You’ll have to forgive the overly florid and descriptive title of this post; I recently received an order of delicious-smelling wax melts (those little tarts you melt in a burner) and they’ve all got adorable – but needlessly complicated and overly descriptive – names like Applemuffin Wildberry Crunchie Pie and Choco-Mallow Streusel Cookie Bites. All right, so those might be wee exaggerations, but I’m pretty sure I actually do have a tart that’s called Rainbow Sprinkle Cotton Candy Fluff, which is precisely what these nails remind me of – rainbow sprinkle-dusted cotton candy.
For these fun, neon-speckled nails, I topped a cling wrap manicure of Sally Hansen’s Xtreme Wear in Breezy Blue and Bubblegum Pink with two coats of Polish Me Silly’s Freckles, a rainbow glitter topper that is my go-to for any manicure I want to look sprinkled. Mmm, sprinkles…
I’ve recently gotten into the habit of grabbing a handful of randomly coloured polishes and just seeing where the inspiration takes me. After fishing this collection of polishes out of my stash – L’Oreal’s gold Because You’re Worth It, Wet n Wild’s orange Sunny Side Up, Sally Hansen’s grape jelly-hued Pep-Plum and OPI’s purple Do You Have This Color in Stock-Holm? – I was inspired to try my hand at some every-nail-for-itself, embroidered-esque nail art, the end result of which reminds me of gorgeous, hothouse-hued saris. I used to live near a fabric store that specialized in the intricately embroidered and sequined fabrics I imagine an Indian woman would wear to a formal event like a wedding. Or the Oscars. The price per yard was just this side of obscene, though, dashing my hopes of draping my bedroom in gorgeously woven fabric, although afterwards I continued to pine and admire from afar. These nails really remind me of some of those fabrics, and thankfully at a fraction of the cost. Nail art for the win once again!
Here’s a bit of free-handed, nuthin-but-brush nail art using a trio of Sally Hansen’s new Color Foil polishes that was so dead easy, I can lay it out for you in a simple written tutorial, no need for elaborate photos (nice as they are, this is one of those “go where the wind takes you” kind of manis and there is no catastrophically right or wrong way to achieve this effect.)
Here I started with two coats of a tried and true black polish, Sally Hansen’s Xtreme Wear in Black Out. I then chose three colours from Sally Hansen’s Color Foil line, Rose Copper, a silvery-rose chromatic, Purple Alloy, a a lavender chromatic, and Leaden Lilac, a periwinkle-hued metallic. This technique works with any combination of polishes, but I love the way the liquid foil polishes blend into one another, creating a sort of metallic rainbow effect.
Starting with the polish of your choosing, uncap the bottle and brush nearly every bit of polish off the brush. What you’re looking for here is a near-dry bush (and that includes making sure there are no up-the-brush blobs just waiting to rain down and destroy your pretty manicure.) Look at it this way: A lot like salting your food, you can always add more polished brushstrokes later, but you can’t take them away should you go overboard, so dry your brush off more than you’d think reasonable.
Then, taking your dry brush and starting at the top of your nail, brush downwards towards the tip of your nail. Add a second stroke starting in maybe the middle of your finger if you’re feeling cocky. Move on to your other nails, varying up the brushstrokes with each subsequent nail as you go. After waiting for those brushstrokes to dry, lather, rinse and repeat with the remaining two colours, filling in any gaps or aggravating spots as you go. Top with a good quality top coat and bang, yer done. I’m not sure it could be simpler or more effective (and isn’t that just so aggravating?! It’s always the ones that took 20 minutes that people love and not the manicure that took you two hours and claimed a small piece of your sanity. Eh, I guess simplicity sells.)
I spend a not inconsiderable amount of time on this blog extolling the virtues of indie nail polishes. With few exceptions, indies are well produced, made from quality materials and, best of all, they offer polish mavens a wealth of unique colour combos and finishes in a sea of commercial samey. On the downside, though, their prices tend to be on the higher end of the financial scale and you can’t just pop by the store to pick up a bottle or two; unless you’re very lucky and/or possibly making your own, you’re going to have to wait for it to be delivered directly to your polished paws.
But every now and then it’s nice to think globally, polish locally and highlight a really beautiful polish readily available at any number of the nation-wide stores you frequent as you go about your daily life, like, say, the grocery store or the pharmacy. Which is where I found this lovely little gem, Sally Hansen’s Xtreme Wear in Blue Boom, a shimmery, midnight blue jelly shot through with silver holographic glitter and a smattering of silver holo bars. That it’s a jelly came as a pleasant surprise (love dem jellies), as is the addition of the silver bar and fine holo glitters. The overall effect is like tiny bits of bioluminescence bobbing along the ocean swells, or, going the opposite direction, a cosmos’ worth of stars twinkling in the midnight blue sky. Oooorrrrr maybe I’ve just been bending too close to my nails again in an inadequately ventilated room, leading to romantic and somewhat clunky comparisons between the majesty of the ocean and .40 fluid ounces of nail paint. Yup, that could be it!
Note: Blue Boom both sparkles and shines, and when you add a high gloss top coat like Seche Vite, you’ve created five tiny mirrors that reflect everything – including your balcony railing! – in perfect lacquered detail. So if you think you’re seeing bunching at the edge of my nails (I certainly do when I look at the first two photos in passing), it’s really the freakishly accurate reflection of the edge of my balcony.