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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 :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

May/June 2013 Favorites + Reviews

Hello there! Today I have some favorites from the past 6-7 weeks to share with you, one of which is a candle- yes, I believe this means that I am now a full-on beauty blogger. Anyway, without further ado, here are my May/June favorites, complete with swatches, links, and reviews: 

1.) Tarte emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener

I bought this pencil a couple of weeks ago as a replacement for my Pixi Eye Bright liner. Although I could have saved $2 and bought the Pixi liner, I was interested to check out the Tarte equivalent since everyone and her dog seems to be raving about it. Obviously, the raving is well deserved since this pencil has made it into my favorites, and will probably stay there for a long time!
So you can see this liner's brightening effect for yourself, below are some pictures that I took of my makeup-free eyeball with and without emphasEYES.

Top image: my eye without liner, bottom image: my eye after lining the waterline with Tarte emphasEYES.
As far as texture and lasting power are concerned, this liner is smooth, easy to apply, and lasts on me for 5 hours without fading (however, it doesn't all come off until I take it off). In my experience, the Pixi liner tends to fade faster and awkwardly migrate closer to the lash line. Bottom line: I'm still a fan of the Pixi liner, but Tarte has won me over with excellent staying power.
 2.) NYX blush in Peach

Normally I'm a cream blush type of person, but this month I've really been enjoying NYX's blush in Peach. Contrary to the name, this blush is actually a lovely fresh pink color. On my fair skin, it instantly makes my face look a bit livelier and more awake. The texture of this blush is very finely milled and velvety, which makes it super-blendable- definitely high end quality for a five dollar product! Lastly, if you do decide to follow the link to, don't trust their images of products- do a Google search for more accurate swatches.
3.) Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow

After hearing a ton of hype about this being the perfect contour shade for fair skin, I finally caved and shelled out for Illasmasqua's Hollow. I've been a big fan of Illamasqua nail polishes for awhile, and I expected the same quality from their makeup. Needless to say, I was not disappointed- the cool but not muddy color of this pigment really is ideal for contouring on paler skin tones. Additionally, Hollow is nearly undetectable because its cream texture sits very naturally on the skin- definitely worth the $26! However, I wouldn't use this as a cream eyeshadow if I were you, as it creases pretty badly.

4.) Essie nail polish in Pilates Hottie
Approximately $8 USD at drugstores, Target, Ulta, etc.

Essie's Pilates Hottie has been in my collection for awhile, but I've recently been wearing it a lot throughout the Spring and into the Summer. I would describe this polish as a light, subdued pink-y lilac shade with a crème finish. Additionally, Pilates Hottie is opaque in 2 coats and versatile enough to wear to the office (well, most offices).
5.) Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
$6 USD at drugstores, grocery stores, etc.
If I had to choose a #1 favorite for May/June, this cuticle cream would have to be it. Honestly, I can't think of one drawback- it's inexpensive, lasts a long time, smells delicious, and really moisturizes the cuticles. I've been applying this twice a day to my nail beds, and within 2 weeks noticed that my cuticles were smoother and that my nails were beginning to get stronger. As far as the scent goes, it smells like pure, freshly squeezed lemon juice- no artificial tinge to the scent at all. Definitely give it a try!
6.) Niven Morgan Floral Amber Velveting Body Lotion
I received this body lotion as a gift a few weeks ago and quickly fell in love. It. Smells. Wonderful. I would describe the scent as sophisticated, with floral notes balanced with sandalwood and musk (I hate that word... musk... it sounds rather unattractive, doesn't it?). Anyway, I love how warm and luxurious the scent is. As far as the lotion itself, I am a very happy camper- as the name suggests, the texture is very velvety and light, but still moisturizes nicely. Lastly, my favorite part about this lotion is that the scent lingers for quite awhile- even after the lotion has absorbed into the skin, the scent remains, so lately I've been using this as a moisturizing perfume.
7.) Paddywax Lavender + Thyme Artisan Soy Wax Candle

I picked this candle up on a whim at Urban Outfitters last month, even though I have never been much of a candle fan (I'm extremely picky about scents). However, once I got it home and lit the wick, I was pleasantly surprised by the subtleness of its aroma. The lavender and thyme scent is very relaxing, and is perfect to have burning on lazy afternoons. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that the aroma traveled very well, and would recommend this candle only for use inside smaller rooms. According to online reviews, many people complained that the scent wasn't strong enough, which is interesting because I actually really enjoy its subtlety. Bottom line: if you enjoy strong scents, skip it; if you have a sensitive nose and prefer lighter scents, give this candle a try!
Welp, that concludes my May/June 2013 favorites! I hope you've found these recommendations helpful, and have a lovely day!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to Adapt Nail Art for Short Nails

Hello lovely readers! Instead of a typical tutorial, I thought that today I could share some techniques on how to adapt nail art designs for shorter nails. Frequently, nail art is displayed on either medium length or long nails, which leads those with shorter nails to question how to recreate the design. Personally, I think that with a little creativity 99.9% of designs can be adapted, which I've been figuring out in the process of re-growing my nails. So without further ado, here are some basic tips that can be applied to most designs:

1.) Use smaller tools
Left: On longer nails. Right: Adapted to short nails by using a smaller dotting tool, including only two flowers, and shortening the stems.
If fitting a design onto shorter nails means having to cram it on or cut some of it off, try using smaller tools to shrink the design so that it doesn’t look crammed onto smaller nails.
Left: On longer nails. Right: Adapted to short nails by using a smaller dotting tool to stipple on the white heart and feet. 
For example, if a design calls for a medium dotting tool, see if using a small dotting tool would be more proportionate to your nail size. I usually only shrink designs if they aren’t patterns, which leads me to tip number two…
 2.)  When recreating patterns, simply include less of the pattern
 Left: On longer nails. Right: Adapted to short by including 2 rows of dots instead of 3.
What I mean by this is that if someone with long nails can fit 4 rows of a pattern, folks with shorter nails may only be able to fit 2-3. Usually, sacrificing a row or two of pattern doesn’t affect the integrity of the design- fewer rows also means that you probably won’t have to use smaller brushes/dotting tools.
3.) Be extra neat when painting near the cuticles 

Left: Unflattering gap. Right: Polish is applied closer to the cuticle and the nail looks instantly longer (excuse the air bubbles).
It’s common knowledge that you aren’t supposed to paint your cuticles, but leaving a significant gap between your cuticles and the beginning of your polish can make short nails appear even shorter. Try to get as close as possible to the cuticle when painting your nails- if you accidentally get polish on the cuticle, just use a Q-tip and polish remover to wipe it away. For an even more precise line, dip a small paintbrush/ nail art brush into polish remover and gently shape the edge of the polish.

4.) For ombre or gradient looks, paint thinner stripes of  color onto your sponge

Left: Longer nails are able to fit thicker blocks of color. Right: More colors can be fit onto short nails if the stripes of color are thinner.
Although fitting 2-3 colored ombre designs onto shorter nails isn’t too difficult to figure out, squeezing an entire rainbow onto tiny nails can be tricky. If your nails are very short, or if the width of your nails is larger than their length, try sponging your gradient going vertically instead of horizontally across the nail. You may be able to fit on more colors this way. Since my nails are longer than they are wide, I just stuck with decreasing the thickness of each block of color.
Lastly, all of the designs (except for the penguins) I've shown are from my previous tutorials which I'll link here:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!