Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Abstract Tree Design with RCM

Hi again!  I said it would take me a few days to get photos of the nails I did a tutorial for in my last post, and it did.  But I finally come bearing pictures!

For these nails, I started out with  one coat of Red Carpet Manicure "So Icey" as a base.   This is a really fine, sheer, packed silver micro-shimmer with intermittent flecks of a silver holographic glitter.  It's definitely sheer at one coat, but it is so dense that I think you might be able to build it up to opaque with three coats! The holographic glitter kind of becomes lost when I put nail my nail design on top of it, but I tried to capture it in a photo:

Then, on top of that I used three coats of Red Carpet Manicure "Behind the Scenes" to make a triangle/tree shape.  Behind the Scenes is a gorgeous emerald green with slight blue undertones, which also has a small warm-toned shimmer to it.  This shimmer reflects gold and orange, with a few hints of green.   Unfortunately this gel polish is dark enough that it absorbs light, and looks almost black in some lighting--so the shimmers that it carries kind of become lost in some light, too. The best representation of this color, therefore, is probably in the first photo with flash or the close-up macro shot I'll post below.  

But it still is really beautiful, and it applies really well--unlike the somewhat similar green Gelish shade "A Runway for the Money" or "Dear Johnny Green", or the RCM equivalent "Diva in Disguise".  So if you don't like troublesome gel shades, I'd go for this one any day. 

Here's my attempted macro shot on the left--which shows mostly gold and green reflective shimmers--and an outtake from a picture with flash on the right--which shows some of the orange-gold reflects as well.  

Lastly, the gold glitters I used at the top of the trees are from the "Born Pretty Store".  I'm still perfecting my method to get those large glitters to stay encased in gel easily. 

That's all for today, I guess...see you in 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tutorial: Holiday-ish Mani That You Can Wear into the New Year

Hello again!  I'll have better pictures of the look for this tutorial a bit later, but I wanted to post it while there's still a few days before Christmas--it's Christmas tree inspired, after all, but not your usual flashy holiday nails.  I wanted something I could wear into the New Year.

I just want to add that it was nice to take the time to do my nails today, too.  Everyone has been out shopping this last weekend, and rushing to get presents sent or wrapped or what-have-you.  It was a nice way to take some time for myself, and not in a way that involved spending money while I should be spending money on others. :)

The colors I used for this tutorial are Red Carpet Manicure's "So Icy" and "Behind the Scenes".  The green looks almost black in the video, unfortunately, but you still can see everything that's going on--and there will be pictures soon.

Once again,  I mainly wanted to show that you can do almost anything you can do with regular polish with gel polishes, too.  Sometimes it's even easier than with regular polish!  So this is just a simple holiday take on a tape-guided manicure, but it would work just as well any time of the year, with any color combo you choose.   You could also spruce it up more for Christmas with some red stripes for garland or some more glitter ornaments--take some time for yourself and have some fun!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Glitter + Glitter (Or: NaiLuv + Red Carpet Manicure...again!)

I feel kind of repetitive today...for this manicure, I used the same two brands I used for my last nails.  But I REALLY love these new sparkle gel polishes that Red Carpet Manicure put out this season, and I was finally ready to break out the festive nails, sooo...

This is NaiLuv's "Super Freaky" with Red Carpet Manicure's "Adorn Me" on top.  Once again, I wasn't really able to get nice sunny pictures, but with glitter polishes I notice that's not too important--the color of the glitter transforms just as well with angle the glitter hits the light at as with the type of light. 

First of all, I used three coats of Nailuv "Super Freaky" for a solid wall of cherry red glitter on my nails--this is the color on my middle nail, by the way, where I refrained from using the gold glitter topper so I could try to get some swatch pictures.   When I first got this shade and posted a "haul" of it early this year, I thought it looked like a red glitter in a red tinted jelly base--boy, was I wrong.  It's actually just a ton of tiny red glitters in a clear base--and it's so jam packed with glitter that it looks opaque on your nails in 3 coats.  It's a super fun shade; although it's not pair of colors that screams "CHRISTMAS!", it's surprising how just some red glitter can make everyone comment on your festive nails.  One down side, though: because of all its glitter, this gel may feel a little thick or a little more uneven on the surface than your usual gel polish.  In particular, I had a rough spot or two when I capped the edges of my nails--but that wore itself down in a day or two. 

Even though it's not a "jelly" shade, you can layer glitter between it for a neat effect similar to jelly polishes.  For example, on my thumbs I put a layer of Red Carpet Manicure "Adorn Me" underneath the third layer of "Super Freaky"--I still got a little of the gold and holographic reflectiveness of the "Adorn Me" shade, but the perceived "texture" of the surface of my nails looks quite different than just layering the polish on top:

This would be much more fun with some larger sized glitters, too!

Over the other three nails, I applied one coat of Red Carpet Manicure "Adorn Me", which is basically a dupe for Gelish's "Twinkle".  Overall, I found this glitter a much better performer than the last glitter shade I used--it applied much more evenly over the nail with one coat.  That may be due to the fact that it's a much simpler glitter gel, though.  There are just three types of glitter I can discern: there are teensy tiny yellow gold flecks of glitter, and slightly larger hexagonal yellow-gold glitters, some of which are also holographic--all suspended in a clear gel base.   Since my nails are red, the base color kind of appropriated all the warm-toned holographic reflects.  So although sometimes I could catch an orange-ish reflection, most of my photos show the holographic glitters reflecting a blue/purple shade.

I did really bad at getting some bottle pictures this week, so these are the few shots I could get of the RCM shade. Luckily I got a pretty aaaah-mazing macro shot of this glitter--just look at the right side of the picture with the green background above! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

RCM "Put Some Bling On It" & NaiLuv "Rum Cola"

I don't have too many pictures to bombard you with this time, but I wanted to share one of the new holiday Red Carpet Manicure colors that came out recently (I picked mine up late in the day on Black Friday).  It's a whole collection of silver and gold gel polishes, with glitters and metallics! I can barely ever pass up glitter gel polishes at the right price, so three of the gels came home with me that day.  And one went on my nails shortly thereafter!

Of course, also in this post is NaiLuv's "Rum Cola", which I picked out because it reminded me of the dirty slush on the roads and the ugly skies after the recent snowstorm we had.  I'm so poetic, I know, I know.  It's definitely winter now, but I wasn't quite ready to break out the jewel toned holiday colors yet. 

Red Carpet Manicure "Put Some Bling On It" is a simple silver glitter in a clear base.  What makes it unique from other gel polishes is that it has four different sizes of glitters--three hexagonal sizes and one teensy size that is more irregular shaped.  I couldn't pass this up because it reminds me insanely of Essie's "Set in Stones"; however, it is more like Essie "Set in Stones"'s wimpy cousin!  Here is one coat of Essie's "Set in Stones" as seen on another blogger, PolishAholic.  In contrast, the RCM gel, which I also used one coat of, is a little more sparse--there are less large and medium sized glitters to bulk it out.  But it still provides a nice extra element of sparkle to your nails, and looks a little bit like a mini snowstorm on them! In the close up it looks a little like one of the largest glitters is about to lift off my nails, but I'm happy to report that the glitters stay firmly secured in this gel--unlike some other glitters I've encountered, where the larger glitter can lift off the nail after a few days.

Nailuv "Rum Cola" is a simple "greige" - a grey creme color with slight brown undertones.  Sometimes NaiLuv's names confuse me, because I don't really see "cola" in this at all!  But regardless, it's a great neutral color that covers perfectly in 2 coats, making it one more great NaiLuv shade.   It does have slight brown undertones, but when light floods onto it, it looks more like a true grey--pairing it with a silver added to this effect, too. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sephora by OPI Gelshine

Hello again!  Happy December!  Now that the days are getting MUCH colder, at least in the northern US, I wanted to start my post off with a reminder/tip:

When the weather gets cold, make sure your gel polishes are at room temperature (or warmer!) when you apply them.  Gels may thicken up and become harder to apply in the cold! 

I tend to keep my polishes boxed up below a window sill, and while this means that they stay out of sunlight, they certainly don't escape the cold drafts, and tend to be colder than anything else in the room.  I forgot about this when I applied this manicure, and as a result my lasting power was awful--the gel thickened due to the temperature, which made the polish shrink back on my nails and feel goo-y instead of laying out smoothly.  Worst of all, I only lasted about 3 days before I had gel lifting off my nails.  Fail!

This color is Sephora by OPI  "I Only Shop Vintage". There are a few unique Sephora-only gels in their collection, and this is one of them.  It's  got a brassy yellow-brown base overflowing with warm yellow-gold flecks of glitter.  If you've seen "Golden Eye" by OPI, this polish has flecks exactly like that--it has irregular shaped yellow-gold glitters that reflect yellow, orange, and light green in the light--but this was hard to capture in photographs.  It creates a unique polish that can look more brown, yellow or tan depending on the light.  It kind of reminds me of gold polymer clay, or gold-colored plastic you might find on a toy--actually, I just found out that this color would make a great "dupe" for the plastic used in the original Pokemon Gold Gameboy cartridge!  Not always something you would want on your nails...but it's an interesting shade.  Anyway, I used three coats for strength, but you may only need two if you apply under better conditions than I did. 

Sadly, this was the first time  I tried out a Sephora by OPI Gelshine gel polish, and since my application wasn't ideal, I feel like I'm unable to review the formula itself.

OK, finally there are pictures!

Here's my attempted closeup--you can kind of see some flecks of green and orange in the middle of my nail on the top left side, right?  The color shifts were hard to capture on camera!  You can also see the horrible shrinking that was a result of my bad application.

Next time I'll have better pictures, I promise!  Stay tuned!