Thursday, May 31, 2012

China Glaze Innocence - French

It has been a really long time since I last wore a classic French manicure.  I've tried a bunch of different ways to get the perfect smile lines and I'm never fully satisfied with the outcome.  Here it is freehand because I was too lazy to use tape or guides... 

I need more practice but what I find works well freehand, is to start at the corners of the nail and lay the brush flat and just swipe at a downward angle towards the center of the nail and then go to the other side do the same thing and meet in the middle. 

I used Orly's Pointe Blanche french tip white, the brush is thinner than regular nail polish, which makes it a little easier to handle.  I also added Wet N Wild's Snow Globe glitter to the tips which covered up the unevenness of the white. 

The base color is China Glaze's Innocence, a soft pink creme, opaque in two coats.  I need the opaqueness because my nails are badly stained at the tips, from all the teals and greens I was wearing in March.  I topped everything off with some Seche Vite.

Below, is a bad impromptu picture from a week prior.  A different French mani I did, also freehand.  The tips came out better, but I used three coats of Orly's Rose Colored Glasses, which was not opaque enough to cover up my yellow stained nails.  You can see the yellow starting half way down the nail, especially on the ring finger.  The glitter is Nubar's White Polka Dot.  I didn't plan on posting it, so I didn't bother to take better photos...  Sorry for the blue-greenness my florescent lamp is causing.

Three coats of Orly's Rose Colored Glasses, one coat of Nubar's White Polka Dot.

Do you have any favorite polishes that you do your French manicures with?

BTW, you will see more of Nubar White Polka Dot.... I love, love, love this soft pearly white glitter, especially for work. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Zoya Dita

Hey guys!

Quick post on this week's work mani.  This week is DRAGGING by.  For those of you still in school, stay as long as you can because working for a living SUCKS!!!

ANYWAYS, Zoya's Dita has been helping me cope.  A purple-based red creme, and super smooth formula, Zoya delivers excellence again.  This is two really easy coats. 

This mani took me 17 minutes to do, not including old nail polish removal.  I started with a clean canvas, one base coat, two color coats and one top coat, a standard mani.  Since this was so easy to apply my clean up process was really minimal.  17 minutes is a record for me. 

How long does it take you to do a standard manicure?  Do you have a record time?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moisturizing Your Cuticles

Besides hand hygeine, if there's only one thing you want to do to take care of your hands and cuticles, is to at least moisturize them with lotion.  Take it one step further and pay special attention to your cuticles and the skin around your nails.  Cuticles serve an important function as a barrier against fungus and bacteria from entering your body.  So why not pamper them and care for them properly?

In addition, when cuticles and skin are allowed to dry out, the dry skin peels and looks unsightly.  If you have been reading my blog for a while you might know that I'm a reformed nail biter.  I use to pick, peel and pull at dry skin and hang nails.  This is a horrible habit!  I used to actually cause trauma to my fingers and sometimes they would bleed!  A nice entry point for bacteria.  I'm lucky I never got an infection. 

Point is, since I have been moisturizing, I don't suffer from hang nails anymore.  Peeling skin is at a minimum.  If there is a small peel, I will trim it with a cuticle trimmer.  So below are some cuticle cremes I use and love.

Let's start with Lush's Lemony Flutter. 

Lots of bloggers love this, and I can see why.  Lemony Flutter unlike cuticle oils, are really easy to use.  The product does not run all over your fingers, it is a soft balm.  Thus it is easy to control its application.  As you can guess Lemony Flutter smells of lemons; a lot.  I like the strong smell of lemons and find it kind of therapuetic.  I put this on before bed, it can be a little greasy, but when I wake up, my fingers look nice and healthy.  The first ingredient is lemon extract, followed by shea butter, then beeswax. 

I got my small pot (0.5 oz) off of eBay for about $5. The regular sized pots at Lush stores are around $12. This small pot is about 6 months old and there is still a lot of product left.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme

Burt's Bees is a very close second, to me, when compared to Lush.  In contrast, Burt's Bees Creme is a hard balm, and I have to rub pretty hard to get some product out.  So now I just scrape the top with the back of my nail.  Half the size of a pea will cover five fingers for me.  It's not as greasy at Lush, and doesn't smell as strong.  It still works really well, if not the same.  The ingredients are a little different.  First on the ingredient list is sweet almond oil, second is beeswax, then lemon oil. 

I got mine at Ulta for $5.99, 0.6 oz.  I've seen these at Walgreens too.

L'Occitane en Provence's Cuticle and Nail Creme. 

I like L'Occitane because I don't have to stick my fingers in it and seems more clean to me.  I also like that I can squeeze a little bit of product on to each finger.  Aside from Burt's Bees and Lush, this is not at all greasy.  L'Occitane's Creme is thick, almost tacky.  I can feel a pull when I rub it in, but it absorbs really fast and smells kind of like baby powder.  I rub this on right before I take photos and there are no finger smudges on things after I touch them.  So I can put this one and go about my business right away.  I only need a teeny amount for each finger.

The first ingredient in L'Occitane's Creme is water, then shea butter, thirdly polyglyceryl-3 ricinoleate.  Sixth ingredient is apricot kernel oil which I see in some cuticle oils, like Essie.

This is the priciest of the three, $18 for 0.5 oz.  I splurged on it because I wanted to try it.  I do really like this creme a lot but with Lush and Burt's Bees around, I kind of hesitate on fully recommending L'Occitane because of the steep price. 

So there you have it, the three cremes I would recommend.  All are cruelty free with natural ingredients. 

Which cuticle creme/oil do you like?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Haute America Glitter Gradient

Hi guys!

Today I have a manicure to show you, that I wore recently, to a little soiree.....

Did I go a bit overboard with the glitter?  What do you think?

Half way through, I wondered what my nails would look like with the gradient in the reverse direction and without the excess glitter, so I tried this on my thumb.  Then I started to regret my first decision to pile it all on and I did not want to start over because I was running out of time.  Urgggh. 

What I used, in order.
Above are all the products I used.  I know, its a bit much, but I can explain. 

I love Bonder, but its a bit thin, and my nails are stained.  So I used Nail Defense, a protein nail strengthener underneath, to hopefully protect against staining and strengthen my nails.  I can't tell if it is doing anything or not. 

Two coats of Zoya's America, a beautiful bright red.

I used INM out the door before applying the glitters because it is fast drying and does not cause shrinkage.

ChG's Some Like is Haute is the main glitter I used at the tips.  Ulta's silver top coat for the area near the cuticles.  Then Nubar's black polka dot, I thought would add and extra dimension because they are nice dark black plain hex glitters, with tiny matching black glitter. 

Top off with Seche Vite, which does a great job of leveling out glitters - smoothing out the entire surface at the end.  Whew!

For instructions on how I do my glitter gradients click here, this post has more detail.
I'm going to try the combo that's on my thumb next time.   What do you think?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tony Moly - GS09 - Shooting Star

I have a few posts lined up but I'm skipping them for now, because I'm totally excited to show you Shooting Star from Tony Moly!  Check it out!

Shooting Star is light lavender milky jelly with multicolored hex glitters.  There's some really tiny yellow glitters scattered in there too which I think adds some dimension to this polish.  Shooting star is sheer but the base color builds up nicely.  Three coats will probably give you full coverage but I liked the sheerness so two coats is fine for me. 

I thought the lavender would stand out more but it is actually really soft and blends in with my skin.  Next time I'm going to try to layer this over a solid pastel lavender polish for more contrast.

I thought about recreating this on my own, with Ulta's Pina yada yada, but that glitter has lots of orange hexs and not too many large green hex glitters.  Plus I don't have a sheer light purple polish, so I went ahead and bought Shooting Star.  I couldn't be happier, so pretty!

I thought I would show you a picture of the brush, its a little different than what I'm used to.  The brush is short, soft and blunt.  It actually works really well.  I skipped the clean up process entirely and the soft brush was really good at picking up lots of glitter and depositing them on the the nail. 

Tony Moly is a Korean cosmetics brand that's not readily available in the US. I found mine on eBay, for $7.95 with free shipping from Hong Kong.  It took 10 days to get here (east coast US), and the seller enclosed a free skin care sample, some tape/stickers, (I don't know what I'm going to do with them), and a really nice thank you note.  Don't you just love it when sellers add some nice extra touches? 

Lastly, I want to add, I just love the ultra modern bottle design, and pearly white cap.  The bottle I got is 10 ml. 

Have you tried this brand?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Nail Polish Storage & Display

Hi guys,

I've been busy re-organizing and remodeling my home office.  I'm still busy sewing curtains!   I'm not near finished yet but I thought I would share my new nail polish storage solution with you.  First, you have to see the before in order to appreciate the after....

Before I stored my nail polish in this little wheel-y cart, which held at maximum, 120 bottles, 40 per basket, which was about the size of a shoe box.  The top basket held top coats, treatments, base coats and glitters.  The middle basket held neutrals and lights, and bottom basket held dark polishes.  This was an okay solution, but I did have trouble finding things and quickly out grew it.  In the very beginning when I didn't have very many polishes, other supplies were in here like files, remover, lotions etc, it was useful, plus I could wheel it around the house.


Now, ......  TA - DAH!

I went ahead and bought a bookcase set from IKEA.  This is the "Billy" system.  The two bookcases on the sides are classic Billy, and the two shelves that the nail polishes are on are called "Benno".  The Billy system has a bunch of mix and match bookcases, corners cases, doors, cabinets and larger/deeper cases you can buy to suit your space, but I bought two billys and two bennos.  The Benno shelves are adjustable, CD/DVD shelves and are about 6 inches deep.  I spaced mine out equally.  There are 12 shelves per "book case", 24 cubby holes total. 

I currently have 194 bottles of nail polish and these two cases could easily hold more than double what I have.  I estimate at maximum, 480 bottles of nail polish.  I don't know if I'll ever get to that many bottles???
The shelves are 79 inches tall, 12 inches across, 24 inches for the both of them.  All the bookcases are bolted to the wall, as they are not stable, especially on carpet!  The four cases ran me just under $300. 

Top half, zoom in.

Bottom half, zoom in.
As you can see I organized them by color.  I started with reds, and I placed my top coats and base coats at arm level, so I can easily reach them.  My glitters sit above and below my top coats and base coats.  At the bottom are neutrals, sheers, blacks and whites. 

I love this new system.  I can see exactly what I have.  Everything has a home, its neat, organized and is actually nice to look at a rainbow of color. 

How many bottles do you have?  How do you store your polishes?

Now back to remodeling....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zoya - Chloe - Layering experiment - Part 2

So here is part two.  Orly's Rock the World was another polish I thought would go well with orange-green mylar flakies.  Rock the World's base color is purple where as Space Cadet's is green, so I thought it might be better with Sinful Color's Fig. 

Zoya's Chloe

Orly's Rock the World - purple base with strong gold shimmer.


Macro shot.
Instead of two coats of Chloe this is just one coat.  Topped off again with Seche Vite, and the base is still the same, Sinful Colors Fig.

Between the two I liked Chloe with Space Cadet better.  The flakies stood out more against the purple shimmer and more color shifting was apparent.  Rock the world was more monotone with gold being very prominent and the orange shifting was lessened.  Its not too terribly different from yesterday's post but small differences sometimes are noticeable. 

Click on yesterday's post to see part one, in case you missed it.

Are you going to try this?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zoya - Chloe - Layering experiment - Part 1

This post will be part one of two series on my layering experiment with Zoya's Chloe. Its pretty sheer and I don't think its intended to be worn alone.

Chloe's mylar flakies shift from mainly green to orange, but sometimes you can spot some aqua blue in there.  I picked up Chloe because I don't have very many flaky polishes.  However, when I got it home, I did not know what I was going to do with it.   So it sat for a couple of months while I hemmed and hawed over what to do. 

What looks good with something that looks like a clumpy oil slick?

I know, Orly's Space Cadet!?

Two coats of Chloe on there.

At a sharp angle.

Space Cadet.

Up close.

The base color I used was Sinful Colors Fig, but any medium purple underneath Space Cadet would produce the same affect.

So here's what I used, 1 coat Cult Nails Get it On base coat,  2 coats Sinful Colors Fig, 1 coat Cult Nails Wicked Fast top coat, 1 coat Orly's space cadet, 2 coats of Zoya's Chloe, 1 coat Seche Vite.  Eight whopping coats of nail polish. 

I didn't do all of this at once.  I was wearing Sinful Colors Fig for a couple of days alone.  So this was an easy recycled mani.

Side note: For those readers who are big 3 free, Seche Vite is not, it contains toluene. 

Please feel free to comment.  I love comments!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

China Glaze - Dance Baby

Dance Baby is the color of Pepto Bismol.... How does that translate to nails?  See below and you be the judge.  I'm amazed I actually had a bottle on hand to compare.

Indirect sunlight.

Under photo lamp.

Indoor, indirect sunlight again. 
Dance Baby is from the electropop collection.  Nice creme formula, two easy coats and pretty durable, I wore this for two days, no chips and very little tip wear.  I used Orly's bonder base and INM out the door top coat.

I got a couple of compliments on this color.  One person said, "There's plain Jenni, then bam her nails!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zoya's America Belted Stripe

Need some color in your life?  More than one?  Yes, please.

Zoya - America

China Glaze - For Audrey

How did I do this?

1.  Start by painting just the area where you want your stripe.

2.  Allow the base color to completely dry, about 3 hours. 
3.  Cut scotch tape, or stationary tape into thin strips. 
4.  Place a tape strip on the nail and smooth out any bumps or bubbles.  I used a cuticle pusher to smooth down the tape and I also pulled the tape really taut.
5.  Paint two coats of Zoya's America.
6.  Remove tape immediately with tweezers.
7.  Wait for paint to dry. I waited 10 minutes, however, I probably needed to wait a good 30 minutes!
8.  Apply top coat.

Here's how it came out.  I had a few issues/trouble spots and I will explain.


I needed a bright red for this mani, and Zoya's America, although beautiful, and excellent cream formula was not opaque enough.  In person, and you can see it in the photos if you look carefully, For Audrey was effecting the red and making it a darker, blue based red.  Not good, America is such a clean, crisp red, I wanted this to come through more.  This would have been much better, and easier with a one coater nail polish, which is hard to find.  I used two coats of America and I didn't have a nice smooth mani, plus the color started bleeding and took forever to dry.    Cutting tape, tape placement and removing tape requires patience and some skill.  This is a mani that requires a lot of time.  I would say this is a medium level manicure. 

What I will do in the future:

I will apply the stripe color in a smaller area.  When applying the final top coat I may paint in two directions, to prevent bleeding/ or paint dragging.  If you notice the top coat was dragging the red in the direction of the brush.  So next time I think I'll start placing top coat on the striped area, downwards then go back to the striped area and apply top coat towards the cuticle.  I'm I making any sense?  If I'm short on time I may just do a stripe on the ring finger. 

Overall, I loved this mani and was worth the effort. 

Anyone know of any good one coaters?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sinful Colors 925 I Love You

Quick post today. I have a squishy purple jelly polish with pink glass flecks from Sinful Colors to show you. It's pretty sheer, with two coats you can still see the nail line. I thought about layering this but I haven't found the right undercoat yet. Well, here it is by itself, three coats.

This was super easy to apply, the formula is great, smooth and even!

I've been doing a lot of posts on Sinful Colors because here in the U.S., this is a nice cheap-y, readily available, drugstore brand, and I'm all for cheap thrills.   For my readers outside of the US you can order Sinful Colors online at  it's also available in the UK.  Just google Sinful Colors UK.  I would think ordering from Cherry Culture might be cheaper.  The US dollar is weaker than the Euro and Pound Sterling, so maybe someone can take advantage of the exchange rate?

Where do you buy polish online? 

UPDATE:  I added a swatch to show how the color builds and the pink flecks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Glitter Gradient with China Glaze Optical Illusion

I am so glad to not be at work right now so I can be myself, and wear a much glitter as I want!  I did a gradient glitter mani with China Glaze's Optical Illusion (Prismatic line) over China Glaze's Starboard (Anchor's Away, 2011). 

In this photo, the top two fingers you can see the tinted green base
that the glitters sit in, in Optical Illusion.

My husband chose this photo. 
I think he likes it because of its composition.  It is a little over exposed. 

See the duochrome shift?  Pinky is flashing green, the others are more plain silver.

In this photo, I think you can see the multi-colored hex glitters the best. 
My most clear photo, with good contrast.
How did I do this?  I started with Starboard as the base color, two coats.  Then I dabbed 3 small dots of Optical Illusion across the edge of my tips then dragged the glitter towards the cuticle with the brush.  Start with a small amount of glitter because it is easier to add more and impossible to take away.  Optical Illusion is a densely packed glitter so it is real easy to get full coverage and a little difficult to apply when you just want a dusting of glitter.  For the tops of the nails  (near the cuticle) I still wanted some glitter up there, but just a little. So I added Ulta's silver glitter top coat over Optical Illusion.  Ulta's silver glitter top coat is just a clear based polish with micro silver glitter in it.  Orly's Etoile might be a nice alternative.

Overall, I think it came out okay, it might not be the best color combo since the greens are a little different.  Optical Illusion is more of a forest green and Starboard may be a bit too bright.... ???   Oh well, I have 32 oz of acetone to create a new blank canvas!!!  However, what I really love about the Prismatic collection are all the multicolor hex glitters and they all shine and sparkle like mad!