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.

Christmas Town

christmas-town

Sing it with me, friends, you know all the words!  Ooooooohhhhhhh, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive tiiiiimmmmmme of the yeeeeaar!  There will be nail artists freaking and skill levels peaking and so many teeeeaaarrrrrs, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive TIME OF THE YEAR!

So I’m not sure what it is – something in the frozen-over water, I suppose – but nothing brings out the competitive spirit in a nail artist like the winter holidays.  T’was a time not that long ago that you could enter multiple nail art contests during every holiday of the year, from Halloween to Easter, but I only now see them pop up around Christmas.  Like we don’t have enough on our plates platters at this time of year!  Also, how very festive – “Hello, happy holidays, fellow nail artists!  BUT SERIOUSLY, I WILL BURY YOU WITH NOTHING BUT A CUTICLE PUSHER IF YOU DENY ME MY GLORY.”

I kid, of course. 🙂  These contests are always super fun and very inspiring – I love seeing what the far, far bigger guns than I bring to the festive table every year.  It also gives me an excuse to bust out my own big guns, like this incredibly detailed design I recently did featuring Sandy Claws’ Christmas Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas.  And holy cats, did this manicure take FOREVER!  So fussy.  Like, at one point I time traveled into the future just to make sure that it WAS eventually going to end, such was my incredulity at the (many) passing hours.

Anyhow, this manicure is my entry towards Nail Polish Canada’s fourth annual Holiday Nail Art Challenge! Should you like it (or maybe even love it) and should you like me (or maybe even love me – hi, Mom and Dad!) you can vote for my entry here.  As always, thank you for your kindness and support, dear friends – I appreciate it greatly.

Saint(s) and Sinners

saint-bottle-1

Despite the fact that this gorgeous Zoya polish is the exact pink-tinged periwinkle of a perfect Bachelor Button, the name of Saint is an apt one – during the Renaissance period, these sorts of blues were reserved for paintings of only the highest ranking of biblical figures.  Blue pigment – particularly that of the cerulean or purple-leaning variety – was both expensive and exceedingly difficult to come by; as such, only your top tier saints were garbed in blue.  So there’s a fun little trick for picking out the important people in Renaissance paintings.  The things you learn in a day, right?

And what I learned today is that this polish, a very recent purchase from Nail Polish Canada’s Black Friday sale, is stupendous.  I adore polishes like Saint – clear, vibrant jellies infused with pink micro-shimmer.  The resulting look is quite oil slicky, with a deep purple streak that makes the polish look like it’s glowing from within.  One of my favourite polishes to use this effect is Girly Bits Cosmetics’ Dead Man’s Toe, a dark khaki creme that looks like queasiness in a bottle (and I mean that in the best possible way!) But Saint, with its pink-hued shimmer and glassy, periwinkle hue, is beauty divine, no caveat (or names that invoke cadavers.)

saint-fingers

Except here comes one small caveat.  Being a jelly, Saint wants to pull back from the edges of your nails, an effect that’s exacerbated by quick dry topcoats.  So when applying, run the polish (I used three light coats for this manicure) right up to the edges of your cuticles. By the time it’s dry, it will have shrunk a bit, leaving you with a nice little frame around the edges of your nails that hopefully won’t require too much cleanup.  Zero sinning.

saint-bottle-2

Go Ask Alice

Alice Bottle Sun

Getting back into the swatching swing of things (following a wicked run-in between my left hand ring finger nail and, of all the stupid things, my vegetable peeler) with this lovely lacquer, Picture Polish’s beautifully blue Alice.

I already own a handful of Picture Polish’s superb scattered holos, and Alice is a fantastic addition to the collection. Looking very much like one of my all time favourite blue cremes, OPI’s No Room for the Blues, but formulated like one of Picture Polish’s rock solid holo-creme hybrids (of which Electric Dream is another favourite), Alice is perfection in a little square bottle. It applied beautifully, wore well and removed nicely, its tiny bits of raggedy holo glitter wiping off quickly and cleanly. And what of that beautiful sky blue colour? It’s simply divine! And not for nothing, because presentation is vastly underrated, but the graphic design on Alice’s bottle is darn adorable. Well worth heading down the rabbit hole for.

Picture Polish’s lacquers are available via a number of international stocklists, although I purchased Alice – and all of my Picture Polish polishes, actually – through Nail Polish Canada.

Alice Fingers Sun

Purple Flame

Layla Collage

I have no idea what the title of this post means, but I ask you this – did the Bangles know what an Eternal Flame was?  I think not.

But what I do know is that this polish, Layla Cosmetics’ Ceramic Effect in the unimaginatively named CE52, looks like tiny, hot embers embedded in the rich, dusky purple jelly base.  Flame on!

The flakes in CE52 are of the colour-changing, iridescent variety, which means they’re a pain to remove cleanly, but I’m willing to put up with a bit of acetone aggravation for the cool rainbow effect these flakies take on in the shade, where polishes like CE52 always do their best work.

015

Best of all?  This older polish is still available at Nail Polish Canada!  NPC has CE52 listed as The Butterfly Effect on their website, too, which I think we can all agree is so much better than a numerical rank and file, yes?

047

Gaze Into My Crystal Ball

Blue Baller Collage

I’ve been quite bereft of creative nail art ideas lately, and so I thought I’d fall back – some might say spring forward – to some straight up rainbow holo nail porn, get this weekend party started right!  This polish, Crystal Baller from Color Club’s top of the line holographic collection, is the one I so very, very badly want to call Blue Baller.  It takes every ounce of my dirty minded willpower not to, actually.  So thank goodness this polish is just gorgeousness personified, because it sort of has a naughty name (no, it doesn’t, I’m just a big pervert!)

But just look at this polish!  What sorcery is this that puts rainbows IN A BOTTLE?  It’s too, too beautiful.  If it wouldn’t, I’m assuming, goop all up and immediately head to Funkytown, I’d just keep the bottle out on my desk, in the sun, and let it do its holo thang.

Holo Fingers

You can find Color Club’s holos – the most sought after of any of their polishes, I’d say – through a number of different international stocklists, including Nail Polish Canada.  But you’ll need to stay on top of any restocks if you’d like to snag a bottle, because these polishes fly off the shelves.  And deservedly so – they are beautifully made, and the holo effect is second to none.  So shop smart, shop early if gazing into your own crystal ball is telling you that you really need this polish!

Blue Baller Bottle

The Snowflake Sweater

Snowflake Sweater Angle

After a season’s absence from the “competitive” nail art arena (like League of Legends, just with more acetone), Nail Polish Canada is back and once again playing host to this year’s Holiday Nail Art Challenge.  The first year I participated I did an icy snowflake pond manicure; this year I’m returning to form with this delicate snowflake design over a holographic, knit-type pattern.  It’s pretty, seasonally appropriate and, best of all, non-denominational – whatever your chosen flavour of holiday, you’ll look fly and festive in this cozy snowflake sweater.

Should you feel so inclined to vote for my contest creation, you can do so here, although there’s already quite a few entries that are way better than mine, so maybe vote for them instead?  It always irks me when these things – judged in stages, one of which is a simple tally of votes as opposed to an objective assessment of the actual nail art – come down to a popularity contest as opposed to the work itself.  But if this simple sweater nail art really moves you, well, hey, who am I to say anything but thank you for your support?  Enjoy all the wonderful entries, and best of luck to this year’s participants. 🙂

Snowflake Sweater Front

 

 

Careless Whisper

Whispering Waves Collage

Here’s a pretty A England polish with a typically florid name, turquoise-to-purple duochrome Whispering Waves.  A England is the king (or queen) of the posh naming scheme, christening their lacquers with evocative monikers inspired by British nobility, Arthurian legend and various works of Victorian era literature.  The polishes themselves are so beautifully made – every A England polish I own applies exactly the same way, which is to say perfectly – and the colours they select – pale pinks, steely greys, tartan greens and rich roses – are soft and elegant.  Whispering Waves, with its lush, oceanic hue and flashy purple shimmer, seems almost off brand in comparison, but hey, I ain’t complain’, because wow, this is one gorgeous polish.  I particularly love the way the purple shimmer makes it look like it’s glowing from within.

A England Bottle

Whispering Waves was only just recently released as part of A England’s Heavenly Quotes Collection.  I suspect it’s going to be popular, and therefore difficult to get your hands on.  I purchased my bottle through Nail Polish Canada, although I see that as of this post, they’re unfortunately sold out.  Not to fret, though – this is absolutely one they’ll be restocking.  Whisper away, waves.

Whispering Waves Fingers

Entwined

Entwined Collage

This stunningly beautiful lacquer, Enchanted Polish’s Entwined, is pulling out all the multi-tasking stops here in one fantastic and versatile beauty product, dabbling around in three different on-trend looks – holos, duochromes and glitter – to create one perfect polish. I really can’t get over how gorgeous, unique and multi-faceted Entwined is, with its chemical haze-ish, plum-to-turquoise duochrome, ultra sparkly linear holo and sweet smattering of holographic glitter. Simply beautiful stuff, and always of the highest quality – an issue you never need worry about with Enchanted’s polishes.

But – why is there always a but? – Enchanted’s products are not the easiest to procure, and tend to be released in maddeningly sporadic spurts. Nail Polish Canada hosts a number of Enchanted releases every year, but they rarely feature new polishes, focusing instead on their older collections. And then there’s the price, which is certainly not Louboutin levels of crazy, but absolutely the kind of thing that would make your frugal grandmother shriek in disbelief. But if you can lay your polished hands on a bottle (or two, or three, or four…) you’ll see that the hype and elevated price point are occasionally worth it for a unique, beautiful and beautifully made product that’s sure to grace your fingertips for many manis to come.

Other Entwined CollageEntwined Sun Fingers