Sunday, October 22, 2017

Monster Blood 3.0

Ok, I've officially got a Problem. I just can't resist drip art in October. Halloween has the best nail art color combinations: rich blue purples, the full range of pumpkin oranges, shimmery blacks, sparkly golds, sassy greens, warm do you choose? Drip manis let you play with lots of colors really easily, and something about them just says Halloween to me.

So I did two more this year to add to my collection of Halloweenie drips from last year and the year before. This year I started with a skittlet-I guess I got excited.

You'll recognize the green and red combo from my first Monster Blood design. It's Sinful Colors Happy Ending with NYC Crystal Couture in Ruby Queen. Happy Ending has a great gold shimmer, and I completely objectively think you need it in your collection. This time I added a new shade to the party: Broadway Nails Gel Strong in Black. This color will not satisfy the craving if you're looking for a solid black creme, but is still very much worth picking up. It's got a red shimmer that makes it special, and the application is very good in two coats.

Once I saw the full mani, I decided I liked the red and black best. Next thing I knew, it had transmogrified onto all of my nails. Spooky!

For the red, I started with one coat of Julep Catherine, a red-red jelly, to get Ruby Queen to "take" in fewer coats (you can get similar coverage in 3/4 coats of Ruby Queen alone). Then I doused it all in Out the Door topcoat for big time shine. While it's hard to see the red shimmer in Black in photos, you can spot it in the bottle shot pretty clearly.
I can't promise this will be my last drip of the season. What colors would you want to monster-mash up? What colors do you use for drip manis outside of the Halloween season?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Manis of the Week: Flakies Two Ways

Flakies keep coming in and out of style as a nail polish finish. My theory is that we hate wearing them because they lay bumpy and are notoriously poorly behaved, but then you see them and... "ooooh, pretty!" Iridescent sparkle bits are irresistible. I don't have a ton of flakies (see "lays bumpy, poorly behaved"), but I do have a favorite, a simple iridescent Avon topcoat that I found at a flea market. This week, I pulled it out twice, and got two completely different looks. Excuse my less than ideal photos this round- this topper proved to be tough to photograph, and I was ready to get this out to you!

First up, a look you might recognize: I did opal. Remember when I did that before? I don't blame you if you don't, it's been a long time. The process was similar though, I've just improved some of my fundamentals. For my base, I used Julep Janie, a milky white, instead of a stark white. I think going with something softer gave my recreation a more realistic look and let my highlight colors shine. Then I sponged a little Francine (green foil shimmer), Juliana (sheerish pink-orange shimmer), and Yiyi (soft purple holo jelly; all Julep), then topped with the flakie topper and one coat of Julep Desiree (gentle scattered holo topcoat). My other nails and the gold "frame" at the bottom are Sinful Colors Gold n' Roses.

For the second look, I went bright, layering the flakie topper and Desiree over Broadway Nails Matte Shine in Glamorous. Glamorous is a matte teal, and while it's not extraordinary, it's pretty enough, especially after you put some shine on it. But then I didn't stop. I added flakies, then holo glitter, then more flakies...pretty soon I had a super pretty, very poorly behaved mani with tons of depth. Even though the flakies on my opal mani are louder IRL, they're still much more subtle on the softer base than they are on the loud blue-green of Glamorous. This was not a subtle mani!

I've got to say, an iridescent flakie topper is worth the hunt. Sinful Colors Digital Dreams is one out now that's easy enough to find, but I passed on that one in favor of the more jagged look of the one I already have. I love this topper for more organic looks. Do you have a favorite flakie?
Bottle shot from my first opal mani post. I think the recreation is an improvement!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Broadway Nails Matte Strong Review

Just when I thought I was done with Broadway Nails...

So I know I have an erratic posting schedule, to put it mildly (one of the benefits of being Super Secret is I post when I want), but I did notice that my Broadway Nails posts still get quite a bit of interest, so I knew y'all would appreciate my gleeful surprise when polishes from their new Matte Strong line appeared in a Facebook group I follow. I picked up two shades to share today.

First up is Amore, a denim blue. The Matte Strong line boasts that it's quick drying, and has a really nice range of metallic and shimmery mattes. I'm not normally a big fan of matte finishes, but since I'd seen and liked swatches, I gave them a shot. Amore made me instantly glad I did. The application on this polish was amazing, and as promised, it dried hard within about 30 minutes, and dried to the matte finish much faster than that. No sheet marks! I didn't feel my normal instant need to topcoat it, because the soft, shimmery grey-blue was so pretty and understated. This is one medium coat. One coat! And I didn't need to do any cleanup, which is one of my holy grail qualities in a polish.

The second polish I picked up was Passionate Love, a warm, shimmery red. Even though I'm not a matte fan overall, I have been known to covet the plush sophistication of a good red matte mani. Passionate Love has lots of shimmer with berry undertones. 

I can't say I'm as in in love with the color of this one as I was with Amore, but the formula is similar. This is two easy coats, and it was a little harder to control than Amore, so some cleanup was required to get a clean edge. Even though I preferred the other shade, I would still recommend this polish if you're a fan of the in-bottle color. I wasn't sure what it would look like matte from the bottle, but the shimmer and color translated well to the nail, even though the bottle shade is very shiny. Dry time was similar to Amore, and if these polishes are representative of the formula of the other Matte Strong polishes, these $2 winners are an absolute steal.

I will definitely be picking up more of these Matte Strong polishes-the unusual shimmer choices and buttery formulas are melting my shiny, creme heart. Do you like matte finishes, and will you be trying these?

Broadway Beauty Brow Pencil

I spent a little too long standing in front of the revamped Broadway Nails display at my local Dollar General checking out new Gel Shine finishes (more on that soon!), and got sucked into an unexpected purchase: a brow pencil. A little context: I never do anything with my brows. I've had them waxed a few times, but in general, they just kinda do what they do. It's their journey. I don't interfere. But circumstances have forced my hand, so it's time for me to learn about brows. The story is a little embarrassing, but I can tell you, right?

So the other day, I decided to try Nad's Eyebrow Shaper Pen. Good news: it works great. Highly recommend. Bad news: my inexperience with doing my own eyebrows paired with heavy sprinklings of rushjob and user error left me with some very noticeable gapage:

Not good, especially for a gal with thick, dark brows who doesn't do anything with them, and therefore does not have ANY eyebrow products just hanging out in my makeup stash, I immediately rushed out to purchase something that would make my eyebrows look completely ordinary while I wait for them to grow back. I spent too much on a fancy new brow product from a big name drugstore brand that will remain nameless, and I may as well have just thrown that money in the garbage. There was no way I was going back to wading through the sea of brow products out there again, so I resigned myself to filling them in with my liquid eyeliner, which had great lasting power and did the job well enough, but still felt like I looked a little off.

Then I happened on Broadway's new brow pencil, and the first thing that caught my eye was the color: brown black. Brown...BLACK? Oh yes, I'd read it right! A major issue with the previous shopping trip is that apparently companies that make eyebrow products think that "deep brunette," which falls somewhere between Crayola brown and sable, is the darkest that eyebrows are supposed to be. My hair and the corresponding eyebrows are so dark that they're functionally black. However, the ultra-black liquid eyeliner I use was a little too intense for a natural eyebrow look, which was why I was looking for a product in the first place. No one had it. Then Broadway Beauty saved the day, and gave me an eyebrow pencil in "functionally black," and it even had the little spoolie blender thing on the end. And also, can we talk about this?:

It has a sharpener IN THE CAP! How weird and fantastic is that?

But I digress. You're probably wondering how it works. My answer: pretty well. The color match is very good, and it was very easy to apply for a novice like me. I just drew my eyebrows back in and tried not to wipe them away when I was doing the rest of my makeup (I still haven't figured out whether the pencil goes under or on top of foundation. I'm open to suggestions here, eyebrow magicians!). The staying power isn't as good as the eyeliner, but a quick touchup midday kept me from looking like, well, I have a hole in my eyebrow. I think the end result is pretty natural looking:

Excuse my dark circles- I LOST a piece of EYEBROW!
Broadway proves again that a product doesn't have to cost a fortune to do the job-I only paid a few bucks for this, and it will probably be my go-to product until my eyebrows look normal again. According to the packaging, this is a Dollar General exclusive item, but if you have one nearby, this is a great pickup.