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!)