#nailartjan Day 16 – Gradient

(I’m so late posting here, but I put my photo up on Instagram on the correct date so I’m still counting it as on time!)

Gradient challenge! I’ve only done a gradient once before, but this one is a million times better! It also used TEN POLISHES but sometimes you gotta work hard for something awesome. Here’s the lineup:

Clockwise from the mint green: Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet, Color Club Twiggie, CC Blue-Ming, China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle, CG Kinetic Candy, CG Electric Beat, CG Sweet Hook, CG That's Shore Bright!, Zoya Shelby, CG Hang Ten-Toes.

Clockwise from the mint green: Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet, Color Club Twiggie, CC Blue-Ming, China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle, CG Kinetic Candy, CG Electric Beat, CG Sweet Hook, CG That’s Shore Bright!, Zoya Shelby, CG Hang Ten-Toes.

To start I painted two coats of Shelby, Sweet Hook, Kinetic Candy, Blue-Ming, and Mint Sorbet. Because these are pastels, a few of them were still a bit streaky at two coats, but I knew I was going to be sponging over it, so that was fine. Here’s what those colors look like by themselves:

01-19-14 before curled

I’m not great at sponging gradient techniques – I somehow always get some texture and/or little pieces of the makeup sponges I use on my nails – but what greatly helps is something my sister taught me, to dip the sponge in water and wring it out until it’s just barely damp. Somehow the slight moisture really helps keep those tiny pieces from sticking your polish! I still got one or two, but they were easily picked off. Anyway, next I painted my color combos on my sponge, making sure to overlap them, and got to business! The combos were like they are in the bottle pic, but for easier reading, from thumb to pinkie: Shelby/Hang Ten-Toes, Sweet Hook/That’s Shore Bright!, Kinetic Candy/Electric Beat, Blue-Ming/Too Yacht To Handle, Mint Sorbet/Twiggie.

01-19-14 sponged1

Once I had gotten each nail to my desired opacity, I waited for them to dry and then did one thin coat of Lynnderella’s Connect the Dots, the famous matte black and white glitter. Lynnderella was one of the first indie polish creators, and I somehow managed to order five of her polishes a few years ago with relative ease despite the crazy wait list system. (In case you’ve never dealt with it before, highly sought-after indie polish makers’ wares often sell out in five seconds and this causes a great frenzy for their products, since most of them [back then, anyway] only made polishes as a side job and sometimes didn’t have them available for weeks or months at a time. Lots of people have real shops on Etsy and other websites now, but there’s still a few who people have to stalk Facebook and Twitter for updates about and order within seconds to get anything.) Lynnderella sells on eBay now but they’re way pricier – I think $20-$30 per bottle[!]? The good thing is, lots of easy-to-find polishes that are pretty good dupes are now available, I think Maybelline has one called “Spotted.” It does give me something of a lacquer-head thrill to own an OG Lynnderella, though :)

Gah sorry, I had some lotion on my hand that wasn't rubbed in!

Gah sorry, I had some lotion on my hand that wasn’t rubbed in!

Clean-up on gradient stamping is a bitch, I’m not gonna lie. I used those pointy makeup Q-tip thingies dipped in remover to clean up around each cuticle but I still managed to mess up my nice clean lines a bit. I used regular Q-tips dipped in remover to clean up the rest. I added a coat (or two, to fully cover some wayward bar glitter pieces) of Seche and voila! One of my favorite manicures ever was complete!

01-19-14 curled under

I got two little chips in two days, but I’ve touched them up because I want to wear this mani for as long as possible! I will definitely be late on the next challenge because I love this one so much. I’m so, so pleased with how this came out! I mean, it’s not perfect – the Sweet Hook/That’s Shore Bright gradient on my left hand isn’t great, and neither is the Shelby/Hang Ten-Toes on my left hand, but the CTD glitter distracts from any imperfections. Also, I think the Blue-Ming/Too Yacht To Handle colors are a little too similar so the gradient is reeeeeeally subtle, and conversely Sweet Hook/That’s Shore Bright are maybe a little too far apart color-wise to be a more seamless gradient, but that’s just my perfectionist tendencies nitpicking. I love these bright pastels together and will def do something with them again in the future. It just makes me happy when I look down and see this mani!

01-19-14 in car

Thank you so much for reading! See you next time! A x