I saw a charm for a bracelet shaped like a penguin and it inspired me to try and design my own version of penguin nails. Somehow I ended up liking the idea of a happy penguin on one hand, and a sad/sleepy penguin on the other and I think they turned out to pretty cute!
Take a look in the video below, I used...
Blue Polish - China Glaze 'Secret Peri-wink-le'
White Polish - Sally Hansen Insta-dri 'Whirlwind White'
Acrylic Paints by FolkArt
Color Club Topcoat
My Christmas list this year consists of a jewellery box, a Pandora charm for my Soufeel bracelet and a set of Benefit Lip Glosses.
There are no nail polishes on the list because everyone I'm related to seems to find it impossible to hunt down the ones I want online lol, but if Santa had access to ANYTHING, which polishes would I ask for?
When I started collecting polishes I was just too late for the China Glaze OMG Holographic Collection. By the time I found out about them they were already selling for £40 a bottle online. I once saw the whole set of 12 for £160 I think, but dear Lord I can't pay that!
I am extremely happy that China Glaze are bringing out a new holo collection next year called 'Hologlam'. Readers I can confidently say that I won't be missing out on those ones! I've already started saving up ^_^
Next up another couple of holos, Gosh Holographic and Nu-Foh silver holographic. These too are super expensive but they look amazing. Google them to see the incredible effect, they're just stunning.
Last year Finger Paints brought out 5 flaky polishes that were exclusive to a store in the States. Try as I might I just couldn't get them here in the UK. The best was 'Twisted' but it looks like that ship has sadly sailed :(
Indie brand Dollish Polish's iconic 'Toxic Avenger' is a colour I would love, yet another holo lol, and yet again I was just a bit too late to get it and now it's super rare.
Cult Nails brought out a glitter called 'Unicorn Puke'. Obviously the name is enough to want it on it's own! But the colour is incredible, purple and full of flakies.....and extremely limited.
Oh how I envy the folks with their finger's on the pulse of the nail polish world, I always seem to be one step behind *runs off and cries in the corner*
Who knows, maybe Santa reads blog posts :/
I know I know, first world problems and all that.
Is there a polish you're dying to get your hands on this Christmas?
Instead of only swatching new collections I thought it might be a nice idea to show you some of my all-time favourites, so this video contains my most loved glitter, flaky and holographic polishes....so far xD
I was asked a while back if I had any tips for thickening up nail polishes. Well yes indeed I do! I'll walk you through the process but first lets go through some different ways in which you can use your thin watery polishes....
First off they're usually good for water marbelling as they spread well in the water (most of the time, but this isn't guaranteed)
Secondly you can layer them. Experiment layering over white, black, and any other colours you think may work. Glitters tend to work well over black, pastels over white, or simply an opaque version of the thin polish you're trying to use up.
So try layering your thin polishes over more opaque bases to see what you can create. Sometimes even strange colour combos can look incredible so start experimenting!
Finally thin polishes are perfect for sponging. Thicker more opaque formulas will put too much polish on your nail when you sponge with them, making it extremely easy to ruin your work. However thin polishes can be built up slowly, and because they're thin you'll get a fabulous gradient effect with them without much effort. I used Fantasy Fire in this gradient video below, notice how I slowly build up the colour with it. If it was a thicker polish.... well....one touch of the sponge and I'd have a dark splodge on my nail :/
So if none of those options appeal to you let me explain how to thicken your nail polish.
You simply need to use air, but it's important to do it carefully.
Open up the polish bottle and take out the brush. Wrap it in cling film/shrink wrap to help stop it going too stiff and put it somewhere safe. You might want to clean it up with tissues and polish remover as it will be a while until you use it again.
Place the open bottle in a glass beaker to stop anyone knocking it over accidently and put it on a shelf somewhere safe, where no pets or kids can get at it.
IMPORTANT - put it in a room that you don't spend a lot of time in. The solvents in the polish will be released in to the air around you and, if you've ever spent a long time painting your nails you'll know this, it can cause headaches and really isn't very healthy. So you don't want to dry your open polish bottle in your bedroom or living room, or any room that you spend a long amount of time in.
I put the bottle in my kitchen/diner. The back door was being opened regularly which provided ventilation and the room was big enough so that you couldn't smell the polish.
Leave it there for a day and check it. Depending on the heat of the room and the climate you live in it could take a few days or even a couple of weeks for your polish to thicken.
Make sure you check it regularly as this isn't an exact science. Be aware that the polish could go gloopy or lumpy, get too thick or just be a bit weird.
Which is why I prefer to layer my thin polishes, marble with them or use them for sponging.
But heck, you never know, you might just end up thickening your polish enough to make it way more wearable!
You wouldn't believe how many incarnations this little chap had in my attempts to bring you Rudolph nails!
Eventually I was helped along by looking at some old Christmas cards, it's amazing how useful it can be to see how someone else has drawn something. I mixed the inspiration up in my head with my original drawing and voila! A cute little reindeer appeared!
Originally I was going to use red or green for the background, but then wondered if something more subtle would work. I've never used 'un-christmassy' base colours for christmas nail art before but actually it ended up being very delicate, feminine and unusual I think.
I mixed acrylic paints and polishes for the design and so far I haven't had any issues doing that, they seem to adhere to each other well as long as you use topcoat. Here's a list of them -
Base - Color Club 'Nomadic In Nude'
Rudolph's Face - A franken polish I made up myself
Antlers - OPI 'Stars In My Eyes'
Nose - Nails Inc 'Victoria and Albert'
Black and White FolkArt Acrylic Paints
China Glaze 'Snowglobe' glitter
Color Club Topcoat
Find out how to paint him in the video, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask :)
My latest swatch/review video is for China Glaze's new collection, inspired by the movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.
Such incredible inspiration has resulted in a vibrant, modern and super interesting set of polishes that I couldn't wait to dive in to!
I could go through them all here but I think you'll get a much fairer idea of them by watching the video I made....
All in all I would buy most of them if I could go back in time. Perhaps 8 out of the 12, and I think that's a solid ratio. There are huge issues with the glitters which you'll see in the video and yes that sucks, but don't let it distract you from the strong, quality shades that are also present.
I bought my set from a US seller on ebay for £49 inc. shipping. It took 3 weeks for it to arrive here in the UK although when I buy CG polishes separately it's usually £4.50 each, and 10-14 days to arrive.
There are however lots of sites that sell CG here in the UK and internationally but you won't beat the ebay price (in Britain anyway)
Even tho I don't like them all, I'm still excited about the collection....I'll take that as a win xD
My first Christmas design of 2012 is inspired by old fashioned jumpers and some patterns I've been seeing in the shops recently. It takes a while to do so you might want to edit it down, maybe only doing your ring finger or just doing more of the easy designs like the hearts. I love it because it's festive without being over the top and is great for short nails, check out how to do it in the video below!
I used 'For Audrey' by China Glaze and red and white acrylic paints, followed by China Glaze Fast Forward Topcoat.
One of the most common questions I'm asked is how to paint your non-dominant hand. The most obvious answer is practice, practice, practice! Have you ever learnt to touch type or play the piano? Remember how terrible you were at the beginning? Well after a while you can train your hand to do those things and the same can be said for nail art!
But of course I have some other tips too, I think the best thing is to tell you how I learnt how to do it.
I've always been good at drawing and painting but had always done it with my right hand. When I tried to paint or draw with my left it was pretty much a total car crash lol. Then I started nail art and had to train my left hand from scratch, and began by using a dotter. Becoming confident with a dotting tool with your non-dominant hand takes a while, even getting the angle right as you press down on the nail takes time, but it's a great place to start.
If you begin with dots, even if you're using a toothpick, you will start to become more precise with your movements and in controlling your fingers. Try out my 'Shooting Star Tutorial', it's a perfect design to help you practise your dotting....
Next, I moved on to a striper. A good quality striper brush will make a huge difference as they're more flexible and move in a more fluid way across the nail. Start with long stripes down the nail, just getting them straight is a challenge. Then try diagonal and horizontal, remembering to move your finger (of the nail that's being painted) as well as your brush. You can see me doing straight lines with my left hand in this video...
You'll end up being able to use your striper in more creative, detailed ways. I can now be precise with it even with my left hand.
Finally I was ready to try using a fine detail brush. Becoming more skilled with the dotter and striper made this so much easier but it does take more patience for me to use it. I have to concentrate more and be prepared to fix more mistakes. I'm much more careful about making sure my elbows are both on the table and my hands are supported, either by putting them on the table too, or by resting the little finger of my left hand on my right hand as I paint it.
One of the best results I've had with my left hand was my Piglet tutorial -
Which brings me on to acrylic paints. They make the process so much easier as you can wipe them off if you make a mistake. If your base polish is too wet and you don't dare wipe it off, you can easily cover over the mistake with more acrylic paint as it's very opaque and forgiving. Once one layer has dried it's highly unlikely that another will mix with it when layered on top (unlike nail polish)
My final piece of advice would be to try and strengthen your non-dominant hand in every day life. I learnt this from (trying to) learning the piano. Simply using your other hand for normal things like using a spoon, cleaning your teeth, eating a meal with a fork etc, will slowly build up strength and precision in it. That will then help you with holding and controlling a brush, but this is a long term thing. Almost every day I think 'ooh I'll eat these Pringles with my left hand' or 'I should change to my left hand to brush my hair'. Small things, but it helps, especially if you're taking a break from nail art but want to keep your other hand at the skill level you've gotten it to.
There is one way to cheat though.....
Have you heard of the plastic bag technique? It's a way of making your own decals, let me explain.
Take a thick plastic bag, a sandwich bag is perfect, and paint your image just as you would on your nails, with your good hand. Cover in topcoat and let it dry for 24 hours. When it's fully dry it should easily peel away from the plastic....if it doesn't then leave it a little longer or try a fast dry topcoat. Put some topcoat on your nail and place your homemade decal on, pressing down with 2 fingers over the nail to make sure it sticks fully. Topcoat and your done!
A fabulous way of having nail art that you've painted with your good hand on all 10 nails!
Well that's all I can think of for now, I hope it's helped you if you're struggling.
There are lots of gold leaf topcoats being released at the moment, but blimey they're expensive! I just couldn't justify spending so much money on one bottle of nail polish, so I tried making my own with some 24 carat gold leaf. I'm pretty happy with the results, they're not quite as good as OPI The Man With The Golden Gun for example, but I'm still really like them, especially as they cost a fraction of the price!
To find out how to make them, just watch the video below....