Kitty in Stripes

Kitty in Stripes Hand

After posting a tutorial of my own yesterday, I thought it was high time to tackle another manicure from a Hello Kitty nail art book I was gifted over the holidays.  The first mani of the book was a classic Kitty desgin – red and white polka dots, yellow-nosed and red bow’d Kitty.

Kitty in Stripes Book.png

The second design of the book keeps things similarly simple, this time introducing bold horizontal stripes in the classic combo of black and white, with just the barest hints of candy floss pink and glittery gold accents. Another easy tutorial to follow, resulting in a very pretty Kitty, indeed!

Kitty in Stripes Up Close

Hello Cuteness!

Hello Cuteness

Classic Hello Kitty nails, featuring a couple of the Kitty-themed gifts I received from my husband this Christmas (there’s delightfully always a few!) – a much-coveted nail art tutorial book to provide the inspiration, and actual Hello Kitty polishes to colour in Kitty’s world.  Tangential, but for reals, my husband is the master of Hello Kitty Christmas gifts; I even have some not-a-joke HK jewelry that completely rocks my polka dotted socks.

The book, one of those hard-to-get-your-hands-on items by Masako Kojima, is chock full of fun and very doable Hello Kitty (and Friends) designs.

HK Book

The detailed and easy-to-follow tutorials that accompany every manicure are clear and well laid out; I’d say based on the results of this manicure, the first I encountered in the book, its approach to instruction is very successful.  But I would, because these are my nails, I did this manicure and I think it turned out so well!  So not super unbiased or anything. 😉  This cute little book also includes a sheet of over 125 nail stickers tucked inside the front cover, for all your Kitty and My Melody and Chococat needs.  Love that saucy black cat.

HK Book Pages

And then just to kill it with the over, I did this manicure using four of the five mini polishes included in the Hello Kitty (by OPI) nail polish set I also received this Christmas. Oh, AND, I painted these nails using the double-ended detail brush/dotting tool that came with the polish set!  So basically a total Hello Kitty overload. Just the way Sanrio and nature intended!

OPI Kitty Collage

Hello Gifts!

kitty-main-photo

Ending the month with a look back at some of the adorable Hello Kitty gifts I received this Christmas from friends and family, all of whom enable my love of Miss Kitty to varying degrees (Mr. Finger Candy is particularly fond of giving the gift of HK.)

This year I got some super cute, mostly nail art-related goodies, from an awesome Hello Kitty nail art book (look for some follow-along nail art from that in the coming weeks) to a definitely impractical breakfast sandwich pan with an embossed bottom.  Everything’s a bit quirky and not quite the usual, and with Hello Kitty adorning all of these gifts, of course I love them!  Let’s look at some of this bounty in a bit more detail, shall we?

anatomy-of-a-kitty-collage

Starting with the most random, here is an adorable Hello Kitty nail art kit filled to the brim with kid-friendly polishes and nail care goodies.  Housed in a hard-shelled plastic Kitty case with a sturdy little handle for portability, the polishes are sort of rubbery in texture – a sure sign that they’re water-based (aka kid-friendly.) I wasn’t really expecting much from the contents of the kit (particularly in light of the fact that the best before date on the bottom of the case is/was 2015!) but the polishes went on really well, if oddly. I say oddly because I’ve never quite encountered lacquers like this before – they were rubbery in texture once dry (and indeed, peeled off my nails just like liquid latex) but the polish that came out of the bottles was thick, and a bit gloppy. And yet not the least bit unmanageable, applying smoothly and cleanly.  Which is a bonus, because these sorts of water-based polishes do not play nicely with acetone, making cleanup rather unpleasant. So as always, polish between the lines, because there’s really no way of walking back your boo-boos without literally picking them off your nails.  Such anomalies, these Kitty polishes, but also very, very pretty.  I particularly like the glowy jade green.

kitty-swatch-collage

More Hello Kitty nail art goodies came in the form of one of OPI’s mini kits from last year’s HK collection.  I haven’t yet given these traditional Kitty colours (with a nifty dotting tool and brush) the go-round, but I plan on using them to try out some of the designs from the Hello Kitty nail art book.  I love the yellow here, My Twin Mimmy – it’s the precise sunshine yellow of Kitty’s adorable little bean-shaped nose.

OPI Kitty Collage.jpg

Finally, we have the gift I’m torn between using and hanging up in my kitchen as an object de pop art, a Hello Kitty breakfast sandwich pan.  A gift from my brother-in-law and his lady, both of whom appreciate my love of all things Kitty, this little non-stick pan is the perfect size for toasting your egg sandwich to golden perfection. That is, if you weren’t afraid of setting the bottom ablaze, and possibly also melting the decorative handle when it gets too close to the burner, which it will, because it’s the circumference of an English muffin!  And I am afraid of all of those things, so perhaps best to leave this one as a decorative object!

kitty-pan-collage

Hello Skincare!

Another Kitty Collage

Years ago a friend gave me these Hello Kitty skincare products she picked up on her travels with the exact same instructions she gave me when she once gifted me with a bottle of bacon-flavoured soda – “DO NOT actually use this!  Just look at it!”  Sage advice on the soda AND the skincare products – the wash/toner/lotion trio is of the whitening variety, and if there’s anything this Celtic hide don’t need, it’s additional whitening (seriously, please stop bleaching yourselves, folks, and I say that as a girl who once rubbed lemon juice all over her arms and then sat out in the sun to bleach her freckles.  Know what happened?  Citric acid burns on top of a sunburn, that’s what.)

So I most likely will not use these products (maybe the sheet masks, although I note that the expiration dates on both have already passed) but, per my friend’s advice, we can all still certainly take a peek AT them, right? Right we are!

Kitty Mask Collage.jpg

The sheet masks are adorable, but what else do you expect from something branded to Hello Kitty?  I’m fairly certain that cat doesn’t know how to do anything BUT adorable. I’ve never used a sheet mask before – I’m an old school, mud-in-a-pot masker.  I’m curious to see how they will perform (and yes, looks like I’ve decided I am going to be using those masks after all, expiration dates be damned!)  I really sort of hope the results are as depicted on the back of the larger of the two masks, because it looks like Kitty got her paws into the REAL good stuff!

Strung Out Kitty Instructions

I like to think the four-part instructions, which I of course cannot decipher but for their pictograms, go as follows:

  1. Look like a bag of cat ass?
  2. Feel like a bag of cat ass?
  3. Put on this mask and join the Purge!
  4. Then you will be totally strung-out.

For real, this cat looks like she’s an extra in the next Purge movie, The Purge: Say Hello to My Little Kitty.

The whitening trio is super cute – love the iridescent sheen on the little tubes – and I’m already getting great use out of the zip-top makeup bag, but I think the contents are going to stay right where they are.  I have no desire to suffer a chemical burn from past-due bleaching products.  Safety first, cuteness second. 😉

White Kitty Collage

 

That’s One A-Peeling Kitty!

Kitty Collage

With the unwelcome return of the snow and the fact that once again, things around here are beginning to look a lot like Christmas, I thought it would be fun to close out the work week by taking a closer look at a polish I received over the holidays and had yet to try out, a non-toxic, peel-off, kid-friendly lacquer branded to the queen cat of cute, Hello Kitty.

Licensed by Kitty’s parent company, Sanrio, manufactured in China by who-knows, distributed in the United States by a company called Par Townley Inc. and sold in Ardene accessories shops across North America, the etymology of this polish could not possibly be less clear.  It actually doesn’t even have a name, just a sad identification number – HK02325C.  It sounds silly, but I always feel sort of bad for unnamed polishes.  Like, why does this one over here get a quality pun while this other one sounds like a Stormtrooper’s rank and file? All that to say I went into this little swatching experiment with some caution.  When you don’t quite know what you’re dealing with, it’s wise to step lightly.

First, that gigantic, unwieldy-looking Hello Kitty on the top of the bottle IS the brush.  I initially thought I wasn’t going to be able to use it, but as it turned out, the figure fit both comfortably and snugly in my palm, and I had no problems whatsoever.  If anything, it applied better than any polish I’ve ever owned, remaining precisely where I applied it, the oddly-shaped, but fantastic, brush laying down consistently neat, sharp edges. Clean-up was a breeze, too, because there were virtually no boo-boos to erase.

Kitty Brush

Which is super news, because formula-wise, this one was a bit of an odd duck, and it did not take well to clean-up.  Formulated with lots of things beginning with the prefix “methyl” and ending with a jumble of vowels I can’t understand, this polish is labelled as both non-toxic and peelable, eliminating the necessity to use harsh (and poisonous) polish removers on tiny, tender hands (or large, tender hands, for that matter.)  It’s a nice touch, and indeed, this polish peeled off very well, although without a base coat, it did temporarily stain my nails bubblegum pink.

Apeeling photo

In terms of application, I was initially THRILLED.  HK-whatever-the-heck went on so beautifully, and in one coat, no less!  And with none of that unpleasant, “traditional” nail polish smell either (this one smells very much like tempera paint, which it essentially is.) But after allowing that first coat to dry down, I noticed lumps, bumps, humps and knicks ALL over my nails.  Like the polymer-based product it is, it had almost FUSED to my nails, very much like a nail strip, and worst of all, it was highlighting every imperfection from my thumb clear across to my pinkie.  It had also dried down to a completely shine-free finish, which I was not going to stand for, because I like shiny things!

And so I topped it with a layer of Seche Vite, and that, kids, is when I ruined my manicure! Because that’s just what happens when you top something non-toxic with something that contains possibly all the toxics.  In fact, in a couple of places (most notably on my middle finger) you can see where the topcoat almost ate away the polish beneath.  Adding the Seche Vite also completely changed the colour of the polish, morphing it from a beautiful, cool-toned raspberry pink to a warm, orangey coral.  In this side-by-side comparison, you can really see the difference pre- and post-topcoat.  It was just the oddest thing.

Colour Collage

Though no more odd than the fact that nail polish remover does not seem to work on this stuff, balling the polish into an unpleasant, gummy mass that you have to wipe off your nails.  Which meant that when it came time for clean-up, I was quite glad I had done such a good job at applying this polish in the first place, because spot touch-ups were simply not going to happen.  Total peel-off removal, though, as I mentioned, was no more difficult than peeling off a nail strip.

All told, I don’t think this is a polish I’d use again.  The colour (well, the first version of the colour) is fantastic, the bottle is adorable and that weird little Kitty brush does its job so very, very well.  But formula-wise, I can’t recommend this one, because it’s kind of a mess.  And that’s regrettable, as I think there’s a large, untapped market out there looking for safe(r), non-toxic alternatives to more traditional beauty products.  But as with all things, the quality must be there, and this sad, unnamed Kitty regrettably falls just a little bit short.

Leadlighting Hello Kitty

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Or at least Kitty’s iconic bow and glasses. Wait, does Kitty even wear glasses? No, I’ve seen her wear glasses. So does her boyfriend, Daniel. And I *may* have just spent a bit too long contemplating the eye wear choices of two cartoon cats!

Leadlighting is the new-to-me nail art technique I tried with these nails. Leadlighting, a relative of stamping, is meant to look like stained glass windows – vibrant, slightly diffuse colours trapped within a decorative “lead” frame. Sheer jelly polishes really prove their worth in leadlighting, too, enhancing and brightening up an overall design without obscuring the stamping work. For these nails, I stamped a bows-and-glasses design from my Hello Kitty image plate (Fab Ur Nails FUN number 9) over top of a basic white creme. After giving that plenty of time to dry (I’ve found that unless you give your stamped design ample dry time, it will smudge and smear, destroying the effect AND your mani) I then filled in the bows with a detail brush dipped in an assortment of rainbow-hued jellies. If you’re at all familiar with cookie flooding or, more simply, colouring in a colouring book, leadlighting works exactly the same way – you create a border of sorts out of the stamped design and then fill it in with your coloured polishes. Really super easy, and very cool.

BS

Sunday Morning’s Alright For Stamping

StampingKittyHand

Humblebrag? This is my very first attempt at stamping. Prior to this I’ve tried the technique out on maybe two test nails before dismissing it altogether – too imprecise, too fussy and too messy for something I could probably free-hand just as well. But on the opposite end of the humblebrag spectrum, I’ll note that my free-handing skills are not always totally up to snuff, particularly when it comes to branded characters like our gal Hello Kitty here (depicted as the Punisher; husband’s choice.) In those cases, I’ve got zero problem seeking out a little pre-etched help, and so I decided to finally take a run at this stamping business. And you know what? It wasn’t bad or difficult at all, and being well organized right from the start kept things neat and tidy. Plus, how cute is Punisher Kitty on my thumb, nestled among that argyle bow design on my fingers? Brutally cute!

StampingKittyPunisher

But there’s a little more than meets the eye with this manicure, so let’s take it from the top! The base polish I used here is actually a jelly sandwich manicure I created by layering Mentality Nail Polish’s purple glaze with Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Cheery on Top, a pink, turquoise and purple glitter (which is itself a dupe of OPI’s Polka.Com.)

CheeryOnTopCollage

Once that dried, I set about stamping, using just a basic, $5.00 scraper and transfer set I purchased from Nail Polish Canada and this Hello Kitty image plate from Fab Ur Nails I bought from Llarowe (which is in the midst of a major restructuring, whittling their stocklist down to just two in-house brands, so no more Hello Kitty plates, regrettably.)

KittyPlate

For the stamping itself, I used a favourite sparkly silver, OPI’s My Signature is “DC”, which is very opaque and transferred quite beautifully. I didn’t have any problems with the stamping, but my centering work could definitely use a bit of, uh, work. Except for Punisher Kitty (one of about a dozen superhero Kitties on plate number 9) who is leveling her stone cold vigilante’s gaze at me directly from the centre of my thumb. Still, for a (nearly) first time effort, this is pretty tremendous. So expect this unexpected run of stamping good luck to NEVER happen again!

StampingKittyFingers