Valentine’s Day manicure

I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s a non-event for me, especially when it falls on a work day. When I was in secondary school, the teachers did not let us call it “Valentine’s Day.” Instead, it was “Friendship Day.” That encouraged a lot of little notes and gifts between members of the opposite sex under the innocent guise of “friendship.”

But Valentine’s Day, like all other festivals, is a great reason to paint nails! And what screams V-Day more than pink, white and red?

Weifen’s nails, Essie Hi Maintenance, Orly Pointe Blanche (white), China Glaze Sugar High (pink), iPhone picture

Weifen received pink polka dots for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, the dots were a little tiny so she said they looked like measles. Seriously, if anyone wants to do polka dots, make sure you get your hands on acrylic paint because it will make your life so much easier. It’s more liquid and you can mix in water if you need a thinner formula for intricate designs. Acrylic paint is sold in art-supplies stores. Art Friend is a good place to start.

Orly Cupcake (light pink), Claire’s 18 (bright pink), white nail striper pen, Essie Hi Maintenance (sheer pink), sunlight

Candy nails! Okay I know I called the Claire’s polish “18” but I seriously doubt that’s the right name. It’s just a number at the bottom of the bottle but since I can’t find the name anywhere, “18” it is. Essie Hi Maintenance, which is a sheer pink, is used as an overall wash to tone down the stark white lines. It’s extremely useful and I’ll talk more about it in another post.

Zoya Luna

I’m in love with all my Zoya polishes. I like the size of the brush (unlike OPI’s Pro wide brush that is too large for nail art) and the creaminess of the formula (applies like buttah, baby). Today, I’m going to introduce Zoya Luna to you, which is one of the most versatile colours for nail art.

3 coats, sunlight

2 coats, sunlight

Zoya Luna is a pale grey polish with dense silver glitter from the Ultra Glitter 2009 winter collection. I didn’t put top coat on the swatches so you can see every bump on my nails. If you want to wear this on its own, three coats are needed as two coats will still expose your pinky nail bed.

However, the main use for Zoya Luna is not as a base colour, although you most certainly can do that if you have a New Year countdown party to attend. Instead, this is excellent for glitter tips. Behold:

Melissa’s nails, OPI Coney Island Cotton Candy, Zoya Luna, China Glaze Nova, red and silver jewels, sunlight

Emily’s nails, OPI Coney Island Cotton Candy, Zoya Luna, random small glitter, pink and white pearls, silver jewels, iPhone

Once again, sorry for the poor quality iPhone pictures. Anyway, the concept is the same for both manicures. First you apply a sheer French manicure base (as I only have one, that means OPI Coney Island), followed by Zoya Luna, which you pat on with the brush. To create texture and a slight gradient effect, use a smaller glitter over Luna and extend it beyond so that the you can see the glitter become less sparse towards the cuticle. Follow up with jewels and pearls. Ideally, you should put plenty of them, as in Emily’s nails, to create the denseness at the tips, but it may not be very practical if the person is not very careful with her nails. The more jewels, the more chances of you hitting them against something.

With Zoya Raven (black), China Glaze White Cap (gold shimmer)

Here’s a suggested look if you really, really need to use Zoya Luna as the base colour.

NARS Midnight Express

2 coats, sunlight

NARS Midnight Express is an inky blue in a jelly formula that is akin to NARS Zulu. This was re-released as part of NARS Vintage collection last year. I prefer this to Zulu. While Zulu looks black most of the time, Midnight Express is undeniably blue even when the lighting is poorer. Like Zulu, the application is somewhat uneven with only coats. Parts of the nail where I used a heavier hand showed up darker, while other parts were lighter. A third coat would have evened things out but I was afraid that the colour would end up looking black.

1 coat, sunlight

Here’s one coat just to show you how blue it was initially before I started layering it on.

Serena’s nails, with OPI Alpine Snow (matte), glittery silver nail striper pen, sunlight

With Orly Snowcone, Orly Pointe Blanche, sunlight

…. And with white nail striper pen, China Glaze Millenium, artificial light

Here are some of the designs we tried with Midnight Express. The last attempt was a bit out of hand as there were way too many things going on!