Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Straight Edge Challenge Results


As predicted, my challenge to myself to conquer my cuticles and master pretty edges had mixed results.

I did do some valuable recon for the next time I decide to face the beast. I started with babying my nails for the trials ahead. A careful filing, buffing, moisturizing, and a coat of NutraNail Green Tea Strengthener made my nails looks deceptively healthy. Mistake number 1: Winter has ravaged my already dry cuticles, so getting a clean edge is near impossible. You'll notice in the after pic that polish took hold around the edges of my thumb and refused to let go, a dead giveaway that dry skin hurt my mani.

Next up, I picked my poison. I applied two coats of Sally Hansen Hard As Nails in Tough Love, one of my favorites, and aptly named for the torture I put my nails through tonight.That's not a mistake on the label, I got this delightful polish for less than 50 cents! I found it in a clearance bin at K-Mart and snapped it up. Even at full price, though, this color is a real steal. It's a bright, almost neon, red creme.

The next step was a series of trial and error attempts at getting a clean edge. For obvious reasons, nails that started out neat had better results after the cleanup. I found that the most effective method in general was to put on topcoat first (which I didn't expect for some reason), then use a medium angled brush to shape the sides and a small angled brush to shape the bottom and further clean up the sides, followed by a second coat of topcoat. Oddly enough, it seems that pulling the angled brushes toward the long end works better than placing the angled part down against the nail. I used acetone in a shotglass to keep my brushes clean, and changed the acetone halfway through, since clean brushes with generous but not dripping amounts of acetone seemed to work best. A larger flat brush and a cotton swab were good for areas where a lot of polish got on my finger and smudgy areas after I cleaned up the sides. Spend With Pennies recently posted a link to a 15 piece set of brushes very similar to mine (in fact, I'm pretty sure it's the same set) for less than $3 with free shipping.
Left to right: small angled brush, large flat brush, medium angled brush

Unfortunately, like so many things in life, I think this will just take practice. Oh, and by the way, I cheated.

I know I said no glitter, no nail art, blah blah blah, but that's just not me. Plus I picked up a new color. I've been eyeing the Nicole by OPI Carrie Underwood Collection, and on a whim I chose Lips Are Dripping Honey, a gold based chunky holo glitter topcoat. It is so sparkly. I think it could be opaque with a few coats, but it's a little thin, so I think it was meant to be worn as a topper. Nicole polishes always have a fantastic formula and fun colors, and I love the collections they've been coming out with. The Selena Gomez colors were wonderful, and I think Carrie's collection is going to be a winner too!

Did you take the straight edge challenge? How did it go?

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