Monday, April 30, 2012

Sally Hansen Magnetics (UPDATED)


[UPDATE: Karen found a display of these with the actual bottles finally!  You can see that display here. I saw these for myself for the first time today at my local CVS. Of course I didn't have my camera or cell phone with me! The colors are a little more jewel-toned than the China Glaze and Color Club magnetics I have, but they aren't different enough for me to buy them considering what I already own.]

I got a coupon booklet from Target today, and was surprised to find a $1 off coupon for Sally Hansen magnetic polishes. I did not know they existed, and as of the last time I went to Target last week, I didn't see any there! So I did some looking and found some information about them from According to that site, which you can see here, there will be 8 colors: Polar Purple, Red-y Response, Ionic Indigo, Electric Emerald, Golden Conduct, Kinetic Copper, Silver Elements, and Graphite Gravity. The owner of the blog, Karen, has also very kindly allowed me to borrow her picture, so I'm adding it here (Thank you Karen!):

And me with only one coupon! Grrrrrrrrr............

Thanks for visiting,


Peachy-Orange Swatches


I am going out of my mind waiting for my polishes from the Zoya polish exchange to show up...They'll be my very first Zoya polishes, and I can't wait. I've heard so much about how great they are, and the colors look gorgeous. I'm already regretting not getting more...

In the meantime, I thought I'd post some skittle swatches, this time of some peachy-orangey colors. I really love this general group of colors, but I don't have too many of these, not quite sure why...I guess I just tend to forget to buy them because bolder colors draw me away. Anyway, here they are:

Left to right:

China Glaze Yee-Haw! from the Rodeo Diva collection (Fall 2008). This is a more muted peachy-orange color that almost borders on brown. Very shimmery and versatile; it's almost a neutral with my skin. This is two coats.

China Glaze Thataway (core polish line). This color is a little more pinkish in the direct sunlight than it shows here. It's a pretty orange-peach that isn't at all overwhelming if you're afraid of oranges. This is three coats.

China Glaze Sun Worshipper from the Poolside collection (Summer 2010). This is the sort of orange that I always think will be visible in the dark, it's that bright. None of my pictures got it quite right (I now understand what people mean about photographing neons, they are a serious pain)--it's more neon orange than it appears here. Definitely neon. And definitely more orange than yellow, though it's on the line between the two. This is the sort of color that makes you look tan even when you aren't; I'll let you decide whether or not that's a good thing, lol. Also, this is FOUR coats, and it still isn't fully covered! I knew it would happen eventually and this is the one that did it--a China Glaze formula that disappointed me. However, there is a trick to help you get aruond way you can avoid the coverage problems is to start out with a coat of white polish, and then put your color on top of that; this helps smooth over the contrasts and lets you use less of your target polish. So, pull out that white you hate (don't we all have one?) and use it for colors like this.

And finally, China Glaze Peachy Keen, from the Up & Away collection (Spring 2010) . I really, really, really love this color, and I didn't expect to. I got it for nail art purposes, to use as an accent color, never intending it to be a color I'd wear alone. It's a creme that goes on beautifully (this is two coats), and gives a pop of color without being too over-the-top. It feels very springy or summery and also is almost a neutral on my skin. I completely adore it.

If you're waiting like me for your Zoya, I hope it comes soon! In the meantime, I hope there's something there you like...Thanks for looking. :)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

First Before & After (& After) NOTD: Orly's Mysterious Curse/Royal Velvet


One of the things I love on my favorite nail blogs is when people post before-and-after pics of manicures that they change up after a day or two in some way. So, I thought I would do this myself, since I often will try to get extra mileage out of my manicures. I've noticed that some people are apologetic if it's just a 'typical stamping job', but I don't think there is any such thing. I love to see the different combinations of colors and stamps, even if it is just one simple stamp put on a base polish. It inspires me...So I warn you now that I will likely do that often here. :)

Here is my first documented attempt. A few days ago I posted about how much I love Orly's Mysterious Curse (can also be found under the name 'Royal Velvet'). I still love it. I believe epic poetry will be written about it, and that future generations will mark its release date with a national holiday, celebrating with cupcakes iced in duochrome frosting...yum, I love frosting...nom nom nom...Wait...what was I saying?

Oh yes, the manicure. After wearing it for two days, I decided to try some stamping on it. I wanted something that played up the halloween-y goth-y feel of it, but didn't want to do something really obvious like webs and spiders. So this is what I did (notice I couldn't bear to cover all of the nails with stamping, lol):


And afters:

You can see the accent tips on the very edge of the nail better on this hand.

Close-up of the accent nail...Great paint job, such clean cuticles (NOT).

And I had to include this one even though it's a bit blurry 'cause it shows the duochrome a little. :)

I stamped a background pattern on the accent nails with China Glaze Avalanche using Cheeky Plate D. Then I used Sally Hansen's Silver Sweep to stamp the cross, using Bundle Monster plate BM-13. To finish it, I put a very fine line of Avalanche at the top of every nail right at the tip...I saw this look on some Pinterest board, and really liked it, but am not great at it yet.

I like how this came out. The background stamp gives it a little dimension, and makes the contrast between the silver and the dark blue less stark. The colors work well together, and the whole thing has a goth rock kind of feel to it, at least IMO. :)

One word of warning. While stamping doesn't kill the duochrome effect completely, it does lessen how much the nail shows the full purple color. So if you were to cover every nail with stamping, that would definitely alter the duochrome effect of this polish somewhat.

After wearing this for a day I wanted to add a little something to it, so I did this:

On my pinky and my thumb, I layered stripes of crackle polish, first a silver (Sally Hansen Fractured Foil) and then over most of it, but leaving a little showing, a purple (Sally Hansen Vintage Violet). I've like the idea of having an accent nail on the ring finger, and then some sort of complimentary accents on the thumb and pinky. It adds just a little flare to the manicure, and leaves most of the nails showing the main color. and I think these crackles went well with the colors I used to stamp--not perfectly, but that's okay, close enough. What do you think? :)

Oh, and...I love that you can see Mysterious Curse's shimmer in the light on these pics. :)

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, April 28, 2012

China Glaze...Will you marry me?

Hey, if the guy in the commercial can marry bacon, I can marry China Glaze. ;-P

I didn't know that China Glaze existed until a few months ago. Inexcusable, I know...I weep for the years of ignorance and waste. But for a long time, my nail polish life has consisted only of drug store polishes (Revlon, Maybelline, etc.) and OPI, from my salon visit days (nothing wrong with any of those, just sad to be limited to only those). And for the past few years, I've played around with tips a lot, and didn't really paint my nails on a regular basis. I never really branched out much beyond that until I recently discovered nail stamping; then as I began to watch tutorials and read blogs, I began to discover other types of polish.

When I saw that there was a collection of polishes based on the Hunger Games books, I was intrigued. I had just read the books, and was looking forward to the (then) up-coming release of the film. I saw a swatch video put together on YouTube by Dandynails (see video here), and I fell in love with a few of the polishes. I had colors similar to many of them, so decided to get four: Luxe and Lush, Smoke and Ashes, Stone Cold, and Agro. For such a small number, this is a pretty diverse four, because it includes a glittery black, a matte finish, and...a flakie. My very first flakie, in introduction to the wonderful world of flakies. Sigh...I was so innocent then...

I waited very impatiently for them to show up, and when they did, I instantly put them on. I was completely blown away. The formulas on all 4 were just amazing--incredibly smooth, velvety, one-coat coverage; strong colors; fast-drying. These were far superior to any of the polishes I'd ever worn before, and I was hooked. Here are skittle swatches of them (I think you can click to enlarge):

From left to right:
Luxe and Lush: Clear flakie that flashes with metallic colors
Smoke and Ashes: Black with blue-green flecks. You can't see them in the top picture, so I tried to capture them with flash in the second picture.
Agro: Gorgeous metallic-y olive green. Frosty, but not a frost, really.
Stone Cold: A matte grey with a stone finish. When I first touched this, I expected it to be a bit rough, because it really looks like a piece of stone to me! But it's smoooooth. :)

Luxe and Lush isn't really meant to be worn alone I don't think (I guess you could), and it looks gorgeous over every color I've ever put it on. But, ahem, back to China Glaze as a whole.

I know that every brand has some colors that have better formulas than others, and I'm sure before long I'll run into one that is streaky or runny or goopy or something. But so far, I have yet to find one that is anything short of excellent. Most of them only need one coat, and so far I haven't had one that needs more than two. Unlike other polishes I have, these seem to hide my nail defects rather than accentuate them; they feel luxurious and make my nails look beautiful, whether they're short or long. The 'oldest' CG I have is from the fall 2008 collection, so it's not just their new ones that are awesome. And what really pushes these over the edge is that they are all 3-free. Can't beat that. :)

Luckily, I found a place that sells CG for $2.99, because I quickly discovered that I love most of their colors, and couldn't understand how I had managed to live without some of them (funny how that happens, isn't it?). I'm rationing myself...a few here, a few there. And I'm very much looking forward to the 'On Safari' collection that will be coming out in June, and the 'Bohemian' collection that will be coming out in July. But more about those later...:)

Thanks for reading,


Friday, April 27, 2012

New Bundle Monster Plates!


In case you haven't heard, Bundle Monster is releasing a new set of plates, their third. They haven't said when the release date is, but you can see a couple of previews on their Facebook page, like this one, which is my favorite so far: (I love the numbers and the script). There is another one I love that has owls on it and a beautiful flower pattern. I have to admit, I'm not sure how I feel yet about the kitchen one they previewed today, but I have a feeling it will grow on me, and a year from now I may be posting that it's my favorite, lol!

So now I get to wait...

Is it released yet? No? Darn.

How about now?


(Thanks for visiting!)


More green skittles!

Hey there!

I skittle-swatched some more of my greens, and wanted to get them posted quickly before Earth Day Week is over:

From left to right:
Wet n Wild, SaGreena The Teenage Witch: I think this is a perfect Christmas green shimmer.
China Glaze, Holly-Day: My perfect Christmas green creme.
China Glaze, Starboard: A medium green that for some reason makes me think of four-leafed clovers and St. Patrick's day.
China Glaze, Tree Hugger: A surprising lime-ish green that has a beautiful yellow-ish shimmer in it that gives it depth and catches the light. This is one of my new favorites and I need to do a manicure with it soon.

This is all without a topcoat. Hmm. Maybe I should do the swatches with a topcoat--it just seems like a waste when I know I'm going to take it off again. Well, if anyone wants to see them with a topcoat and/or wants to see a color in a full manicure, just let me know. :)

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orly's Mysterious Curse: My new favorite polish


Last night I had the chance to try on Orly's Mysterious Curse for the first time. It was just released recently as a part of a 4-polish collection that's based on the movie Dark Shadows. When I saw this polish in the bottle, my heart gave a little flutter, but I've been disappointed before--not this time. I couldn't stop staring at my fingers last night.

EDIT: I went to Ulta today and did a side-by-side to verify that this is a dupe of Orly's Royal Velvet. They are the same, so either one is beautiful. I personally think the 'Mysterious Curse' name fits it better, since the deep blue shows through more than the purple. :)

This is a duochrome...and oh, what a duochrome it is. I've been in love with duochromes for about 20 years since I first bought KhakiZing, even though I didn't know they were called 'duochromes' until recently. And this is by far my favorite of all the ones I've seen. It alternates between deep purple (think Zoya Yasmeen) and deep blue (think Zoya Ibiza). The colors are deep and rich, and have a flashy shimmer to them. They can appear full purple, full blue, or part both--but the blue tends to dominate more. There are not words enough to describe how beautiful this polish is, so let me save a few thousand of them with these pictures...I've posted a lot of them, because I want to try to capture the full range and the way the colors play at the edges of the nail:

Thank goodness I have one good hand with no broken nails, lol.

I just can't stare at this enough. I think the name is perfect for it--it does have a mysterious gothy vampirey feel to it (which makes sense because I believe the main character in the movie is a vampire), and it feels like a deep, foggy halloween night, the kind in the movies where you aren't sure what will appear at any moment. I think this will make a gorgeous background color for halloween nail art, but it's not just for halloween--it's stunning any day of the year.

One word of warning. I don't know if it's just a mismatch with my base coat, but the first coat of this went on for me very patchy. But the second coat went on beautifully, and it ended up looking like velvet, without too much hassle.

I hope you enjoy the pics, and I hope they help you decide if this polish is for you. I think I'm going to buy myself a back-up bottle...hee hee hee...


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And now for something completely different...

Those of you who know me know that I don't really do 'cutesy'. I don't like Disney stuff or cartoons. Even when I was a pre-teen, I never understood the whole Hello Kitty phenomenon. But there is one area where I get a little cutesy-mushy...kittehs.

After ordering my Bundle Monster plates, I couldn't wait to get them...and one of the reasons was so I could do this manicure. It's cutesy. It's over the top. But I still love it. :)

I used Bundle Monster plates BM-04 and BM-218, as well as Shany plate SH-08. The red is L'Oreal Red Tote, the beige base color is L'Oreal Walk on the Beach, and the black is Konad black.

Yes, I know it's a little bit silly and cheesy. But every time I look at it, it makes me smile. :)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First skittle swatches :)


I love looking at nail polish swatches on people's blogs, so I thought I would swatch some of my polishes for my blog. However, I don't have nearly enough time and patience to swatch each color on a full I'm going to do 'skittle swatches' (a term I learned on, my favorite blog for swatches). It's probably obvious, but a skittle swatch is where you do each color only on one nail.

Here I've done four greens that I love. My favorite color by far is red, and I generally prefer red on everything--clothes, appliances, cars, everything. But I've discovered that when it comes to nails at least, green is by far my second favorite color. Anyway, these are 4 'ugly' greens, which I seem to like even more than typical greens. :) These are all two coats, no topcoat.

From left to right, these are:

China Glaze: Trendsetter (Metro Collection, Fall 2011)
China Glaze: It's Alive! (Haunting Collection, Halloween 2011)
China Glaze: Westside Warrior (Metro Collection, Fall 2011)
Revlon Colorstay: Spanish Moss

I love the pea-green look of 'Trendsetter'...I really love the tiny gold glittery particles in it that give it an interesting texture. 'It's Alive!' is the perfect zombie color--it's a glitter that has different sizes and shapes of glitter in it, but the glittery-ness isn't over the top sparkly, and has a nice range of color effects in it; this is exactly what I'd imagine would happen to cute pink glitter on your nails after the zombie virus hit you. 'Westside Warrior' is amazingly versatile! It's a camo-green sort of color that's strangely complementary to a variety of colors I normally wear in my clothes, and the finish on it si really nice for a creme (not chalky or bland).

The last, 'Spanish Moss' is one I just recently bought, because I wanted a  mossy, sage-y color. This is the first time I've tried it on, and I really like it--it's a good light alternative for me, because I don't really care for pastels, but sometimes want a lighter color on my nails.

Hope you see something you enjoy. :)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Fun with magnetic polishes!


In my last post, you saw my tragic FAIL with a magnetic polish. 

When I first saw magnetic polishes, I wasn't very impressed. They were a novelty, I thought, and sort of cool looking, but didn't have much flexibility. I thought, wow, you can make...stripes. And a chevron. And an asterisk. And...stripes turned another way? Not exactly major excitement. Plus, when I first saw the China Glaze versions, they were something like $8 each, plus $8 for the magnet. Yikes. Plus, I didn't really see how they could fit with stamping very well, and stamping is what I really, really love; stamping works because the polish dries almost instantly in the process, and that meant that they couldn't be used with the magnet after being stamped. Plus, I couldn't see how any stamped designs could go along with the magnet designs. Plus, I didn't really see any tutorials that seemed to show a more versatile side to them, or any way that they were compatible with stamping. Since that was at least 4 times that I had said 'plus', I took a pass.

Then, not too long ago, I found the complete CG Magnetix collection (6 colors) plus magnet for about $20. For that price I figured it was worth it--hey, the colors were pretty by themselves even if I didn't use the magnet.

Once I got the set and had my first FAIL, followed by a search for tips on how not to FAIL, I started to get the hang of them, and I started playing around. And it turns out, my inability to imagine these polishes as being flexible design-wise was a complete failure of imagination on my part. After just a very short time playing around with them, here are some things I tried out. I apologize up-front for the horrible quality of the designs and the pictures--this was just me playing around with ideas, and I only had my phone to take pictures with. So I'm not trying to claim beauty here. But I thought I would post these in case they help spark other people's creativity. :)

One of the issues with magnetics is that you can't re-place the magnet and create more than one design before the polish dries. However, you can paint part of the nail, use your magnet, wait for the polish to dry, and then paint (or re-paint) another part of the nail. It doesn't take very long to dry, or at least, to dry enough that your design won't move. This is what I did here; with CG Instant Chemistry, I painted the nail and then put diagonal stripes on the bottom half of the nail. Then, from the top stripe, I re-painted the part of the nail above that stripe, and then used the magnet to put vertical stripes on that portion of the nail. I really, really like how this came out.

Here I did the same basic thing, but with three different sections of the nail. This started as a FAIL, btw...I used CG Pull Me Close, painted the whole nail, and tried to put a chevron on it. The design only took on the center portion, possibly because my nails are very curvy, possibly because I am not very good with these yet. So, I decided to re-paint over the sections that didn't pick up the magnet design, and then use the stripe magnet at different angles to make this tri-section design. 

Next I decided to try a combination of regular polish and magnetic polish. Here I painted my entire nail with CG Westside Warrior, and then painted the top diagonal half with CG Cling On. I used the stripe magnet to put on diagonal stripes, and then finished with a stripe of silver polish across the dividing line. Frankly, I think I liked it without the stripe of silver polish. (Apologies for the horrendously blurry photo).

This is a combination of the above two techniques, and I think this is my favorite of the bunch...The bottom half is Westside Warrior, and the top diagonal half is Cling On; at first I tried to do the whole thing with one set of stripes, and then decided to re-do part of the section with stripes in an opposing direction. I think it came out really cool, and I love the overall effect (with or without silver stripe, which appears here, lol).

Here is a combination of two other things I tried. One of the cool things about these polishes is that they change color when the magnet is applied to them, because the lighter magnetic particles all bunch up together. So, I thought it would be interesting to have part of the nail with the polish un-magneted, and part with it magneted ('magnetized' feels like the right word here, but means something different so I'm not sure I should use it, lol!). When that went well, I thought it would be a good way to make a french manicure, so I tried that. Here I used CG You Move Me, painted my full nail with it, and let it dry. Then I painted a french tip on with the same polish (not my best french tip work, lol) and hit it with the stripe magnet. I think this is might look good with a stripe of color under it, but I like it as is. :)

This led me to think about doing something with two different magnetic polishes, especially since this collection comes with two complementary purples, CG Instant Chemistry and Drawn To You (the lighter one). So I painted the full nail with Instant Chemistry, and magneted it. Then I painted over half with Drawn To You, and magneted it again:

I'm not crazy wild about this one, but can think of some fun things to do with it, like alternating sides on different nails...Or stamping over the dividing line (see below). 

I did the same thing here with Cling On (left) and You Move Me (A brown color that is a little less red than it appears here). In this case I only painted half the nail at a time, and that resulted in a line where they joined that just isn't pretty. So I decided to stamp over it...

...And this is what I got. Yes, the stamp is messed up, with part of the dots cut off. Yes, the choice of color (white) is probably not the best (work with me here!!! Come on now!!!). But you get the idea--you can paint and magnet two sections with different colors, and then stamp to cover the dividing line. I'd love to try this using the star magnet on one side, and stripes coming down the other side like rays of light. This could also be cool to do on an accent nail, with all the finger to the left of it done with only the left color, and all of the fingers to the right done only with the right color. Or with opposite colors...You see how my mind started to run with it once I started to play???!!!!

Anyway, I hope someone out there finds something fun to do with these ideas, and if you do, please let me see. :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ruffian manicures, and first magnetic attempt (=FAIL)

I have now done two ruffian manicures, and have fallen in love with them. They look very intimidating, but really are not that hard to do. And in my opinion, they look very classy, very elegant. :) If you don't know, a 'Ruffian' manicure, or so I'm told, was originally a silver foil near the cuticle, with a black matte over it. Since the first one hit runways, people have played around with this quite a bit, and I intend to do lots of playing myself, lol. My first attempt was fairly close to a traditional ruffian; I used a gold foil and a red matte on top (both by Revlon). I originally kept the matte finish, but decided I wanted it to last a bit longer, so I covered with Seche Vite eventually:

The second time I went for a gunmetal cuticle and accent nail, using China Glaze's Attraction, from the Magnetix collection. I did this so I could try my first magnetic design on the accent nail (and could cover it up with the ruffian if it went too badly, lol!). The other color I used is China Glaze's Brownstone, which is actually more red than it shows in the picture:

As you can see, the star pattern didn't come out that well, lol. It's a little better IRL, because the glare in the picture is hiding the vertical line of the star...but it still does suck. I think I used too much polish...I'll try again in a few days, once I'm tired of my ruffian.  (Btw, I think I'll photograph my nails from this angle from now on--it shows them more like they really are, and doesn't make them look all misshapen!)

If anyone has any tips on using magnetic polish, please let me know...

EDIT: I have since found out that it came up like this because I held the magnet in place for too long. The longer you hold it, the more likely it is that you'll move a bit, and you blur the image. I also learned to blow on the nail right after removing the magnet, and that China Glaze's magnet is a little less strong than other brands. I got these tips here:


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can you stamp with a holo polish?

As the next step in my adventures in holo, I wanted to see how it would turn out if I stamped with a holographic polish over a dark polish. Will the holo sparkle show up when there is only the equivalent of one coat, and maybe only in little bits? So I put together this manicure to test it out. It uses Nubar Reclaim, which is a gorgeous holo that looks very pretty even inside (and for this reason is an ideal holo to try out). For the accent nail, I used Gussied Up Green by China Glaze. I chose that color because it is a very dark green, but when the light hits it, the under-shimmer is very similar to the shimmer in Reclaim. 

I stamped with a Konad plate (I think plate m64, I'll double-check on that). 

Here is a picture of the full mani: 

And here is a picture with a close-up of one of the stamped accent nails (click to enlarge for the full effect):

I was really impressed at how well the holo effect came through even just from the one thin layer put down by the stamp; it was just as sparkly and gorgeous as the other fully painted nails. I keep moving my fingers around to see both the holo effect and the pretty green shimmer highlights. Gussied Up Green is (as you can see) an almost black green, but the highlights are so gorgeous that I've fallen in love with it. :)

So, if you were wondering, now you know--stamping with holos is gorgeous!


Adventures in Holos...(or, where's my cheat guide?)

I mentioned recently that I've become fascinated with the concept of holographic nail polishes (holos), thanks largely to discovering one that was listed for $95 on Ebay. I mentioned that I found some for $3 each, and that they are pretty and do just fine, thank you.

Well, shortly after I wrote about that, the mythical $95 polish was re-released by the manufacturer, Nfu Oh. So while it was still available, I decided to take the opportunity to see if there really is a difference between the $3 holo (Color Club's Worth The Risque) and the $12.50 holo (Nfu Oh 61).

First, the difference in price is a bit misleading. Worth the Risque is 0.5 oz, while 61 is 0.6 oz, so you get a little more. However, it's more complicated than that, as I'll explain. I decided to compare these two polishes by painting my ring finger with Worth The Risque, and the rest with 61 (the idea was that I was going to turn the ring finger into an accent nail, and wanted to try a full mani with the 61). So, I began to paint. WTR went on in two coats, even coverage, smooth as a baby's wittle tushie. 61 was another story entirely.

I have loved computer games since I was a teenager, when I played adventure games that had no graphics, and players just typed in things like 'turn right' and were given a written description of where you were. Even back then, I always got a copy of the cheat guide that told you what to do should you get stuck--I mean, I'd try to figure it out on my own, but after a day or two if I couldn't figure it out, I'd want a hint. I have real problems in real life that don't go away, I don't need that crap when I'm trying to do something fun, so my hobbies need to have an opt-out button. Strategy Guides FTW.

I never in a million years thought I'd need a strategy guide to get me through the application of a nail polish. Until I met Nfu Oh 61.

To say that Nfu Oh 61 is not easy to apply is a masterpiece of understatement. People complain about crackle polishes, because if you accidentally apply them too thickly or go over what you just painted, it will smudge. Crackle polishes are a walk on a sandy beach in a cool breeze compared to this. If you touch the same spot that you touched more than one second ago, it will pick the polish up off your nail and leave a bald spot. If you then paint over that spot again, it will not put the polish back down, but it WILL pick up the polish next to it, making your bald spot even bigger. With some polishes that go on streaky, the answer is just to apply a bit more, re-cover the nail, and let it all smooth and blend together. This does not work with 61. You will end up with glops and ridges that do not move (Next to bald spots. That get ever bigger and bigger). With other polishes that go on unevenly, a second or third coat will cover the yucky bits, and you'll end up with an acceptable result. 61 is no fool and is not that easily thwarted. While you will definitely need multiple coats, if you continue to put them on as you normally would, you just end up with really deep, big bald spots.

(The good news is that while I was struggling with this, I did start to see hints of a lovely holo starting to show up on the globs between my bald spots. This kept me going in the face of adversity.)

I finally found a technique that seems to work well. I put a medium amount of polish on the brush, a little less than I normally would, and quickly stroked from right to left, while trying to keep overlap to a minimum. Did I say quickly? Very, very quickly. I resigned myself to the fact that I would get polish on my cuticles--like they say, you simply can't make an omelet without breaking any eggs. Then, I did this for 4 coats, drying in between. I think I'd probably be able to get away with only 3 coats next time. 

So, when figuring out cost, you also have to account for the fact that you will be needing 1.5-2 times as many coats of the polish for your mani. I did the math, and for the finalized manicure equivalent of 0.5 oz of WTR, the cost comes out to $3 vs. $15.60, or $3 vs. $20.80, for 3 and 4 coats of 61, respectively. Basically the Nfu Oh 61 costs between 5-7 times as much as the WTR, depending on how deft you are at applying it. 

To be as fair as possible, Nfu Oh does suggest that you buy their holo base coat and use that with 61. The site I purchased from,, suggests that you put one layer of base coat, one layer of 61, another layer of base coat, and another layer of 61. But since the base coat costs the same as the 61 itself, in terms of cost, you're still paying the same differential.

But this may very well be worth it if there is a sufficient quality difference in the polishes. And there definitely is a difference. Before even trying to go outside, I noticed that 61 shows its holographic effect even in the duller inside light, which WTR does not. When I went outside, both polishes came to life, but 61 still was a cut above, IMO, even though it was overcast today and I could not judge the full effect. Here are two comparison pictures I took:

This picture is taken inside, with flash. The ring finger is WTR, and the other three are Nfu Oh 61. Even in this horrible picture you can see a difference. (and yes, I broke the nail on my middle finger. It's very sad and tragic, but I'm trying to put it behind me and move forward.) 

This is taken inside without flash, showing WTR on the left, and 61 on the right--basically the worst possible lighting conditions for a holo. Both are still pretty, but WTR doesn't show a holo effect at all, while 61 still shows a small effect. So, even in dull, dull light, 61 will still throw a little bling down for you.

Is the difference worth the cost? I'd say yes, if you want a truly stunning, chrome-like-finish with a strong holo effect that persists somewhat even in sub-optimal light. But if you want a more subtle holo (and frankly, I do much of the time), the WTR is going to work just fine for you, and save you money in the process. The decision that I've made is that I may make room in my collection for one or two of these stunning holos, and then satisfy my desire for variety with the more subtle, but still perfectly fine, lower-cost versions.

Another issue I wanted to test was the claim that normal top coats dull the holographic effect of holos, and should be avoided. But, if I don't use a top coat, my nails will chip within minutes, let alone days, and I didn't really want to have to buy an expensive top coat just for holos. So, I tried my normal top coat, Seche Vite, just to see what would happen. When I first applied it, it did make the nail look milky and gross...but as soon as it dried, I couldn't tell the difference between the one I'd painted and those I hadn't. I think either the top coat issue isn't a problem for the particular holos I have, or this is a myth. 
So, what did my mani end up looking like? Here is what I did with it: 

As a final experiment, I decided to try stamping over my holos, and thought that this design from Red Angel plate RA-106 would be perfect to go with the psychedelic effect of a holo. I repainted my accent nail with China Glaze GR8, and on the accent nail I stamped a fan design from Bundle Monster plate BM 204 in Sally Hansen Insta-dry Silver Sweep. For the design on the main nails, I stamped using Revlon Top Speed in Varnished. For a final touch I added a small gemstone to the ring finger, and did a top coat over it all in Seche Vite. I love the way the holo effect shows through between the stamped pattern, it creates a really cool effect, and seems to make the holo more pronounced in indoor light. I will definitely be doing more stamping with my holos in the future, especially as this would be a really great save if I have an off-day with the application and end up with spots and glops. :)

I hope this has been helpful to someone out in the world...Happy holoing! 

Recycled Easter Manicure

While I liked my Easter manicure, it didn't come out quite the way I wanted it, and it didn't seem to work much past Easter. So, when I got home tonight, I decided to change things up. However, the polish that I used on all of the nails except the accent nail was s till in really good shape, and since I'm nothing if not frugal, I decided to try to reuse it. 

I took off the yellow polish, and polished my ring fingers to match the rest (with Color Club's Fashion Addict). Then I stamped over them using Pure Ice's Celestial, with a pattern from Konad plate m64. Then I used a dotting tool, and dotted Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear in Ivy League over the little dots on the pattern. I finished with a green paisly-shaped gem on each ring finger. It's a little busier than I would normally like, and the colors are a little more bright than I would normally wear, but hey, it's Spring! If I were to do it again, I would probably just do it on the accent nail, with some sort of complementary tips on the other nails. That said, I like it, and I think it turned out pretty okay. :) Another thing that I think would work really well is stamping in a dark purple, and doing the dots in a medium purple, or vice versa. 

EDIT: after sitting with it for a day, I started to really fall in love with it. It just goes to show how good it is to push yourself to combine and wear things you normally wouldn't. :)


Friday, April 20, 2012

My Easter manicure--first use of holographic polish!

Hello! In my last blog post I talked about some of the things I'm learning about the wide, wide world of nail polishes, with a focus on holographic polishes. Well, my first holos ($3 each, from arrived, right in time for me to do my Easter manicure. Here is what I ended up with:

The holo shows up okay in this picture, and is as best I could get with my crappy lighting. The accent nail is supposed to look vaguely like an Easter Egg. :) I did everything on the accent nails with stamps (below), and dots made with a dotting tool.

Here is what I used to create this: 
Main nails and matching dots on accent nail: Color Club's Fashion Addict (holla for the holo!)
Accent nail base: Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear in Mellow Yellow
Design on Accent nail: Middle stripe and dots--China Glaze's Peachy Keen; stripe stamped with Red Angel plate RA-106; Top and Bottom stripes--China Glaze's Metallic Muse (this is actually blue, but looks greenish in the picture), using BundleMonster plate BM-219.

Happy Easter everyone!

Holos and duochromes and multichromes...oh my!

So this week I learned the difference between a 'holo' and a 'duochrome' polish.

I have always loved nail polish, since I was a little girl. I loved pretty colors, some of them shiny, some sparkly. That was about as much as I figured there was to it, and it worked for me.

Then about two months ago, I accidentally stumbled onto a youtube video about nail stamping, and all that quickly became  history.

There are lots of different kinds of nail polish, you see. People who are really into polish know this. There are frosts, jellies, shimmers, cremes. Those are all fairly basic, and are self-explanatory for the most part. But, there are also metallics, foils, and chromes. There are prismatics, crackles, and flakies. Neons. Magnetics (yes, magnetics. Polishes that, when you put a magnet over them, create cool patterns). Pearls. Glass flecks. Iridescents. And glitters...ah, glitters. Glitters with fine glitters, small glitters, large glitters, and glitters that have different shapes. 

And of course, holos and duochromes (or multi-chromes).

I promise you, these are not just fancy names for small differences. These are all things that are visible to the typical, non-polish addicted human being. 

I was okay with most of these divisions, but didn't quite understand what a 'holo' was. 'Holo' is short for 'holographic', and essentially it is a polish that creates a sort of 3D effect because of how the light hits the particles. This is somewhat similar to the effect of a duochrome--a polish that changes colors when the light hits it--because you do see changes in color. But duochromes do not have the 3D effect, and from what I can see keep their effect in a wider range of lights. 

No, verbal descriptions didn't really do it for me either, so here are some links to pictures, in two of my favorite polish blogs. The first is a duochrome: the second is a holographic:

To be honest, not even the pictures do holos true justice--they are really beautiful in person in the light. (Yes, in case you were wondering, I did order both of those. Thank you for your interest.)

It's actually a bit more complicated than that--there are linear holos and chunky holos, and polishes with holographic glitter--but let's leave it at that for now.

I became interested in holos when I discovered that some of them can be found on e-bay for the ridiculous price of $95 a bottle, because they sell out as soon as companies can make them. I am abso-freaking-lutely fascinated by the concept of any polish that sells for that kind of money without having real gold as its primary ingredient, so I had to figure out what the deal was. Turns out, this is largely an artificially created phenomenon (I know--have you seen my shocked face?)...there are nice holos that you can buy for $3 a bottle plus shipping that do very well, thank you, and some you can find for around $8 to 12 a bottle (twice what I'm normally willing to pay for polish). But there are some out there that are discontinued or that can't (don't?) keep up with demand, and that go for crazy sums. As far as I can tell, I can't really see a difference in the pics, and from what I've read, the ones that you can find are just as good in terms of coverage, formula, and effect. 

In the meantime, I realized that I have some old-school polishes that do cool effects--polishes I've literally had for 10-15 years. I've always loved them and were sad when they stopped being as popular: Revlon's KhakiZing and Mocha Mirage are two of the ones I've stroked lovingly for years, wearing them only rarely to keep them as long as possible. As it turns out, they are 'duochromes' and there are a ton more such gorgeous options out on the market--just usually not at the drugstore so much. 

So anyway, they say that to stay young you should learn something new every day. I guess I've knocked at least a few days off my life this week. :P


My first post and second attempt at Konading

Hello everyone! I've decided that I want to start a separate blog for something that has been resurrected in my life--my passion for beautiful nails. 

I've always loved to do my nails and make them pretty, but since I'm not much of an artist, I never really could do my own nail art. If I could buy tips that had a pre-done design, I certainly would. But in terms of doing my own ma'am.

But then I accidentally stumbled on something that changed my world...Nail stamping. 

Basically, nail stamping consists of etched metal plates which you put polish on, pick up the design on a rubber stamper, and stamp on to your nails. You can put intricately detailed designs on your nails, and get the same design perfectly copied on every nail. You can use whatever colors you like, as many times as you like, combine designs, and on and on...Very exciting for someone who can't even draw stick people.

I saw this done for the first time on a nail tutorial on Youtube, using Konad stamping materials. I flew to the site they recommended,, and fell in love with about half of the stamping plates they had for sale. I quickly ordered several plates, a stamper, a scraper, a plate holder and waited eagerly for my stuff so I could play.

When I got it, I pulled out my nail polish and discovered that it's pretty much just as easy as it looks. You have to work moderately fast, but not super-speedily. The design placement takes a little practice, but not very much--a few tries and I was in good shape. However, I did discover that not just any nail polish will do...for optimal results, you need to use either a special polish from Konad, or another thickly pigmented polish. I didn't have any of either, so I quickly ordered some from wowsocool.

Once my special black and white polish came, I quickly made my first manicure. Tan polish with red tips, and stamped white flowers on the bottom edge of the french tip. It was fun, and pretty, and looked like I'd gotten it in a salon. I'd show you a picture here, but I didn't think to take one. You're welcome.

Once it was time to take the manicure off, I set about my second one, which I did decide to take a picture of (yay!) It's shown here:

This manicure uses Rimmel Rags to Riches polish as the base color, and Konad black to stamp the designs. I used Konad plate m75 for the flourishes, and Bundle Monster plate BM20 for the accent nail. Simple, elegant, and not too shabby for a second attempt, I don't think. 

Since discovering the Konad plates, I've discovered that there are other plate sets by other companies, and I've identified some of the regular polishes that work for stamping (depending on the effect you are going for). I will talk more about this in a future blog entry, but I wanted to get this one out there for a start!  

Much love,