Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Starry Night - Nail Stamping Gel Manicure

I have recently fallen in love with two things -- (1) gel manicures and (2) nail stamping.

I have NO artistic ability.  Zilch.  Nada.  None.  So when I discovered these things called nail image plates, I couldn't wait to try them so that I could fancy up my ordinary manicures.  

Using a gel system is another (future) blog post.  To get started with gel, I bought the SEPHORA by OPI SEPHORA by OPI gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System 1 which included absolutely everything I needed.

My manicure begins with a coat of SEPHORA by OPI gelshine™ Base Coat.  I actually found the main color for my manicure at Walmart for only $10.  I figured I give it a try, and I wound up loving it.  It wore perfectly and lasted the full 2+ weeks as it should have.  The color is SensatioNail Color Gel Polish Ocean Sparkle, and I have two coats of that color on.  I will not hesitate in the future to buy any gel color from that brand.  The top coat was SEPHORA by OPI gelshine™ Top Coat.  I will say that I would not trust the base and top coats to any brand but OPI.  This is because you want the best possible base and top coats to ensure the longevity of your manicure.

After I finished the manicure, I cleaned it up and proceeded to stamp.  I absolutely LOVE stamping over gel manicures, because you can use nail polish remover to take off all mistakes and it will not touch the manicure itself.  I would advise that you do put a topcoat on before stamping, however -- the first time I tried a stamping manicure I did not use a topcoat first, and I think the nail polish remover was harming the sheen of the color underneath.

The nail plates I used for stamping this manicure are from the  SHANY 2012 Nail Art Polish Stamp Manicure Image Plates collection.  When I decided I wanted to try stamping, I wanted an expensive set that was well reviewed.  This set met those requirements, and was about $12 for 25 image plates.  Each plate has many images on it, with a minimum of 5 per plate.  The only problem I had with this set was that the blue plastic was hard to remove.  I wound up putting on garden gloves to rub away at the edges of the plastic.  It took forever, but I only had to do it once.

When I first tried stamping, I sadly realized that none of my regular nail polishes worked well for stamping.  So I grudgingly ordered Konad Nail Art Stamping Polish - White, and was very pleased at how well it worked for stamping. I also ordered the Konad Nail Art Stamping Polish - Black, but the white showed up better than the black.  I have since found out that the white shows up on anything (except white, of course) but the black isn't usually as pretty as the white.  Therefore, if you only buy one Konad special polish, you should probably make it the white one.  There are other, non-Konad polishes that work for stamping.  One example is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color, Silver Sweep.

After I stamped the images onto my nails I let them fully dry.  I then put on another coat of the OPI gelshine topcoat, cured my nails, and viola!  One gorgeous manicure that lasted almost three weeks.  I eventually took it off because my nails had grown out too much at the cuticles.  The pictures stayed perfect for that entire time because they were underneath a gel polish topcoat.

This was only my second attempt at stamping, so I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  It's pretty foolproof if you use it over gel.  I would hesitate to use it over regular nail polish, because I did make many mistakes that I took off with nail polish remover.  Some people say that you can put a topcoat on over your regular polish, and this helps to minimize the damage to your manicure underneath.  So if you're stamping on regular polish, make sure you complete a full manicure with topcoat and let it dry before stamping it.

Enjoy!  I hope to post many more manicure pics in the future, although they will be weeks in between because the manicures last so long.  I also plan on writing a post about using gel polish. When I get the true hang of stamping, I'll probably post some tips and tricks.  So stay posted!