Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tortoiseshell Nails!

I received my order from Elevation Polish, including the limited edition trio of brown jellies! I will not stop until I own ALL THE JELLIES. So, of course, I had to emulate the talents of Sarah over at Chalkboard Nails and give her tortoiseshell look a try.


It actually took quite a bit longer than I thought, which means that only my left hand is done right now. (Had I known, I'd have painted WITH my dominant hand instead.) I'm not 100% convinced that it doesn't just look like brown-toned camo, but it's pretty neat-looking.

Okay, the 'perfect hour' for photo-taking doesn't apply to nail photography.
The Elevation Polish jellies were a pleasure to work with. Very nice and smooth and not at all watery; Temperance and Cascade were more opaque while Tettegouche was more translucent. The Nfu Oh polish I used was as translucent as Tettegouche, so it worked out well-- the lighter colours were opaque enough to build over the darker colours, while the darker colours were translucent enough to not drown out the lighter ones.

Thiiiiick topcoat!
 It ended up rather bumpy because of all of the dabbed-on layers, so it took a couple good coats of Poshé topcoat to smooth it out. This created a few bubbles because apparently my Poshé has been thickening itself in secret since the last time I used it. But it isn't too bad, and not noticeable in person.

I apparently filed this nail horribly. Egads.

Polishes used:
Elevation Polish - Temperance, Cascade, Tettegouche
(NB: the trio are limited edition and the last restock will be 7 March-- but Tettegouche will be getting a new name and will join the permanent line-up)
Nfu Oh - JS 042
OPI - Nail Envy Matte (base coat)
Poshé - topcoat


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Flakie Swap Mani + Stamping + Matte

There has to be a more elegant way of phrasing these things.

When The Polishaholic's collaboration shade with piCture pOlish, Mallard, arrived in the mail, I decided it really needed to be paired with its kissing cousin, Sephora by OPI's 212-Sephora. And then I had to screw around with it some more, because that's how I roll.

DOUBLE CLAW ACTION (flash on left, daylight on right)

I cropped that one aggressively to spare you the sight of my awful little wrists. You can kind of guess at the horror as it is, but I promise the worst got the chop.

For this, I did a swap mani with Mallard on my left hand and 212-Sephora on my right, switching the polishes for the double accent nails (middle and ring). I then stamped the giraffe(?) print image from Bundle Monster plate #BM-313 on both my ring fingers using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Silver Sweep. Then I top coated the double accent nails with Essie's Matte About You.


As I tenderly pat the leather couch.

This was my first time stamping, ever, so the outcome was a little wonkier than I'd like, but it'll do. The following photo shows the flakies in action: while Mallard's show up very orange and very green at the same time, 212-Sephora's are predominantly copper-orange that shift to green at extreme angles.

Stamping wonk!

A close-up to show how the matte topcoat brings out the flakies more:

go macro lens, go!

A bit about these polishes... Mallard applies slightly thick, but it isn't at all unmanageable (like buttery, but a notch more viscous). Its first coat shows off the (surprise!) VERY teal base of the polish, and it's opaque and emerald-shimmery at two coats. The flakies are sparse and medium-sized, and it's easy for the base polish to cover them up. 212-Sephora was a huge PITA. I know lots of bloggers are fond of SOPI polishes, but I've yet to find a single one that doesn't make me want to punch something. It was alarmingly streaky on the first coat, and super-watery. I expected the base to be thinner to account for the different kinds of glitter, but I haven't had a polish make a run at cuticle-flooding in a long, long time, and yet this one did. It's a black-brown base that ends up looking like a dark bronze-khaki when at opacity. It needed a generous three coats to get there and to even everything out. Its flakies are smaller and more numerous, and its shimmer is coarser (almost micro-glitter) compared to Mallard's. It also technically contains holo particles, but good luck finding those on the nail. Mallard's thickness meant that Good to Go again played its magic shrinkage trick, though it wasn't so bad this time. I think I'm going to have to start a database of which top coats shrink which brands of polish...

And I leave you with an awkward and vaguely evil hand-clasping. Deploy the skeleton fingers!

In case you find this way intimidating, know that I took this photo with a blanket over my front like a bib.

Polishes used:
piCture pOlish - Mallard
Sephora by OPI - 212-Sephora
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri - Silver Sweep
Essie - Good to Go
Essie - Matte About You


PS: LOOK WHAT I JUST GOT! Tortoiseshell mani, here I come.

Elevation Polish nail mail! <3

Monday, 25 February 2013

Failwhale February

So, this month was an exercise in nail-based humility. I could do no right. (Insert anguished gestures here.) I tried a bunch of things, and none of them worked as I wanted them to. Serves me right, probably, for the beginner's luck of completing the last objective.


I lemmed Oh Splat! from the moment I first saw it. It's white-and-rainbow nail polish perfection. And then I went and screwed it up.


I attempted a swap mani of Oh Splat! and Orbital, with French tips in Order of the Garter. I figured this would work because A England polishes are outrageously pigmented and opaque. Order of the Garter, though a beautiful blue, needed two hefty coats to achieve opacity, by which time I was doomed to Bubble Tips™, which were only made worse by the thick coats of Seche Vite I needed to smooth out the ridiculous shelves of polish (and what do thick coats of Seche Vite always do? MICRO BUBBLES, augh):

I think my cuticles are screaming here?

Next time, I leave these beautiful glitter bombs the hell alone.

Polishes used:
KBShimmer - Oh Splat! (3 coats, works beautifully on its own)
Different Dimension - Orbital (3 coats, would recommend 2 on top of black undies)
A England - Order of the Garter (2 mortar-esque coats)


This would have been excellent in theory, and I know how to fix it in future (a palette, a bottle of clear polish on standby, and a lot more time). I opted for a skittle mani in jelly gradients over a holo base. (I couldn't get direct sunlight, but trust me that Nfu Oh 61 is crazy-rainbows all ova the place in the sun.)


The OPI jellies are too pigmented for a smooth gradation. The Zoyas were a bit better (Frida in particular), but the net result was still too choppy for my perfectionism. Next time, I custom-mix the jellies with extra clear polish, and I work in reverse (i.e., wash of palest colour from the cuticle to the tip, and overlap layers building towards the tip, instead of the standard process of doing the tips towards the cuticles).

insert a pun about choppiness here

Polishes used:
Nfu Oh - #61 (2 coats, with Aquabase base coat!)
Zoya - Paloma (thumb), Katherine (index), Frida (ring)
OPI - Guy Meets Gal-veston (middle), Houston We Have a Purple (pinkie)


I love Nailside's abstract 80s tutorial. I think this look is genius. I definitely plan to try it again in future, having learnt: 1) do not mess with the shapes, the triangle definitely looks best in the middle; 2) for the love of baby sloths, don't do nail art on top of a glitter bomb.

Okay, in this, my cuticles are definitely screaming at me, I can hear them.

The three coats of nail polish I needed for the base made it super-thick, and with the taping on top and the top coat to smooth everything out, it was a bit of a gong show. Satellite is a fantastic, gorgeous glitter-- it goes on well (I used the dabbing method but it was not at all finicky), it sparkles like our fates depended on it, and it's bright enough to run the show. I just couldn't leave well enough alone!

Also, for reasons that escape me, my Good to Go decided that it wanted to mimic Shrinky Dinks (can you believe they named them that? who rubber-stamped that?) and came up with the most outrageous shrinkage I have ever seen. I don't even have words for this. It's like the nail polish was trying to run away from my fingers...

That's, like, a sixth of my nail plate! Come back here!!

Polishes used:
OPI - Houston We Have a Purple (2 coats)
The Polish Bar - Satellite (1 coat)
Zoya - Jacqueline (1 coat; the opaque shapes)
Spa Ritual - Calm & Clear (1 coat; the translucent shapes)

And on that note, I'm off to bed. I have something hopefully better to show you tomorrow!


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Harlow & Co. Valentine's Day 2013 Contest Entry

A great many moons ago (ok, I suppose a month ago), Harlow & Co held a Valentine's Day nail art contest via their FB page. I decided to enter and came up with the below:

ow ow owwww
This is an extremely uncomfortable hand position, just in case that wasn't obvious.

More after the break!


I will try not to have high hopes for this, because many things I have hopes for go on to imitate Icarus.

So, we'll start small. :)

My name is Jolène. I live in the part of Canada that mostly justifies the stereotypes of Canadian weather (but hail from a more temperate part of the country, and fie on this stupid incessant cold). I was once truly enamoured of nail art; as a child, I did nail art designs on others at the swimming pool club my family belonged to, wielding toothpicks and braving nail polish fumes from my perch at a table in the girls' changing room throughout the summer. For many years now, that fell by the wayside.

Until I came across this bit of LOTR genius from Sarah Waite at Chalkboard Nails, retweeted by a friend on Twitter.

WELL THEN. Suddenly my 30-odd collection of nail polish colours was insufficient. My plainly-painted nails were boring. I longed for the summer days in which I'd march down the street with my ladybug-shaped backpack clinking and clanging with polish bottles of every imaginable colour.

I'm still small fry. I'd guess my collection to be at around 250, and I don't yet need a spreadsheet for it. I've promised myself to stop at a full Helmer, and we'll see how that goes (wah wah, setting myself up for future failure again). I make no promises of posting frequency until I figure out a good groove for myself, but my hope is to focus very much on nail art instead of swatches-- there are a ton of wonderful swatching resources out there (check the sidebar to the right) and I don't want to reinvent their wheel. I will probably emulate others' designs, especially in the beginning, and there will always be a credit and a link back to them in those situations.

If you have any questions, or random comments, or you feel the need to tell me about your day, or what you dreamt about last night (man, seriously, my dreams last night were bananas, I think at some point there was a rockabilly Jeep/wagon hybrid that I was contemplating buying but wasn't satisfied with its braking power [NB: I don't even drive])... then talk to me! I'm Canadian, remember, and we're a generally friendly folk.