Friday, 8 November 2013

Neutral Leopard, Popping Neon | BornPretty Fluorescent Studs Review & Nail Art

Hi friends! Apologies for the extended absence. I'm back with another review for, this time for these fluorescent studs. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I've always been impressed by BornPretty's value and service, so I won't rehash all that. You'll find a 10% discount code at the bottom of this post (and also in my sidebar).

On to the fun stuff! Here's the nail art/inspiration combo:

It's possible to draw inspiration from what is, in essence, an advert - who knew?! 

So, the studs. I like them a lot. There are are 2mm squares and circles in each of six colours. The first thing I have to point out is that they are waaay brighter than the above photo shows - my camera refuses to accept that neons (or at least pink ones) exist. My 'phone camera kind of likes them though, so you can enjoy this fuzzy delight:

I'd say that's relatively colour-accurate (if not quite perfect). The product page says there are 400-ish in the box; I'm not going to count them, but there seem to be plenty. In case you're interested, that would work out at approximately 67 per section if evenly divided. Do with that information what you will.

For me, 2mm is an ideal size for studs and so on - I generally don't like my decorations too big. The backs are hollow and I found them pretty easy to apply: plop a dot of top coat (or glue) on the nail where you want the stud to be (I use a toothpick), pick up stud with a moistened orange stick (or alternative), place it where you want it; you'll have a little time to get the placement perfect before your adhesive dries. I use a top coat over the entire nail to seal everything in and I had no problems with the colour on the studs running or anything like that. The sides of the studs do stick up a little and there's a gap before the colour starts (i.e. the sides of the studs are silver) but if you're used to wearing studs, I don't think you'll notice it at all; and if you're not, you'll soon acclimatise! 

Also a 'phone photo - sorry!

As to longevity, I think you can expect these studs to last a good few days, at least. I did lose a couple within the first day or so, but as they were both from the same finger, I'm pretty sure that was top-coat error on my part. After a few days, I seem to have scuffed some of the colour off the top of a few studs; I'm not sure what caused it, though (there's a chance I did it with a buffer) so that might be might fault, too. I think you might be able to reuse these if you're super careful when you remove them, but my (limited) experience is that it can be tricky to get all the polish off them without stripping the neon colour, too, so it probably isn't worth the hassle.

I appear to have run out of photos, so just a brief overview of the nail art itself. Base is three coats of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Crinoline (not a 'me' colour at all, but I love it); spots are Barry M Lychee Gelly with a teensy bit of Nails Inc Fenchurch Street mixed in; black is Orly's Liquid Vinyl. For the leopard print, I used a dabbing motion with a little brush. I used a dotting tool for the cross on my middle finger and there are some 1.5mm black rhinestones on there, too, which you can barely see.

I haven't worn leopard print in what feels like forever - I think I worry it might be perceived as 'boring' - but I kind of love it! I've seen so many great leopard colour combos lately, too. Also really digging the neon pop against the neutral background. My only qualm (with my nail art, not the studs) is that I occasionally feel I've created a leopard with chicken pox...

As always, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments and if there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free to ask. And finally:


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Blue & Black Splodges/Cow Print | Nail Art

Holaaa! Another winner of a post title... We're off to Spain for a week tomorrow (well, tonight) so I really should be doing something sensible, like packing. But here I am! I painted these nails last night and I like them a lot - they were really quick today and I have such a thing for blue & black at the moment. I think they look a bit like very funky cow print nails, though I didn't strictly go in with that in mind, haha.

The blue is Kiko 336 - basically a dupe of Nails Inc Baker Street (which I don't own) and all those like it. LOVE this kind of electric blue and I really hope it never goes out of fashion!

Must dash! Have a splendid week!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mini Messy Floral Mani | Nail Art

Hi friends! I've been busier than usual lately but happily, I now have some new nail art for you. Hooray! I feel I should warn you upfront, though, that my photos are somewhat inconsistent - I decided to take them next to my window but it was one of those days where the light changes from one second to the next, so I ended up with a real variety of colours and brightnesses haha.

Aaand here's a close-up of the H&M dress I based them on (which I have had for years):

I'm so so pleased with how these turned out - they're really cute but the loose-ish interpretation of the flowers keeps them from feeling cutesy. I didn't reproduce the fabric pattern precisely, but I hope you'll agree that these capture the sense of the dress nicely. 

I used Barry M 'Passion Fruit' (from the Gelly line) as my base colour. I picked this up just last week and I'm so glad I did. My pictures don't do it justice but it is a fantastic shade - a really bright, coral-y red (not the orange my camera seemed to think it was!). The white detailing was added with a cut-down brush; I used a kind of dabbing/blobbing technique for some of the smaller flower petals. 

These nails were relatively simple to do, perhaps deceptively so: since the pattern is quite messy and haphazard, your flowers shouldn't be too perfect, so you can be quite freehanded about it and no one will know if you make a 'mistake'. I did a couple of matching accent nails on my other hand and they broadly match, even if they're a touch more 'abstract'. ;)

What do you think about these? Do you enjoy this kind of floral? Also, if you've been following for a wee while, you might have noticed that I've had (another) file-a-thon, haha, so feel free to let me know how you feel about this nail shape, too (I really like it, for now)!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Blue 'Ikat Beach Tote' Nail Art

Hihi! This is really going to be a quick post because I'm really going to go to bed. Honest.

These nails were inspired by this beach tote bag which appeared as an a sidebar ad during a recent blog-reading spate - who'd have thought there was inspiration to be found in internet adverts?! If you have a better name for this design, let me know!

I began with a base of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure 'Thinking of Blue' (two coats), which I love. It has a slight dustiness, but also a certain richness and perhaps the littlest hint of 'blurple'. I really like the CSM brush, too (although you can get wonky ones) - flat and quite broad with a rounded tip which fits my cuticles nicely. I added the white pattern with a nail art brush and finished off with the teal detailing, using A England 'Galahad'. If you've been reading my blog from the start, you'll know I love A England and Galahad is another delight - sometimes he looks dusty and sometimes bright, but always beautiful.

It would have been nice to be able to fit a little more of the original pattern onto my nails, but I had to enlarge individual elements of it in order to give Galahad a fair showing. I am very pleased with this design, but I felt a little let down by my execution - I was just having one of those nights where nothing would behave as I wanted it to! Still, I think it looks quite lovely in person since the imperfections are less noticeable when I'm not inspecting them microscopically!

Owning the awkward thumb. 

So, what do you think? Do you dig the design? What about the bag itself? Apart from anything else, I think these colours make a really great pair - even if I need to get back to practising my freehand skills. My index finger with the little diamond is probably my favourite - how about you?

Hope you're all well - not long 'til the weekend...!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Seventeen Cameo Crush Textured Polish | Swatch & Review

Hiiii! I know, I 'don't do' swatch posts...but today I do! 

I had no idea that Boots' own brand Seventeen (or 17, whichever you prefer) was even making textured polishes. I had been planning on picking up one or two of the GOSH ones until I happened to spot these while waiting on a prescription.  Boy, am I glad I did!

Seventeen Rock Hard Couture Nail Effects in Cameo Crush (mouthful!) is a turquoise-based matte textured polish with an insane quantity of golden sparkle and also (I think) some holographic or at least iridescent sparkle, too. It was impossible to capture the true beauty of Cameo Crush on camera but please trust me when I tell you it's a mega GLITTERBOMB and utterly gorgeous. I'm not entirely au fait with the plethora of textured polishes available, but this one seems unique to me! I can sum up how this polish made me feel in two words: mermaid princess. Seriously.

Formula & Application: Dreamy! It may seem a little thick if you are used to applying very thin coats, presumably due to all the particles in it, but I found it incredibly easy to control. These pictures show two coats and next to no clean-up, even on my 'other' hand - massive bonus! In terms of opacity, you could probably get away with one thick coat, but two definitely looks better - the sparkle is intensified and you get an even distribution of texture. The brush is flat, quite small and nicely pliable - no complaints! 

I waited a good ten or fifteen minutes between my coats. I don't know if that was strictly necessary but it seemed to work well. My second coat tended to be thicker so it could glide over the already-textured nail and seemed to take a little longer to dry. If you haven't used textured polishes before (I hadn't), watching them dry is a fascinating thing. At first stroke, this seems like a fairly ordinary glittery polish, shiny and not textured at all. When it's half-way dry it develops some texture and also a metallic sort of 'sheen' - I was glad it didn't stop there! As it dries down completely, it becomes matte and the texture and sparkle come into their own. The shade also appears a little lighter when dry.

Removal: More difficult than a crème polish, but nothing like an all-out glitter. Really it just requires a little patience. I might consider using foil in the future, at least in part to try to avoid getting glitter particles all over my hands, haha. I had half expected some staining given the colour, but if there was any at all it was minimal and easily removed by a little scrubbing with a nail brush.

Blurry sparkles!

These Rock Hard Couture polishes are priced at £3.99 each and are currently buy one get one half price. The other shades are a gold called 'Charm Bracelet' (which I'm wearing right now) and an iridescent white ('Celestial Pearl' - next on my list) and a pink with gold sparkle ('Bijoux Baby').

Overall, I'm absolutely blown away by this polish. I was a texture-sceptic, but I have been converted! I'm delighted that the British high street has come up with such a high quality alternative to brands which are more difficult and expensive to get hold of in the UK; and in particular that they've produced some original shades. I really hope these polishes get the attention they deserve and that Seventeen makes more colours! I know I'm going to be hassling them to...

So, how was my first swatch post? Did I cover everything you might want to know? Do you love this polish like I do? Please also let me know if you'd be happy to see more swatch posts - it's not something I envision doing a great deal of, but occasionally I come across something I love enough to want to share! 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Giant Leopard Moth Print | Nail Art

Today I am bringing you the hot new thang in animal print trends: Giant Leopard Moth print! Leopard print was, like, so 2012. Or something. Whatever.

In the (ahem) off chance that you are not familiar with the Giant Leopard Moth:


I pinned this image to my nail inspiration board on Pinterest (which I occasionally remember to use) aaages ago, so I'm glad I finally got round to making use of it!

I almost regretted beginning this design because it meant starting with a white base, which is always a pain in the backside. However, I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in 'Ivory Skull' this time around and it was kind of okay. I mean, it's a bit sheer and streaky and if I looked veeery closely, imperfections were sometimes visible even at three coats in certain, but the formula itself wasn't difficult to use. 

After much deliberation, I added one coat of Essie 'Pure Pearlfection'. It's a silver-ish shimmer top coat, but if you look closely you can see that the individual particles have a green/pink iridescence. It's pretty subtle in person, but even more so on camera. It showed up best in underexposed images...I hope these prove that the shimmer actually exists!

I thought the random piece of paper in the background really added something...

I added the 'spots' using a super skinny cut-down brush. I had planned to use my Model's Own x WAH nail art pen, which I've tested on paper but never yet used on my nails, but when I attempted a trial run (again on paper) it seemed to have gone very watery. Not cool. If you've had a similar issue and have any suggestions, do let me know! 

I left these shiny for about a day but added ELF's matte top coat while I was taking my photos and I think I prefer them this way. It seems to help the shimmer come out to play, too. ELF's isn't the matte-est matte top coat I've seen and it doesn't stay matte especially long, but it isn't bad for the price.

Shiny/Zombie hands


So, what do you think? Did I make the right decision in adding the shimmer? Are you a shiny or a matte person? I do like this design since it's quite striking and unusual, but now I want COLOUR, so I don't think they'll last very long!

When Giant Leopard Moth print starts popping up on the catwalks, just remember that you saw it here first... ;)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Despicable Me 2 | Minions Nail Art

Hi friends! I had no plans for Minion nails but we're fiiinally going to see Despicable Me 2 tomorrow and I was wearing yellow already, so it was clearly FATE. I'm not really going to say anything about these since so many other people have done them already, but feel free to ask away if there's anything you'd like to know. YAY MINIONS!

The yellow is Illamasqua 'Blow' (hahaha) & the blue is Kiko 385 (which is amaaazing). (Silver is Color Club 'On the Rocks' and the brown is Nails Inc 'Fenchurch Street'.)

Do you love Minions? (If not, who ARE you?!) Hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Born Pretty Store Review | Silver Spike Studs Nail Art

Products marked with an asterisk (*) were provided to me for impartial review.

Hiyaaa! Hope you all had a lovely weekend! I'm delighted to be sharing my first ever Born Pretty Store review today. If you're unfamiliar with BornPretty, then you have been much deprived: BPS is an online retailer selling (amongst other things) what seems like an infinite array of nail art supplies - and they are adding new products all the time. Their prices are very competitive & shipping is free worldwide. I'll have a discount code to share with you towards the bottom of this post.

I chose to review these 3x3.5mm conical spikes* in silver and I also made rather liberal use of these rhinestones (these are the smallest ones, 1.5mm) which I had already, (e.g. here). 3D nail art  is still relatively new to me, so spikes were quite a bold choice, but I had so much fun playing with them!  

My base colour is Nails Inc 'Belgrave Place', which I hadn't used in ages but I'm so glad I did because it is awesome. It's a rich, deep blue with a very strong purple undertone - mostly I'm sure it's a blue, but in certain lights it seems undeniably purple. It is a beauuut!

I somewhat stepped outside my comfort zone with these nails but I looove how they turned out! I messed about with various rhinestone colour combinations before I settled on this one. Generally I outlaw red+pink/orange but since I was putting spikes (spikes!) on my nails I thought I might as well go wild and just embrace all the colour clashing.  #REBELLIOUS

I had originally planned to do every nail the same as my middle finger (I tested it out on this one first) and thumb, but I thought it might be a bit of a squeeze on my pinkie - I'm so glad I ended up with this mix of designs instead!

The Product: The spikes themselves I thought were fantastic. They definitely make a statement but they're smaller than a lot of similar products I've seen, so you can go bold without going (too) big - a good thing if you're new to 3D stuff, I'd say. It also means that the flat bases of the spikes sit flush against your nails, which is pretty much crucial for me as visible/palpable edges would drive me crackers. The points are quite sharp (surprised?), so you need to take a certain amount of care when washing your hands/getting dressed/doing stuff. They're not lethal, though.

Application: I used a toothpick to plop a dab of nail glue on my nail where I wanted to attach each spike. Picking them up was probably the trickiest part! I used an ordinary pair of tweezers, aligning the flat end of the tweezers with the base of the spike, to lift each on and drop it on my nail - you have some time to adjust the position of the spike before the glue dries, so you don't need to get it perfect straight away. When lifting with the tweezers, it's really important to use only minimal pressure - if you squeeze too tight, the stud will most likely go flying! [I used broadly the same technique for the rhinestones, but picked them up with a moistened orange stick instead.]

Longevity: This was the only real issue I had with these spikes: I had to reattach/replace three out of five of them over the course of two-ish days. However: 1) They might last longer with better nail glue - I'm not convinced of the quality of mine; 2) There are probably alternative, more effective adhesive methods (I think you can use gel or acrylic, if you have those); 3) How long do you want spiky fingers for, anyway?! If you make a good job of applying them (with a decent dollop of glue or whatever you choose), I'm sure these would happily last a night out. [If I'm only using rhinestones/flatter studs, I usually attach with top coat then seal with a full layer of top coat and I find that keeps them on really well. I didn't do that here and I seemed to lose rhinestones more quickly.]

Please feel free to use my discount code - HZL91 - for 10% off whenever you purchase anything from BornPretty. I've also placed the code & link in my sidebar so you can find it any time! Be warned, though, that browsing their website can be addictive!

What do you think? Do you buy into 3D nail art? I used to think it was something I could appreciate on others but never on myself, but I think I've proved myself wrong - it's not an everyday look, but I'm dying to road test these on a night out!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tropical Flowers feat. Color Club Fiesta Collection

Hello lovelies!  Just a quick post from me since I had intended to be in bed hours ago (though such is the case more or less every night, haha).  I was actually in two minds about whether or not to post these at all - although I really like them in person, I'm not entirely happy with how the photos turned out.  You're getting them anyway!

I was rather so excited to come across the Color Club Fiesta Collection in TK Maxx last week - other people always seem to find bargains there but this was my first, which made it kind of irresistible...though the colours are nice too, haha.  This design made use of Endless Summer - blue, Sunrise Canyon - chartreuse (or at least, that's what I would call it) and Wild Cactus - green.  These pictures aren't perfectly colour-accurate, to my eye: I'd say Endless Summer is a touch darker and bolder (I found it to dry noticeably darker than the bottle colour, which was disappointing, though it's still nice) and Wild Cactus a bit deeper/greener and less teal-y.  

The idea for the leafy nails popped into my head whilst watching this MrCandiipants tutorial - although I'm not sure if it will be obvious why...  Of course, I couldn't do without an accent nail or two and flowers seemed the natural accompaniment.  Originally, I had used the pink polish in the same collection (Flamingo) for the flowers on a base of Endless Summer, but I took those off and much prefer them this way!

I enjoy the fun, summery vibe I get from these, despite the fact that our weather remains rather...Scottish.  What do you think?  Do you feel my viiibe?!  Haha.  This post was definitely longer than I intended...  Good night!

P.S. Yep, changed my nail shape again.  I am fickle.

Monday, 29 July 2013

piCture pOlish Blog Fest 2013

Celebrating the Year of the Blogger!

HIYA POLISHED PALS!  Can you tell I'm excited?!  I'M EXCITED.  I was utterly over the moon when I received the email inviting me to take part in piCture pOlish Blog Fest 2013, not least because I had never had the opportunity to try their polishes before.  For those unfamiliar with Blog Fest, it is an annual event run by PP and involving bloggers from all around the world and this year, Blog Fest is celebrating amazing nail art.  Three lucky participants will also be chosen to create a PP collaboration shade each, for release in 2014.  The voting will take place on PP's special Blog Fest 2013 Pinterest board - if you'd like to see the other entries and take part in the voting, you can find that here

I was sent these three shades to play with:

Ocean - 'An octopus garden in the shade...'
Ruby Blou - 'Dazzling red, sparkling blue'
Atomic - ' WARNING...totally explosive!'

As you can see, Ocean and Atomic were created by Kelly's Kolors and Samarium's Swatches respectively - I hope I've done their beautiful creations justice!  So without further ado, here is my contribution to Blog Fest 2013!

Ta daaah!  Being so used to working with cremes, I was initially unsure how best to show off these three shades, but I am pleased with how they turned out.   If you'd like to recreate the look, you're in luck, because here is my FIRST EVER TUTORIAL!

1: After applying base coat, paint your base colour - this is three thin coats of Atomic.
2: Using a nail art brush - or the bottle brush, if you're so inclined - paint the shapes of your flowers.*
3: Outline your flowers in black, using a nail art brush or pen, then frame the rest of your nail (which I forgot to take a picture of, oops).  Don't frame the parts where the flowers are!
4: Glitter placement - plop some Ruby Blou on a bit of paper/tin foil and use a toothpick/dotting tool/weapon of choice to pick up individual pieces of glitter and arrange them roughly to form the centres of your flowers.
5: Add top coat & clean up if necessary, and you're done!
*When I used Ruby Blou as a base, I painted the flowers in black and added Atomic over the top afterwards.

The polishes themselves are really beautiful.  Ocean is super sparkly with holo-ish flakes in a turquoise jelly base.  It is quite sheer but the formula is lovely, so it truly isn't a hassle to layer it up.  Ruby Blou is a delightful mix of large and small hex (I think) glitters in red, blue and silver, suspended in a clear base.  Atomic isn't something I would necessarily have thought of as a 'me' colour, but it really is incredibly gorgeous and so complex.  The base is a silvery white shimmery affair, but there are loads of little flakes in there too - I see pink and green and gold reflections and sparkles.  I've included some bottle photos especially to try to capture some of the more complex elements of Ocean and Atomic.

Pretty special, right?  

What do you think?  Are you a piCture pOlish fan?  I'm certainly impressed!  You can find PP's polishes on their website or at one of their worldwide distributors.  If you're in the UK (& perhaps Europe?) you can find piCture pOlish at the wonderful Sally Magpies.  

HAPPY BLOG FEST 2013 EVERYONE!  I can't wait to check out all the other bloggers!

 pOlish On-line Store     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest     Instagram

EDIT: Now you can check out some of the other BlogFesters' posts below and add your own, if you haven't already!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Neon Skittle Nail Art feat. Illamasqua Collide & Gamma

Remember last time I talked about how difficult Nubar Violet Sparkle was to capture on camera?  Neons are even more elusive!  I need to stop doing this to myself, haha.  Enter Illamasqua Collide (pink) & Gamma (orange).

They do look relatively glowy here but the colours aren't perfectly accurate - Collide is hotter in person and Gamma possibly looks a little softer or peachier?  I think the orange overpowers the pink a little in these pictures.  Here is a really attractive 'phone photo:

Collide looks more like this most of the time - the 'true' colours (shining throoough) are probably somewhere in the middle and probably more neon.  Also, you can see the effect on my middle finger much more clearly here.

SO.  I had originally painted my nails white with the intention of trying out the 'watercolour' technique but it wasn't exactly working for me so I've shelved that for the time being.  I didn't want the effort of painting my nails white to go to waste, though, so neon seemed like the natural choice!

Awkward thumb, hello to you!

This was more or less a 'make it up as I go along' affair.  Index to pinkie we have: neon clouds; saran wrap technique (I think I first learned this from Chelsea's tutorial but there are others out there, too); some funky lines; and a psychedelic swirly thing which makes me think of lollipops.  Some excellent naming there.  My thumb echoes my ring finger but runs horizontally rather than vertically.  I painted everything (except my middle finger) using little brushes.  The outlines are Barry M Gold Foil, which is a go-to nail art polish for me; and the studs are from this set by BornPretty, stuck on with a blob of top coat and sealed with layer of the same.

I really love this combo - it's so fun and happy!  I just wish (again) that it was easier to photograph.

What do you think?  Will you be sporting some feisty neons this summer?