Bipartisan Nails

Bipartisan HandEarly on in my nail art adventures Mr. Finger Candy floated the nice, but ultimately impractical, suggestion that I concentrate my polish buying power on one single brand. He didn’t know at the time – hey, neither did I – that there are roughly 8,657 different nail polish manufacturers out there, each one trying something just a little bit different from the somethings their neighbours are trying. It’s like a super glittery version of the Wild West, with your wallet acting as the spoils of a victorious high noon shoot-out. A nice idea (and I am nothing if not brand loyal; I’ve used naught but Clean & Clear face wash for the past 20 years), but one manufacturer cannot satisfy all polish needs. Besides, would you really want it to? Life’s not worth living if you don’t have choice (having said all that, too much choice is practically debilitating. Am I the only one who feels like she’s having a panic attack in the yogurt aisle at the grocery store? Why is there so much yogurt? Why is all of it suddenly Greek? Why do half the brands contain Aspartame? What happened to basic old fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt? Wither the yogurt? WITHER THE YOGURT?!?)

Tangents about dairy products aside, this manicure, a well-hidden teal and purple gradient topped with three different brands’ worth of iridescent flakies, really employs that whole “polish for the people” philosophy. Sure, it would have been nice if I could have gotten this effect out of one bottle of polish (which I clearly don’t own, or else I wouldn’t have been cherry-picking), but I like the every-manufacturer-for-themselves approach, too – it’s always satisfying to know I can cobble together a current look from polishes I already own without yet more financial and storage outlay.

For these super flaked out nails, I topped a can’t-see-it-at-all gradient of Nails Inc.’s blackened teal, Kensington, and China Glaze’s dark plum, Urban-Night, with one coat of China Glaze’s orangey-gold flakie, Luxe and Lush, one coat of Revlon’s blue Moon Candy flakie, Eclipse, and one coat of Nails Inc.’s yellowy-green Special Effects flakie, The Wyndham. It would undoubtedly be easier to just purchase a bottle of rainbow flakies – same effect, less work, less polish! – but if you’re on the fence like I am (I’m just not fond of iridescent flakies; they wear terribly, never seem to fully dry and stick up in maddening lumps) you probably already have the components available in your stash to achieve a very similar look, spread around though they may be!Bipartisan Fingers

Greenery (OMD2)

GreeneryThis manicure, my interpretation of Madam Luck’s superlative St. Patrick’s Day design and my entry in the Oh Mon Dieu challenge for the theme of jelly, features some of my very favourite nail things, glitter-studded jelly polishes being the most important for our current purposes. I really enjoyed this challenge prompt, because oh, how I love the glitter jellies! All the jelly polishes, actually, as it is the very best finish. They could come and live with me on a special nail polish farm, and I’d take care of them and we’d all be very happy together, I can feel it.

But before you begin to worry that I’m going to run off and form some sort of nail polish worshipping cult (look around Instagram sometime; it’s not far off), take comfort in the fact that I haven’t gone right round the twist – I just really like jelly polishes. Weirdly enough, they have been one of the great discoveries of the past year. Before embarking on this journey into the heart of lacquer-based lunacy, I had no idea such an animal existed. I thought all nail polish was either a cream or a clear-based glitter. But jellies, with their incongruously rich, almost syrupy-looking finish, in their typical assortment of jewel-toned colours, are a breed apart, and, of course, the crucial component in a type of manicure known as a jelly sandwich.

These nails are a modified type of jelly sandwich known as a pond manicure in which you swap out the sandwich’s jelly-over-glitter approach for painted-on details such as Madam Luck’s stamped-on shamrocks or my dotted-on blossoms. Or maybe you go for all three like I did, layering polish and jelly and nail art details one atop the other until you wind up with, well, this!

For this gorgeously lush looking mani, I started off with one base coat of a blackened teal polish, Nails Inc.’s Kensington, over which I brushed one light coat of a forest green glitter jelly, KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It. Once dry, I randomly dotted on a handful of basic flowers in a stark white polish (name withheld because it’s crap), and then topped the whole works off with two light coats of Get Clover It, going slowly to make sure the glittery bits didn’t completely cover up the floral design (I should note here that this technique works best with a less glitter-intensive jelly polish such as Get Clover It. If you use one of the more traditional glitter jellies, which are typically packed to the brim with sparkly stuff, you run the risk of obliterating those nail art details you worked so hard to achieve in the first place.)