Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Holo Zebra

I've been so busy preparing my shop for opening I have barely been getting my nails polished! I was testing out my new zebra vinyls yesterday and I loved the look, so I decided to get my butt in gear and do a proper mani with them. In holo of course! Channeling Lisa Frank, I used a bright neon base and some black holo for the stripes.

Products Used
China Glaze Pool Party
Mad Scientist Lacquer Unicorn Blood
Color Club Beyond
INM Out The Door Top Coat
My Nails Did Zebra Stripe Stencils

Here's a pic with direct light to better show the holo gorgeousness!

This is so fun, a little crazy for my usual tastes but I'm totally digging it. AND, my shop will be officially launching this weekend so keep your eyes open for a special discount!

Hope you enjoy!
xo Shawna

Friday, April 24, 2015

Seaside Stamped Gradient

I'm glad I photographed this mani ASAP because I proceeded to dent all the tips when I left the house before the fairy dust properly dried! Oops. This is my mani for week four of the April TGIF nail art challenge- stamped gradient. I wanted a light base colour that would allow my stamping shades to pop, so I dug deep into my drawer and pulled out Panda-Monium Pink, which I'm pretty sure is the first OPI colour I ever fell in love with. I finally used my last untied MoYou London plate, which I ordered back on Christmas! Baby steps, right? I find the longer I do nail art, the less i reach for stamping plates - but they're definitely nice for a quick, pretty mani. 

Products Used
OPI Panda-Monium Pink
Sally Hansen Pacific Blue
Konad Princess Polish Deep Jungle
China Glaze Fairy Dust
INM Out the Door Top Coat

These two stamping colours blended together beautifully. It's too bad this mani got ruined, but I am going to pick up my cutting machine from FedEx tonight (an aside: I hate FedEx!) so I'm not too upset because I'm going to be all about testing the nail vinyls soon! Watch for the shop opening announcement and specials!

xo Shawna

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Highlight of my Summer

I bought CG's Highlight of my Summer a few weeks ago at the BOGO sale at Sally. This colour is seriously hyped in the nail world! I used it as an accent in my Easter Egg nails but I wanted to try out the awesomeness on it's own. I was in the mood to stamp, but sadly I'm considering this set a stamping fail! Also quick note on the formula - it's definitely a 3 coater and drags and gets bald spots with any less. Gorgeous shade, but you have to work for it! 

Products Used 
China Glaze Highlight of my Summer
Wet n Wild Black Creme
INM Out the Door Topcoat
Bundle Monster 507 & 508

I think part of the reason I'm not digging this one is my new nail shape. I've envied many squoval nails so I decided to try it out. Ugh. I haven't had anything resembling square for a while (like, more than a year and probably closer to two) and it is really, really weird to me. Why do I keep doing this?!  Also the images didn't stamp as cleanly as I would have liked and got a little smudged when I top coated too soon. Live and learn, it's an excuse to re-do my nails tomorrow! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Matte Coral & Gold

I wanted something simple since I spent a good chunk of my polishing time tonight painting 150 thumb tacks to make my own dragon egg. (Try explaining whah a dragon egg is to the cashier to michaels- not easy!) I settled on a simple slanted french tip using nail vinyl guides. (I'm launching my very own vinyl shop soon so stay tuned!). I actually hated it at first (the colours) so I tested my new nyc matte top coat and voila- love!

Products Used
essie tarte deco
Loreal Because I'm Worth It
NYC Matte You Crazy
Straight Vinyls 

So simple and classy. This matte TC is way better than the China glaze which was previously using!

Are you a matte fan?
Xo Shawna 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nail Art Basics: Top Coat

At the nail girl meet up, Bree had the brilliant suggestion of blogging about top coats for those new to the nail art (or nail polish world, in general) about the difference between clear nail polish and actual top coat. I loved the idea so much I decided to start a mini-series of posts on nail art basics for beginners!

There are a ton of brands so I'll review some of the big names as well! There are many more I haven't tried, so I will stick to the ones I've personally used. 

So - top coat. Why should you invest in a proper top coat instead of using whatever clear coat you happen to have kicking around? Well, your choice of top coat can make or break your mani! "Clear coat" (a regular nail polish formula without any pigment) takes just as long to dry as your nail colour. So, while it might add some gloss to your manicure, it can take forever to thoroughly dry, and often you will bump your nails before the clear coat has properly set- resulting in annoying chips, smudges and sometimes bed sheet marks while you sleep!

However, by choosing a good fast dry top coat, you can pretty much eliminate these annoyances from occurring! The faster drying of the bunch are dry to the touch within a few minutes, and rock hard and ready to roll way sooner than regular polish. You can even slick a layer on over still tacky polish and it will save you from smudges! 

Fast dry top coats are especially great for detailed nail art. If your manicure has layer of polish that needs to be dry before you move onto the next step (think, stamping or striping tape), a fast-dry coat can literally save you hours of dry time! If you're a night owl like me, you can do your nails right before bed and know you'll be ok in the morning! 

There is a technique for applying top coat to nail art, as well. You want to "float" the polish onto the nail - basically, to avoid having the brush actually touch the polish so it doesn't drag. If your brush is too dry, or you're using too much pressure, the brush will drag the polish underneath and cause those unsightly smears of your nail art. If you plan to use a mattifying or scented top coat, I would recommend using the fast dry TC first and then slicking those over top. 

I think that about covers it. If it doesn't convince you, I don't know what will ;) Onto some reviews!

When searching for a good top coat, nail artists usually are looking for 3 main qualities: quick dry time, gloss, and lasting power. It can sometimes be hard to find one that has all three! I will admit I always get tip wear and nail polish doesn't last all that long on me since I'm in gloves all the time at work, so I won't comment too much as to the length of wear. 

Essie (good to go) and China Glaze (fast forward) are both pretty accessible (I've scored them both from Winners at a discounted price) and boast pretty decent scores in all 3 categories. The dry time is relatively quick and decent gloss! At Winners, they're about $6-7 and closer to $10 elsewhere. 

HK girl top coat is hugely popular in the nail art world. It's sold at in Canada ($9.75 CDN)  or directly from the stockist, Glisten and Glow. I've tried this one and can definitely attest to it's rapid drying time and super glossiness. Also, no shrinkage! This is probably my #1 choice of all the TCs in this post, however I usually go for the convenience of being able to purchase my topcoats in a bricks and mortar store which is why I didn't re-buy!

Seche Vite is also really popular and a little easier to find in retail stores (as opposed to just online). It retails about $10 a bottle, but Sally's often has sales. You can pick it up at Sally's Beauty Supply (P.S. - get yourself a Sally Card!). I personally don't love Seche, I notice the shrinkage (it makes the polish lift at the sides of my nails) and I find it gets thick in the bottle quite quickly. However, it is SUPER shiny and fast-drying. Some people absolutely rave about it, so I think it's one you'd need to test it out for yourself to decide!

INM Out the Door is my newest addition. (I purchased it at Sally's in the states for $5). This is probably the slowest drying in the bunch, however still much faster than a non-fast dry top coat. It's not as glossy as the others, which isn't always a bad thing (especially if you plan to mattify your mani). I did like the lasting power of this top coat though - I rocked my Sand and Stilettos glitter nails for 5 days (which is practically a record for me, I think) and there was nothing beyond minimal tip wear. I have to admit I was impressed! 

So - everything you ever wanted (or maybe didn't want to) know about top coats! I hope this was informative. Let me know in the comments if there are any other topics you would like me to cover that you think would be helpful for nail art newbies!

xo Shawna

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mirrorball Quatrefoil for TGIF

So, here I am two days late to my own weekly nail art challenge! But that just means don't feel bad playing along if you're not punctual (like me!). This week's prompt is quatrefoil, which I've done once before and loved the look, and wanted to get around to doing it again.

Products Used
Echoes Polish Fliptastic
Orly Mirrorball
INM Out the Door Topcoat
Dotting Tools Amazon

I don't think I've talked before about my (previous) bad luck with thermals. I had two thermals from different indies and they were both so subtle they were practically invisible or really tough to shift. I snagged this from Sammy (Cuter Cuticles) at the meet up and was excited to give thermals one last shot... luckily I was not let down this time! 

Are you a thermal polish fan?

xo Shawna

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Yogini Mani + 100th Post!

Tonight's post is extra special! It marks my 100th post since starting this blog in August. That's a lot of posts- and a lot of manicures! Thanks to all of you who pop in to check out my nail art and comment from time to time. I appreciate you all!

My next few days will be spent at the Toronto Yoga Conference, 12 hours of yoga over the next two days! So I wanted to do a mani to fit the bill. Very appropriate for my 100th post as yoga is one of the other big parts of my life (I'm a hot yoga instructor part-time as well as my day job)!

Products Used
Polish My Life Nude Lace
OPI Barefoot in Barcelona
Rimmel Sage All The Rage
OPI Golden Waves
Nicole by OPI Hard-Kourt Kardashian
INM Out the Door Topcoat
MoYou London Explorer 27

I loved how easy the nimbus nail art from a few nights ago was, so I decided to use earth tones to create a neutral base for some stamping with my MoYou plate. Since the colours used are pretty delicate, they melded together amazingly to create a gorgeous watercolour effect base. I have to say, the Nicole polish was amazing for stamping with my creative stamper. I am so happy with the overall effect and will be proudly rocking these in downward dog!

In honour of my 100th post, I would love if you left a quick comment telling me what country you're reading from!

xo Shawna

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Nimbus Quintuplet Mani

A few of my besties from Insta decided to collar on a bestie quint mani! We decided to do a nimbus mani (you might remember I did my first one back in January) using a pale pink as the base to tie them together, and then whatever colours we wanted as the nimbus shades. Neon was mentioned somewhere in there, so I decided to run with that and reached for my Color Club neon minis! (Sadly, most of them are unnamed on the bottle).  The resulting mani is gorgeous, and brighter than the pictures capture. Scroll to the bottom for the collage! 

Products Used
OPI Mod About You
Color Club Warhol
Color Club Unnamed Neon Purple
Color Club Unnamed Neon Pink
INM Out the Door Topcoat
(I think the unnameds may be Kapow! and Right On!)

My second go at Nimbus went much quicker! I think I was less concerned about perfection (it's laundry night!) and the result is just as great as when I stressed about the placement of every single dot. I will definitely be using this technique on a more regular basis now that I know how quickly it can go! 

Check out my babes on insta:

Have you tried this technique from the Nailasaurus yet?

xo Shawna

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mani Swap with NailsTori

It was so hard to choose which mani to recreate when NailsTori & I decided to do a Mani Swap! Eventually I settled on a pretty creme to glitter gradient Tori did around Christmas time, while she chose one of my Halloween manis. We got creative by changing up the colour palettes and the result was two gorgeous new manis! Check out the collage at the end of the post. 

Products Used
Bonita Hostess With the Mostess
Bonita Penny For Your Thoughts
MTL Creations Tara
INM Out The Door Topcoat 
Cuter Cuticles Cutie Guard

I love the springy shades of these Bonita polishes I picked up when I went shopping in the states a few weeks ago. The peach is a bit sheer but luckily the gradient covered up any VNL. I forgot foil polishes almost work too well for sponging on, so the colour is super dense and doesn't blend as well as a gradient. Oh well! 

Check out the collage. Originals are on the left, and recreations on the right. The colours Tori used in her recreation are gorgeous! Love it!

Do you like foil polishes?
xo Shawna

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Eggs for #TGIF

I think two people played along (once each) for #TGIFnailartchallenge March, but it is such a great incentive for me to do manicures I have been putting off that I decided to go ahead with an April challenge as well!
My friend's daughter Sydney (hi!) asked what I was doing for my Easter manicure and the first thing that popped into my mind was Easter Eggs! So I grabbed a rainbow of pastel polishes and went for a mix-match look using vinyls, dotting tools and some good old free-handed painting. 

Products Used
Barry M Coconut
OPI Mod About You
NYC Cosmetics Lexington Yellow
China Glaze Highlight of my Summer
China Glaze Lotus Begin
Sally Hansen Babe Blue
INM Out the Door Topcoat
Dotting Tools eBay
Nail Art Brushes Amazon
Lou It Yourself Straight Vinyls (skinny & regular)

I looove this one, it better last all weekend! I also painted different designs on my Cindy hand because I'm OCD and couldn't just leave them white. The designs aren't as intricate (or neat!) but they're passable.

Happy Easter! Do you do anything to celebrate with your family?
xo Shawna

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Unicorn Blood Swatch

Super simple post today, gorgeous pics of Mad Scientist Lacquer in Unicorn Blood! (And yes, I confirmed its totally a Harry Potter reference). It's currently sold out, but being restocked soon- I scored this at our meet up! Enjoy the holo porn. 

I always forget that "holo" is not a well-known term for those who aren't in the insta nail community. It means holographic glitter! 

QOTD - are you a Harry Potter fan? ;)

xo Shawna

Images by Freepik