Friday, September 27, 2013

Striping Tape Multicolored Nails

Arden: Hey everyone!  Today's prompt in the 33 Day Challenge is "tape manicure."  I originally was going to do a manicure that involved regular Scotch tape, but then I saw this design on Pinterest and just had to try it out!

I started with one coat of L'Oreal All in One Base coat, and then painted two coats of Sally Hansen White Out.  I added a coat of Essie Good to Go to help my nails dry faster, and then applied striping tape in a random, vaguely spiderweb-like pattern.  I think I used 4-5 pieces of striping tape per nail.

I then cut up a makeup sponge into a bunch of little pieces (one for every color I would be using).  I took the first color I was going to use, dabbed a bit on a piece of junk mail (wax paper or aluminum foil also work well), dipped a piece of sponge in it, and sponged a tiny amount on each nail.  I repeated the process for each color.  When I was done, I removed the tape with tweezers and followed up with a top coat.

Colors used:
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pink Blink
CoverGirl Boundless Color Fuchsia Girl
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening
Essie Mint Candy Apple
Color Club London Calling
Essie Butler Please
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Lacey Lilac

I think these turned out AMAZING.  I freaking love them, they might be my most favorite nails I've ever done (I know I say that kind of a lot).  I just loved the sponged nature of the rainbow colors, and how crisp the tape lines look in comparison to the smudginess of the colors.

This was also not that difficult to do-- sponging on colors was great because if I messed up, I could just sponge something else on top of it and no one could tell.  The most time-consuming part of this manicure was applying all of the striping tape (as it always is with striping tape manicures).  The rest was super user-friendly!

What do you guys think of this manicure?  Let me know in the comments!

If you haven't entered our giveaway yet, you should do it!  You can see all the rules and prizes here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, be sure to check out all of the other people who are participating in the 33DC below!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Saran Wrap Nails: New Method

Arden: Hi friends!  Today I'm bringing you a new twist on the Saran wrap nails we've done before.  In our earlier attempts (here and here) we used the method where you paint on color A, wait for it to completely dry, paint on color B, and then immediately dab at it with Saran wrap to remove some of it and create a marble pattern of the two colors.

Well, when I started out doing this manicure, I was going to use that method again.  I started with a base coat and then two coats of Zoya Dove.

I applied a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat (remember, Essie top coats don't play nice with Zoya polishes!) and waited for it to dry completely.  Then I painted on a coat of Zoya Monica and went to dab at it with my Saran wrap.

I didn't take pictures, but take my word for it: it did NOT look good.  I think it basically took off too much of the Monica and spread it out all over the nail, so the whole thing just looked like a purplish gray blob.  I had recently read about another method for Saran wrap nail art, and decided I'd give that a try to see if it could salvage the situation.

I took a small ball of Saran wrap, dipped it in a bit of the purple nail polish, and dabbed it on gently.  It looked ok, so I did it on the rest of my nails.  I decided to add a bit of dimensionality, so I repeated the same process using Zoya Mira.  Then I felt like too much of the grey had been covered up, so I dabbed on a little more Dove.  (Obviously, you can tell this process could continue indefinitely.)  I ultimately decided I got a good mix of colors and finished with another coat of Sally Hansen top coat.

The result:

These look pretty cool, right?  I love how this method allows you to use more than two colors, so you can get a very different kind of marbled look.  I love it!

Now that I've discovered this Saran wrap marbling technique, I can't stop doing it!  Look for it to appear in future nail art endeavors.

What do you think?  Prefer this kind of marbling to the original Saran wrap method?  (I can attest that it is more forgiving-- if you mess up you can just keep dabbing on more colors!)  Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

33DC My Most Used Color Polish + 100th Post Giveaway!

Hey y'all! It's Lisl!  So it's the second day of the 33 Day Challenge that Arden introduced on Monday. Today's theme was "Your Most Used Color Polish," which was a bit of a toughie for me because I don't actually know which one that is.   So, instead I went with two colors that I am pretty sure I use very very often:  Butter London Blagger (my favorite blue polish evar) and China Glaze Make an Entrance.

Plus, Blagger seemed very appropriate because our 100th post giveaway is going live today and we're giving away Butter London Blagger, as well as Julep Bunny and Julep's Oxygen Nail Treatment!  Jump through to the rest of the post to find out more about the giveaway and enter!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blue Waterfalls

Arden: Hey everyone!  I'm emulating the Nailasaurus' new favorite nail art technique again today!  I've already done a colorful (feathery) version as well as a green (wormy) version, but today I decided to try out a monochromatic striped look, much like the Nailasaurus' original blue waterfall.

[I think this post is going to be very picture-heavy and not terribly explanatory, so if you'd like more details on how to do this pattern yourself, follow the Nailasaurus' tutorial here.]

I started with a base coat, and then added two coats of CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant glosstini Blue Hawaiian.  I then used one of the striper brushes from our MASH nail art brush set to add stripes on top in a variety of blue shades.  I started at the base of my nail, and brushed upward (as straight as I could) toward the tip.

Colors used in the stripes:
Essie Midnight Cami
Essie Blue Rhapsody
Essie Butler Please
Essie Beach Bum Blu
Zoya Liberty
Julep Tracy

I'm not gonna lie-- I wasn't too thrilled with these nails until I added Liberty and Tracy-- two colors that are texture polishes that are packed with glittery goodness.  With a top coat added on top at the end you couldn't tell at all that they were textured, and their glittery-ness (that really needs to be a word) really kicked this manicure up a notch.  It made me want to get more glittery polishes to add that little bit of kick to my nail art designs all the time!

What do you think?  Have you tried out the waterfall look yet?  Hit us up in the comments!

Monday, September 23, 2013

33DC Dots + September Julep Maven Box + 100th Post!!

Arden: Hi friends!  This is our 100th post!  So exciting!  To celebrate, we will be hosting a nail polish giveaway soon-- stay tuned for details!

Today we start the 33 Day Challenge, which organized through the Facebook group Crumpet's Nail Tarts.  For the next several months, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we will be featuring nail art according to that day's assigned "challenge" theme.  In case it wasn't obvious, there are 33 challenges!

Today's theme was "dots."  Lots of different places to go with that!  I chose to do another fading dot manicure (be sure to check out the original and the sparkly bridal version as well!).  In keeping with my habit of not getting around to posting about my monthly Julep Maven box until the next month's box is almost on its way, today's nail art is featuring the two colors I received in my September box: Julep's Florence (light tan nude creme) and Padma (dark violet creme).

Full disclosure: I previously entered this manicure in Julep's monthly #MyMaven contest, which is why I chose to use both colors from my box together.  I'm not sure I would've otherwise paired these colors.  They don't look terrible, but probably wouldn't have been my first choice.

I started with my trusty L'Oreal All in One base coat, then painted on two coats of Florence.  I realllllly like Florence, guys, way more than I thought I would.  I didn't have anything else like it in my collection, and it really is a great flesh-colored polish.  The perfect neutral!

Then I sponged on a gradient of Florence and Padma on top.  These colors blended together pretty well in the gradient.  Next, I used a dotting tool to add dots on top of each gradient, alternating the color of each.  I love how the gradient base makes the dots look like they fade out.  This is by far one of my more favorite dot pattern to do!

I finished up with a coat of Essie Good to Go top coat, and then, exactly as promised, I was good to go!  (Though I did have some trouble with the dark purple dots streaking--- ugh!  I probably should've waited longer for the dots to dry before adding my top coat.)

Let me know how you like these in the comments, and be sure to check out the other entries in the 33 Day Challenge below!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Stroke Flowers (Adventures with Acrylic Paints!)

Hey Guys!  It's Lisl.  I am just so excited to share this new manicure with y'all!  This is my first foray into the one stroke technique!  I first saw pictures of one stroke flowers on Pshiiiit, and knew I had to give them a try.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slow Swatching: A England - She Walks in Beauty

Hey y'all it's Lisl!  Today I'm starting a new feature I dreamed up when I got a lot of new nail polish for my birthday.  It's called slow swatching, and it's where I swatch a single color at a time and dream up a little bit of nail art to go with it!  

Today I'm showing you A England's She Walks in Beauty, which is one of the three excellent polishes Arden got me for my birthday!  My ultimate goal for this swatch was to do a manicure inspired by one of my favorite places in the world, the Metolius River in Oregon, where my family and I have gone camping every year since I was but a babe.

I started off with a coat of OPI On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which is, well, gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Little Aquarium Nails

Arden: Hey everyone!  I have a super cute manicure for you today.  I found this picture from the French nail blog Mademoiselle Emma and knew immediately that I needed to try them out for myself.
I started with my trusty L'Oreal One Stop Base Coat and then added two coats of Zoya Neely.  (This polish was on Lisl and my wishlist for a looooong time before we were finally able to snap it up during a sale.)

I then painted on the seaweed fronds using Wet N Wild Caribbean Frost and one of the smaller brushes from our MASH nail art brush set.  I then added bubbles using Sally Hansen White Out and a dotting tool, and drew on the fish, starfish, and jellyfish using Zoya Arizona (orange), Zoya PixieDust Miranda (texture pink), Zoya PixieDust Liberty (texture royal blue), and Julep sea salt finish Tracy (purplish blue texture polish) using the nail art brush. 

I finished up with a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat (used this one instead of my trusty Essie Good to Go because Zoyas and Essie top coats don't play nice).

I think I probably should've added the bubbles after I drew on the fish, because I ended up having a bunch of bubbles on nails with fish-- the poor fish look a little crowded!

And here's my proof that it's possible to draw on this pattern using your non-dominant hand! (I actually think painting my nails has really helped my non-dominant hand become much more dexterous.  See, mom, there is an upside to my nail polish habit!)

Drawn using my left hand!
Left-handed artwork! And yes, I messed up under the goldfish. But you can barely tell!
Has anyone else tried out any fish-themed nail art recently? (Ok, that might be a little specific.)  But still, tell me what you think!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Geometric Nails

Arden: Today's inspiration comes from this tutorial I saw online a week or two ago:

I wasn't super impressed with the argyle pattern in the tutorial, but I REALLY liked the other nails in the picture.  I liked them so much, I decided to recreate them in the same colors and everything!

I started with a base layer of L'Oreal One Stop Base Coat, then two coats of Sally Hansen White Out.  I applied Essie Good to Go to help the white base dry faster.  Once it was good and dry, I applied striping tape in the pattern I wanted, then painted over it with L'Oreal Not a Cloud in Sight and Cover Girl Non-Stop Stone.  After painting each nail (before the polish had a chance to dry) I removed the striping tape using a pair of tweezers.

Here's the previous instructions in a picture tutorial!

I then painted an additional coat of Essie Good to Go on top of each nail, and voila!  Super fun geometric nails!

You can tell in the pictures that I had a little trouble with the white showing through at the tips of my nails.  Not sure what caused this: not painting the grey or real all the way to the tip? adding the top coat while the polish was too wet? It's probably some combination of all of the above.

If you haven't tried striping tape yet, you SHOULD!  It's really really amazingly cheap (we're talking less than a dollar for 10 rolls) and it has a pretty shallow learning curve.  Once you figure out how to remove it with your tweezers, you're basically good to go!

Plus, it is ALWAYS my striping tape nail designs that make people take one look at my hands and go, "HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!?!?"  So try it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gradient French Manicure

Arden: Hey everyone!  For today's post I decided to go simple, and I'm SO glad I did!  I'd seen this picture popping up on Pinterest for a while, and I finally decided to try my hand at a gradient French manicure.

I started with one coat of L'Oreal One Stop Base Coat, then painted on two coats of Julep Layne (see another simple manicure using Layne here). I followed up the last coat with one coat of Seche Vite, to quickly dry the base coats.

I then applied both Sally Hansen White Out and Layne to a makeup sponge, and sponged on a gradient.  I tried to just sponge the white on top, but think that sponging on both colors as a gradient made it look wayyyy better.  It caused the colors to blend a lot better, and helped there not be a solid line at the end of the white tips.  I finished with a coat of Essie Good to Go.

The one thing I don't like about these nails is how the tips of my nails aren't very neat-- you can tell how the sponging and Seche Vite caused there to be some shrinkage at the tips.  In the future I would probably go back with the white polish and wrap the tips to prevent that messy look on the ends of my nails.

But other than the problem w/ my tips, I LOOOOVE this manicure!  So much more than I thought I would.  And since it's a gradient, it was so so so easy.  I love manicures than can be done quickly, and don't require precise lines or time-consuming artwork.

Since this is such an elegant nail look, I couldn't help posing with my new favorite prop-- my engagement ring!  (Yes, getting engaged three weeks ago is partly to blame for our recent dearth of posts.  And yes, this does mean there will probably be several bridal nail posts in the future-- hope you like them!)

If you aren't looking to do anything crazy on your nails on your wedding day, I think a gradient French manicure might be the perfect option for you.  It's not anywhere near as time-consuming or precise as giving yourself an actual French manicure, and I actually think the gradient version looks better.  I'm not gonna lie, the gradient French has moved to the top of my list of wedding nail ideas!

What do you think?  Like this better than the traditional French manicure?  Let us know!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Swatches of Julep's Savvy Suedes Collection

Arden: Today I've got a bunch of swatches of Julep's Savvy Suede collection.  They're unfortunately out of stock online right now, but when they are in stock, they're on sale for $20 for the 5 polishes which is a pretty good deal.

A few notes about these polishes in general: they're matte, so they dry pretty quickly.  This can make applying them a bit tricky.  I basically found that the best way to do it was to work really quickly and use as few strokes as possible.  I also think that the trick might be to just accept that if one coat isn't smooth, it's ok.  You'll be able to fix it on the next coat.  All of the swatches below are done using 3 coats.

First up is Amber, a bronze gold metallic matte polish.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nail Art Nail-Off: Galaxy Nails

Hey guys! It's Lisl.  So Arden and I have been back and forth crazy traveling all summer and have not gotten a chance to do a proper Nail Art Nail-Off in a while.   But we did it; we did it y'all!  For this Nail Art Nail-Off, Arden decided to go a more traditional galaxy route, and I decided to try out Nailasaurus' pastel galaxy nails!

This manicure takes a lot of nail polish. Like a lot. See?

So, rather than type out, like, every single name of all of them, I'll try to mention as many as I can, and for the rest can just ask us in the comments if you're curious.

Anyway, I started out with a layer of Sally Hansen Bubblegum Pink and some glitter on top of that, because I wanted pink space nails.

Using a make-up sponge, I dabbed on about a million pastel colors of polish, and then some dark purple-sparkly (Zoya Aurora) in the corner for "depth," and then some gold sparkly (OPI Goldeneye) for sparkle.  After all the sponging, you pretty much could not see any of the pinkness or glitter, but that's ok.  One thing I've learned about galaxy nails is you pretty much have to roll with whatever is happening.