All striped out

Now that I feel like I finally have a light grip on the nail art book, I am ready to use it as an inspiration and mix in my own flair. Some of this decision was made by the fact that I am truly not a big fan of pink and so my polish collection has many hues of purple and blues.

For this particular one, I chose blue to be my base colour with green and white stripes.

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The blue I used is frostbite by the new gelaze collection from china glaze. I am a proud owner of six bottles from this collection and if I wasn’t moving back to uk so soon, I would be a proud owner of more :( they can only be purchased through Sally beauty supply at the moment but I suspect it will become more readily available later on.

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I started off using a blue shimmer from sinful colours but quickly reassessed the situation as the colour wasn’t picking up at all. I switched to models own turquoise gloss from its new hyper gel colour and became a happy camper. I simple used a nail brush to strip on lines of different thickness in a freestyle kind of way…the best way really. I started by dipping the brush into the nail polish but it got a bit messy so swapped to using cling film and dabbing polish there. It worked a treat so I recommend doing this.

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I also had my cotton ball to hand soaked with nail polish remover to clean my brush every so often to avoid the polish drying up

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I then added the white lines, also free styling with various thicknesses. Lastly, I added white dots with my dotting tool to the thickest green line and boom! The complete look:

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At first I was a bit apprehensive about how not straight my lines are but they are growing on me. I think it’s because it looks free hand, which is the beauty of nail art :)

It’s been too long since I’ve done a nice little tutorial. Normally I just do my nails and after I finish, I remember I should’ve documented it for future reference!

This time however, I remembered! I was recently gifted a nail art book from someone very dear to me and kept it by my bedside mulling over what designs I wanted to do.

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This book is great as a coffee table read or in my case, a bedside read. It really gets the creative juices flowing and I needed very little to convince me to get going,

I didn’t think I could do any as all my nail tools are in England and I’m still in America for another month. It was far too tempting to wait until then though so I’ve slowly started to build my tools over here starting with make up sponges, nail brushes and a large amount of polish to complete my designs with. Nail brushes are actually new to my collection as I’ve always relied heavily on my black and white nailart pens I got from Primark that worked just fine. The brushes were from amazon for two dollars and to be honest, it was so cheap that it felt silly I haven’t gotten them sooner.

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I decided for my first design I wanted to follow the book as it is and see how simple it would be to recreate the designs. I adored the penguin and bee nails but decided to show you my bee experience as there was a recent incident at my flying school where a swarm of bees overtook an aircraft. It was a sign!

Tools:

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I wanted to use the sinful colour yellow but decided to just stick with the Sally Hansen in the end. Mostly because I had forgotten and already started doing the black strips haha.

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Firstly, I applied my base coat to avoid staining my nails. Then I pained my ring finger(s) yellow then painted the tips of the rest yellow. I found it ridiculously hard to do the French tips with the Instadry yellow as it was so thick and kept going all over my nails. I started again too many times to keep count. In the future, I may try with with French tip stamp just to get it under control a bit more.

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After finally accepting the French tips I outlined them with black lines and added on stripes to my ring finger(s). The black outlines were dead easy and simple thanks to my models own black nail art pen. I did have loads of problems with the tip of the pen though :(

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After that I left my other fingers alone and focused on my ring finger(s). I added two white dots to a black strip then two smaller black dots above it and tah dah, my pet bumble is born! Sounds simple right?? In actual fact the tips from my nail art pens that should make this progress dead simple was a nightmare as they kept wanting to leak out more polish and causing a right old mess. They were tonns worse than my Primark nailart pens that had a problem with lumping but not as bad as this! Then when it decided to work it was so thin that it ended up scraping off my originally polish. In the end I was debating using a cuticle stick when I looked inside my nail brush kit and found a dotting tool. Absolutely bumble bee saver!

This is how it turned out!

I’m quite happy with it and think it would look loads better if I didn’t get so frustrated with the dotting and had a bit more practise.

Let me know if you also tried this out :)

Models own super sale

Models own has been continuously teasing me with their immense sale a few weeks ago on Instagram. At a grand total of 50% off it was very difficult to resist. I had seen so much great stuff models own offered in boots but I could never really afford to fork out on them. Now that it was 50% off, it was a whole different ball game. As I was expecting a visit from the uk, I knew I could order it and be reunited with it very quickly.

And alas, it has arrived!

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I felt like everything from start to finish was so beautifully done. I was particularly impressed with the packaging and felt like so much time and effort was made into my order. Especially as it was a sale item, I expected to just show up in a box wrapped with bubble wrap. This exceeded my expectations by miles. And it wasnt just the box. Once I opened it, everything I ordered was neatly packaged

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Once the packaging was removed this is what I got. I bought four nail art pens which in my opinion are the most basic and essential colours. I already have black and white from Primark but they are so gloopy and bad to use that I felt no choice but to invest in better ones, I haven’t used these yet but I will get round to get. I also got a erase pen that I was very intrigued with. Thus far I’ve used cotton buds and they’ve worked okay but I’m hoping the erase pen will simplify the process. Next is a matte top coat. I already own one from rimmel London before they killed the line. However, this one was such a bargain I simply couldn’t resist. Matte top coats are so expensive in the uk yet so cheap in the us where lower quality brands also make them as suppose to just essie in uk. I bought three polishes to try out its different ranges as I actually never owned models own polishes before. You will have to come back and see how I got on with them but here is a swatch for its latest gel polish range in green

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I adore this colour. In fact I adore all the gel range colours but I wanted to test how they were like before I invested in the whole range. Frankly I don’t think my natural nails are up for the challenge of normal polishes yet. Since I’ve been using gel, I just can’t seem to get or appreciate any polish that doesn’t have that smooth sheen to it like gel. I loved the colour but I think I will be needing to wear it with a gel topcoat. It is like gel in a way but does not finish like the gel polishes I’ve been using.

I’ve been using gel polish now for about three months since I moved to America and I absolutely love it! It’s going to be a very sad day for me when the time comes to return back to uk and the very small unoriginal gel polish out there. I’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of the much cheaper sensationail polishes out here and have acquired myself quite the collection! [insert proud face here]

Today I’d like to share/document how I remove them. I looked at many removal blogs and processes before I came up with my easy and relatively cheap method. I began by using the removal solution that came with my sally hansen starter kit but that ran out really, really quickly. I didn’t want to have to pay lots of money for what to me looked just like acetone that’s been packaged by gel polish companies to look like something different so I just purchased good old acetone from Sally.

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These are my essentials when removing polish. I never begin without having something good to watch on my iPad as it takes a good while to remove gel polishes. The only downside but definitely worth it. I normally like watching cooking shows on you tube hah. I also use some good old fashion cotton balls from walmart as they are super absorbent. I use the cuticle sticks that normally come packaged with my sensationail gel polishes to scrap the polish off once they start peeling. Lastly, I use cheap aluminium foil to wrap the acetone soaked cotton balls around my fingers.

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I rip the aluminium foil roughly into 2cm by 5cm pieces..basically just pieces big enough to wrap around my finger. I’m not that precise and I’ve never struggled

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I never use a whole cotton ball on a finger. I find that really unnecessary. I normally split one cotton ball in three for my normal fingers and into half for my thumbs. I put the split pieces on top of the acetone bottle and just lightly shake it so that acetone is on the cotton ball. I then place it over my finger, wrap the aluminium foil around it so txt holds into lace and settle in for ten minutes watching telly.

After ten minutes when you remove the foil it should look like this:

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If it doesn’t look like this then you either need to add some more acetone and wait some time longer or just make sure the foil is wrapped round your finger tightly. It’s happened to me a few times and those two are the usual causes. Once it looks like the above it’s easy. Just take a cuticle stick and scrape it with the slanted side.

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and wah la it’s done! Can’t say the conditions of my nail is the finest I’ve seen them since I started using gel polish but it certainly kept me from biting my nails. I’m now more often filing down my nails cos they’re too long than praying for them to grow!

Hope this helps anyone out there that struggles with removing gel polish or doesn’t want to pay a fortune to do things normal drug stores sell :)

I promised I will go back to the amazing Asian nail man and I did! I was looking for some colours to lift my festive spirit over christmas as spending time in the Arizonian heat hardly screams winter wonderland. And he didn’t disappoint in the slightest. I was there for a good hour picking out reds blues greens and glitters and walked away with three king size polishes for less than half of how much they cost in shops! IBD was a brand I never heard of but everyone in the shop was buying it and at 10 dollars for gel polish, it was hard to resist. I settled for a red and a glitter. The red is called cosmic red and the glitter was called all that glitters. I was only looking for a glittery red when I stumbled upon the glitter gel polish and I instantly fell in love with it. Ibd applies really well and tho some people might criticise it for being quite thin and runny, I actually really liked the fact it was thin. The glitter took about three coats to achieve the level of opaque-ness I wanted it but other than that, I would def be looking into getting more gel polish from them!

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I also couldn’t resist and bought an OPI gel polish. Having used tonns of normal OPI polished, I knew I wouldn’t disappoint and happily walked away with OY – another polish joke. It is a stunning sand gold glitter. It was 15 dollars so quite a bit more than Ibd but it just the exact colour I had in mind for my Christmas nails. I only applied two coats and it was gorgeous

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I recently filed my nails into oval shapes for the first time. I didn’t really like it after two weeks so it’s now back to squares but now looking back at this photo….it makes my hand look so much longer and more elegant!

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Now having got lovely Christmas nails, I was ready full steam ahead into the festivities! On Christmas Day I opened my pressies and received lots more gel polishes and nail stamps! My first bundle monster set! I promptly used it on my Christmas nails to add a little bit more ommph to it before having Christmas dinner. TADA

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Black Friday on a Saturday

Today I had a ground breaking moment where I have decided I can no longer stomach all the lovely junk food that is on offer in America. So instead of cutting back on eating like most people would, I decided to go for a run instead! So I set off this morning for a casual jog…straight into the front doors of Sally.

For anyone reading this outside America, Sally is a chain selling beauty and hair products. It was calling my name and I couldn’t help it but wonder into the front. Which is just as well since the remnants of Black Friday was still going on. Again, for those outside of America, Black Friday is the friday after thanksgiving where shops have some crazy sales. Very similar to Boxing Day as lakes in the uk.

I only really wanted to see how much a nail clenser was but came out with a bag full of goodies and a Sally beauty card

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I have never used gelish polish before so I decided to give it a go. I only really wanted the white since I was hoping my second set of nail stamps would be arriving some time soon. But then there was one called “jet set” and I just knew I had to buy it. (Cos I’m a jet setter, get it? Hah)

So I merrily jogged back home via Walmart to pick up a black on black polish by sinful colours..again in anticipation of my nail stamps arriving sometime this century.

It took me just under an hour yesterday to remove my gel polish..wasn’t the easiest but I got there in the end. You really do need to use that wooden stick and scrape your nails. In a way, I preferred using normal polish with a gel top coat cos it was so much easier to remove the gel!

I was eager to redo my nails before I got stuck into old habits and start biting my nails again. I gave the jet set one a go since I wasn’t ready with the white polish yet

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I think it actually looks much nicer in the photo that on my nails. The polish as really opaque and I had to use three coats to get any colour on my nails. On some nails, I reckon I will have need ped four or five but I just didn’t have the patience so I left it slightly opaque. They retail at $12.99 and at that price I certainly would not be buying anymore. I bought them for $8.95 as there were on sale so not was a lot easier to stomach. But if a regular polish was that price I would’ve expected a world of difference. I don’t know if tilts because I have only been using OPI recently or what but I was disappointed. :(

In the bright side tho, I was given a five dollar coupon to spend tomorrow but signing up with a Sally beauty card so I might buy a different colour and give it a second chance.

Playing with my new toys

It has arrived!!! It actually arrived a whole week before I picked it up but I was on a road trip to San Diego.

This is what it looks on on the outside:

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And when you flip the lid, this is what it looks like:

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And this is what is inside the box.

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It has pretty much everything I needed but I did have to do a pit shop in Walmart and pick up a few more essentials such as a buffer, some cotton balls, a pair of cuticle scissors and a bigger file. As much as this kit is meant to provide everything I needed, I read somewhere that it was better to have buffed my nails and the file they provided was very small. I didn’t see it lasting ten manicures. Hence probably why it says upto ten manicures.

So off I went buffing. As I was wearing false nails for a while to help my nail growth, my nails was in a poor state. I seem to have developed two distinct ridges on my thumbs that is slowly growing out and all my nails looked is need to tlc.

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After all my nails was nicely buffed, I decided I wanted to do my toes first instead. Haha! I hardly touch my toe nails as I don’t really know what to do with them. I have been meaning to get a pedicure done (and I have once) but it’s just outside my budget at the moment. The non-chipping prospect of gel nails was perfect for me as I sometimes don’t bother to redo my polish on my toes even if it’s chipped. I used the cleansing pads provided then followed the steps on the instruction leaflet provided

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This is what it looks like using the gel polish provided by sally Hansen

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Needless to say I was blown away.

By the time I got to my nails, I was itching to try the regular polish method. It was so straight forward doing my toes that I already felt like a pro.

Earlier in the day I bought some polishes from a nail supply shop which I am absolutely in love with and will definately visit again

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[OPI] I saw…U saw…We saw…Warsaw, [OPI] Russian Navy, [China Glaze] Whirled Away. The OPI was meant to be $8.50 but when we went to the till the man only wanted to charge us $7.00. What a bargain!! Did I mention I LOVE AMERICA! I love the Russian Navy colour but I only picked it because I really wanted the [Sensationail] Purple Orchid and couldn’t justify buying it since I have plonked it on my Christmas wish list. It was the closest swatch I could find

I have been wanting to try china glaze having seen one of my friends in Oxford fall in love with it so I picked the confetti one. It’s similar to the l’oreal one I wanted but with bigger glitter bits. It was only 5 dollars! I was in nail polish heaven and wished deeply I will win the lottery soon so I can buy all the nail polish to my heart’s content.

I picked the Russian Navy one to try but used the Warsaw one on my ring finger just to try out the colour. I looked up a few YouTube videos and blogs and decided I wanted to do a gel base coat, sandwich a regular polish in then finish it off with a gel topcoat.

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I didn’t find waiting for the regular polish to dry too daunting as other bloggers have mentioned but that’s probably due to the fact that I’m used to it! It’s none different than waiting for it normally when I do my nails except I allowed extra time “just in case”. I popped on the “Hunger Games” to watch while I waited. This is what I ended up with:

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I really struggled with my nails. It was fine until I did my top coat. It was sticky after I placed it into the LED lamp as I was expecting. I used the cleansing pad as instructed and that’s when the sh!t hit the fan. It just seemed to mesh my polish :’(

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I actually had to redo that one particular finger three times before I was satisfied but it still not how I like it. It’s way less shiny than my toes. As I haven’t tried the gel polish on my fingers, I don’t actually know if it’s because of my technique, the polish or any other factors so I will have to investigate!

Overall I was really impressed. I am writing this up three days after I applied my gel nails and my toes are in tip top condition. My nails not so much. I’m not convinced a novice like me should be experimenting with mixing regular polish with gel. I was also not impressed with these cleansing pads and will be looking for a more suitable replacement once they run out. To complete my nails and toes I had to use five cleansing pads. Two was probably because I kept messing up but it still seems excessive. I was provided with ten and I had to cleanse my nails before I applied gel and again after I cured my top coat. If you on do the maths, I was only provided enough cleansing pads to do five manicures…half of the suggested ten times..

I can’t say much about the removal process just yet. I have removed it from a few fingers due to the messy look but it was relatively straight forward. I’m putting that down to it being so recently cured tho.

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