Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Rainbow nails

Hi everyone! After a brief break last week, it's time for another...

This week the theme is rainbow nails!

I was struggling to think of something rainbow themed that would still be wearable, so I just painted a rainbow french mani... but to jazz it up a bit, the main nail is matte but the tips are glossy.

Check out what the other girls did: Pretty Purple Polish, Hooked!

If you want in on the artsy action, remember to let me know! Also, the giveaway is still going :) Have you entered yet?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Q&A: Why does nail polish stain your nails yellow?

Q: Why does nail polish stain your nails yellow?

A: As you might've guessed, it's the coloured pigments in the nail polish! Generally, the pattern is that the staining is darker at the tip and fades towards the cuticle. It's a bigger problem when the dyes are dissolved rather than suspended in the polish (e.g. with stearalkonium hectorite).

If you've worn polish only for a week (snort), the colour should fade in two weeks after you remove your polish. If you're more impatient, you can try scraping the top of your nail off, since the colour sinks in from the top, but be careful as this will weaken your nail! There are also a bunch of whitening products on the market, but for most of us die-hard polish addicts, the only real solution once your nail is stained is to wait for it to grow out (or cover it up!).

To prevent staining, you should use a base coat, and try to avoid polishes containing the dyes that tend to penetrate your nail the worst. Have you noticed that your nails always end up yellow-orange, and never blue or green? The reason is that certain dyes sink into your nails more. Common culprits are D&C Red Nos 6, 7 and 34, and FD&C Yellow No 5 Lake.

Have you got any tips for unyellowing your nails? Share them in the comments! :)


P D Samman, Nail disorders caused by external influences. J Soc Cosmet Chem 1977, 28, 351.
R Baran and J André, Side effects of nail cosmetics. J Cosmet Dermatol 2005, 4, 204.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

NOTD: Green glitter and first tape mani

Hi everyone, and welcome to my new followers! :)

After my experiments with Revlon Apple-tini Fizz, I decided to do a full mani with it over ulta3 Black Satin (black creme). Unfortunately my pre-polish filing got a little out of hand and I ended up with nubbins. It looks pretty punk rock though! The green is gorgeous and flaky and glowy. This was three coats - it's so shiny it looks almost like a foil in some lights. One coat is pretty and scattered, and I think I prefer that look.

And did I mention that it smells delicious? Like toffee apples (or as you Americans call them, candy apples)! The smell lasted three days and was super strong on the first day. I kept shoving my hands in people's faces and making them smell my nails though... got some pretty weird looks!

I'm not too happy with the tape mani - I cut the strips a bit too wide so not enough of the top colour (CG Midtown Magic) showed up, although I think the balance is pretty good on the thumb. It was easier than I expected, and I love the crisp lines... so you're going to be seeing quite a few tape manis in the next few weeks I'm afraid!

I was a bit annoyed when I got Midtown Magic in the mail because it looks an awful lot like Wagon Wheel in the bottle, but with microglitter instead of shimmer - luckily when you take the brush out it's obviously different. MM is purpley-brown, while WW is most definitely olive green.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway, where Apple-tini Fizz is one of the prizes! And I promise you - nail science tomorrow ;)

Friday, 24 February 2012

50 follower giveaway!

I can't believe I have over 50 followers! So many people interested in reading what I write... thank you :)

In proper nail blogger tradition, I'm holding a giveaway! But in a sciencey twist, as well as three full-sized polishes, I'm also giving away one of my own frankens, as well as a couple of frankening pigments so you can get your own labcoat and glasses on!


Revlon Apple-tini Fizz - glass-fleck flakies in a green jelly base... which smells like apples!
ulta3 Lollypop Lilac - a really really shiny pale purple foil, also great for stamping
Shiny S**t by Lab Muffin (hehe ;P) - Alpha Centauri - a shiny-puke franken of holo glitters in a red jelly base
Australis Speck-tacular - an amazing multicoloured flakie

1.5 g of green-purple duochrome pigment (enough for 60 mL of polish!) - the same one I used to make Ariel in this post
1.5 g of orange-blue duochrome pigment
12-pack of mini nail files - for emergencies ;)

This giveaway is open internationally, until March 15 :) Good luck and thanks for reading my posts!

Speck-tacular over brown:

And because I really love it, here's the picture of Ariel again:

Mmm. Delicious.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

NOTD: Green-purple duochrome franken

Hi everyone! Hope you've been having a good week! This is a franken I made with some clear polish and green-purple colourshift pigment.

This is 3 coats over a white base, with a BM design stamped in black on the ring finger. It looks fine without the white base - I just wanted something solid to stamp on.

It's really interesting - the polish is mainly pale mint green, but a beautiful metallic purple where the light hits it. Over black, the green disappears and you can only see purple.

The colour is amazing under black - I was too lazy to stamp so I went for crackle, the lazy nail art option. It looks like the colours are glowing from beneath the black!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Revlon Apple-tini Fizz

This is just a quick post to show you a swatch of one of my new favourite polishes: Revlon Apple-tini Fizz, a light green jelly full of iridescent flakie bits.

It's pretty cool over white (ring finger) and by itself (middle finger)... but it really comes alive over black! Shimmery and amazing - I think I can count more than five different shades of green in there. It's one of those polishes where I can't stop looking at it. Index finger is three coats, pinky is two.

Aaaannndddd.... it smells like apples! Definitely a refreshing change from solvent :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Lab Muffin guide: AHAs vs. BHAs

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants which are in many of our cosmetic products... what's the difference between them, and which one should you use for what?

First off, "alpha hydroxy acid" and "beta hydroxy acid" are proper organic chemistry terms!

"Hydroxy" means an OH group (also known as an alcohol group). "Acid" means a carboxylic acid:

"Alpha" and "beta" describe how far apart the two groups are. If the two groups are one carbon (i.e. one corner in the black section) apart, then they're alpha to each other, and if the two groups are two carbons apart, then they're beta.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

NOTD: Black franken + flakies!

I made a franken out of Orly Space Cadet and ulta3 Black Satin and Clear polish. It's interesting, you can see the multichrome across the nail... unfortunately, it was too cloudy to photograph in natural light so it's not so obvious in the photo.

Then I added a coat of Australis Speck-tacular... woohoo! Check out that shimmer/flaky joint bonanza!

Friday, 17 February 2012

DIY whipped body butter

I bought a tub of unrefined shea butter recently, and I've been rubbing little bits into any rough patches on my legs whenever I had an opportunity. Unfortunately, it's hard to use since it's grainy as hell (a result of being heated and cooled in transit), so I finally decided to do something with it - I made some lovely whipped body butter! (We were originally going to do this for my friend's hens weekend, but we ended up wine tasting instead...)

The most basic whipped body butter recipe uses 3:2 butter/oil. You can use any plant butter, depending on the feel you want - common ones are shea, cocoa, mango and olive. I used grapeseed oil, since it's supposed to give a lighter body butter and it was easy to find, but other oils can be used, such as olive, sweet almond and avocado. A lot of recipes also include beeswax (to help the butter keep its whipped texture afterwards) and cornstarch (to make the butter feel like it's sinking into the skin), but for my first go I stuck to the basics.

100 g shea butter (I found that the density of my batch was actually 1 mL = 1 g, which made measuring easier!)
67 mL grapeseed oil

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Pink nails

Hi everyone! Holly from Hooked!, Alanna from Pretty Purple Polish and I have decided to start doing a once-a-week nail art challenge, Artsy Wednesday - today's theme is pink nails. If anyone wants to join, shoot me a comment or email and we'll add you to the list!

This is a frankenpolish that I made using a bunch of glitter polishes and loose glitter, in a red jelly base (it's technically a light red, but I think it's pink enough to qualify!). I wasn't too impressed with it in the bottle, but then I put it on my nails... oh my!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Interesting nail facts

First off, the best and worst thing about working in a chemistry "wet lab":

We wash our glassware with acetone. On a productive day, I can go through a litre of the stuff! This means:
* I always have acetone on hand for nail art - yay!
* My polish is almost always messed up by the second day.

Onto 8 interesting facts about nails:

1. Nails, like hair, are made of the protein keratin, which contains lots of the amino acid cysteine. Cysteine contains a thiol (SH) group, which can form strong disulfide (S-S) bonds with other cysteines, which is one of the reasons why keratin is so strong.

2. The only living part of the nail is at the base of the nail. Most of it is hidden under the skin.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

NOTD: Matte Black Plum

ulta3 Black Plum is a dark red-purple semi-transparent polish with lots of microglitter particles. It's one of my favourite polishes that I wear whenever I can't decide what to wear, or when I'm uninspired - it features a lot on my toes!

I've recently started putting a matte topcoat (Rimmel Matte Pro Mattifying Topcoat, borrowed from my sister a few more times than the word "borrow" really allows) over it on the second day or so, which gives an interesting effect - the glitter is still visible, but subdued. It's definitely a great way to change up an old favourite!

Also, I have 50 followers now - thank you so much for all your reading and following lovely GIrlies! I think it's time for a giveaway soon... ;)

Friday, 10 February 2012

NOTD: Pink and olive dry water marble

This is going to be a long post! This was my first attempt at doing a dry water marble, and I learned a LOT, so I decided to record absolutely EVERYTHING, even the things that should be really obvious. It took me hours despite reading everything I could get my hands on. Hopefully this will help any water marbling newbies out there :)

Dry water marbling (a la this tutorial on More Nail Polish) is less stressful and time-consuming than the traditional method, since it's spread over two sessions and there's no nail polish drying on your nails while you're trying to do a million other things.

Learn from my (many) fails!

(right hand)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Review: TBN Fluoro Nails, Pt 2

Read Part 1 here.

Second round of swatches! I forgot to mention in the first part that they all apply smoothly and the brushes are fantastic - nice and big and good at holding onto polish.

Unfortunately I had to take these under a fluorescent light, but I adjusted the colours later to reflect the actual colour of the polishes.

4. Zinger - Neon orange

This is a proper neon orange! The first coat goes on a bit yellow. Very summery colour! 3 coats on bare nail (middle + pinky), 2 over white (index + ring).

5. Kermit - Medium-dark jade green

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

NOTD: Summer stripes, and Nail Polish Tag

We've had a few nice days of summer here, so getting into the spirit of things, I did a summery, stripey manicure.

The stripes were painted on freehand with an eyeliner brush - even though it was a bit bumpy at first, a healthy coat of Seche Vite smoothed things out. <3 Seche Vite!

Purple - franken
Green - Rimmel Green Grass
White - ulta3 Lily White
Blue - TBN [unnamed]

I was tagged by two awesome bloggers, Passion for Polish and Unnaked Nails, for Nail Polish Tag. Unnaked Nails has the most perfect nails, and Passion for Polish posts some really interesting tutorials. Check them out!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Lab Muffin Guide: What's in a moisturiser?

(Roger McLassus)

We all know what a moisturiser does (it moisturises, duh!) - but what exactly goes in one, and how does it work?

Skin dryness is, quite simply,  when your skin loses too much water (the technical term is transepidermal water loss, or TEWL). Moisturisers are used to slow water evaporating, and restore the original soft texture and look of your skin. There are three basic types of ingredients commonly found in moisturisers:


Occlusives slow down evaporation of water from skin by forming a thin, oily layer over the skin (remember from the face washing guide how oils repel water?). These work best when applied to damp skin, such as after a shower. Sometimes these feel too greasy to be comfortable.

Examples: petroleum jelly/Vaseline (super effective, 98% reduction in water loss in some tests!), lanolin, mineral oil, silicones (e.g. dimethicone), vegetable oils, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, stearic acid, lecithin, cholesterol, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, beeswax

Here are the chemical structures of some occlusives:

Saturday, 4 February 2012

NOTD: Pink leafy nails

After the konadifail (grumble grumble), I went for a more abstract, less precise pattern. I usually like geometric designs on short nails and flowery things on long nails, but this turned out pretty well! Subtle and sophisticated. Unfortunately my thumbnail is a little too wide for the Bundle Monster stamps :(

I used China Glaze Evening Seduction over China Glaze Awakening (3 coats) using BM-205, and Sally Hansen Insta-dri over the whole lot. In hindsight I think a contrasting feature nail with the opposite colours would've been nice, but the konadifail trauma was still going strong so I stuck to the basics.

I'm itching to start a weekly nail art challenge of some sort. Is anyone else keen?

Friday, 3 February 2012

Science bonus: Hair repair!

Yesterday, big name cosmetic science blog The Beauty Brains answered my question on which hair products actually repair (rather than just protect) your damaged hair! Check it out here.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: TBN Fluoro Nails Pt 1

I know you lovelies love the science (yay!), and that's the whole reason I started this blog! But lately I've been working on my thesis intro (le sigh) and since that involves reading a LOT of scientific papers, when I get back to blogging I don't really want to read even more papers, y'know? I'd rather just paint my nails! So I'm going to stick to science once a week for now, and when the thesis gets under control I'll do more sciencey posts. Pinky promise!

Application - 2-4 coats alone, 2 coats over white
Colour and finish - very bight but poor coverage for light colours, slightly matte
Drying time - slow as!

Price - $10 for a pack of 6 x 15 mL = $0.11/mL. Soooo cheap.

I picked these up from Priceline - how could I resist? I'm such a sucker for cheapies :P

Even though these are advertised as "fluoro", I'd describe them as "brights". Not properly neon, but very eye-catching and bold. They're somewhere between a creme and a jelly. (Jeme? Crelly?)

The bottles aren't labelled with the names, so I've had to make an educated guess from the box.

1. Maz-Arati - bright grass green.

This needed 4 coats for complete coverage on the bare nail, but only 2 thin coats over white. Although it goes on fluoro yellow at first, it quickly turns to a colour best described as "Shrek green". I absolutely love this colour!

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