Braw Claws Loves Taras Talons ‘Fresh’

Seeing as this is the first post of my Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons series I thought I should start by creating a mani with the polish that prompted me to make my first ever Tara’s Talons purchase.
I spotted a swatch of ‘Fresh’ on Instagram last year and HAD to have it. Tara was offering a pick and mix bag in her Etsy store at the time containing four 10ml polishes of your choice for £20 plus she was offering a 15% discount code to her followers (something she does frequently on social media so click here to keep up to date with Tara’s Instagram account) – I’m a sucker for a bargain! ‘Fresh’ was top of my list and my addiction to Tara’s Talons had begun.
‘Fresh’ is a creamy nude base jam packed with neon shapes in all sizes – dots, hexes and squares galore! It’s a party in a bottle, cupcakes and sweeties and all the pretty! As I’ve found with most of my Tara collection, ‘Fresh’ dries quickly – by the time I finish painting my second hand the first is pretty much fully dry – and it applies well. One coat gives a really light and subtle nude base coverage with plenty of bright pops of neon colour dotted around. Use two coats for a full base coverage and a “glitter sandwich”-ish effect.

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(one coat under home halogen bulb – please excuse any patchy bits, I was rushing as usual!)

I’ve learned through experience that applying glitter polishes is slightly different to applying regular polish (it’s logical really, when you take the differences in consistency into account). I apply glitter polish by painting my nail using the regular two/three stroke method to get base coverage, then I dab the now slightly drier but still glitter-packed brush onto the wet polish on my nail to maximise the glitter coverage on top.

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(home halogen bulb)

I painted a base coat – keep your eyes peeled for more details in a later post 😉 – and allowed it to dry. I used two coats of ‘Fresh’ as my base colour and a nail art pen striper brush in white to create a triangle at the tip of my nail. Then, I carefully applied two coats of Barry M Nail Paint in Berry Lilac from the base of my nail out towards the edges to block out my base in the area around the triangle. After allowing this to dry, I repainted the white lines of the triangle tip to define the area and used the dotting nib end of the nail art pen to add dots. Topcoat, as always, to finish it all off 😀

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(home halogen bulb)

To find out more about the Tara’s Talons giveaway click here
Browse Tara’s Talons Etsy store here
Shop Barry M polishes here

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Spotted Watermarble Nails

Time to try something new – well sort of new. I love a watermarble so here’s a variation of the pretty, patterned – but sometimes really tricky – original. It’s a little easier but the final effect is just as impressive!

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You’ll need:

  • A container large enough to comfortably dip a finger in filled with room temperature water
  • Nail polish – a base and another polish to use in the watermarble (I used Barry M White Nail Paint as my base and Barry M Gelly in Papaya as my watermarble)
  • Tape OR my Super Easy Clean Up Secret Weapon…see below!
  • Cotton pads or kitchen paper
  • Orange sticks
  • Acetone or nail polish remover that contains acetone
  • A spray bottle
  • A safe place to work – well away from any wooden or polished surfaces – I used a plastic tray

Prep for watermarbling. Set up your acetone spray. Pour a little into the spray bottle and give it a couple of schooshes (NOT over your good coffee table!). Make sure everything you need is at hand (container of water, polishes, orange sticks, cotton pads and acetone spray) and prep and paint your nails with base colour.
For more detailed instructions on getting ready to do watermarble and tips and tricks that I’ve picked up while experimenting that may help you if you are having trouble click here to view my original Watermarble Nails post.

Tape up or…

Use your Super Easy Clean Up Secret Weapon! Clean out an old empty polish bottle by pouring in some acetone, replacing the brush and giving it a good shake. Empty the acetone out and repeat a couple of times, then rinse with water. Leave the bottle and brush to dry completely then, fill it with cheap PVA glue – I got 250ml from Asda for £1.48! Using the brush, apply the glue to the skin around your nail that you want to protect from polish and allow it to dry. This creates an easy peel barrier that let’s you simply peel away all the messy excess polish you end up covered in when doing sponged ombrés, watermarbling etc. One thing to note when using this method with watermarbling is that when dipped in water, the water-soluble glue ends up wet and sticky so you will have to allow it to dry fully again before attempting to peel it!

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Make a circle of polish on the surface of the water by adding drops of polish quickly but carefully. Remember to stay close to the surface but not to touch the water!

Spray the polish with acetone. Spray once or twice over the polish, across the rim of your container – not directly into it – to create a blotchy, spotted pattern.

Dip your nail. Once you’ve found a part of the design you like, dip your nail into the water at an angle to transfer the polish. Always be careful of your other fingers! Make sure they are well out of the way of the water and polish – I learned that lesson the hard way.

Clean up the water surface before lifting your nail out to avoid messing up your design. Use an orange stick in dipping and swirling motions, dragging the excess polish away from your finger.

Allow to dry fully. This is particularly important if you used glue as your protectant. Wait until all the white, sticky patches have turned clear and shiny before attempting to peel.

Remove protectant. Whether you used glue or tape, remove it by pulling down and away from the nail so that any tugs of slightly damp polish peel back into the nail as opposed to up and away, leaving patches exposed.

Tidy up. If you have any polish remaining, use a fine brush and acetone to clean up around the cuticle and a cotton pad for patches further away from the nail.
TIP I’ve found disposable eye shadow applicators are a useful alternative to cotton pads for removing excess polish – the little stick allows me to avoid getting my freshly painted nails covered in cotton wool and acetone and the applicator head allows for precise cleaning.

Topcoat. Essential, as always. Topcoat seals your manicure and finishes it off beautifully.

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Done! Show me yours using #brawclaws on Instagram 😀

And don’t forget to watch out for my Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons series! Follow my blog or find me on Instagram to keep up to date with new posts 🙂

Sexy Sheer NYE Nails

Happy New Year! And Merry Christmas and all the general seasonal greetings that I missed out on online! I hope you all had a fab time and Santa spoiled you all rotten – I know he certainly spoiled me. I got pretty much the entire “basics” of OPI nail care – Chip Skip, Nail Envy, Rapid Dry and their fantastic REFILLABLE Corrector Pen. And quite a few lovely little extras too!
My festive holidays have been pretty hectic with lots of last minute buying, wrapping, visiting and eating – and a few shifts in between – so I haven’t had a lot of free time to jazz up my nails or post anything of any interest but I’m back with a little rundown of these awesome sheer painted nails that took me from 2014 into 2015 looking like the classy lady that I am (despite the few too many glasses of vino!) 😉

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These were inspired by a picture that popped up on my Instagram feed but I can’t for the life of me remember who posted it! Sorry!

You’ll need:

  • An old half used clear polish
  • Black polish
  • Thin nail art brush
  • Dotting tool

Make your sheer polish. I wasn’t sure it could be as simple as just adding some black to clear so I searched YouTube just to make sure and came across a clip by ShelsLaMarie – click here to view the video – and it really is! I started with four or five drops for I’d say between 6-7ml of clear polish, shaked it up, then tested it on a nail wheel to check the opacity. I ended up using closer to 10-12 drops but the number of drops needed will vary quite a bit so it’s wise to start slow, you can always add a little more if you need to. But, if you do use too much black don’t panic – you can save it by diluting it down with some more clear polish.

Basecoat. ’nuff said.

Apply your DIY sheer polish. I used two coats.

Allow to dry fully.

Outline your nail using the striper brush and some black polish.

Add some dots using the dotting tool and some black polish. Mine are by no means perfect – I was rushing these on New Years Eve – but I found it helps to work from the base to the tip. I started with two dots at the base and then lined up three slightly further up then back to two, then three…you get the jist.

TIP: As there is a bit of intricate painting involved here, I completed the design on one hand and allowed it to dry fully before working on the other hand. Although it takes a bit more time it really helps to prevent smudging all your hard work.

Allow to dry fully.

Topcoat to seal in, smooth out and give shine to your pretty nails.

What were your nails wearing for New Years Eve? #brawclaws on Instagram to show me!

Sponged Ombré Nail Art

I’ve been trying out new techniques again – this time it’s a sponged ombré.
I decided to go with a safe and basic trio of Barry M Gelly blues and greens for my first attempt, but now that I’ve got the basic dos and don’ts down I’m bursting to try bright and contrasting combinations!

IMG_20141109_174039_editYou’ll need:

  • White polish
  • Two or more coloured polishes (the longer your nails, the more colours you can fit on!)
  • Cosmetic sponge
  • Polish remover
  • Cotton pads
  • Clean up pen or a fine brush

Basecoat and white out. The white base helps to make any lighter colours you use to pop.

Allow to dry fully.

Prep your sponge. Cut a cube off of the sponge ensuring that the flat edge you will be using fits comfortably over your largest nail.

Paint your sponge. I used three stripes of colour – Barry M Gellys in Guava, Kiwi and Greenberry – don’t ‘overlap’ your colours but do make sure to take them close to each other and they should very gently blend together.

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Apply to nail. Do this tentatively – it’s easier to sponge on more polish than to end up with a big patchy splodge on your nail and have to clean up and start over. Using a gentle dabbing motion, work the polish from one side of the nail to the other – dabbing and not pressing the polish on helps to blend the colours together at the seams rather than creating a defined line between stripes.

Allow to dry.

Clean up. This is a particularly messy technique so my clean up fell into three stages:

  • Clean the skin around the nail. You can use remover and cotton pads for this but I had some disposable eye shadow applicators handy so I dipped one in some remover – much quicker, easier and less risk of smudging my other nails than using cotton pads.
  • Clean the cuticle. My Barry M Corrector Pen made this super easy! But you could use remover and a thin brush if you prefer.
  • Define the line. Remover and a thin brush were essential on this one for defining the curve at the base of my nail. Usually my Barry M Pen is fantastic for getting a clean edge but with this mani it just didn’t cut it. I blame the sheer volume of polish that has to be cleaned away for its failings.

Topcoat. It’s always a must, but a little more-so with the sponged ombré to remove the rough surface and to help blend the colours together.

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Tah-dah! Super easy ombré nails!

Fingerprint Nail Art

I’m on a roll with posts right now! It feels great to see people engaging with my posts – every view, visitor and click makes me smile so thank you all so much.

Aren’t these ‘Fingerprint Nails’ by Frédérique Olthuis (Trash and Ready Nail Art) fantastic? I love the dreamy effect they have over the dark base.

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(photos by @trnailart)

I was feeling inspired by these beauties last week so I decided to have a go at recreating Frédérique’s awesome mani.

You’ll need:

  • Polish (base, black, white and top – although my top didn’t make it into the picture for some reason, whoops!)
  • Paper (in hindsight, I would have used a darker coloured paper to make things easier to see)
  • Polish remover and pads
  • Clean up tools (I used my trusty Barry M Corrector Pen and an orange stick)

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Basecoat. Essential to prevent that black polish staining your nails.

Paint your base colour. I stuck with the black and white combo but you could use any colours you like.

Allow to dry.

Dab some of your second polish on the paper. Carefully coat your finger with polish and dab away any excess on dry areas of paper – this creates a thin, tacky layer of polish in the lines of your fingerprint turning your finger into a stamping tool!

Quickly and carefully transfer your fringerprint. Place the area that you want to transfer over the nail and press it on using a slow, firm, rolling motion moving from one side of the nail to the other.

Allow to dry.

Tidy up. Clean any excess polish away from your nails and skin – I used my orange stick for fiddly bits around the cuticle.

At this point, I decided to frame my print patterns using a fine brush and some black polish.

Topcoat. I used Sally Hansen Rapi-Dry Topcoat.

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There you go! I’m quite happy with these for a first attempt. I had a bit of trouble transferring my print in some spots so in an attempt to patch up, I re-printed over some areas. The finished effect I ended up with isn’t as well defined as a fingerprint as Frédérique’s work is, but I think I still managed to capture that dreamy, moonlit-night feel. IMG_20141102_184613_edit_edit_edit

Follow Trash and Ready Nail Art on Instagram here

Simple Nail Tear Fix

NOOOOOO! I caught my thumbnail while manually unhooking a staple in work today; I know, I know, I brought it on myself but I couldn’t find the little staple-puller gadget and I was rushed off my feet!

It’s one of those nub-creating nasties, the kind where you know if it really goes you’ll have no choice but to resort to getting rid and starting from scratch. Sad face 😦
But! If you’re really lucky and it’s a small, neat tear (mine was – yay!) there’s a simple solution that has always helped me to gain enough time to grow it out.

You’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Microporous tape
  • Nail glue
  • Tweezers
  • Strengthening base coat

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Cut a small piece of tape to fit over the tear. Make it big enough to latch the tear down as securely as possible. Position the tape over the tear (I use tweezers for precision) and press down firmly.
I used to use a much fiddlier method of peeling the top layer off of the pad you find on an elastoplast until I spotted a girl on Instagram had used tape instead – it was so simple I can’t believe the time I wasted faffing around with plasters. Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly who put me onto this little tape hint – if you’re reading this, let me know so I can give you the credit you deserve!
Apply a small amount of nail glue. Enough to cover the tape and just a little around the edges to make sure it stays put. Be sure to drag a little glue against the edge of the nail where the tear occurs too – this will help to stop it catching and re-tearing.
Allow to dry fully.
Gently check that your repair holds up. Lightly test the tear by prodding carefully to see if it shifts at all – apply another thin layer of nail glue if needed.
Apply strengthener.

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Once dry, you can apply colour too if you like. I usually do – it makes that nasty tear disappear completely! This one is ‘Trillion Taupe” from the Diamond Luxe collection by Models Own. It’s a perfect, classy, wearable nude with a beautifully delicate golden shimmer of real diamond dust!

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With maintenance and care, your little nail plaster will help your nail to last until the tear has grown out long enough to be filed away.

 

Shop Models Own here.

Halloween Nail Art

I’m baaaack! And I’m so sorry for the lack of activity, finding the time to post between work and daily life has been hard but I promise I’m trying to get into a better routine. I’m feeling the Brawclaws love after the response to my first post – thank you all so much for your support and encouragement, I really really appreciate it!

Halloween is just round the corner, bringing with it plenty of nail art inspiration! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already know I was quite excited a couple of weeks ago – I was contacted by beauty brand Julep to take part in their halloween nail art challenge!

Julep opened their first nail salon in 2007 and since then have exploded into all areas of beauty – with quality and customer satisfaction at the heart of their brand. I’m not yet lucky enough to own any stunning Julep polishes but I’m definitely lusting after them (particularly ‘Katie’ – oh yeah, did I mention all their polishes are girls!?) and their miracle Plié Wand, which looks like the answer to my nail art prayers! And if you’re already falling for Juelp, you’ll be head over heels to find out that a percentage of profits made from every sale of Julep nail colour goes to organisations that help to empower women! Woohoo – amazing products and girl power!

As a little treat, Julep have sent me an amazing exclusive halloween nail art tutorial to share with you all! I hope you love it – and I’d love to see how you get on with it. Send your pictures to brawclaws@outlook.com or #brawclaws on Instagram to share! Don’t forget to tag me in your comments.

I’ll post my attempt as soon as I can!

Julep

In the meantime, I’m excited to share a fantastic little technique I used to create these cute graveyard scene nails as my entry for Julep’s nail art challenge – DIY nail stickers – and they’re so easy!

Left hand

(left hand, home halogen lightbulb)

Creating stickers to apply later means that you can:

  • Work on a nail masterpiece over a period of time
  • Pick and choose designs that work out better to get the perfect look without all the fuss of working directly on the nail and attempting to clean up any mistakes
  • Work with your dominant hand the whole time!

You’ll need:

  • Greaseproof paper
  • Clear nail polish
  • A Sharpie

Make sticker bases by cutting a large piece of greaseproof paper to work with and painting ovals of a similar size to your nails with clear polish.

I used three coats.

Allow to dry. Fully. When you think they’re dry, let them dry a little more.

Create your design. I used a Sharpie for speed and ease but you could use nail polish or even acrylic paints.

Allow to dry. Again, fully. If you can leave them for 24 hours or overnight – do! You can use them whenever you like really – I imagine they’d dry out and become brittle in time but if you store them in a wee box or a plastic bag I think that would prolong their lifespan by at least a little bit.

 

Stickers

 

Now for application.

Prepare nail stickers. By this I mean gently peel them away from the greaseproof paper, trim away any untidy edges with scissors and line them up in the order you want to use them.

Basecoat. Always.

Paint your base colour. Or don’t if you fancy a blank base. I chose a watermarble base; if you want to do the same, see my previous post Watermarble Nails.

Apply stickers to tacky-dry nails – I used tweezers to carefully lift and place them.

Allow to dry. Fully. No touching!

Apply topcoat. This will seal in your stickers and finish everything off nicely.

There you go – your very own nail stickers!

 

Right hand

(right hand, home halogen lightbulb)

Go check out Julep’s beautiful range of polishes, beauty products and their intriguing Plié Wand here and tell me what you think!