Sharp Edges

Sharp Edges Fingers

For this geometric mani, I used a couple of polishes that made separate appearances earlier in the week, China Glaze’s jade green Four Leaf Clover and Nails Inc.’s cobalt Baker Street. Both rich, saturated jewel tones, they were the perfect colour choice(s) for these totally free-handed nails (no striping tape, boo-yah!) that were just as fussy and time-consuming to complete as you’d think.  Not gonna hide that fact.  Although sitting around waiting for all that black outlining to dry did enable me to listen to two and a half hours of a commentary track writer/director/professional talker Kevin Smith recorded for the 1992 Tim Burton movie, Batman Returns.  It was absolutely hilarious, and peppered with all sorts of fun trivia, and made me laugh so hard, I zigged when I should have zagged and nearly had to redo my index finger.  Bit of a warning there when it comes to guffawing whilst nail art-ing.  Still, pretty funny stuff.

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Lucky Charms

Lucky Charm Fingers

Sort of.  At least the all important marshmallow part.

Speaking of, you know you’re getting up there in age when everybody’s favourite Saturday morning cartoon fuel is riddled with shapes of marshmallows that you’ve never laid eyes on before.  Yellow hourglasses?  Red balloons?  Multi-coloured shooting stars?  I half expect a petrified turquoise marshmallow shaped like a cell phone to fall out of the box next.

I love these nails.  They’re so fun and vibrant.  One note, though – trying to nail art over top of deep, saturated colours (like electric jade, here China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover) is an exercise in futility.  Whatever you layer over top of it will take on a vaguely green tinge, and you’ll find yourself going over and over the same details time and time again in an attempt to hold on to the vibrancy of the polishes.  Don’t do this.  The easiest approach is to rough-in the details first – here the marshmallows – in basic white, and then fill in the coloured details after the fact.  Well, I suppose the easiest approach is to stick to pastel base colours, but where’s the fun in that?  And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t forget the base coat – greens tend to stain like a beast.

We’re All Stars Now

We're All Stars NowI adore star imagery – I have a couple of tattoos that would speak to that assertion – and despite a pre-tattoo, high school habit of inking rings of rainbow stars around my wrists with scented Crayola markers, I really can’t draw a star to save my life. They always end up looking vaguely like bottom-heavy starfish, and I invariably lose at least one of the star’s points to some odd miscalculation of angles on my part when forming the other four points (here’s where Mr. Finger Candy would rudely – but truthfully – butt in and point out that of course I suck at drawing stars; it involves math. I’d be offended, but it’s true – my talents do not lie in mathematics. One need only consult my high school math teachers to verify that one (because really, I naturally suck so hard at math, and no, not because I spent all of my class time drawing rings of rainbow stars around my wrists!)

So it was with great joy that I stood back upon completing this manicure and saw that these free-handed stars are not bad, not bad at all! This is a simple, allover starry design that takes inspiration from the pattern on a teeny little party hat I once bought for my cat. I probably don’t need to tell you that she HATED IT with the fire of 1,000 burning suns and fought its existence for the entire 37 and a half seconds it was on her head, which turned out to be all the time I needed to snap a few embarrassing photos, and after that it went into a bucket full of old cat stuff and was never heard from again. Just the way she would have preferred it all along, sneaky girl. 😉

For this manicure I used two China Glaze polishes and two OPI polishes over Orly’s silver holo, Mirrorball, China Glaze’s hot pink Rich & Famous and jade green Four Leaf Clover, and OPI’s lush blue No Room for the Blues and royal purple Do You Have This Color in Stock-holm?We're All Stars Now

Semi-Precious Stones: A Tutorial

Semi-Precious Stones TutorialI did a manicure the other day using a technique I’ve seen described as both the smoke effect and the lightning effect. Nomenclature aside, it all amounts to the same thing, even if you’re calling them, say, semi-precious stone nails, as I am in this little tutorial (which is my first real foray into the world of share and share alike, by the way.) If you’d like to play along at home, start in the upper right-hand corner and go across, one row at a time. I think the overall effect looks a lot like one of those gorgeously colourful and delicately veined semi-precious stones like Malachite or Amethyst, and they’re really not the least bit complicated – not much effort for maximum impact, as all good things should be. Ready? Let’s get into this thing!

1. Begin by painting your nails with two coats of a lush, gemstone-hued polish. Here I used China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover, which reads far more blue in these photos than its true neon jade colour. It diminishes the green Malachite-type effect I was going for only just slightly.

2. Once dry, dip a tiny detail brush in a pastel, complimentary-coloured polish (here I used China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint), and working one nail at a time, paint on a design that looks a bit like a ragged chain of lightning. I started my chain from a different point on each nail just to vary things up, as this type of design looks best when it’s a wee bit undone.

3. Immediately dip a flat-headed brush in nail polish remover and lightly dab it over the pastel design. What you’re trying to do here is blur any harsh lines and spread the design around a bit, giving it the overall effect of a cracked piece of gemstone. If you goof, you can always wipe it off and start over or widget together a bit of patchwork after the fact. But try not to natter away at one spot for too long, because you’ll wipe it bare with acetone (I know of that which I speak!)

4-5. Going one nail at a time, repeat steps 2 and 3 on your remaining nails.

6. When you’re done, your nails will look as though they’ve been marbled. You could slap a bit of top coat on at this point and call it a day, but we’re not done yet!

7. Once again taking your tiny detail brush and another darker complimentary polish (here I used Cover Girl’s Constant Caribbean, a dark turquoise metallic), paint on a few ultra fine lines in a jagged pattern to mimic the rich veins of colour that run through semi-precious stones. Tidy up any bits where you coloured outside the lines, top with an ultra smoothing top coat like Seche Vite and voila, you’re done!Semi-Precious Stone Hand