Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birthday Nail Bling

Last week, I celebrated my 27th birthday! Of course, aside from party and outfit planning, creating some crazy birthday nails was also a top priority. After much experimentation, I decided on the simple design below; it was very easy to execute, worked perfectly with my dress, and packed a ton of party glitz!

My V-Bling Nails, done by me

Below is the sexy little birthday dress I squeezed into, because, as you know, it's all about the dress. So, the dress came first, followed by the nail design. The two really went together quite perfectly!

Ruched taffeta leopard pencil dress at Bebe, $179

Back to the nails! I used polish, a polish striper (polish with a long, thin brush), tape, and LASplash Cosmetics Nail Art Glitter to create this look. For some very impressive nail designs that use tape, take a look at the Nailside.

LASplash Nail Art Glitters

I used only one color of glitter, Trickery, which is the pot of loose glitter in the middle of the upper row in the picture (above). The below picture is a close-up picture of Trickery; it looks more neon in the photo than it actually is.

Image from

After shaping my nails and applying a base coat, use two 1/2 inch pieces of tape to create a V on each nail (each piece of tape covers the part of the nail that is painted black). You do not want the pieces of tape to touch each other at the vertex; you want just a teeny bit of space between them so there's a space for glitter. (You'll notice in the pictures of my nails that the black sections never actually touch).

Next, take the polish color you want underneath the glitter and use it to paint in the V created by the tape. The color of polish will slightly affect the look of the glitter. You might want to play around with the effect that the "undercolor" has on how your glitter will look. Let the first layer of polish dry.

The Glitz!
I highly recommend using glitter specifically made for nails. If you do not use nail glitter but use colored body glitter, there is the possibility that the color from the body glitter will "disappear" after about ten minutes. I have no explanation for this. (I have not experimented with craft glitter.)

My V-Bling Nails, done by me

Open the pot of nail glitter, then apply the second layer of your chosen undercolor polish in the V, and dip! Make sure that the entire surface of your nail that is exposed makes contact with the glitter and then remove your finger from the glitter, lightly tapping your finger on the edge of the pot. Gently use one of your other fingers to pat the top of the glitter; this helps to secure any loose pieces of glitter that are sticking up. Do not press, just pat lightly! Don't allow drying time and immediately start to slowly remove the tape. Because you want the glitter V to have a clean, solid edge, make sure that you carefully remove any stray pieces of glitter that end up outside of the V (or push them into the V); I recommend using an orangewood stick or a toothpick (I prefer a toothpick for greater accuracy). Also, if some of the pieces of glitter from the edge of the V clump to the tape as you remove it, carefully use your orangewood stick/toothpick to place some of the pieces of glitter back onto the V to ensure a crisp line of glitter (yes, this is tedious). You need a crisp line!

Filling In the Blanks
For this step, it doesn't matter if your nails are wet or dry. If the tape leaves a residue on your nail, try to lightly scratch it off with an orangewood stick if there seems to be much; you want a smooth and even surface for the next polish application.

I highly recommend using a striper brush for this task or a striper polish (see pictures below). I used L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Polish in black. This line of striper brushes is terribly inexpensive ($1-$3) and great for stocking up on several colors, especially if you don't use stripers much or are just trying them. The only thing I dislike about this brand's striper polishes is that they can get a little goopy around the mouth while using it; I don't know if this is true for all striper polishes or just these. I'm guessing there's also a difference in the quality of the brush. What's nice about using a striper polish as opposed to a striper brush? You don't have to clean it between colors and uses!

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L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Polish

Starting at the base of your nail, drag the striper brush along the edge of the lines that create the V. The more crisp and solid your lines are from the previous step (The Glitz!), the easier this will be. It is important to make sure you have enough polish on your brush to make a solid, continuous line, but not too much polish that your line isn't crisp. ("Crisp" seems to be the buzzword for this post!) The polish needs to meet the glitter--no gaps or overlapping allowed! The advantage of allowing time for the glitter/polish from the previous step to dry is that it is easier to wipe off any oopsie overlaps that happen while applying the striper polish.


The last step to finish the design requires filling in the unpolished part of the nail outside of the V, on the other side of the black line from the glitter (where the tape was). I recommend using a regular polish brush for this task and matching the polish color to the color of your striping polish (or using the same nail polish color for both the striping and the fill-in and just switching brushes: for example, use the lacquer from the striper polish but a brush from a regular polish). I discourage using the striper brush to fill in the area where the tape was, because it will not yield a smooth surface.

image from

Use at least two coats of top coat to secure the glitter and create a smooth surface; the glitter will be bumpy and rough. My favorite top coat is Sally Hansen's Mega Shine Extended Wear Top Coat, pictured below. However, I recomend using a different top coat before applying Mega Shine, especially with nail art designs. Sometimes, the Mega Shine can drag the color of your manicure, which ruins the design. I use one coat of NYC's clear polish, followed by one coat of Sally Hansen Mega Shine. This gives you the shine and mani protection and preservation of Mega Shine while preventing any color smearing. (Neither of these polishes are on either of Peta's lists for companies that do and do not test on animals.)


A Bit About Birthdays...

I'm way more excited about having a birthday than turning another year older; I'm very much over the whole negative association that accompanies women's aging. However, I've come to the conclusion that every birthday is one to be celebrated and about which to be excited! For several reasons: 1) you will be another year older the following year. 2) having a birthday is way better than the alternative--which really makes you appreciate being alive to celebrate another yea. And 3) it's an excuse to party and have fun!! (as if anyone needs an excuse....) I had a fabulous birthday, and I am so grateful for all of the amazing people in my life who celebrated with me! :)  

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