Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shaping, Stars, And Chevrons

An item referenced in this post was provided to me. 

Since I've started to get more comfortable with cleanup, I've been thinking more about the other end of the nail: tip shaping. I'm not even close to the even, perfect-ish shaping I want, but I thought I'd share my progress and some of my thoughts and challenges on the subject.
My current "squovals"

I think I've worn all of the "traditional" nail shapes for natural nails at one point or another-I hate to admit it, but it's been more by accident than out of an adventurous spirit. Shaping is more of a panic response to a break than a conscious choice. When my nails get long, I'm reluctant to chop them down for the sake of shape, but refusing to lose any length on some nails sacrifices the overall look. When you look at bloggers like Sam at The Nailasaurus and Sarah at Chalkboard Nails, who have short nails with clean, defined shapes, though, there's hope! Sam has squared nails that look clean and elegant, and make a great canvas for nail art, while Sarah's are rounded, which looks soft and feminine even when she's wearing them short. Alternately, Gnarly Gnails has a more fluid shape-sometimes square, sometimes almond, sometimes much fun! I'm not quite confident enough in my shaping skills yet to make drastic changes. 

L to R: Pointer to ring

Where I run into issues is that my natural nail shape varies from nail to nail. My nails seem to move more toward round the closer I get to the thumb, with my pointer finger being quite rounded and prone to breaks and my ring finger being almost insistently squared. As you can see, even with the progress I've made with shaping (just look at my older posts), the natural tendencies of my nails are hard to overcome without aggressive filing, and my poor nails aren't quite ready for that. I think with a little research and confidence, one day my nails may have that polished (haha) look I crave. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of having natural nails is missing out on that manufactured look and the versatility of changing your nail shape like you change your polish.

By the way, did you see this polish!? The star is Pahlish Raggedy Man Good Night. It's a sparkly grey in regular light, but in the sun it lights on fire. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Gone Grey, which is gorgeous on its own too, is the base for this mani. I've worn it under a white holo as well, and it gives a nice, solid foundation that really brings out the best in my holo polishes. After being a little underwhelmed with it on its own, I layered Raggedy Man over black, red, deep purple, and this grey, and this was the clear winner (though the red was interesting too, and definitely worth another look sometime). I accented with my first chevrons, which came out really well. I took my Nailed It chevron vinyl decals and overlayed them on my ring finger, then painted over the whole deal with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Black Out (Summer also has ready made black decals if you'd prefer a no-fuss approach). The vinyl decals left great, crisp lines when I pulled them off with tweezers-easy! I also used Black Out to stamp some stars for a fun mani in a muted more-than-meets-the-eye palette.

What shape are you wearing right now? Which one do you want to try? 

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