Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nail mail, nail FAIL, and week 10: polka dots!

That post title is quite the mouthful, isn't it? It's a long post, too! But I can't really separate out the topics, because they're all related! Have you ever had a day where you have your manicure all planned out, but then you get home and find nail mail in the post, which you then just have to try out, throwing the plans out the window? Well, that was my yesterday!

March 4th started week 10 of the one year nail art challenge I'm participating in, and this week's theme is polka dots. So I had this mental image of a sky-blue background, and rainbow colored polka dots in a spiral pattern...and then I came home to this package:

That's right, I've got four new Nubar polishes (from left to right - Forest, Greener,  Reclaim, and 2010) and three Nabi magnetics (l-r: Dark Wine, Cappucino, and Green)! I took these pictures, then I ooh'ed and aah'ed over them for a bit, and decided I couldn't wait to try out magnetic polish for myself. I'm not quite sure why I grabbed Dark Wine, when normally I would have gone for the brown or green, but that's what ended up in my hand and I didn't even think to question it until I already had a few nails covered. Of course, it's this gorgeous dark red-brown color which is my favourite kind of red, honestly, so that was okay by me. Having read many reviews of magnetic polishes, I decided to start with one thin coat, let it dry, and then experiment with the magnets for the second coat. (I got two different magnet patterns in these three polishes, too.)

The first thing that really hit me about this polish? Why did it not occur to me how much different it would smell from normal nail polish?! I don't think I've seen any other blogger mention it, but it really should have been predictable. It smells like wet pennies, or rust, or...well, it is wet iron filings or dust or particles in there, after all! I should have expected it, and yet I didn't. It made an odd combination of dirt, metal, and bloody taste in my mouth. (Bloody in reference to the metallic taste of blood, not British vernacular. ;)
Side note to explain something you may or may not have noticed:  Yes, I'm American from maaaany generations back (and millennia back on my Cherokee side), except that my spelling has a tendency to waver because I find that the -our spelling feels different than the -or spelling for many words, and it works better in my autistic little brain. I'm inconsistent with it because when at work I try to remain consistent to the American spelling, but when I'm writing prose or poetry, I prefer the British spelling because it has more depth. I find a blog to be somewhere in between creative writing and communicating, so I do tend to waver on my spelling, depending on where my brain is during any given sentence. And wasn't that more than you wanted to know about me? ::grin::
Once I got past the taste (no, I didn't put it in my mouth, people, please stop having flashbacks to the polish drinking lady) my next-first thought was that it was very, very thick in consistency. It doesn't spread easily on the nail and dries extremely quickly when trying to use a thin coat. This meant that my first coat was not only streaky, but felt almost like a sheer concrete texture. I would reach a point on the nail and the polish would just -stop-, and no amount of running the brush over that portion of the nail (despite the fact that the brush looked like it had plenty of polish on it) would cover that section, so I'd have to dip it again. It also dried ridiculously quickly, which meant the stroke after re-dipping my brush would not meld smoothly with the previous felt like hardening grit.

The second coat, since I was going for a thicker layer, went smoother, at least. I headed for my left index finger first. (I'm right-handed.) I put a medium-thick coat on, and placed the magnet on the skin just past my cuticle, and lowered it down close to the nail. Side note: I was using this one:

I waited 30 seconds. I've heard stories of strong magnets and weak magnets, and I figured longer wouldn't hurt, right? After counting slowly to 30, I lifted the magnet to find...umm, nothing really. There was some slight colour variation, but nothing you would notice if you didn't know what you were looking for. Okay, that was frustrating. I tried painting on a slightly thicker coat and repeating the process. 1...2...3...lalalala...
Lift the magnet, and voila! Lookee there, pretty stripes! Or, you know, waves. I was going for the chevron, obviously, but I was clearly off-center and I think I must have not held the magnet completely still, to make that slightly loopy pattern. Still, that's pretty! I am encouraged!

... wait for it ...

I went on to the middle finger. I painted the same medium-thick coat that worked on the index finger. I repeat the 30-second process. I lift it off to find...nothing, again. So I repeat, again. And ... I still get nothing?? Whaaat? Okay, that nail was a fail. (I realized after, looking at the pictures, that there was a faint colour variation, but it wasn't even noticeable in real life.)

I repeat the process (including having to do it friggin' TWICE on EACH finger!) on the rest of my left hand, and get satisfactory patterns on the rest of the fingers, although I continue to fail at centering the chevron, even though I move it over what I think is far enough each time!

I won't bore you by going over the entire process for the other hand. The summary? Index finger was same off-center wave. Middle finger and ring finger I managed to very nearly center the thing...and accidentally touched the polish, which actually created a pretty pattern. The pinky was another complete fail, with no pattern emerging. The thumb looks weird because I decided to try doing each side of the thumb separately with the stripe magnets, which worked fine on the first half and not so much on the second. :)

Two things: please pardon the lack of clean-up, because I was so annoyed with this I was already planning to strip it off and start over, but I wanted to document my Fail. :) And second, this polish is soooo shiny that it was a pain in the tushie to try and find an angle to photograph it where you could see the pattern in the polish and not have the glare of the light completely obscure said pattern in the pictures!

Soooo, having decided that this is a thorough fail manicure, and I don't want to leave it as is, I decide that it's still a really pretty colour and I can go ahead and use this week's theme, Polka Dots, and dot over it. So I grab those three pretty Nubar greens that just came in the mail, pick out several sizes of dotting tools, and go to town! I went completely overlapping-dot-happy on my thumbnail, and it needed more variety of color, so I grabbed Sinful Colors Exotic Green as well, and then mixed a few of them together for a variety of shades.

Honestly, I'm gonna call this one a nail fail, as well. It wasn't as bad as the first one - I was willing to leave it on my nails and wear it to work today - but I'm probably going to take it off tonight, or tomorrow at the latest, depending on how much time I have to myself tonight. It just isn't *pretty* to me. My co-workers liked it (I agree, it's not *ugly*), but it's really not my thing. I think tonight I'll try my original planned design for this week's Polka Dot theme and see if it comes out better. (Considering I actually planned it, rather than just deciding on the spur of the moment to try a random pattern like I did here, it's almost guaranteed to come out better. :)

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