Thursday, July 20, 2017

Zoya Jana

It's been a while since I've done a wear to work post about business appropriate nail polish.  Since my last post, I've moved to the west coast where the definition of business casual trends more towards casual.  Case in point: nice jeans are considered appropriate pants.

Today on my nails I'm wearing Zoya Jana.  Jana is a beautiful creme polish with gray, mauve, and purple tones.  She's not a traditional nude polish, but still a gorgeous shade of gray.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pineapple Nails

I love pineapples.  I love how sweet they are.  I love the crowns they have on their tops.  I love their shape.  Painting pineapples on my nails have been a nail art bucket list item for me for over two years and when I was invited to a Hawaiian-themed birthday party I knew they'd be perfect.  For this design, I was inspired by the pineapple nails that Elle & Ish did a couple of years ago.

On my nails I'm wearing OPI I Just Can't Cope-acabana, Zoya Talia, and Zoya Purity for my bases.  To create the pineapple I used my dotting tools, OPI I Just Can't Cope-acabana, China Glaze Desert Sun, and Kiko 391.  The chevrons were done using nail vinyls and Zoya Talia over Zoya Purity.  A few gold stars and some top coat later and this manicure was ready to party.

Bonus?  I matched my nails to the pineapple shirt I was wearing.  #AllPineappleEverything

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Neon Leopard Nails

I've been wanting to do neon leopard nails for ages, and today's the day.  I love how bright these turned out!

I used Zoya Purity for my base and Sally Hansen Black Out as the accents around the leopard colors, plus my trusty dotting tools to make the leopard prints themselves.  For the rest of the colors I used China Glaze neons: China Glaze Splish Splash, China Glaze I'm With the Lifeguard, China Glaze Sun-Kissed, China Glaze Love's a Beach, and China Glaze Hang-Ten Toes (on my thumb).

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mermaid Nails

Mermaid nails are synonymous with summer for me.

I used Zoya Charla on my nails with Zoya Purity as my white base.  For the mermaid nails I used Vibrant Vinyl's Liquid Latex to block off my skin, mermaid scale vinyls from What's Up Nails, and then Zoya Charla and Zoya Ivanka in a gradient.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority Nails

This is an old manicure of mine from 2014, but I've never shared it on my blog until now.  I'm part of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional and social sorority composed of female engineers and technical scientists.  I'm attending convention next week and thought it a fitting time to share this manicure.

For this manicure I used OPI Angel with a Leadfoot and OPI Russian Navy Suede for the base.  I stamped the designs using Vivid Lacquer VL017, Bundle Monster BM-320, Bundle Monster BM-415, and Bundle Monster BM-323.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fourth of July Skittles Nail Art

 Today I have a 4th of July nail art idea to share with you.  This is a skittle manicure using some of my favorite Zoya polishes.  This design was super easy to do with a dotting tool and didn't take long at all.

For this manicure, I used Zoya America, Zoya Purity, and Zoya Sia.  I used the dotting tool for the dots on my accent nail and a silver metal star stud as another accent on my pinky.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summertime Nail Art

It's summertime!  Today I'm showing off a super cute summer nail art design that I saw from The Nail Lounge Miramar's Instagram.  I thought it was adorable and perfect for the summer weather that has finally made its way to Oregon.

For this look I used OPI Can't Find My Czechbook, OPI I Just Can't Cope-acabana, Zoya Tomoko, and Zoya Purity.  As usual, I made the daisies using dotting tools because it's the easiest way I know how to do nail art.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Coral Reef Nails

Now that we've passed the summer solstice and the calendar puts us in the summer season, it's time for some brighter colors on my fingertips.  More cute summer nail art that I created using dotting tools today.  I'm not very good with nail art brushes, but I can definitely play connect the dots until I've made something that looks like lines.

For this look I'm wearing OPI Suzi's Hungary Again, OPI What's with the Cattitude? and Zoya Purity.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dotted Flowers

Nail art with dotting tools is, in my opinion, the easiest nail art out there.  You can turn about anything into a dotting tool (bobby pin, toothpick, nail, etc.) but there are also a lot of cheap options on Amazon.  I have a set of five dotting tools but I find myself using the two smallest sizes over and over.

For the look I'm sharing today I'm using Zoya Zanna as my base with the flower petals created using Zoya Purity.  I put my topcoat over that pair, then added the center dots using Zoya Tomoko - a textured polish for an easy 3D look.

And voila!  Easy fast nail art.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Top 5 Easy Summer Nail Art Ideas

Summer is having a hard time showing up in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is still rainy and cold.  As I'm not in much of a summer mood, I've compiled a list of my top five easy summer nail art ideas from summers past.

Check them out below with links back to the post from when I first created each design.  

1. Pink Holo Leopard

2. Daisies

3. UV Color-Changing Polish

4. Holo Dots

5. Watermelons

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Favorite Base and Top Coat

Some questions I am frequently asked are "how do I do a basic manicure?", "how do I keep my polish from chipping?", or "can you recommend a base and top coat for me?" so today I'm picking up where I left off in a three-part series addressing these questions.  Catch up on part one How to do a Simple Manicure or part two How to keep Nails from Chipping.

What base coat and top coat do you recommend?

I have very strong opinions about what top coat you should be using (spoiler: it's Seche Vite) but I'm totally flexible on base coat as long as you're using something.  I think there is a lot more flexibility with base coats than there are top coats.

All About That Base (Coat)

My favorite base coats are the Zoya Anchor Base Coat and the Zoya Naked Manicure Naked Base coat.  The Naked Base is more like a treatment so I generally save that for when my nails are feeling abused or neglected, whereas the Anchor Base Coat is more of an all-purpose base coat.

Can you use a treatment as a substitute for a base coat? You're not supposed to, but I'm completely guilty of breaking this "rule" all the time.  Base coats are thicker and offer more protection between your nail bed and the polish you're using.  That means if you're going to use a color that may stain your nails (I'm looking at you, Splish Splash and Fly) use a proper base coat so you have more of a barrier.  If you use a treatment you're going to get stained.

What's the point of using a treatment?  I've primarily used treatments to strengthen my nails and to nourish them.  I struggle with peeling nails on account of all my years as a nail biter, so when I was first trying to kick the biting habit I would use OPI Nail Envy as my treatment of choice.  Nail Envy is a formaldehyde-based hardener and it works to strengthen your nails by reacting with the keratin in your nail bed.  Your nails are made up of keratin so as the formaldehyde reacts, it increases the cross-links between the keratin, effectively reducing the rate at which your nails will peel.  You don't want to use a nail hardener forever though, as eventually your nails get too hard and they'll crack.  Then you'll need to explore the world nail saving products like I did.

The Life Changing Magic of Seche Vite 

As for top coats, I swear by Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat.  I've been using it for years (after trying several different ones) and this is the best thing out there since sliced bread.  Okay, so some people like Out the Door Top Coat and HK Girl Top Coat too but Seche Vite stole my heart with its smooth formula and glossy finish.

Why is Seche Vite the best?  Seche Vite is amazing because it's fast drying, super glossy, and wonderful and smoothing out bumps and ridges.  It can take your manicure from "can't touch anything" to "totally fine" in a few minutes, though I err on the side of caution and wait about 10 minutes.

What about Seche Vite and pregnancy?  There is a label on Seche Vite which says that the polish contains an ingredient known to the state of California to cause birth defects.  The state of California is great about notifying us of ingredients which may cause cancer and birth defects, or reproductive harm, but not so great about helping people understand what a safe level of exposure is.  In the case of Seche Vite, the chemical of interest is toluene and it would take a lot of Seche Vite smelling to do one harm.  Toluene is harmful in its gas state so the primary cause for concern is when you apply top coat.  However, if you're painting your own nails in a well-ventilated space for 15 minutes once or twice a week, the concern, in my opinion, is minimal.  If you're a nail technician working in a salon for eight plus hours a day, your risk is considerably greater.

I hope you found this post helpful about what base coats and top coats I'd recommend.  If you're not already using Seche Vite I'd love if you could leave me a comment and let me know what you're currently using.  

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

NOTD: OPI Mustang Collection

I love using complimentary polishes from the same collection to create my manicures.  Today I'm using OPI Girls Love Ponies and OPI 50 Years of Style for my accent nail.

The photo I'm showing was taken after 24 hours of wear, no chips or other signs of wear.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

How to Keep Your Nail Polish from Chipping

Some questions I am frequently asked are "how do I do a simple manicure?", "how do I keep my polish from chipping?", or, "can you recommend a base and top coat for me?" Today I'm picking up from where I left off in a three-part series addressing these questions.  If you missed part one, How to do a Simple Manicure, you can check it out here.

How do I keep my polish from chipping?

Honestly? A little trial and error, a little experience, a little bit of using quality products, and a larger bit of proper application.

Everyone has different body chemistry and different brands of nail polish will work better or worse for you depending on your individual chemistry.  OPI and Zoya are two brands that work incredibly well for me, but Essie is a brand that is incompatible with me.  Essie Chinchilly is one of my favorite colors ever but it only lasts a few days on me.  There is literally nothing I can do to make an Essie nail polish last as long on my nails as a Zoya nail polish.  At the same time, I have a friend who can't wear Zoya without it chipping off and Essie wears wonderfully on her.  So find what brands work for you and run with it!

Aside from what brand of nail polish you wear, making sure your application process is done well will go a long way (see "How do I do a simple manicure?").  Proper use of a base coat like Zoya Anchor and a top coat like Seche Vite, as well as wrapping your tips, will all help to ensure that you've got a manicure that will last.

What is wrapping your tips?  This means you hold your brush perpendicular to your nail bed and using the side of the brush, apply color to the very tip of your nail and a little bit on the underside of your nails. That way when your polish starts to chip, it chips from the front of your nail and not the top of your nail bed.  Wrapping my tips alone increases my wear time by at least a day.

The key takeaways here for having a manicure that will last longer than a day or two are:
  • Use polish with a formula that compliments your unique body chemistry;
  • Use a good-quality base and top coat; and
  • Make sure you wrap your tips!

Give these tips a try and let me know if they help!

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How to do a Simple Manicure

Some questions I am frequently asked are "how do I do a simple manicure?", "how do I keep my polish from chipping?", or "can you recommend a base and top coat for me?" so I thought I would address all these questions in a three-part series starting today.  Enjoy!

How do I do a simple manicure?

These are the steps that I follow every time I give myself a manicure.  Usually, my manicures will last five to seven days depending on what polish I used - I have the best luck with Zoya and OPI polishes so that's why I use them so frequently in my manicures.

Step 1: Shape nails.  If I want to shape my nails I try to do it when I'm still wearing nail polish.  If I file my nails when I'm not wearing nail polish I can get distracted by my nail line and end up with a crooked nail bed shape.

Step 2: Remove old nail polish.  Using acetone I take off any old nail polish but I also don't skip this step if I'm not wearing polish.  If I'm not wearing polish for some reason there is still oil or lotion on my nail bed that could impact the adhesion of any nail polish I wear so making sure I've got a clean, oil-free nail bed to work with is important.

Step 3: Push back cuticles. If you polish over your cuticles you're going to increase your chances of having your polish chip.  Pushing your cuticles back helps to reduce the chance of this happening and I use a tool like this.  I think it also helps to create a more symmetrical nail bed shape but that's my personal preference.  I don't usually trim or cut my cuticles (which can be dangerous if you do it wrong) but if my cuticles are looking especially poor I'll use a chemical cuticle remover to remove the dead skin.   If I do use a chemical cuticle remover I'll go back over my nails with acetone.

Step 4: Apply base coat.  Generally, when someone asks me how I keep my nails from chipping I'll ask them what they use for their base and top coat.  They'll look at me like I've grown two heads and I look at them the same way back.  Don't skip this step!  For the last two years Zoya Anchor has been my favorite.

Step 5: Apply your color.  Probably the most exciting part of the process is picking out your color and putting it on.  Gorgeous cream?  Brilliant sparkling glitter?  Wear them all!  By the way, when you're applying your color I would really recommend that you wrap your tips with your color instead of just putting it only on the top of your nail bed.  What does this mean?  This means you hold your brush perpendicular to your nail bed and using the side of the brush, apply color to the very tip of your nail and a little bit on the underside of your nails.  What if you don't have nail beds that extend beyond the tip of your finger?  You're in good company because I generally have a nail or five that are short and don't go past my finger.  I try and pull the skin down and away from the nail which works ok, but I've resigned myself to having to clean up the tip of my finger with polish.  I also make sure that there is just a tiny bit of polish left on the brush otherwise the entire underside of my nail bed is flooded and it can look like a disaster.  I'll do a separate post to illustrate this better.

Step 6: Clean up.  Painting in the lines is hard.  Painting in the lines is especially hard if you're not ambidextrous.  Eventually, it gets easier to paint your dominant hand with your non-dominate hand (I'm right-handed and the majority of manicures on this blog feature painting by my left hand) but it is a skill that takes practice.  Fortunately, you can fake this by cleaning up around your cuticles with a little jar of acetone after you're done applying color!  Of course the more neatly you're able to paint the first time, the easier it will be to clean up.  I have a little glass jar that I pour some acetone into (remember - many grades of plastic are incompatible with acetone) and then I use an eye shadow brush to gently remove any nail polish that's on my skin or directly adjacent to my skin.  I don't wait for my polish to be dry before moving on to this step either, I find it much easier to do if the polish is wet or at least a little tacky.

Step 7: Apply top coat.  Just like base coat, when someone tells me they don't wear top coat my eyes bulge a bit and I wonder how they get through life.  Seche Vite is my favorite.

Step 8: Moisturize.  You know what helps keep your nails healthy and strong?  Moisturizing your cuticles and skin.  Grab your favorite lotion, cuticle oil, or both and slather it on your hands.

Step 9: Admire your work.  Great work, you.  Great work.

And that's all it takes!  Try out my steps and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

I only did one Valentine's Day manicure this year and this was it.  I had an incredibly stressful January and bit all my nails way back down so I've been focusing on trying to regrow them out and curb my nail biting habit.  

I used OPI Race Red and Zoya Purity as my base, then stamped with Munda de Unas 32 Reddish and 1 White using Bundle Monster place BM-317.


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