poptart tutorials are floating around the internet, but there aren't as many as I thought there would be, so I felt pretty free to experiment and come up with my own version. Aaaand here's the result:

Step 1.) Apply a basecoat and two thin coats of a tan polish

Step 2.) Follow the chart below to create the layer of icing.
Frame 1: Dab a few strokes of light lavender/pinkish polish on the center of the nail (this doesn't have to look neat!) Be sure to leave a fair amount of tan polish on the edges.
Frame 2: With a large dotting tool and the same polish, place a few dots on the corners of the strokes you've just made. Blend the dots into the lavender polish- the idea is to round out the edges to look like icing.
Frame 3: Since the edges will be thicker than the center of the lavender patch, carefully paint on another coat of polish to even out the "icing".
Step 3.) With a small paintbrush and white polish (or a white striper) paint on zigzags of more icing.
Frame 1: Pick up some white polish on your brush, and then place a few dashes on top of the lavender polish. These don't have to be uniform in size- any mistakes can be corrected with the second coat of white.
Frame  2: Connect the edges of the dashes with more white polish.
Frame 3: Correct any mistakes and round off the points of connection between the zigzags. I also decided to thicken the ends of the zigzag to make the white polish look more like gloopy icing.
Step 4.) Add some sprinkles!
First, use a tiny dotting tool to make small white dots on any blank areas of lavender polish. Wait for the dots to dry, and then with the same dotting tool, add some multicolored glitter on top.
Step 5.) Seal with a topcoat, and you're done!
Products Used:
Essie "Blanc", Essie "Pilates Hottie", O.P.I "Don't Pretzel My Buttons", Urban Outfitters "Afterhours"
Basecoat: NailTek Foundation II
Topcoat: Seche Vite
I hope you try this one out; good luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Review: Urban Outfitters Nail Polish (plus how to remove glitter polish)

Hello again! Today I thought that I'd do a review of Urban Outfitters nail polishes. Mind you, I only have three, but thus far I've been so impressed with the quality that I may buy more. Also, since one of the polishes is a glitter, it seemed appropriate to share my favorite glitter removal technique!

From L to R: Idaho Potato, Crowded, Afterhours

Below are swatches of the polishes. Each swatch is how the color appears with two coats.

 Crowded in the bottle and on the nails (without a topcoat). With a topcoat, this color appears just as glossy as Idaho Potato.

What it is: A creme periwinkle polish

Application: Very smooth and very opaque! I was quite impressed with the opacity of the first coat- of course there was the occasional thin patch, but overall the polish went on strong. It only took another thin coat to even out the color.

Idaho Potato in the bottle and on the nail.

What it is: A creme burnt umber/taupe polish

Application: The application was pretty much identical to that of Crowded (which I expected given that they have the same creme finish).

Afterhours in the bottle and on the nail (I have applied this to the nail without a colored base).

What it is: A rose colored glitter polish with other multicolored particles. (Glitter is not extremely chunky or extremely fine).

Application: I didn't expect this polish to apply very strongly, but even on the first coat, tons of glitter was distributed evenly across the nail. I would recommend applying this over a base color, but Afterhours looks pretty nice even on its own.  

Here I've applied Afterhours on my ring finger and thumb, with Idaho Potato on the remaining nails. My favorite thing about Afterhours is that it makes for a great accent color to almost any polish. In the picture above, you can see how Idaho Potato emphasizes the similarly colored glitter particles in Afterhours (and I'm sure that Crowded would have the same effect).


Price: Urban Outfitters nail polish sells at $8 for two bottles, but individually they sell for $5 (which is still pretty inexpensive!)

Dry time: The dry time for all of these polishes is quite fast- I was able to apply a second coat just 4-5 minutes after applying the first.

Are they worth the money? For $4 a bottle, most definitely. The quality surpassed my expectations, and I will definitely be back at UO soon to purchase more colors!

 Okay, well, glitter polishes like Afterhours are fun and all, but they're a total bitch to remove! NO. WRONG. I'll show you how to remove glitter polish with ordinary household supplies and minimal effort. However, I can't take credit for this method- Misschievous on YouTube has a great video that shows this method in detail.


-Tin foil
- Nail polish remover
- Tissues or cotton rounds

First take a cotton round and soak it with nail polish remover. Since I didn't have any cotton rounds, I improvised with tissues. Next, wrap the cotton round or tissue around your nail. Too keep the round/tissue attached, take a strip of tin foil and wrap it around your finger. Be sure that the foil is wrapped around your finger firmly- the idea is to keep the polish remover in direct contact with your nail. At this stage, you should appear to have crazy metallic alien claws.

 After waiting for a couple minutes, twist the foil claw a few times. This will rub away any stubborn bits of glitter as well as ease the claw off your finger. Usually, a few glitter particles will remain on the nail even after the alien claw treatment- just use a Q-tip and polish remover to wipe them away. Even so, this method gets rid of about 95% of glitter without the scrubbing.

Welp, I hope you've found this review and tip helpful- good luck!