Monday, September 26, 2011

Shelby's Dragon Lady Nails

My roommate, Shelby, had a big date last weekend and was super in the mood for red nails. Having only lived together since the beginning of the month, she had no idea the amount of nail polish I possess and asked if my other roommates, Cynthia and Charlotte, or I had any red polish she could borrow.

So I broke out my box of polishes and watched as her eyes widened with excitement.

Having just completed my first gradient (see blue gradient manicure a few posts below), I decided to try a version of a glitter gradient.

Shelby picked out an old school burgundy Rimmel named Shocker, I grabbed my favorite China Glaze of all time, Ruby Pumps, and went to work.

The result was pretty cute and something I might try again for myself, but this time, with a darker red shade that borders on black. OPI Black Cherry Chutney, for example.

And for those of you who were wondering... the date went even better than the manicure looked.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Layering OPI Designer Series

Thanks for sticking with me during my infrequent posts. Only one more week of LSATs and then I'll be all yours again!

Today's post features one of my favorite layering combinations EVER.

As you know, I love blurple. And with this blue glitter? Forget it.

This is OPI DS Fantasy, a deep blue glitter with multichrome glitter. And as you can see below (credit:, it's a really pretty color. But it's missing a wow factor for me.

Same goes for OPI DS Royal (credit:, which takes numerous coats to build up and isn't a duochrome either.

But when I layered one coat of Royal over one coat of Fantasy...

Amazing. A beautiful grape color with vivid royal blue shimmer that blows most other purple glitters out of the water.

Now, it's still not a duochrome, but it has much more of a wow factor than Fantasy or Royal on their own.

If you've got both of these lovelies, then I say... what are you waiting for? Happy layering!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gradient Tutorial

I have been dying to try a gradient for as long as I can remember. So as a reward for sitting through my three hour LSAT class, I decided to sit down to watch Project Runway and break out the nail polish. And I couldn't believe how easy it turned out to be, using just nail polish and a makeup sponge.

(From left to right: China Glaze Blue Iguana, Wet and Wild Sapphire Blue, Zoya Ibiza, Rimmel Midnight Blue, and Sally Hansen Black Diamond)

Here are the five polishes that I used. You can use less, or even more if you're ambitious, but it's up to you. These shades aren't mandatory at all, go with what you have. I found that these were a nice gradient of blue and even though Blue Iguana was substantially lighter than Sapphire Blue, I think it really made the manicure pop in the end. So take that under consideration.

Also, if you're thinking about using a black with some sparkle like I did, use one that is a true black that's not grainy. Black Diamond looks okay on the tips, but being nitpicky, I didn't really love the grainy look and feel of it in the end. It doesn't blend as well as another black. You may be better off using a black satin color and then adding a hint of glitter with a top coat at the end. But it's totally up to you!

Are you ready to become a gradient pro? Well, let's get started!

1) Tape your fingers. I can't tell you how much easier this would have made my life, considering how hard it is to get blue nail polish off without staining your skin. One pieces on each side of the nail and right below would make your manicure much cleaner looking. Take my word for it.

2) Apply two coats of your lightest blue.

3) Using your second blue, swipe a line of polish across the WHOLE tip of your makeup sponge and dab it twice on a nonporous surface (in my case, a paper bowl) to prevent uneven sponging.

IMPORTANT: Wait until your base polish is only slightly sticky to the touch before you start the sponging process or you'll create goopy bumps that will ruin your hard work. I promise, the extra wait is worth it.

4) Starting at the tip of the nail and using the whole width of the sponge so it curves around your nail, lightly dab the sponge down your nail, leaving a small amount of your base color at the bottom.

If you notice that the polish did not sponge well to the sides of your nail, repeat the sponging process using the corner of the sponge on those bare areas.

5) Repeat steps 4 and 5 for as many colors as you desire, EXCEPT your last color, lessening the length of the sponged area as you go.

Here is how the sponging looked after Zoya Ibiza and Rimmel Midnight Blue:

6) For your last color, apply the polish to the sponge as your did for the others. When you dab this time, do so until you barely see any polish on the plate/bowl. This will make the color much sheerer on the nail, but will look like a more even blend. This may require more than one repeat of sponging until you get a true dark tip (in my case, black), but it will look blended instead of just a painted tip.

Don't worry that your nails look spongy, that will be solved in the next step.

7) Now, remove your tape and apply a top coat! I use Seche Vite because I find it creates the smoothest surface, especially when using grainy glitter or sponging. Plus, it's dry time cannot be beat.

Here is the end product, with a little nail art flower:

Happy sponging!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cherry Blossom Nails

I've been dying to try to do a sponge gradient on my nails for a while now and figured yesterday was as good of a day as any. Using a makeup sponge was surprisingly easy after a few failed tries, but I got the hang of it rather quickly.

I used Milani She's So Glitzy with Zoya Breezi for the tips.

Here was the end result with my cherry blossoms painted on:

Just a tip, I've found that blotting the sponge repeatedly until it barely leaves a print makes the application much lighter on the nails, giving it a better fade. It's always easier to go back over than to put on too much and start again. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly, I promise. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011


I traveled to CVS yesterday on my way home from class and wound up finding some GREAT nail polish bargains. Okay, so maybe I took a detour and somehow wound up in East Brunswick. Sue me.

Regardless, there are some awesome clearance deals going on at CVS right now, aside from the Sally Hansen BOGO 1/2 off sale and the Spend $10 get $4 ECB wyb any Revlon Cosmetics deal.

I found a TON of Sally Hansen polishes in the clearance area. Everything from Insta-Dry to Diamond Strength to Color Quick Nail Pens. All 75% off. Now, there was a coupon out a while ago for $.50 off any SH polish, so with the coupon, the polishes cost me a grand total of $18 instead of the retail of $106. MAJOR score in my book.

There are also some Borghese on sale for $7.99 and Orly for $6.29, but I don't think they're big enough bargains that I'm willing to splurge, no matter how much I'm lemming Borghese Stellar Notte. And that's a lot.

So I hope that you can have as good of a haul as I did at CVS. While you're there, make sure you sign up for the Beauty Bucks program so that you can get your 10% off cosmetics coupon that you can use that day, as well as the CVS Extra Care card if you don't already have one. Believe me, it pays off. Big time.

Happy Bargain Hunting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nail Art: Back to School

Sorry for the delay in a new post, but with Hurricane Irene coinciding with my move in at Rutgers and a return to LSAT prep, free time has been at an all-time low. But now that I'm settled, posts will be coming more often as of next week.

Also, since I've been reunited with my roommate Cynthia, as well as my other girlfriends at Rutgers, I'll have plenty of extra hands to use for swatching. I might actually have to build myself a lightbox!

Anyhoo… this manicure is one that I did in honor of my return to classes this week. I didn't want to do Rutgers-themed nails yet (I'm saving that for the football game), so instead, I opted for the traditional images associated with a return to school.

Below, you'll see the full set:

(From left to right) Pinky (locker) - Revlon Silver Dollar, Ring finger (chalkboard) - Zoya Suvi, Middle finger (ruler) - Revlon Blue Lagoon, Index finger (books and apple) - Zoya Suvi, Thumb (Marble Notebook) - Zoya Snow White

In the above photo, it's kind of hard to see the thumb nail, so I did a close up on the thumb below. It's actually really easy to do the marble notebook and anyone with a crackle polish can do it. I added in a pencil so it was more easily recognizeable, but it's not required.

For the notebook, I painted black crackle from left to right instead of from bottom to top to get the sideways marble effect. I left a rectangle in the middle in order to act as the label for the notebook. If you find you left too little room, like I originally did, you can use white polish to extend your rectangle.

I'm a big fan of the Art Club nail art polishes (an extension of Color Club), so I used a lot of those paints in this look. I also use Art Deco by LA Looks, Kiss Nail Paints, and a host of others I find in different dollar stores.

But the great thing about nail art like this is that you can use different colors from what I used, based on what is available to you, and still have an awesome outcome. Cause really… who didn't have a pink or purple marble notebook because they got sick of black?

I hope you're all enjoying your first week back at school, work, or just your day in general. I know these nails have been the hit of my campus and I hope they will be for you too!