Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Movember Moustache Nails

This week for Artsy Wednesday we're celebrating the end of Movember with some moustache inspired nails! Here are mine, simple freehand moustaches over a bright summery gradient:



I used the Bio Sculpture polishes I swatched here to make the gradient. I'm absolutely loving the colours for summer! I've been using dishwashing sponges for the gradients - I've found that they pick up polish a lot better than makeup sponges, and the holes give a really interesting effect. The moustaches are ulta3 Chocolate Cake, which has gone really gloopy. It kind of helped with the moustache design though! I was really happy with how these turned out.



Did you do anything special for Movember?

Check out more Movember manis:


Bio Sculpture polishes were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy

Monday, 26 November 2012

OPI Mariah Carey Liquid Sand Swatches and Review

I've been looking forward to the release of OPI's textured Liquid Sand finish, and today I have swatches of three of the Liquid Sand polishes from the Mariah Carey collection: Got Your Number, Can't Let Go and The Impossible.

The Liquid Sand finish is very difficult to capture on camera. Like the name suggests, it's a finish that feels like fine grade sand, like a coarse grain nail file. It gives the same effect as dipping a nail into loose glitter, but with perfect coverage and excellent adhesion. It's almost like the "polish" part of the polish evaporates.

Got Your Number is a blue base with holographic silver dust and round glitters, and iridescent "sand". The blue is a lot stronger than Last Friday Night, and with far better coverage. This is two coats - the visible nail line is a lot less obvious in person:




Can't Let Go contains small purple glitter, larger purple hexes and iridescent "sand" in a clear purple base. It's quite opaque in two coats:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Bio Sculpture 2012 Summer Holiday Beach Collection - swatches and review


Bio Sculpture are mainly known for their nail gels, but they also have a range of nail polishes. Today I have the 2012 Summer Holiday Beach Collection, four creme colours that are somewhere between pastels and brights - they are indeed very summery colours, and surprisingly, I only have a dupe of the yellow, which is amazing given the size of my collection. They all evened out perfectly in 3 coats, and I can honestly say that the formula/brush combo is the best I've ever worked with - all these are without cleanup or topcoat! I wasn't expecting to be this impressed with a range of 4 cremes, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Aquacade (#134) - bright blue



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Jelly Sandwich

This week for Artsy Wednesday we're doing jelly sandwiches! Jelly sandwiches are a great way to tone down shiny shiny glitters, and since I like my glitters slightly tamed, they're great for me. I've used Revlon Sheer Sugar (white crelly) for the jelly and Gloss 'n Sparkle Cotinga for the sandwich insides.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

DIY Gentle (but effective) glycerin nail polish remover

My cuticles suffer a lot from nail polish removal, so inspired by loodie I decided to DIY a version of Zoya Remove+, which is popular for its ability to keep nails and skin from drying out, while quickly removing polish. I've been looking for a bottle of glycerin for months, even though it's supposed to be easily found in chemists, so Sabine from Echolife kindly sent me a bottle - thank you so much!

DIY Gentle Nail Polish Remover

What you need

- acetone (not pictured) - available in bulk from hardware stores
- glycerin - available from chemists; unfortunately, it isn't stocked at Echolife yet!
- water - you can use distilled if you're paranoid, but I am almost certain nothing will survive in acetone, so I used filtered tap water
- measuring equipment - make sure it's acetone-safe! I'm using here a glass measuring cylinder from the lab, and a 10 mL plastic syringe which is resistant to acetone for short periods
- bottle - an empty supermarket remover bottle

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sunscreen-boosted day cream comparison

Sun protection is so important, since it causes both cancer and ageing, but no one wants to introduce a million extra steps in their routine! Here's a comparison of two SPF 15 moisturisers I've had the opportunity to review recently.


Jurlique Anti Ageing Purely Age-Defying Day Cream


Sun protection: SPF 15 (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide)

RRP: $72 for 40 mL

Additional ingredients: buriti oil, red algae extract, ectoin (increases skin firmness and moisture, reduces fine lines)

This cream has a rich texture, and you can barely tell it's got sun protection in it. It smells lovely, like a face cream that's packed with natural ingredients. It's very moisturising and made my T-zone quite shiny, which was luckily controllable with blotting paper. It sinks in very quickly, and smoothes out and plumps up my skin, making it perfect for BB cream application.


Nivea Naturally Even Daily Moisturiser


Sun protection: SPF 15

RRP: $12.99 for 50 mL

Additional ingredients: Eventone Pure Active (evens out skin tone - octadecenedioic acid)

This is a lightweight cream which feels like sunscreen (that heavy feeling and accompanying smell) and like a lot of SPF rated face creams, requires working into the skin, otherwise it dries and balls up on your skin (ew). It sinks it quite quickly though, and is lightweight enough that it didn't leave my face shiny, even though I'm quite oily. I didn't see a noticeable difference in the appearance of my spots, but it does recommend 4 weeks to see results (I used it for 2 weeks). This didn't break me out at all, happily!


Choose Jurlique if you: like natural skincare, hate the smell of sunscreen, want to protect dry skin, have anti-ageing concerns, prefer physical-only sunscreens


Choose Nivea if you: have oily skin, want to minimise shine, prefer a budget-friendly option, want to even out skintone and remove dark spots


Both products were provided for consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Drag Marble

The theme this week is drag marble. As you might know, I'm a fan of the ol' drag marble - I used it for the first mani I ever blogged about. This week I decided to redo one of my earliest manis, but with a slight twist - since one of my friends said it looked like coffee art, I decided to use an ombre of browns as the base:



Left to right: OPI Skull and Glossbones, Essence Nude Rules!, B by Bloom Boston, ulta3 Chocolate Cake; ulta3 Gold Rush Fever swirled on top with a safety pin.

I now realise that dragging white or silver would actually make it look like coffee, but oh well! This was also a really good opportunity for me to test out some untried browns - all the ones I used had excellent formulas.


I really think drag marbles are underrated - they're gorgeous and so much easier than the dreaded water marble! Are you a drag marble fan? Check out what the other AW girls came up with:


Monday, 12 November 2012

Troubleshooting PVA peel off base coat

A lot of people have asked me questions about Essence/PVA base coat since my original post on it - I've gathered here some of the most common questions and some solutions that seem to work, after some trial and error. Some of the solutions weren't thought up by me, but by clever ladies who've contacted me on Twitter, or are part of the awesome Aussie Nails Facebook group - thank you! :) If your question hasn't been answered here, please let me know (comments, Twitter, Instagram, email).


Help! It won't peel off!

This is the most common problem, and it tends to happen more with girls who have non-oily nails. There are a few things you can try:

- Make sure the polish on top of the peel-off base is quite thick. I've only had the base refuse to come off as a big flake once, when I used a sparse coat of glitter over a thin creme. A thicker polish "lasagna" will give you better leverage to break the seal between the base and the nail. A good combo for adding volume to the nail is a chunky glitter feeder (Glitter Food, Essence gel look) followed by quick-dry (Seche Vite, Poshe).

- Try taking a hot shower or bath before peeling. The hot water will dissolve the PVA a bit, and make it bendier, which can make it easier to peel. The downside to this is that your nail is weaker when wet, which increases the chance of you damaging your nail during removal (more on that later).

- Use two coats of base

Help! It won't stay on!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Loki's Lacquer Christmas Collection Swatches and Review

I'm really spoiled at the moment with lots of great Aussie polishes to review! As you might know, Loki's Lacquer (Etsy store here) is a little Aussie indie brand I'm quite fond of. Tara's recently released a Christmas collection, and I have them in my hot little hands. They're stunning, with a heavy emphasis on holographic shimmer (get ready for lots of out-of-focus shots) - I squealed a bit when I opened them on the train, which probably confirmed a million terrible stereotypes about short Asian girls. Anyhoo, without further ado, here are the 6 beauties:




Merry Christmas! - This screams Christmas at a million decibels, and is probably too Christmassy to wear at any other time, but who cares, it's CHRISTMAS! It looks like the jumble of tacky foil banners from my childhood Christmas memories. I think/hope my mum's gotten rid of them now, but seeing this polish gave me terrible deja vu... this will definitely be my Christmas Day mani! One coat over Orly Flare.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Crackle

The topic this week was originally "something interesting using crackle - because we need to use that stuff up". I tried a few things that didn't turn out so well, so I ended up with this freehand stripe design using China Glaze Black Mesh and Cracked Medallion over Gloss 'n Sparkle Decadence.


I don't hate it, but I don't love it either - it's kind of nice how the purple shines through, but it's not something I'm anxious to do again.

How are you using up your crackle polish?

More ideas:

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

How do sunscreens work?

I know I've been pretty slack with the science posts (thesis writing makes me never want to read another science article again!), but I decided to do this one, because a few people have asked me about it recently. There'll be a few sciencey DIY beauty projects soon though, hope that satisfies any nerdy cravings! :)

photo credit: mark sebastian


How do sunscreens work?

There are two main types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Often a tube of sunscreen will contain a combination of the two.


Physical sunscreens work by blocking out, absorbing and scattering UV. They essentially work like a million little men standing on your skin holding umbrellas. Examples of physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - the "nano" sunscreens fall in this category.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Gloss 'n Sparkle Unicorn Droppings and Ozotic Sugar 904: Swatches and Review

Today I've got Gloss 'n Sparkle Unicorn Droppings - my first Gloss 'n Sparkle lemming. It's small rainbow matte hex glitter (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) in a milky base that's got a smattering of holo shimmer in it as well. It's not difficult to apply if you dab a bit to place the glitters. Two coats with Essence Gel Look and Seche Vite on top:



I layered one of Ozotic's new polishes - 904 from the Sugar series - over Unicorn Droppings in a gradient using a sponge. It's a very ethereal microglitter - pale purple-grey translucent particles that glow yellow-green when the light hits it, with a slight multichromic shift towards blue at sharp angles.

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