I’ve been asked on many occasions what I use and/or where to buy them. Here’s an organized list of what I have!
- Artmatic (no longer produced)
- China Glaze
- Finger Paints
- FLOSS GLOSS
- Jesse’s Girl
- LA Colors
- New York Color
- Nicole by OPI
- Nina Ultra Pro
- Pure Ice
- Sally Girl
- Sally Hansen
- Sinful Colors
- Spoiled by Wet n Wild
- Studio M
- Wet n Wild
- Glitter: Dollar Nail Art, Claire’s, Cina, old competitive cheerleading glitter (company no longer exists), Michael’s, Hobby Lobby
- Laser Lace: Dollar Nail Art
- Nail Foil: Dollar Nail Art
- Rhinestones: Cina, Dollar Nail Art, Amazon
- Shells (crushed): Cina
- Brushes: Sally Beauty, Amazon
- Electric Buffer/Filer/Shaper: Unknown (gift to me)
- Files: Drugstore
- Nail Foil Adhesive: Dollar Nail Art, ScraPerfect
- Jars for glitter/shells: Joann Fabrics, Michael’s
- Set of Drawers: Michael’s
- Jar for brushes: Michael’s
A wonderful fan asked me for tips on starting a nail blog. This is just my perspective! I’m not a “professional”, considering that I’ve been on the internet for a little over 2 years and not even a year on Tumblr. With that being said, here we go!
- Post every design you make. I don’t care if it’s better than the Mona Lisa or worse than a one-year-old’s drawing, post it! You never know who will like it or how much inspiration it’ll bring to another person. I’ve done plenty of designs of which I’ve thought “Eh, I don’t know about this one, I don’t think it’s that good..” but I end up surprising myself in the end.
- Go in with no expectations. Start the blog as a way of letting out your creativity and sharing it with people that come across it. Honestly, there are some people that start nail blogs in hopes to get free nail polish, score some sort of deal with a big shot, or to become a million-dollar blogger. You’re only going to disappoint yourself. If you get lucky, great! “No expectations, no regrets” applies in this situation.
- Speaking of expectations, DO NOT BE SURPRISED if your work is stolen. At first, it will be shocking, but you will get used to it. You can prevent this in two ways: 1) Put a watermark on your work (preferably in a tricky location that can’t be edited out), or (the most effective technique) 2) Get a Creative Commons License. If you go to the home page of my Tumblr and look in the left sidebar, you will see my license. Click on it to read up about it, and if you get one, all your bases will be covered. The best part? They’re free!
- Have patience! You can’t make a blog and expect to have 20,000 followers/viewers overnight. It’s going to take time! If you want a great fanbase,
- Follow other nail bloggers! Follow other bloggers in the nail art community, whether they are “well-established” or just starting off. Comment/reblog their posts, send them a friendly message, make some friends! Join the nail art “family”, if you will. *If you are starting a Tumblr, specifically, tag your nail art with commonly-searched-for tags (NAIL ART is a great start!) so your work can easily be found.
- Don’t get discouraged. If someone tells you that your work is crappy (that’s just a sugarcoated version of what to expect), ignore them! Never get upset, because there’s always someone out there who will appreciate it.
- Get out of your comfort zone. It’s fine to start off with some simple designs, but if you want to grow, you’re going to have to try new things. Go somewhere and take photos of some cool patterns, look through magazines, get some inspiration from other nail artists! I bought a sketchbook for me to draw/write down any ideas that spring into my head. I’ll even glue in clippings from magazines in case I want to try them later. The more you get into this routine, the more ideas that will come, and the more art you will do!
- Be consistent! Try to make posts frequently. When I took an unfortunate break, I didn’t realize how much it would hurt my blog. I still had viewers, but not as many as before. I try to post at least three times a week. If I can’t post nail art, I’ll at least make a text post or glitter mix, anything to keep up with the consistently. People will be more apt to visit your blog more often if you make multiple posts.
- Be personable and appreciative! No matter how many followers or viewers you have, learn to appreciate them! You don’t have to do giveaways or use money. Be thankful for them, for without them you wouldn’t have too much of a reason to have a blog! Like some of their posts, make a post thanking them for their support, or even send a few of them a message every once in a while! Let them know that you do acknowledge their existence.
- The most important tip is to have fun! Don’t be so serious about it. Treat it as an outlet for your imagination and show the world what you can do. :)
I receive plenty of questions on here and I try my best to answer them all! I do know that I was asked this question before and didn’t answer it thoroughly: are emery board or glass files better?
For those of you that don’t know the difference, I’ll explain the two. Emery board files are your typical nail files, the ones that are basically sandpaper on thick cardboard, possibly with cushion (that’s how I see it, anyway). They come in different grits/grades to fit your needs; some are for acrylics, others are antibacterial or for buffing and shining. Glass files are just what you think they are — nail files made of glass. It’s a piece of glass with a grit engraved into it to file your nails.
I, personally, prefer glass files over emery board files. They’re not as messy as emory files (easy to clean and sterilize!), they glide across my nails so nicely, and they file my nails much smoother. The best thing about a glass nail file is that they’re actually better for your nails because they cause less splits and chips compared to standard files.
Glass nail files aren’t hard to find, if that’s what you’re thinking! They’re easily obtainable. Granted, they’re going to be more expensive than board files, but they’re worth it. You can avoid the cost if you search the shelves! At Sally Beauty, a glass file can run you anywhere from $4 to $7. I went into Walgreens and found one marked down for 50 cents; and it’s HUGE! So check your drugstores before you throw down the money. If you can, get a glass nail file, they’re worth it!
After posting the Glitter Mixing Tutorial, I received many questions, such as:
- How do you apply nail glitter?
- How do you put it on? Do you put a coat of polish on then sprinkle it on, or do you mix it with a clear polish, or what?
While examining the mass messages, some of which answered their own questions without them even knowing it, I decided to do a tutorial to help out those of you who don’t know how to apply glitter. There are three ways of going about it: Clear coat/Sprinkle, Glitter/Coat mix, and Adhesive.
1. Clear Coat and Sprinkle.
This is the most basic way of applying glitter. It’s fairly simple; paint on a coat of clear polish (or whatever you’d like to use, clear’s easier) to your nail, then sprinkle on your glitter. In this example, I’m using Sally Girl Sparkle Effect Loose Glitter in Lavish Lavender from Sally Beauty.
To sprinkle the glitter on, I’m using a paint brush that I dipped into my jar of glitter (I did NOT SCOOP the glitter out, it’ll make a mess!). To get the glitter to fall on the nail, I held the brush above the nail and tapped the handle of the brush.
Once you’re satisfied with the amount of glitter that’s on your nail, let it dry, then add on your top coat. Finished!
2. Glitter-Polish Mix
This is a way of putting on glitter if you really just get a joy out of painting on glitter (I do, sometimes).
Simply put your glitter with your polish and mix it together. I’m mixing mine on paper, but if you want to make a glitter polish, you can pour the glitter into a bottle of clear polish/topcoat. The glitter I’m using is DollarNailArt.com’s Microglitter in Lemon Grass, but you can use whatever color that makes you happy!
Then paint it on your nail! To paint mine on, I’m using an inexpensive paint brush that I bought from a craft store.
This is my preferred way of adding glitter to my nails, mainly because I like to have control of where I want my glitter to go. The adhesive I use to apply my glitter is actually my nail foil glue that came with my order from dollarnailart.com. You can certainly use craft glue (dilute it with a little bit of water so it’s not so thick).
(In actuality, you can do this with clear polish. You just don’t have to wait for it to get tacky.)
With a paintbrush that I cut to make it thin, I paint on my glue in whatever shapes/areas I want. When I’ve let it dry and get tacky, I dust on my glitter and seal it with a top coat. The glitter I’m using is a glitter that I mixed myself (want to learn how to mix glitter? CLICK HERE for the tutorial).
Result? A glittery heart, from me to all of my followers and readers. How sweet, right? :)
I wanted to do a tutorial that I think will help you guys out and hopefully broaden your nail art horizons. It’s a little different, but it’s fun! Instead of mixing polish, we’re going to mix glitter! (Good guess, one-and-only-kezia and bedazzled-ukulele!)
The three things I’m going to show you are how to 1) make your glitter holographic, 2) frost your glitter, and 3) make your own custom glitter.
Before we start, I’m mixing the glitter in a super cheap mixing cup that I made of paper. This will make things a lot easier for you, so please CLICK HERE FOR THE TUTORIAL!
Also, when you’re mixing glitter, start of with whatever amount you’d like to use as your main color. Add a little bit of your other colors at at time, then add more to adjust it to your liking. It’ll keep your from wasting supplies!
*ANOTHER note: Like nail foil, glitter is difficult to capture in photos. It’s highly reflective in person!
1. How to Make Glitter Holographic
Glitter is probably the most wonderful thing to ever exist because it can either be the focus of your design, or the enhancer that pulls the art together. But sometimes, glitter doesn’t always show up the way you want it to, or maybe you want to give it a little more sparkle. The solution? Add some holographic glitter to it!
I’ll demonstrate with a great example. Black glitter can be tricky to work with; not only is it beautiful, it’s also hard to get it to stand out. Here, I have black glitter and a holographic silver glitter (holographic means that it gives off a rainbow reflection). Simply add some silver glitter to your black glitter…
…And you’ll have a holographic black glitter! I blurred the top picture in attempts to show the holo shine, and I tried SO hard to focus sharply on the bottom one. It’s hard to capture in photos, but in person, it looks like a galaxy in outer space!
2. How to Frost your Glitter
Say you have glitter that you want to lighten up a bit, or you want to give it a “frosty” look. What I like to do is add some iridescent glitter to it.
Here, I have blue glitter on the left and iridescent glitter to the right (my iridescent glitter maybe be known as “white glitter” in Layman’s terms. It’s the white glitter that gives of that pastel-rainbow shine). Add a little bit of iridescent glitter, and you’ll have glitter looking like frosty fairy dust.
I’ll also show you with green; it does the same thing!
3. Making your own Custom Glitter
Can’t find a color of glitter in stores that works right for you? Make your own! I’ll show you a small example.
I want to make a glitter that’s pink-ish purple with dimension and depth. What I’m going to do is put purple in my mixing cup, then add some red, holographic silver, and some black.
The outcome is interesting: it turns out to be a really cool, deep, dark pink! The holographic silver gave it some extra shine (as seen in the second photo that I blurred), while the black glitter kept it from being too flashy.
Now you can make your own custom glitter! It may seem ridiculous at first, but you won’t know until you try — you’ll be surprised by what you come up with!
This a quick tutorial on how I make my mixing cups when I mix glitter. It’s cheap (in a good way) and simple! This will help you a ton, especially if you don’t want glitter all over the place, so let me show you how to make it:
1. Start with a square piece of paper. I’m using a sticky note, minus the sticky part (bought a whole pack at Staples). Take it and fold it in half.
2. Fold it in half again, hamburger style.
3. Turn your paper to where the folded parts are facing away from you. See those two circled spaces? Put your thumb in either one of the two spaces.
4. Pop it open and you’ve got yourself a nice little cup!
*This can also work as a funnel: Do the same thing, except for after step 2, cut a small part of the corner off where the bulk of the folds are (in my case, as pictured, the bottom left corner). It’s great for pouring glitters into little containers!
I posted a guide on mixing polish back in July, but I didn’t feel it was very helpful because you couldn’t see what I was trying to explain. I’ve now taken the time to explain this a bit better, along with pictures, so you can mix your own colors. This can save you some money! (This was taught to me by the wonderful Robin Moses. Click here to follow her on Tumblr and click here to go to her YouTube channel!) The two main things I’m going to discuss with you are the color wheel and the color white.
1. The Color Wheel
The color wheel is a beautiful thing that can take your imagination and perception of color to a whole ‘nother level. “How is this wheel so great, anyways? It’s just a bunch of color.” I’m here to change your outlook by showing you the following. Take a look at the photo below.
In this photo, I’ve included six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet/purple. The primary colors, colors that can’t be made by mixing other colors together, are red, yellow, and blue, and the secondary colors are orange, green, and violet. You really only need red, yellow, and blue to make all the other colors, but this is only to show. This is the basic color wheel!
I purposely placed the colors in this order for a reason, and not just because I like it in the order of the color spectrum. One, the colors are placed across from their oppposites, which are formally called complementary colors. You’ll see why I’m mentioning this later. Two, the primary colors are separated by the secondary colors that are made when two primaries are put together. For example, red and yellow are mixed together to make orange. But, to expand the spectrum even more, you can mix two colors right next to each other to go from having only 6 colors to 12 colors! Here’s my example below.
By mixing a primary and a secondary, you will make tertiary colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green (teal), blue-violet (indigo), and red-violet. Now you can make colors that are perfect for you. Maybe you have a red polish that you want to have a little orange to it, or perhaps you want a teal color that’s a little more on the green side? You can do all of that with this.
“I want a yellow that isn’t so bright. How do I fix that?”
Most people would assume “Add some black!” but the color outcome doesn’t always come out in a flattering way. Remember about two paragraphs ago when I mentioned those complementary colors? By using this strategy, you can expand your color variety even farther!
Again, I’ve put the complements across from each other. What I’m going to show you is called tinting. It’s very simple — all you do is add a little bit of the opposite to the color you’re using. You want to make an antique/mustard yellow? Add some purple, and you’ve got it. I’ve done all of the colors to show you how each turn out, generally.
See how just by adding a little bit of the opposite mutes the color? If you want that blood red color, add a little green. If you don’t want your blue to be so bright, mix a little bit of orange in it.
2. Keep white in your collection at all times.
If I were to ask “If I add white to this color, what’s going to happen?” most would answer that it’s going to make the color lighter. While that is true, I’m going to use white for another purpose.
If you like to do nail art like I do, you’ve come across this dilemma many times. You have a color that would be absolutely perfect to paint a design with. Use red for example. When you go to paint the red on that purple background, it looks muddy and doesn’t even show. Here’s where the white comes in.
By adding a little bit of white to your polish, it may not be as bright as it was in the bottle, but it will stand out a lot more and be more “bold”. Don’t believe me? The “problem polishes” in Lacquer Land are gold, red, neons, green, and yellow. Once you add that little bit of white to your color, you can paint that color on any background, because you know it’ll stand out. There’s a chance that you have those beautiful colors that just painting your nails with it takes 3 coats just to make the color show up in the slightest. You want to use those? Not a problem! Add some white to it and you’re good.
I hope that with the two things I’ve showed you, you’ll use them to create more colors and more art! This is a great thing to remember and refer to because this is how I save money! Whenever I’m painting and I want a specific color just to do small detailing, I don’t want to have to go out and pay however much money for a whole bottle. Unless I REALLY like the color, I’ll just figure out a way to mix it myself. As much as I paint, I could have spent hundreds of dollars on polish that I wouldn’t even be using that much. If you already have the basics needed, you might as well make it yourself for free. You can even make colors that nail polish companies may not have made yet (this could be very helpful for those that like to make “frankens” and possibly sell them)!
The color wheel and white polish are your best friends. Use them to your advantage!
If you use nail art brushes, you know that cleaning them can be a pain in the rear. I had posted a way to clean them before, using clear nail polish. In that post, I wrote that if I were to use nail polish thinner, it would evaporate too quickly. I’ve now found a way to use nail polish thinner so that it won’t dry up as easily!
The trick to doing this is to put drops of nail polish thinner onto paper. Don’t put it on regular old paper — put it on the glossy kind! You can buy a pack of photo paper (4x6-inch size is what I use) to use for this. You know how you get junk mail delivered to you — random advertisements for things that you don’t care about? Use it! Put your drops on the paper and swirl your brush in it: the polish will come right out, ready to be used again! Be aware that when you do this on some papers with colored ink, the ink will rub into your brush and you’ll have to clean it again; try to use white areas on the paper (which is why I recommend just getting a pack of photo paper). You could actually put a little bit in a small plastic cup or a lid of a used bottle and swirl your brushes in it. By using this technique, you’re causing less stress to your brushes as opposed to scrubbing them in acetone and picking all the polish off.
Treat it like you’re painting with watercolor paint. When you get done painting a color, put the brush in the drops (whether it be on paper or in a cup/lid), swirl it around ‘til the polish dissolves, and you’re good to go! So there you have it, another new way to clean your brushes.
I always get questions about this, so now I’m going to address how to have a long-lasting manicure!
Start out with dry nails! You’re obviously not going to paint your nails while they’re soaking wet, but you don’t want any oils on them either. When I paint my nails, I put lotion or cuticle cream on, but afterwards, I put polish remover on a Q-tip and wipe down each one (you could also use white vinegar for a substitute). The polish can’t adhere as well to the nail when there is any type of substance between the nail and the polish, which is why you end up with bubbles and chipping less than 24 hours after you’ve painted them.
Thin coats and middle-side-side. When I’ve watched my friends paint their nails, they do thick coats and it ends up being gooey and streaky. It drives me insane. When you paint yours, do thinner coats! Sure, you’ll need to do 2-3 coats (as you should, if necessary), but they’ll be less streaky and your drying time will be less. And just in case, when you paint them, do a stroke down the middle, then do the sides. It makes it even and less streaky on the nail. The less strokes, the better. When you do too many, it gets bubbly and messy.
Top coat! Sometimes when I’m painting something quick, I don’t always show myself putting a top coat on, but I always tell you to. Why? It’s what’s going to keep your manicure on longer and be shinier. You need a top coat that’s not super thin — it has to be kind of, I don’t know, “juicy”? Is that appropriate… But basically it needs to be able to create a protective layer. When you put it on, the top coat should drop on the nail, and you should be “lightly pulling” the top coat down. You shouldn’t even be brushing it on; use a light touch! If you don’t, the polish will smear. And if you do designs enough, you should know that black never ceases to smear. This (along with letting your polish dry completely prior to top coating) will prevent that from happening! You also want to “seal” your polish by covering the whole nail AND top-coating the edges. This is key to preventing tip-wear so early.
To summarize, this is what I go by: dry nails, thin layers, protective top coat. Hope this helps!
Many people have asked the same question: “How can I grow strong nails?”
The only advice I can give you is to eat right and take care of your hands. I’m not saying I follow these to a T, because I’m definitely not perfect.
I’m not here to tell you what to eat and how to eat it — that’s not my intention. What I mean is to make sure you get a good intake of Vitamin B and protein. Whether it be by food or vitamin supplements (don’t rely on that alone), it’ll help with your nails and hair to make sure they’re strong and healthy.
Don’t be rough with your hands — don’t use them as tools (scraping things, pressing hard on the keyboard/phone buttons, etc.), keep them moisturized, especially in the cuticle areas, keep them clean, and make sure your nails are filed evenly. When you notice that your nails are catching on your clothing, it’s time to file them to a smooth edge. Chips lead to snags, snags lead to small tears, and small tears lead to ripping the nail off your nail bed, which is painful. So, to avoid the possible shedding of tears, make sure your nails are evenly filed.
I’ve also been asked this question: “How can I make my nails grow faster?” The honest truth is, you can’t. Although it is hard to resist, do not believe these advertisements that say “Put this on your nails and they’ll grow 3 times as fast in a week!” There are no magic potions or pills to speed up the process. It’s all in your genes. Some people, like me, have the genetic make-up where your nails happen to grow faster than others, while some people’s nails grow a lot slower than others. You can’t force your body to make keratin quickly; all you can do is take care of what you have!