Hard Candy's Matte Top Coat


The Premise

Two weeks ago I was showing off my half silver half blue nails to the ladies in the office (see below). Unbeknownst to me one of them sells Avon. She dropped off her catalog to me open to the page on "Mosiac Effects" polish. I bought that as well as a bottle of matte black polish I found at the back.

Mad about Matte

The matte black polish came in on Thursday. It looked great but chipped so quickly. I figured there HAD to be some sort of matte top coat. A quick amazon search turned up a few. There was even one at Walmart. So I hopped in the car to find it for a little instant gratification (and free shipping). The company I ended up buying from was different than the one I went to grab, Hard Candy's Matte Top Coat was something like $4 and claimed it would make any color polish matte. I went for the Esse Matte About You but they were sold out. When I run out of Hard Candy's I'll probably try the Esse (even at the $8 a bottle they want).

The Findings

As advertised it does indeed turn any color matte (pardon the poor lighting in the picture). I tried a whole bunch of colors first and found that the darker polishes work best. But you can see I went with silver/chrome and did a little freehand polish on the tip after the top coat had dried. This makes for a subtle effect that someone has to be really looking for to note (or they have to be very intent on you!). Here's a link with a comparison of the two top coats. Seems the Esse is a little better.

Taped Manicure

Based on another tutorial over on that blog I posted this weekend, I tried another nail trick. This one involves scotch tape. And it's AWESOME. I chose a dark blue and a silver for this look (Aiden's colors!). I don't have the exact brands/hues with me (post a comment if you want to know) but any high contrast pairing should work well, and probably some that aren't high contrast. As with the last trick, make sure your first coat is dry before applying the tape and also that the second coat is dry before pulling off the tape.

Beauty Tutorial Tested (sort of): faux French Manicure

I'm so excited about this one that I can't even wait until I've cleaned the excess off my fingers before showing you my chubby digits (see left). So, uh, pardon the lil gunk around the edges there. Later they'll look better.

The Premise

So yesterday I announced to my in-house editor that I needed to find some sort of template for my nails so I could create the faux French manicure look I've seen popping up all over the place. I considered cutting semi-circles in cardboard, magazine pages, plastic sheeting, all sorts of ridiculous things -- but figured none of it would work in the end. He was kind enough to look up some things on the Internet for me. While we didn't find an answer for this, we found some other things to try when I got a chunk of disposable income. I'm sure I'll post about that some other time.

The Fix

Then my new Internet love, Pinterest, gave me the answer this morning! Self-adhesive reinforcements, the kind you buy at the office supply shop to fix those broken holes in pages you stick into three-ring binders serve as the template on your nail. It's so brilliantly simple...and best of all, cheap! And I'd just happened to find a box of them while cleaning out an old desk last weekend.

The How-to

  1. Paint your whole nail with one color (I used Wet n Wild's Fast Dry "Teal or no Teal" because its cheap and pretty).
  2. Let it fully dry. (15mins or so. This is important so that you're not peeling up your color.)
  3. Apply reinforcement stickers to the nail at your preferred height.
  4. Paint the upper portion (or lower portion if you want to create the classy half moon look). (I used Wet n Wild's Fast Dry "Sage in the City").
  5. Let it set.
  6. Carefully peel the sticker and then apply a top coat. Voila!
Check out the beautiful tutorial & images over at The Beauty Department blog, my inspiration for this. Also you can hit me up for an invite to Pinterest (send me your e-mail address).