Feeling Fluid

The ingenuity of the nail polish world never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you’ve seen every variation of a nail lacquer – truly, how different can those 50 mint green polishes be from one another?! – something new comes along, opening up a whole new world of nail art possibilities.

Shocker to no one who’s been following this sorry excuse for a nail blog over the past year, but there’s been a certifiable dearth of actual nail art embedded in the actual ones and zeros contained therein.  The long and the short of it is, I’ve had zero interest in fiddling with my nails.  And when I have, it’s been gardening season – and at that time of year, they are anything but tidy little finger canvasses! 

Then I ran across this trendy fluid art polish I purchased last year, Baroness X’s Nacre, and I decided to treat myself to a pretty new manicure.  We shall not speak of my first attempt, which I chalked up to a lack of practice over the last, oh, eight or nine months.  But my second attempt went swimmingly, and I’m so pleased with the results! 

Here’s how fluid art polishes work.  Containing a higher than usual percentage of oil, fluid art polishes interact with more traditional, water-based lacquers in exactly the way you would expect oil and water to combine – breaking apart into delicate lace, puddly little cells and swoopy streaks.  I created the manicure shown here by dabbing three polishes – hot pink, orchid purple and plain old white – out onto a small silicone mat, one on top of the other.  I immediately topped the tri-coloured polish pile with a generous blob of Nacre, before pinching the mat between my fingers, smooshing the four polishes together. 

You will not think that this will do a dang thing – and it didn’t work for me the first time I tried it – but when you pull the mat apart, you’ll see the polishes spread out and split up into lacy cells, right before your very eyes.  It was really so cool – effects polishes, when they behave, can produce the neatest looks.  And Nacre is a great choice for experimentation, as it doesn’t have the most colour presence beyond that lovely mother of pearl shimmer.

After creating six or seven of these little cellular strips (I was just doing my one hand) I let them dry for an hour or so.  Then when it came time to actually do my nails, I treated them exactly like nail decals, carefully cutting each delicate strip into a shape roughly the size of my nail bed, and then “sticking” it in place atop a single light layer of clear base coat.  I then cleaned up the raggedy bits by my cuticles with a detail brush dipped in acetone, before topping with Seche Vite, as always.  Et voila, a rather stunning and spring-y fluid art manicure, and a small, encouraging step back into the nail art world. 🙂

Nail Polish for Hanukkah

Thinking here, of course, of the Daveed Diggs’ jam he recently released on Disney+ for Hanukkah 2020, Puppy for Hanukkah (and if we did celebrate Hanukkah, like so many of our neighbours do, we’d apparently be way out of step with this year’s most desired gift, because we just got a cat! More details about him than you’d really ever require in another post shortly.) 😉

But nail polish for Hanukkah can definitely be a thing, particularly when it’s a beautiful, rich blue that makes your fingernails look like they’re glowing from within.

This is Kathleen & Co.’s Superionic, another polish I grabbed from Polish Pickup back in who-knows-when.  It was just a few months ago, but with the way time has been moving this year, it could have been February.  Or yesterday.

So pretty, right?  And plush; one of those polishes that feels like you’re applying flowing silk to your nails.  And that colour?  *chef’s kiss*  What a stunner!  Perfect for any of the eight celebratory nights.

Beat the Heat

Wow, is there ever zero heat to be beat around Eastern Ontario come this time of year. It’s currently two measly degrees above zero, on its way down to minus 6. Yesterday it snowed. Why do we live here again?! Ah yes, because Canada is wonderful. But that wonderfulness also comes with about six months of shit weather from coast to coast, and the fleeting heat rarely factors!

Know what else doesn’t factor? I thought this gorgeous, colour-changing polish, Heather’s Hues’ Beat the Heat, was a thermal polish, meaning it would change from a vibrant neon orange to a cool, deep plum depending on the temperature of my hands and fingers. Think of it as mood polish.

So when I sat down to test out Beat the Heat for the first time, I was pleased with the consistency and application – so smooth in three light coats – but disappointed in the thermal effect, as it was completely non-existent. “Drat, looks like I got a bummer,” I thought as I went outside to take pictures of my decidedly non-colour-changing manicure.

Then I stepped into the sun, and to my amazement, Beat the Heat came alive, morphing quickly from a lush, neon pumpkin, to a warm, coral-y pink, and finally on to a rich, plummy purple. So pretty! And clearly totally unexpected.

Lesson learned here? Open your eyes and definitely DO judge a book by its cover – stamped right on the bottom of the bottle was the word “Solar.” Duh. 😉

I nabbed Beat the Heat during Polish Pickup‘s September release. They typically feature at least one Heather’s Hues polish per monthly release, and they’ve got another one coming up at the beginning of November. So if you like Beat the Heat – and I certainly do; for a polish that morphs through this many colours, it’s incredibly flattering – you may want to check out one of their other offerings.

Smurf Genome

Wuh oh, now we’re into the chromosomal make-up of a Smurf, and apparently they glow in the dark! Can’t say I remember that from the Smurfs’ adventures with Gargamel and Azrael (“adventures” being the most politically correct way of saying their entire lives were devoted to not being genocidally wiped out by a bi-polar, misshapen baldy and his raggedy cat.)

But I digress!  This is Polish Molish’s Smurf Genome, another lacquer I nabbed during Polish Pickup‘s September release.  And it would seem that much like the polish I highlighted yesterday – Nailed It’s magnetic Neural Network – and then the one the day before that – Different Dimension’s likewise magnetic It’s Electrifying – Smurf Genome is what I call a gimmick polish, or something beyond the standard, be it magnetic, thermal (one of those coming in a day or two), fluid art (ditto) or glow-in-the-dark.

And boy howdy, do these Smurfs ever glow in the dark!  The glow power, if you will, in this polish is STRONG – just the kickback off your phone screen will be enough to fire up your falanges. 😉  And the polish au naturel is darn pretty too, featuring a vibrant, blue jelly base positively stuffed with red hex and iridescent shard glitter.  Beautiful, and a fun polish to add to my collection.

Neural Network

To all those about to go “Whu…?” – I salute you!  Because there’s lots to whu…? about here, as in two different blog posts on two different days, and featuring two different polishes, no less!  It’s almost like I’m a semi-functioning nail blogger again (although, barely – WordPress’s not-remotely-new block editor is an exercise in extreme frustration.  Every time I’ve walked away from a post lately, it’s because I’ve just spent the past 45 minutes sifting through online tutorials, trying to find the answer to a question that used to be easily, readily apparent.  Life’s not crappy enough, WP?!)

This pretty polish is Nailed It!’s Neural Network, another magnetic polish I grabbed during Polish Pickup‘s September release.  Like the magnetic polish I featured yesterday, Different Dimension’s It’s Electrifying, Neural Network is packed with glittery metallic flakies.  Can’t speak to the hue of snapping synapses, but I imagine this burst of jagged metallic rainbows is a pretty good mimic for a neural network’s mimicry.

This polish is so gorgeous, but the flakies, just like It’s Electrifying, obscure the intended magnetic effect.  I didn’t see much difference between Neural Network in the bottle and then magnetized on my nails.  Perhaps there was a tiny deepening of the base colour, a peacocky, bluey-purple-green, but nothing that made me stand back and go, “Yup, Nailed It.” 😉

Still, it wore like the dickens and made my nails look pretty for a week.  Who’s going to argue with themselves – or a computer trying to mimic themselves – over that?!

It’s Electrifying

WHAT is this, an actual blog post about – *gasp!* – nail polish?! How could it be?

Okay, so quick bit of real talk to not remotely explain away my months’ long absence, and that is that the world has me way down. I probably don’t need to elaborate; life is difficult on about 87 different fronts, and I know I’m far, far from the only one feeling the pinch.

So I regrettably haven’t felt much like blogging. Moreover, I haven’t had much to blog about from a nail art perspective – the only manicure I’ve sported this spring, summer and fall is a dirt-encrusted gardening mani, and the last time I bought nail polish was…oh wow, last year.

So I recently rectified that very serious error and snapped up a few treats for myself during Polish Pickup‘s September release, because the fun doesn’t totally need to stop, does it?

Here’s the first polish I, uh, picked up, Different Dimension’s flakie-loaded It’s Electrifying. This is a magnetic polish, one of two I purchased, and pretty though it is, I’m not totally sold. Not actually sure I’m totally sold on magnetic polishes, period, though I’ve had better luck running a magnet over solid colour polishes, as opposed to these more glitter-laden lacquers.  Magnetic polishes (are supposed to) work thusly: Paint on a coat or two of a dark, solid colour creme such as black.  Brush on one thin coat of the magnetic polish and let dry.  Then, working one finger at a time, brush on another coat of the polish, before holding a small magnet just off the surface of your nail for about 25 to 30 seconds.

Nail art magnets are available in different strengths, and produce a wide variety of looks, from hash marks, to chevrons, to cats’ eye.  But the cool effects tend to get lost when there’s this much stuff in the polish.  Still, It’s Electrifying is so, so pretty and nicely colour-shifty, and I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been nice to finally treat myself to a little bit of frivolous fun. 🙂

Go With the Flow

Marble Collage

I was recently the lucky recipient of these lovely Zoya polishes – pink Kristie, blue Maren, turquoise Harbor, and purple Jessica – thanks to the kind folks at Nail Polish Canada.  I swatched them all, of course – see my previous post for those details – but I also wanted to do a bit of nail art with my new, candy-coloured polishes.

Problem: I’m SO out of practice these days, both in terms of nail art ability and actual nail care, that a good mani for me is one in which my nails are not encrusted with a solid quarter-inch of gardening grit.  I figured at best I’d come up with something ultra easy, like a simple dotticure.

Instead I decided to shoot for the moon and do a water marble manicure, perhaps THE most difficult nail art technique, one that requires you to float polish on the surface of water.  Because that just sounds SUPER easy (spoiler alert: it’s usually not, and it’s always hella messy!)

Except….this time, with these polishes, it wasn’t.  Even after my extended absence from the nail art realm.  I think it’s because these four lacquers – rich cremes, all – are brand new, and at the peak of their polish power, having not picked up months’ and years’ worth of oil and grime.  All four are of a completely identical consistency as well, making it ultra easy to float the polish on the surface of water AND toothpick-out a swirled design.  TL;DR?  These Zoya polishes make water marbling EASY, even for the woefully out of practice.

Marble 5 - Fingers

Speaking of, I realize that without photos of the water marbling process, this must all sound like utter gibberish.  So might anyone be interested in a little tutorial?  Because I’d like to give this technique another try, see if I could come up with a slightly more consistent design finger-to-finger (much as I like the every-digit-for-itself approach.) 😉  Please do come back soon to see how I work out with that!

Splash Into Summer With Zoya

Zoya Collage 1

Throughout this pandemic period, I have been losing things – sunglasses, car keys, paperwork, and, if the above is any indication, occasionally my own dang marbles.

Perhaps the thing that’s irked me the most about all of this forgetfulness is that I seem to have lost the ability to paint my nails!  Pandemic concerns aside, I’ve been busy for pretty well half a year now settling us into our new home, and I’m finding the property – a single family home with a lot of landscaping – to be quite demanding of my time.  As such, I’ve barely done a lick of nail art, and the thought of giving myself a manicure just for fun has been incomprehensible (mostly because for the majority of the spring and summer, I’ve been sporting a gungy gardening mani – cracked, breaking and caked in a whole lotta dirt.)  I am woefully out of practice, and boy howdy, do my nails look it, too.

So I was thrilled when Nail Polish Canada recently asked me to use and review one of Zoya‘s new six-piece summer collections.  Gave me a wonderful excuse to get back to the nail art and blogging that I love so very much, and the even better excuse to get my nails in shape and give myself a number of pretty manicures.  So thank you for the timely reminder to do something nice for myself – and my nails – Nail Polish Canada and Zoya!

Zoya is a long-standing polish manufacturer whose name, in my experience, is synonymous with quality, consistency and a leading edge approach to animal and human welfare.  Their polishes are Big 10-free (that would be free of all of those toxic ingredients you can hardly pronounce), cruelty-free and VEGAN, which delights Mr. Finger Candy, who is vegetarian but leaning vegan, to no end.

Moreover, Zoya’s polishes are uniformly great, with a nice self-leveling formulation that you will fall in love with if you’re not great at painting your nails, or if you, like me, have nearly completely forgotten how!  I’ve yet to use one that hasn’t applied well and worn like the dickens.  Zoya’s creme polishes also come in about a bajillion beautiful colours, making them perfect for nail art.

This is Zoya’s six-piece summer Splash collection.  I had my choice of two Splash collections, and I chose B because of its lush, vibrant cremes, and those two perfect beachy shimmers.  Let’s jump in the pool and take a closer look at these lovely polishes, shall we?

Kristie 2

First up is Barbie pink Kristie, the perfect summertime hue.  This would look fantastic on toes dangling off the edge of a diving board.

Fisher 2

Next we have the first of two shimmers in the collection, Fisher.  This is a lovely Cinderella blue shot through with silvery-purple microshimmer.  I used a top coat with Fisher and the other shimmer because they were both just the tiniest bit dull, and I wanted to bring out every ounce of that beautiful shine.  This colour reminds me of beach glass.

Jessica 2

Jessica is next on (the pool) deck with this deep, glossy raisin.  Tons of shine in this one, even without the benefit of topcoat.

Maren 2

Next up we have Maren, a gorgeous ocean blue that is the very definition of “Splash”!  I own a number of these cobalt blue polishes, but Maren stands apart from the others with its warm, barest-of-green-leaning hues.  Beautiful.

Corrina 2

In the penultimate spot we have Corrina, the perfect shimmery shell pink.  This is such a flattering hue, and while I think it looks beautiful on my freckled Celtic hide, it would be absolutely gorgeous on people with darker skin tones.

Harbor 2

Finally, we have the one true blue(-green) polish of the collection, Harbor.  Small word of warning, though, when it comes to Harbor, and indeed, nearly all turquoise or green-leaning hues – they will stain, so use a base coat.

TL;DR;JCOTP (too long; didn’t read; just checked out the photos): Zoya’s vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic polishes are some of the best ones out there, and this Splash collection is a gorgeous slice of summery fun.  Get yours at Nail Polish Canada by clicking the embedded links above, and please come back later on this week when I’ll have some cute, Zoya-ful nail art to share with you.

Hidden Agenda

Hidden Agenda Collage 1

Not-so hidden agenda for this nail art blog?  To get back to some actual nail art!  Or, to paraphrase King of the Hill’s Hank Hill, to get back to nail art and nail art-related activities.  Groundbreaking, I know!  But first the move, during which I will surely re-break all of my nails, and then we’ll be right back here again. 🙂

So while my nails are long-ish (hahahaha!) and not breaking off every two seconds, let’s take a look at this fun thermal polish I purchased from Polish Pickup, a new-to-me vendor that stocks all sorts of cool indie beauty wares.

This is KB Shimmer’s Hidden Agenda, a duo-thermal lacquer exclusive to Polish Pickup for the month of October, and inspired, if I’m not mistaken, by Area 51.  Or more specifically, inspired by that silly Storm Area 51 non-event that never actually, you know, evented.  I thought for sure we were going to see footage of people getting tased out on the outskirts of the Nevada desert, but nope – more rational heads prevailed.  Smart.  Storming secretive military installations never works out well for anyone.  Just ask Bob of Stranger Things.  Oh, wait…

Like the other KB Shimmer thermals I own, Hidden Agenda is super responsive, morphing from a shimmery, peachy pink, to an icy metallic blue.  And just like the other thermals, this one wears like iron.  Sans topcoat, this manicure has lasted chip-free for a week, even in the midst of my packing-intensive activities.  Very impressive.

Hidden Agenda Collage 2

But unlike those other thermals, I don’t care for Hidden Agenda’s texture when it’s in its un-topcoated state.  Not quite textured, but also a long way from smooth, it’s a shimmery matte that applies a touch too thickly, and dries down to a slightly pebbled finish.  It actually reminds me of very, very fine gauge sandpaper.

But I suppose the true secret about Hidden Agenda is that it’s a glow-in-the-dark polish, albeit a very, very weak one.  I wasn’t able to snap any photos of it in this state, though, as the weather’s been cruddy and overcast, and its glow powers are simply not strong enough.  Shame – what else is going to light my way as I’m Naruto running through the pitch black desert? 😉

The Underdogs

Underdogs Collage

Here’s a couple of polishes I forgot I even owned (renos, man – you’ll misplace every single thing you ever owned, and then spend the next three months trying to hunt it all down again) Dance Legend’s Sun Still Sleeps from their Candy Flakes collection, and Layla’s unfortunately-named CE52.  Both of these polishes are OLD – at least four years – but relatively unused (because I keep forgetting I own them) so they’re still in excellent condition.  I can’t even remember where I bought these (think I got the Layla one from Nail Polish Canada, and I know the Dance Legend one was an import, because DL is a Russian brand.)  I’m sorry, I’m becoming a really crap nail blogger in my advancing years – too many polishes that all vaguely look the same!

Like these two!  The only thing that separates these two polishes, aside from the companies that produce them, is one is blue and one is purple.  Otherwise, they’re both jelly bases (that’s what gives them that squishy sort of look, even when topped with a matte topcoat) loaded with red-to-green iridescent flakes.

Underdogs 7

That red/green combination is a popular one in the world of nail polish, because when it’s paired with darker shades, like this blue and this purple, it creates these incredible linear rainbows that run alongside the bottle, and the edges of your nails.  It’s such a pretty look.

Underdogs 6

But a MESSY look.  After taking this polish off, I remembered why I don’t use these flakie-type polishes very often – because when you do take them off, the acetone will strip off the colour immediately, leaving you with nothing but flakes, all of which will be resolutely stuck to your nails.  So get ready to put some elbow grease into it, because these polishes do not remove easily.

If you’re in love with either of these long-in-the-tooth, probably discontinued polishes, you can recreate this exact look with a blue and purple polish of your choice, topped with an iridescent flakie topper.  Just about every manufacturer has at least one of these fun, colour-changing “effects” polishes, even the drugstore brands, so there’s lots of choice out there.  Enjoy!

Underdogs 1