Everyday Nail Art #6: Gel Polish Marble

S&M 23 April 2019 A

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For this design I used Princess Tiara, one of the original Gelish colors, on most nails. You can see that, even though my bottle of polish is a few years old, it still went on smoothly and provided good coverage with two coats.
For the marbled nails, my base was two coats of My One Blue Love (AKA Water Baby).  To get this easy marbled look I applied a third coat of My One Blue Love, but did not cure. I laid down stripes of these colors in a radiating pattern from the lower corner of the nail:

Then I used a round paintbrush with a small number of short bristles to drag the polish outwards in a fan from the corner. You could also use a toothpick or dotting tool to get this drag marble look.

S&M 23 April 2019 B

If you want a crisp marbled lines, it’s important to cure as soon as possible.  I wanted a mottled look, so I let the marbled gel polish run together and blend a bit before curing.

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Everyday Nail Art #5: Threads

S&M 12 November 2017

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For this design I used Don’t Break My Corazon from the Gelish Matadora collection and some nail art threads. The ones I found were from Born Pretty, but those are no longer available. You can get nail art thread in a variety of colors on eBay now for low prices, though.

Before doing the nail with threads, I taped off the section that would have the threads, Then I applied my base and color coats, and removed the tape.  I actually glued the threads down to the nail enhancement to get them to curve with the nail.

I thought these turned out well and held up nicely for over a week, but I had to use a couple layers of top coat to smooth over the threads. To remove the threads, I soaked the nails in acetone, and was able to file down the rest.

 

Everyday Nail Art #4: Crackle Polish

S&M 17 March 2019

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For my recent manicure I brought back the crackle trend to combine it with gel polish from Gelish.  I used China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Cracked Medallion, thinking it would look nice with Gelish Gardenia My Heart. The final look is pretty cool, but I think a bigger difference in the base color and the crackle color would have been more eye-catching.

Either way this design is easy to do on a gel base.  After applying and curing all my color layers and top coat, I buffed the nail I wanted to put the crackle polish on. Then I applied a traditional polish base coat. After it dried, I proceeded with the crackle polish as usual.  After that had dried for a few minutes, I used a traditional polish top coat, but you could also use another layer of gel top coat.

 

Everyday Nail Art #3: Real Silver Glitter

S&M 24 by RGI A

Before we head into spring colors and designs, I wanted to share with you one of my manicures using this beautiful, rich shimmer polish from the Gelish Marilyn Monroe Forever Fabulous collection. The polish is called I Prefer Millionaires, and it’s one of my favorites in the collection.

For the design I tried out a new product that I read about in Nails Magazine awhile ago; It’s genuine sterling silver glitter from 24byRGI.com. You can buy one gram for $12.95 with free shipping. To create a block of glitter, I taped off the area before applying the glitter using Top It Off (I wanted to be able to soak it off later), and then used a striping brush to hand-paint the lines around it with Arctic Freeze by Gelish.

S&M 24 by RGI BThis design turned out really well…very striking in person.

The polish applied beautifully and worked well with the glitter.  I really liked the glitter, too, and will probably buy more products from 24byRGI.com. I love being able to buy real metal glitter, and they also offer their glitter in 24K gold. They also have a 24K gold nail polish, which is their signature product and namesake. The loose glitters must be suspended in a top coat or adhered during application, and there are probably a few methods for doing so. I’ll post a short video soon to the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel explaining the method I used for this design, so stay tuned!

 

Wrapped In Satin

S&M 9 Dec 2018 A

This week I was inspired by the snowstorm we had in the southeastern U.S. to create a fun winter design. I used Gelish Wrapped In Satin as the base color, with some strokes of Gelish Blue-Eyed Beauty (both from the Marilyn Monroe Forever Fabulous collection).

S&M 9 Dec 2018 B

Then I stamped the snowflakes using Clear Jelly Stamper plate CJS-03 and black, white and silver stamping polishes. Then I added Gelish Rough Around the Edges on top, and finished with Gelish Matte Top It Off.

 

 

 

Check out the macro shot of one of the nails:

S&M 9 Dec 2018 C

Everyday Nail Art #1: “Bling the Ring” + Glitter Ombre

With this post I’m kicking of a new series on simple and fun nail art that can be done easily at home and quickly at the salon. I’m not sure how many entries there will be in this series, but I’ve made a list of about 30 ideas so far.  Most would look great on long or short nails, so they’re great for designing on natural nails or enhancements. Many will be wearable, everyday looks but I’ll also experiment with trendy nail art ideas now and then, too. I hope you’ll find some of them useful, whether you’re looking for ideas to DIY at home, to ask your nail tech to try, or as a nail tech ready to try out client and clock-friendly nail art in the salon.S&M 9 September 2018 A

The base color for this design is Gelish Hidden Identity. After the base coat, I applied two coats to all fingers except the ring finger, which just got one. Then I swiped a small amount of the Gelish glitter polish My Jewels Keep Me Warm, brushing upwards from the base, to all the nails except the ring, on which I applied two coats for full coverage.

S&M 9 September 2018 B

In this close-up you can see the slight glitter effect:

What do you think of this look? Would you wear this? let me know in the comments!

Sun-kissed bliss!

S&M 14 August 2018 A

This design meshes two lovely brights, Sun Kissed Bliss and A Tribe Called Cool, from the Just for You III (in Europe)/Secrets (in UK) collection from Harmony Gelish. After a couple years of searching I finally got my hands on some colors from this collection, which I’ve been referring to as simply the Just For You (JFY) collection because it’s only JFY collection we in the US have had. For more information about the full collection I recommend you check out Elysia’s Harmony nail blog, as she’s done a great job of swatching the full collection.  Fair warning: You may want to buy ALL the colors after reading her posts! (Note that I bought these from a US Seller online, and I don’t think they were re-directed from Europe since they have item numbers that fall in between the items numbers from the Gelish Winter 2017 and Spring 2018 collections. See my list of Gelish colors for item numbers.)

For the flower design I used Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) layered stamping plate Cjs-14 with Born Pretty Store (BPS) stamping polish. I wanted to have white flowers but the Born Pretty stamping polishes were so uncooperative (and my latest shipment of CJS polishes hadn’t come in yet) that I just used whatever would work. I’ve had so much trouble with BPS polishes not stamping lately that I got rid of them. If you want great results with your stamping, I highly recommend the CJS polishes and plates.

S&M 14 August 2018 B

This was also a good time to update my list of Gelish colors with the new fall 2018 collection plus the colors from the JFY/Secrets collection. Check out that list for info on all the Gelish US colors ever.

If you know where we in the US can purchase the rest of the JFY/Secrets collection, please let me know in the comments. There are some other great colors that I’d love to have!

Pastel nails

For these nails I thought I’d try again with a couple of products from the Born Pretty Store that I have not had good results with in the past – striping tape and pearlescent powder.S&M 15 July 2018 A

From far away the pearl nails don’t look too bad, paired up with Manga-round with Me and Do You Harajuku? from the Gelish Hello Pretty Spring 2015 collection… I received several compliments on the light green polish, especially during the week.

I should have left it alone, but decided it would be nice to add a piece of rose gold tape to the mango color… and then it snowballed. In past trials I’ve not have good results with this tape, and this time was no different. It started peeling under the top coat right away.

S&M 15 July 2018 B

The pearl mermaid powder was OK… I just felt that I needed to apply it very thick (2 coats) to get the depth of color that I was looking for.  It also begins to wear at the tip more quickly than I expected.

What are your experiences with these products? Any tips for getting the pearl powder to apply cleanly? Please leave a comment!

Throwback design time!

S&M 14 June 2018 b

This exciting neon green color is from the Gelish Make a Splash summer 2018 collection, and it’s called Límonade in the Shade, and I love it! This week’s design is a throwback to summer 1998, when I went to my first Hanson concert. I painted my nails for the event, of course, and went with a bright green probably slightly darker than this one…  And I did a simple stripe design similar to this one.

For this version of the design I left the lunula exposed, which I later regretted because the dark line at the base of the nails gives them (and fingers) a shorter, harsher look.  The original design was better because I painted the entire nail and the feathery lines originated from the side of the nail rather than the corner. Here’s a macro shot:

S&M 14 June 2018

The glitter topper I used is called Kick Off the New Year from the Gelish Year of the Horse collection. I like this one because it has two glitter shapes and is subtle if you want it to be, or you can use two or three coats to really add some excitement to the design.

The acrylic paint I used is craft paint from Apple Barrel, and I’ve had it forever. Soon I’ll be testing another brand, so stay tuned for that review.

Do you ever re-create a design you’ve done in the past? How did it turn out? Leave a comment below!

High Voltage!

S&M 6 June 2018

This week I continued testing the new Gelish Structure Gel in Cover Pink, this time with two coats under Gelish gel polish. I shortened my nails a little, and the two coats of Structure seems to be keeping them strong at this length. Here I’ve used the Cover Pink Structure Gel as a base for High Voltage and Cellophane Coat from the Make a Splash collection for summer 2018.

While I really like the security Structure provides while keeping a natural feel to the nail, it doesn’t provide shape the way enhancement products would.  It actually makes the nails look a bit rounder and accentuates any odd curvature of the nails. If you prefer to have longer nails with the clean lines and perfect shapes you can achieve when filing acrylic and hard gel, you may prefer Prohesion, Gelish Hard Builder Gel, or Polygel®.

On the nails with High Voltage I stamped using Clear Jelly Stamper (CJS) stamping polish and plate CJS LC-03, as well as a white China Glaze polish (which I wasn’t really happy with).  Here’s a macro shot of one of the nails:

S&M 6 June 2018 B

Though I was happy with how this set turned out, I’m wishing I had a CJS white stamping polish. I’ve tried lots of different stamping products over the last decade, and CJS is the superior product.  Their plates and polishes work nicely together, and they work consistently well.