Friday, 30 December 2011

CND Shellac Nail Art - Glitter Fade Barbie Style!

So off came the Christmas manicure in red and I pondered what to do next. I wanted to go back to Shellac again as it really gives my nails a chance to grow and I'm a terrible 'picker' with normal polish, so gel polishes help me to break this bad habit! I decided to try one of my Gosh Nail Glitters that haven't been used yet (yes, I own all 10, I got stuck deciding in Superdrug and they all just accidently fell into my basket! Oops!). So I opted for a very non-Christmassy lilac, in fact it is 13 Topaz Lavender - why it is '13' I really don't know as there are only 10 colours in the range??!! And the best CND Shellac colour to team with this had to be good old Strawberry Smoothie.

Cue: Barbie style Glitter Fade...

It's so girly! And I love it!

I only had the desk lamp for the photo this evening, so in real life the pale baby pink of the Strawberry Smoothie is more prominent and the glitter is more lilac, but the photo shows a pretty good representation of the final look.

To achieve this look, I did the following:

1) prepped the nails the recommended CND way
2) applied Shellac Base Coat - cured for 10 seconds
3) applied 2 coats of Shellac Strawberry Smoothie - curing for 120 seconds in between each coat
4) mixed a glitter paste using Shellac Zillionaire and Gosh Nail Glitter in Topaz Lavender
5) used a nail art brush to apply the glitter paste in a 'fade' on the lower half of the nails - cured for 120 seconds
6) applied Shellac Top Coat - cured for 120 seconds

and there you have it, nails that would do Barbie proud!

What do you think? Would you try this colour combination? How are you going to wear your nails for NYE 2011?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas nails - it's all about the Red...

I know it's a bit late, but better late than never! I thought I'd quickly show you some Xmas manicures I did for the festive season before I blog about my latest manicure, ready for New Year's Eve!

Jenni, an old school friend came up from London for the Christmas holidays and when she heard that I was doing Shellac she asked if I could do hers too in red and gold, so naturally I obliged and bought in a red colour for my collection as all I have so far are pinks and darks. I took awhile choosing the best red that would suit Christmas and opted for the slightly metallic looking Red Baroness in the end. I'm pleased with my choice too, it's just on the right side of dark so that it's not too bright or too 'pillar box' - I would describe it as a very elegant shade of red.

She loved my cousin Nat's nails in the blue and silver glitter fade, so she went for the same effect but with CND Shellac Red Baroness as her base and Gosh Nail Glitter in Gold as her glitter fade. She loved the finished look, they suit Christmas perfectly and I was really pleased with how the Red Baroness applied - it went on very smoothly and not streaky like similar metallic colours can (I typically find Strawberry Smoothie difficult to get 'smooth').

I was also really feeling Jenni's idea of a red Christmas mani, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought to change my leopard print mani that I showed you a couple of posts ago. Then my December Glossybox arrived and in it was a mini Deborah Lippmann polish in Razzle Dazzle. Sold! That was to be my Christmas manicure, so on Xmas Eve, off the leopard print came and on went my new glitter polish (see my sister blog Brush up and Make-up! for review soon of the December Glossybox).

I've never tried Deborah Lippmann before so thought this was a perfect opportunity to give it a spin. I liked the glitter colour and it applied OK but I have to say I wasn't wowed. It was a little gloopy for my liking and it took 3 coats to get the perfect amount of coverage - 2 would probably do, but I hate holding my hands up in light and my nails looking patchy or streaky). I then finished off with a coat of Seche Vite, my favourite topcoat.

If I'm honest I probably won't buy the full size of this, I'll use this bottle up and then find a similar one that's easier to apply. It won't stop me from trying another Deborah Lippmann polish though as I know glitter formulae are very different to cremes or metallics. But the look was perfect for Christmas and it lasted 4 days before tip wear was obvious and the inevitable chipping started - to be fair 3 days involved no hand labour what-so-ever and then the 4th day was quite intensive so it would have lasted longer had I been more... lazy, shall we say!

What colour did you wear on your nails for Xmas?

Deborah Lippmann Nail Varnish is £14-16 RRP for a full size bottle and is available from House of Fraser

Friday, 23 December 2011

CND Shellac Nail Art - Even more Leopard Print!

Well my friends have gone crazy for my Leopard print mani that I showed you a couple of posts ago. Three friends who asked me to do their nails have all opted for the animal print design and I have become quite a pro at it if I do say so myself! So I thought to do a quick post to show you all the results!

First up, my friend Carys and her sister Philippa both went for the pattern - Carys wanted her toes done and Phil went for her hands. Below is the finished looks:

And then a friend of a friend, Sabrina, went for the same look too for her Christmas holiday in Dubai. She went for matching hands and feet:

I'm already considering how I can tweak the design and use a sliver glitter and Asphalt instead....

Sunday, 18 December 2011

CND Shellac Nail Art - Glitter Fade & Shellac Layering

Well last weekend was time for Nat's fourth CND Shellac manicure and low and behold, the glitter hater wanted more glitter! So a glitter fade was the obvious choice and perfect to make her nails a little more Christmassy!

She chose a blue this time, a result of some clever Shellac layering with Blackpool and Purple Purple. And glitzed it up with a silver glitter fade and some snowy nail art:

For the main Shellac colour I used the 'layering' technique - of applying two different Shellac colours to create a new colour. I used first a coat of Blackpool and then a coat of the Purple Purple, from their 6 new 2011 colours, curing for 120 seconds between each coat. The result was a purple toned blue, that looks a bit more Royal blue in photos (as above and below).

For the nail art I did a simple glitter fade with a glitter paste of Shellac Zillionaire and Gosh Nail Glitter in 01 Silver. And on the accent nail, I used my Orly dotter tool, at the smaller end, to dot some 'snow' onto the nail in Shellac Studio White.

Above photo - the base colour formed from 'layering'
Right photo - the finished result

Nat loves them! Another glittery idea for your nails, perfect for Christmas!

I want to experiment a little more with Shellac layering and I hope to do a post with some of the colour combinations, in the future, but I still need to invest in a few more basic colours, like Fedora and Tutti Frutti first... when the budget allows of course!

What do you think? Have you tried a Shellac layering before? What colour combinations have you tried?

CND Shellac Nail Art - More Leopard Print

It's been about a fortnight since my last post and wow has it been a hectic end to the first school term this year! I am so looking forward to the (well deserved, if I do say so myself!) Christmas break and have now got some time to catch up on my blogging.

I took a leaf out of my cousin Nat's book and decided to go for a leopard print mani, on myself, last week. I was pretty chuffed with my efforts for her design, from my last post, and was keen to tweak it a little and make it a little more refined.

So I went for a purely gold base this time and jet black detail for the animal print, and here is my final result:

I managed to impress myself somewhat with my ability to complete the pattern, almost identically, on both hands - this picture is of my right hand and I am right handed!

The main difference with this leopard print design, in comparison to my last post, is that I used Nat's accent nail for  inspiration and changed the base coat slightly.

For the base/background colour I mixed up a glitter paste using Shellac Zillionaire and some Gosh Gold Nail Glitter and applied two coats, curing each for 120 seconds. I then painted on the print in Shellac Blackpool, curing for 120 seconds. Obviously I started and finished the manicure accordingly for Shellac.

This base gives a very glitzy effect than when I mixed the glitter with Iced coral - which I thought was a more muted look. I particularly like the odd rainbow glimmer from the Zillionaire which shows up on this one. I also decided to take the print a bit smaller too, to add to the detailed look of the nails.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the swirly pattern on my little finger is Henna. My beautiful colleague Safinah was showcasing her Henna talents on the last day of term and I offered my hand as a canvas for her to do with what she wished. I am very pleased with the result! Safinah is a very clever lady!

What do you think? Which animal prints do you prefer to wear on your nails?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

CND Shellac Nail Art - Leopard Print

So this is the third and most recent CND Shellac manicure that I did on my cousin Nat and she decided to go for a complete change and something a bit more daring.

She was still in love with glitter fade from the previous time and was tempted by another colour combination. Until I showed her how I'd been practising some animal print and she took the plunge into leopard print heaven! 

I was ecstatic with the results, in particular, the colour combination on her accent nail. 

To achieve this look, I used Shellac Blackpool as a base colour and I mixed Shellac Iced Coral with Gosh Nail Glitter in 02 Gold into a glitter paste to paint on the leopard print pattern.

The accent nail was a reverse of this - I used the Iced Coral and glitter mixture as a base and then painted the leopard print pattern on top in Blackpool.

To create the leopard print pattern, I used a small thin nail art brush (mine is the Orly Detailer Brush) to first draw 4 or 5 circular rings that weren't always fully joined (almost like a lip print), then in between these I randomly dotted some big and small splodges. To make the look smoother, allow some of the patterns to appear as if they continue off the edge of the nail.

The great thing about this style is that it can be done with normal polish too! Drying time just takes a little longer.

To repeat this whole look with CND Shellac:
Prepare each nail with P.E.P, apply base coat and cure for 10 secs.
Paint two coats of Blackpool on each nail (not the accent nail), curing for 120 secs after each coat.
Mix the glitter paste from Iced Coral and some gold nail glitter, paint the leopard print pattern onto each nail and cure for 120 secs.
Paint two coats of the glitter paste onto the accent nail, curing for 120 secs after each coat.
Paint the leopard print pattern on the accent nail with Blackpool and cure for 120 secs.
Finally apply a top coat onto all nails, cure for 120 secs, wipe of any residue and apply solar oil.


It's quite cool how the iced coral glitter paste goes slightly green on top of the Blackpool - the wonders of Shellac layering! I particularly love the beige/gold base, created by the glitter paste on the accent nail.

Let me know what you think, will you be trying this look on your next manicure?

CND Shellac Nail Art - Studio White & Glitter Fade

This is the second CND Shellac manicure that I did on my cousin Nat and this time she was after something a bit more glitzy for her week off work. For someone that hates glitter she seriously oooo'd and aaahhh'd over my collection of Gosh nail glitters. So I showed her how I could do a glitter fade and she was hooked!

I have to say, I was quite impressed with my first full attempt at a glitter fade, I'd done it before as an accent nail, but never as a full set.

For the main Shellac colour I used Studio White from their 6 new 2011 colours. And the glitter used for the glitter fade was Gosh Nail Glitter in 01 Silver and 09 Ruby Red for the accent nail.

The great thing about this look is that it can be done with a gel polish or a normal polish. Just follow the quick step-by-step guide below according to your tools:

You will need: A base coat, a block colour polish in your chosen colour (preferably a creme - so no glitter or shimmer), a pot (or pots) of nail glitter in your chose colour, a clear polish, a ceramic/glass mixing palette or dish, a medium size nail art brush (or artist's brush), a top coat - it is best to have a separate bottle of top coat for layering over glitters in case there are any stray particles that make it back into the bottle.

Step 1: Prepare the nails (cuticles, file, prepare the nail plate etc.)
Step 2: Apply your base coat and let dry (or cure if using Shellac)
Step 3: Apply two coats of a your colour and allow to fully dry (I used Shellac Studio White, curing for 120 secs in between each coat)
Step 4: Create a glitter paste in your dish by mixing together some clear polish and your chosen nail glitter colour (I used Shellac top coat and the silver and red Gosh nail glitters)
Step 5: Create the glitter fade by using the brush to paint a rough french manicure 'tip' onto each nail with your chosen coloured glitter paste and brush the remainder up the nail, from tip to base, to create the faded look. Allow to dry (I cured the Shellac for 120 secs)
Step 6: Seal everything with your top coat  (I used Shellac top coat and cured for 120 secs)

Et Voila! A glittery addition to your nails, perfect for the Christmas period!

What do you think? Have you tried a glitter fade before? What colour combinations would you go for?

CND Shellac Strawberry Smoothie

So it's catch up time on some of my CND Shellac creations from basic to full on nail art.

As mentioned in the disclaimer (at the bottom of the page) sometimes friends or family ask me to do their nails. And no exception is my cousin Nat, who is just a little obsessed with Shellac now thanks to moi.

Over the last month, she's had three manicures from me, one plain, one glitter and one leopard print - I'll post the latter two later today. 

So here is her Strawberry Smoothie Shellac manicure...

I was pleased to find that I could do a typical plain Shellac manicure on someone else in around an hour. She wanted something quite natural and Strawberry Smoothie is a soft subtle pink with a slight silvery shimmer to it. It's also great for teaming with white tips for a french manicure - I'll post one of these soon too.

I was also pleased to see that it was much better quality than the Strawberry Smoothie manicure I received from a salon! No lumps/bumps or streaks!

Do you like the colour?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

CND Shellac Rosebud

This is the first CND Shellac manicure that I did on myself (apologies for the poor photo quality - lighting wasn't great).

I decided to go with the Rosebud colour, a really pretty rich creme pink that looks very elegant on the nails. In some light it can look a little more like a subtle bubblegum pink which I thought was very cute.

Not bad for my first attempt I thought, although it did take 2-3 hours. With practise, I think I'll get quicker, it's just frustrating that I can't be doing my other hand while one is curing, obviously!

Do you like the colour?

My CND Shellac Kit

For those of you that have read my Half-term Happenings - a new look for nails post in my other blog Brush up and Make-up! you will note that I was not impressed with the efforts (or lack of!) of the nail technician that did my Shellac manicure in Strawberry Smoothie. Following this frustration, a small idea started to form in my mind.

How hard could it be to do Shellac on myself?....

 So, in October, after much research and investigation, I purchased all the essentials for me to get started with. And as it turns out, although time consuming, it wasn't too difficult to apply to myself, not much more so than a regular manicure. Yipee! I was sold and am now a dab hand if I do say so myself!

I decided to D.I.Y because I regularly get a gel polish manicure - once every 2-3 weeks which equates to around £50 per month and the expense was seriously starting to build. I also further decided to go with
CND Shellac as this is a very well known brand and a really positively reviewed product. I particularly love the fact that the removal of the Shellac is so easy and doesn't damage my nails (a big selling point for me). I will do a step-by-step removal post soon, so you can see exactly how easy it is.

Now, if you're considering setting yourself up to 'Shellac', can I first warn you, IT IS NOT CHEAP! There is a reason why the salons charge £25-30 for a Shellac manicure. The lamp, new, costs over £200! And each colour alone is easily double or triple the price of a mid-range regular polish - they are around £18 from the retailer that I buy from. It is worth noting, that if you do decide to set yourself up, you must stay within the brand as much as possible, for example I could have got a regular unbranded UV lamp from eBay but CND claims that it's products will only work to their full potential with a CND branded lamp. So please, stop and think if you really need the expense of doing it yourself.

I started off with three natural(ish) colours:
Iced Coral - A shimmery peachy pink with a green opalescent.
Strawberry Smoothie - A pale baby pink with a silvery shimmer.
Rosebud - A pink creme block colour.

But I quickly decided that these weren't enough, so bought six more:
Studio White - A semi-sheer soft white for french manicure.
Zillionaire - A clear polish with multi-toned glitter.
Purple Purple - An iridescent violet purple.
Hotski to Tchotchke - An iridescent teal green.
Asphalt - A concrete grey block colour.
Blackpool - A pure black opaque.

Now I can experiment with layering colours too!

Keep posted for the photos of my first Shellac manicures!

Nails, nails and more nails!

Well, hello all! Welcome to my sister blog for Brush up and Make-up!

Having always been a more face and body beauty person, than hands and nails, over the last 6 months I have found myself venturing into the world of nail polish, gel polish, nail art and more. I decided that to blog about it all in one place might be too much and thus created this sister blog to share all my nail find, ideas and designs.

Please remember that I am not a trained nail professional and for more information about my intentions, check out the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

I hope you enjoy reading!

Jem x

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