It’s good to be home

Gosh, the weather’s all lovely at the moment, isn’t it? My nails are looking great, so here’s a twofer, to make up for my attendance problems recently!

First up, just the one shot of Revlon Midnight Sparkle, a dense midnight blue jelly with 2 sizes of silver hex glitters suspended in it, that needed 3 thin coats for opacity. It’s a lot like Revlon Ritzy, which is a black base, but for some reason the blue looks much better. This is another wonderful Poundland find; I seem to get most of my collection from there these days! I’m really looking forward to having a massive blowout in there when Easter finally comes and I can start buying polish again.

Natural light.

Natural light.

And part 2 is Nails Inc Old Bond Street (£4.99/TKMaxx), a singularly unique shade, which is a mid grey creme with a bright pink shimmer! Again, this needed 3 thin coats, but dried evenly with no shrinkage and only a few visible brushstrokes. This is one of a very few polishes I own that looks marvellous in the bottle and on the nail. It’s actually quite a subtle shimmer, but it has the delicious effect of being classy with a naughty edge, like wearing a lacy black bra under a crisp white blouse…

Gosh, came over a bit unnecessary there. Let’s move on to the pictures.

Flash.

Flash.

Direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight.

As you can see, it looks equally fabulous under both artificial and natural lighting. In some light, you can almost see a dark moss green tone, which is just so pretty. Nails Inc have a rep for creating unique shades, and this is certainly one of the best I’ve seen!

 

Fade to blue

There’s an awful lot of weather going on outside my house, that’s for sure. It’s put a bit of a damper on my social life, but on the plus side, I’ve had plenty of time to faff around with my nails! Alas, the lack of outdoor daylight has pissed all over my photo taking skills, so it’s just the one today, a new blue gradient using Barielle Sky’s The Limit and Rimmel Azure.

Flash.

Flash.

Despite the mess involved, I’m really loving gradients at the moment. I could’ve done better on this one, but I’ve got the technique down, so it’s just a case of luck and practice. Now that my nails are getting really long, I may soon try adding a third or even fourth colour in!

Updated: ZOMG the sun came out!

Sunlight! Huzzah!

Sunlight! Huzzah!

Duochrome Dots

I tried so hard to get a few decent photos of this mani, but still no lightbox and terrible weather, so couldn’t quite get the lighting right. But this one shot came out OK, and you can kinda see what I’m going for. This is Revlon Blackout, mottled with different sized dots of Rimmel Purple Reign (a sheer purple/red duochrome) and Royal Blue (a sheer purple/turquoise duochrome), both from the Metal Rush collection. Everything came courtesy of my local Poundland once again, aside from the dotting tools, which were a few pounds for 5 on eBay.

DSCF0982

For some reason, it reminds me of those old velvet clown paintings. I should’ve tried mattifying it to see if that added another dimension to it!

Let me be your fantasy

Been looking forward to this post for a while. A few days ago, I replaced my bottle of Max Factor Fantasy Fire (£3.99/Boots). I’d owned it before, but passed it on because I was still a neophyte in the nail polish world, and I easily gave up on polishes that still weren’t opaque in 4 coats. However, it is basically the internet’s favourite polish, so I thought I’d give it another go.

I started with 2 coats of ORLY In The Navy, and then put two coats of Fantasy Fire over the top, and sealed it with Seche Vite. I sometimes have trouble replicating other people’s amazing swatches, but I was blown away. Yes, it’s very sheer, but with a dark base, it comes alive! The duochrome is very strong, and I had great fun wiggling my fingers to see all the shimmery green to pink to purple to orange micro-glitter. Like a lot of the best duochromes and multichromes, full flash tends to wash it out, but in sunlight and natural lighting, it’s glorious.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Then out of curiousity, I popped a coat of Boots No7 Matte Top Coat (£7/exclusive to Boots) over it, which I’d picked up on a whim because I had No7 coupons and I’m still trying to find the best matte for me. Folks, I think this is it! It’s a really strong matte, definitely closer to the chalkboard end of the spectrum than the satin end, but it goes on really smoothly and has a lovely feel to it when it’s dry. It’s not at all rough like some mattes can be. And you could still see Fantasy Fire‘s amazing colour shift underneath it!

Mattified, flash.

Mattified, flash.

Mattified, sunlight.

Mattified, sunlight.

It’s so delicious that I feel kinda silly for getting rid of my first bottle, but I hope the recipient sees this and has a good go with it herself. I’m going to have a lot of fun playing around with different base colours. And I’m so happy that I’ve finally found a matte top coat that I really like, it’s been a long arduous search!

In other news, I am soon to receive my first indie polishes. I know I said that I wouldn’t be showing indie brands on this blog, but I think I’ll have to, if they are anything like as stunning as I’m hoping they’ll be. I’m really excited, and they’re a lovely reward after spending most of the last 3 months only buying discounted polishes.

Take my wife. Please!

Now now, before you get any ideas. She’s not actually my wife, but she’s my very best friend and partner in minor infractions, so we do tend to spend a lot of time doing our nails together.

Anyway, she has a bit of a thing for nail wraps, which I sadly don’t get on with because my nail beds are so insanely deep. So when I’m out and about, I tend to pick up cheap wraps whenever I see them for her to play with. Recently, I’ve picked things up in Poundland, TKMaxx, Poundworld, Primark, New Look and Boots, but she decided to go for a set from New Look, that I picked up in their sale for £1.50.

Unfortunately, these are not particularly good wraps. This happens a lot when you buy cheap, but it’s worth a try as some of the cheap ones are really brilliant and the expensive ones are really fucking expensive. Anyway, they didn’t stick well, or wrap well, so the lovely wife pulled one of them off – and left an excellent jagged-edged cartoon graffiti style tip on her nail. She made the best of a bad situation, carefully ripped a few more and then filled in the other tips straight, using ORLY In The Navy (£3.99/TKMaxx); a simple, yet beautiful navy blue shimmer. The result is a really cute off-beat French manicure.

DSCF0960

I think it’s adorable, and it just goes to show that sometimes the very best manicures are completely accidental!

Graffiti my heart

Six new polishes, and three new manicures today! I recently picked up a small handful of the new Maybelline Color Show Street Artist top coats, so I’m showing them off over some other polishes I haven’t have time to swatch before.

First up, Maybelline White Splatter (£3.99/Boots) over two coats of Sally Hansen Blue-Ming Fast (Poundland). White Splatter is made up of various sized white, metallic green, blue and pink hex glitters, small circle glitters and large white strands. It’s not too dense, but also you get enough glitter pieces on the brush that you don’t have to muck around dabbing it on to fill it out. Blue-Ming Fast is a warm sky blue creme, quick-drying and hard-wearing, and lovely on it’s own.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Next, here’s Maybelline Boom Box Black (£3.99/Boots) over Revlon Emerald (Poundland). Boom Box Black is a mix of black and pale lime green hex and small strand glitters. As with White Splatter, it gives great coverage without fuss and looked fabulous over Emerald, a forest green creme which was fully opaque in two coats.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

And finally, this is Maybelline Alley Attitude (£3.99/Boots) over Nicole By OPI Back To Reality…TV (£3.99/TKMaxx). Alley Attitude is the same mix as Boom Box Black, only the glitter pieces are cyan blue instead of green. It really pops over Back To Reality…TV, a deep mauve with pink shimmer – the formula is quite thin, but dried super quick and built up nicely.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think Boom Box Black will be the one that gets the most wear. There was a fourth shade available in Boots called Urban Vibe, which is the same again with orange glitters. I didn’t pick it up first time round, but I might have to go back and get it; I’m not a big fan of orange, but I think I could make it work over a fire red or something similar. But whatever colour you like best, they’re a great collection of top coats from an excellent brand. Highly recommended!

Written in the stars

As soon as I saw this collection, I knew I had to have at least a few shades, but wouldn’t you know it? Only available in the US. So I begged whined and pleaded with an ex-pat friend who was coming home for Christmas if she would grab a few shades for me and bring them over – and she did! By chance, the day before I received them, I saw this post from a fellow UK nail blogger, and I just had to try it out with two of my new polishes.

So here we have it, my first holographic gradient manicure, using Avon Cosmic Eclipse (the dark blue/grey) and Avon Cosmic Celestia (the light blue/grey). I used the same sponging method used in the tutorial linked above, except that I put PVA glue around my cuticles to minimise clean-up, which was a masterstroke even if I do say so myself. Not only does it make clean-up superfast, but anyone who remembers primary school will know just how intensely satisfying it is to peel PVA glue off your fingers. Both polishes are stunning on their own, but I love the way they look together, and I’m chuffed that the gradient came out this well on my first attempt. The formula is a little on the thin side, but 100% worth it, as it dries fast and holds without chipping for days. And they cost me less than $4 each!

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

I really love it. I will definitely be doing gradients again. I reckon the next lot will be even better!