Monday, March 3, 2014

Polish Pusher - South of the Bordeaux & Vincent

Holy guacamole! This evening I have an incredible new polish to share with you, and up-and-coming indie maker that you absolutely must have on your radar. I won a fabulous flash giveaway hosted by the Polish Pusher, aka Kati, who encouraged her followers to post and selfie and say something they loved about themselves. I was lucky enough to get a little self-esteem boost AND the opportunity to choose a polish from her soon to open Etsy shop. I picked South of the Bordeaux...

A yummy, wine toned jelly packed with a variety of warm toned glitters. But Kati didn't stop there--she was kind of enough to throw in a mini of Vincent, another upcoming polish in her line. OH. EM. GEE. This woman most certainly has a way with holo!

Vincent is a gorgeous kelly green linear holo with scattered larger holo glitters. It's on the sheer side, but builds beautifully. These photos show three thin coats topped with HK Girl Topcoat. Application and formula are even and easy to apply, and the polish dries to a semi-matte finish on its own.

Isn't it amazing? I loved it in the bottle, but was unprepared for what showstopper this would be on the nail. I have a few green holos in my collection, and this one is totally unique in comparison to the others. Also, in her note when she sent my prizes, Kati mentioned that this polish is part of a duo inspired by her grandparents and their beautiful relationship. Such a touching, personal thing to share with her customers, and I am so eager to see the other half!

Be sure to wipe the drool off of your keyboard before heading straight to Polish Pusher's Instagram so you can be prepared for when these beauties become available!
Sunday, March 2, 2014

Simple French Manicure

Despite what my earlier nail pics might suggest, I've actually been doing my own nails for years. I've always been one to change the color on my nails at least weekly, and have never had the money (or time!) for such frequent professional manicures. Also, my mom is also a polish hoarder, so I was exposed to an enormous variety of options from a very young age. Something that I've practiced for years, but have never quite mastered, is the classic French manicure.

You might be surprised to hear this, considering how simple the design really is. However, at least in my opinion, a successful French manicure requires a careful balance of several key components. I had never really figured out my ideal formula...until this weekend!


With all the frustration I've been feeling lately about my nail art abilities, this manicure was a totally necessary breath of fresh air. I found myself gazing at my nails more than usual, and got tons of compliments on them (mostly, "did you do those yourself?!" which is always my favorite question to get).

I started out with two thin coats of Revlon - Embody, a very sheer pale nude. In the past, I've made the mistake of choosing a base color that was too opaque, or compensating for a sheer formula by layering up the polish until it was thick and unappealing. I think practice with application and more experience with sheer formulas made me better this go round.

Another mistake I've made in the past is not allowing the base color to full dry before painting the tips. I don't trust my freehand to achieve a look this clean, so I use tip guides, and just like with tape or other sticky decals, they can pull up the polish base and ruin all your careful work. (This is another reason why 1-2 thin coats are ideal for the base!) I applied a single thin coat of HK Girl Topcoat and allowed my nails to dry for a full hour before prepping to do the tips. This prevented the base color from lifting, and allowed me to achieve a very clean line.

A word on tip guides: if you want to do French manis and don't have the patience for freehand, GET SOME! I bought a small pack with several hundred at CVS for maybe $3. I'm sure you can find them on Amazon and other online retailers as well. I've used regular tape in the past, and while that will get you a straight line, it most likely won't follow your actual nail line, making the outcome unnatural looking and severe.

Finally, I've discovered my ideal white for painting the tips, Essie - Blanc. While this is certainly not my go-to white for most purposes, (such as a base for neon polishes or nail art) the formula is the perfect consistency for applying a thin, opaque amount to the small tip area. You really want to avoid multiple coats on the tips for two reasons: one, you want to remove the tip guide while the polish is still wet, so you don't have time to allow for drying between coats; and two, you already have two coats of polish on your nails, plus top coat--your tip is going to start looking chunky really quickly if you're not careful. Blanc is a thin formula that makes for slightly streaky application on the entire nail, but is easily controllable when only painting the tip.

What do you think? Are French manis passe, or a standard staple in nail fashion? For me, this was just the palate cleanser I needed, and I have a feeling I'll be returning to my now-perfected formula in the future!