Thursday, February 27, 2014

- - Monthly Manicures | February 2014 - -

Hi friends!'s incredible how fast February flew by! I remember it was not so long ago that I was posting my first Monthly Manicures post and looking forward to this one. As I mentioned in January, this space is for me to show you my experiments with various nail designs and techniques. I'm still a bit rusty with everything, so please bear with me! Unlike in January, this month I got to try out a combination of polishes. I hope you enjoy! 

To check out this month's manicures, please read further...
*  All of the photos in this post were taken indoors with either flash/no flash. *
Mani #1
Love (Julep)

I'm going to start off with a pretty low-key manicure. Love was a gift from Julep founder, Jane Park, that all of the Julep Mavens received in their February box. I've discussed the particular shade that Love is in my February Maven review, so I wont spend much time on it here. What I wanted to mention about this manicure is that in the spirit of Valentine's Day I created a small pink heart out of beads on my accent finger. I think that the hot pink complimented the speckles of pink in Love. I purchased these beads from Chapters (out of all places, right?).

It's actually easier to create a heart than I thought. All you need to do is make sure that your beads are roughly the same size (I found that some of them were smaller than others), and make sure your heart is symmetrical. Using tweezers, start by placing the two beads in the middle - this is where your heart will be. Then, slowly match up the rest of the beads on your nail. There is actually a lot of room for error because while the nail polish is drying, you can move the beads around fairly freely (but carefully).

The biggest mistake I made was putting a top coat OVER the beads. As soon as I did that, the beads started to bleed their pink colour onto my nail. You can see quite a bit of it here (on the bottom beads especially):

I ended up having to redo my accent nail. What I did the second time was that I put a top coat onto my nail and THEN I put the beads on. That way, there was no bleeding of colour. I'm not sure if it was the top coat or the beads that caused the bleeding. Hmm, I'll definitely have to experiment some more. In any case, I should really get a new top coat soon, and the beads didn't end up lasting too long anyways. Still fun to try though!

Mani #2
Dakota & Beatrix (Julep)

This was my favourite manicure this month. I used two colours and some water decals from the Born Pretty Store to create this mani. First, I put on two coats of Dakota, which is described as "rose gold metallic chrome." Then, I put on Beatrix, which is "coal black with multidimensional glitter." Julep actually got this one wrong - Beatrix is a clear base polish with black glitter. You would need to use a lot of layers to actually get full opacity with Beatrix - and even then, I'm not entirely sure that you will succeed.

In any case, I've used Beatrix in a manicure before and loved the effect it creates. Part of the reason why I included it this time is because although Dakota is lovely on its own, it's a colour that ever-so-slightly washes me out:

L: no flash | R: with flash

The water-based decal that I used in this mani is currently my favourite one from the Born Pretty Store. Overall, I think they've got really great quality decals.

 Mani #3
Black on Black (Sinful Colors) & Percy (Julep)

Percy is my first ever flakie polish! I have wanted to see what the polish looked like ever since Julep came out with it in December. Unfortunately, I haven't really found a lot of reviews for it. In terms of the formula, I find that Percy is pretty gloopy; however, it's actually not too bad to work with. I think the key is to not layer a lot of it on; the more layers you have, the less you will be able to see the individual flakies.

As a base, I used Black is Black from Sinful Colors (my first one!), which is a polish I picked up for really cheap at Rexall this past October. The formula is pretty watery but easy to work with, so a couple of coats was enough.

Finally, I added Percy:

The flakies are orange in the light; the camera doesn't pick this up well.

It's a bit difficult to capture exactly what Percy looks like. In person, the flakies actually reflect orange in the light; however, with the flash of the camera, you see them as mostly grey. Looks beautiful in the bottle though!

Mani #4
Margot & Anisa (Julep) 

It's only when I finished this manicure that I had a true appreciation for Margot. I received the polish in my January Maven box and I did feel slightly disappointed by it initially. I'm over that now, and I do think this manicure turned out quite well (at least for my left hand).

This was probably my first successful experiment with nail striping tape. I had a disastrous experiment in the first month of my blog, but I definitely learned my lesson from the mistakes I made the first time around. I put Anisa on as a base. The formula is sort of watery, so two coats was enough. Anisa took fairly quickly to dry, but this time I made sure that it was completely dry. Then, I put on the tape. Here's how I positioned the tape this time:

It took a while to fiddle around with the tape since it was being fussy and not sticking at the ends where I needed it to. After some time and some patience, I finally put a coat of Margot over it and removed the tape right away. I ended up having quite a lot of Margot on my nail, so it did take a bit longer to dry (I also had to fix minor mistakes here and there). But I do think the end result turned out really nicely:

To create more harmony, I added little dots of Margot to my "Anisa" fingers with a dotting tool. I'm pretty happy with the finished product. :)

Mani #5
Roc Solid & Ava (Julep)

This last manicure is one that I'm still sporting right now (I did it only yesterday). I received Roc Solid along with Love in my February Maven box. I chose Roc Solid as an add on because there was something so enchanting about the colour, which is described as a "vintage military crème." Rooney, another polish that I wanted but didn't add from the February collection, received a lot of negative reviews because of its watery formula, so I wasn't sure how Roc Solid would be since it seems to be just as watery. However, it worked out lovely. In my opinion, the formula is really nice to work with because it goes on very smoothly, and it's a good break from the typical thick formula of Julep polishes. I think I used about 2-3 coats for full opacity.

As you can see in the picture above, Roc Solid is a dark shade of green. I think the colour looks really great with my skin tone. Next time around I'm going to give myself a mani using only Roc Solid.

In terms of Ava, it's a nice "ballet slipper pink frost." I thought these two would look good together and they do. In some of the pictures, Ava looks like a white frost; however, it actually has a hint of pink to it. The formula is a bit fussy - it's watery, so I had to put multiple coats on, but even then it seems to be a bit translucent still! I think you can't really tell that though unless you're looking at my nails pretty closely.

This brings me to the end of my post. I'm really proud of myself this month for going outside of my comfort zone and trying out new colours and techniques (e.g. using nail striping tape). I'm really hoping that I have even better manicures to show you in March!

What did you think of the colours I used this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading! -A.~

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