Beachy Keen

Beachy Keen Fingers Front

For all my friends longing for – or on the cusp of – a nice, relaxing beach day.  Me, I don’t do beaches.  Me + sun = crispy red lobster, so I tend to abstain.  I’m also totally that pooh that sits there in a long-sleeved rash guard, sarong, wide-brimmed hat and SPF 70, fussily rotating the beach umbrella into the shade every 23 and a half minutes.

So no actual beaches for me!  But I’m quite content with this very beachy manicure, which utilizes a new-to-me technique, water spotting.  In water spotting, you drop a few polish droplets onto the surface of water (here a basic white creme to mimic the sudsy surf rushing ashore a sandy beach.)  Then taking a spray perfume or cologne, spritz onto the surface of the polish, creating a semi-transparent, lacy effect like the rushing surf. Then you dip your painted nails into the polish as you would with a water marble manicure.  And since no shoreline would be complete without at least a few seashells and starfish, I added a few of those, too.  Surf’s up!

Beachy Keen Fingers Side

Tutorial Time!

Marbled Dots Pic

This colourful marbled mani I did some weeks ago was so insanely easy, pretty and popular, it seemed a shame not to share my method.  Really, though, there’s nothing more complicated here than a simple dotticure sexed up by – wait for this revelation – dipping your dotting tool into TWO different polishes at once.  Sounds naughty, looks stupendous – like accidental, intricate marbling you actually intended to create!  And if you’ve ever tried to marble anything in nail art, then you know it’s a relentless pain in the arse, so any simplification is more than welcome.

First, begin by rounding up your tools.  For this manicure, I used just three lacquers, Enchanted Polish’s orchid pink Dope Jam, golden yellow House of the Rising Sun and dusty blue September 2015.  Marbled together, these polishes create cool new blended colours – blue and yellow makes green, yellow and pink produces orange, and pink and blue makes purple.  So no need to bust out your entire polish collection for this dotticure; just pink, yellow and blue will get the rainbow job done nicely.

Marbled Dots Bottle Collage

For this manicure, I used a small dotting tool I’ve had forever and these polish palette rings from Daily Charme I was gifted last Christmas.  I particularly like the paw print ring, which is why I’m sporting it in these tutorial pics.  It fits securely, but not snugly, and is well balanced so it doesn’t slide to either side of your finger mid-mani.

Polish Rings Collage

So having assembled your little arsenal, let’s get down to the criminally easy step-by-step.

Marbled Dots Tutorial Collage

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, slip on a polish palette ring and fill the tiny divots with your three chosen lacquers.  Should you not possess jewelry that doubles as a beauty tool, simply dot your polish out onto whatever surface you typically use as a palette.

Step 3: Take your dotting tool and dip it into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue.)

Step 4: Dot onto your nails.  Two or three dots per nail should do it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the yellow and blue polishes.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the pink and yellow polishes.

Step 7: Fill in any blank spots or gaps that are irking you for a more cohesive design.

Step 8: Once dry, top with a high gloss, quick dry top coat such as Seche Vite.  Then stand out in the sun and admire all your maybe-not-so-hard work!

Marbled Dots Sunshine

I’ve Lost My Marbles!

I've Lost My Marbles 1

News to no one.

But I may have found them again with this nifty, super effective manicure that was so criminally easy, I almost hesitate to tell you how I created that cool marbled effect, lest you think I’m a totally unimaginative sod (why, I never!)

But okay, here goes, a mini tutorial, for what it’s worth.

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, take a small dotting tool and, using just a pink creme, a pale blue creme and a yellow creme, dip it lightly first into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue) and then dot onto your nails in a random fashion.  What you’ll be left with is a small marbled dot that’s a little pink, a little blue and a little purple combination of the two.

Step 3: Repeat with the pink and yellow polishes (which produce a pretty, coral-y orange) and the yellow and blue polishes (which, of course, produce green.)

Step 4: Top with a layer of high gloss topcoat such as Seche Vite.  Then sit back and marvel at this magnificent mani that took next to no work!  Marbles found.

I've Lost My Marbles 2

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.

KB Kitties

kb-kitties-fingers

With a little help from some water vinyl nail art stickers from Daily Charme.  More on those in a second.

But first, the polishes!  Which would be KB Shimmer’s soft, coral-y pink, Blush Money, topped with KB’s leopard print glitter, Spot Sign.  Blush Money, a peachy-pink holo sprinkled with gold shimmer, is a real chameleon, shifting from a bright coral-rose in the shade to a warm, glowy peach in the sun.  I think both in the bottle and as against my very pale skin it looks like Nars’ venerable Orgasm blush.  And Spot Sign, as always, is awesome – a leopard print mani in just a few swipes of the brush – but temperamental. The little C-shaped leopard glitters want to stick together and they really do snag on everything, so Spot Sign will require your patience, and about two layers of topcoat.

kb-kitties-collage

So the nail art stickers?  Bit of a learning curve with these guys.  Having never used water vinyls before (really, I’m not much for nail art accessories of any description) I didn’t know what to expect, and the instructions on the back of the package were somehow both overly simplistic AND needlessly complicated.  And that really did these vinyls a great disservice, because in the end, they turned out to be fantastically easy to apply. They’ve also worn beautifully and didn’t smudge all to heck and back when I topped them with topcoat.  That’s nail artist pay dirt right there!

kb-kitties-water-vinyls-pic

The instructions for these cute kitty nail stickers called for an assortment of cutting and soaking and buffing and then, somewhat alarmingly, the back-to-back use of both water and a blow dryer.  Sounds dangerous! Also made very little sense to me, which is why I was initially left with the impression that these stickers were total garbage.

But they weren’t!  Far from it, actually.  I just needed to spend a bit of time tinkering about with these very versatile vinyls.  Basically, it went a bit like this:

  1. Peel the protective film off the sheet of stickers.  The printed designs will be on one side, and a simple, lightweight piece of adhesive paper will be on the other.
  2. Taking a pair of sharp manicure scissors, cut out the design or designs you’d like to use, including the adhesive backing.  Don’t feel confined to taking one design – here the cute black kitties – at a time; if there’s two designs side by side on the sheet that you just love, then cut them out together!  Also, you don’t need to cut in extremely close to the design, as the backing on these vinyls is translucent and the edges disappear entirely once topcoated.
  3. Taking a small bowl of room temperature water and working one at a time, drop your tiny speck of paper into the water.  You’ll immediately see the adhesive backing take on water, and then after another 10 or so seconds, the vinyl design will separate from the paper.
  4. Reach out and touch the tip of your finger to the vinyl – it’ll cling to it a lot like a contact lens.  Then apply the vinyl to your (painted and dried, but now slightly damp) nails by simply touching your finger to your nails.  The sticker will now cling to your nails, and if your nails are wet enough (dunk them in the water you used to soak the vinyls and blow off the excess) you’ll have a bit of play to push your sticker around until you’ve found the perfect place for your design.
  5. Top with a layer of high gloss topcoat and marvel at the streak-free finish.  I really can’t oversell that point enough – many a mani has been ruined or at least severely compromised by streaky black detail paint!  That these kitties came out so crisply is something of a nail art miracle to me!

kb-kitties-sun-fingers

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.)