Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nan Inspired Nautical Nail Art

Remember that new color I was waiting for, the source of all my restless nail turmoil, that wasn't due to arrive until Friday? It came! Yesterday when I came home, a package awaited that glowed with a golden light upon opening it.

Well, maybe not all that, but it did have some good stuff in it.

The package was my order from Julep containing the free nail polish I earned for taking my Maven box three months in a row. I chose Jillian, an "eggplant bronze molten." I'll warn you outright that when you put on the first coat, it is uuuuuggggly- a weird, blotchy purple grey jelly. Then you layer another coat over it and it morphs into this gorgeous, unclassifiable shade of opaque red/purple that shimmers differently in the light from different angles. I am very happy with it and looking forward to trying it out for a full mani, maybe with some chunky glitter or metallic swirls.

The color I was really waiting for, though, was Nan. Nan is a "Nantucket red creme" tucked away in the Savvy Deals section for $2.99. Since I apparently don't know how to order just one nail polish, I tacked it on with my freebie because I'd been eyeing it for a while and thought "Nantucket red" sounded perfect for a theme I've always liked, but have never gotten around to trying as nail art: nautical. Nan turned out to be even better than I imagined, and I highly recommend that you pick it up now, before it's gone. It's not quite red, but not quite pink, almost a soft, salmony tomato red, and I can't imagine a skin tone it wouldn't flatter. I think I made a good call with this one, it was exactly what I'd hoped it would be to compliment my nautical art. See for yourself:

If I do say so myself, this first attempt at a nautical mani came out very well. I have yet to find a white polish that doesn't pool in my cuticles and leave messy edges, possibly because I can't bring myself to spend OPI or Julep money on a basic white or black polish. For this design I considered using a gold or a pale grey base instead, but I thought the white would create a nice clean effect, and it did.

This design is deceptively simple. You can find numerous nautical looks floating out there, so I just mix and matched patterns I liked. I used a small nail art brush and a medium size dotting tool to shape the big anchors. I really like the anchor theme, so for my thumbs, I got dangerous and did an anchor "polka dot" pattern, which I haven't seen before. Even I was surprised at how good those little tiny anchors came out. The small anchors required more precision, but ultimately it was a simple formula: small dots with a dotting tool with wide polka dot spacing, then a short line extending from each dot with a triangle at the end formed with the most sophisticated of nail art tools, the mighty toothpick. Along the edges I added a few partial anchors to look like the design spread out past my nails. Add a white dot in the center of the bigger blue dots with the toothpick, and we're done. I'm sure stamping or stickers would be cleaner, but there's something a special kind of cool about a hand painted mani.

Surprisingly, the hardest part of this look was the striped nail! I don't do a lot of horozontal stripes for a reason: I stink at them. However, they were essential to my vision for this look, so I decided to figure it out. I started with a shorter striper, but it left the lines much too fat and blurry, so I pulled out the regular striper that I use for vertical lines, which I saved from a dried up Jordana striping polish. It made kind of a mess, but I eventually got the look I wanted. I used a dotting tool to form the little hearts with Nan, a blatant ripoff of the other nautical designs I've seen. It's all topped off with Mega Shine topcoat.

All in all, this look came out very much as I hoped it would, and has hopefully cured my restless nail syndrome. A bonus tip for you who made it to this paragraph: for almost all of my designs that use white polish, I put a layer of matte topcoat in between the first and second coats to give a smooth, non-streaky finish to the white nails. NYC In A Minute Matte Me Crazy topcoat is inexpensive and works beautifully for this as well as for matte designs. I'm really pleased with how this turned out and completely enamored with the polish that inspired it, Nan. The other colors used in this design were Julep Octavia and Sally Hansen XTreme Wear White On. What polish colors inspire you?

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