Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons ‘Holographic Topcoat’

Here’s another Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons post and this one will most likely be the last in my series of entries (unless I can squeeze another cheeky one in before the closing date – that’s February 1st if you’re wondering!)

This one goes out to the ultimate holographic polish – Tara’s Talons Holographic Topcoat. This is most definitely the most wearable and versatile polish I own – it looks beautiful worn alone or over pretty much any colour of polish, taking the base colour to the highest of rainbow-ey, glittery heights! I value my holo topcoat stash so much that I own the whole family – a 5ml, 10ml and my prized GIANT bottle (I think it’s 4oz, which is a little over 100ml!) – obsessive? YES. I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m Emma and I am a Tara’s Talons holo-aholic.

I really liked the idea of doing some negative space nail art with a few coats of this baby but my fine striping tape was too fiddly and I couldn’t be doing with the stress (PS if anyone has any helpful tips about using fine tape feel free to pop them into the comments below ;)) so I painted three coats (because I’m glitter-greedy!) and waited for inspiration to smack me in the face.

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(one coat, dull light, flash)

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(two coats, dull light, flash)

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(three coats under home halogen bulb, no flash)

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(three coats, dull light, flash)

As you can see, one coat is plenty, particularly if you use your holo topcoat over a base colour and two is pretty perfect. But, as I’ve proven before, I can’t help myself and three coats gives an utterly devine shimmer. And unsurprisingly, it’s up to the usual Tara Talons polish standard: easy application, quick dry time and fab quality!

I eventually stuck with my negative space idea but in a reverse, flipped around, upside down kinda way. I stamped each nail using my MoYou Sailor 5 plate and alternating between Barry M Gellys in Grapefruit and Kiwi, added topcoat (okay, maybe two…again because I’m greedy but also, I’m not sure if it really does but it seems to make things even shinier) a really, really good clean up with acetone and a fine brush and I’m all done. I’m quite chuffed with my stamping progress – confidence seems to be key so I’m going with it!

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(dull light, flash)

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(dull light, flash)

Be prepared for quite a few pictures, I wanted to catch these in different lights and the holo base is so pretty I AGAIN have no restraint and cannot, caaaaannot help showing these sparklies off 😀

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(dull light, outdoors, no flash)

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(dull light, outdoors, no flash)

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(bright light, outdoors, no flash)

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(bright light, outdoors, no flash, close up)

Click here to find out how you could be in with a chance of winning a Tara’s Talons haul of polish and goodies!

Click here to follow Tara’s Talons on Instagram.

Click here to browse Tara’s Talons Etsy store.

Click here to browse MoYou London stamping plates and accessories.

Click here to browse Barry M nail polish and accessories.

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Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons ‘Jelly Shoes’

Aaaaand it’s another Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons post! I’m starting to build up a little bank of entries and there’s still just under a fortnight left to get involved with the Tara’s Talons giveaway.

I’ve set myself a little challenge to use one of my Tara polishes for every mani I create until the closing date and I’m really enjoying the whole experience – I find it hard to set my creative side free and this has forced me into it – another reason why I love Tara’s Talons polish!

My polish choice this time is inspired by the whole creativity feeling as a kind of “thank you!” to Tara for inspiring me to push myself to be more free (and giving me a good excuse to post as much as I can!).
I’ve opted for ‘Jelly Shoes’ – I loved mine when I was a little girl (and really had to try not to buy a pair when they started popping up again!)
This delightful creamy pink polish dotted with sparkly silver glitter is a match for the ones I had so I couldn’t resist it. I feel like I’m repeating myself but it’s true – fab formula; applies easily; dries in no time. Gaaaah I looooooove Tara’s Talons! Every polish is consistently AWESOME 😀

I really wanted to try to watermarble ‘Jelly Shoes’ with Barry M Gelly in Key Lime so I got everything organised and prepped my nails (click here to find out about more about watermarbling in my original post).

I’m sad to say my experiment didn’t work out BUT I will say that considering the glitter type and content I was impressed by how well it stood up to the challenge. ‘Jelly Shoes’ sat happily on the surface of the water – both glitter and polish – at first but the motion of the water and the size of the glitter caused small rings to break up around the glitter pieces. I’ll definitely try again with this polish though, I think the ring effect would turn out quite nicely and I’m intrigued to find out.

I had my heart set on using this technique and these two polishes so I improvised – I painted one coat of ‘Jelly Shoes’ over my white base and let it dry, then I watermarbled Barry M Key Lime with a clear polish and transferred my pattern over the Tara’s Talons base.

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I really love how it came out – the colour combination is fantastic (if I do say so myself) – and I can’t believe how bright and glittery just one coat of ‘Jelly Shoes’ came out!

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Click here to find out how you could be in with a chance of winning a Tara’s Talons haul of polish and goodies!

Click here to follow Tara’s Talons on Instagram.

Click here to browse Tara’s Talons Etsy store.

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

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 🙂

Grumpy Cat Nail Decals

I am sooooooo excited about this mani!

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I have been hunting the internet for nail decals – specifically nail decals with one of my most loved meme characters on them: Grumpy Cat! I absolutely adore him and have wanted to incorporate him into my nail art for ages – I think looking down at his little frowny face during a shift at work would definitely make it easier to smile through the whole day. There are plenty of options on eBay mostly from China and America but when it comes to my nail things I prefer to shop as locally as possible – partly because I want to support small businesses in the UK and also because I’m a little impatient when waiting for nail mail (“a little” may be a slight understatement). So despite finding a few nice designs, I held off from buying and then I happened upon Shop Keeki after clicking a picture of some Twisted Apparel style “Tatted Ariel” decals whilst browsing Instagram.
Shop Keeki is an accessories brand based in Manchester with a passion for bringing good quality products to their customers at fantastic, affordable prices. They stock a huge range of really cute decals in lots of styles and they ship internationally – UK shipping is very affordable and there are quite a few shipping options too!
After having a peek at their decals, I found him. Looking all cute and grumpy and frowny! TAKE ALL MY MONEY! I used some of my Christmas cash to treat myself to a few sheets – and used all of my willpower to avoid buying them all. At £1 per sheet of 18 decals these are by far the best value grumpy cat decals I’ve come across.
I placed my order on the 29th of December, my order shipped the next day via Royal Mail 1st class (I told you the shipping was very affordable) and my decals arrived on the 31st! I placed another decal order with a different company on the 26th and only received shipping confirmation on the 31st – I was expecting this kind of time frame for delivery at this time of year and don’t find it to be unreasonable at all so well done Shop Keeki for your speedy turnover – you have one very impressed customer right here!
The decals are great quality, the backing paper is firm and easy to cut through with scissors and the decals slide off easily without tugging or tearing.

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There are 18 decals on a sheet – 4 large, 4 medium and 10 small designs. I painted two coats of Barry M Gelly in Rosehip and allowed them to dry, cut out my decals and soaked them in a small bowl of water then slid the decal away from the backing paper and onto my nail. I used tweezers to help me position the design, dabbed the excess water away with some cotton wool and added topcoat to seal everything in. I did find they rolled up around the edges when soaking but I may have dipped them for a little too long. I also had a little trouble smoothing them right down on my nail and had a couple of bubbly edges – that may be newbie error though so I’ll keep practising!

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I’ve woken up loaded with the cold and have to go to work so these pretty much sum up my general mood today! NOPE.

Browse Shop Keeki here.
Follow Shop Keeki on Instagram here.

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!