Nail Fail #2
Been a long while since we’ve drawn attention to a Nail Fail, especially as we are all trying to be positive in these dark, dark times.
But this time we aren’t picking on Miley ‘She’s-Just-Being-Miley’ Cyrus…it’s our own fail. Best City Nail Fail. An own goal, if you will.
Because we thought OBVIOUSLY you can just stick bits of magazines to your nails…
The only marks here are for effort.
It didn’t look good from a distance, just murky, fleshy colours. Up close, as you can see, was even more of a nightmare and that was before everything began to peel, and water began to seep beneath the paper.
For those who can’t tear their eyes away this is L-R: Kelly Rowland, Britney Spears, Katie Price, Gwen Stefani and Kerry Katona. Selected from an old issue of Closer magazine solely on the basis of their being about the right size (although if it could be done well, a whole set of the Stefani eyes might be nice, after all she is a Nail Queen!)
Week #10 – Powder Gradient, Whisker Tip, Fresh Colours
This ‘week’ we tried various ways to make Rimmel’s ‘I ❤ Lasting Finish’ in 280 Sunshine work.
After a pretty uninspired attempt at a smiley face motif we settled for this jazzy little arrangement. Although it’s not the most exciting design-wise, the colours catch the eye and the whisker-thin tip emphasises the nail’s shape.
Week #9 – Back in Business
SHE GETS WHAT SHE WANTS.
This week’s are the sickest yet!
This is a great time to say how happy I am to be sharing my progress developing as a nail painter with you. We’re nearly up to 4,000 views on this blog, so subscribe, stay updated and keep ’em coming because my nails are only gonna get better.
Sorry for no details on products or technique, but it would be too long a post with each nail different.
Yes, yes, these are still far from perfect and maybe a little ‘derivative’, but I feel I have put my own spin even on the god-damn leopard.
PRAISE JESUS AND BEHOLD…
Week #8 – Trip to Dalston
So I visited Pak’s Cosmetics in Dalston where you won’t pay more than £1.50 for a nail colour.
The quality is very thin so it is yet another of these 4-coat situations, but sometimes you can’t argue with spending £1 instead of £10. It’s up to you. Lion King, Lion Queen, as they say.
WHAT WE USED:
Beauty Forever – 30
Beauty Forever – 49A
Beauty Forever – 130
No 7 ‘Stay Perfect’ in Betty Blue (so blue it’s actually black after one layer)
Standard cheap as chips eBay striping brush.
I didn’t feel as though this contrast nail really worked well with the rest. It was a clash…not enough to be gaudy and satisfying, but enough to slightly irk.
Was very into the custard / skin colour, though. Hope to put to better use in future.
The glittery polish was so gloopy and thick it took an age to dry. About two weeks later there is still no sign of chipping to these nails, so they have been incorporated into the next look.
More X Factor Nails
So judges’ houses (yeah, I should have got this up sooner but life as a bootleg nail diva is busy and hard)
…judges’ houses provided a little more nail intrigue for the show.
First up, 16-year-old Amelia Lily, who is now out of the show, displayed this mixed-colour manicure while she was weeping about the fact that her Dad loves her.
Why be harsh? The poor girl’s already been kicked off the show. Usually we find red and black combinations a little Dennis the Menace, and rather angry-looking, but maybe a little more anger is what’s needed these days. It goes nicely with her spooky, gothic jewelery and the nails themselves are very elegantly shaped.
Well done Amelia.
Mischa ‘B’ (Eugh – Jessie J, Katy B…give up, Mischa!) showed us all this baffling look while she was weeping about the fact that Jennifer Hudson came and stood by a swimming pool.
Not being funny but anyone will just look at an index finger nail, twice as long as the rest, and they’ll all be thinking it is for sniffing coke or picking your ears, etc.
Contrast COLOURS are fun, and look pointless. Contrast LENGTHS look as though there is some nefarious practical purpose. Contrast colours look frivolous and fun, and we’ve all just about gotten used to them now. Will be a long time before contrast length (and only on one hand, too) stops looking creeeeeeeeeeepy.
Why do you need that claw, Mischa?
This week, of course, Tulisa has outed Mischa as a cruel bully. Perhaps that single red bead on the offending nail is a symbolic drop of blood, squeezed from a puncture in the lungs of one of her fellow competitors.
If so, that is quite badass, and it is this potentially ferocious little red dot that saves Mischa from a much lower score.
Week #7 – RuPaul-inspired colours
RuPaul is a huge hero of ours, and his wisdom and beauty should be an inspiration to everyone with an open heart and mind.
In light of this, our pretty simple and rushed manicure is a pretty paltry tribute for the Supermodel of the World.
In fact, I copied this look from a girl I saw crossing Kingsland Road in East London. I then realised the hot pink and black and white check is EXACTLY what the Drag Race promo shots are all about!
These were quick and easy to do and were eye-catching. We might need to create some more kind of exquisite RuPaul dream nail in the future, but for a QUICK FIX, these were pretty cool.
Week #6 – more ‘Powder Gradient’
I realise that the ‘Week such-a-number’ blog titles have become a little meaningless now, but whatever.
Here’s more experimentation with the Powder Gradient and the now unstoppable Contrast ‘#kellyrowland’ Nail.
As you know, loose eyeshadow (we use Barry M, because there’s really no need for an upmarket version of pigment powder – not on nails anyway) is sprinkled and dabbed over the wet nail polish to achieve a colour fade.
Looks nice, but this ones boring and we all know it.
Celebrity Contrast Nails: Kelly Rowland
Further celebrity support for the Contrast Nail can now be seen in the audition stages of the X Factor.
Our glamorous new judge from across the pond is on point with a blue/pink contrast manicure that can be seen from Episode 1!
Notice that Kelly’s pink Contrast Nail is on the traditional finger on her left hand but, controversially, on the right hand the Contrast Nail is on the INDEX FINGER!
Got to give Kelly only
…love that you’re wearing [we think] your own nails, girl, and the colours are right, but this mixed finger business bugs us out. The only thing that stops Contrast Nails looking like a mistake is that they’re in the same god-damned place.
If Kelly’s Contrasts were on the same fingers, they would nestle neatly together, adding to each other’s impact, as Kelly hides behind her hands in this oft-seen despairing/mirthful pose.
She’s a beautiful woman and full of fun, but she’s taken this too far.
Celebrity Contrast Nails: Serena W and Cher L
The whole contrast nail situation has become a very definite thing since we first introduced you to it in our Street Style at the beginning of the year (well, early April…but we spotted the look weeks beforehand)
Since then we’ve tried our own (more to come) and now celebrities are getting in on the trend, which has sprung from Peckham and East London.
Seen on the court here with a purple set, and silver contrast.
Obviously we go for a slightly more complex design at Best City Nails, but Serena’s purple/silver look is on-trend and appropriate for sports.
Most people really aren’t into Cher Lloyd’s debut Swagger Jagger. The tune itself would be OK as a novel album track but for a debut single it doesn’t really showcase her well enough.
BUT you can’t fault the video for it’s on-point nails. A very slightly over-styled Cher sports a contrast manicure even simpler than Serena’s (which is probably for the best, as there is already so much ‘going on’).
Cher’s slightly pointed (good) black/silver nails are first seen at the beginning of the video, lining up the track:
And again, as Cher blows a kiss-kiss to the haters:
With give both Serena Williams and Cher Lloyd
…because we’re just so very into a Contrast Nail.
Hard to go wrong.
For Glastonbury festival, we opted for a favourite colour combination of purple and orange. One of those glorious clashes.
For a bit of the sun we hoped for, a nice yellow was used on the Contrast Nail.
And, if you look closely, the Contrast Nails…CONTRAST WITH EACH OTHER! Mindfuck.
…as if you needed to ask the score for these beauts.
A reader has told us about a new technique using loose powder makeup to create an airbrushed, sunset effect. We call it the Powder Gradient. We’ve gone for a festive red, as there have been no red nails on the blog so far.
WHAT WE USED:
We used a red Mary Quant nail polish, about 30 years old. In spite of its vintage age, it was a joy to use, going on way more evenly than any polish I can remember using. and also drying quite quickly.
The gold is a simple loose powder meant for use as an eyeshadow or highlighter.
The black is liquid eyeliner in a design inspired by Illamasqua.
A top coat of Seche Vite.
THE TECHNIQUE: Apply both layers of colour. When colour is still wet, use an eyeshadow brush to collect a generous amount of the powder. Hover brush just over desired area (base or tip) of nail, and tap like cigarette to drop powder.
Drop powder from a greater height to allow it to spread more.
Blow the powder gently in an upwards/downwards direction as desired, again to achieve that faded effect.
When the nail polish is slightly drier, you can use the brush to fill in any awkward gaps in the powder (if this is done when the nail is too wet, you’ll get a gritty, uneven surface)
TIP: The nail varnish must be wet for the powder to stick, so do your second coat, and then the powder sprinkling one nail at a time. Also, when painting your second coat of red, make sure you’re brushing up to the bottom of the first coat, otherwise you’ll have a thin strip of the exposed dry 1st coat at the bottom of the nail where the powder won’t stick. There will therefore be a whisker of the base colour peeking out of where your gradient is supposed to start, making the whole effect look somehow ‘fake’.
We learnt this the hard way.
Further design is painted with black eyeliner, which has the benefit of being fast-drying. I saw this design in an Illamasqua flagship store.
A bit too Christmassy?
Finish with a generous top coat, as always.
Above: no top coat yet.
TIP: Avoid the temptation to rinse off the powder on the skin around your nails until they are dry enough, especial if you use a towel. There’s a sad, sticky moment waiting to happen.
We are in love with this technique. When done well the Powder Gradient can make a nail look professionally airbrushed, from a distance. Up close, the glittery texture of the powder will be stunning to behold.
Lower score, as we feel this colour combination is too Christmassy, and the added black makes it altogether just a bit too aggressive.
Great technique but will try to put it to better use.
Time to show you our own CONTRAST NAIL experimentation (more to come, rest assured)
WHAT WE USED:
Some manky old French Manicure coat – Rimmel, seriously vintage
Rimmel Nail Tip Whitener
Rimmel 60 seconds (610 Pompous)
Black striping brush – eBay
Pink neon – eBay
Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat
As you can see – the deliberate mistake here is that I forgot the contrast nail! Otherwise, begin with the French manicure pink. No need to go right to the top as they will obviously be white. Then begin the moons – dark purple (or even, Pompous).
Add the white tips – remember, three or four vertical strokes can be more accurate than going right across your nail.
White dividing lines between the moons and the main. As you can see, the raggediest one here is the one that is SUPPOSED to be the contrast nail, anyway! Praise!
The main colour of the Contrast Nail is added!
This has been given a perfect score. Obviously it isn’t executed with complete perfection, but in theory – the patterns, colours, shapes, etc – there is nothing wrong with this manicure. It’s funky, and fresh.
As you can see from this picture, the cheap pink colour is still quite see-through, which is a shame. That is one of the things holding it back.
Nail Street Style – COPIED elsewhere…
American NYLON magazine have uploaded a nail street style post.
I don’t think they realise that street style is meant to be on the STREET, dig? These are some pictures their readers just sent them along.
Still, nice to see everyone getting involved.
Our fave is the Adidas/Run D.M.C. manicure with the mean original colours. Amazing use of matte black here – shiny would have compromised the clarity of the letters and logo.
Some girl has the blue/gold half-moon manicure our friend Frances did like a YEAR ago. Heh heh.
Me and Frances:
OK, different shades/shapes, but this is intellectual property, not forensics.
Anyway their yield is worth a look, but not if you get cuticle-cringe…some of these bitches; RAGGEDY AS HELL!
Nail Street Style #2
We met Rachael at Waterloo station a few weeks back.
She sports a new trend we’re noticing more and more in nail art – the ‘contrast finger’.
At first we thought it might just be a coincidence, but we saw it about 3 more times and realised it is for sure a trend.
Stay tuned for our own interpretation of the ‘contrast finger’ (nearly always the ring finger, it seems)
Rachael is 16 and a college student. She told us she gets her nails done in Peckham, because it’s cheap and ‘that’s what everyone does.’
Rachael’s ‘contrast finger’ has stirred some controversy amongst the people she asked, many remarking that it ‘looks like a mistake,’ and even exclaiming ‘what is she doing?!’
But we love it; it makes you look twice, and we feel as long as both hands match, it looks quite deliberate.
WHAT WE USED:
Seche Vite – Dry Fast Top Coat
Rimmel – Nail Tip Whitener
Rimmel – I ❤ Lasting Finish (280 Sunshine)
Beauty UK, Glam Nails – (52 Jade)
Purple ‘Nail Star’ striping brish & pen (eBay)
Glitter (Art shop)
Wait for the white to dry completely before painting two layers of the Jade (so the glitter only sticks to the wet colour)
One finger at a time, and as soon as you can after painting in the tips, sprinkle the glitter. If you don’t want too much glitter – like here – sprinkle from a greater height. If they white is totally dry, the glitter shouldn’t stick.
This last step shows the purple lines, and the top coat (remember, the more Seche Vite, the better. It dries very fast so don’t worry too much about layering it on. It can be quite hard to drag over the glitter without a good few drops).
Again, a ‘colourway’ that looked pretty fly in the bottles just doesn’t look the same when painted out, and in different amounts. There’s something of the gaudy bathroom tile about that Jade colour, but then the yellow messes it all up.
Still, I like the V-shaped tips with the regular-shaped half moon. Muy bien.
Nail Street Style #1
We ran into Victoria, who is a hiphop’n’happening young stylist from Sideview magazine.
She was in the audience of Ziad Ghanem’s London Fashion Week show.
She wowed us with her square acrylics; clear/natural base with black tiger stripes, and gold glitter details.
Importantly, she also accessorised with some amazing gold finger-candy. Glitter, wings, studs, a leopard. All just what’s needed to set off those pro nails!
She said she didn’t have much loyalty when it came to getting her nails done, and has manicures in lots of places.
Nail Fail #1
You’d have thought that with a budget about 10,000,000 x the size of Best City Nails’, she’d be able to cook up a look at LEAST as good as ours.
Nope. Proudly-pouting Miley does not impress us with these plain black, stubby eyesores.
Perhaps she had ferocious talons, fit for a queen, but they got chipped and broken during THE CLIMB – hahahahahahah.
Oh well. Pro nails are probs not the best thing for herding cattle and playing geetar.
A mark for the fact the’re painted, a mark for the fact they’re not chipped.
The generosity goes no further.
Hackney Nails Article “Filed Away: the Vietnamese heart of Hackney nail art.”
Read this interesting and funny feature from an East London news site about nail bars in Hackney, using a picture from BEST CITY NAILS!
Lynn Enright is a good journalist.
Here’s some choice extracts:
“The workers hunch over their stations; little paper masks protecting them from the noxious fumes and floating detritus. Furiously they file and buff; there is no time for small talk.”
“Hackney-born Charaf is eager to chat away though. “We get all sorts in here,” she says. “A bit of everything – old ladies, young school kids, black, white, but never Vietnamese actually. The Vietnamese run the nail bars but they don’t get their nails done.” ”
“So from America to Hackney, with the help of the Vietnamese diaspora, and then onto Ireland, this is one trend that’s truly global.”
Here’s just a little something I whipped up, y’know.
The main colour is Rimmel’s 60 Seconds, in ‘Blue My Mind’ – delightful.
The second coat of this was liberally sprinkled with silver glitter of the coarse kind you can buy in an art shop, and sealed in with a top coat.
As you can tell in the main picture, there are two dividing lines – one hot pink and one glittery purple. This look would have worked better without the purple line because it is too close to the main colour, so it just looks like there’s a gap between the pink and the tips.
It spoils the strength of the look.
Zebra tips, always a favourite.
– losing out on full marks because of the purple stripe fiasco. So near, yet so far.
WHAT WE USED:
Saffron London ‘Ultra Nail Polish’. Colour 48 (frozen pea green), from eBay
‘Flexbrush’ – gold striping brush, from eBay
No. 7 – ‘Stay Perfect’ in Betty Blues (more then one layer and it’s pretty much black)
Seche Vite – Dry Fast Top Coat
And of course, SUPER GLUE!
[As you can see there is also purple and white used in the manicure, which were from a set of very cheap striping brushes/pens, available on eBay]
Paint the green over the nail bed, using a curved stroke at the top to avoid the tip of the nail. If one nail is broken or shorter than the others, leave a bit of extra space unpainted at the top so that not all the nail bed is covered and the tips all look proportional.
Use enough polish for the brush not to drag and leave marks. Vertical strokes along the length of the nail are easier to control and give a better finish than horizontal ones, but you may need to vary your strokes to get an even, plasticy look.
This is two coats.
Paint your tips. Don’t be tempted to go along the width of the nail – use three or four carefully-angled VERTICAL strokes, and it will be easier to control. It doesn’t matter if the line between the two colours is a bit raggedy because you’ll be going over it with the striping brush.
Use the gold striping brush to put dots across the tips Start with three or four big blobs, which you almost drip on from the tip of the brush. Then scrape excess varnish off the brush and then use the blobs already on your nails to dip the brush into. This gives you the light amounts of varnish you need for your smaller surrounding dots.
These dots can take a while to dry, as it’s quite a lot of varnish. That’s cool though, because you still have to do the purple half-moons and white dividing lines.
Then add purple half-moons using a purple striping brush, and white dividing lines using a white striping brush.
With the white lines, it’s best to go from the centre of the nail, and out to either side (if you go from the outside in, your two lines might not meet at quite the same height like this: —__ and if you try to do it in one swoop, well, it’s your funeral).
Of course you better add a good TOP COAT. Waint until your nails are dry to the touch of your lips before using a top coat. If you have a fast drying top coat like Seche Vite, or you have time to kill, you better use TWO coats, for an extra-smoothe, acrylic look.
– because I am not 100% sure about the colours. It’s not the green and purple (that’s a classic satisfying clash), it’s the further combination of black and gold…am I trying to combine two worlds in one? At times I think so. So we lose two marks.
Stay tuned for more BEST CITY NAILS…
Email: charlie_alderwick [at] hotmail [dot]co.UK
Welcome to Best City Nails
Welcome to BEST CITY NAILS…
You’ve heard of CITY BEST KEBAB, and BEST AMERICAN PIZZA, and BEST CITY FOOD…well now it’s time to give London’s raggedy nails what they deserve – the best.
We’ll keep you posted on what we’re wearing on our talons week by week, PLUS:
- How to achieve FIERCE Best City Nails-inspired looks
- Celebrity nails
- Nail street style (it could be you!)
- Nail tips
- Nail bar reviews
- Nail product reviews
- Cultural nail studies
- Nail Fails
- And more…
So get ready to SUBSCRIBE (for real), and let’s VARNISH London town – all the colours of the ‘bow man.
SOHO! RIHANNA! POP! NEON! FRENCH TIPS! STRIPES! NEW CROSS! SPOTS! STRIPES! BOW! FASHION WEEK! PARTIES! SHOREDITCH! CELEBS! FOILS! LONDON! GLITTER! KID SISTER! FIERCE! HOXTON! KATY PERRY! KEBAB! CHECK! CLUBBING! SEX! DOLLY PARTON! STARS! COOL! DALSTON! DANCING! HIP HOP! WHITECHAPEL! AMAZE!