MUA Peel Off Base Coat

Here’s that post you were keeping your eyes peeled for!

As I mentioned in my first Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons post, I tried out a fantastic new base coat that will have glitter-fans running to Superdrug waving their purses in the air and screaming.

IMG_20141217_165327

I spotted MUA’s Peel Off Base while I was running around buying Christmas presents at the end of last year. I didn’t have much spare cash for a proper browse through polishes (there’s no point in looking if I can’t buy, I’d only be torturing myself) and didn’t intend on buying anything for myself at all but at a very reasonable £2, whether it worked well or not, I couldn’t resist picking one up. I’m so glad I did!

I worked in my local Superdrug briefly in 2013 where I learned about MUA – a Superdrug exclusive brand that offers top notch, high quality cosmetic and nail products at phenomenal prices, allowing anyone on any budget to make sure they look and feel great! And their products really are great quality – I’m not just saying that – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by every MUA product I have ever bought. Plus, as with all Superdrug own brand products, MUA is 100% cruelty free. Get into your local Superdrug and try them out!

Back to the base! I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical. With OPI Glitter Off costing almost SIX TIMES the price of this little gem, I wouldn’t even have been annoyed if it was rubbish, but it wasn’t. It really wasn’t! Seriously, go buy it!

MUA Peel Off is clear and has no weird scent to it. I had a sniff as I was wary that I had just paid £2 for 10mls of some sort of cheap glue but I couldn’t smell a thing. It applies clear and dries clear with a very slightly matt finish. My coat was fully dry within about 15 – 20 minutes, but it was quite a thick coat. The base is rather wet and runny so a little really goes a long way, bear this in mind and only use a couple of drops when applying.

I applied two coats of MUA Peel Off under two coats of Tara’s Talons ‘Fresh’ – a nude base polish stuffed to the brim with neon glitter shapes in all sizes – with some more regular polish and nail art on top. The base coat wore really well, I was very impressed. I must admit, my mani only lasted a day without a chip BUT I blame myself not the base coat as I was being very heavy handed and not too careful with my fingertips! And even at that, it was a tiny chip, right at the tip of my ring finger on my right hand.

IMG_20150111_181955_edit

I used this base coat again the next day for another one of my Tara’s Talons glitter based polishes and wore my nails for 3 days and worked 2 full day shifts without any chips at all – so there you go, that first chip was most definitely not MUA Peel Off’s fault and I should be more careful when trying out new products!

So far, so good MUA. I was absolutely dying to peel my polish off and see how well the base really worked (so the chip was fate, really) and once again, I was amazed with the results of this phenomenal £2 product! I’m gushing, I know, but this is revolutionary for me! I’ve put off using glitter polishes in the past – as I’m sure a lot of you have – because I didn’t find an hour long session with the acetone and cotton pads to be worth it in the end. Now I don’t have to second guess picking out a stunning sparkly!

I used an orange stick and pushed the polish away from my nail working from base to tip and around the edges. The polish came away in one piece without any need for excessive force or scraping – the ease of removal was consistent across all of my nails – and there was no real need at all to use any polish remover. Click here to view my removal video on YouTube!

IMG_20150111_184212_edit

I really can’t stop saying it; I AM AMAZED! I looooooove this product and will most definitely be buying more. MUA Peel Off Base is now officially on my ‘nail essentials’ list. Since discovering this little beauty I would only buy OPI Glitter Off to see the comparison between the two and that’s only because I’m an OPI fan – but MUA Peel Off Base will have a permanent home in my stash now!

Go get it glitter fans! Gooooo!

Buy MUA Peel Off Base here

Browse MUA here

To visit my original post and find out how I created this look click here

Advertisements

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!

IMG_20150104_203830_edit

IMG_20150104_203801_edit

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!

IMG_20150104_150234_edit

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.

IMG_20150104_203852_edit

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 🙂

Festive MoYou Stamping

I bought a handful of MoYou stamping plates months ago and they haven’t seen the light of day since they arrived. It’s taken me all this time to bite the bullet and have a go – it seemed so complicated!
One of my plates – Festive 04 – is etched with beautiful, intricate Christmas-jumper-esque designs and it is by far the plate that I was most excited about. I discovered Lucy’s Stash’s YouTube video tutorials showing three different ways of creating stamped decals that make stamping seem so much less scary! You know how much I love creating nail stickers – it’s so much easier than attempting an awkward technique directly on your nails and it means that only the perfect designs make the cut.

IMG_20141203_225107_edit
I used Method 2 for my festive mani – this involved creating a nail decal on the rubber stamp before peeling it away – you can find the link below. This option appealed to me because it seemed that the flexible surface of the stamp would make removal of the sticker super-easy and it was! Just a little squeeze and a gentle slide using the edge of my nail and the design popped off without even a hint of sticking or tearing.

IMG_20141203_224556_edit
I love this technique and I will definitely use it for more (if not all) of my future stamped designs – now to invest in nine more stamps so I can do all ten fingers at once!
Have you tried stamping? What are your top tips and hints for the perfect stamped design?

Browse MoYou products here.
View the Lucy’s Stash tutorial that I used to create this look here.
Browse Lucy’s Stash YouTube channel here.
Find Lucy’s Stash’s blog here.
Follow Lucy’s Stash 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.

IMG_20141109_122001_edit

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.

IMG_20141109_174104_edit

IMG_20141109_174217_edit

Tah-dah! Super easy ombré nails!

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

IMG_20141104_173218_edit

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.

IMG_20141104_190324_edit

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!

IMG_20141104_211010_edit

 

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!

Watermarble Nails

Woohoo – first blog post! And it’s a goodie…watermarble!

1. right hand finger

(dull Scottish daylight)

I’ve stared in awe at pictures of watermarble nails in the past and always wondered how they were so perfectly painted not once considering water could be used in nail art. I was feeling confident last week so I searched YouTube and found a fantastic short watermarble tutorial by cutepolish – you can find it here.

Let me get it out there right now; I have no idea what I’m doing, I am brand spanking new to even having nails to play with so I’m a perfect example to show that anyone can master these techniques as long as you have patience.

You’ll need:

  • A container large enough to comfortably dip a finger in – I’ve found plastic works best for me.
  • Water – room temperature, preferably filtered however mine was just regular Scottish tap water.
  • Nail polish – at least two colours, I used Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Key Lime, Satsuma and Guava.
  • Tape – I used microporous: the papery kind, not the easy tear.
  • Cotton pads or kitchen paper.
  • Orange sticks.
  • A pin or needle.
  • Nail polish remover.

I knew this was going to take a few attempts at least so I decided to make up some little false nail finger sticks to practise with:

1. nail stick

I made these by pressing an orange stick against the back of a false nail and using microporous tape to secure it.

TIP: It’s important to have all of your equipment set out neatly in front of you with everything within easy reach – I do a sort-of run-through before I start any nail art technique to make sure that everything is exactly where I need it to be.

1. set up

Fill your container with room temperature water.

I had a few dud attempts at the start. You’ll know that your water is not at the correct temperature because the nail polish will just refuse to co-operate. It’s just right when the polish settles in a clean, unbroken ring and the subsequent drops of polish settle happily outwards toward the edges of each other.

TIP: You may need to refresh your water after using it a few times – some sneaky wee invisible bits of polish can remain in the water after clean up and ruin a nail later on. I refilled mine after completing my first hand.

Basecoat and white-out.

Logic says it’s important to get a white base on if you want vibrant colours with a watermarble as the polish surely thins as it spreads – although I haven’t tried it without yet. My imagined conclusion is quite pretty…

Tape up polish-free surfaces.

Very important. Unless you want to spend ages attempting to clean polish off your fingers and inevitably wrecking your pretty new watermarble manicure.

You want two strips of tape for each finger – one across the base of your nail, close to the cuticle but not so much that you’re exposing white base and the other wrapped up from one side of the nail, round the fingertip and down the other side. Press the tape down firmly around the edges and onto the skin.

1. taping

(Click here to find out about my Super Easy Clean Up Secret Weapon in a later post!)

Quickly and carefully make a bullseye with your polishes.

Tap one drop of nail polish off of the end of the brush onto the surface of the water. You want to do this quite close to the water surface but not so close that the brush touches it. Add as many layers, in as many colours as you like to the bullseye but remember that if you’re not quick, the outer polish rings will dry up and when you move to the next stage – drawing your design – the polish will just cling to the pin and you’ll end up with a sticky mess.

TIP: Before you start, shake your polishes well and loosen all of the lids so that you can grab and go quickly with the drops.

Quickly and carefully draw your design.

This bit can be tricky. I found that it’s safer to stay away from the first two rings of polish that you create. Very carefully draw the pin or needle across the surface of the nail polish – don’t dip the pin right through into the water or you may end up with a clumpy blob stuck it that refuses to let go and ruins the design.

TIP: If your bullseye moves around too much as you try to draw your design try to gently anchor it by using the pin to pull an outer edge to the rim of your container. Be careful to do this very slowly and gently or your design will stick to the pin and clump up.

Dip nail and clean up surface.

Choose an area of your marble that you really like and take some time to ensure that your nail is positioned well above it. When you are happy with your chosen design, slowly but decisively dip your nail at around a 45degree angle straight through into the water below. Don’t lift your finger out of the water yet!! Grab an orange stick and making sure not to catch your polished nail, dip it into the water using a twirling motion to catch any loose polish that remains attached to the design.

TIP: Think about where you are pulling at the design when twirling it away on the stick – try to pull backwards and away from the nail to avoid smudging and polish clogging under the water.

1. 1st false

(standard halogen home spotlight)

Lift nail out, remove tape and allow to dry fully.

Next time I try this technique I think I might wait until the nails are dry before removing the tape as I pulled a couple of edges away when I done this when wet – what do you think? Have you tried watermarbling and had the same problem?

I struggle to have patience when drying my nails but I knew better than to risk touching these too early. I waited a good fifteen minutes.

Tidy up.

When you remove the tape, it’s likely you’ll have a few messy bits of polish on your skin. Using a small brush and some nail polish remover, carefully brush away any untidy polish.

TIP: Invest in a nail art corrector pen! They’re fantastic for tidying around the cuticle area as they tend to be firmer and I find them steadier to use for a clean line than a brush dipped in remover. Mine is Barry M’s Nail Art Corrector Pen and it only cost me £4.99 in Superdrug.

Topcoat!

My favourite right now is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat – it’s super fast drying and really shiny! I love it’s staying power, it protects my manicures from chips and peeling for seven days (and that week includes working full time in a pharmacy dispensary too – with all sorts of nail nasties like removing staples and popping out pills a standard daily requirement).

I added a coat of my absolute favourite holographic topcoat made by the fabulous UK based indie polish maker Tara’s Talons.

1. holo

It really helped to hide and blend the little edges where I had caught the wet polish and exposed white base – and it’s delightful to look at too! Tara’s not currently selling her amazing polish creations – but keep your eye’s peeled she’ll hopefully be back at it again soon!

There you have it. Watermarble manicure.

1. left hand finger (dull Scottish daylight)

1. full right hand

(dull Scottish daylight)

Questions and comments are welcome!