Guest Post - Girly Bits

Hi fellow nail polish lovers!! I have the last guest post for my blogaversary month to share with you today from Pam of Girly Bits! I've followed Pam's blog ever since I started blogging and I've fallen in love with many of her polishes as you guys have seen. Let's see what she had to share today!


Hello Everyone!! *waves excitedly*


I want to extend a big thank you to Marisa for asking me to guest post, and let you know that I am so pleased to be able to be here with you today! It’s great timing, because we are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Girly Bits Cosmetics!! Can you believe that it’s been 2 whole years already? The indie polish revolution has certainly taken the polish community by storm, and has had a significant part in shaping what it has become today, with features showing up on nearly every blog, dozens of facebook pages and groups, and even features in national magazines and news articles.



Whether you are an experienced polish collector, or if you have just recently been initiated in to the world of Indie polish, you have undoubtedly experienced at least a glimpse of the craziness of restocks, blog sales, swaps, auctions, collection launches, or general chit chat about your NOTD. (nail of the day)
Nail art has also had a major impact on the styles we are seeing, and there are more than a few blogs that are dedicated almost entirely to nail art. Many have gone way beyond the cute dots, stripes, and flowers that were popular when I first started blogging, and several continue to blow me away with the art that they manage to create on a 1 x 2 centimeter CURVED canvas. I will admit, I have a huge affection for dots of any kind, and that is not likely to change, but I have massive respect for those who have taken nail art to this entirely new level. Heck, I have respect for bloggers in general, who are able to pump out new manicures several times a week, and in many cases, daily.

At any rate, blogging has also changed a lot in the last two years, and it has definitely had a positive impact on reducing my magazine buying budget, which is a good thing, because it has also had an impact on my polish buying habits.

So, for today’s post I thought I would re-create something that I blogged about in June of 2011 that went viral.


I created this tropical nail art for my daughter, for her high school grad trip to the Dominican Republic. She took a picture of her hand while she was there holding a colourful drink, and posted it to her Tumblr account and I shared in on my blog, and before we knew it, it went viral. The picture has been pinned thousands of times, shared on Instagram, and even featured on Celebuzz.com as Holly Madison's favourite IG pic of the week.



And here is my recreation for today’s post.


These are the products I used to create this look:

Wet n Wild French White crème
China Glaze Happy Go Lucky
Pupa N142 ( I assume that is the colour reference number. There is no colour name on the bottle)
OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips
Wet n Wild Black crème
White makeup wedges
Small nail art brushes
An orange stick and cotton for clean up


Before I get started, I like to cut the makeup wedges into smaller pieces so I don’t waste any. I typically cut them into sizes similar to the entire surface of my nail.  I also dampen the sponges by running them under water, then squeezing them out. This helps to prevent the sponge from absorbing too much of the polish, and also helps to stop it from drying too quickly on the sponge, which makes application easier.  I also apply some cuticle oil, or heavy cream or Vaseline on the skin around my nails, to assist with cleanup. But be careful not to get any on the actual nail bed.




For this look, I started off with a thin coat of plain white polish, just to give the gradient a crisp background and make the colours really pop. In the original design, I did not use the white base, but it’s easier of you do. Here I used Wet N Wild French White creme. Plain white crèmes tend to be on the streaky side, but in this case that is ok, because it’s going to get covered with the gradient anyway. I let that dry for a few minutes-, so I wouldn’t pull any of it up when I sponge on the colours.


After the white polish is fairly dry to the touch, I applied one coat of yellow polish, just to the tips. If you are using a fairly opaque yellow you can skip this step, but I wanted to show you what I do when it’s a sheer colour.


When I finished painting all the tips on one hand with yellow, I was ready to sponge on  the gradient. You can load the sponge in one of two ways. Either paint the polish directly onto the sponge, or paint the polish onto a smooth non porous surface, which is what I prefer to do. In either case, you will want to paint one stripe of each of the three colours, including the yellow even if you have already applied it t the tips. This assists with creating a smooth gradient. Each colour should be touching the next, and even overlapping a bit.




I painted mine on the back side of a stamping plate, but I have often used a piece of aluminum foil. I use a fair bit of polish for each stripe, so that it lays down a good amount of colour on the nail.


Immediately after painting all three colours on the plate, take a piece of dampened sponge, and press it down on the polish, picking up as much of the paint as you can. If the colours have not blended into each other already (due to placement and consistency of the polish) you can dab the sponge up and down on the plate a few times, moving just slightly forward and backward so that the line where each colour meets the next blends a tiny bit, creating a gradient effect on the sponge.


Immediately apply the loaded sponge to the nail. I have found the easiest way to get the gradient evenly centered on my nail, is to line up the sponge along the side of my nail and roll it on in a similar fashion to stamping.  Since you are applying all three colours at once, they blend more easily, and you can pounce the sponge up and down on the nail a few times, to make each colour bleed into the next, blending the gradient flawlessly. You will want to do this fairly quickly so the paint doesn’t dry on the sponge too much, otherwise you will leave little bits of sponge on the nail if the paint becomes too tacky. You can go back over it again later so don’t worry about trying to get full coverage in one application.




This is after I have sponged one layer on the nail (and cleaned up around the cuticle) The polishes I used are fairly opaque, so I got decent coverage in one application, but you can see a little of the white through the pink, so it will need one more layer, which will also make the orange more apparent, and help to create a smoother gradient.


Repeat the process for each nail, re-loading the sponge each time. Here I have applied one layer to each nail.




Now I have applied a second layer to each nail, and cleaned up the cuticles. Don’t worry about the texture you see here, because the top coat will smooth that out quite a bit.






Apply a quick drying top coat to each nail. This will create a smooth surface for nail art and lessen the risk of putting a dent in your gradient.  Or you could stop right there and skip the nail art. In fact, when I was in the middle of doing this, I had to go for a dress fitting for my daughter’s wedding, with just the one hand done in a gradient, and I got two compliments on it.


Confession time- I didn’t have time to finish this tutorial the same day, and I had an event to go to, so I had to take it off and re-do the gradient the next day, and continue from there. Here is what it turned out like the second time. I did not pre-paint the tips yellow this time, and you can see that there is very little difference.


Once the gradient is done, and you have top coated it, you can proceed with the nail art. I used Wet N Wild Black Creme, but you could use any opaque black polish, or even black acrylic paint. Using the smallest  and shortest nail art brush you have , create the palm trees using medium-heavy strokes to create a rounded shape on one corner of the tip, to represent the land and a curved stroke going upwards for the trunk of the tree, and very quick, light, curved strokes for the palm branches so they taper at the end of each stroke.


I am fairly out of practice when it comes to nail art, and several – ok most- of my palm branches are too thick and not tapered enough. We’ll just say it was windy on the Island that day =)




But, one of the nice things about applying a good quick drying top coat to the gradient before beginning the art, is that if you mess up, you can swipe the nail quickly with a cotton ball and some polish remover to get rid of the nail art, but it won’t bother the gradient below. Seriously, try it. It’s a life saver.


Once the art is complete, let it dry for a minute and top coat again using a fairly large bead of top coat, and floating the brush as much as possible to reduce the chance of smearing your art work. I recommend Seche Vite over nail art and stamping because it is far less likely to smear.



I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial, and let me know if you get a chance to try it out. Feel free to say hello on the Girly Bits Facebook page, and post a pic of your gradients, or nail art. I would love to see them.
Thank you again to Marisa for having me here today!
Pam
Thanks so much Pam!! Isn't this mani cute?!! It makes me want summer so badly! I remember seeing the original manicure that Pam did on her daughter and thinking, "this is awesome!" I never thought I'd be able to do something like it though. Pam's tutorial makes it seem super easy. I just may try to replicate it.

What do you guys think of this mani? Do you plan to give it a try?


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4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the extra detail about a successful gradient (how to avoid getting bits of sponge stuck in the drying-to-tacky polish, etc). I've made a few attempts at gradients and didn't like what I saw, but I think I stopped too early in the process. I'll give it another shot!

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    1. You are welcome. I hope it works out for you. My very first gradient was awful, with Bits of the sponge all over it.. And the more I tried to fix it, the more Bits of sponge got stuck! Let me know how it works out for you.

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  2. I love how you shared the steps! Gorgeous mani, Pam :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I am glad it (hopefully) made sense to you.

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