Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: PPN - Pretty Girl Swag

Uhm. Yes. Please. With a name like "Pretty Girl Swag" I just had to do something funky. I had no idea where I was going with this one but I really love how it turned out! White, black, highlighter yellow. How perf!?

Pretty Girl Swag is a BRIGHT highlighter yellow, which is shown here over a coat of white. It popped right away after one application. What I like most about it is the consistency of the formula. I have used highlighter yellows before that separated in the bottle, became chunky, looked streaky or ended up dull on the nail, even with a base coat. This doesn't have that problem at all. Seriously, I am so impressed with PPN!

My swatches and reviews generally have just one accent nail so I can fully show off the colour but I honestly just could not resist doing art on each finger... And yes, that's all free handed. This colour is so bold and energetic so it deserved a bold and energetic design!

Check out Pink Princess Nails to grab yours today!

Also used in this post:
PPN - Divinely Made
Black acrylic paint

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trend Talk: The Accent Nail

It's a trend that's taken over nail art for a few years and has definitely hit the mainstream public headstrong in the last year. They're everywhere! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might have stumbled upon the wrong blog, but for clarity's sake, the accent nail is the one or two nails painted differently from the rest of your nails. It's usually one of the three "inside" fingers - index, middle or ring finger. My personal preference is the ring finger for pure aesthetics. I feel that the middle is too centered, the index is too close to the thumb, but the ring finger is just right, being just off-centre. When photographing, I follow the rule of thirds and the ring finger accent nail perfectly complements this.

"Why is that nail different from the other nails?!"

"Because WHY NOT?"

This trend has sparked a little debate online but personally I love this style. It lets you cut from the monotony of a solid polish to add a little flavour without being too overbearing. There is not ONE way to rock an accent nail, so I'll take you through some of the most common styles you'll see. 

Looking through my archives, I don't actually rock this look too often. A two colour accent is your very basic accent nail mani! Essentially all fingers are painted one colour while one finger (usually the ring, middle, or index) is painted another colour. The colours should always work together and not be independent of each other, otherwise your nails will just look super confused.

Some girls will tell you that you can never have enough glitter while others just want that extra pizzaz. The glitter accent nail is perfect for those in either camp! You can have solid colours and just a touch of glam with the glitter accent nail and removal of two glitterfied nails is SO MUCH EASIER than removal of 10 glitterfied nails!

I love a good design but being in an office environment, I don't like to have super flashy nails. Having a design on one accent nail can really push your manicure to the next level without being too overbearing. Here I used a herringbone design with complementary colours and a little gold to spice it up and draw a little more attention to the design. It's so easy for a colour choice to be overbearing or a complete mismatch, that you or your aesthetician must really have a good sense of colour coordination.

Some colours were meant to be together! Black and white, orange and blue, purple and yellow. Why? They're complementary colours on the colour wheel. If you've never checked out a colour wheel, do it when planning your next accent nail mani. But don't limit yourself. Find two colours that are different (contrast) but still look good together (complement.) Here I used black and yellow, which have always gone well together, but the contrast is in the design. Yellow is a brighter, happier colour, but with the black and the design, it turned it a little edgier and totally works.

When combined with a design, an accent nail will work to bring the theme of your design together rather than seem out of place. In conjunction with contrasting and complementing above, a designed accent nail can feature the opposite or complementary colours from the rest of the nails. Here I used the same design on all four nails, but I used the opposite colours on the middle finger accent nails. It works to draw attention to the nail and design, and best of all, you already know the colours will work well together because you've used them on all the other fingers.

Sometimes one accent nail just isn't enough! Most commonly done on the ring and middle fingers, the two finger accent nail is designed to attract a little more attention to your nails than just a single accent finger. Here I used contrasting but complementing colours of blue and orange (actually a little more coral IRL) with a simple chevron design and it works.  So. Well. It's simple and clean and really shows off the chevrons.

The surrounding nails can be solid or have small embellishments but should not overshadow the accent nails. They should be simple so as to draw attention to the design itself.

Here I used simple silver studs to jazz up the solid colours a little more but the attention is still drawn to the two accent nails of roses.

What do you do with your thumb!? Why is it never in the picture!? Okay. Relax. It's because it just looks AWKWARD. Aesthetically, I think my pose and overall pictures look way better sans thumb than avec. For those who have never taken French, that means "without" and "with," respectively. But in all seriousness... your thumb is (hopefully) your biggest canvas, so do what you want!! You can paint it solid or do whatever you did to the accent nail to your thumb - it will still look awesome. Here I used black and gold for an elegant rose manicure and as you can see, my thumb is the same as my accent nail. I wore these nails for a wedding and thought that the black was too much and needed the help of more gold to bring the look together. But again - it's all up to you, and pretty much anything will work on the thumb. 

Obviously there's more than one way to skin a cat (gross!) but I hope you were able to take some pointers away from this post! What do you think about the accent nail trend? What's your fave accent style? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tutorial! Elephant & Balloon Heart.

This is a Pinterest-inspired design. The watermark was so blurry all I could see was "tech" (I think!) so if any of you can tell me who created this, please let me know so I can attribute this.

I decided to create a tutorial for this adorable look!

First paint your base coat. I chose a blue. Draw the bottom of the elephant by drawing an upside down "U" with gray paint or polish. Draw the trunk by connecting an "L" shape to the left side of the elephant's body. Extend the top a little towards the trunk for more of a head shape. Over on the other side, give your elephant a little but of a tail by making a point close to where the elephant's bum would be. 🙊 Outline your elephant in black paint. Next draw a little squiggle for the ear, and use a dotting tool for an eye. Colour the ear in pink! 

For the heart, plop down two dots to represent the top of the heart. With a brush, start from the bottom centre of where your heart's point should be and draw up towards the too of the heart, on both sides. Fill this in. Outline the heart! Then, draw the string by making a loop-de-loop towards the side of your nail, towards the elephant.

Topcoat, and tada!

UPDATE: I've found the original creator! Head on over to http://tina-tech.com/im-ready-spring/ to see her original design!

Wedding Dress Nails for Revival Bridal Boutique

I know it's well into wedding season but I've been feeling a LOT of Toronto love lately (maybe has something to do with a recent meet up... Possibly!) so I wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Revival Bridal Boutique! Recently established by a very good friend of mine and her cousin,   Revival Bridal Boutique offers used and sample wedding dresses for up to 80% off the retail price. If you are looking to sell your dress - they sell dresses on consignment as well! I am honestly so proud to support  Revival Bridal Boutique and hope to be able to use Vanda and Courtney's services when I start (officially) planning my wedding. If you're in the GTA and have wedding dress needs, keep Revival Bridal Boutique in mind, and follow them for updates on new inventory and trade shows!

In their honour, I've created a wedding dress themed mani, with their logo on my ring finger. Wedding dress manis are nothing new but I've never done it, and I really don't think I've ever used this many different types of studs before!

In keeping with the Toronto trend, I used Pink Princess Nails (based out of Toronto!) - polishes are Divinely Made and You Give Me Butterflies for the white and nude, respectively.

What do you guys think? Would you purchase a used or sample dress? Would you sell your wedding dress to recoup some losses... Or wear it around the house like the ladies in Friends!? 👰

Other products used in this post are black acrylic studs from the Born Pretty Store. Use my promo code, DJG10 for 10% off at checkout plus free shipping worldwide!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: PPN - Three Little Birds & No Risk, No Reward

I'm going to an Instagram nail girls meet up (appropriately hashtagged #NailedInTO) and our theme for the event is chevrons! I thought it appropriate to use a Toronto-based nail polish since we are all Toronto-based nail artists.

I used all Pink Princess Nail polishes for this look. The teal is Three Little Birds. It's a slightly sheer green - more green than blue, actually! This photo is not true to its colour at all, unfortunately, but it's a beautiful colour! Application was smooth, but it was sheer so it took three coats to full opacity. 

The mint green is No Risk, No Reward, which was creamy and opaque in two coats. This is a gorgeous colour and is comparable to Essie's Mint Apple Green. The white is Divinely Made which is a nice, rich white, opaque in one coat, but here only used in the zig zags.

I am really glad all of these colours came together because they work really well together and I was also able to see how a cream works against a sheer. 

Here's a daylight shot, since I couldn't get the proper colour in the light box. It's still not true to the colour in real life but it's closer!

So far I'm quite impressed with PPN, so grab yours today from their online shop.
Other products used in this post are nail vinyls from http://UpYourNail.com. These are Micro Zig Zags, available for $2.50 per 100-count sheet. 

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sneak Peak: Pink Princess Nails!

Here's a sneak peak at some of the colours I was sent from Pink Princess NailsThese were opaque within two coats, except for the neon yellow/green, for which I used a white underneath to help it. This brand proudly hails from my beautiful home city of Toronto, and I can't begin to tell you how proud I am that Toronto produces such talented people and quality products!  Individual swatches and full review will be posted in the coming weeks so stay tuned. But for now, enjoy this little teaser! I love this look, a lot!

Products used:

  • PPN he always comes back (yellow)
  • PPN sunsets in Miami (orangey coral)
  • PPN pretty girl swag (neon yellow/green)
  • PPN three little birds (teal)
  • PPN divinely made (white)
  • Essie - good to go topcoat
  • eBay - striping tape

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Luxe Lacquers July Collection!

These polishes are from the July subscription box from  Luxe Lacquers. While it's too late to get in on July, use this review to help you make up your mind about whether to start subscribing for August, or grabbing one of these beauties on its own. Luxe Lacquers is subscription-based, similar to Julep. For $29.99 a month (or $29.99 bi-monthly) you receive four full bottles of polish and they have free shipping to Canada and the US! Let's get this review on the road!

First up is Poppy!

This is a bright, creamy pink, and was opaque in two coats with a beautiful satin finish. I honestly did not know how much I liked pink until I started doing my nails, but I've found myself not only buying but actually using pink more than any other colour besides white! That said, this is definitely going to be a staple for me. It's a gorgeous, perfect bright pink, with a smooth application. You really can't go wrong with a good pink! 

 Next is Siena. 

I'm in love, basically. I loved everything about this mani. The colour, the design, the perfect acrylic stud. I love yellows but I've struggled to find one that applies well. If you look back through my previous posts, I've primarily been using Sally Hansen's Lightening as my yellow. It's nice, but it's a low quality polish and you can tell in the pictures, and worst of all, in real life, that it's thicker and clumps. Siena is a breath of fresh air in the yellow game. On three fingers I used a white base and two coats of Siena on top, and on my accent nail I used three thin coats of just Siena. You can't tell the difference at all in the application because it's such a smooth formula! This is key for lighter colours like yellow. Oftentimes it's too much of a jelly, or just generally not opaque enough, and you end up using 4 or more coats just for even coverage. Not the case at all with Siena! Did I mention I'm in love? 

This next colour is Anne. 

It's a shimmery ocean green, and while I'm not generally into shimmery colours, the iridescence in the green just made this colour pop and really tied the polish together. When I swatched it I immediately thought of the ocean, and so I paired it with gold, and black acrylic teardrop studs to create a mermaid's tail. I used a white base for this because the formula is a little more sheer than the others in this collection, but other than that, the formula is great.  

 Last but not least is Mila. 

Purple is my fave, and this is no exception. This was opaque in one coat, but I habitually use two just to even things out. It's frickin' gorgeous. I didn't want to even deface it by doing any nail art on it, but I didn't want it to be the odd one out, so I settled for a less obtrusive design of gold flowers and simple gold dotting. This purple has a slight shimmer with almost a blue undertone, slightly metallic, and good gawd it's rich looking! It looks opulent, and to me, this colour embodies "luxe."  

 If the August polishes are half as amazing as the July collection, then the world needs to look out for Luxe Lacquers, because it'll take it by storm! Check out Luxe Lacquers for details on how you can subscribe today OR grab them individually while they're available!

Other products used in this post:
Mini Zig Zag Vinyls from Up Your Nail Disturbed Vinyls
Black Acrylic Studs from the bornprettystore

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.