Week #24 – Fantastic patterns
This ‘week’ we just decided to go for some really fantastic patterns. Just a bold colour with freehand black patterns over the top.
And with a POWDER GRADIENT contrast nail.
Here we opted not to cover the crystals with a top coat and therefore many of the were lost in the battles of everyday life, as you can see below.
We are quite into these but it is not the extravaganza we had dreamed of. Dreaming bigger for the future. You know. Soon photography standards will return to normal as well, you will all be relieved to know.
Week #23 – 3Ds
More experimentation with pretty basic 3D techniques (Poundland crystals, in fact).
The main difficulty here is whether to top coat over the crystals. If you do, they stay on for weeks but they loose their sparkly-ness as the top coat smooths over all the facets. If you just glue the crystals to a finished nail and leave it at that, they might stay on for two or three days. YOUR CALL.
Above, crystals without top coat.
Above, with top coat over crystals.
The difference is far more pronounced than it appears in these shitty phone photos. Apologies for this also; temporarily lack decent photography solutions!
You know you’ve seen more exciting nails on this blog. It is what it is.
Week #22 – Eye of Horus
Today I have finally got round to two designs I have been thinking of for a while.
One is this rope/plait/chain type thing, which I have done on top of a Barry M ‘Instant Nail Effects’ cracked-effect colour.
The other is the Eye of Horus, an important symbol which I have borrowed from Egyptian myth. Eyes, triangles and motifs like this are zeitgeisty in nail art at the moment thanks to Sophy Robson. Also, Madonna at the Super Bowl and Rihanna at Hackney Weekend have both added an Ancient World flavour to their much-talked-about performances.
I have enhanced the eyes with nail art jewels from Poundland.
The second 8 in a row. These work well. Into the chains, but they probably would stand out more with a less messy background. Alternating black and white might be nice. It was also hard to draw the black outlines and detail on the chains after covering the wet gold paint with glitter, but these are the challenges we face in life.
You can see these nails in motion below:
Week #19 – HOW TO: Real pressed flowers
Just when you think you are running out of ideas of ways to pimp your directional nails: pressed flowers. We had this idea wondering the city streets and marvelling at all the spring blossom (most of which is gone now), but blossom from trees is, in the main, way too large to be pressed onto a nail.
Forget-me-nots, however are perfect! Directional! Editorial!
Pick some of the flowers (respectfully!), then separate the flower itself as much as possible from the stem and bud so that it presses as flat as possible (this is much easier on the larger flowers, but we still used a couple of small ones for variety).
Then find as big a book as you can and put the flowers between some sheets of kitchen paper in the book, and leave to one side with added weight on top if you like. A couple of days was fine for me.
When the flowers are dry and flat, apply two coats of your background colour to the nail, wait a minute or so for it to dry slightly. Then use tweezers to place the flowers on the nail – take care not to dent the surface of the nail polish, and if you do perhaps it can be covered with a flower?
Finally, to keep the flowers from escaping. apply a thick coat or two of a good top coat like Seche Vite.
Some of the flowers did gradually go brownish over time, but I would say they only became unacceptably brown around the time I needed to do my nails again anyway (i.e. at least a week) so I wouldn’t let this put you off.
The other nails are inspired by stained glass windows. The colour blocks are kind of like the glass, the and black lines are like the lead/resin-type-stuff that holds it together.
Also, we experimented further with eyes, after a successful – if slightly creepy – eye-based design in the past.
We guess the eye juxtaposed with the stained glass, and the actual flowers of God’s creation is kind of human wonderment at perception of the divine or something.
We like this and will probably be re-using all these techniques in new combinations in the future. The stained glass window nails could have been a little neater, however.
Celebrity Contrast Nails: Joan Rivers and Sharon Needles
Well, well, well this might just be the campest ‘Celebrity Contrast Nails’ post so far, with two inspirational figures from overseas recently championing the contrast cause.
Our previous heroes have included of course, Kelly Rowland, Serena Williams and Cher Lloyd.
Now obviously these days you can’t so much as get on the underground without spying a contrast nail nestling somewhere, BUT that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep our eyes peeled, as the gruesome saying goes, for the next big thing…
The next big thing for Joan Rivers seems to be the contrast nail being the ONLY pass-remarkable nail. Why paint ten when you can paint two? A thought-provoking look, and unquestionably a time-saving one. After all, this is a woman who constantly jokes about her proximity to death. We can see why she would opt for this.
We can’t score highly because at the end of the day, we all know this doesn’t pack much of a punch. But it makes sense. And if you’re only painting two nails, all the better that they be in this classy shade of blue which is both electric, but still dark enough to go with anything. She knows what she’s doing.
Now the VERY interesting case of Sharon Needles’s manicure. This is the man who is almost certainly about to win drag queen reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race. Sharon seems to have taken inspiration from the pink, and black’n’white check that has long characterised the promotional shots and opening credits of the show. And, indeed, so did we. A long time ago.
Now we’re not saying Sharon has had a bit of a google and copied Best City Nails.
But stranger things have happened.
As we (very generously) awarded our own original RuPaul nails a slightly ridiculous 7/10 it seems only fair Sharon gets a solid
As she has swapped the pink and the check round, so the check is more dominant – as well as it being a finer design.
Just like Joan Rivers, Sharon has thought practically about this; unlike my experience over the past week or so of gong around with garish Easter nails, these colours will go with all the looks she has to do in the course of an episode without her nails ever looking unkempt. It’s a win/win (and she will probably win).
Our main criticism is that they could stand to be a fair bit longer, in case they need re-purposing as a weapon of self-defence against the poisonous, childish, boring, and slightly racist Phi Phi O’Hara.
THE SHADE OF IT ALL.
Week #13 – Happy New Nails! Masking tape adventures…
Seems ridiculous, as masking tape is such a staple in the word of intermediate-level home-manicures, but this is our first foray into masking tape fun.
What do you call this look anyway? It’s not Cubism? Art deco? Geometric? Dunno what it is exactly but it’s lookin fressshhhhhhhhhhhhh
SOME TIPS: See that pink colour and that purple colour? They’re actually the same, but just with the black or white base showing through SO, maybe it would be better to start with all the nails the same colour to avoid unexpected variety and/or use good quality, thick-texture varnishes, not like me at CheapSkate City.
The nails look a lot better in the top photo which used a flash, and they look at lot better in real life, but I feel I can put the masking tape technique to better use, I feel the gold stripes are a bit too thick AND there are a couple of vexing imperfections (that terrible whisker of white on the index finger could easily be edited out, but these photos are all bona fide and honest so you can join me in my quest for excellence).
And DON’T FORGET I have added these new special buttons to make it easy for you all to TWEET, FACEBOOK AND TUMBLR Best City Nails. SHARE THIS SHIT.
Week #12 – Eyes on the Prize, Violet…
This week the nails involved a repeat of Week #11’s psychedelia, a glitter nail, a pattern a bit like the nets tangerines come in, half-moons, topical glitter use, and EYES.
Many of us are of course familiar with the eyeball manicure popularised by London’s WAH Nails:
Picture: WAH nails
Here, as you can see, the concept works well as the nails are, more or less, quite a round shape so each nail is a WHOLE round, bloodshot eyeball.
Well here at B’ City Nails we don’t have too much time for nails this short, and it didn’t take us long to realise this would look shite on us, like an eyeball on widescreen.
We ended up painting two eyes, and even the make-up around the eyes, too. This was quite a nice look, but may take some time to perfect.
I am buying better brushes and pens soon, also, so stay posted for some product-based posts cos it has got to the stage now where my cheap-o tools are holding me back!
ANYWAY here’s the new nails, eyes n’all.
Both thumb nails broke recently so their inclusion in the photo (although they were painted) would ruin life.
I feel I have been marking myself too generously recently, and 2012 is the Year of Brutality after all. Not good enough will simply not be good enough, this year! I have decided I can’t fault the design of this manicure, each nail works great with the next one, etc. But the execution is just a bit too wonky for higher marks, and I am not 100% committed to that green glitter half-moon, either.
Nail Street Style #3
We met our new fashion-foward friend Jasmine on the Ferry from England to Dublin and instantly fell for her look that expertly treads the line between cute and badass.
You won’t be completely Christmas gobsmacked to find that Jasmine – 18, from London – is a fashion student.
Jasmine’s paw-print nails in classic RuPaul Drag Race colours were clock-able from across the boat! As you can see, they complimented her creature hat, and there’s even some creatures on her ring. We’re particularly keen on the index finger nail.
My friends at a Christmas party last night described Jasmine as a ‘cool lady’. I feel this probably is what has enabled her to carry off Dr Dre headphones without looking like a massive poser.
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.
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.
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 #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!
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…