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Simple Manicure

Zoya Charisma

May 16, 2012

This is the color I used in a gradient on my tips a little bit ago. Such a gorgeous neon color. The neon-ness that I see in the bottle doesn’t really translate to my nails, though. But I do like the true berry color. I love to wear colors like this.

Update on my Love/Hate relationship with Zoya

I adore the color range of Zoya polishes. Just can’t get enough of them. However, I’ve always had two kinds of trouble with Zoya: bad shrinkage with my favorite top coat Seche Vite ( I can only really wear the polish for one day before the perfectionist in me demands new polish), or lots of bubbling. When I try to not use Seche Vite and therefore have to wait an interminably long time for the polish to dry, I always get awful bubbling. This occurs whether I use the Zoya Anchor base coat or not.

However, I think I may have discovered a clue when it comes to bubbling while I was painting Charisma. I usually always use Nail Magic under my base coats in order to strengthen my nails. This time I skipped it all together and put the Zoya Anchor base coat straight on my naked nails. That seemed to help quite a bit. However, this polish does dry to a more matte finish (like neon polishes usually do), so it might be the quicker dry formula that prevented the bubbling, not the fact that I used only Anchor. More testing will be needed. :)

I used Zoya’s top coat Armor on top of Charisma as well.

The fact that I continue to strive for a bubble-less Zoya manicure shows how much I love the color range. Oh, Zoya, I want to love you but you make it so hard. Still trying, though. :)

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Nail Art

Black Rainbow Stripes

May 13, 2012

Hello, all! Happy Mother’s Day! I’ve been working on perfecting “tape manicures” where you tape off sections of the nail to create crisp, clean lines. It’s a bit tricky to master and I’m still working on it. Anyhow, today I thought I’d do a base painting of a rainbow gradient, apply some tape strips, and then paint black over it all. Really cool masking technique and I have to credit all the amazing inspiration I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. :)

How to do this manicure:

  1. First of all, pick a movie to watch because this takes a while. :)
  2. Paint two coats of white polish (China Glaze White on White). Let dry completely. Not just “to the touch” dry, but more like “I’m going to go do the dishes” dry. Bone dry.
  3. Create gradient nails using rainbow colors and this sponging method. I used four colors and a vertical gradient. I used a bunch of colors from Zoya: Kristi, Pippa, Breezi, and Mira. Let dry completely.
  4. Cut 2 thin strips of tape for each nail and set aside so all are ready before moving on to the next step (I placed them on the top of nail polish bottles with the ends coming off so I could grab them easily). I used regular scotch tape, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  5. Working on each nail one-by-one, apply the tape strips. Be sure to press firmly, especially at the sides next to your cuticles. Paint black polish over entire nail. Immediately remove tape strips (removing them immediately helps you get crisp lines). Move on to next nail.
  6. Let all nails dry for 3-5 minutes. Finish with topcoat (Seche Vite).
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Nail Stamping

Gradient Neon Nails with Stamping

May 12, 2012

I attempted to do gradient nails again, this time with neon colors (which sadly my camera doesn’t pick up). The gradient is much more subtle in the photos. Believe me, it’s awesome! Anyhow, I skipped the glitter this time and went straight to stamping. I love how it turned out!

Base Colors: China Glaze Pink Voltage (Neon), Zoya Charisma
Stamping Color: Konad Special Polish Black
Stamping Plate: Cheeky XL Image Plate C (available here)

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Nail Stamping

Rainbow Chevron Nails

May 5, 2012


Green polish (China Glaze Gaga for Green)
Yellow polish (Zoya Pippa)
Orange polish (Zoya Arizona)
Red Polish (Zoya Kristi)
Konad Special Polish in Black
Bundle Monster Plate BM-201
Top Coat polish (Seche Vite)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Paint green polish in one corner of nail and up the side. Paint a second coat if needed. Let dry.
  2. Paint yellow polish diagonally across nail, overlapping green polish. Paint a second coat if needed. Let dry.
  3. Paint orange polish next to and overlapping yellow polish. Paint a second coat if needed. Let dry.
  4. Pair red polish next to orange polish to finish nail. Paint a second coat if needed. Let dry completely.
  5. Stamp chevron pattern in black polish. Apply top coat.
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Nail Stamping

Aqua Navy Nails

May 4, 2012

Base Color: Zoya Wednesday
Stamping Color: Zoya Ibiza
Stamping Plate: Konad m83

I saw Zoya Ibiza used for stamping on a blog a while back and decided to try it out. I think it works because it’s such a dark color. I was sure to stamp it very quickly, however. Being that it’s a regular polish, it tends to dry much more quickly than the Konad Special Polishes. In fact, you can’t see it, but the stamping on my thumb is all sorts of messed up because I wasn’t fast enough. :)

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Simple Manicure

Zoya Bevin

April 21, 2012

I wasn’t sure about this color at first, but it’s really growing on me. :)

I love the colors that Zoya offers but I struggle with what top coat to use. The Zoya Armor top coat has major bubbling issues for me. I’ve tried it multiple times and I just can’t get it right.

So this time I used CND Super Shiney top coat. It seemed to work a little bit better. When I took the above photos, I only had a few bubbles. But over the next hour or so, just like when I used the Zoya top coat, many more bubbles developed. I think next time I’ll use even thinner coats of the polish and allow even more drying time between coats. I suspect that’s the real underlying issue. I’ll have to report back.

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Simple Manicure, Tips & Tricks, Video

Basic Manicure – Parts 1 & 2

April 20, 2012

Products Used / Mentioned

Zoya Remove+
Sephora by OPI polish remover
Cotton Rounds
HandsDown Ultra Nail & Cosmetic Pads –
Nail Brush –
Softsoap Cucumber & Melon soap
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover
Orangewood Stick
Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme
The Body Shop Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil
The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream
Magic Nail, Nail Hardener
CND Sticky Base Coat

Products Used / Mentioned

China Glaze Liquid Leather polish
Zoya Maisie Fleck Effects polish
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

See photos of manicure

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