Sunday, 5 November 2017

Hearty Nails: Halloween 2017

Here I am, breaking self-made tradition left right and centre. Not only did I only do one Halloween design this year, I also went and forgot to post it here.

Not like it's anything groundbreaking or anything, but still.



I wanted to try incorporating some gel or acrylic that I have learnt this year, so I thought I'd make some 3D spiderwebs. I put some gel to mark the shapes and sprinkled black glitter over the top before sticking it under the lamp.


The result is the most uncomfortable nail art I have ever worn. Seriously scratchy stuff, it had all sorts of fibres sticking to it. Not cool.
I removed it right after taking the pictures, if you must know.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Hearty Nails: baroque inspired nails

So it has been the summer holidays, and I have spent them nerding about history documentaries, mostly in the great company of Lucy Worsley and Ruth Goodman.
It was only a matter of time until some of the imagery inspired some nails.

baroque nail art

So I present you, baroque inspired nail art. Because one can never use enough gold acrylic paint.

baroque nail art

The 18th century was ridiculous in many areas, but at least the furniture looked pretty. And the fabrics. Not so much the silhouettes. But you can bet they would've loved some of this acrylic paint action on their nails.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hearty Nails: Pink flowers

You may have seen this trend around, where instead of doing one accent nail, people pair up two fingers with art, two plain fingers and a colour coordinated but simple nail. I don't know if this has a name, since it shouldn't qualify as accents anymore.

Anyway, I randomly felt like being trendy, which doesn't usually happen, so I did this.


Perfectly colour coordinated and with a flower motif, which is popular as well.
I used a NYC striper polish for the flowers, which I then regretted immediately because it was gloopy and thick and not even nail polish thinner can save it anymore. But it was the perfect colour match for the shimmery pink, so there's that. The black stems of the flowers were quickly done in acrylic paint.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Hearty Nails: My first gel polish experience

*sneaks in pretending she's not late*
Hello~!
Today I bring you a throwback picture, to show you how quickly you can improve when you actually know how to do stuff and to caution you against diving headfirst into experimenting.

how not to do gel polish


This happened to me when I was first buying all the necessary material for my second year of beauty school, back in Summer last year. The necessary material consisted mainly of artificial nail tools and product, since the rest of the course focused on expanding the base knowledge acquired in the first year, and machinery treatments. Obviously we're not expected to buy any machinery, so our new kit material was basically acrylic powder, gels, files in various grits and sizes etc.

And of course to nobody's surprise, the first thing I had to do when my gel polishes arrived, was to experiment. I had seen YouTube tutorials on how to do gel polish, I had a LED lamp, what could possibly go wrong?

A lot, it turns out, unsurprisingly.

I had plans. I even wrote the plans down. I listed what I would do to all 10 fingers, each finger done slightly differently. This finger buffed but not primed, this finger primed but not buffed, this finger buffed and primed, this finger neither buffed not primed, this finger with a base coat, this finger without. Etc, etc.

It was A Mess.

ruined manicure

This was my right hand thumb finger, which was not buffed (mistake #1), had primer, base coat, two coats of black gel polish, some powder pigment rubbed on it (I wanted to try if the chrome technique could be applied to non-chrome pigments, which yes, it can, if the powder is fine enough), and a top coat.
Mistake #2 and the main culprit of this mess, I believe, was that I did not understand just how thin gel polish layers need to be. I think I applied the black on too thick, it didn't cure quite right, and then chipped in strange ways within hours. As you can see from the gaping hole in my nail in that picture, the lift happened in between the two layers of black, which is what led me to think that's where I messed up the most in this nail in particular.

The messes in other nails, which I never took pictures off, included the top coat shrinking and the base/colour/top layers not playing along with each other, which can also be explained by them being applied too thick and not curing properly.

Now, I want to point out that the theory of where I messed up was formed after I learnt how to do it properly in class. After the explanation and everything, I have never had any other problem with gel polish, except for the little bit of shrinking that always happens at the very tip of the nail while you paint the rest of the nails in the hand. This I fix by capping the tips at the last moment before they go into the lamp, as a last check.

star nail art in gel polish

As you can see, my newer gel polish manicures look much much better. And I do keep experimenting, I just don't mess with the basic procedure anymore, it's done like that for a reason.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hearty Nails: Winter Galaxies

And so we have come to the end of my seasonal galaxy nail art self-challenge. That is quite a mouthful.
Here, you can see my previous posts in the challenge: Spring, Summer and Autumn. Today we have Winter.

winter galaxy nail art
 You may notice the index finger looks a bit strange. It's just fatter and more ball-y because it broke and I reconstructed it with acrylic powder, which was in fact my first ever acrylic nail on a real hand (as opposed to the practice fake hand).
You can see the pre-polish result here on my Instagram.

winter galaxy nail art

I knew I wanted it in blues, and I wanted it glittery. Clearly the glitter part was a success, seeing as the shine looks almost metallic in the pictures, but I would've preferred if it had turned out a lighter blue. It should also have had a bit more contrast with the purple tones, but somehow the purple got relegated to peeking underneath on the borders of the nails, which is not cool. I got a bit carried away with that dark blue oops.

winter galaxy nail art - thumb


Material used:
-D'Orleac base coat
-Uñikas nº 23 white
-Essence "Alice had a vision-again" (from ye olde Twilight limited edition)
-Seventeen "Navy Glint" (this is the one that I got carried away with)
-Rimmel "Purple Addict"
-Miss Sporty 344
-Wynie 806
-Wynie 003
-Essence "a lovely secret"
-Essence "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" (from the Cinderella limited edition)
-NYC raindrop
-Primark anon (a glitter)
-[b]asic anon (also a glitter)
-H&M Urban Spirit
-Nº7 In The Stars
-Max Factor Extra Frost
-Essence "better than gel nails" top coat.

It's a lot of stuff and funnily most of them are glitters.
Now let's see what I come up with next...

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Hearty Nails: How to make a manicure last

Happy new year everyone~

As promised last week, today we're going to talk about how to make a manicure be long-lasting.

Includes fancy-ass Canva image

This is really basically about Doing Things Right. You may or may not agree on what exactly it means to do things right, but I think we can all agree that if things are not done right they will not be good.

Step zero: please pay attention to the state of your natural nails. Healthy nails will help, healthy nails are your friend. If your natural nails are brittle or peeling in layers and generally screaming for help, anything you put on top will chip faster, it won't matter if it's gel polish or normal polish or acrylic or Magical Stuff.

First: before you paint, you need to degrease. Any oil present on the nail plate will prevent the polish from sticking properly, so make sure there is none. You could wash your hands normally, with plain old soap, but if you want to go full-on, wipe the nails down with nail polish remover (preferably the kind with acetone).

The base coat: it needs to be quality. Not super high quality, but also not just a clear polish masquerading as a base coat. All the good base coats I have encountered have had a thin-ish texture, dried quickly and with a matte-ish finish. Not completely matte, more on the satiny side but definitely not glossy.

The colour: needs to be applied in thin coats, this makes sure all layers are properly dry before the next one goes on. Thick coats make it harder for it to dry, and may give you texture problems (including, but not limited to, Bubble Hell).
Another important thing to take into account when it comes to colour (and all coats really, but the colour coats make it a visible difference) is that you need to cap the ends. That is, the very tip of the nail and the sides, if your nails are long enough, also need to be coated. This makes tip wear (you know, when your colour fades only on the tip, while the cuticle area is showing no sign of age other than growth) appear later than it would without.

Shown: no colour capping on the left, capping with dark polish on the right. Also, note the shiny new logo.

The top coat: as I mentioned in my previous post, I sometimes use two different top coats. But I only really do that when I have nail art on; for plain colour I will only use the thick quick dry kind.

Bonus level: repeat the top coat every other day. I will use the thinner kind of top coat for this, and if I'm feeling particularly paranoid, I'll add a new coat every day. It may sound over the top, but refreshing the clear coat really does help a lot.

Catastrophe level: your polish has already chipped and you have no time for a full manicure NOW. What do you do? You paint over the top. You could even use a striper polish to add some quick design.

Shown: a chipped polish on the left, a temporary fix on the right. The fix was done with the NYC 'Show Time Nail Art 003 Pinkasso' striper polish.


If your problem is growth, rather than a chip, you could always add a coat of colour on top as a last minute fix. Or you could do the same as above and use a striper polish to paint over the line of growth.

Let's all have good long manicures now~

Friday, 30 December 2016

Hearty Nails: at-home vs at-school manicures

Yes, hi, I am a procrastinator. You might've noticed by the absolute lack of posting consistency in any kind of online place I can be found. Today's excuse is that...I really wanted to have the new logo ready for the next post. I really thought I'd be done with the full blog makeover by now but design takes a lot longer than expected. Mostly because I'm not a professional so basically I barely know what I'm doing, and any little thing takes hours of frustration and mental screaming.
The logo is in fact ready now...as of yesterday...but then I decided to use it for the NEXT next post. As in, the new year's first post.
Today I'm coming to you with a pictureless post (!).

I am going to talk about how I do things differently when I do my nails at home and when I do manicures at school. In case you didn't know, I attend beauty school, and manicures are one of the most popular services (right up there with waxing).

The main difference is in my attitude towards it. At school it has to be as perfect as I can get it because I'm graded on it, but at home it's more like...anyhow pop a colour on there for the pretty.

The speed is a big difference. At home I usually paint my nails while at the computer watching stuff or just generally distracted, and I can easily wait half an hour between coats because I got distracted by shiny things. At school, the whole manicure should be finished in half an hour. That includes the massage.

We do a little hand+forearm massage by default with all manicures at school. It is one of the favourite things of clients usually, but obviously at home I will always skip it. Closest I'll get to a massage at home is applying some cuticle oil or balm while my nails are naked, hours before painting them.

Filing and cuticle pushing are pretty much the same...at school we would soak the nails in soapy water to soften the cuticles, but honestly not everyone even needs to soften them. In any case, we only push the cuticles, never cut. We have been taught that health & safety doesn't allow cuticle cutting. And then I'm a hater of cuticle cutting myself, for years before school, so I only ever push my own cuticles.

A massage with oil means that we have to degrease the nails thoroughly before painting them; we do this with good ol' nail polish remover at school. At home, if I've oiled my cuticles too close to painting time I'll just go wash my hands with normal soap. But since I usually do that hours before I paint, it's rarely a problem.

When applying the colour, I already mentioned I can easily spend ages between coats, and I also don't have any problem applying 3 or even 4 coats sometimes to get the opacity I want with some polishes. At school, more than 2 coats of colour is really nigh unthinkable.

At school, I usually clean up before top coating, because it allows the colour to dry that bit more, but to be honest I barely need to clean. If I do, we do it with some cotton stuck to the end of a wooden cuticle pusher, soaked in acetone. This sounds complicated but once you figure out just how much cotton is good and how to twirl it just right so that it stays tight on the stick, it's really very easy. Meanwhile, at home I'll just carelessly flood cuticles and paint the skin around the nails, wait for it to dry, and then scratch it off. It's all very glamorous and professional. It's a good thing I very very rarely flood the cuticle these days even when painting carelessly.

Now, the top coat itself is a difference. At school we have just the one, and it's not particularly quick-drying. Lately we've had a quick-drying spray though, so that helps. At home however, I actually tend to use two different top coats: a thinner runnier (usually cheaper) one, and a thicker, quality, quick-drying one. The thinner one goes on first, as a way of protecting the thicker top coat from any possible colour transfers. It's the it's-ok-to-mess-it-up top coat, the one you don't care might turn grey or have random runaway flecks of glitter. The thicker top coat is then the one to seal it all, the real protective shiny coat, so it has to look perfect and not have random glitter flecks or discoloration.


And that's it~ My home manicures last me a really good time, unless I happen to have my nails in a bad state and they're breaking or peeling in layers, in which case there's very little that can help. At school, I haven't heard any complaining, so they must be satisfied, surely.

Next week, on the year's first post (with the new logo!), I will share some tips for making your manicures long-lasting. Until then, let us rejoice that this monster year is finally ending.