31DC14: 20 Water Marble

It's day 20 Water Marble!!  Water marbling is one of the most beloved, and most hated, nail art techniques out there...you either rock at it...or end up angry-crying in a corner after hours of fruitless attempts.  I usually fall somewhere in between those two extremes.  I understand the concept behind water marbling...I know how it's done...and I have watched countless tutorials to pick up the tips and tricks.  But somehow, things still go poorly.  I used to water marble more often, but I don't think I have since last year in the 31 Day Challenge.  

However, I met Corynn of Mucking Fusser at the #OhioNailGirlMeetup2014, and her water marbled nails were so fabulous in person that I almost wanted to cry.  This inspired me to really give it a go for my 31 Day Challenge water marble, so I headed to her blog and read all that I could about marbling direct from the WATER MARBLE GODDESS herself!  I decided on a tutorial that she did in a guest post on the Girly Bits Blog for the Spiral Water Marble!  I even used the same color scheme...and I think it actually turned out well!

Obviously, when you look at these super zoomed in shots, you can see big imperfections, but I am pleased with my overall execution here!  And I did it on all ten fingers!  That's a big deal.  I started with one coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On and marbled with White On and OPI WHO ARE YOU CALLING BOSSY?!?.  I sealed everything in with Glisten & Glow HK Girl.

There were a few things I did differently from my previous water marble attempts here.  1)  I followed a tutorial that showed me to "anchor" my design to the side of the cup.  I think I usually just go in without a plan and pull from the outside to the center first.  2)  I used Glisten & Glow HK Girl so there was no smearing or pulling of the final design.  3) I picked polishes that I knew would work.  Corynn used White On in her marble, and told me that she usually has good luck with OPI cremes.  4) I took my time, and attempted a design that has a bit more room for mistakes than the normal "side by side flower" technique.

And yes, I pulled it off on all ten nails...here's the Cinderella hand shot!

So, not perfect, but awesome for me!  Thanks to Corynn for the inspiration ;)  Check back tomorrow for the beginning of the final chunk of the Challenge with 21 Inspired by a Color!

Sally Hansen and OPI products used in this post were provided for previous review.


31DC14: 19 Galaxies

Happy Friday, friends!  It's day 19 Galaxies here on the 31 Day Challenge journey, and since I did dark galaxy-ish nails yesterday, I decided to finally try "pastel galaxies" inspired by Sammy from The Nailasaurus!  I added a bit of holographic flair, and I think they turned out nicely!

I started out with a base of BB Couture Cotton Tail, a pastel green.  Then, I used pieces of cosmetic sponge to create the galaxies in butter LONDON Fruit Machine, butter LONDON Molly Coddled, butter LONDON Jasper, and KBShimmer Mint-al Vacation.  I used my Sally Hansen I <3 Nail Art Pen in white to add some "stars" and sealed everything in with Glisten & Glow HK Girl.

Simple, pretty and subtle.  This is a brilliant idea from The Nailasaurus, and I'm not sure I did it justice!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the dreaded day 20 Water Marble!

BB Couture, butter LONDON, KBShimmer and Sally Hansen products used in this post were provided for previous review.


OPI GelColor Nordic Collection: Review & Nail Art!

Provided for review

Good afternoon, polished friends!  Today I have another edition of The Lacquerologist Pro Reviews featuring OPI GelColor!  OPI GelColor is a professional-only 100% gel LED-cured gel manicure system.  OPI GelColor manicures are available at licensed salons nationwide.  You can find a salon near you at opi.com by clicking on "Where To Find OPI" in the upper right-hand corner.  OPI generally releases their trend collections in both regular and GelColor polish, so today I have the OPI GelColor Nordic Collection to share with you.

Before we jump into the collection, here is a little information on gel polishes.  Soak-off gel manicures refer to any product or service that brushes on like polish, cures under LED/UV light and requires soaking in acetone for removal.  The chemistry of soak-off gel polishes is different than traditional polish: traditional polish dries as the solvents evaporate, leaving behind the hard veneer on the nail.  Gel polish hardens through polymerization caused by exposure to UV or LED light.  You could literally sit and wait for the rest of your life and gel polish would not dry without UV or LED light!  Soak-off gels can be worn over natural nails or nail enhancements, and generally last for about 14 days of wear.  There are tons of soak-off gel lines on the market from many of the big brands we know and love.  After trying several brands, I am confident in saying that GelColor is my favorite!  You can read more about the OPI GelColor process in my first review [here].  As a nail technician, you should be well-educated on how to use your gel system, and as a client, you should be aware of the process so you can protect yourself from uneducated nail techs!

OPI sells its GelColor polishes individually and as Add-On Kits that contain six polishes, a 20-pack of Expert Touch Removal Wraps, a blank nail palette, and some literature on GelColor.  The OPI GelColor Nordic Collection is available in two Add-On Kits titled Nordic #1 and Nordic #2!

To avoid soaking-off twelve manicures in one sitting, I have swatched the Nordic GelColor shades on the palette provided in the Add-On Kits.  Each swatch below is one coat of OPI GelColor Base Coat, two coats of OPI GelColor polish, and one coat of OPI GelColor Top Coat.  I used my OPI LED Light to cure each coat (30 seconds!) and cleaned off the sticky inhibition layer with alcohol.

OPI GelColor Add-On Kit Nordic #1 includes the following shades: OPI Ice-Burgers & Fries, OPI How Great Is Your Dane, OPI OPI With A Nice Finn-ish, OPI Thank Glogg It's Friday, OPI Can't Afjörd Not To, and OPI My Dogsled Is A Hybrid.  All of these applied well and are super shiny and opaque in two coats.

OPI GelColor Add-On Kit Nordic #2 includes the following shades: OPI My Voice Is A Little Norse, OPI Suzi Has A Swede Tooth, OPI Do You Have This Color In Stock-holm?, OPI Skating On Thin Ice-Land, OPI Viking In A Vinter Vonderland, and OPI Going My Way Or Norway?.  Again, these were all smooth and opaque.  My Voice Is A Little Norse is so smooth and glittery.  I'm always impressed with the glitter GelColor shades!

I'm already looking forward to wearing these shades for special occasions throughout the Fall and Winter (Can't Afjörd Not To is definitely perfect for Halloween!), but for this post, I decided to do some simple nail art that is on-trend for the late-summer to early-fall transition.  I wouldn't usually be drawn to these colors, but I think the combo of caramel and gold is warm and special for this time of year!

For this manicure, I prepped my nails for a gel manicure: filed and shaped my nails, pushed my cuticles back gently using a cuticle remover gel, cleaned my nail plate with alcohol, and prepped my nails with OPI BondAid.  Then, I applied a coat of OPI GelColor Base Coat and cured for 30 seconds in my OPI LED Light (my baby!).  I polished my nails in two coats of OPI GelColor Going My Way Or Norway?, curing between each coat.  Before I removed the sticky inhibition layer, I pressed gold nail foil onto my nails, leaving behind a textural, interesting finish.  I sealed the foil in with one coat of OPI GelColor Top Coat and cured!  I removed the tackiness with alcohol and moisturized with a cuticle oil.

GelColor manicures are such a treat to wear!  They a smooth and shiny and beautiful!  The nail art look I created here is super easy, and this nail foil technique is so much more convenient to do with gel polish than traditional polish.  Keep an eye out for more GelColor Nordic manicures on The Lacquerologist in the coming weeks!!  Whether you're a professional or a consumer, I highly suggest OPI GelColor and the OPI LED Light.  OPI GelColor polishes sell for $14.95 and the Add-On Kits sell for $79.99, and are sold by OPI retailers to professions only.  GelColor manicure services vary in price from salon to salon, but an average manicure price is around $30.

For more information about GelColor by OPI, please visit pro.opi.com.

OPI GelColor Nordic Collection Add-on Kits, GelColor Base Coat, and GelColor Top Coat were provided for review.  Other products used to complete the manicure were purchased by me.
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