Friday, October 31, 2014

Frankenstein French and Simple Stitched Moons

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

Happy Halloween! I was still rocking my flannel nail art yesterday, and was going to leave it on today, but I couldn't let the holiday pass without doing some festive nail art. I did this quick manicure last night, and love the simplicity! It's like a deconstructed Frankenstein's monster, and took maybe 10 minutes to do each hand.

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

I began by applying base coat to protect my nails. Then I used French tip Nail Vinyls to block off my tips, and painted on two coats of China Glaze But of Corpse.

Then, I used a small nail art brush and black polish to paint on the stitched moons.

I finished the look with topcoat because I had to seal in the stitched art, but it's worth mentioning that But of Corpse dries with a really gorgeous matte finish. The black glitter almost gives it a textured effect!

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

I'm also wearing a fun spiderweb cat-eye look today, which you can see on my Instagram! I love Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Flannel and Lace - China Glaze Twinkle Collection Nail Art

Flannel and Lace by @chalkboardnails

Tough, rugged flannel meets soft and sweet lace! Though I know it's not even Halloween yet, this manicure feels perfect for winter. The Christmas-y plaid with the silver accent has me thinking cocoa and fireplaces. Meanwhile, in the real world, it's still 95 degrees here in the good old desert. Ah, a girl can dream.

Flannel and Lace by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
China Glaze Tip Your Hat
China Glaze Out Like a Light
China Glaze I'd Melt For You

Tip Your Hat is a gorgeous deep red creme. It covered well in one coat but I've used two here, because everyone knows it's impossible to just use one coat of polish, even if you get full coverage! It can look quite a bit darker depending on the light.

I'd Melt For You is a flashy silver chrome. I painted two coats on my bare nail, so I can't speak to how it applies if you're wearing a base coat, but keep in mind that it does show ridges if you've got 'em. You've seen other silver chromes on the market and here's another to add to the list! A savvy shopper probably won't need to double up, but if you've somehow missed them in the past, this is a great piece to add to a collection.

I used Out Light a Light to paint the flannel and lace detailing freehand. It had great opacity and a nice formula that worked well for nail art. I love these sorts of deep greys, too.

Flannel and Lace by @chalkboardnails

Is it already feeling wintry where you are? Or are you still suffering the last legs of summer like me?

Check out the press release for the China Glaze Twinkle Collection for Holiday 2014 to see the rest of the shades in this lineup, which officially goes up for sale in November.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Textured Ruby Stars

Textured ruby stars by @chalkboardnails

Today is The Lacquer Legion post day and this month's theme is "after dark." I've got no shortage of Halloween nail art, so I've gone with something in a different direction this time. After dark... the stars come out! (But still kind of in a Halloween-esque color palette. Can't help myself.)

Textured ruby stars by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes and materials used:
American Apparel Hassid
Zoya Chyna
Serum No. 5 Cut It Out vinyls - Lovely Magic

I'm still into textured polishes, no matter what the market says! I favor the ones without chunky glitter pieces, so naturally I'm a big fan of Zoya's PixieDust range and it's sparkly, small-particle goodness.

For this look, I used two coats of Chyna on my thumb, pinky, and pointer. For the two accent nails, I painted them black and applied the vinyls once they were dry. I painted over the vinyls like a stencil, peeled them off, and let the texture dry down. Voila!

Textured ruby stars by @chalkboardnails

Follow The Lacquer Legion on Facebook or Instagram for once monthly nail art prompts aimed at bringing together the nail polish community!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You Afraid of the Dark? - Spooky Eyes Nail Art

Spooky eyes nail art by @chalkboardnails

There's still time to squeeze in a few more Halloween nail art looks! This look is reminiscent of my Simple Spooky Eyes design from 2011, but with a bit more complexity added and a few twists. Not to mention, quite an upgrade in quality! This is also serving as my entry into the JINsoon Halloween nail art contest.

Spooky eyes nail art by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
Formula X Dark Matter
Formula X Pyrotechnic
OPI My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours
Zoya Arizona
China Glaze Happy Go Lucky
OPI My Vampire is Buff
Essie Matte About You

I started by painting my nails black. For the eye nails, I painted the eye shapes in various shades of red, orange, and yellow, and then added the black slits afterwards.

For the candle nails, I used the bubble technique for the glow on the candle, and then freehanded the rest. The gradient on the candle was created by mixing varying ratios of cream and black. I finished with a layer of quick dry topcoat and then a layer of matte topcoat.

Spooky eyes nail art by @chalkboardnails

I have to admit - though unintentional, this design does remind me quite a bit of the old Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. I think it's the single flame in the darkness, though in the show opening it's a match. That show always scared the bejesus out of me. I have distinct memories of being terrified of the one where the kids try to use the silver spoon to ward off a spirit, but come to find out it's actually steel so the spirit keeps approaching.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Giant Leopard Moth Inspired Nail Art

Giant leopard moth nail art by @chalkboardnails

As a person with a desk job, I often find myself browsing Reddit on my breaks for sweet photos, interesting news and makeup inspiration. Recently this photo of a giant leopard moth from user /u/Toblerone44 made it to my front page, and I loved it so much I had to try to replicate it on my nails. It's such a crisp pattern, and looks so delicate and beautiful but graphic at the same time.

Giant leopard moth nail art by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
OPI Angel With a Leadfoot
Formula X Extraordinary
Formula X Dark Matter

Not too much to explain here! I started with the white base, and used a small nail art brush to paint on the grey markings. I added the black outlines, making some of them thicker at the bottom (to mimic the photo), and then finished with topcoat.

I think I did pretty well at replicating the photo, but wish my black lines had come out just a bit thinner. The moth's markings are so delicate, I just wasn't quite able to capture it exactly. This is a design that I'd love to try in gel.

Giant leopard moth nail art by @chalkboardnails

Here is the original photo from /u/Toblerone44, used with permission.

Giant leopard moth by /u/Toblerone44 on Reddit

This isn't my first rodeo as far as unusual animal prints go! In the past, I've done goldfish scales, sea slug, poison dart frog, and manta ray nail art. Have you ventured outside of leopard/zebra print? How did you like it?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CND VINYLUX Gilded Dreams for Holiday 2014

CND VINYLUX Gilded Dreams Collection via @chalkboardnails

CND's newest release is their Gilded Dreams collection, a trio of three holiday-appropriate shades that are described as "Marie Antoinette meets Cinderella." My swatches show the VINYLUX shades, a gel-lacquer hybrid system (including topcoat) that claims week-long chip free wear. The holiday release also includes matching Shellac shades, as well as Additives and new holiday Scentsations lotions.

Chiffon Twirl is easily my favorite of the trio! This rose gold foil is so holiday. I used two coats, and though it went on with some brushstrokes, they all but disappeared as the polish dried down. Finished with the VINYLUX top coat.

CND VINYLUX Chiffon Twirl via @chalkboardnails

Dazzling Dance is a blue-tinted sheer base with pink shimmer and small silver sparkles. In my first swatch, I layered it over CND Vinylux Svelte Suede, which created this really nice "subtle with a kick" mani that actually really grew on me. Karen at Beauty Geeks also tried layering it over black, which looks gorgeous, too.

CND VINYLUX Dazzling Dance over Svelte Suede via @chalkboardnails

Here it is at three coats alone. Not so appealing.

CND VINYLUX Dazzling Dance via @chalkboardnails

Grand Gala is a gold with a bit of a pink shift. It's still somewhat sheer at three coats, and alone, it has an older feel to it. I'd love to try this one with some nail art over it. Like Dazzling Dance, it goes on with a few brushstrokes but they fade away as the polish dries down.

CND VINYLUX Grand Gala via @chalkboardnails

A couple of notes about the VINYLUX topcoat: though it dries fairly quickly, it is not as fast as a quick dry topcoat. If you are used to those, be sure to give this manicure a bit of extra time to dry before you go about your day. Once it dries, this topcoat gives a hard, protective finish that only improves with exposure to natural light. For the week long chip free wear, you need to use the system.

I also tried out the Scentsations Gilded Dreams lotion trio! I am OB.SESSED. with the CND Scentsations lotion in Birch & Mint so I was eager to see how I liked these.
  • Gilded Blossom is my favorite of the scents. It is scented with green apple, lemon, bergamot, and musk. It has a soft gold shimmer in it.
  • Crushed Amber is scented with grapefruit, lemon, jasmine, vanilla, and praline. It was probably my least favorite of the scents. In my notes, I wrote "sharp yet warm, wintry." I didn't notice any visible shimmer in this one.
  • Vanilla Shimmer is a CND classic, scented like vanilla (you guessed it)! It has a silver/pearlescent sparkle to it. It is not subtle. You'll be blinging all day! 

CND Scentsations Gilded Dreams lotion trio via @chalkboardnails

This collection also includes four new Additives and Shellac counterparts to the VINYLUX polishes. If you are a Shellac kind of gal, be sure to ask for these shades at your local salon!

CND VINYLUX is sold in salons and professional beauty supply stores. Recently, it was also announced that some of the CND line will be sold online through Loxa Beauty! VINYLUX polishes retail for $9.90 and the Scentsations trio retails for $13.90.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Black Blooms Floral Nail Art

Black blooms by @chalkboardnails

Though this design isn't explicitly Halloween, it is pretty morbid/somber and definitely seasonally appropriate. These black roses are a variation of my sweet rose floral nail art that I shared during the 31 Day Challenge, with a monochromatic twist. I paired the black blooms with ugly/pretty chartreuse leaves for a pop of color.

Black blooms by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
Orly Highlight (base)
Formula X Dark Matter (black)
LVX Oyster (light grey)
LVX Anthracite (dark grey)
Deborah Lippmann Weird Science (chartreuse)

I began by applying Highlight as my base. I wasn't thrilled with the formula of this one, though I do love the color. It was fairly thin and sheer. I used three coats here.

The roses were simple. I put down a black blob shape, then used a small nail art brush to add the dark and light grey detailing. Chelsea Queen has a great rose tutorial you can check out for guidance. I then added the leaves, making sure they ended in points, and sealed everything in with HK Girl topcoat.

Black blooms by @chalkboardnails

This is the second time I've been pleasantly surprised by the weirdness of a Deborah Lippmann shade; the first time was I Wanna Be Sedated. It's cool to see a brand that I usually associate with "pretty" shades do something odd, and the shimmer/foil in this one is showstopping.

I often do florals, but they are usually softer and more delicate. I am enjoying the contrast in this manicure, and still feel like I'm getting in the mood for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nailbox Pre-Fall '14 Trendbox Geometric Gradient Nail Art and Giveaway

Geometric Gradient Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

As you may recall, back in August I showed off the Nailbox Pre-Fall 2014 Trendbox, which I curated! The box includes four nail polishes plus a matte topcoat, and I've used all five bottles in my nail art today. Nailbox has also given me the chance to offer a giveaway for the box, so head to the end of the post to enter to win!

Geometric Gradient Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
LVX Cashmere
NCLA Santa Monica Shore Thing
Orly Hot Tropics
Priti NYC Chyrsanthos
Essie Matte About You

I love the way these colors look together. I'd hope that I would, anyway, seeing as how I chose them! You've got the nice neutral base, two bright and fun shades, a metallic for some pizzaz, and a matte topcoat (because I am obsessed with all things matte).

The gradient effects are entirely handpainted. I didn't use tape or vinyls in this look, and honestly, these days it's just become easier for me to try to freehand it than to go through the process for anything else. The lovely periwinkle color between the aqua and the pink was created by mixing the two together, and I brushed it on loosely to sell the transitional effect.

Geometric Gradient Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Nailbox Pre-Fall '14 Trendbox curated by @chalkboardnails

My Pre-Fall 2014 Trendbox is available as a single box for $35 (a $65+ value) or you can purchase the one year subscription for $126. Boxes are curated by nail bloggers and trendsetters. GET IT WHILE IT'S HOT!

Feeling lucky? Try your hand at winning a Trendbox! Giveaway is open to US residents and ends October 28th, 2014. Prize provided by Nailbox.

Nailbox Trendbox Giveaway
Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Pre-Fall Trendbox, but was not paid for this giveaway. Good luck!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Color Club Seven Deadly Sins Collection Swatches and Review

Color Club Seven Deadly Sins Collection via @chalkboardnails

One of Color Club's newest collections is called Seven Deadly Sins. It's a collection of seven textured nail polishes in indulgent shades. The textures are very low profile (read: not too rough) so if you are a fan of texture but don't like 'em scratchy, these are a great option for you. There are a few winners here and a few I'm not crazy about. Let's check them out!

Dirty Money is a pale gold textured shade with small hex glitter accents. I love this shade of gold and it looked flattering with my particular skintone. Two coats.

Color Club Dirty Money via @chalkboardnails

Fierce is a deep bronze textured shade with flecks of orange. A nice one for fall. Two coats.

Color Club Fierce via @chalkboardnails

Friends With Benefits is a pale, metallic lilac texture with small lilac hex glitters. This was one of the ones that I did not care for. The tone-on-tone glitter pieces didn't stand out from the base enough and just made the overall finish look lumpy. Two coats.

Color Club Friends With Benefits via @chalkboardnails

Indulge Me is a bronze, flecky shade. It's pretty sparkly and reflective, and looks a bit lighter here than it does in person. It also has flashes of green that for some reason did not want to cooperate in photos. Two coats.

Color Club Indulge Me via @chalkboardnails

Obsessed is a blackened textured base with gorgeous teal shimmer. Obsessed is right! This is easily my favorite shade in the collection. Just lovely. Two coats.

Color Club Obsessed via @chalkboardnails

Under Your Spell is a purple textured shade with gold-green shimmer and larger purple hex glitters. This one would have been an instant favorite for me if it wasn't for the larger glitter pieces. Though they aren't as distracting as the pieces in Friends with Benefits, I just think this shade would be better off without them. Two coats.

Color Club Under Your Spell via @chalkboardnails

You're So Vain is a moody purple base with flecks of gold and purple pink. I like this one, maybe partially because of the absence of any larger hex pieces. Two coats.

Color Club You're So Vain via @chalkboardnails

As for formula on these, they are okay. Maybe a bit on the thicker side, but that's par for the course with most textures. They certainly wouldn't deter me from buying, if I were hypothetically shopping a few of them, but it's maybe something to keep in mind.

To reiterate, if you like your textures on the mild side, these are all nice options. My top picks would be Obsessed, Dirty Money, and You're So Vain.

This collection is available now at

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cirque Colors Metropolis Collection Swatches: September and October (Glossy & Matte)

Cirque Colors Metropolis Collection Swatches via @chalkboardnails

Cirque's newest offering is their Metropolis collection: a series of creme nail polishes inspired by New York City. There are new polishes added to the line every month, and today's swatches cover the September and October releases. These polishes are all normal glossy cremes, but since I'm obsessed with all things matte, I wanted to share the shades with a matte topcoat as well. I think they all translate beautifully to matte.

NYFW was the release in September. It's a gorgeous, rich deep cobalt shade. It's a little darker than some of the other cobalts in my range. The formula was great and it covered nicely at two coats.

I've used Essie Matte About You as the matte topper in the second swatch.

Cirque Colors NYFW via @chalkboardnails
Cirque Colors NYFW (with matte topcoat) via @chalkboardnails

Concrete Jungle is a concrete grey creme. Nice formula, covered evenly in two coats. This is a great and versatile shade, and would be a great manicure choice to complement any fall wardrobe!

Cirque Colors Concrete Jungle via @chalkboardnails
Cirque Colors Concrete Jungle (with matte topcoat) via @chalkboardnails

La Vie Boheme is a black cherry creme. I wore this one as a full manicure, and I kept trying to pin the name of the color throughout the day... Was it plum? Was it raisin? Then finally... BLACK CHERRY! It was the perfect descriptor, to me. It's a very deep shade, looks very dark on the hand, but never so dark as to look black. Two coats.

Cirque Colors La Vie Boheme via @chalkboardnails
Cirque Colors La Vie Boheme (with matte topcoat) via @chalkboardnails

The Metropolis collection is available now on, where each shade retails for $13. Be sure to keep an eye out for the November release, which should be hitting blogs soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Chalkboard Nails Halloween Nail Art Rewind

Halloween Nail Art Ideas by @chalkboardnails

I've done my fair share of Halloween manicures over the years, for sure. It's fun to get into the spirit of the season with spooky nail art, and there are just so many ways to interpret the theme. Take a trip with me through the Chalkboard Nails Halloween nail art graveyard to visit with the ghosts of my favorite manicures past.

Delicate Glistening Spiderwebs by @chalkboardnails
Delicate Glistening Spiderwebs
Make your spiderwebs pop against a midnight black-to-navy gradient! A bit of glitter on the white web adds a touch of glam while still keeping the look clean.

Black Widow Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
Black Widow Nail Art Tutorial
Textured polish combines with a bright red creme for this arachnid nail art look. No freehanding required; all you need is striping tape! Stop by the full post for the how-to.

Halloween Eyeball Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
I'm Watching You...
I love me some eyeball nail art! This is my third eyeball look and by far the most Halloween-appropriate, but if you enjoy ocular patterns, be sure to also check out my 1984 manicure and my original Halloween eyeball pattern nails.

Spooky Splatter Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
Spooky Splatter Tutorial
This classic orange and black combo is a bit messy to create, but tons of fun and seasonally appropriate (without being TOO on-the-nose). I grabbed an orange jelly for my base and splattered black over the top, but any pairing of spooky colors would look awesome. Think purple, green, orange, and black.

Matte Brain Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
This abstracted, graffiti-esque design is zombie approved for maximum flavor. TIP: To achieve better results with your nail art pen, try putting down a matte topcoat first!

Midnight Smoke Nail Art Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
Midnight Smoke Nail Art Tutorial
This eerie manicure first made its debut during the 31 Day Challenge 2013, when I created the effect for black and white day. Recently, I created a tutorial for the look, and I think you'll be surprised by how easy it is to pull off. Perfect for the gal who wants to celebrate the season, but keep things classy.

Bones Mix and Match by @chalkboardnails
Chilled to the Bone
This is one of my oldest Halloween nail art posts (from way back in 2011!), but I think it holds up well! These mix and match bones are creepy-cute over a matte purple base.

Which one is your favorite? How do you like to celebrate the spookiest season on your nails?