Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is It Spring Yet? This Linework Nail Art Seems to Think So!

Holographic line nail art by @chalkboardnails
Spring is a lovely time, isn't it? I think it may be my favorite season. Besides the gorgeous temperatures and blooming flora, spring brings us PASTEL NAIL POLISH! Pastels are seriously my jam... I think they suit my pale skin but also bring a certain cheerfulness that nudes just can't compete with.

KBShimmer is on the same page, and is coming in strong for spring. Their newest collection includes crellies, holos, and cremes in a color palette sure to make your nails bloom.

Holographic line nail art by @chalkboardnails

Polishes used:
KBShimmer Ins and Sprouts
KBShimmer Thistle Be the Day
White polish

I began by painting my nails with two coats of Ins and Sprouts. I didn't put down a base coat, which proved to be a costly mistake, as it is definitely a stainer on its own.

Then, I used a triangle makeup wedge to sponge on a gradient of Thistle Be the Day. I did four or five rounds of sponging to achieve the opacity you see here. Something to note is that sponging these shades together actually diminished the holo effect; both polishes are ultra mega super holo in their natural state.

The final step was to add the white markings! I painted them freehand with a small nail art brush and sealed the look in with topcoat.

Holographic line nail art by @chalkboardnails

This nail art really got a lot of complements, and it was fairly quick to accomplish. The formulas on the holographic shades were easy to work with, smooth, and quick drying, though be sure you wear a base coat with Ins and Sprouts to avoid staining.

KBShimmer is available for purchase from in the US and Harlow & Co for international orders. You can also keep up with the brand on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Plum and Honey, with a Pattern Pictorial

Plum honeycomb nail art by @chalkboardnails
Japanese nail art is so inspiring to me. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of honeycomb shapes with extremely fine lines, and I wanted to give them a shot for myself. Though I know most Japanese nail artists work with gel, I thought I'd give the pattern a go with regular polish. It was definitely a challenge, but I was pretty happy with the way they turned out.

The trickiest part was figuring out how I wanted to approach the honeycomb pattern. Here's the order that I ended up using for the linework.

Plum honeycomb nail art by @chalkboardnails

I used two polishes:
LVX Mineral
LVX Vamp

The pattern was painted freehand with an Edinburgh Realism 3/4 brush from Stylish Nail Art Shop. It took a while at first, but then I got into the geometric groove and it went a bit more quickly. This is one of those patterns that would also work really well as an accent nail, if you don't want to commit to a full hand of linework.

Plum honeycomb nail art by @chalkboardnails

Plum honeycomb nail art by @chalkboardnails

I know the lines can look a little hairy in macro mode, but they really came together in person. Thems the breaks!

P.S. If anyone is in the Los Angeles area, I will be at the Rite Aid on Sunset from 12-5pm tomorrow (Saturday the 21st) doing nail art with Work/Play/Polish and Julie G! Come by and say hello! Full details here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Neon Glow In the Dark Nail Polish by Serum No. 5

Serum No. 5 neon glow nail polish via @chalkboardnails
Here's a combination of words that's sure to get you excited... Neon. Glow in the dark. Nail polish. Serum No. 5 has you covered on all three bases with their line of neon glow shades, and while a couple of them dry a little bumpier than others, these glows are sure to find a place in everyone's heart.

I Gleam In Pink is a hot pink creme shade that glows orange in the dark. I used two coats for the coverage shown here. This is one of the more naturally textured shades in the bunch. You'll likely need at least two coats of topcoat if you want to get it nice and smooth.

Serum No. 5 I Gleam In Pink via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 I Gleam In Pink via @chalkboardnails

Indi-Glo is my faaaaavorite. This gorgeous bright cobalt blue glows blue in the dark and covers perfectly in two coats. It also has one of the smoothest finishes, with the final look barely affected by the glow pigment.

Serum No. 5 Indi-glo via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Indi-glo via @chalkboardnails

Infrared is a bright orange-red that glows magenta/violet in the dark. I used two coats for the coverage here. I had a hard time seeing the glow of this one with my naked eye, and it was tough to capture in photos, as well. It has a pretty high texture, so you may need an extra coat of topcoat to smooth it out.

Serum No. 5 Infrared via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Infrared via @chalkboardnails

Krypton-Brite is a neon green shade that glows green in the dark. I used three coats for the coverage shown here and it was nicely smooth, with a finish that seems virtually unaffected by the glow pigment.

Serum No. 5 Krypton-Brite via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Krypton-Brite via @chalkboardnails

Orange You Sunny is a neon orange shade that glows orange-yellow in the dark. I used two coats for the coverage shown below. The texture from the glow pigment was not too noticeable in this one, and I love the color.

Serum No. 5 Orange You Sunny via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Orange You Sunny via @chalkboardnails

Solar Power is a neon yellow shade that glows yellow-green in the dark. I love yellows! I used three coats for the coverage here. The glow texture on this one was VERY low, it applied very smoothly, and it glowed brightly in the dark. A winner, if you ask me!

Serum No. 5 Solar Power via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Solar Power via @chalkboardnails

Ultra Violet is a purple shade with a dash of teeny blue flecks that glows indigo in the dark. You can see the little glitters in the photo below, but in person, they all but disappear. I used two coats here and the polish applied smoothly.

Serum No. 5 Ultra Violet via @chalkboardnailsSerum No. 5 Ultra Violet via @chalkboardnails

So, we've discussed the texture that may accompany these shades due to the nature of the glow pigment. If it's a dealbreaker for you, stick with Indi-Glo, Solar Power, and Krypton-Brite, as those were the smoothest in my experience. Ultra Violet and Orange You Sunny were slightly more textured, though still pretty smooth, while Infrared and I Gleam In Pink had the roughest finish straight out of the bottle.

Due to the nature of these shades, they may dry matte as well. I've used topcoat for all of my swatches here to give them a glossy appearance.

Serum No. 5 shades are available via You can also catch the brand on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Disclosure: Products provided for review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nail School Week 5: Acrylics Ahoy!

In week five, while we continued to work on an occasional client, we also began learning the fundamentals of acrylic sculpting. The first four weeks of school mostly covered services that I have some basic experience with, but when it comes to acrylic, it's all new to me! I definitely had some struggles at first, but things have steadily improved.

Acrylics here we come
My school puts a big emphasis on sculpting acrylic nails from scratch instead of doing plastic tips overlaid with acrylic, so we started learning the basics of sculpting on our skill sticks. The first stick we used is the one with the black nail forms pre-attached. As you can see, my early attempts were kind of a hot mess. That's ok though -- it's the first time I had ever done it!

The second skill stick comes without the forms pre-attached, so you can put your own nail forms on and then sculpt off the edge of the dowel. By the time we had graduated to the second stick, I had gotten a bit more confident in the basics of sculpting. We also learned how to file/buff our acrylics up to a high shine.

L: My first attempts at acrylic sculpting on my level 1 skill stick, R: Showing improvement on the level 2 skill stick

Jazzing it up
We also got some fun nail art demos this week! One of our instructors showed us how to work with colored acrylics and pigments to create unique sculpted nail designs, while another instructor showed us how to do ten different gel nail art techniques.

I was the model for the colored acrylic nails, so here's my right hand with three long acrylics. It was strange, to say the least. I am not used to having my nails that length!

L: My hand after serving as the model for a colored acrylics demo, R: Ten gel nail art technique demonstrations

Well that's...handy
Additionally, we continued to practice our tip blending and fiber wrap services on our mannequin hands. Though my school discourages the use of tips, it is a required service for state boards.

Here are my three ladies! I asked Instagram to help me name them, and my favorite suggestions were Chanail, Clawdia, and Felicia. My next hand will probably be named Regina Phalange. Say hello!

I'm actually getting this recap out on time this week, which means that week six starts today. We'll begin sculpting acrylics on our fellow classmates and our mannequin hands.

Thank you all for your positive feedback on this series! I'm having a blast writing it. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions; I'd be happy to answer them if I can!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Nail School Week 4: Graduating to the Client Floor

Week four of nail school introduced us to actual clients, as well as rockstar gels, acrylic liquid and powder, and more. I even did a gel manicure for my instructor! I'm totally having a blast in school, and it's great to finally be on the floor working with real customers.

Manicuring and pedicuring evaluations
On this first day of week four, we were asked to perform a manicure and pedicure on a model to determine if we got to graduate to the client floor (where you work with real, paying customers). I asked my friend Jess to come in and she graciously obliged.

We had two hours to do a basic manicure and a basic pedicure, polishing both red and French to show that we can neatly and successfully do both. I passed the evaluation and had my first client that very afternoon!

Client work
I had some great clients for my first week! I did a few pedicures (one with a cute glitter accent toe), which went well, but the real moment of truth was when my instructor and owner of the school asked me to do her gel manicure before she went out of town that weekend. I was pretty nervous, to say the least, but it went well!

L: The acrylic exercise sheet, R: My gel manicure on my instructor

More work to be done
Just because we're working with clients now doesn't mean that we're done in the classroom! We still received a couple of new techniques to perfect...
  • Rockstar gel manicures: We learned how to do everyone's favorite super blingy glitter gels and get them to a perfectly glassy smooth finish! I haven't had a chance to perform rockstars on anyone yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.
  • Continuing cuticle work education: One of our instructors is very passionate about clean cuticle work! We got a few more demonstrations on how to get the nail plate super clean and prepped for services.
  • Learning to work with acrylic products: This week we got a peek into what week five would have in store. We began to work with our acrylic liquid and powder systems, learning how to handle the brush and place the beads of product. We used a plastic covered worksheet to get familiar and experiment with consistency.
We also had our test on chemistry at the end of week four, which I passed with flying colors!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

We All Know the Sharks In Katy Perry's Halftime Show Were the Real Super Bowl MVPs

Katy Perry's Halftime Sharks Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
Look, I enjoy football and all, but I think we can all agree that the dancing sharks in Katy Perry's halftime show were the true stars of the game. Their enthusiasm, their gaping jaws, their flailing limbs (including legs)...they just couldn't be beat. Every time the camera cut away from them, our entire family screamed at the TV to put the sharks back on. Who needs beach ball boobs?

Of course, I had to do some nail art honoring their majesty.

Polishes used:
LVX Lemondrop
OPI Good Grief!
JINsoon Cool Blue
Salon Perfect Sugar Cube
Formula X Dark Matter

I began by sponging on a subtle gradient base of pale yellow to bright yellow. I wanted something bright and cheerful, like the sharks, that wouldn't distract from their perfection.

Then, I painted the sharks freehand over the base. I was giggling the whole time I was painting these, truly! They are just so full of joy!

Katy Perry's Halftime Sharks Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Katy Perry's Halftime Sharks Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Do you agree with me that the dancing sharks were the best part of the game? I need a good shot of them to use as my computer wallpaper!