Thursday, 12 December 2013

[Tutorial] The Trend: Gradient Nails

The Trend

Gradients have become one of the most popular techniques for nail artists, whether they stand on their own or are incorporated as a base for a design. What makes gradient nails so great is that they are so customisable and can easily be achieved by anyone with the right tools. This look uses a sponge to dab on various polishes and has the effect of creating well-blended colours.

The Look

This is the look that can be achieved with the tutorial below. There are many gradient tutorials on the web, some using other techniques, but this is the way that I personally do it. I chose to do a gradient with different colours and I have just realised I unintentionally made the gradient the same as my blog background!

The Technique

The polishes I have used for this manicure from L to R are: OPI 'Alpine Snow', OPI 'Mod About You', Revlon 'Charming', Ulta3 'Soft Hydrangea', OPI 'Gargantuan Green Grape', Seche Vite fast drying top coat and China Glaze 'Fairy Dust (optional). This may seem like a lot of different polishes but the look is customisable to whatever colours you have and wish to use, whether it be 2 or 3 or more.

You will also need a makeup sponge of some sort. These may come in various shapes and sizes.

  1. Apply a white polish onto your nail until opaque. I used 2 coats. Let dry.
  2. Paint the colours you wish to have in your gradient straight onto the makeup sponge (see below). Dab the sponge 1 or 2 times onto a piece of paper and then sponge onto your nail. Let dry.
  3. Repeat step 2 again and again until the gradient is at the intensity that you would like it. Make sure you wait for the previous layer to dry before dabbing on the next layer. If the layer below is still wet, the sponge may pick up previous layers and it may ruin the gradient.
  4. Apply a fast drying top coat onto the gradient. This should smoothen out the gradient and make it look well-blended.
  5. Clean up the edges of your nail with acetone. I used a cotton tip to do this.
  6. (Optional) Add a glitter of your choice onto the gradient. 

This is what my sponge looked like in step 2 above. I painted the lines so they would match the length of my nails and I used this small part of the sponge for the whole manicure.

The possibilities for this look are endless. I chose to create a gradient with different colours but you may choose to use monochromatic colours or as little or as many colours that you wish. For other gradients that I have done previously you can look here and here. You may also wish to incorporate this look into a design as I have done here, or as a background for other art.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

[Tutorial and Review] The Trend: Jelly Sandwich (Essence 'Ticket to Paradise')

The Trend

To the nail art newbie, the jelly sandwich may just be a yummy type of food, but to the nail art connoisseur, the jelly sandwich is a fun nail art look that is easily achievable with the right products. You may have heard of the term ‘jelly’ thrown about by nail art fanatics and wondered what they were talking about… well we will demystify it in this post. This trend has been around for awhile now and has grown in popularity recently with a major increase in the jelly sandwich polishes available from indie brands.

What is a Jelly?

In all its simplicity, a ‘jelly polish’ is any polish that has a semi-transparent look to it, as opposed to a ‘cream polish’ that applies fully opaque. 

In the comparison above, on the left is one coat of an orange jelly and on the right is one coat of an orange cream. You can see that the nail line is visible with the jelly polish and that it has a semi-transparent finish.

The Look

This is a typical ‘jelly sandwich’ that can be easily re-created with a good plain jelly polish and some loose glitter.

This polish is Essence ‘Sun Said Red’. It is the jelly polish I have used for this look and comes from the new Essence ‘Ticket to Paradise’ collection. It is described as having a ‘semi-transparent gel-like texture’ and is available in a range of 4 colours. The whole collection that includes a shimmer powder, eyeshadows, lip glosses, hair mascara and lip liners are exclusive to Priceline stores and will be available in December.

This is one coat of the jelly polish.

This is two coats of the jelly polish. You can see that it is such a beautiful polish with two applications. The finish on this polish was very glossy and the drying time was not too bad at all. The formula was excellent and the colour pay off is well worth the $2.95 price tag. I wish I had a bigger bottle! Highly recommended!

The Jelly Sandwich

Now to the fun part…with such a transparent application, jelly polishes can be used to make the humble jelly sandwich. It involves an assortment of glitter sandwiched between layers of the polish!

1)      Paint one coat of a jelly finish polish.
2)      While the polish is still wet, add any combination of loose glitter on top. I used pink, dark blue and silver hex glitters.
3)      Apply another coat of the jelly finish polish on top.
4)      Add more glitter.
5)      Apply another coat of the jelly polish.

The possibilities for this look are endless! The trick is to apply multiple sandwiched layers to get the effect that the glitter is actually embedded into the polish. With the finished nail there should be some depth to the look, with some glitter looking deeper than others.

*The products were sent to me in a press release, but I maintain that the views in this post are my most honest opinions.*

Saturday, 16 November 2013

[Tutorial] The Trend: The Floral French

The Trend

Floral tips per se have not yet become a nail art trend, but I thought I’d do a tutorial and make it one! Its two components, the floral design and the ‘french manicure look’, are trends in themselves and work nicely together to make a simple yet elegant design. 

The Look

This is the design that can be achieved in this tutorial. I’d like to call it the 'Floral French'! The flowers were completed using a dotting tool and a thin paint brush.

The Technique

The colours I have used are from L-R: OPI ‘Alpine Snow’, Essence ‘Ben & Cherries’, OPI ‘Elephantastic Pink’, Ulta3 ‘Soft Hydrangea’, Sally Hansen ‘Blue Me Away’ and The Face Shop ‘GR502’.

I also used a large dotting tool and a very thin paint brush, but you can also use a bobby pin and a tooth pick.

1)      Paint your nail a base colour. A white base will make the flowers pop out more.
2)      Using a large dotting tool, paint some light pink blotches.
3)      Repeat this with a light blue.
4)      Blob a bit of dark pink nail polish onto a scrap piece of paper, dip in a thin paint brush and carefully paint thin ‘C shaped’ lines onto the light pink base.
5)      Repeat this step with a darker blue onto the light blue blotches.
6)      Finally, add some green leaves with the paint brush.

With those simple steps you can achieve some pretty floral French nails. Try this with any combination of colours and tag @nailsbynikkih on Instagram to show me!


Inspiration and Suggestions

This design was inspired by @liana_riches on Instagram. She did half florals and paired them with some simple stripes. You can find her here (she does a killer one-stroke floral)! 

Monday, 21 October 2013

[Review] The Trend: Pastel (Essence 'Me & My Ice-cream' collection)

The Trend

Spring is well and truly here in Australia. The weather for the week ahead in Perth is looking glorious and sure enough, there is nothing better to wear on your nails on a lovely Spring day than pastel! These colours are usually associated with being soft and soothing, so they are perfectly suited for Spring. The sweetest thing about pastels is that the pinks and purples are completely girly but if you don’t like that kind of look, mint greens and pastel blues are just as cute without being over the top girly! Many nail polish brands stock their own range of pastel shades.

The Polishes

The pastel polishes I will be reviewing today are from the latest Essence trend edition collection ‘Me & My Ice-cream’. There are four polishes altogether, a pastel pink, apricot, lavender and mint, and also a lovely set of caviar stickers.

The four polishes in this collection have some of the coolest (excuse the pun) names of all time! From left to right in the picture above, we have 'Icylicious', 'Ben & Cherries', 'Ice Ice Baby' and 'Always in My Mint'. RRP $2.95

These are the pretty caviar nail stickers. RRP $3.50

The Review

All the polishes are a gorgeous pastel shade and have a slight shimmer. The colours are all quite light so I needed to apply about 3 coats to reach full opacity.

Here I applied 1 decent coat of polish. As you can see, they are quite transparent.

This is 2 decent coats. You can see that there are still some patchy places so I would recommend using a third coat. There was no major issues with the formula of the polish. It wasn't overly thick or thin, but some might complain that it can get a bit streaky. The shimmer is not that evident in these photographs but it actually gives a nice subtle touch to the polishes. Overall, I would say that the colour pay-off for these polishes makes them worth getting if you are a patient person and don't mind giving it 3 coats. For $2.95 these are pretty decent polishes! My favourite would have to be the pink - 'Ben and Cherries'.

In this better lit photo you can see the lovely colour pay-off for 'Ben & Cherries' on my nails. This is a pink ribbon design that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago. What better way to use a pastel pink than to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October? All I added was some pink glitter placement on the ring finger on top of some top coat. Simple but sweet!

Next, we have the rainbow sprinkle topping nail stickers! Caviar nails have been a huge hit over the past couple of months so there's no questioning how popular these will probably be. The caviar beads are stuck onto an adhesive backing and come in 2 x 8 different sizes. The beads on these stickers are in a nice combination of pink, white, mint and orange.

There are instructions on how to apply these stickers on the packaging, but basically all you have to do is choose a sticker that is the right fit for you nail, stick and then shape them to your nail. The adhesive backing onto the nail is fairly sticky and the beads stay on quite well to the sticker. However, as with all caviar bead manicures, I warn you that this isn't a look you should expect to stay on perfectly for more than a day. Having experience with doing pure nail art designs with loose caviar beads that you can see here and here, I really appreciate how easy these stickers went on! The stickers gave the same effect but without all the hassle and mess of doing caviar nails yourself. For $3.50 this is a great buy!

All the products I have mentioned are exclusive to Priceline stores. The collection was released at the start of October, so you may or may not still have these at your local store. If you love the collection, there are also other pretty products available, including eyeshadows, lip balms, a cream blush, shimmer pearls and hand wipes!

*These products were sent to me in a press release, but I maintain that the views in this post are my most honest opinions.*

Saturday, 27 July 2013

[Review] The Trend: Indie Brands (Cirque, Love Thy Polish, Rainbow Honey)

The Trend

Indie polishes have exploded in popularity all over the world in recent times. If you are a nail polish newbie, in short, indies are nail polishes made by normal people like you and me! Indie makers mix and match their own pigments, bases and glitters to create unique polishes in their own home. From plain polishes to holographic polishes to glow in the dark polishes, and with the growing number of indie brands in existence, there is certainly no shortage in the range of indie polishes available.

The Polishes

The products in my post today were sent to me free and for review by Femme Fatale Cosmetics, ‘an Australian stockist for top international indie lacquer brands’. You can also find them on Facebook here.

I received three products, two polishes and one cuticle balm, from the indie brands Cirque, Love Thy Polish and Rainbow Honey.

The Review

The first polish I received was Cirque Colors ‘Kaleidoscope’. I was incredibly excited over this full sized 13.2ml glitter polish and you can see why below!

It is an AMAZING glitter bomb polish with a clear base and an assortment of different sized shapes and coloured glitter. It is described as being a  ‘rainbow confetti made with over 30 different types of satin-finished glitter’. These include squares, hexes and diamonds that come in white, gold, red, orange, green purple and blue! The colours are fun and very vibrant which makes it extra special both in the bottle and on the nail!

This is one coat of Kaleidoscope over two coats of Sinful Colors ‘Snow Me White’. As you can see, the colours are very bright against the white base and it seriously looks like a party on my nails! I think the polish would look great over black or any other bright colours!

I loved that I didn’t find myself having to fish for glitter because there was plenty in the bottle and also with every brush stroke. The drying time was also fairly quick and I didn’t think the formula was too thin or thick.

For a good value of $13 you can find this polish on Femme Fatale Cosmetics here. This is a great option for anyone who loves rainbow or fun, coloured nails. I honestly love a whole lot about this polish and haven’t found anything bad about it yet!

I decided to pair this polish with a fun rainbow water marble accent nail!


The next polish is Love Thy Polish ‘Royalty’. I received a cute, little 8ml bottle.

This is another amazing glitter polish which is described as being ‘a deep, vampy purple base with purple micro glitter.’ 

In one coat, this polish is a very sheer purple.
In two coats, the polish is wearable and appears as a lovely royal purple.
In three coats, the polish is at its best! It is becomes a very vampy purple, on the edge of being black but still subtly purple. The purple micro glitter has a glistening effect in light and gives a great sparkle!

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t quite capture the polish’s brilliance on camera. In light, the amount of sparkle is just perfect. I love my purple polishes and this is no exception!

In addition, the polish is not grainy at all and applies smoothly on the nail. I found that the polish was dry to touch very quickly, however after adding three coats I found that the polish took a long time to dry completely.

All in all, this is a great value polish for $10 which you can find here.  I really do love this polish and I have a feeling I will be wearing a lot because I love my vampy colours!

I paired this polish with a simple silver dot-icure because I absolutely adore the combination of silver and purple!


Finally, I received Rainbow Honey ‘Holiday Paradise Cuticle Balm’. It is a cute, travel-friendly 0.07oz twist-up stick that I now take around with me in my purse.

On opening the lid of this balm, I was hit with a beautiful scent which truly reflected its ‘holiday paradise’ name. It is described as being a scent ‘reminiscent of a holiday kitchen, with notes of oranges, peppermint and cloves.’ And this is not a joke, I can smell each of these items with every whiff and it truly reminds me of the Christmas season!

If you are ever on the go, look down at your nails and think your cuticles need a lift, this is a great product to have. I smear some of the balm on my cuticles, then massage it onto my naked nails and also the skin around my nails. I found that it was very nourishing and acted as a great moisturiser to relieve my dry-looking cuticles.

For a cheap price of $5.50, I highly recommend this cuticle balm! You can purchase it here.  If you are not a fan of the holiday scent, it also comes unscented and in four other fragrances!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

[Tutorial] The Trend: Chevrons

The Trend

The chevron trend has become a popular design for nail artists in the recent years. A chevron design incorporates an inverted V-shaped pattern and may refer to a series of zigzag-like designs or simple V shaped designs. The best thing about this trend is that it looks highly sophisticated but is fairly simple to accomplish. It can be done alone, paired with other patterns and works well with any colours!

The Look

This is the design that can be achieved with the tutorial below. This chevron print uses a self-drawn and self-cut tape technique. There are also other ways of creating chevrons but I will do tutorials for these in future posts.

The Technique

The polishes I have used in this manicure are China Glaze ‘Flip Flop Fantasy’, China Glaze ‘I’m Not Lion’ and Seche Vite fast dry top coat. You will also need scissors, a pen and some tape.

Before you begin painting your nails at all, some preparation needs to be done. Use a pen to draw a zigzag pattern on some tape. I use masking tape because I find it does not rip as easily when it is cut. Continue drawing these zigzags parallel to the first one. Carefully cut out these ‘zigzag strips’ and place onto the edge of your table.

1)      Paint your nails a desired colour, until it is opaque.
2)      Place the ‘pre-cut zigzag strips’ onto the nail, leaving gaps the same width as the strips. Press these down firmly.
3)      Paint your nails a second colour until it is opaque.
4)      While the polish is wet, remove the tape immediately. 

You can repeat the chevron design on all your nails or mix and match with various patterns! On my pinky and index fingers I placed one of the zig zag tapes about 1/3 of the way down my nail and painted the gold at the tips only.

For a more clean and professional look, you can buy pinking shears which enable you to cut the zigzags without drawing them.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Also, be on the lookout for future posts on other chevron methods! 


Features and Suggestions

Suggestion #1: Go the black and white chevron! Pair this with some statement red and you have a fun and classy look!
These nails are by @graciezac on Instagram. You can also find her on

Suggestion #2: Combine the chevron design with 'watercolour nails'or gradients.
These nails are by @xxlovelauren on Instagram. You can find her on

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

[Review] The Trend: Glow in the Dark Polish (Polish Me To Go)

The Trend

‘Glow in the dark’ or phosphorescence is a chemical process that has been incorporated into many products for marketing purposes and to captivate buyers. The upcoming trend these past few months has been glow in the dark nail polish! On Instagram you can find countless photographs of glow polish swatches and fabulous glow in the dark designs. After all, what better novelty is there to have with you all the time than nails that glow!?

In order for the polish to work, the polish is applied to the nail and must be exposed to some form of light for a few minutes. The polish will continue glowing, even after a few hours.

The Brand

Polish Me To Go has become a popular indie nail polish brand, which specialises in glow in the dark polishes. Each polish is hand blended and there are many amazing colours available. From pretty pastels to bright neons, there is a vast range to choose from. You can buy the polishes in singles or as a set, as minis or full sized.

Customers in USA can purchase these glow polishes here
International customers can purchase these glow polishes from the distributor ‘BeautySoFly,’ here

The Polishes

These polishes were purchased by me from BeautySoFly. This is the Pastel Mini set which consists of 6 mini 5ml bottles in a range of pretty pastel colours. 

The Review

All swatches consist of 2 coats of a white base, Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White,' and 2 coats of the glow polish. The photographs below were taken in artificial white light and in the dark. 
(Note: These polishes also have unique glows under UV light but these are not considered in my review.)

'Snow Glow'
This is a beautiful polish that applies white and glows a light blue. I was most impressed by the fact that the polish gave a blue glow. The glow itself was fairly decent but did not leave me astonished. 

'Oh Cool Blue'
Compare the previous polish to this one, which applies as a pastel blue and glows light blue. The glow on this polish left me amazed. It was bright, fun and both the raw and glow colours were amazing.

'Yell, Oh Mint!'
I would have to say that this is my favourite polish in the set. It applies as a pastel yellow, something I would describe as a faded highlighted yellow, and glows a freakishly awesome green colour.

'Pinky Promise'
This polish applies as a cute baby pastel pink and glows as a very pale pink. I was not left very impressed by the glow of this polish but at the same time, the raw pink colour is so cute!

This polish applies as a pastel purple and glows as … a very feint white? I so wanted to love this polish because the raw colour was my favourite one by far. I think the colour is so unique, lying somewhere between a lavender purple and baby pink. However, the glow on this was quite dismal. 

'Honey My Dew'
 This polish applies as a gorgeous orange (very much like honey dew) and glows a yellow/orange colour. The glow was bright, but not as prominent as Oh Cool Blue and Yell Oh Mint.

The Verdict

I have to say that I really do enjoy the novelty of glow polishes! These Polish Me To Go polishes all applied matte, streak free and dried fairly quickly. I absolutely adore the naming of ALL the polishes, both relevant and cute. The raw colours in light were true to it being a 'pastel polish set'. The glow of some of the polishes were amazing and bright, while others did not work so well. 

One problem I did come across was that the glow formula would settle to the bottom after a period of sitting idly. The bottles did come with 2 mini metal balls, but I found that I had to shake the bottle vigorously for it all to blend.

Overall, I would recommend this polish set to anyone who loves pastels and wants to try the glow trend! You can also buy the polishes individually, and if so, I highly recommend Yell Oh Mint and Oh Cool Blue!

The next step up from having plain glow nails is to do designs on them. Draw a picture for a silhouette effect, or even combine the polishes for a rainbow glow! In the picture above I combined ‘Yell, Oh Mint’ with the Batman sign which I find so suitable and fun!

You can visit Polish Me To Go on Instagram for a collection of glow polish designs done by various Instagrammers!