Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spectraflair All The Things!!!


I don't need to tell you that with the exception of Color Club's holos, holographic polishes are expensive. I am by nature cheap (well, it's probably more precise to say I don't like to spend more money than I have to in order to get something), so I got very excited when I heard about a miraculous, near-mythical substance called Spectraflair. This is the powder that polish makers use to get the holographic effect, apparently. You can buy it for between $10-$20 a gram (not an ounce the way I had it before! Sorry!!) depending on where you get it, and each ounce makes about 7-8 bottles of polish. So after watching a few videos (Gina soguesswhat11's here and IndigoNova1's here), I decided to try my hand at using Spectraflair to make both my own holographic topcoat and my own frankenholo. Both of the videos warned me not to use too much, so I started out on the very conservative side...

Attempt 1:

Here is the holo topcoat in direct sunlight, with two coats over some skittles I had just swatched. I used a Revlon long-wear topcoat that has been sitting in my makeup drawer for years and mixed in the SF, using an amount about the size of a pea. Even with two coats, this didn't get enough of a holo effect for me--still a little too scattered.

My franken. I used Wet n Wild's Under Your Spell, which is a near-black red polish (actually is red micro-glitter in black jelly) and mixed in a little more than the amount of a pea. I'm calling it FrankenSpell. :)  I could definitely see some holo, but again it wasn't strong enough for my liking.

Okay, so, time to regroup. I decided to double-up on the SF in both of these, and see how that worked out.

Attempt 2:

Okay, this is a bit more like it. This is two coats of the topcoat again (over a manicure you haven't seen yet but soon will!), so it still takes two coats to get a linear holo effect. I don't mind that so much, because then I can get a more subtle look with one coat if I want it (one coat now looks approximately like two coats of the first attempt). But I was left wondering...should I try a bit more?

FrankenSpell with the SF doubled up. Definitely better than before, but again I think maybe it could use a little more?

I know what you're thinking. Why not just put in more? Well, here's the thing. The more of the SF that you put in, the more 'cloudy' it gets, meaning, the more gray you see in the polish. What this does is lighten and dull your color to a degree. So, if you put less, your true color comes through better, but you get less holographic effect. If you put more, you get a stronger holo, but your color becomes lighter. I don't want a lighter color, so there is a careful balancing act here for me. I now understand why it is so hard to make holographic polishes that have deep, rich color and a strong holographic effect, and I now understand why polishes like Hits No Olimpo cost a bit more--they must have to use more/special/different pigment to get the sort of effects they get with holos like Apolo. Or at least, that's how it seems to me after my first two tries, I'm sure it's more complicated than that, lol.

Now here's where it gets strange. After a few days, when it was time to change out my current mani, I decided to see what the topcoat would look like over my current color (I was wearing Misa's Spinning Out Of Control, a very dark, deep royal purple). I shook the bottle up thoroughly because the pigment settles like crazy, and here's what I got:

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. The moment I saw this in the light, I did a little happy Spectraflair dance and instantly felt like I was the cutie in the Girly Bits Spectraflair cartoon:

(Used with can find the original of this cartoon here and you can contact the person who designed it, Tena, at her blog here.)

I have no idea why this came out so much holo-y-er...maybe I just mixed it better? But I did mix it pretty carefully before...does spectraflair intensify when you let it sit for a little while? Was it's because the purple was so much darker than the other colors I put the topcoat over? I don't know. Maybe I'll never know. For now I just know that I love this topcoat more than See's candies, and believe me, that's A LOT. It's official...I am now a whole-hearted Spectraflairette.

How about FrankenSpell, you ask? I wondered if something similar had happened, so today I tried it on again, and here's what I got:

Here again, the holo seems a bit more pronounced and more fully linear! I didn't control any variables well enough to say for sure, but it sure seems odd to me that both of these polishes appear to have more holo in them after sitting for a few days. I guess my suggestion is that if you try your own experiments with SF and it's not quite as fully linear as you think you want it, let it sit for a few days and then decide. And if anyone out there does know why this happened, please let me know!

No matter what, playing with SF is relatively cheap, FUN, and you almost can't help but get a good result if you start off slowly. Don't be hesitant to try it, like I was at first--I was worried it would be too tricky or messy or something. It's not; just take a look at the videos I linked above and you'll know exactly what to do. I am paranoid about these types of things, so I wore a little papery face mask over my mouth and nose when I was playing with it, in case my cat sneezed it into my face or something. :)

I also want to try a coarser grade of SF--the grade I'm using here is 14, which is fairly fine. I've heard conflicting things about the different grades...some people say the coarser grades are more like a glitter holo topcoat (I'm thinking maybe like a finer version of China Glaze's Fairy Dust??) and other people say you get a stronger rainbow effect. Maybe with my polish budget next month I'll get some and compare. If I do, I'll post again with what I find.

Oh, one other thing. Gina says in her video to use several BBs (mixing balls) in your polish to mix it. Being a complete cheapskate as mentioned above, I figured one or two would do when I did my first attempt--my other polishes only have one ball each in them, right?? Completely wrong. Those bottles are mixed well and have suspension agents, and only separate when left over LONG periods of time. Spectraflair added to an existing polish is different. One or two balls might do...if you have the rest of your life to shake your polish every time you want to use it. Or, you can use 3-5 of them, only have to shake it for a few seconds and be ready to go. (Side note: I did put more BBs  in before I did the second attempt above, so that wasn't what made the difference in the holo effect). Seriously, I now will trust anything Gina says without a second thought. I have learned my lesson and am repentant. :)

Thanks for looking. I'm off to SpectraFlair All The Things!!!!!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NOTD Before & After: Color Club Metamorphosis (Or, Accidental chip disguise!)


Today I have a story of redemption...::wipes tears from eyes::

I made the sad, sad mistake of forgetting to wrap my nails when I painted them with Color Club's Metamorphosis. A while back I reviewed this color as part of the new Color Club Take Wing collection, and I love it; the whole collection is gorgeous glass-fleck-finish goodness and this one is one of my favorites. Here is the before picture:

However, because of my sorry application, the color chipped in less than a day. I was out running errands when I realized it, and of course did not have my bottle to cover it. And it was a pretty big, pretty yucky chip.

Well, just before, I had been in Ulta and had purchased a polish I'd been lusting after, OPI's Pirouette My Whistle. I looked at it and is actually the perfect camouflage polish for a chip. Take a look:

Sure, it's still there if you look for it. Especially you experienced polish-istas. But if you weren't looking for it? If you didn't know it was there to start with? You'd never know. It certainly doesn't jump out at you anymore. So, I think I'll be buying a back-up bottle to keep in my purse so that if I ever need to (on the way to something), I can quickly go over my mani and hide my chips with a little bling.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention--I love this way this looks, especially as an accent nail. The glitter doesn't show up too much in this picture, but it's there, subtly. This would go extremely well over almost any other color, but I think it looks spring-y and fun over this sparkly teal. :)

Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NOTD: Inspiration Summer Sunrise


Today I have a sunrise for you. :)

One of the stamping groups I'm in had a theme challenge of 'summer sunrise' for today. I am a night owl, so I don't often see sunrises, and wasn't sure exactly what they look like, or at least how they differ from sunsets, lol. After googling sunrises for inspiration, I found one that I fell in love with, which you can find here. (first picture on the second row)

I'm not sure how true-to-life it is (I think by the time this much of the sun is up, the sky would be much lighter), but I love the idea of a sun coming up and starting to light up the deep, dark blue of a night sky, so I went with this more romanticized version of a sunrise as my inspiration. Besides, to me when it's this early it still feels like night, so the dark sky works for me! :)

I decided I wanted to try to copy it on my nails, with a couple of changes. I didn't have room to do the ocean, so I decided to put trees on the side instead for the associated scenery, and to make the sky even more romanticized with a few stars. Here's what I ended up with:

Impression: Sunrise

There it is again: mah sunrise

The Fairy Dust I used for the stars twinkles when the light hits it, which gives it a nice effect (gotta love holo micro glitter) I'm not sure if you can tell or not, but there is a gradient from lighter (bottom) to darker (top) on the blue background; you can see it more clearly here, although this washes out the colors:
And a last one to show the gradient in the blue background

I am really happy with how this came out; it came out almost exactly the way I had hoped it would, and I only had to remove everything and restart once, lol. I think this would be beautiful with a moon, too (and more realistic, but less fun, that way :) ). Anyway, here is what I used:

China Glaze Fairy Dust
China Glaze Peachy Keen
China Glaze Radiant Rust
China Glaze Yee-Haw
Pure Ice Celestial
Revlon Blue Slate
Revlon Frankly Scarlet
Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Night Flight
Wet n Wild Blue Moon 

I also used Mash plate 38 and Red Angel plate 115.

Here are the other ladies who are a part of the challenge; please check them out! :)

Debbie @ The Crumpet - 
Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges - 
Lucie @ Lucy's Stash 
Vic @ Glowstars 
Rychelle @ Colorsplash Nails- 
Missy the Manicured Maniac @

Thanks for Looking. :)


Monday, May 28, 2012

MSMD Monday: Memorial Day Manicure


Back right on time to do my Memorial Day Manicure!! Today I'm doing my very first Monkey-See-Monkey-Do manicure...I was lucky enough to be included in the group of excellent ladies who do this across the blogosphere. :)

Today I wanted to recreate a manicure I'd seen and admired for some time, which you can find here:

This was originally a Fourth of July manicure, but I think it works for this, too. I didn't have the white glitter stars, so I had to shift it around a bit:

I used China Glaze Frostbite for the blue base, and Sally Hansen Xtreme White On for the white base. I used Konad white stamping polish and Mash plate 49 for the stars; I used Sally Hansen Cherry Smash crackle for the 'stripes'. For some reason this photographs more orange than it looks in real life. So, this isn't an exact replica, but I think it captures it pretty closely. :)

I feel like Wonder Woman with this on my nails, it's very fun and patriotic!

Thanks for looking,


Sunday, May 27, 2012

NOTD: National Pet Month manicure


My stamping group recently had 'National Pet Month' as a challenge theme. My pets are kitties, so of course I had to do a cat manicure! This is the first time I've done nail art that is an attempt to tell a little story. I guess whether or not that story comes through will say how well I managed to execute the concept...

Here it is:

To make this manicure, I started with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On, and China Glaze's Mahogany Magic. I then stamped a checkerboard on my index finger using Mash 38 with Konad red, fish skeletons using Shany-02 and Bundle Monster-04 in Konad black, and a paw print using Shany-08 in Konad black. On the other three fingers I stamped a wood-grain pattern using Cheeky XL plate D in Revlon's Varnished; I also stamped paws on the middle and ring finger, and a kitty on the pinky using Bundle Monster-04 in Konad Black.

The story is supposed to be that the kitty was up on the table (checkered tablecloth) and ate all the fish for dinner, and then ran away across the floor (wood grain was supposed to suggest hardwood floors) and, as cats will do, is pretending to know nothing about the fish massacre. :) Not sure how obvious the elements in the story are, but I still like it. :)

Thanks for taking a look,


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Hot Topic Blackheart Beauty Polishes (updated!)


Today I have a review for you of 4 of Hot Topic's Blackheart Beauty polishes (you can find these polishes here). I know at least one of these is new (Beautiful Revenge), but read somewhere that several are new, so I'm not quite sure how many are or are not. What I do know is that when I went to buy these, I couldn't find any swatches online to help me choose, so I thought I'd review and do mini-swatches for you here of the 4 colors I bought, in case that helps someone decide to buy or not. While I certainly wanted more, I had to limit myself to 4 for budget reasons...sigh. I need to just win the lottery already so I can have all da pretty polishes!!

UPDATE: I have been informed that these polishes contain lead. While it seems that this is probably in trace amounts such that it doesn't need to be disclosed in most states, it does contain some, and you should be careful to not bite your nails or put your fingers in your mouth while wearing polishes from this line.

Here are the ones I got:

Violet Tendencies; Creep Show; Beautiful Revenge; Deceit.
I know that packaging isn't supposed to matter, it's the polish inside that counts. I know it. But SERIOUSLY--How awesome are these skull bottles?!!?!!111111?

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's move on the the actual polish. First up is Violet Tendencies:

Violet Tendencies bottle

Violet Tendencies swatch in sunlight

Violet Tendencies swatch in shade
Violet Tendencies is a blue-purple duochrome filled with glass-flecked magical goodness. When I saw this online, I thought it was a small glitter, but no, it's glass flecks and it could not be more gorgeous. For once, I was able to photograph a purple without doing handstands, and I'm so glad because this picture really speaks for itself. When I went to swatch it, I was afraid it would be too much like some other colors I have, but it stays true to the colors you see in the bottle and isn't like anything else on my swatch wheels. Not Galaxy Girl, not Mysterious Curse, nothing. This is two coats, and as you can see, it covered well and without fuss. And, believe it or not, this is with no topcoat. I'm in love love love love love. This polish simply makes me happy.

Next up, Creep Show:
Creep Show bottle

Creep Show swatch in sunlight

Creep Show swatch in shade
When I saw this online, I thought it was a run-of-the-mill glow in the dark polish and I've always wanted one of those, so I grabbed it. But when I opened up my package, I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it has a generous sprinkle of glitter in it! For me, that makes it wearable even if it doesn't glow in the dark. This applied well, but did have two downsides. As you can see, it goes on a little more yellow than it looks in the bottle. Possibly this could be fixed with a coat of white polish under it? Also, it's more sheer than I would like--this is three coats, and as you can see, the nail line is still clearly visible (also could be fixed with a white undercoat). This swatch is without topcoat.

UPDATE: I had a request to swatch this with a white undercoat. Here is the result, with two coats of Creep Show and no topcoat over one coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme's White On. This definitely gets rid of the VNL, but the polish still seems to be a bit lighter/yellower than it shows in the bottle, just not as much (hmmm...I wonder what that says about my nails!!):

Creep Show on top of White On, in the sun

Creep Show on top of White On, in the shade

Neeeeeext! Beautiful Revenge:
Beautiful Revenge bottle

Beautiful Revenge swatch in sunlight

Beautiful Revenge swatch in shade

Ah, Beautiful Revenge. Now that's the sort of name I expect for a goth red-glitter-in-a-black-jelly-base polish (sorry, Spoiled, I still don't get the name 'Ants In Your Pants'). This is two coats, and covers completely, although the color was a bit thin near my cuticles--probably the fault of my application--so you can definitely wear it on its own. The glitter does sit in the base a bit, so it has a more matte-ish look than a super-sparkly glitter look (see sunlight picture)--not that this is bad, it's just a different type of look. The finish doesn't dry super shiny, which is a great option if you're going for a more dark type of look. And if you want shine, you can always throw on a topcoat (I am not wearing one here).

Speaking of Spoiled's Ants In Your Pants, that just so happens to be right next to this one on my nail wheel, so I thought I'd include a little comparison for you:

Beautiful Revenge is on the left, Ants In Your Pants is on the right; both have two coats and no topcoat. AIYP does not cover fully in two coats; you might be able to wear it on your own with more, but would have a much higher density of glitter. Which could be exactly what you want, and if so, great! Also, I found AIYP had a bit more of a light-catching sparkle (probably exactly because of having less black base), and went a little more to the orange side with the sparkle. So it's just a question of what look you're going for, and whether you want to wear it alone or over something. They are similar, but certainly are not dupes.

And last but definitely not least--Deceit!
Deceit bottle

Deceit swatch

Deceit over Peachy Keen swatch

If you've been following my blog, you may think it's odd that I bought this, because it's pink, and I don't really care for pink. I was really taken by the glitter in this--I could see flashes of peach, blue, purple, etc. I wasn't sure if that was a trick of the light but figured it was worth a shot to see if it really was that pretty. And, it turned out to be even prettier than I was hoping. In the first swatch, I have two coats of Deceit by itself, no topcoat. It is a multi-color, multi-shaped glitter set in a thick, semi-translucent gel-like base; the glitter shows different colors in different lights. It was hard for me to capture that on film because it changes as you move, but it does show all of the colors that you see in the bottle--don't let the swatches fool you. I suppose you could wear it on its own for a soft look, but it's pretty clearly meant for layering; in the second swatch I did just that, layering one coat of Deceit over two coats of China Glaze's Peachy Keen. Here is a comparison picture of Peachy Keen, on my index finger:

Deceit changes the color of the Peachy Keen very slightly, giving it a more pinkish tinge, but without turning it pink. This is just what I was hoping for, and I can't wait to try it over purples and reds. :)

The formula on all of these was great; no problems, good control, and they seemed to dry fairly quickly even though I didn't use a topcoat.

So there you have 4 colors from the Hot Topics' Blackheart Beauty line--one glass-flecked duochrome, one glow-in-the-dark glitter, one down-and-dirty glitter, and one multi-everything glitter; the collection also contains crackle colors, and colors meant to be used with black-light. I'm very pleased with the ones I got, and will happily buy more in the future.

Hope this helps you decide if these polishes are for you! I'm off to stroke the bottles lovingly...Thanks for reading. :)


(the items in this review were purchased with my own money.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

NOTD Before & After: My first sponging gradient!


Today I have Color Club's Ulterior Motive for you. This reminds me a little bit of the Take Wing collection, because the texture is similar and it has the same sort of glass-fleck intensity.

Outside direct light

Outside shade

If you click on the picture, you can see the lovely blue flecks throughout it; you can see them fairly well in the shade picture, but trust me. I wanted to play those up, so I picked a neat Milani glitter (Twinkle) I recently got that I thought would match matched so well, in fact that you can only see the blue glitter, not the purple!:

Because the glitter worked so well, I wanted to stamp on the other nails with a similar blue polish, and I thought China Glaze Frostbite would be perfect. Unfortunately, the color didn't stamp well on this polish, so I couldn't go forward with that. But I did something else instead--I tried my very first sponging gradient every. I wanted the gradient to be sort of like french tips that fade down into the main color... I was really pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, I'd always been worried it would be more difficult. Here's how it came out:

I really love this look, even if the gradient is a little bit more subtle than the glitter (the blue in the glitter is a little brighter). I went back and forth about putting a titch of glitter on the tips to balance it out, but for an evening left it alone--I've been on a roll lately of taking things one step too far and ruining the look so I thought I'd rein myself in. It was nice to look down occasionally and be impressed at how nicely the colors go together. :)

But then when I woke up the next day, I decided to go for it, and here's what I got:

I love how this came out! Just a tiny line of glitter at the top balanced out the accent nail and topped off the gradient. If I had put more I think it would have overwhelmed the gradient, but for once I seemed to manage to not overdo it. So maybe the lesson I need to learn is that to avoid ruining things I don't need to leave off the last step entirely, but just find a way to make whatever my last idea is...subtler. :)

Thanks for looking,


Review: More Spoiled Wet n Wild Glitters


Yesterday I picked up two more of the Wet n Wild Spoiled colors, both glitters, Jewelry Heist and Ants In Your Pants. I couldn't resist...since there was only one bottle of Jewelry Heist, I convinced myself that if I didn't grab it, I'd never see it again...>.>

Jewelry Heist isn't like anything I've ever seen before. It's made up of muted rose, purple, gold, silver and teal glitters in a clear base (these aren't pastels). The colors are somewhat complex, because they change and reflect the light and colors around them to a degree: 
Jewerly Heist in the sunlight

Jewelry Heist in the shade
Here are some swatches: 2 coats, no topcoat.
Jewelry Heist swatch in the sunlight

Jewelry Heist swatch in the shade

Jewelry Heist swatch in the shade

Ants In Your Pants is a red glitter in a black base that flashes different shades of red-orange. I have to admit that I don't understand the name...if it had been 'Fire Ants' maybe, but otherwise I just don't see it. However, that doesn't stop me from liking it. I don't adore it quite the way I thought I would, but I do like it and I'm sure I'll get use out of it.

Ants In Your Pants in the sun

Ants In Your Pants in the shade

...And your swatches, 2 coats with no topcoats:
Ants In Your Pants swatch in the sun

Ants In Your Pants swatch in the shade

The more I see of this line, the more I like it (except for the fact that the blues and purples stain my nails more than I'd like). They don't just go for the obvious, but play around with colors and textures, and I'm loving it. These glitters start to approach the coolness level of the indies I've seen (Jewelry Heist does, for sure). For the price, you can't beat that. :)

(btw, the glitter to the right of Ants In Your Pants is Milani's Red Sparkle. Unoriginal name for an amazing glitter. :) )

Thanks for taking a look!


(the products in this review were purchased with my own money.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review and NOTD Before & After: OPI Just Spotted The Lizard (or, obvious manicure is obvious)


Today I have an obvious manicure for you. But then it gets very, very counter-intuitive.

The only polish I really like from OPI's The Amazing Spider-man collection is Just Spotted The Lizard. The other ones just don't do it for me, although I may end up getting the shatter at some point...Anyway, turns out, this is a dupe for Chanel's Peridot, which is even more exciting for me, because I love that color, but can't bring myself to pay that price. Thank heavens for reasonably priced dupes! :)

So here is the color as I wore it on its own:  

Seriously. How gorgeous is that? Green-gold-yellow-orange duochrome magic...

The formula on this applied like a dream. No complaints here! :)

As for stamping...I tried to resist. I did. I really, really did.

Okay, I didn't.

What else are you going to put on your first manicure with a polish called 'Just Spotted The Lizard'? Well, duh, some version of a lizard. And maybe some lizard-skin-like pattern, too. Sure, it's obvious. But who could resist?! If you'd have been there, if you'd have seen it, I betcha you would have done the same! (Sorry, I really love that musical. But I'll try to control myself. See how happy this polish makes me?!)

So here it is stamped:

I used China Glaze's Agro to stamp with, Cheeky large image plate D for the lizard skin, and Shany plate SH-13 for the little lizards. I love how well the gorgeous multichrome colors come out even with all of the stamping. I bet it would work well even with mostly full coverage stamps...I'll have to try it.

And then after wearing this for a day, well...Yeah. Sometimes I can't leave well enough alone, and I got it into my head that when it came time to remove this, I wanted to try China Glaze's Jade-d glitter crackle over it. Probably because I just got it and needed an excuse to try it:

...And now the whole mani looks like real lizard skin that's been sitting out in the sun for too long. Yes, this is how you ruin both a beautiful polish and a beautiful glitter crackle all at the same time with an inappropriate pairing! The glitter hid the color of the polish, and the color of the glitter somehow washed completely out on top of that polish. Ah well, how do you know if you never try?

Thanks for stopping by,


(the products in this review were purchased with my own money.)