FrankenShortcake

ShortcakeHand

So it would seem that when you combine a predominately red, green and white, Christmas-themed glitter topper with delicate, pastel-hued base polishes, the resulting look is very nearly always Strawberry Shortcake. As in the doll. With snowflake glitter. Which really isn’t a problem for me, as I’ve been on the hunt for a Strawberry Shortcake-type polish for a while now, and I quite like the overall look. I had actually forgotten how much red Strawberry Shortcake has in her costume (had – today’s Strawberry Shortcake is all about the hot pink.)

I think the thing I like the most about these nails, though, is that I was able to create the look without having to buy another polish. And it’s not even necessarily that I dislike the financial outlay (although who likes parting with their money?), it’s more that I’m finding that the redundancy in my polish collection is becoming a bit of an issue. I’ve never felt the need to own 13 nearly identical turquoise polishes because this one is a shimmer and that one is a holo, but that’s precisely what’s happening, just with my favourite type of lacquer, chunky glitters. And as any nail polish aficionado will tell you, while they may be fun and beautiful, mega glitters have a somewhat limited application – it’s hard to make them look like anything other than glitter bombs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

ShortcakeFingers

So when I can find a way to combine some of my existing pretties into a gorgeous Frankenstein of a manicure, I’ll take it, which is precisely what happened with this mani, in which I layered one coat of my very favourite polish, Candy Lacquer’s Candy Cane Fiesta, over, on alternating fingers, Bonita’s pale pink Sweet Ever After and China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint.

ShortcakeBottle

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Semi-Precious Stones: A Tutorial

Semi-Precious Stones TutorialI did a manicure the other day using a technique I’ve seen described as both the smoke effect and the lightning effect. Nomenclature aside, it all amounts to the same thing, even if you’re calling them, say, semi-precious stone nails, as I am in this little tutorial (which is my first real foray into the world of share and share alike, by the way.) If you’d like to play along at home, start in the upper right-hand corner and go across, one row at a time. I think the overall effect looks a lot like one of those gorgeously colourful and delicately veined semi-precious stones like Malachite or Amethyst, and they’re really not the least bit complicated – not much effort for maximum impact, as all good things should be. Ready? Let’s get into this thing!

1. Begin by painting your nails with two coats of a lush, gemstone-hued polish. Here I used China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover, which reads far more blue in these photos than its true neon jade colour. It diminishes the green Malachite-type effect I was going for only just slightly.

2. Once dry, dip a tiny detail brush in a pastel, complimentary-coloured polish (here I used China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint), and working one nail at a time, paint on a design that looks a bit like a ragged chain of lightning. I started my chain from a different point on each nail just to vary things up, as this type of design looks best when it’s a wee bit undone.

3. Immediately dip a flat-headed brush in nail polish remover and lightly dab it over the pastel design. What you’re trying to do here is blur any harsh lines and spread the design around a bit, giving it the overall effect of a cracked piece of gemstone. If you goof, you can always wipe it off and start over or widget together a bit of patchwork after the fact. But try not to natter away at one spot for too long, because you’ll wipe it bare with acetone (I know of that which I speak!)

4-5. Going one nail at a time, repeat steps 2 and 3 on your remaining nails.

6. When you’re done, your nails will look as though they’ve been marbled. You could slap a bit of top coat on at this point and call it a day, but we’re not done yet!

7. Once again taking your tiny detail brush and another darker complimentary polish (here I used Cover Girl’s Constant Caribbean, a dark turquoise metallic), paint on a few ultra fine lines in a jagged pattern to mimic the rich veins of colour that run through semi-precious stones. Tidy up any bits where you coloured outside the lines, top with an ultra smoothing top coat like Seche Vite and voila, you’re done!Semi-Precious Stone Hand