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Manicure #007: Striking Stripes

This manicure was freehanded and took about half an hour. The base coat is Sand Tropez by Essie and the other stripes include Play Date (Essie), Big Spender (Essie), and Smokin’ Hot (Essie). At first I really wanted everything to be perfect so I actually used tape for the first stripe (the lilac color). I quickly realized I wasn’t going to have enough patience to let everything dry between stripes and decided to do it on my own. I actually kind of like the subtle imperfections but I wish–as always–I had done a better job with cleanup. I don’t know what my deal has been lately but I feel like my nails just look messy no matter what I do. I think it has to do mostly with my cuticles needing some serious help. They’re dry, uneven, and all around crappy looking. Tomorrow I’m heading to Sally’s Beauty Supply to find some cuticle remover and I might even push them back. I’ve read it’s best to avoid doing this too much so I’ll try to keep it to a minimum but I don’t think there’s any avoiding it if I want to keep things even. Anyway, here are lots of photos of this manicure. Please tell me what you think!

Are you sick of it yet? =)

Review Post #009

Well, I bought way too much nail polish again. I’m lucky I made some decent money from selling jewelry or else I would be in a world of hurt right about now… Unfortunately it seems that my desire to do my nails far outweighs my desire to create new jewelry so this might be something that will change in the future. Besides, I should probably wind down on the amount of polish I’m buying anyway. I need to keep my addiction in check =)

Anyway, I ended up buying 10 bottles:
1. Smokin’ Hot (Essie)
2. Mink Muffs (Essie)
3. Limo-scene (Essie)
4. Club Prive (L’oreal)
5. Safari Chic (L’oreal)
6. Audacious Asphalt (Maybelline)
7. Tenacious Teal (Maybelline)
8. Let’s Meet (Sinful Colors)
9. Mint Apple (Sinful Colors)
10. Hazard (Sinful Colors)

Of course anyone familiar with nail blogs knows that new purchases = lots of reviews. I’ve chosen four for this post.

First one up is Hazard by Sinful Colors.

I was immediately drawn to this color as soon as I saw it. In the bottle it’s a bright neon orange color that’s perfect for summer. It reminds me of being little and seeing this color a lot in the early 90s back when neon was big. Hazard proved to be as appealing on my nails as it was in the bottle. Sometimes polishes can look different once applied but this formula actually stays true to the color you see at first glance. The only thing I don’t like about this polish is that it’s kind of gooey (if that makes sense). It applies nicely but it’s sheer so like most polishes you have to apply several coats. Unfortunately every coat makes the polish thicker and thicker and it’s easy to end up with uneven nails as a result. I think once I get some practice with it this will no longer be an issue. Using a topcoat helped smooth things out as well.

The photo below isn’t a good picture so bear with me. I might actually go back and take better photos of each of these polishes in the future. I usually try to do them during the day time so I can utilize the sunlight as it does the most justice when it comes to snapping pictures. Unfortunately I tried these all at night so I had to use artificial light and it’s hard to find a good balance (at least with this iPhone 4). Hopefully I’ll get a “real” camera in the near future or find the one I lost during our move…

Next is actually not one of the new polishes but it’s one of the only Essie bottles I haven’t reviewed yet. It’s called Sand Tropez and it’s a gorgeous beige color. Beige is so neutral that it will go with anything. It’s almost the new black even.

At this point I probably don’t even need to mention that this formula applies beautifully as it is made by Essie. It’s also long-lasting too… even without a topcoat.

The polish below is none other than Smokin’ Hot by Essie. Unlike many polishes they gave it a genuinely descriptive name. This polish really is smoking hot. It could honestly pass as several different colors when it comes down to it. I was trying to think of a way to describe it but couldn’t pick which is most fitting. It’s basically a mix of dark grey, coal, and a deep, dark lavender color. It’s not purple hence the “lavender” description and it’s definitely not black. If you wore it with purple it would match well enough and the same goes for any other dark colors, really. Of course this polish also goes on easily and stays on just as well as long as you give it plenty of time to dry and set.

And last but not least is Tenacious Teal by Maybelline. I have never bought or used any polishes by them before so I was excited to try this one out. I was sort of let down at first but once I played with it a little I was actually really pleased. If you aren’t careful you can end up using too much and it can get too thick and messy quickly. I ended up doing two very thin coats to achieve the following and I was happy with it:

Hopefully I’ll be able to pull together an actual manicure or tutorial tomorrow but our Saturday is looking busy already. One of our neighbors is having his birthday party and another is having a cookout. My days are usually taken up by my son but my husband is home this weekend so perhaps I’ll be able to squeeze something in. Usually the way it works is that I’ll put my son down for his nap, paint my nails, and he always seems to wake up before they’re totally dry. It never fails. Thank god for nights and weekends though, right??

Manicure #001: Mocha Delight

Posted on

Here goes nothing, my first manicure! In case you didn't read the introduction post, it is important to know that I am a beginner when it comes to anything nail-related. I'm being as honest as Mother Theresa when I say that in my 24 years on earth, I have never done so much as give myself an actual, honest-to-god manicure until one week ago. It's needless to say I have become addicted! Unfortunately there are some things that come with the territory. I will not be using a nice camera but instead my iPhone3 and because my nails have never been cared for and I create jewelry for a living, my fingers look awful right now! Hopefully they will improve in time!

One more thing before getting started: It is my hope that not only will I help others but that others will help me. Please feel free to leave suggestions, photos, links, tutorials, whatever in the comments section!

On to the manicure. I'll call it "Mocha Delight."

In order to keep this blog and its tutorials as simple and easy as possible I will be including lots of photos. With that being said, here is what you'll need:

From left to right: Top2 Bottom base coat by Orly, Quick Dry Top Coat by Revlon, Sand Tropez by Essie, NYC Quick Dry Polish (color not given but it is dark burgundy), and Diamond in the Rough by wet n wild.

1.) Apply one base coat. It does not need to be perfect.
2.) Apply two coats of Sand Tropez by Essie. (Here is a wonderful tutorial on how to paint your nails perfectly: (I wish I could directly link but it isn't working/I don't know the HTML... yet.) It is by far the best one I've found so far!)
3.) Let the first two coats dry for at least 15 minutes. The polish needs to be set before moving to the next step or you will end up peeling off parts of it.
4.) Use a generic white tip guide and place it a few millimeters from the tip of your nail.
5.) Apply a coat of burgundy NYC Quick Dry polish.
6.) Let this coat dry for at least two or so minutes. It does not need to be perfect but it needs to cover the nail tip as it provides a dark base color for the next layer.
7.) Apply Diamond in the Rough by wet n wild.
8.) Apply top coat. It does not need to be perfect.
9.) Use a q-tip to remove any renegade polish that made its way onto your cuticle or finger.
10.) Let everything dry for at least 15 minutes (longer is preferable as the longer you allow your nails to dry, the less likely it is something will smudge them!)

Another photo:

There you have it! I found this manicure to be extremely simple. It is, however, somewhat time consuming. It took me about 45 minutes from start to finish. It would probably take less time had I not made the mistake of not allowing my nails to dry 100% before applying the tip guides (obvious rookie mistake, of course). When I peeled them off they took plenty of sand Tropez with it and many cuss words ensued. Moral of the story? The more dry time the better! Pace yourself and you'll have a beautiful manicure.

Please keep returning for updates. Thank you for reading!