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Review: Sation Diamond Diggin' Diva over a Nude Black French Tip

Well, editing this post is something of a challenge as I'm typing this on my ipad in New York! I'm here for ten days on holiday with my bf and we're having a great time. I managed to find the time to do my nails before we left so let's take a look at a mani I did, inspired by the always amazing  psshiiit.
To start, I applied a thick base coat, like usual and let it dry completely. Then, using binder reinforcement stickers (you know, the ones that look like donuts) I added the black French tips. I know people go on a lot about the stickers but they really are the right size to fit a French tip. Then, once the French tip was dry I added a glitter gradient in Sation Diamond Diggin' Diva. I found that if I wiped most of the polish off the brush first I could get just the sprinkling of glitter I wanted on the tips. This is the first time I've tried Safion and it's making a good impression with its silver and black glitter combo.

What a Difference a Year Makes

For a long time now I've had a problem with constantly picking at my fingers.  It's not nice or pretty, but there it is.  One year ago today I'd spent the night before making my nails all Christmassy and decided to say screw it and posted a picture to /r/redditlaqueristas, terrible cuticles and all.  What I was surprised by was how positive and encouraging everyone on there was.  It was that positivity and support that made me feel good enough to start this blog in the first place. I guess I just want to say thanks, both to reddit and everyone else that's come to my blog, I couldn't have done it without you.
On to the nails!  To commemorate a year since I first posted a picture of my nails on the internet, I decided I'd recreate the look, to do a direct comparison.  Let's take a look at the after first.  To start, I applied three coats of Rimmel Stiletto Red, a bright red almost-jelly.  You could get away with two coats of this polish but I preferred three…

Review: A England St George

Once in a blue moon I manage to just do one polish and LEAVE IT AT THAT.  Turns out you just need the right polish.  Let's take a look at A-England St George.
St George is an absolutely gorgeous forest green holo polish.  The holo isn't terribly noticeable but it gives the polish great dimension.  Application is really good too, you only need two coats and the second one is only really there to smooth it all out.  I'm not normally into greens but I can make an exception for this one.  


Pretty But Impractical Butterfly Nails

When you do your nails as often as I do, you get pretty good at spotting other lacqueristas.  A girl in the same building as me at work and I always compare nails whenever we see each other and she always has great nails.  Anyway, she got a bunch of nail art supplies in the mail, had extra and was kind enough to give me wheel full of little metal butterflies.  They're so pretty, I had to use them.  
Let me preface this with saying that this isn't even the tiniest bit practical.  I kept this on for about an hour because they were catching on everything.  However, if it were my birthday or a special occasion, I'd totes keep these on for longer.  I wanted a nice, girly base for the butterflies so I started with two coats of Orly Porcelain, still my favourite nude.  Then, using a tiny square piece of makeup sponge, I lightly applied a dusting of Sally Hansen Celeb City and Revlon Gold Coin.  After a coat of Seche Vite was completely dry, I used nail glue to apply the butterfl…

Freehand Black and White Lacy Nails

I think you know by now that if I could, I'd just do glitter all day, every day.  A girl has to try something different every now and again though so after browsing around for a while (mostly google images for "nail art") I came across this post by 10 Black Canvases.  I just had to try!
To start, I applied two coats of Rimmel Black Satin.  I first started with white acrylic paint but it's so hard to get smooth I switched over to using L.A. Colors nail art polish in white.  I found I was able to get nice, smooth lines if I wiped all the polish off the brush then worked from a little blob of polish on a piece of plastic.  That way you can just dip the very end of the brush in and work from there.  I started from the cuticle on each nail, working upwards.  I did shamelessly copy the design from above but it's so awesome how could I not??


Equaliser Nails!

I get a lot of people asking how long my glitter mosaic manis take to do.  I'm not going to lie, the full coverage rainbow manis do take a few hours.  When I don't have quite that much time I like to go for this kind of rainbow equaliser look.  If you line up all your glitter and focus, you can get it done in under an hour.  
To start, I apply two coats of a black polish.  Doesn't really matter which although I've been using Rimmel Black Satin for a while because it cleans up nicely.  Then, using a non-quick-dry top coat, like Sally Hansen Invisible, I add the glitter.  I found the best way to space them out properly was to put the red on first at the top, then the silver at the cuticle, then one half way, then fill in the rest, all down the centre of your nail.  Because the top coat was still wet, I was able to shuffle them around a bit without too much damage.  That's what the Seche Vite is for afterwards, it's really good at smoothing out dodgy bits.  Just …

Review: China Glaze It's a Trap-eze vs. Whirled Away

It should come as no surprise I like the glitters in the China Glaze Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away collection. I've always liked the rainbow glitters and matte glitters so there's no way I could have resisted Whirled Away and It's a Trap-eze.  I wanted to show how versatile they could be so I thought I'd try them both over China Glaze Purple Panic.  Yes.
Let's take a look at the two, to see what we're dealing with:

vs.

Friendship Bracelet Nails!

OK SO YOU WANT GLITTER, ALRIGHT I'LL GIVE YOU GLITTER.  STUPID REDDIT CHALLENGE, GLITTER IS TOO BROAD! Yep, that's a good start to this post.  So the challenge this week is glitter, as I mentioned yesterday.  While it may seem like a good fit for my aesthetic, it's incredibly intimidating having to pick a style that sums up glitter for me, as well as finding the time to actually do it.  I played around with patterns for a while and eventually came up with this: friendship bracelet nails!
To start, I applied two coats of Rimmel Black Satin.  I keep coming back to this one, mostly because it goes nice and shiny with Seche Vite and it cleans up well.  That's important when you spend as much time lining up glitter as I do.  Using my usual system and Sally Hansen Invisible top coat, away I went.  I'm finding I'm having more luck with very thin coats of the glitter base so you get a nice even finish.  Take my thumb for example.  See how the glitter is a bit uneven i…

Festive Wrapping Paper Nails!

The Reddit challenge this week is "Glitter".  I don't know about you but I find this an incredibly intimidating task.  I've done so many manicures with glitter, be it glitter mosaics, stained glass glitter, geometric glitter, glitter polish or mermaid nails.  HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE WHAT EPITOMISES GLITTER TO ME.  IT'S TOO HARD.  It's like trying to choose which of your hypothetical children is your favourite.  I realise this is a lot of shouting but it's mostly because while I like this mani, I made the mistake of starting at midnight and there just isn't enough glitter here.  So let's just pretend these are wrapping paper nails!
To start, I applied two coats of China Glaze For Audrey, a nice light turquoise creme.  Next, using my usual process, I added the glitter stripes, alternating between gold and silver first then adding the pink.  I've changed up my top coats for this to try and stop the massive amount of bubbles I've…

Review: Seche Polish Rouge

I spend rather a lot of time on the internet, looking at nail polish and various vendors.  I found a particularly terrible looking site that sold cheap China Glaze polishes and decided to give it a shot, given I could use PayPal to cover me.  On a whim, I threw a bottle of red Seche polish, feeling like I should give it a try given how much I like the top coat.  Let's take a closer look at Seche Rouge.
Application was pretty good with this polish but nothing especially stand out.  I used two coats here although, looking at the photos, I wish I'd done another coat to even out the bumps in my nails.  It's also difficult to clean up, you can see how red my cuticles are, despite taking extra time to clean up.  I didn't notice it dried especially fast.  I wanted to jazz the plain red up a bit so I grabbed my striping tape to make the criss-cross pattern on my thumb and ring finger.  Using Glitter Gal Red Sparkle, I added the squares.  Didn't go with the red as well as …

Work Christmas Party Nails!

Urgh, blerg, I feel lousy as I have a cold so lookit sparkly nails for my work Christmas party!  Revlon Royal which just keeps climbing up the awesome list every time I use it, with sparkly glitter mosaic accent thumb and ring finger.   I used my usual technique with the glitter, just make sure you press in all the big glitter pieces.  
Look at sparkly, not at lack of text!


Reddit Week 10: Winter Nails

I've been following the Reddit weekly challenge over at /r/redditlaqueristas and the theme this week is Winter.  I pretty much only do the challenges when I feel like it.  I like the winter challenge so I put my thinking cap on.  I knew I wanted it to be sparkly and to use stamps.  I've done a mani with blue and silver sparkly foils before so this time I decided to go for snow at night.  I love walking the now at night, so quiet and peaceful.  
I started this mani off with two coats of Nicole by OPI Razzle Dazzle.  Next, I put a blob of Sally Hansen Celeb City on a piece of paper and daub it with a makeup sponge.  I wanted just the tiniest speckling of silver to look like gusts of snow so I did a few swipes on the paper with the sponge to get most of the polish off.  Then it was lightly dabbing my nails.  Next, I used my Bundle Monster plates with Konad White Special Polish to add the snow flakes.  Top with a top coat and you're done.


Yep, I Think This is Neon Enough

For a long time I had so much trouble trying to get water marbling to work.  Desperate for answers, I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos hoping to see what I was doing wrong.  I never really had an "aha!" moment from the videos but I did find the most awesome rainbow gradient with black and clear marbling over the top that I vowed to try.  When I found my makeup sponges the other day and had the black and clear water marble down, I knew I had to try it. 
To start, I added two coats of Orly Dayglow as I really wanted my neons to pop.  I hate that phrase, but it's true, I needed my colours to be super bright.  I've not had a lot of luck painting a gradient on a sponge so I added each colour individually using the edge of a sponge.  Once dry, I did my water marble over the top using China Glaze Liquid Leather and Essie Kisses and Bises.  I finally figured out how to control how thick each band of colour is with the marbling.  If you'll notice on my index f…

Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Checkin' it Twice

For as long as they've been available, I've been completely addicted to Sally Hansen Salon Effort nail strips. Despite having the longest name, they actually work and actually have interesting patterns.  In fact, it was me wondering whether I could reproduce some of the patterns myself that got me into nail art in the first place.  Therefore when new patterns come out, I have to buy them.
Checkin' it Twice is a black and silver checker pattern, with the silver being a slightly sparkly metallic.  I like these as they aren't the pattern-printed-on-white that some of the strips are.  While they might have the prettiest patterns, they just don't last as long.  Application was as easy as ever, following my usual steps for applying the strips.  Not a whole lot more else to say, other than I wish I could paint this pattern myself? 


Monochrome Water Marbling

Yeah so when I finally figure out how to do something, be it glitter mosaics, water marbling, one day stamps, I have trouble thinking of anything else.  I'm so happy I've finally figured out water marbling I just can't stop doing it.  Thus, moar water marbling!  I'm so addicted to making patterns in the polish.
Like my other water marbles, I started with two coats of Orly Dayglow, my current go-to white.  After taping all my fingers off, I created the water marble using Nicole by OPI Razzle Dazzle and more Dayglow.  In case you were wondering, I've found the best way to tape off your nails is to take a reasonable long piece of tape and line it up to one side of a nail then wrap it around so it hugs the tip of your finger and lines up to the other side.  Then add a piece of tape to bridge the gap against your cuticles.  It's always better to back off from your nail a bit too, as there's nothing worse than having a gap where the tape overhangs your nail.  I …

Electric Mermaid Nails 2 - The Mermainening

Alllll the way back in March I did a glitter mosaic called Electric Mermaid Scales.  It has been my most popular post by a long shot, getting over twice the pageviews as my next most popular post.  It's been posted - uncredited, mind you - to Pinterest, tumblr, instagram, Buzzfeed and too many other places to count.  A cropped version got 16,083 reblogs on tumblr, ffs.  It's not the lack of accreditation that bothers me but instead how much better I am at photography and doing my nails I am now.  To celebrate getting a more sparkly new light, I present to you Electric Mermaid Scales, Take 2.
To start, I applied two coats of Sally Hansen Co-Bolt Blue.  If I'm doing a full coverage glitter mosaic I like to try and match the base colour as closely as I can so if you have gaps near the cuticles or tips it's not that noticeable.  Starting with my thumb, I added a stroke of top coat - I'm using Essie Everyday Top Coat, but you can use anything that isn't quick dryin…

Week 9: Rainbows! Glitter Over Water Marble

Weekly challenges and I have a fickle relationship.  I pretty much just do them when I feel like it.  How, though, could I not do a mani when the theme is rainbows?  I can't not do it, that's the answer.  The hardest part was trying to decide what kind of rainbow to do.  I'm not especially down with taping or neat stripes so it was either rainbow water marbling or hand-placed glitter.  Then it hit me: WHY NOT BOTH. Yesssssss.
To start, I applied two coats of Orly Dayglow then got to work with my black and white water marbling.  I did the same thing as this post but kept the marble really simple.  I then got to work filling in the white parts with rainbow glitter, using my usual technique.  A coat of Seche Vite or two and I'm done.  I'm not happy with how the glitter bled on my thumb but you only really notice it when you fill an entire camera frame with said nail.  



Review: Peek-a-boo, Splitter Splatter and Glitter Girl from Lush Lacquer

It is time that I actually review all the indie polishes I get off Etsy! I order a selection every time I get paid but then they end up sitting on my desk for a while.  I recently ordered a set of eight mini polishes from Lush Lacquer and they're so pretty I had to use them.  Let's take a look at the first three from my set.  
SO MANY PICTURES AHEAD, BRACE THYSELF
First up, Glitter Girl, a mix of black, white and pink matte glitter with lilac holo micro glitter.  I loved how this one looked in the bottle, so pink and girly.  Once I layered it over Joe Fresh Fuchsia though, I wasn't too ecstatic about the lilac glitter.  The black, white and pink were perfect but the almost iridescent micro glitter just made it a bit strange.  It could just be the colour combination though, I want to try this over a dark purple.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a really pretty polish, just harder to work with the micro glitter. I did find also that this one benefited from standing u…

Review: Butter London Scuppered

My first encounter with Butter London with Knackered wasn't the greatest.  Application was incredibly difficult and just didn't look right.  I thought it deserved another chance though, mostly because Scuppered looks so amazing in the bottle.  I don't think "bespoke" nail polish is actually a think, even though it claims to be, but whatever, pretty polish.  Man, I'm all over the shop today with this intro but can't be bothered rewriting it.
Scuppered is a beautiful bronze sparkly foil polish with green glitter and pink sparkles.  I certainly don't have anything else like this in my collection.  Application was good - you could get away with two coats but I prefer three.  Because I can't just do a normal mani, I added a fancy french with Nicole by OPI Razzle Dazzle.  Perfect name for a black!  Anyway, this isn't too hard to do, just cut a triangle out of a piece of tape, stick it on your palm first then make sure it's stuck down evenly on …

Water Marbling with a Clear Polish Over Glitter!

If I see someone doing something cool with their nails on the internet, Imma wanna jump on that bangwagon.  Yesterday, it was water marbling over glitter polish to make poinsettia nails - like this. Given it combines my new obsession of water marbling and glitter, I'm on it!  
To start, I applied two coats of Sally Hansen Celeb City - my favourite silver foil - followed by two coats of China Glaze Pizazz, a lovely rainbow glitter mix.  I have a bunch of other glitters like this like Sephora by OPI Spark-tacular, OPI Rainbow Collection and Nicole by OPI Rainbow in the Sky-lie but seriously, I cannot get enough of them.  The Sephora polish was one of the ones that started this obsession for me so of course I'm going to buy more.  Anyway, once that was done it was on to the water marble.  This was a little tricky as it was not easy trying to find a clear polish that would spread properly in the water.  I tried multiple base- and top-coats with no luck.  In the end I went with Es…

Rainbow Glitter Stripes

I kinda wish I was the sort of person that could just do a single colour mani.  As my recent posts will attest, that's just not me.  I wanted to water marble again last night but I don't want to wear out my welcome with too many.  Glitter it is then!
As much as I love my tiny holo glitter, it was bugging me that I didn't have green in there.  The only green glitter I have is quite a lot larger than the rest so it was the perfect candidate for stripes.  After applying two coats of Nicole by OPI Razzle Dazzle, I got to work with my glitter and Essie Everyday Top Coat.  I found it easiest to start in the middle of the nail then stick the glitter on using my usual technique.  What I love about these stripes is that it looks like the world's strongest multichrome.  One side is red-orange, straight on is green-blue and the other side is blue-purple.  Magical.  And sparkly.

BIG SIDE NOTE: BUBBLES AGAIN ARGH.  I figured out that it's Out the Door top coat doing it.  There…

Review: Color Club Halo Hues in Water Marble

So I went to Buffalo last week and I was lucky to come across the Color Club Halo Hues collection.  I'd hear they were crazy holographic but pfft, thought I, I won't be that excited, they can't be that good.  Holy crap balls ladies, they are actually that amazing.  They don't need babying with a aqua base coat, they don't drag, they aren't dulled with top coat and they light up with rainbows in general room light.  Seriously, they're that good.  The problem is though that my lightbox is where holo rainbows go to die so taking good photos is a serious challenge.  Yesterday morning was sunny so I managed to get light coming across my desk so finally, FINALLY, I can show you just how amazing these polishes are. 
I've been on a bit of a water marbling kick lately and I wanted to see how these polishes would fare.  AMAZEBALLS, as it turns out.  Using my new black polish (consistency seems to matter - newer/thinner seems to help) and all six of the polishes…

Glitter Herringbone Nails, Take 2

I just want to cry looking at these pictures.  I mean, it looks awesome if you make the pictures super small and squint at it from a distance but the second you get closer you can see how my top coat betrayed me.  I'm so super sad right now guys :(
I'm going to pretend the millions of bubbles aren't there for a moment and just talk about what was supposed to happen.  A while ago I did this mani, rainbow herringbone nails.  I wasn't happy with the execution then and I'm still not so I decided to redo it so that the glitter all sat down properly.  Using the diamond shaped glitter is always a PITA because of how easily it sticks up and catches on stuff.  I've found though that if you use my usual technique but make sure to tamp each piece down into the top coat as you go, you can make it all smooth and nice.  All was going perfectly until I was brutally betrayed by my combination of Essie Everyday Top Coat and Out the Door Top Coat.  I don't even know how it …

What Happens When a Blogger Living in Canada Goes to the US for the Day Again

Yeah so have a guess what happens when a polish blogger living in Canada goes to Buffalo for the day.  Now, you may think that it couldn't be that bad, surely Canada has all the same stuff the US does.  NOPES.  Not even a bit.  To make matters worse I went with my lovely friend Tara (hi Tara!) who is just as in to nail polish as I am so we spent the whole day driving around to find nail polish.  That's my idea of an awesome day but ow my wallet.  Let's take a look at what I got, shall we?

I know it's a little hard to see in this first one but it gives you an idea of scale.  Also, what my lightbox looks like.

Notable here is the full Halo Hues collection from Color Club that is so amazing I could literally die, Sally Hansen Lustre Chromes that I haven't seen here yet, OPI DS Temptation, three free OPI crackles, a gorgeous new Butter London and a whole bunch of cheapie China Glazes, Icing polishes, Sally Hansens, the cheap one that isn't Sinful Colors, Milanis a…

Reddit Week 7: Black and White Nails

Aww yeah, I'm going to lead off today with announcing that this mani is a success because my male co-worker noticed my nails and commented on them!  Considering I'm a programmer in an all-male office, this is quite the accomplishment.  Anyway, Reddit is currently running a 52-week challenge over at /r/redditlaqueristas and the theme this week is black and white.  Give I've been having more success with water marbling lately I wanted to try and reproduce this pattern.  I actually think I got really close!
I've been playing around with different combinations of water temperatures, cup sizes and polishes and I think I found the right combination as my polishes spread out absolutely perfectly last night.  After adding two coats of Orly Dayglow as a base colour, I dropped in Nicole by OPI Razzle Dazzler and more Dayglow into coldish water - not the warmer water I used the night before.  It seemed to make the difference as the polished behaved just like all the videos.  I e…