Sunday, March 23, 2014

Try Out All The Things!

My inner six year old thinks that this manicure is the most amazing thing ever.

I got carried away in Poundland this weekend. It started with buying some of the new and exciting Poundland-exclusive Jess polishes (which will be reviewed in Thursday's "The Weekly Haul" post), and then, giddy and overstimulated by glitter, I ended up buying four different nail art sets to try out too. I picked up a pack of 12 little glass vials of caviar beads, a wheel containing a selection of tiny fimo butterfly slices and two stamping kits with different plates, all from a brand called Allura.

Back when my nails started featuring stamped patterns and glitter for the first time, I told my husband that if I ever started sticking "gaudy plastic crap" to my nails, he was to stage an intervention. I'm expecting him to check me into rehab any time soon!

When I got all my goodies home, of course I wanted to try them out. The sensible, adult part of my brain told me that I should just pick one thing to try because if I used them all together it would just be tacky and hideous. I ignored my sensible, adult brain and set to work on my nails like a kid in a sweet shop. As I had butterflies and the stamping plates mainly featured flowers, I decided to go with a summer garden theme.

I started with two coats of Constance Carroll Diamond Shine in Neon Green, which is actually more lime than neon (bought last year for £1 for a pack of two at Poundworld). I was planning to use the "seran-wrap" marble technique, but I discovered that we'd run out of cling-film so I improvised by using a plastic shopping bag which seemed to do the trick. I used a Jess polish in shade Brazen which is a bright emerald green (not as teal as it looks in the photo) for the marbling.

I chose to use the Allura stamping set with plate P21. The stamper itself worked perfectly and is very similar to the Konad one I own. The scraper has a plastic blade, works well and I actually prefer it over the Konad metal bladed scraper I have. The plates aren't as finely detailed as some other plates, but I tried several of the designs and they transfer very well. They metal is thinner than other plates and the edges are very sharp (no plastic backing), so be very careful when taking them out of the packaging and handling them. I used white Konad Special Polish for the stamping.

If you are interested in trying out nail stamping I would definitely recommend these Allura sets. For just £1 they contain everything you need to get started except polish. I recommend NYC Foil Explosion polishes (although the orangey shade isn't supposed to be as good) as excellent, reasonably priced polishes for starting stamping and they are often available in multibuy deals at Superdrug.

The Allura caviar set contains a nice range of colours and finishes including metallic, pearl, transparent and opaque beads. I made a mix of the dark green metallic, light green metallic and silver caviar and sprinkled it on top of a thickish coat of the Constance Carroll polish on my ring finger nails. After patting it down and waiting for it to dry I covered it with a coat of Konad Special Top Coat. The colour of the caviar didn't bleed or come off with the top coat and even after 24 hours of wear they have stayed put except at the very tips of my nails. They seem to be good quality for the price.

I have always thought that fimo slices for nail art are rather cute (especially the fruit ones) but I could never really see myself wearing them, but then in my pound store frenzy I saw these little butterflies and thought why not! There is a good selection of colours and designs in this set, some of them are more realistic looking and others are quite cartoony, and the set also contains a nail file and an orange stick. I put a coat of Konad Special Top Coat on my thumb and middle finger and placed the butterflies using the orange stick dipped in a tiny amount of top coat. The slices are quite thin and even, but they don't bend around the shape of the nail very well, so another coat of the top coat was needed to smooth over the edges so they wouldn't catch on things (any top coat that dries quickly to a hard finish would do). 24 hours later all the butterflies are still firmly attached to my nails and haven't caught on anything.

I'm very impressed with the quality of all the Allura products I bought. The nail art I created with them is very over-the-top and silly, but it makes me smile. I know that the six year old me would have wanted to wear nails like this every day!