25 January 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Disclaimer: I blame my boyfriend for this post.

I've always had a habit of painting my nails. Since the 7th grade, I've used Sally Hansen's Chrome collection and kept my nails metallic year-round. My favourites were always the blues and silvers. I never did much other than a simple layer of solid colour.

Sally Hansen Chrome dried very quickly, and only ever required one layer. It was also much less offensive in odour than most. The downside was that it chipped extremely easily. But because it's very opaque, it's perfect for stamping!

Well, Chrome by Sally Hansen has long been discontinued. Thanks to my coworker Alicia, I've discovered GOSH nail polish. They have the perfect metallics!
GOSH "Ocean" topped with white floral stickers
My childhood friend Debbie introduced to me Konad Stamping Nail Art a few years back. I really like the product concept, as it lets you combine any amount of images in any way you like. It does take a while to get used to the procedure, but once you get the hang of it, it's extremely convenient.
After a little bit of practice, this was my first success:
Sally Hansen: Chrome "Sizzlin' Crystal" base
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear "Gunmetal" plaid print
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails w/ Nylon "Heartbeat" lace print
Of course, I find Konad to have some flaws as well. First off, the material scratches up like nothing else. The scraper could just as easily be made out of a rigid rubber and work just as well. But of course, material and production cost is an issue, so we just work with what we have for now. Debbie and I soon got into the habit of trading plates so that we can both use a larger variety of designs without purchasing more.

After a few attempts, I decided it was an awesome (and stupid) idea to host a manicure party at work!
We laid out all our nail polish and tools on the staff table in the basement of Crocs and had ourselves a blast, what with the combination of Crocs fumes, nail polish fumes, and booze. The below was the result of that night:
GOSH "Black Passion" base
GOSH "Metallic Blue" print
At this point, it only took me about ten minutes to do a base and print, or half an hour to complete a 2-3 layered design. I did my nails on a regular basis, which was probably very annoying for my roommates since it smelled bad.
GOSH "Purple Heart" base
GOSH "Golden Dragon" net print
GOSH "Metallic Purple" bamboo print
Soon I was confident enough to do my own nails for events. I started taking care of my cuticles too, with constant applications of hand lotion and trimming. I also began to use nail files more rather than clipping the nails. Filing your nails prevents chipping or flaking, and also promotes growth as it stimulates the nail base with vibrations. The below is an image of my nails I prepared for Tian Le's engineering graduation ball. I was very proud of it because it took me an extremely long time to layer about 4 coats of white in order to make it look like pearls. And the worst part was, each layer took about half an hour to fully dry. In case you didn't know, patience is not within my vocabulary.
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails w/ Nylon "Super Frost Platinum" base
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear "Brick Wall" floral print

Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear "Brick Wall" base
Konad "White" floral print
Alicia and I then made a trip to Mary's for another mini nail event. This was actually the first time I let somebody else do my nails! Alicia had a whole bunch of amazingly bright colours that I would have never thought of applying on myself.
Wet N Wild "Inferno" base
American Apparel "Manila" star and pattern prints
I then started using the top of a pen or the back of a paintbrush as a dotting tool. This only worked for so long, since using nail polish remover on those end up eventually ruining my brush/pen. I decided soon after to get an actual dotting tool. They're metal tipped, and double ended for different sizes. The size of the dot really then just depends on how much polish you have, or how much you press onto the nail.
GOSH "Ocean" base

GOSH "Purple Heart" base
GOSH "Metallic Blue" seahorse print and bubbles
It took me almost two years to buy another new plate, since I never really felt the need to. In the end, I only used this plate twice, because Debbie bought me a master plate. The master plate has all the designs from B01 to B36, which is more than I'll ever need. Any other designs I need are acquired through friends who also collect stamping art plates. At this point, there were many other plates that were not necessarily brand name. For the lack of a pleasant term, they were "copies" of Konad plates, and then some custom designed ones began appearing on the market as well. These were much more affordable, but I still purchase from Konad to support the company.
GOSH "Ocean" base
GOSH "Metallic Purple" floral and lace print
One day, Alicia gave me a bottle of nail glitter! I got super excited and decided to do a new design using the sponging method to create a gradient. The next day, I arrived at Crocs for my shift to discover that we have a new sparkly pink bracelet that matched my nails perfectly, right down to the pearl!!!
photography: Danny Kim
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails w/ Nylon "Super Frost Platinum" base
Sally Hansen: Hard As Nails w/ Nylon "Heartbeat" gradient
GOSH "Nero" floral print
silver nail glitter with metallic chameleon purple butterfly flakes
A few months ago, I read about magnetic nail polish is Asia. I looked for it everywhere here, but with no success. Two months ago, I was extremely excited to find Nails Inc London Magnetic Polish available at Sephora. They only had three colours available, and of course, I bought them all. I was originally looking for Layla Magneffect polishes, which Alicia said had recently appeared in Rexall Pharmacies.

Magnetic nail polish is extremely expensive, so buying several colours already breaks the wallet. Trying to buy more for the sake of more patterns is also a pain. Luckily, I've found that one of my favourite stores sells magnets individually!

I've been a loyal customer to Phoenix Beauty Lounge, so it was a pleasant surprise when they began to sell magnetic polishes. There, I bought a few more patterns at an extremely low rate. I figured this was the best solution, as I pretty much have all the colours I would ever use anyways. The only colour I would like to add to the magnetic collection is a nice deep red, which none of the manufacturers offer just yet.
photography: Danny Kim
Nails Inc London: Magnetic Polish "Trafalgar Square" base

Nails Inc London: Magnetic Polish "Houses Of Parliament" base
Sally Hansen: Chrome "Sizzlin' Crystal" dots
metallic pink butterfly flakes
I recently also began using a lot of fimo, cut outs, and rhinestones. I also have been experimenting with transfers, gradients, and layering effects. I now leave you with a design for Chinese New Year! I especially like the Nails Inch London Special Effects polish because it reminds me of (muscovite) mica, which (I don't care what anyone says!) I perceive as one of the most beautiful minerals. This time, I themed the design around Chinese enamel vases.

This year is special to me, because I am a dragon as well. The dragon's natural element is wood, and is of the yang force. I was born the year 1988, making me an earth dragon. This year, we celebrate the water dragon! Honestly, I've always wished to be born either the water or the metal dragon, but since when do we get to choose our birth, right?
photography: Danny Kim
Nails Inc London: Special Effects "Kensington" base
Nails Inc London: Special Effects "Wyndham" overglaze
Sally Hansen: Insta-Dri "Whirlwind White" dragon print
GOSH "Metallic Blue" ying-yang print
flower fimo, metal gold leaf, and red bead
Happy Chinese Near Year~! I wish everyone another year of health, prosperity, and happiness!

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