DIY Neon Sign Manicure: No Airbrush Needed

I wanted some neon color on my fingertips, but wanted to be subtle about it.  What could be better than bright neon on black, reminiscent of cool Summer nights at the carnival?  Give your tips a hot neon makeover with a little paint and patience (and no airbrush to have to bother with for this art).  Here’s how:

You Need: (more…)

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Elegantly Understated Half-Moon Manicure: Greige Neutrals

Recently I’ve been playing around with the half-moon manicure.  Though I’ve tried it free-hand (with an uber-steady hand) before with middling results, I found that using those sticker color dots from the office supply store work just perfectly for this purpose.  (I’m sure they’re useful for other things besides fancy nail art manicures…but I haven’t used them for anything else yet!;)

It’s easiest to lay down a double coat of your base color (what will end up as your half-moon color).  Then, once the base color is bone dry (this is really important; it has to be totally dry and non-tacky!) lay the top half of a circle sticker over your nail at the half-moon area.  Stick it down well, paying attention to the sides of the sticker.  Then finish up with 1-2 coats of the main nail color.  I peeled the stickers off while the top color was still wet; it left little ridges in the manicure so I might try this again but wait until the top color is dry before peeling off to see if the results fare better.  In any case, seal with a clear topcoat and you have an elegant but understated chic manicure that looks pretty unique too!

Colors used: Essie Nail Color in Mamba for the half-moon and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Wet Cement for the main color.


What colors do you think would look good together?

Happy polishing!


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Instant Chipped Manicure Fix! Extend the Life of Any Mani With Glittery Tips

I feel silly that I haven’t tried this before.  Usually when my manicure chips, I scrape it off and start anew.  But a quick swipe of glitter on the tips camouflages things enough that it can last me at least another 3-4 days.  Brilliant!

Base color: Essie Lilacism

Glitter: Nails Inc. London Chelsea Embankment*

*I was so happy to have found this glittery gold polish: it’s a really fine glitter, but with maximum, full coverage.  I as so sick of glitter polishes that only contained a few sparkles floating in a clear polish…this is just perfect for full-on, max glitter!!
How do you extend the life of your manicure?

(When you aren’t getting gel manicures, that is…)


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Current Obsession: Nails Inc. London Magnetic Manicure

As all of you have probably noticed, this year the newest trend for nails has been the magnetic manicure.  Polishes with embedded iron filings in them respond to the pull of a magnet while wet…resulting in beautiful undulating patterns and subtle gradients across the nail.

Airbrush-style nail art made easy!  Done in 5 seconds!  And now popping up in stores everywhere.

I bought Nails inc. Magnetic Polish Trafalgar Square in order to try out.

The color, once applied, reminds me of dark grey iron filings, with bands of light silver waving through.  And the polish was surprisingly easy and fun to apply.  Here’s how:

1. Start with clean, dry nails.  The instructions on the bottle do not say to use a base coat, so I also left it out.

2. Remove the magnetic cap from the bottle.  This particular one creates wavy patterns.

3. Apply a generous amount onto your nail – really glop it on there!

4. Quickly, while the polish is still wet, apply the magnet.  You press the rounded ridge just below the cuticle and the magnet will sit about 1/8″ above your nail.

Hold that magnet there for about 5 seconds, but don’t let it touch your nail!  (You may also see some polish lifting up and securing itself to the magnet…if so, just separate the magnet a little more from your nail.

Pretty easy, right?  Repeat for the rest of your nails.  Once dry, add a clear topcoat to extend the life of the manicure.

I did find that one coat, even when glopped on thickly, tended to be a little too translucent for my taste.  So to deal with this after putting one coat on and applying the magnet…

I spread another thick coat on (not even waiting for the first to dry!)…

And then reapplied the magnet.  As you can see, the dark areas are a lot darker, and a lot less translucent.  I think this is something you’d have to play with depending on the color of your polish and how opaque you want it.

Now I’ve also recently spotted $10 magnetic polishes available at Ulta (Magnetix Nail Lacquer from China Glaze), so having this lower-cost option is great.  China Glaze also sells a separate magnet that has 3 different designs on it which looks really fun to play with.  Or I might steal something off my refrigerator to see what happens!!;-)
How about you guys?  Have you tried out these magnetic polishes – or are you thinking of giving them a whirl?


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DIY Candy Cane Nails – A Holiday Manicure Using Color Dots

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble drawing straight lines with my non-dominant hand.  Whenever I attempt some nail art with straight lines, my efforts on one hand turn out perfect, and the other hand looks all wonky and wiggly.  I figured a template or stencil would be the best way to combat this – so I thought why not DIY?  These candy cane striped nails are actually a cinch to do, and if you’re using sticky color dots (found at any office supply store), they’re also cheap!  No striper brushes or special nail polish required.  Here’s how:
You Need:

*sticky dots (or you can using sticky labels, or even tape…anything that will stick to your nails will work)

*base nail polish color (I’m using Essie’s Russian Roulette from my Secret Santa Miranda from the Portland Blogger Meetup)

*contrast nail polish color (I’m using white, from a Rimmel French Nail Polish Set)

*glitter nail polish/topcoat (I’m using Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in Disco Ball, which contains little holographic flecks)



1. Paint the base color onto your nails.  I had to do two coats to achieve uniform coverage.  Allow to dry completely before going on to Step 3).  (I couldn’t wait, so ended up making things a bit messy.)

2. Remove 5 dot stickers from the package.  Cut each of them into a fringe, stopping the cuts before the edge of the circle.  Fold every other fringe strip under itself…this will become the stripe stencil for your nails.

3. After your base color is completely dry, place the dots onto your nails, positioning the stripes how you like.  For my shorter nails I made my stripes diagonal, like a candy cane, and for my longer nails I used an uncut dot to create the curve of the tip, and then placed the cut dot with the stripes going up-and-down on the tips only.  Have fun with it and mix it up!

4. Use your contrasting color of nail polish to paint the stripes.  You may have to do two coats for complete coverage.  Make sure the stripes are strongly stuck onto your nails or else you’ll get leakage around the edges!

5. After the polish is dry, remove the stencils and finish with a swipe of glitter.

Now if only I had peppermint-scented nail polish…

Happy Holidays, everyone!


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