Sunday, November 14, 2010

Polish to the People's Tips for Glitter Removal

What's a girl to do when she has put two coats of China Glaze Party Hearty over two coats of China Glaze Phat Santa, and now it's time to remove it?

Well, first, this picture doesn't really do this fantastic green, red, and gold glitter justice, but it's night and I have no lighting, so you'll just have to deal. It's a party in a bottle, make no mistake. My main problem with this manicure was that I had been at the Sephora VIB party this past week where there was 20% off everything and free champagne before doing this manicure, and between the great deal I got and the booze, I probably should not have been operating a nail polish. But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyway, now that I want to take it off, how am I going to do this without going absolutely insane? I'll tell you how. With this little gem that can be found at Target:

And what's inside this rather ordinary looking jar of acetone nail polish remover? I'll tell you what. The glitter nail polish removing vagina of DOOM!

So, not only does this thing have 100% acetone (which I use almost all the time - yes, it's drying, but effective. I don't recommend it if you aren't willing to moisturize to accommodate), but rather than the standard sponge, it has little plastic bristles that scrub glitter off your nails.

I try not to use the glitter nail polish removing vagina of doom more than once a week if I can help it. As I mentioned, acetone is very drying, and since you really have to soak the nail in there and then scrub the softened nails against plastic bristles, it's not a good idea to use this all the time. But, if you are facing the frightening prospect of removing any kind of crazy glitter like this, the vagina of doom is your solution. And THAT is Polish to the People!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You look like Vegas, Baby!

I haven't been feeling too inspired to post lately, but you can all thank the very kind sales associate at the liquor store for making me want to share this beauty with you. Yesterday, while buying a very serviceable bottle of Moscato D'Asti in which to drown my sorrows, he got one look at my nails, and, excited by the glitter, exclaimed, "You look like Vegas, Baby!" And I decided, you know what? I do.

Despite my deep love for Deborah Lippman's glitter polishes, I had been resisting buying this one for some reason, probably because I don't particularly like brown nail polishes. However, my mother recently called me from Nordstrom and said, "Do you need anything?" And I said, "Yes. Glitter." And she picked this up for me. Gotta love that woman.

This beauty is called Superstar, and has a brown jelly base the color of weak coffee that is packed full of copper glitter. Totally opaque (not just can't see the nail line opaque, but can't see through the nail opaque, which I favor) in two coats, this has worn very well despite me being very hard on my nails since I applied it two days ago. My primary complaint about this color is that the glitter is not smooth. What I mean when I say that is that some glitter-packed polishes feel as smooth as a creme on the nail and you can't feel the texture of the glitter at all, but even after a shocking three coats of top coat, this one still feels bumpy to the touch.

Also, despite those shocking three coats of top coat (including my usual go-to when I have this problem, Orly Glosser), this never really looked very shiny. I am a big fan of glossy, wet-looking nails, but this looks somewhat dull to me. I'm not sure if it's the fault of the base color or the glitter, but it could pack even more of a punch if you could see your reflection in it.

Overall, I give Deborah Lippman Superstar a gold star, though I know it is going to take forever to remove all of that glitter! Polish to the People!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drinking while Polishing: A Cautionary Tale

As a person obsessed with polish and committed to bringing that love to the people, I want to also educate the people so that the bad things that happen to me do not befall you. There are several things one should not do while drinking adult beverages: drive, call ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, and polish one's nails. Last night, while I was not drunk, I had a few vodka and tonics, and rather than just live to fight another day and leave yesterday's perfectly serviceable manicure on, I figured, take it off! Do something else! So I did. I could not bear to share with you a picture of what it looked like before clean-up, so we're just going to pretend everything turned out okay in the end as the photographic evidence proves. But it was bad. Bad like the first time you painted your nails and got more polish off the nail than on bad. Bad. Shiver. Anyway.

Now, I picked the combo when I was still sober, so it's no mistake that I put one of the most difficult to remove glitters, China Glaze Nova, over Color Club Gossip Column. I really did mean to do that, though I know I will pay when it comes time to remove it tomorrow. But I just couldn't resist. I had a horrible week, and I needed glitter. Big, loud, holographic glitter.

As I mentioned yesterday, I love Color Club with a deep passion, and Gossip Column is no exception. It is a lovely creme, opaque in two coats (but I had vodka, so I did three against my normally better judgment), that, when you are not blurry-eyed with drink, applies so smoothly and evenly that it makes you want to cry. This picture is actually with flash which shows better than natural light pics how sort of dark and stormy of a teal it is. I have a matte MAC eyeshadow this color, and it's really one of my favorite kinds of shades. Vibrant without being bright, bold without being loud. And Nova? Well, what can I say. It's a dense as all heck, silver holographic glitter, hexagonally (is that a word? It is now.) shaped, and a real pisser to get off. Oh well. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, so I can spend all day wrapped in acetone. Even with the China Glaze glitter, which I find dries very slowly in general, this was perfectly dry in 30 minutes after a good coat of Poshe.

So, yes, kids, be careful, and do not mix polish with vodka. Because you will have to get up early the next day to painstakingly remove the excess from your fingers. And you will still be secretly picking it off your cuticles by lunchtime. Until next time, Polish to the People!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Layering Fun and an Ode to Color Club

I know, I know, I have been neglecting the people, and for that I apologize. Over here at Casa Polish to the People, we have been engaged in a month long cleaning project that has been rather rough on the old blogging time (not to mention rough on the old nails!). However, in the end, we prevailed, and I even got one of the illustrious Helmers from Ikea to store my stash. I hope to have some sexy pictures of the newly organized collection soon!

Anyway, on to the polish.

I got a couple of these sheer glittery polishes from Savvy Femme Couture. I am not sure how they wanted to market them, but I instantly saw them as layering gems. The uninitiated I am sure will wear them alone as sheers, but that isn't quite my style, is it? Here you see Purple Potion, a reasonably sheer base loaded with pink and purple teeny tiny shimmer glitter, over Color Club Power Play. Power Play is a neon fuchsia that pulls much more pink in this photo than it really is. Neons are notoriously difficult to photograph, so I don't feel too badly. Over all, I really like this combo.

Now, a word on Color Clubs. I decided I had to break one out because I just ordered a few colors from their new fall collection, Untamed Luxury. For such a cheap polish (usually around $2.49 each from various online retailers), and for how relatively inaccessible it is in brick and mortar stores, this is such a wonderful polish. They have great colors, lovely seasonal collections, and the application and wear is phenomenal. What you see here is after my second day of wearing it, and despite how much I type at work and how generally hard I am on my nails between cooking and dishes, it is still perfect. Their neons do tend to require more coats (this took three to be opaque), but in general they are opaque in two to three coats and go on so smoothly, it's hardly any effort at all.

So, that's my reintroduction to you. I hope not to be away for so long again. Until next time, Polish to the People!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

American Apparel Peacock with Konad

It took me a while to get myself to my local American Apparel to pick up some of their polishes, though the buzz about them has never been negative (despite a voluntary recall the company did - I am actually not sure why, but all seems to be well now), cremes are never my first choice, and all of the cool colors this company makes are cremes. The good news is, they are really high quality, well pigmented cremes.

Pictured here is one of the shades I recently purchased, Peacock. Usually, when shades are described as Peacock, they are often duochrome shimmers, not cremes, but I guess when you think about the deep teal in the feathers of a peacock, this shade wouldn't be too far off. The above picture is taken in full sunlight. Inside it definitely looks darker, but it really is a great color if you are a teal fan. This applied opaque in two coats. It was darn near opaque in one, but I just can't feel right with just one coat. It was shiny even before I put topcoat on it and dried very quickly. It wasn't too runny or too thick. It was just perfect! The price is right, too: $6 for one, or $15 for three.

For the clouds, I used China Glaze Metallic Muse, a light green chrome, with Konad plate M79. I was going to use a Bundle Monster plate, but for some reason, the stamper just would not pick this polish up off of a BM plate. It isn't too surprising, really. The chrome colors are very thin and dry very quickly, which is not good for the BM designs which are more shallow than Konad plates. Chromes are awesome for nail art stamping because they seem to literally turn into little pieces of foil on the nail. You do have to work very very quickly, though, because once the polish starts to dry, you might not be able to pick it up off of the plate, and if you do, if the polish dries on the stamper, it turns into a little flake that will slide right off the nail. The effect, however, is worth the trouble!

That's all for today, folks! Polish to the People!

Tutorial: Silk Wraps for Broken Nails

You've been taking care of your nails. You've been moisturizing your cuticles. You've been using a glass nail file. You've stopped over-buffing. You've been using treatment basecoats and keeping your nails polished. You've stopped using your nails as tools. Despite it all, you look down one day and see a split spreading across one of your nails. What do you do? Cry? No, you fight back! For me, when it's a split on one of my fingers, I use Orly's Nail Rescue kit (it includes nail glue and powder; you brush the glue over the nail and stick it in the powder to create a hard, protective shield to hold the nail together), but when it's the thumb (which takes more abuse than other nails), I use a silk wrap. Below I will show you, step by step, how to use a few simple tools to keep the length of the nail and keep on truckin'!
Here it is, my sad, split thumb nail. You can see it better in the larger version, but there it is, the awful split along the right side of the nail. The horror!
Your tools: To perform this magic, you will need a set of Swiss Silk Wraps, available for about $5 at Sally's. One box contains 40 sticky-backed wraps in a variety of sizes. You will need gel resin, which is sort of like glue. I use ibd Brush-On Gel Resin, also available at Sally's for about $3. To trim the wraps, you'll want some small cuticle scissors. To finish the wrap and prepare for polish, you'll need a coarse grit (black) and fine grit (yellow) buffer block, both available at Sally's for less than a dollar.
Step 1: Select a wrap in the size closest to your broken nail. It probably won't be perfect, so trim the bottom and edges so it is just a tad smaller than the width of your nail. If it goes all the way to the edge and goes over the border of the nail on the sides, not only will the gel make it feel awkward, it will also carry the risk of lifting off the nail, which would rather defeat the purpose! Don't worry about cutting off any length, though. I actually have an easier time if I leave it long and worry about the excess later.
Step 2: Peel off the paper backing and stick the wrap on your nail. If you screw up, don't stress. You can take it off and replace it until it's positioned correctly.
Step 3: Trim the free edge as much as possible, but if a little is still left hanging off the edge, don't worry. You will clean it up later.
Step 4: Brush a thin layer of gel resin over the wrap, just enough to see that the fibers have been saturated by the liquid.
Step 5: Wait until the gel resin is dry (this can often take about ten minutes - do not be tempted by fast dry sprays that are sold near gel resin and nail glue; they dry the liquid too quickly which creates a brittle surface that can crack and lift off the nail. You have to be patient with this stuff.) Using the coarse buffing block, buff the edge of your nail to remove the excess from the tip and create a clean edge so that the wrap and your nail are flush. Also, buff over the surface of the nail a few times to smooth out the bumpiness and texture of the wrap that invariably occurs. Normally, you would not use this coarse of a buffer over a natural nail, but between the gel resin and the silk, you're not going to touch the actual nail.
You can usually stop here, but if you're really committed, like I am, apply another layer of gel resin, let it dry, and buff again. If you're going to be following this up with a creme finish polish, as I am, you may want to finish the buffing with a finer grit buffer so that you can't see the texture of the wrap through your polish.
And here it is with polish over it! Like the horrible split never happened! These hold up very well and I can usually keep the same one on through three or four nail polish changes even though I use pure acetone to remove my nail polish. When you are ready to take it off, the gel resin can be dissolved with acetone nail polish remover on felt so you can peel the silk off.

So there you go! Never fear the split nail again! We can rebuild you! We can make you stronger, faster! We can keep the nail length and stop the evil split from spreading! These wraps are so strong, that even if your nail breaks completely off, if you can rescue the piece that broke off, you can use a silk wrap to reattach it. Seriously!

I expect today may be a double post day after I finish the nail art I am plotting. I hope this tutorial helps you! Polish to the People!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste

Sometimes, a polish comes along that is just, well, perfect. So perfect, even my camera cannot capture how awesome it truly is. As a result, I'm going to try to give two pictures to show two aspects of this most fantastic of polishes, Illamasqua Baptiste. I bought this when I was in Atlanta because it holds one of the very few Sephoras in the US that carries this line (you can also buy it online, of course, but sometimes I like to get my hot little hands on something when I can see it in person!). I have been to another Sephora that carries it in San Francisco, but they were out of this one and I have thought about buying it ever since!

This is an picture with flash to show the fantastic red and blue shimmer in this beautiful medium purple that leans on the red side of purple. This picture makes the purple polish itself way too blue, so this is only to show the shimmer.
This picture in the sunlight shows better the lovely purple shade of this polish. It's still not great because of how bright the sun was, but I think you can still see how hot it is.

This polish is so good, it hurts. Not only is the color amazing with its flashes of red and blue in the purple, but like all Illamasquas that I have tried, it applied like a dream and dries very well with no streakiness, and in two coats. As a serial three-coater, this is always amazing to me. Its one downside may be its price, $14, which is prohibitive for some people in a nail polish. I buy a lot of department store cosmetics, so this wasn't much of a shock for me. Alright, If I talk any more about this color, people will think I have gone crazy, but anyway, it's one of the best purples in my collection. Polish to the People!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When bad nail polish goes, well, bad.

Even stronger than my love for green nail polish is my inability to resist a gimmick. When MAC put pictures of Disney characters on the packaging of a lipbalm of theirs I really didn't like, I bought it. When Too Faced released a line of Smurf-themed products, I was first in line to get that blue glitter eyeliner that now languishes in my collection. You get the idea. So, when I was at God's gift to hip, financially strapped young adults, Five Below (a place where you can buy one of the coolest nail polish collections ever, LA Girls Rockstar, incidentally, and everything is under $5) and saw the cheap boxes of candy-themed nail polishes that smelled of said candy, I couldn't resist. My friend Amanda was there. She will tell you I was like a moth to a flame. I mean, look at it! Fun Dip nail polish! What could be more cool?

This is where we have to be honest with each other, though. Usually I always find something positive about a nail polish. It was a nice color. It dried well. The application was smooth. It had staying power. Well, I want to have a post where I tell you: the only thing that was fun about this polish was buying it. I picked a pretty good picture to show you the polish, but in reality, it was a horrific experience. I know what you're going to say. Come on, girl, it's Fun Dip nail polish. What do you expect? And I know you're right. But just for fun, let's pretend I expected this to be not awful, okay?

I chose the Mean Apple Green polish to take the set for a test drive because I love green. In the bottle, it actually looks like it might be a bright green creme with silver shimmer, but on the nail it was pretty much a grass green frost. It looks okay here, but those streaks you see? Brush strokes. And this puppy was chock full of them. The application was streaky, and even after four coats, there is still visible nail line. But then I thought, hey, that happens, usually all you need is a little top coat, and all will be well. Wrong. That was when the real fun began. Seche Vite can dry just about anything, but two hours after I did this, the very edges of my nails were sticky. When I woke up this morning, the shrinkage (which is when fast dry top coats dry well in advance of the polish underneath them and pull back from the nail tip, leaving what looks like tip wear) was horrendous. And guess what? It wasn't dry! I can still dent it with my nail! It's been 24 hours, and to amuse myself right now I am denting it with my thumb nail! It does smell like synthetic sour apple, though, which is fun.

And don't tell me it's because it's cheap (this is sold at Five Below for $5 for the box of six polishes). Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shines are $.99, and they are freaking fantastic. And don't tell me it's because it's for kids. Kids deserve fun nail polish too! This is a disgrace to nail polish gimmick fans everywhere. It's like they literally dumped actual Fun Dip into clear polish and boxed it up for sale.

So before the awfulness of this drives me crazy, I am taking this off immediately and putting something on less terrible, because I am here to bring Polish to the People!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Deborah Lippmann Lady Sings the Blues

Every year for their anniversary, Nordstrom has a big anniversary sale, and as a part of that sale, different cosmetics companies will release some kind of collection, special product, or Nordstrom exclusive shade to celebrate, well, one of my favorite stores in the world. Deborah Lippmann, a pretty nice department store polish brand, has been taking that opportunity for the last couple of years to bring us some very fun glitters - some, not all, like last year's Funky Chunky which looked about as yummy as it sounds. This year, they released just for Nordstrom's use a set of three polishes called the All That Jazz collection as well as two other polishes (I believe all of these will be available on Lippmann's website later in the year), all of which are like glitter orgasms.

I just got the set in the mail last week, so after the LiLo manicure, I had to break into it immediately, and out of the three colors, a blue with chunky silver glitter, a magenta with magenta glitter, and a rose glitter in a clear base, I had to go for the blue. I am a glitter H00R.

Lighting was not my friend today, but here is this stunner, Lady Sings the Blues. It is a deep blue base filled with silver glitter, both small and large pieces of hexagonal glitter. Some people hoped it would look like the elusive Essie Starry, Starry Night; it doesn't really, but it does look like SSN's loud-mouthed cousin, so if you want a blue jelly with some kind of silver glitter, this is your girl. What really wowed me about this shade was the application. I will expound on what it means to be a jelly polish in a moment, but usually jelly polishes require several coats before you can no longer see the nail line beneath it, but not this bad boy. I am a serial three coater, and I simply couldn't justify more than two coats. It applied smoothly and dried very nicely with a coat of Seche Vite. Now, what do I mean by jelly?

This is a little lesson for the people out there who are not as, shall we say, totally crazy about nail polish as I am. A favorite finish among nail fanatics is the jelly finish, which I am demonstrating above by holding jelly (actually it's preserves, but I don't think too many Americans make much of a distinction). You know how jelly is sort of transparent, but you can't actually see through the jar when you look at it? And, depending on the jelly, sometimes you can't even see through it when you put it on toast? But you know, somehow, that the light penetrates it somehow so that it can't be totally opaque? That's what we mean by jelly nail polish. The light penetrates it giving it a kind of squishy appearance, but it isn't necessarily clear or sheer. Some jellies are a little easier to deal with than others. This is by far the best in terms of coverage. Lippmann has some other very problematic jellies like Rehab which is named for a fantastic song and a pretty color, but took me seven coats the last time I tried it to get it to the opacity that I like. And even for me, that's not cool.

So, yeah, I love this polish. It is the awesome. Polish to the People!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Jail Nails Inspired Nail Art!

The nail polish obsessed world has been abuzz the last several days following Lindsay Lohan's sentencing. She was sporting a very interesting manicure that garnered additional attention because one nail advertised a subtle yet profane message to the court. Of course, we all wanted to do our own interpretations, sans message. You can see a pic of the manicure here.

Obviously, my version is only inspired by Lindsay's (mine is far more pastel), which we believe was airbrushed, and also inspired by the interpretations of other lovely ladies on the Makeupalley Nail Board. This required a shocking 10 coats of polish, but hey, such are the things we do for polish! Here is a pic of the tools, in order of application from left to right:

After basecoat, I applied three coats of Essie Ballet Slippers. I could have gotten away with two given how much went over it, but this polish is so streaky, I had to go the extra mile. After that, I randomly brushed splotches of OPI Do You Lilac It?, Orly Lemonade, Funky Fingers Daiquiri on Deck, and China Glaze For Audrey. I would have been much closer to my inspiration had I used a sponge instead of the brush, but, well, I wasn't that dedicated! Then, to soften the lines, I applied two coats of Essie Tennis Corset (what the heck is a tennis corset, anyway? Wouldn't wearing a corset while playing tennis be horribly uncomfortable?). Finally, I added a little Konad with Konad white Special Polish to get something like the pattern on Lindsay's. Here is the final product:

I haven't had a chance to clean it up completely yet, so that crap around the cuticles is polish, not nasty skin. Sorry about that. Anyway, I rather like it, to tell you the truth. Hopefully it won't turn me into a crazy person. I am, of course, holding the Mean Girls DVD. I actually show this movie almost every year in the university sociology class I teach because it is filled with sociological themes, but I am holding it here to remind us of the sweet girl Lindsay used to be. What a shame.

And that's all for today, folks! I expect my next post, either tomorrow or Monday, will be one of the polishes from the Nordstrom exclusive Deborah Lippmann collection, All That Jazz. Because I just got the set and it is all glitters, and I am a glitter h00r. Polish to the People!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Glitter Party!

I have been feeling kind of blah lately, so I figured that nothing could perk me up like a little glitter. Okay, a lot of glitter. First, I have to admit that this combination was not my idea. I stole, er, borrowed it from some lovely ladies on the Makeupalley nail polish board, theasiangirl, who came up with the original idea, and then minnnnie, who brought it to life on her nails! On to the pics! Apologies in advance for the nasty cuticles, but what can you do?This look requires a shocking four different nail polishes. The base color is the sexy bottle I am holding here, Nfu-Oh #61. This is one of those nail polishes that you have to really be a fanatic to know about. It is made in France, sold in New Zealand, and available in the US from one etailer. This brand makes some of the greatest flakey glitter polishes in existence. This is another beauty of theirs, their basic silver holographic polish. In my version, the glitter sort of obscures the holo effect, but that's always a risk with layering. Isn't that one of the sexiest nail polish bottles you have ever seen? It has corset detailing on the handle! Anyway, one notorious problem with holos is application, and this is no exception. Because it is made of teeny tiny bits of holo glitter, it has a tendency to leave bald spots in not just the first, but subsequent coats. You have to use a good basecoat, and, in my experience, let it dry all the way before carefully applying coats of the holo. This worked pretty well over Gelous basecoat (available at Sally Beauty Supply), and dried very quickly.

Over the holo are three different glitters, two of which are pictured. The first is the bottle on the right, OPI Mad as a Hatter, part of the Alice in Wonderland collection. It is chock full of multi-colored glitter, with the purple and silver the most obvious. There is blue, yellow, green, pink and orange in there also. It is a real pain to remove (it requires the glitter removing tub of doom I have mentioned before), but pretty awesome. Over that, one coat of the polish on the left, Deborah Lippman Happy Birthday, which is chunky multi-colored glitter, basically the bigger, badder sister of Mad as a Hatter. You have to be very precise when applying this so you get enough glitter on your nail, but it is fantastic. Finally, I put a coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust, which is a topcoat of holographic glitter. Because, at that point, why not?

This actually dried very well and has worn very well. I type for a living, and after a whole day, as you see, there is no tip wear. I can't stop staring at the crazy, glittery goodness! I hope you enjoy, and Polish to the People!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th Mani

I know, I've been MIA and I never posted that neutral mani I promised. I just couldn't. It was.... unsightly. Then I got an airport mani on my way home from the trip that required the neutral mani because I couldn't handle the sheer polish anymore, and that wasn't really worthy of posting either. So I decided to come back with a bang!

American Independence Day is one of those great holidays that just beg you to come up with some obnoxious, over-the-top manicure with glitter and nail art. Other such holidays are Christmas, Halloween, and the first day of football season.

As such, there's a lot going on with my July 4th mani. It's got an accent finger, it's got Bundle Monster, and it's got glitter. It's also a combination of easy to find, not so easy to find, and hard to find polishes, because if I don't show you something it's almost impossible to get, how will you know to look up to me?

Okay, on to the manicure. For this monstrosity, for the majority of my fingers, I used a white base, OPI's The Ghostess with the Mostess, the glow in the dark treat from OPI's 2008 Halloween line. As a consumer, you could only get a mini of this, and only nail professionals got a complimentary full-sized bottle, so if you could find a nail professional with loose morals, you could get a regular bottle of this. Which I did. So, as you can imagine, it's very difficult to get now, but honestly the only reason I used it is that it was the only white I have. Yes, that's right: I, crazy nail polish maniac, have no white polish. Like other whites, it is streaky and somewhat difficult to work with, but it does glow in the dark (pretty well, actually), and it served its purpose.

Over the white is Untold by Illamasqua, which I bought this week when I had the chance to go to one of the few Sephoras in the US who carry it. I was always attracted to this primary red glitter when lusting after Illamasqua, and now it is mine! This is one coat, so if you wanted this to be opaque, you'd probably be looking at three coats or so. Like all Illamasquas, this was perfection.

For the ring fingers, I pulled out an old stand by, China Glaze Frostbite. It's a nice shimmery, bright, primary blue, and it actually applies and dries pretty well. I have a very hard time wearing China Glaze because of application, drying, and wear issues, but this one isn't actually too bad. The ring fingers also feature a Bundle Monster pattern in Konad white Special Polish.

Pretty festive, eh? Freedom and Polish to the People!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ulta Professional After Hours and a Word on Smurf Fingers

Today I have a picture and review of an Ulta Professional polish and then a word or two of nail polish removal advice for the people. So let's dive right in!

I had a very long and trying week, so I uncharacteristically left on my Funky Fingers Alice mani for a shocking three days, and I can report that the wear was excellent. I only started getting chipping on the finger currently sporting a patch over a split, and that isn't really the polish's fault.

The day I finally did get myself to change, I went with an old standby of laziness, the dark nail polish. Why the standby of laziness, you may ask? When I do not want to put a lot of work into removing polish to make a clean slate for the next color, I do it half-heartedly and make up for it with a dark color. The reason for this is Smurf fingers, which I will explain shortly.

This is a color called After Hours from a set of Ulta Professional minis called the Glam Goth collection (so, those of you who know me personally know that I was obligated by all forces natural and spiritual to buy these minis), so it can't be purchased on its own. Because there is no such thing as too much nail polish, I do not see this as an obstacle to its purchase. I used a flash picture for this color to really capture the sparkle in the dark blurple (nail polish lingo for a bluish purple) base. In bad lighting, this looks almost like a creme, but get it in some good light, and hello tons of blue and red shimmer! Like the other colors in this set, this is a truly stunning shade.

The one problem I did have with it is the brush. Now, I love the OPI Pro Wide brush, which many find to be way too wide, so I thought I would like this one. This brush is just about the same as the OPI, but somehow... different. Maybe it's fuller, or thicker, or maybe because it's on a shorter base, but I found it a bit unwieldy which accounts for the funky application around my cuticles. The good news is that even I, a serial, unapologetic three coat evangelist, only needed two coats for total opacity, which is good since the bottle is so small! I know, I say this like I will ever run out of it.

Now, a word on Smurf fingers. Smurf fingers are what occur when you remove a stubborn blue polish. There are alternative versions of this with other colors, notably red and neon pinks, and the concept is the same. When you try to remove the color with remover, it stains the skin around the nail, so you end up with tinted fingers that can ruin the look of your new manicure. You can't see it very well in this picture, but the cuticles on most of my fingers are blue from Alice, and all because I didn't do such a stellar job of removing it. If I had wanted to paint my nails with a pastel after and not have the horrible blue cuticles, I would have employed one of the following methods:

1. Nail polish removing tub of doom: At Target, you can buy this fabulous device that looks like your standard sponge in a tub remover, but is so much more. Instead of a sponge, it is a hole, not unlike the sarlacc pit in Jedi, surrounded by plastic bristles. It is filled with pure acetone, so not for the weak-willed. You stick your finger in, let the acetone dissolve the polish, and then scrub it off with the bristles. This thing is fabulous for glitter and dark polishes.

2. Protect the skin first: Alternately, you can slather your fingers and cuticles with cuticle oil or a heavy cream before using your standard removal method. Like putting vaseline on your forehead before dyeing your hair, this acts as a protective barrier and prevents the disintegrating polish from sticking to your skin.

I hope this dissertation helps someone else removing a dark nail polish. Keep an eye out for a truly shocking post I expect to make tomorrow when I put on a sheer, neutral nail polish! The humanity! Until then, Polish to the People!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Funky Fingers Alice with Bundle Monster

I've been promising Bundle Monster nail art for so long that I figured I had better deliver! Last night I played with the plates for the first time since getting them, and I managed to do so without slicing my hand open on the sharp plates, so yay me! Still, if you get them, be very cautious with the sharp edges!

First up, the base color for my nail art, Funky Fingers Alice.

This picture shows the actual color of Alice better than the next, so I wanted to start with it. I've accidentally been on a big Funky Fingers kick lately, and am glad I have been! I bought this color a while ago but never wore it. It was part of an Alice in Wonderland collection. I originally thought it was supposed to be a dupe of OPI's Absolutely Alice, but other than being blue, it really isn't. Where Absolutely Alice sports tons of blue and silver glitter, the Funky Fingers Alice is so jam packed with blue and silver micro glitter that it looks like a metallic. It is so sparkly in the sun, as you see. As with all Funky Fingers I've tried, this applied well, though it did leave a couple of bald spots with the first coat. I used three coats to get this as opaque as I usually like it.

Now for the Bundle Monster nail art. This is from the plate I showed you in the post when I first got the plates, which I believe is #20, a full nail design plate. As I mentioned, the patterns are a little on the narrow side, so this pattern did not fully cover either of my thumbs, especially my right thumb which is noticeably wider than the left. Am I a freak, or do other people have this issue? Anyway. The patterns are also noticeably more shallow, but even with a pattern like the above with thin lines, it wasn't too big of a deal. I used Konad Special Polish in Silver for the design. I know everyone else uses different brands of polish for their nail stamping, but I have always had the best luck with the Konad polishes. They are thick and dry slowly, which is good for the quick action needed for nail stamping, and the brush is very short and stiff, which is good for getting a good coat of polish on the plate.

I hope you enjoyed the nail art. Until next time, Polish to the People!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finger Paints Picasso's Puce

I am sure you will all be disappointed, but last night I was too engrossed in watching Sex and the City season four on DVD to put any nail art on this manicure, but I do promise I will do it soon. But, so as not to leave you out in the cold without Monday nail love, I am going to post my NOTD. I apologize for the quality of the picture - I was having one of those days (and don't you dare say it was a case of the Mondays!) with my camera and couldn't get a good one. It is at least pretty color accurate even with the bright sunlight, so if you can forgive the particles of paper fiber on my nails, you should at least get an idea of today's color, Finger Paints Picasso's Puce.

Finger Paints, for those who aren't familiar with them, is a Sally Beauty Supply brand of polishes that is surprisingly awesome, and has grown more so over the last two years. Recently, they overhauled their core line and added some really amazing colors, so on top of that and their great application and wear, I give this brand an enthusiastic thumbs up.

However, they are second perhaps only to OPI in having some of the most groan worthy names in the polish business (which may be why people often mistakenly think they are made by the same company - they are not). This one isn't terrible, but they do often try to make some mention of art in the names with a clever polish pun, which produces names like Hue Rang?, Easel-y Entertained, and Be a Pal-Ette. Awful.

But I digress. Many of you may be wondering, what the heck is puce? This is where I confess something to my loyal readers: I often buy polishes just for the name. Yes, it is true, but it may make it more understandable how I have amassed so many bottles. I have always gotten a giggle from the color "puce" which I first learned in the 1985 movie, "Santa Claus: The Movie" with Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. In the movie, they are brainstorming what color to make the magic lollipops to make kids fly, and they consider coloring them puce. I mean, what a putrid name for a color, isn't it? Puce is traditionally accepted as lying somewhere on the purplish-brown end of the reddish- to purplish brown spectrum, but could be anywhere in that range, as this one is. It is decidedly more reddish-brown, sort of like the color one would imagine if they made a nail polish out of the color of redwood trees. In the bottle there is a strong gold flash, but it doesn't really translate to the nail.

As for application, like many of the other newer Finger Paints, this really went on like a dream, dried quickly, and has worn exceptionally well through almost 10 hours of typing. It's not really a color I would normally choose, but I like it and it works well on my extremely pale skin, though I think it would flatter most skin shades.

Well, enough of my rambling! Hopefully I can convince myself to do some nail art later, but I'm going to be cooking some pretty epic food for dinner, so it may not happen. At the very least, I will probably repaint, so expect to see another post soon. Until then, Polish to the People!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Essie Pretty Edgy and Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure

There are so few universal truths in life, but one that you can bet on with absolute certainty is that if there is a green nail polish in a ten mile radius, I will buy it. It doesn't matter if I already have one like it, I will still buy it. It is my favorite nail polish color, hands down, and any time I am not quite sure what color to wear, I will reach for green.

This is why when a brand like Essie, who usually create a safe array of neutrals and pinks, makes a fabulous green, I cannot control myself. As soon as I saw previews of their summer collection with this stunner, Pretty Edgy, I knew I would love it. When Essie decides to think outside of their usual comfort zone and make a green, blue, or some other unusual shade, they really do something special.

I was hoping for some more natural light to take these pictures, but the sun in Pittsburgh wasn't cooperating with me, so I had to go with a bit of flash, which is okay because it didn't alter the color of this too much. Pretty Edgy is a nice, fairly bright, green creme. It applied nearly opaque in two coats, but I added a third since I almost compulsively apply polish three coats at a time. It wasn't streaky in the least, and applied like butter.

You may be asking yourself already, "Does this girl ever just wear a creme alone?" The answer is yes, but right now I have a split on a nail on my right hand that requires a patch to keep it from spreading, so I like to use glitters and shimmers to hide the lumpiness of the patch. Once it is grown out, provided I don't get any more splits, you will be more likely to see me with cremes on their own. So, I added a coat of the truly fabulous Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, an iridescent flakey glitter that looks beautiful over almost anything. It is limited edition, so run, don't walk, to your nearest CVS, Walgreens, etc., to buy it, because it is beyond awesome. If you can't get it, Nubar's new 2010 is a good dupe.

I usually don't wear polishes for more than a couple of days, but I wanted to say a word about wear. It is really difficult for one person to give advice on which polishes will wear best on others, not just because of what base and top coat each individual uses, but also because of body chemistry. For instance, Essie and OPI consistently have the best wear for me (and are usually the brands I wear when I go on vacation since I don't always have time to repaint when I am away from home), while brands like China Glaze and Zoya can sometimes chip on me pretty quickly if I am not careful. Other people have bad luck with Essie and OPI and great success with others.

That being said, I was pretty impressed with the wear of this combo given the beating I gave my nails yesterday. I cooked an elaborate dinner for my father for Father's Day which included baking a pecan pie and making braciole (stuffed Italian beef rolls), all of which included the certain abuse of my manicure. Between shopping, cleaning, doing dishes, and even opening the wrapper on a new DVD, I had no chips and nearly no tip wear. That's pretty impressive, if you ask me!

I hope to do some nail art with my new Bundle Monster plates this evening, so pics of that may come later today or tomorrow. Until then, Polish to the People!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Orly Royal Navy and Bundle Monster!

First up in this special double post today is my NOTD (nails of the day, in polish maniac speak), Orly Royal Navy. This is a new polish from Orly, part of a small July 4th themed collection which features repromotes Star Spangled (a bright red jelly with red glitter) and White Tip (a white creme). This polish is really special, in my opinion. I took the above picture in the one minute of blinding sunlight we had in Pittsburgh today so you could see how cool this polish is. Inside, it looks like a navy blue jelly that leans on the bright side, but in the sun, you see that it is jam packed with light blue glitter that can even look a little green in some lights. For a glitter maniac like me, this is fantastic. The application was fairly good, if a little gloopy. Because it applied sort of thickly, my fast dry topcoat gave me tip pull like no one's business (there are things you can do to avoid this that I was really too lazy to do when I applied this), which is why it looks like I have tip wear. This was good in three coats - since it's a jelly, it misses the point to pile too many coats on, and as such you could get away with two coats. Definitely a winner.

Now, on to the awesomeness I got in the mail today, the famous Bundle Monster plates!

Those of you out there who are fanatics may be familiar with Bundle Monster, but may be more familiar with their inspiration, Konad. For the people, you poor, unwashed nail masses, Konad is a nail art product that allows you to apply little polish "stamps" onto your nail. I'll show this process in more detail in a future post, but basically you apply polish to one of the designs on these metal plates which are engraved in, scrape off the excess so that the polish is only inside the pattern, roll a rounded rubber stamper over the design so that the polish transfers to the stamp, and then stamp your nail with the design.

Anyway, on to why Bundle Monster is awesome. Konad plates are $6.99 each. A set of 21 knock off Bundle Monster plates cost a shocking $17.99 with free shipping! And they have so many rad designs!

If you were ever thinking to yourself, man, I wish I could have a picture of a pot leaf on my manicure, you are in luck! Bundle Monster has images for every taste. I cannot imagine any situation in which I would use the pot leaf image, actually, but hey, it's there if I get the urge.

I haven't really looked all of the plates over too closely yet, but from other pics I've seen online, this is already looking to be a fave with the stars definitely in the lead for first pattern I will try.

A couple notes about these plates. First is that, unlike Konad plates, they are not backed with any material to mitigate how razor sharp they are. You could give yourself a mighty cut with these if you were careless with them, which is why I am using oven mitts and tweezers to pull off the protective cover. Seriously, oven mitts and tweezers. Second is that the full nail designs, like the ones shown above, are not as wide as regular Konad plates. Fortunately, I have slender nail beds, but even for me, I know the patterns will not be wide enough to cover my thumbs. Still, unless you are very picky about these things, I think the coolness of the patterns outweighs the size deficiencies.

That's all for today! Polish to the People!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Funky Fingers!

For my first real post, I present some hidden treasures of the nail polish kingdom, Funky Fingers. The brand is made by Forsythe, who also make the equally delectable Color Club polishes. They can be found at the most fabulous dollar store ever, Five Below, and are 3 for $5, a real bargain! Okay, on to the pics (which you can clicky clicky for a bigger view)!

The blue creme is called Cottage Stripes. The glitter makes it look a little darker on my nail, but on its own, it is a beautiful cornflower blue, opaque in two coats, but could stand a third for good measure.

On top I added Bella's Boy, a nice iridescent glitter in a teal tinted clear base. As I mentioned, the base is tinted just enough to darken what's underneath it, but it isn't too bad. I almost never meet a glitter I don't like, so I have few problems with it. It is a tad thick, but dried quickly with a fast dry topcoat and didn't bubble.

I really love Funky Fingers. They apply like a dream, if a little thinly, like their Color Club counterparts, and though the bottle looks, well, funky, the handle is really nice, and perfect for a nail novice. The brush itself is full but not huge. Overall, awesome.

Well, that's all for now. If you have any questions or something you want to see bring it on, and until next time, Polish to the People!

Polish to the People!

Some of my friends, sick of seeing nail related posts on my facebook, advised that perhaps I ought to consider getting myself a blog. I had resisted, because there are so many great nail polish blogs, that I couldn't possibly compete. After all, I needed an angle, something to make my blog special amongst all the fab nail blogs out there. So, I thought, it was my friends, none of whom buy nail polishes ten at a time, like I do, who suggested the idea of a blog, so I should do this for them. For the people who look at my neon green nail polish and say, "I would never wear that... or would I?" For the people who want to know how on earth I manage to repaint my nails every day without my fingers falling off. This is for you, normal, non-obsessed person. I salute you, and I say, Polish to the People!

(Of course, fanatics are welcome also. After all, at the end of the day, only you will understand the madness!)