Specializing in nail varnishes - rare, unusual, and obscure

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chanel Jade

Today's manicure is Chanel Jade. This is part of a two piece exclusive release through Chanel's website, chanel.com/makeup/jade-nail. This polish is thin and requires three coats for coverage, but it is smooth and looks like jade to me. It really looks like a creme, but in sunlight you can pick up a subtle shimmer.
This mani is one coat SpaRitual LacquerLock bc, three coats polish, and one coat SpaRitual Tout de Suite tc.

The next two photos were taken indoors in natural light:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hard Candy Sellout or Sell Out

Today's manicure is Hard Candy Sellout/Sell Out. I have been looking for this one for awhile and recently found it in the UK on eBay. If you'll notice, the British version is named Sellout. I have seen the American bottle and the name was Sell Out. I don't know why there's a difference, but I found it noteworthy - especially if you are trying to find this on the internet.
Sellout is a green teal shimmer loaded with gold glitter. The base is somewhat similar to OPI Sonic Bloom, but I found it to be unique to my collection.
I am in love with the bottle.
This mani is one coat Nubar Nu Nails, three coats polish, and one coat Nubar Diamont.

These three are indoors, the first two are natural light and the third is with flash:

This one is with flash:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bloom Jessica Mauboy I

Today's manicure is Bloom Jessica Mauboy I.
This is the other varnish of two designed by Jessica Mauboy.
This is a vampy red with sparkling shimmer. In the bottle it almost looks like a foil. Indoors it's a rich metallic red, but in sunlight it is full of purple and a bit of green microshimmer - so it really sparkles.
Happy Friday. I'm off to see Jennifer's Body.
This mani is one coat Nubar Nu Nails, two coats polish, and one coat Nubar Diamont.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On How to Improve Your Nails or Treating Your Cuticles With Kid Gloves

When I took pictures of my manicure yesterday, I realized that I have been neglecting my cuticles lately, and it shows.
This is what my cuticles looked like 9 months ago (avert your eyes if you're squeamish):

I will tell you how I changed my cuticles and improved my nail polish application (with the, much appreciated, help and wisdom of other nailphiles).

Step 1: Cuticle Treatment

Creative Nail Design Cuticle Eraser and Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover
I use (or try to use) CND Cuticle Eraser every day. It contains AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) which chemically exfoliate the cuticle skin. This should be fine to use as often as needed. I have several tubes. I bought mine at Sally Beauty Supply, but not all Sally's carry it.
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover (in the blue bottle) is to be used more sparingly. I usually go for once a week. You squeeze it around the edges of your nails, push your cuticles back with an orange stick, let it sit (the bottle says 1 minute, but I usually do 5), and then wash the residue off with soapy water. This is meant to dissolve dry cuticle skin or callouses. You should be able to find this in any drugstore.
Also, if you have a physical exfoliant scrub, using this occasionally while washing your hands can help soften and remove dead skin. I have a tub from Lush called Ocean Salt.

Step 2: Moisturize!
This is all a matter of budget and preference.
I have many options here.
Cuticle Moisurization:
You can paint oil onto your cuticle. I like Solar Oil the best, but Haken (sold at Sally Beauty Supply) is a more economical option and comes in a variety of scents (they smell good).

If you're not into oil, you can use a cuticle butter.
Burt's Bees makes a Lemon Cuticle Butter (I have it but didn't photograph) in a small tin. It's great for carrying around in your bag, but it's very thick and dry - so it's not my favorite.
Lush Lemony Flutter is Burt's Bees super moisturizing cousin, but many people complain about it being stinky. It really doesn't bother me, but it doesn't smell good. You may want to get a sample from Lush before laying down the money.

Hand Moisturization:
Budget -->
Neutrogena Norweigan Formula.
Classic. Works well. Should be easy to pick up from a drugstore.
Splurge -->
L' Occitane Hand Cream.
Very rich. 20% Shea Butter. Thick, so it may suit you more as a night cream w cotton gloves (I proved too lazy to do that regularly, plus it's hot in the summer to be sleeping in gloves). It smells kinda like a Grandma (but a rich, French one). You can get this from Sephora.

Finally, Creative Nail Design Solar Butter.
This is like a hand cream and cuticle oil in one. It has shea butter and all the properties of Solar Oil. It smells like almonds.

Personally, if I use oil I like to seal it will a lotion or cream.
Whenever I use CND Cuticle Eraser I'll usually slap CND Solar Butter on my hands right on top of it.

I mentioned before in another entry, but I try not to remove my polish with pure acetone every time because it is drying. Try an acetone remover. Non-acetone removers tend to also be drying because you have to use so much more for them to be effective.

If you do a lot of housework or gardening, invest in some rubber gloves. These can save your hands.

Post manicure cleanup
I have tried q tips and orange sticks wrapped in cotton (both dipped in pure acetone).
The best thing I've found so far are paintbrushes dipped in acetone.
Here are my favorites (and my giant orange stick from Sally):

Here's my advice. Go to an art supply store. Look at and FEEL the brushes. Pick a few that you think will be suitable and experiment. I had to try a few to find ones I like.
-Go for brushes for oil/acrylic paint over watercolor because they're stiffer.
-I prefer to use a flat or bright brush to clean up either side of my nail. Then I switch to a round brush to do the curved base of my nail.
(I do this after applying a top coat and letting my nails dry)
-Take a look at a variety of sizes, I prefer 1s and 2s - but I have excellent eyesight. You may want to go bigger.

Final note: Some people I know swear by prenatal vitamins and/or Biotin for strengthening their weak nails. I have strong nails already and I prefer not to take excess supplements, so I haven't tried either personally.

I hope this advice helps you love your natural nails even more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

RBL Blogger Polish: Mismas and Scrangie

Today's manicure is Rescue Beauty Lounge Scrangie layered over Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas. You can click on the color names for links to the product pages on Rescue Beauty Lounge's site. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Rescue Beauty Lounge is one of my favorite nail polish brands. It's the third most represented brand in my collection with 34 bottles.
In case you were wondering, the top 3 brands in my stash are:
#1 Hard Candy
#2 OPI
#3 RBL
I have tried all of the Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes I own, and they are MOSTLY great. I had to swap one that was uber sheer and pink instead of red. The brand excels most at creme formulas. Their shimmer and glitter is decent, but most of their cremes are super smooth, opaque in one coat, and fast drying. (Which seems to be quite a feat to achieve).
Rescue Beauty Lounge's latest three piece collection was designed with nail bloggers. These were designed by two bloggers whose blogs I read regularly, and you can find their blog links in the bar on the right.
Scrangie is an opalescent sheer shimmery purple with teal iridescence. Scrangie designed it to resemble a beetle's wing. It's gorgeous, but quite sheer and really benefits from layering. You can use whatever purple creme you have (or black or something else for that matter); feel free to experiment. Mismas is a purple creme whose shade compliments Scrangie quite well.
Mismas is a one coat purple creme. Simple and well done. Created by the blogger of All Lacquered Up.
This mani is one coat Nubar Nu Nails, one coat RBL Mismas, two coats RBL Scrangie, and one coat Nubar Diamont.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On why nail polish is like twinkies...

Nail polish is a little glass bottle full of chemical goodness. I know a lot of us, myself (in the past) included, look at a thick gloopy dried up old bottle and think - this polish has gone bad. Then thrown it away.
Don't think that way any more. Nail polish is almost NEVER unsalvageable.
If it's too thin...leave it sitting open. Some polish will evaporate, but the liquid should thicken.
If it's too thick - even if it looks dried up and solid...add thinner and balls.
I have two types of thinner.
Seche Restore is a thinner that has toluene as an ingredient. It is made for Seche Vite topcoat. I like using it in old polishes that are not big 3 free (containing toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and/or formaldehyde) since there's no point in adding big three chemicals to B3F polish. I think the b3f and the non-b3f are best kept to themselves so you don't have chemical compatibility issues.
I personally have three different B3F thinners -
-SpaRitual makes one with the ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate (it's called vegan, I guess because of the omission of petroleum-based Heptene?)
-Nubar makes one with the ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Heptene
-Zoya makes one called Renew with the ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Heptene, Ethyl Acetate
They all contain similar chemicals, but with differing formulas. It's really about what works best for you and what sort of bottle design you prefer.
You can get any of these from their respective company sites. If you have a good beauty supply nearby they may carry one or more brands of thinner.
Sally Beauty Supply carries a thinner called Beauty Secrets with the same ingredient list as Nubar's (Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Heptene).
As for balls, many ladies I know swear by zinc coated bb pellets made by Daisy, which can be purchased at Walmart or on Amazon. Myself, I have the Daisy bb pellets and I've had problems with rust and discoloration in the nail polish bottle.
I have switched to stainless steel ball bearings from eBay. I bought 316 1/8" diameter balls from a seller called tool supply and they're a little smaller than bb pellets, but I think they'll make a fine replacement.
I usually drop in two balls and add thinner 5 drops at a time. Roll or shake the bottle after each infusion of thinner until your polish is restored. You can swatch it on a piece of paper to test it's smoothness. Don't get too aggressive with the thinner, an overly thinned polish isn't a great improvement over a too thick one.

NOTE: Please NEVER use acetone as a thinner. It ruins the polish.

Hard Candy Groove

Today's manicure is Hard Candy Groove. My mother-in-law looked at this bottle twice and said "it looks like different colors...I didn't know nail polish could do that." Yup, I'm spreading the nail polish gospel. Nail polish can do just about anything, aesthetically anyways.

Hard Candy Groove is a trichrome polish that flashes purple, bronze, and (to a lesser extent) green. It looks awesome in the bottle and doesn't disappoint on the nail.
Indoors it shows purple with green around the edges. The only downside, this polish is sheer. I swatched it first, and upon discovering how many coats it would take to achieve opacity, I decided to layer it over black. Layering over black, white, or a tonally compatible
This mani is one coat Nubar Nu Nails, one coat Illamasqua Boosh (black creme), two coats HC Groove, and one coat Nubar Diamont.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bloom Jessica Mauboy II

Today's manicure is Bloom Jessica Mauboy II. I have no idea who Jessica Mauboy is, but I think she has good taste in varnish colors - scratch that, in today's information age I decided to google her. Apparently she was the McPhee or Clay Aiken of Australian Idol. Anyways, this polish is a dark teal that leans very green. I'm afraid the photos made it appear a little more blue than it actually is. Notice that after much effort of my last glitter mani, I still managed to get one speck of red glitter stuck right in the center of my middle finger nail. How apropos.
I quite like these Bloom polishes. They are opaque in two coats, dry quickly, and the colors I have are lovely. I wish they were sold here in the US.
This mani is one coat SpaRitual resurface base coat, two coats varnish, and one coat of SpaRitual tout de suite top coat.