Kiss Me, I’m Delicious!

Lime Sugar Scrub Collage

Also Irish (or part Irish on my mom’s side) and totally kissable, thanks to this seasonally-hued lime sugar lip scrub I whipped up today.  It’s so criminally easy, it feels ridiculous even including a recipe, but a little instruction is always nice.  And so here’s how to make your own delicious, four-ingredient lip scrub this St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day of the week.

Step 1: Round up your ingredients – white granulated sugar, coconut oil, lime juice and food colouring.

Step 2: Gather any utensils you need for mixing – a small bowl, a silicone spatula and a couple of measuring spoons.

Step 3: Add the ingredients to the bowl in the following proportions and stir well:

7 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
One (and I do mean one; otherwise, you’ll wind up with neon green lips) drop of lime green food colouring.

(A couple of teaspoons of finely grated lime zest would be a lovely, zingy addition to this scrub that wouldn’t affect the consistency one bit; I would have added some had I any!)

Step 4: Spoon into a small plastic container with a lid (or small lidded jars if you’re giving them away, as I mostly am) and enjoy!

Lime Sugar Scrub Pic

Ah, but how does one enjoy?  Simply swipe the scrub onto your mug, buff it about for a bit and then wipe (or wash) it off, before sealing in all that lovely moisture with your favourite lip balm.  And if you accidentally ingest it?  So what?  It’s completely edible, and really rather delicious (although I wouldn’t sit down to a bowl of the stuff, you know?)

So there you have it, super kissable lips just in time for getting your Irish smooch on this St. Patrick’s Day.

Christmas Trees: A Tutorial

Tree Tutorial Collage.jpg

Easy, glittery trees, the Finger Candy way!

Step 1: (We can have lots of fun!)  Paint your nails to opacity with two polishes, a simple dark creme on your middle two fingers (this can be any shade you’d like, although I like the tree detailing as against this basic black) and a festive glitter bomb on your index and pinkie fingers, here KB Shimmer’s sELFie.  Once dry, top with a layer of quick dry topcoat.

Step 2: (There’s so much we can do!  Okay, I’ll stop with the NKOTB jokes now.)  Apply striping tape to your two middle fingers in the shape of a wide chevron from the centre of your cuticles down to the edges of your nails. Don’t worry if the small point up at your cuticles doesn’t come together perfectly – you’ll be adding a tiny little star charm at the end that will cover up any boo-boos.

Step 3: Fill in the taped-off space on your two middle fingers with a Christmas tree green polish, here Enchanted Polish’s Lost Boy.  Depending on the polish you choose for your index and pinkie fingers, you may be able to use it (skipping over step 3 entirely.)  But super thick glitter bombs like sELFie can be difficult to wrangle in nail art, and are best used as megawatt accent polishes over a complimentary-hued base.

Step 4: Top the now-green trees with two light coats of the glitter polish.  Or omit this step altogether because the polish you chose for the trees covered it up just well enough in the first place, thankyouverymuch.

Step 5: Once dry, carefully remove the striping tape, pat down any errant bits of glitter with the point of a toothpick and top with another layer of quick dry top coat.

Step 6: With the topcoat still tacky, place a star upon the highest bough of each of your trees, here a couple of little golden charms I purchased from Daily Charme.  You could also paint on your stars using yellow polish and a small detail brush, or do what I did last year and fish all the golden stars out of another bottle of polish and top your tree designs with those!

Et voila, glittery Christmas trees, if you please.  I hope you find this tutorial helpful. 🙂

christmas-tree-fingers

Dry-Brushing: A Tutorial (31DC2016)

dry-brushing-tutorial-collage

The second-to-last daily theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge (holy cats, we’re almost there!) is a tutorial.  In the three years that I’ve been participating in this challenge, I’ve never fully understood whether the prompt calls for you to follow another nail artist’s tutorial or create one of your own.  But seeing as I really don’t do that many tutorials to begin with (pretty well every second one would have to start with “Step 1: Develop an unhealthy obsession with the movie Beetlejuice”) I thought I’d try my hand (and nails) at a little how-to.

I received a lot of positive comments on these Suicide Squad nails I posted some months back, with a few folks asking how I did the punky-looking streaked bits on my index and pinkie fingers.  Well, here’s exactly how (with allowances for a different colour palette. You, of course, can choose any darn colour combination you’d like, though if you’re partial to the sort of metallic graffiti-type look of this particular manicure, you’ll need to include a foil-type metallic and a basic black.)

1. Begin by rounding up your rogues’ gallery of polishes and brushes.  For this manicure I used a single, small, flat-headed brush and six different polishes, OPI’s Sailing & Nail-ing, a pale turquoise creme, OPI’s My Signature is “DC”, a shimmery silver foil, A England’s Crown of Thistles, a plummy holo, A England’s Whispering Waves, a turquoise holo, Polish Me Silly’s Paradise, a turquoise-to-green-to-purple multi-chrome, and a basic black creme (not shown.)

rogues-gallery-of-polishes

2. Lay down three coats of a pale base polish, or however many it takes to reach full opacity.  Here I used OPI’s Sailing & Nail-ing, a pale, robin’s egg blue.

3. Once dry, take your brush and gently dip it into the small blob of polish you’ve daubed out onto your artist’s palette.  Or, if you’re me, you use the back of an old DVD case.  Here I started with the purple holo, A England’s Crown of Thistles.

Take a quick peek at the polish on your brush; if it seems like you maybe picked up a bit too much, simply dab it up and down on your palette a few times to remove the excess. Much like salting your food, dry-brushing is one of those areas where it’s better to start small and work your way up; you can always add more, but you can’t subtract.

Then, taking your nearly-dry brush, drag it straight down your nails from the cuticles to the tips.  Or start in the middle of your nails and drag it downwards.  Or start at the top and draw it down only halfway.  This manicure is designed to look a lot undone, so there are no precise how-tos.  And if you do accidentally stumble into a boo-boo, just remember that layered techniques like this one are super forgiving, and mistakes are easily rectified and covered up.

brush-pic

4. – 6. Repeat that exact same random, dry-dragging brushstroke with the remaining polishes, here silver My Signature is “DC” (4.), turquoise Whispering Waves (5.) and multi-chromatic Paradise (6.)

7. Add the black streaks, using an ultra light touch.  Again, you can always add, but you can’t subtract.  It’s important to keep that in mind when using black as an accent colour in your nail art.

Once dry, it’s time to assess your work.  The goal here is not necessarily total coverage – it’s fine if the base polish is still peeking through a bit – but if that’s what you’re going for, repeat steps 3. to 7. as you see fit.  Need more purple in that corner?  Put more purple in that corner.  Whoops, put too much purple in that corner? Cover it up with a bit of silver.  In these two photos, you can really see where I added more of everything after layering on my first black bits.

nearly-done-collage

8. Continue the random layering of your polishes until your masterpiece is complete. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll know you’ve reached that perfect level when you proceed to hurtle directly over it, add way too much polish and have to redo one nail entirely from scratch.

But once that’s dry, all that’s left to do is to seal in your work with a quick dry topcoat (I always use Seche Vite) and clean up any polish overage.  Et voila, dry-brushed nails!

shiny-dry-brushing-fingers

I hope you found this not-so-little tutorial instructive – are you feeling duly tutored? Because I’m feeling quite teacherly (not a word, I know.)  As always, if you try this manicure yourself, I’d love to see your results!  Happy nail art-ing (also not a word.)

Fall Fun Series: Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

good-pumpkin-spice-collage

Sugar scrubs are typically the secret weapon behind any super soft, sweetly scented hands and feet, but the actual secret behind the secret weapon is that they’re ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make at home, using nothing more than completely edible ingredients mixed together and stuffed into a sealed container.  It really doesn’t get any easier than that, with the nice little bonus being total customization; the basic proportions of the sugar “recipe” stay the same, while allowing you lots of wiggle room to scent your sweet concoction exactly as you wish. Heck, you can even tinker with the proportions of the sugar/oil recipe should you prefer a grainier scrub to a more oily one.  This is one very forgiving DIY beauty product, so feel free to play around!

I typically make my sugar scrubs with white, fine grain sugar, but I thought brown sugar, with its extra hit of rich molasses, would make a nice – and definitely more traditional – base for the pumpkin pie spices.   So would you like to make some of your own?  Here’s how!

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of white sugar1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to personal taste, should you prefer your scrub spi-cay), 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg.  Add 1/3 a cup of coconut oil and mix well.  You want the finished product to look like damp sand.  And that’s seriously all there is to it!

pumpkin-spice-collage

Lidded plastic containers are the best method for storing your DIY sugar scrubs, because you can lug them into the shower or the bath with you without the fear of too much water damage, but should you be unable to stop yourself from crafting together a cute little Halloween-hued label and stuffing the whole works into a mostly decorative rubber-mouthed glass container, well, who am I to stop you (or myself)? 🙂

pumpkin-spice-sugar-scrub

With all of the other participants in the Fall Fun Series similarly up to their (now well-buffed) elbows in craft projects, there’s lots of that fun DIY spirit kicking around the collective today.  Should you wish to check out the projects that are either delighting them or driving them absolutely mad (that’s sort of the nature of homemade craft goods, though, right?) you can find a list of their blogs below.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Ashley at The Bohemian Sassenach
Hayley at Polished At Heart
Jessica at The Meltdown Blog
Julie at The Redolent Mermaid
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Liz at Furianne
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life

Bad Fairy Fire: A Tutorial

Fairy Fire Tutorial Collage

I had a terrific response to these flame-licked nails I posted the other day – really, so many sweet compliments. And seeing as they were ultra easy in addition to popular, I thought I’d share the love AND my technique for how to achieve these fiery nails, this time with a Halloween-leaning bent. I suppose this glittery green fire could be Maleficent’s evil-conjuring fire, but really, one green, bad fairy spell is just like the other, is it not? Let’s get into this!

1. To begin, brush on two coats of a dark, opaque polish. For the more traditional fire nails I did the other day, I used a deep, blood red as the background polish. For these more supernaturally-minded nails, I used OPI’s Do You Have This Color in Stock-holm?, a dark, royal purple.

2.-4. Working quickly and going one nail at a time, brush on a thick coat of your base polish. Then, taking the three polishes you’re going to blend together for the fire effect (the other day it was orange, yellow and a glittery red, whereas here it’s Finger Paints’ neon green Silkscreen Green, Smitten Polish’s glittery green Not Your Mama’s Easter Grass and a basic white creme) dab one atop the other, starting with the neon green, then the white, and finally the glittery green, right at the tips of your nails.

5. While all of the above is still wet, take the fine point of a dotting tool and lightly drag it through the polish from the tips of your nails up towards your cuticles, “licking” out the flames as you go. The beauty of a fire-type design is that there’s really no wrong way to do it – fires are abstract and diffuse by design, so even if you fudge up a little bit, who’s going to know? 🙂

6.-8. Continuing to work one nail at a time, repeat with your remaining nails. I varied up the design a bit on my middle and ring fingers, swirling the flames up towards the centre of my hand, but you can make your flames bend and dance however you wish.

Not shown: Topcoat application and clean-up, but you already do that always, right? Right! 😉 Then in the final analysis you’re left with something like this. Flame on!

Bad Fairy Fire Nails

The Big Flake-Out

Electric Carnival CollageThis simple manicure features one of my favourite high impact, low effort nail art techniques, with a bit of a flakie twist. Here I brushed on two coats of a super high shine black polish before topping it with two coats of ILNP’s chromatic flakie, Electric Carnival, in one strip directly down the centre of each nail. I then topped the whole works with one coat of Seche Vite to enrich the shine and deepen all that gorgeous, colour-shifting flakie goodness. Aaaannnndddd that was it, the end! Dead easy, right? I wish I had more to add, but that’s the beauty of this kind of manicure, so let’s not question it too much, okay?!

I will add that ILNP’s flakies provide full coverage in two coats all on their own, although I prefer pairing them with a dark base in this elongating, less-is-more approach. I also like the way darker polishes offset the colour-shifting flakies, throwing off beautiful chromatic rainbows without being ridiculously over the top. Remember, a good manicure means never having to say, “I’m sorry I blinded you with my nails.”Electric Carnival Fingers

Just Bead It

RaindropsFor week two’s theme of April showers in this month’s N.A.I.L. challenge, I went with a fun little design I’ve been meaning to try for ages now, a super simple dab-on technique I call a “Topcoat raindrops beaded up on the hood of a custom painted Charger”-icure. Yes, that is a VERY specific term, and I don’t expect it to catch on at all, but a nail girl can hope. 🙂 It goes a little something like this:

1. Paint your nails to opacity in any colour you’d like. Finish-wise, I think super high shine, colour-shifting multichromes work best, and really drive (eh?!) home the custom paint job effect we’re going for here. For these nails I used three coats of Polish Me Silly’s indigo-to-plum Holy Shift.

2. Once dry, top with one thin coat of a quick dry, high gloss topcoat like Seche Vite.

3. Once it’s dry, take that same bottle of topcoat and, brushing off almost the fluid, dab it onto your nails in a random raindrop pattern. There needs to be enough topcoat on your brush so that it flows smoothly off the brush and onto your nail, but not so much that it swamps your manicure. You’re looking for beads of water here; it’s a bit of a delicate dance. Thankfully, this is such an easy technique, do-overs are not quite the hair-rending prospect they might be with any other type of manicure.

4. Lay your hands down flat and let dry. And try not to pick! Which you totally will, because I did, even though the little beaded up bits of topcoat are not that intrusive. It’s just second nature to want to eradicate any nail art lumps and bumps. It’s the manicure equivalent of tonguing that little cut on the roof of your mouth – you know you should just leave it alone, let it heal, BUT. YOU. CAN’T!!!

Still, a super fun, lightning fast and mega easy technique that’s sure to impress your more vehicularly-minded friends and requires nothing more than two basic nail art items you undoubtedly already have in your stash. Sweet!Raindrops Bottle