lexnicoleeexo asked: Your nail art is sick! It totally inspired me to try some things.. But I don't have any thin paint brushes and really don't have the money to go out and buy a bunch of design brushes. is there anything I could use at home?
I’m glad you’ve been inspired to try your hand at nail art! It’s really so much simpler than it looks, and it’s way fun! :)
Anyway, I’m not sure of any at-home substitutes for thin paintbrushes, but my “secret of the trade” is to just use regular paintbrushes from a craft store like Michaels. This is currently my favorite thin paintbrush, and of course, Amazon doesn’t have a price listed, but it set me back about $3.00, I think? (Compare it to the other things listed in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section.) So, if you purchase thin paintbrushes from the craft section, I think it’s a great way to save money.
I hope that helps! :)
Color: Today Was A Fairytale (Deborah Lippmann)
Retail Price: $20.00 (USD)
This shade contains various sizes of glitter, all suspended throughout a sheer gray base color. At first glance, it all appears silver, but if you look hard, there’s actually a very faint hint of blue to this as well. I think it adds some magic and mystery, doesn’t it?
Also, this nail polish has virgin diamond powder in it! I’m not entirely sure how it differs from the non-virgin variety (if that’s even a thing!) but a quick Google search tells me that virgin diamond powder is an abrasive used for polishing. I’m not sure how that actually adds to this nail polish, but it sure is fun to wear this glitter and brag about the diamonds on your nails. Very fancy!
If you choose to layer this on for a glitter-only look, note that the sheer gray base sort of creates a cloudy final look. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this result. There is so much sparkle and bling in the bottle that I didn’t want anything muting any of that fabulousness! I used three coats of Today Was A Fairytale to achieve the glitter-only look.
This glitter is also great for layering over other solid shades. Best of all for me, I find that one layer of this over a solid color means the sheer gray base doesn’t mute any of the glitter. Since silver is one of the ideal neutrals, I honestly think it has great potential layered over absolutely any shade for any season, occasion, or mood. But in the photo above, I’ve layered it over Helena (Julep), Emilie (Julep), Stormy Weather (Deborah Lippmann), and Mandy (Julep).
Looking for a dupe? Especially when I consider how this shade looks layered over a solid color, I am immediately reminded of Set In Stones (Essie). There are quite a few differences, though: Set In Stones has a clear base, an overall silver look (compared to the slight bluish hue in Today Was A Fairytale), no virgin diamond powder, and, as it would appear, more pieces of large glitter.
Overall, this is a fun glitter, and definitely something you’d want to buy if you want to indulge your inner princess. You can pack on the layers for a truly glitzy look, or use only one layer over a solid shade to add the perfect touch of magic to an otherwise ordinary manicure.
Disclosure: Product samples provided by Deborah Lippmann and Julep.
climaxxed asked: what would you recommend as a good cuticle treatment? i use this AWESOME nail hardener called "nail magic" and it does absolute wonders except it's very harsh on my cuticles and the other skin around my nails :(
I have two cuticle oils that I rather like. Beauty Secrets’ Nail Matrix is really inexpensive at Sally Beauty Supply, although the only issue I have with it is the oil stays on your fingers for a couple hours after you apply it, so when I use it, I use it before I go to bed. Butter London’s Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil is more expensive, but it really is something you can keep in your handbag because it’s a great cuticle treatment and leaves your fingers feeling oily for only about 10-15 minutes.
You should also consider cuticle butters because I find they do a better job of nourishing cuticles (which might better combat your harsh nail hardener). An inexpensive option is Burt’s Bees’ Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, and a slightly more expensive option is LUSH’s Lemony Flutter. Both do tend to leave your fingers feeling sort of greasy, so again, I’d recommend applying these before bed.
Hope that helps!
Color: Blake (Julep)
Retail Price: $14.00 (USD)
This shade is a pastel yellow with a creme finish. I really like that this shade has a softer finish instead of the really bright yellows you tend to see around spring and summertime. It’s not too bright, but of course, with something like yellow, it certainly makes a statement. Absolutely ideal for a fun, flirty outfit!
The formula for this shade was surprisingly easy to work with. Being that it’s a pastel, I thought application would be tricky, but it really wasn’t. While the first coat is a little streaky, this shade is completely opaque by the second coat. I dig it!
Looking for a dupe? Cheeky Chops (Butter London) is almost identical, although I find Blake leans more pastel while Cheeky Chops is a little brighter (even though it’s a muted, semi-pastel shade as well). Both shades cost the same, so if I had to pick a favorite, I would go with Blake. The formula for Cheeky Chops is on the thicker side, which makes application a little trickier than with Blake.
Disclosure: Product sample provided by Julep.
Colors: Mandy (Julep), Glenn (Julep), Carrie (Julep), Blake (Julep), Brigitte (Julep)
Check out my Valentine’s Day mani! I love the combined effect of these colors on my nails. Looks like candy! Unfortunately, I was stuck in classes all day (seriously, my last class ended at 9:00PM!), so I didn’t really get to flaunt them anywhere. That’s okay, though; I felt fabulous, regardless!
Anyway, I’d like to wish all my followers (even those of you who follow me via Twitter and/or Facebook!) a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for your constant support and enthusiasm for everything I do here. All of you are my sweethearts! ♥
Colors: Mandy (Julep), Glenn (Julep), Carrie (Julep), Blake (Julep), Brigitte (Julep)
I’ve received requests for a cupcake nail art tutorial since I first posted my cupcake mani in September (here), so I hope this tutorial is helpful. For such a cute end result, it’s actually very easy to recreate. Stay tuned!
Start by painting your nails with a base coat. Then, use a sweet pink like Mandy to paint about half your nail. Don’t stress about neatness! With a bright red like Glenn, use a thin paint brush to paint vertical lines over Mandy. Also add a horizontal line to the tip of your nail to create the bottom of your cupcake.
Using a dotting tool (you can also substitute a toothpick, ballpoint pen, or the back end of a make-up brush), create light pink frosting on your cupcake. Since I’m keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, I’ve used Carrie for the frosting. Just like with real cupcakes, after the frosting comes the sprinkles! My sprinkles are in Brigitte, Mandy, and Blake, but you can use whatever colors you prefer. Place one drop of each sprinkle color on a napkin or a piece of scrap paper. Then, using a toothpick or needle, dot on your sprinkles. Take your time!
Next, I used Glenn and a tiny paint brush to add a tiny little heart on top of the cupcake. If you don’t have the patience for this, grab your dotting tool, and add a cherry on top instead. You can also add a rhinestone on top as well. The options are endless!
Once your cupcake is totally dry, seal in your design with a top coat. And that’s it! Now you can paint cupcakes on the rest of your fingers as well, or you can keep only one cupcake to accent an ordinary manicure, or you can be adventurous and add different designs to your other nails. Get creative and have fun! :)
Color: Flying Dragon (China Glaze)
Retail Price: $6.50 (USD)
This shade is from China Glaze’s 2008 INK collection of neons. It is a bright and opaque magenta-fuchsia base color with darker purple glitter and bright royal blue glitter throughout. I don’t know of any dupes for this one—it’s so unique, and a really fun color to wear.
The formula for this shade does not disappoint. I anticipated the glitter might not be so prevalent on the nail, and while the darker purple glitter is a little hard to spot, the blue glitter shows through just fine, and I think the overall look works. Like many neons, this dries semi-matte, so you will need to use a top coat if you want your manicure to dry glossy like mine. In the photo above, I am wearing two coats of Flying Dragon.
I think most will agree this a summer color, but it might be a fun twist for Valentine’s Day as well. Even though this shade was originally from a 2008 collection, you can easily find it at Sally Beauty Supply among other shades in China Glaze’s permanent collection now, so if you like this color, definitely pick up a bottle for yourself.
Color: Faye (Zoya)
Retail Price: $8.00 (USD)
This shade is from Zoya’s summer 2011 Sunshine collection. It is a magenta base with hints of purple and brown and is packed with copper and gold sparkle throughout. The sparkle action is absolutely breathtaking, and makes the nail polishes in this collection very unique.
The formula for this shade was a little on the thin side, but other than that, it’s a great formula. Application is easy, and this builds up very nicely as well. In the photo above, I am wearing three coats of nail polish.
This is a one-of-a-kind shade to whip out for Valentine’s Day, but the sparkle makes it great for any time through summer as well. Faye is so spunky and cute; you absolutely must add her to your stash!
Color: I Lily Love You (OPI)
Retail Price: $8.50 (USD)
This shade is from OPI’s summer 2011 Nice Stems! collection. I didn’t properly catch the nail polish bug until the end of summer 2011, so I had just missed out on buying this while it was actually in stores. However, when I visited my parents over the holidays, I spotted a lone bottle of I Lily Love You on the OPI rack at Ulta! :O It was fate! I felt like I had won the lottery when I just stumbled across this. That said, if you like this color, maybe you will luck out and find it in stores as well.
In any case, I Lily Love You has a sheer, super bright pink base and is packed with random bits of iridescent flakies and glitter floating throughout. I tried to pick out individual shapes—squares, circles, hexagons, large and small glitter, etc.—but there are simply too many to really count them all.
The best thing about this glitter is it’s great to wear alone or to layer over another solid color. Since the base is so sheer, it really doesn’t discolor a solid base manicure when you layer I Lily Love You over it (especially if your solid base manicure is a darker color). The iridescent flakies are such a fun way to wake up a mani midway through the week. However, like I said, the base is really sheer, so if you want to build this up…make sure you have some time on your hands! In the photo above, I’m wearing six coats of nail polish! I’ll be honest with you: TOTALLY WORTH IT. Since the pink base is so sheer, despite having six layers of nail polish on my nails, it doesn’t feel heavy or thick at all.
Overall, the formula for this shade is great—easy to work with and forgiving of mistakes. The flakies spread evenly, so you never feel like you’re just pushing pieces of glitter around on your nails.
As far as dupes go, nothing completely matches it, but Chloe (Zoya) comes closest (in case you’re looking to purchase something that’s easy to find in stores right now). As similar as they look, though, I still find they’re way too different to actually be dupes. While Chloe has a sheer pink base as well, the pink is much lighter (Chloe is a part of a spring collection, after all, whereas I Lily Love You is from a summer collection). Also, the flakies differ quite a bit: Chloe seems to flash red, orange, and gold, whereas the flakies in I Lily Love You flash pearly colors.
Flakies are pretty big this year (at the very least, this season), so I’m sure our favorite nail polish companies will be dropping some major creativity on new shades and collections yet to come, but as of now, I Lily Love You is my favorite flakie! The sheer (pun not intended!) versatility, alone, makes this wonderful during any time of year, and thus, totally practical to add to your stash as soon as possible!
forevercemetery asked: I store my polishes in a few shoebox-sized Sterilite plastic containers I got at Target. They stack nicely and are just the right height to fit any polish bottle. Just make sure you get a kind with a FLAT bottom--some have a groove around the edge, which makes polishes sit crooked and it doesn't look quite as nice :)
Another great idea, and I love that they stack nicely. :) Sounds like a reasonable alternative for people looking for a tupperware-like storage container. Thanks for sharing! :)
taosupermomandandyman asked: I have 200+ bottles and I use plastic "shoe boxes" with lids. I purchased mine at Target. They come in a 5 pack for about $5.99 if you live in the states.
I can’t believe I didn’t think of shoeboxes. Genius! Thanks for sharing. :)
Anonymous asked: How do you store all your nail polish? My collection just passed 50 bottles last weekend and the plastic bag I've been keeping them in just isn't cutting it anymore. I considered getting a Helmer like a lot of nail bloggers have but I move residences too often, so any suggestions for something more portable would be appreciated. thanks in advance.
I’m actually in a similar situation! I’m moving out of my apartment in a few months since I’ll be finished with my Master’s degree in May, so I don’t want to get something like a Helmer since I imagine moving something like that is a pain.
When I first hit around 50 bottles of nail polish, my mom gave me this cute little basket, and that was a fairly efficient means of storage. Easy to transport, and it looks adorable if you leave it on your vanity (or wherever it is you put all your stuff).
Now that I’ve exceeded 50 bottles, I use small cardboard boxes to store my nail polish. Y’know the boxes you get from Amazon.com if you order books or DVDs? Those are manageable sizes that are just the right height and size (I can guarantee more than 50 bottles of nail polish fit in one). Plus, since they’re in cardboard boxes, all you need to do is tape the top shut when you’re ready to move. I also like that the boxes are somewhat small. My nightmare with using cardboard boxes is that the bottom of one will fall out, and all my nail polish will go crashing onto the floor! But since the boxes are small, it’s more than easy to simply place one hand along the bottom of the box when you move the box. Problem solved! :) Plus, enough tape to secure the bottom of the box should be enough to guarantee all your nail polish won’t fall out (nail polish isn’t that heavy—even when you hold 50 bottles at once). The holding-the-bottom-of-the-box thing is really an extra precaution that should assuage any paranoia.
I’ve also heard of people who store their nail polish in tupperware containers, but honestly, not only do I not have enough tupperware containers for that to be plausible (considering mine are used to store food, lol), but I haven’t really consistently come across any that are a reasonable size like the Amazon.com boxes.
I hope that helps! I’m sure I’ve got other followers who move around a lot, or maybe travel a lot because they’re in school, so maybe someone else will have more suggestions:
If anyone here has another effective way to store your nail polish (especially for people who travel or move around a lot), please share! :)
Color: Ivanka (Zoya)
Retail Price: $8.00 (USD)
This shade is from Zoya’s summer 2010 Sparkle collection. It has a dark emerald base, is packed with bright emerald shimmer, and also has tiny emerald and gold flecks throughout. Such a unique concoction! And it really is quite sparkly—even indoors. I would’ve taken a photo outside, but it’s way too cold today!
The formula for this nail polish was a little thinner than I’m used to with Zoyas, but fortunately, it works! Application is really smooth and easy, and Ivanka is fairly opaque on the first coat. I’m wearing two coats of nail polish here, but now that I see the photos, I think a third coat would really make the final look sparkle (as the collection name implies). Also, if you picked up Rina (Zoya) this holiday season, she would be a great bar glitter to layer over Ivanka!
Maybe it’s because this is the last day of January, and it’s still appropriate for me to be thinking about winter collections (despite the fact that spring is in March!), but this glitter sure does look like it belongs in a holiday collection, doesn’t it? But since the beginning of the year marks the beginning of regrowth and rebirth, anything green fits perfectly within the boundaries of spring/summer collections.
If you’re looking for something sparkly without the hassle of layering coat after coat (after coat after coat!) of an ordinary glitter nail polish, Ivanka (or anything from the Sparkle collection) is an ideal and dazzling alternative.
(Click photos to enlarge them.)
Collection: Resort (Julep)
Retail Price: $14.00 (USD) per bottle
Today I’m reviewing the Resort collection from Julep. Honestly, when I received these colors, at first glance, I wasn’t sure how the colors went together as a collection; however, now that I’ve been working with them while swatching and typing up these reviews, I think this collection is so cohesive, and has the perfect mix of shades for the spring and summer.
Leah: I had to review this one first! Green is my favorite color, and I don’t have any other greens in my stash that are this bright. It’s just toeing the line between bright and neon, and I love it! I know it looks like it has a creme finish, but this shade actually has a tiny bit of barely noticeable shimmer, which makes this green so much more stunning in the sun. I think greens are great for the spring (St. Patrick’s Day!), but the brightness makes Leah perfect for summer as well. Best of all, unlike other similar shades like Irish Green (Sinful Colors), I only needed two coats to achieve bottle color. This one’s a keeper!
Megan: I actually already reviewed this shade (here) because it was a part of my January Bombshell Julep Maven box, but my previous swatch was indoors, and this one is outdoors, so now you can see the difference. Outdoors, Megan looks more blue than aquamarine, and while the shimmer is less obvious in a photo, it actually makes quite a statement as you move your hand around under the sunlight. This shade reminds me of the ocean, and most obviously felt like it belongs in the Resort collection. Though Megan goes on extremely sheer on the first coat, don’t be fooled! By the second coat, I achieved bottle color. Magic!
Heather: This shade is a sultry greige with a shimmery finish. Honestly, I was expecting to like this color the least. “Greige” is the color lovechild of gray and beige—a bit like taupe—so I wondered how it could possibly scream (or even whisper) Resort. However, Heather won me over once I got her on my nails. This shade looks so gorgeous and chic, and was opaque in two coats. It makes me want to join the cast of ABC’s Revenge (my primetime guilty pleasure this TV season) so that I can go to beach parties and yacht soirees with a glamorous outfit to match these nails. Heather is sophisticated enough for the board room, perfect for lounging on the beach, and, of course, glamourous enough for any party. Best of all, after summer, I think this would transition beautifully to fall as well. Heather is a shade you can’t miss any time of year!
Maria: This shade is an exact dupe of Fairy Lights (Butter London), which was a limited edition holiday 2011 shade, so if you run out of your Butter London shade, Julep’s got your back! Maria is a dusty rose pink with a frosty, shimmery finish. Like Fairy Lights, my final manicure looked a bit like I had liquid metal on my nails. It was mostly opaque in one coat, but I decided to use two coats, which is what Julep recommends. What I find interesting to consider is Fairy Lights is from a winter/holiday collection, whereas Maria is part of a spring/summer collection. To which season does this color really belong? Honestly, I think it works in both collections. The frosty finish on a grayed out pink makes this shade wintery, but with the way sunlight bounces off the shimmer in Maria, this shade belongs in the summertime, too. Maria can look fun and girly in the sun, or cool and subtle indoors. Best of all, it’s versatile enough to make appearances in your wardrobe all year.
Maya: This shade is bright and peachy (it reminds me of a peach smoothie!) with a shimmery finish. Sun-kissed and sweet, in the bottle, I thought Maya was the best shade in this collection, but unfortunately for me, I think it looks awful on my nails! I think it just looks strange with my skin tone…I can’t quite figure out why. Perhaps it looks better with lighter skin tones? Or darker? The other problem I have with this shade is it’s really streaky (only shade out of the bunch where I had this problem). You need to take your time with application, and make smooth, straight, and steady strokes. You can sort of see where my stroke got a little unsteady on the left side of the nail on my middle finger. In any case, if you like this color, it’s a great spring/summer shade to add to your stash. It’s subtle enough for work, and playful enough for the beach. Best of all, as Julep promises with all their nail polishes, it’s opaque in two coats. Fabulous!
Like I mentioned before, this collection is so cohesive, and I think you’d be set for summer if you picked up all five colors. Within the span of this one collection, you have bright, fun pops of color that are great for a day on the beach; you have chic, sophisticated shades that transition effortlessly from professional to party; and you have subtle yet memorable shades that are sweet enough for work and sassy enough for everything else on your schedule. The shimmer in each shade is the neat little bow that perfectly ties this collection together. Well done, Julep!
Want your very own Julep Maven boxes every month? Check out the bottom of this entry to learn how you can get your first box containing over $60.00 (USD) of products for only $5.00 (USD).
Disclosure: Product samples provided by Julep.
stilespls asked: Hey gorgeous. :* Two questions: do you think certain polish colors look better on short (as in, to the fingertip short) nails? Weird one I know. Also, I noticed that after polishing for a couple months with weekend breaks in between, my nails are getting super thin. :( Is it time to take a break?
Answer to your first question: not really! I think skin tones will change how a nail polish color looks on you, but as far as nail length goes, I’m not sure it really has much to do with how nail polish colors look.
And my nails got really thin after I first started painting my nails a lot. The solution is you just need to add some extra considerations in your nail care regimen! First, if you’re painting your nails really often, there is no need to buff your nails every time you give yourself a manicure. Honestly, I only buff my nails twice a month. Second, if you’re using pure acetone nail polish remover to clean your nails for every manicure, you should probably stop that! Pure acetone essentially eats through your nails, so if you use it a lot, you’ll notice your nails getting thinner (I did!). Now, I use pure acetone to remove glitter nail polish, and regular drugstore nail polish remover for any other kind of nail polish. I find this helps a lot! Third, avoid overexposure to water. Weirdly, overexposure to water will dry out your nails, making them weak. Protect your hands with gloves, and make sure you use some good hand cream to moisturize your hands, fingers, and nails at least twice a day. Try to get in the habit of using cuticle oil as well (apply this on a day you’re not painting your nails so that you ensure the oil won’t ruin a manicure). And lastly, I’m glad you leave your nails naked over the weekend because it’s really important to give your nails a break from nail polishes and some time to breathe; however, consider also using some nail strengthening treatments. OPI, Essie, Julep, and Butter London (off the top of my head) have some popular formulas that will grow, harden, and enrich your nails.
Hope that helps! <3