Week #21 – HOW TO: Galaxy nails with neon contrast
This week we’re taking City Nails into SPACE, and of course going for a nice futuristic contrast nail, too.
We tried out a milky-way inspired look, at the request of a reader (hai girl!)
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Begin with an even coat of black on each nail.
Apply a second black coat (we are using Rimmel 60 Seconds), and nail by nail, apply a large patch of very dark blue or purple Barry M powder (Black Purple, Barry M used here), or similar. Then, within the confines of the patch, sprinkle a smaller amount of a lighter colour (Barry M’s Denim). You are trying to achieve the look of an area of light merging to darkness…but working backwards.
To apply powder, dip a makeup brush in the powder, tap off excess powder and then, holding the brush above the nail, tap the handle so the powder falls. You can then blow on the nail to spread it out. See this old post for more detail.
Once you have black paint, and two darkisk-powders laid out, apply a clear top coat. This is not the final stage, this is just to wet the nail for more work.
Apply fine glitter (Barry M, Light Blue) and coarse, regular-style glitter in silver artfully over the top of the clear top coat. Try and concentrate in one area (the same patch that you first began with) so that it looks like a galaxy rather than an even spread. Once you have the glitter, add groups of larger stars with a white striping brush. Some can be just dots, but add bigger circles with flickers/rays coming out too.
AS YOU CAN SEE on ours, we positioned the centre and direction of the ‘galaxy’ slightly differently on each nail.
Finish with a top coat like Seche Vite.
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I include pictures with and without flash to try and demonstrate these nails more accurately. They were very sparkly.
A healthy score. We really enjoyed these, and they were very quick to do compared to our highly-illustrated looks more recently. This all probably took only 20 minutes or so. We hope you’re encouraged to try them out! The instructions may sound complicated but it is pretty easy, really.
Also the pointier tip shape is a lot of fun, and adds an edge to the simpler design.
Week #16 – Sticker Stencils
These were the first time I used some tips stencils I got for about 10p on eBay. When it was just the green with a white tip it looked way too Christmassy, so I had to add the blue, and then decided to do the black (some of which was just easier to do freehand).
Here is what some of the used stickers look like, stuck on my laptop.
I decided to set off the dominant stencilled nail with the blue ones (on top of which was applied dabs of pink Barry M powder, gold spots, and then a sort of drunken white leopard print).
I do feel the blue, pink and gold slightly floral nails go nicely with the stenciled ones.
The former are actually quite twee and look like they could be a print for an old woman’s shirt, whereas the others are quite sporty and tacky, which is a great contrast. However I am unhappy with the length, they are currently far too short. Plus let’s not lie they could be a fair deal more exciting.
Week #14 – Disaster Strikes
Yes there have been some severe nail art setbacks, significant breakages. But now I have set the standard of honesty I am soldiering on and letting you grimace at process. The dream is now long square tips like KID SISTER. Here’s some short, some medium, mostly kinda square, raggedy cuticles…eugh it’s basically a war zone.
This was achieved with a lurid yellow base, then Barry M ‘Dazzle Dust’ and ‘Fine Glitter Dust’ in blue and pink. Then white zig zags with a gloopy old striping brush, and gold glitter applied to blobs of wet nail varnish and scruffily circled in eyeliner. Apply a coat of Seche Vite, and despair.
They are kind of fun, and the housemates are into them, but the disparity in nail lengths and sloppy execution really holds this one back.
A bad week.
Enough to make you want to go back to writing about Lana Del fucking Rey.
Week #11 – Accidently Hippy
The Contrast Nail here has ended up looking like a print for the harem trouser fabric of some sort of yogurt-plaiting, yoga Mum but in a way this works because the rest of the nails are kind of psychedelic, so they represent her acid-dropping, trip-hopping, mind-bending, festival-attending youth, and the contrast is her mellowed-out maturity.
She lives in Totness, Devon.
This set, then, represents age and the sands of time, and the processes we all go through on our winding way to the boneyard.
HERE’S HOW WE ACHIEVED THE LOOK…
Begin with the Powder Gradient – this is gold with a bright pink Barry M powder. The powder this time is at the nail tip rather than the bottom, which calls for a slightly different technique and is a bit messier (don’t do this in bed). DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE OUT YOUR CONTRAST NAIL if you want to do one.
Using a nail art pen, a striping brush or a liquid eyeliner, draw a ‘splat’ shape in the centre of the nail, then draw a thin stripe around the shape paying attention to emphasise the bumps and curves. Simply repeat outwards with increasingly thick stripes.
Apply a thick top coat (if you have used eyeliner, you may have to do this a bit softly to avoid flaking)
Losing marks for it’s slightly awkward hippy-dippyness, but overall a lot of fun and have proven popular over the week. Peace and Love, as always.
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.
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.