Archives

PWI twofer: Elevation Polish Alpine Heights and Sally Hansen Galaxy Green

I really enjoy painting my nails (you probably should have noticed that by now to bother going forward), but I often look at the huge pile of little bottles and go “Buh?” – especially on a Friday night after a long, stressful week.  So, annoyed, I did a “I am going to grab blindly and use whatever comes out.”

The universe is good at calling bluffs.  In this case, what came out was a glitter-and-flakie topper of the subtle sort.  I don’t think any number of coats would make this opaque.  I’m not sure the bottle is opaque.

So I poked around until I found something I should have tried before now, Elevation Polish Alpine Heights:

alph1

Indoor lighting.  Because I paint my nails at night.  Which is when I’m home.  (Okay, okay, sunlight pics below.)

It’s not the Platonic ideal green I’ve been looking for – too blackened and not saturated enough – but it’s a nice green!  Especially in sunlight.  This is three (thick) coats.  It’s thick but not gloopy or hard to control, which is strange.

Also, I think it makes an amazing base for Sally Hansen Galaxy Green.

gg

Green galaxies are hard to photograph.

gg2

The MONSTERRR photographs are a forlorn attempt to show off the sparklies.

The whole concept of “glittering” kind of entails motion, wouldn’t you say?  “The dragon’s hoarde glittered as we walked around it, admiring.”  Otherwise it just… shines, or something.  Bah.

Well anyway!  A mostly green/some gold topcoat with rare green flakes.  I think Green Galaxy is a great name for it; it looks very galactic, especially at night, although that’s super hard to capture.  Anyway, I was pretty pleased with the results of the random-grab approach.  I will probably try it again!

alph3

Bottle pic, so you can see what the universe threw at me for “I’ll use whatever I grab”.

 

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Citrine and Sally Hansen Pixel Perfect

I haven’t much wanted to paint my nails lately.  Which is a bit alarming, since I normally paint my nails at the pace of a slow loris asked to clean the toilet, generally while reading web comics.  It’s not a lot of effort, is what I’m getting at.  I certainly haven’t much wanted to blog – writing things that people see is exhausting.*  (For some reason I had the energy to bash things out with WordPress?  I dunno.)  I can tell I’m feeling better today, since I actually did want to both paint and blog.  But I am starting up slowly, using pictures from early this week when I was just coming down with the plague.

Behold: Sinful Colors Citrine and Sally Hansen Pixel Perfect:

photo 3 photo 4

Indirect daylight; direct sunlight.  My notes
on this just say “Ornj.”  Fair enough!

I took a few shots of Citrine alone, but it was in indoor lighting and my camera kinda bugged out.  I think you get the idea: it’s a very bright, tomato-ey orange, pushing orange-red.  Nice application, two coats.

The glitter† topper has an interesting backstory.  One of the early (ish?) indie polish-makers was Lynnderella (again, mostly glitter mixes).  Too expensive for my tastes, although some of her mixes are tempting.  She got a lot of internet commotion for her black and white nail polish Connect The Dots (swatched here by Posh Polish).  And to be fair, it was super unique!  But, being super unique, it got so much attention that it quickly collected a huge number of dupes and near-dupes.  This Sally Hansen polish is only one of many iterations.  (And  she eventually got involved in internet drama and blah blah, so you see it around less now.)

I like it!  The white keeps it from looking like tiny bugs, even at arm’s length.  Next time I’ll use more coats, though.


* Yeah, YOU think I’m whiny?  Talk to Mr. Fix-It.  When sick, he prefers to crawl into a hole and die alone.  I, however, turn into Ms. Whinypants McSnerksalot, announcing at random intervals how awful I feel and expecting people to make sympathetic noises.  We’ve slowly worked out a system: I do my best to leave him alone when he’s sick, even though I want to fuss, and he mostly doesn’t murder me mid-whine.**

** Okay, he takes excellent care of me. He is a better person.

† It kind of bugs me to describe non-sparkly stuff like this as glitter.  I mean, what does the adjective “glittery” mean to you?  But I don’t have a better word.  People occasionally say “matte glitter,” which I guess will do.  …feh.

Nail mechanics

Interested in the mechanics and some chemistry of nail-painting?  Possibly not!  Feel free to move on.  BUT if you are interested, here are some deets of how it all works!  Actually, all the deets.  Good grief.  Deets are long

Polarity!  Broadly, liquids come in polar (molecules have a magnetic positive and negative), and non-polar (they don’t).  Water is polar; acetone and other nail polish solvents are non-polar.  Nail polish floats on water like oil.  This will matter.

Three peel-off base coats, a regular base coat, and two fast-dry top coats.  In
general, for any given painting of my nails, I will use one from each category.
(PS: augh augh now I’m noticing the numbers don’t line up augh)

So the nitty gritty!

First step, for me, is always a peel-off base coat.  They don’t last anywhere near as long, and the failure mode is looking down and discovering a whole nail is missing – “Now where did I leave that?” But I’d (much) rather paint my nails a new color than fuss with nail polish remover.  Also, glitter tends to mechanically block the action of remover, so glitters are a damned nightmare to remove otherwise.

The players.  I start with:

1: Nail Pattern Boldness‘ Glitter A-peel.  This is the only one that is regular, non-polar nail polish chemicals.  I used to use this a lot, but the solvents in nail polish eat your nails, and I’d prefer to avoid that – I only get chipping, peeling nails when I’m putting non-polar solvents on them regularly.  Including this.  So I moved on to…

2: Homemade PVA base coat.  PVA (polyvinyl acetate) is Elmer’s glue (or tacky glue, outside the US), which peels off nails exactly the same as it peels off skin.  Lab Muffin is generally credited for working this out, although others have too.  It is water-soluble and polar!  So this is a bottle of Elmer’s wood glue mixed with water.  It doesn’t eat my nails, and it works.  Also, no fumes.

3: OPI Glitter Off.  Also PVA, and brand new to the market.  OPI is best known for their formulas, because they are amazing, so when I found out that this existed got some immediately.  This is my new best friend.  All the advantages of #2, plus it lasts about 2x as long as my homemade stuff, dries a bit faster, and really only needs one coat.

Next is a regular base coat!  This is important!  Polar base coats (PVA) don’t block the sort of pigments found in non-polar solvents (all nail polish), so after either #2 or #3 I need a regular base coat to do that.  If those pigments aren’t blocked, they (occasionally) soak into your nails and take up permanent residence.  Eeeww.

In case you thought the “interview nails” was entirely a problem
in my head, I’ve been asked about this nonsense.  I failed to use a
non-polar base coat one time.  That polish is already hall-of-shamed. 🙁

4: Orly Rubberized Bonder.  This is a very popular base coat for holding polish without chipping, and it prevents the horribleness of figure 2 there.  Always use base coat, kids.  If you don’t want to go peel-off, this is actually the first step.

Next is some kind of attractive polish!

You cannot tell me this is not wizardry.

Finally, a coat of fast-dry top coat.  Fast-dry top coat is the difference between bothering to paint my nails, and not.  About a minute, maybe two after application, your nails are bomb-proof and you can go about your life.  I love you chemistry!

5: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  Probably the fastest-drying, and very thick, so one coat can even out glitter roughness and so on.  Magical clear nail armor.  I heart this very much.  It chips quickly, but not as quickly as the peel-off peels off, so for me it’s excellent.

6: Sally Hansen Dries Instantly Top Coat.  (SH Insta-Dry, red bottle, is also good.)  Dries reasonably fast, a bit thinner than Seche Vite, but less chippy.  I use this for interview nails, which are not peel-off.

And that’s it!  Glue, a regular base coat, fast-dry top coat, plus something pretty, and you’re good to go.  It sounds like a lot of coats, but since the world dries faster these days, it doesn’t correspond to taking forever (much less time than typing up this monstrosity!).  All you really need is base coat and color, if you’re feeling minimalist.