Monday, October 21, 2013

Manicure Monday: Gelish Inner Vixen

I haven't been splurging on manicures in a while. Partially because I thought getting a few too many no chip Shellac manicures in a row was going to deprive my nails of oxygen. I also have a terrible habit at picking off my manicures once they start to chip. This is something you should not do with Shellac! Alas, I picked off a few too many and decided to give my nails a break and let them heal and grow out. I probably went about three to four months without stopping in a salon, but last week after a particular hard day at work teaching elementary music classes, I decided to treat myself.

I stopped into a salon in my hometown. I have never been there before and stopped in because I read good reviews on Yelp. I felt a bit rushed and that they didn't do the best salon job (ie. no cuticle oil or lotion massage... that's my favorite part of the manicure!) but the manicure looked nice. I picked the shade from Gelish called "Inner Vixen" found here. I thought it looked very appropriate for fall!

It is a dark brown with a reddish sparkle to it in just the right light. I usually do not go for sparkle or shine in nail polishes, but I thought this looked very vampy! I loved the color. What I didn't love was that this manicure from this particular salon chipped and started to lift up within a week. I felt like it was just a regular manicure for more than twice the price! I think this was because the salon technician was rushing me out. However, I liked the color and would definitely choose that again. I might take a bit more of a manicure break at salons because I happened to pick off this polish too... I have to work on that habit!

What is your favorite nail color for fall? Leave us a comment below!

Love, Erica

Monday, October 7, 2013

Manicure Monday: Art Deco Modern Polish

I tried to create a tape manicure design over the weekend. I started with painting my nails with a base coat (Essie First Base Base Coat) and proceeded to paint my nails a soft purple brown color. This was Essie's Ladylike. I think this new color is great for fall as a neutral!
I attempted to take a photo in the sun to get a more accurate color, however, I am not sure about that lighting situation. 

Next, I used painters tape to outline where I would be keeping the Ladylike color. This part was the hardest part for me to try and make a uniform thickness of tape. It was also hard to put the tape on my right hand, as I am right handed. I think with more practice I will have more success with tape manicures.

I then painted my nails with OPI by Sephora in In The Shadows. I waited until the two coats were dry and removed the painters tape. One thing that I thought would not make a difference but actually did was using painters tape. I used to use scotch tape when I did tape manicures. However, I found that the scotch tape would lift up some of my polish along the edges and leave a sticky residue on my nails. Painters tape was perfect! No wonder why people use it for painting! It did not leave a sticky residue and did not lift up any of my polish. I was worried about my right hand not being dry enough but the paint did not smudge as I removed the tape. This is a valuable tip to remember for next time.

I finished my manicure with Seche Vite quick drying top coat. The above picture is before I cleaned up the edges with nail polish remover.

I hope you enjoyed the design and will try your own tape manicures! :) 

Love, Erica

Monday, September 30, 2013

Manicure Monday: New Nail Polish "In Stitches"

I recently went to Walgreens and picked up a pretty new Essie shade: In Stitches. I think this color is perfect for fall. It is a light raspberry with some brown undertones. To me, it is not quite red or pink. I think this color is nice color for fall that complements my pale skin tone. I usually dislike wearing bright red nail polishes, but this is subtle enough that it almost acts as a neutral. I can't wait to pair it with different and cozy fall outfits!

Love, Erica

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nail Sticker Tutorial

Apparently I have been really into nail art the last few months. I always want to try intricate nail designs but do not have the dexterity to paint my right hand (as I am right handed). I decide to experiment with creating my own nail stickers and it is ridiculously easy to achieve cool custom looks! This tutorial is documenting my first foray into creating my own stickers; my skills can only go up from here once I learn more! 

First, lets look at the things you will need.

For this tutorial, I used a variety of nail polish colors to create this cool tribal/art deco look. Products I used were:

- Essie First Base base coat
- Essie Tart Deco (coral color)
- Essie Avenue Maintain (blue color) 
- Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black and White
- Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Sheet Me Now (nude color)
- Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat
- Tweezers
- Plastic sandwich bag.

The sandwich bag is the most important part for this tutorial!

First, I laid out my sandwich bag and cut off the little lip part that folds over to seal the bag. It was just annoying to me, but you can leave it. I painted ten strips in the general shape of my nails in the colors I wanted directly to the bag. The above picture is with two coats of nail polish. Starting at the left would be my pinky nail. You can see the size of the polish strips increases gradually as I make my way toward the shape of my thumb. I let this dry just like regular nail polish in between coats; about 5-10 minutes.

Next, I decided to paint little details outlining the general shape of the tribal print I was going to create. I also decided I did not want two blue nails right in a row so You can see I made a nude nail above on the plastic to go with my pointer finger. The thing that is nice about this method of painting your nails is that you can change things up and not have to use nail polish remover and possibly ruin your other polish on your fingers!

After this, I used the nail art pens to draw different designs and stripes on each nail. (I like the ring finger the best!) This took a little practice and I think if I were to do this tutorial next time it would go even better. Again, I waited until my polish was dry before painting the details onto each strip. In total, from starting the base color polish to ending with the details I would say this design took about 30-40 minutes. But, I was watching a show on Netflix too, so this may have been a distraction!  The thing I liked about this method was that I could do things like eat and wash my hands while waiting for the polish to dry on the bag without worrying it would ruin my nails (which is the worst after you paint your nails!)

Next, once the polish was dry, I used the tweezers to lightly lift up the polish and separate it from the plastic bag. You can see the edge of the polish coming up in the picture. Once this happened, it was easy to pick off the whole strip. I then applied a base coat to my nails and pressed the polish on my nails. I filed off any excess that was hanging past the shape of my nails and allowed the strips to dry for a minute or two and really adhere to my nails before locking them down with a top coat.

 Here is the finish product! I messed up a little bit on the edges, and I think I would change the design a bit to match each nail with a nude base coat but have different designs and shapes on each nail if I were to do this again. Overall, this method was ridiculously easy and it was nice to know I could experiment with ideas and styles I wanted and not pay for pricey strips at the drugstore! Plus, I didn't mess up my manicure with wet nails like I always do. I will definitely do this process again.

I hope you are inspired to try something like this for yourself! If you do, we would love to see your designs in the comments below this post! Feel free to ask any questions too. Happy painting!

Love, Erica

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shrek Saga: Part I

This summer I was asked to help design, purchase, and apply makeup and hair ideas for the musical Shrek. I found out when I was student teaching that one of my students, Helen, (Who just graduated! Congrats!) created her own theater company at the age of 14. Since then, it has grown into a huge business that has left the community asking for bigger and more involved shows. You can check out Helen's fantastic work here You go girl!

Shrek is obviously no small production. Over the summer, I want to share my second large foray in stage makeup (my first being Tarzan this past spring) with you. I thought this blog would be a nice way to share my progress, ideas, and maybe make a few tutorials. I am going to be making prosthetics for our student who plays Shrek from scratch -- look out for that post coming soon!

I am very excited to work with a talented team of young adults and am honored that I was chosen to help with this production.

For now, I will leave you with a few preliminary makeup sketches. I wonder what these will look like during the production? Stay tuned!

Love, Erica

Wolf character preliminary sketch

Donkey character preliminary sketch

Dragon character preliminary sketch. Does this remind anyone of RuPaul? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Japonesque Makeup Brush Cleanser

I hate dirty things. For anyone who knows me, they can attest to this fact. You wash your hair and face every day; why shouldn't you wash your makeup brushes? Not many people realize this, but makeup brushes are harboring bacteria that can make your face break out. Plus over time, product build up in the brushes can lead to discoloration of your makeup and uneven streaks when you apply.

I decided to try out Japonesque Makeup Brush Cleanser because I have heard about Parian Spirit brush cleanser in the beauty world. This spray is made up of anti-bacterial disinfectant and cleansing compounds. This is a quicker alternative to cleaning your brushes with soap and water; all you need to do is spray the product on your brush, rub the brush on a piece of paper towel or wash cloth to remove any old makeup, and let it dry for a minute or two. You literally see the pigment coming off of your brush and onto the towel. The first time I used this product, I was shocked at how much makeup and grime was living in my makeup brushes. The brushes were almost completely dry after I swirled them around on the towel and were able to be used almost immediately for fresh makeup application.

Japoonesque Makeup Brush Cleanser, spray bottle, and various brushes.
At first I was skeptical that this product would really get the job done. It looked too good to be true. I tested and swirled a few of my freshly cleansed brushes on a new piece of paper towel and no pigment came out of them. They felt brand new to the touch and had a light citrus scent. My makeup application went on much smoother after cleaning my brushes, and I am convinced that by cleaning my brushes regularly it has helped keep my skin clear.

As seen in the picture above, I bought the 16oz professional refill amount of Japonesque Makeup Brush Cleanser. This was the only amount they had at Ulta when I was shopping and I had to try it out. I bought a small spray bottle for about $2.00 and poured some of the cleanser in there for an easier way to spray and clean my brushes. I liked that I could use this spray bottle as a travel cleanser as well. I also found that by using a spray bottle you are less likely to get bristles falling out. This is a common problem that happens when you dip brushes into liquid and the liquid absorbs into the base of the brush and weakens the glue bond  and the bristles. I found that spraying my brushes helped with their longevity while still getting them clean.

Overall, I really loved this brush cleanser. It makes my brushes clean and it is a quick cleanser between shampoos. I would definitely buy this product again as this is an effective way to clean your makeup brushes.

Love, Erica