Thursday, 31 May 2012

Stamping Nail Art Tutorial + Tips

I usually get a lot of questions on stamping and tut requests. Stamping Nail art is easy all you need to do is practice a bit and get a hang of it. So I decided to make this post on how do stamping for nail art and a few essentials tips including must-dos and more importantly must-not-do. Also my heart burns when someone wants to stamp but cant. (LOL!) It really kidding. :D

This is a really long and picture heavy post. But if you really wanna learn stamping, just take out 5 mins and go through it peacefully. 
Those who know stamping, please feel free to point something I may have missed.

Requirement: Base polish, a Stamping image plate, stamping polish, polish remover/acetone, stamping pad, cotton pads, scraper(plastic card), a flat surface, newspaper or disposable surface.

Step wise:

1) Paint a base polish on your nails. You nails must be completely dry. If they are not dry stamping on it may spoil your base. I would recommend applying a top coat on your base polish. The top coat will be very helpful when you accidentally make a mistake when stamping. Simply get a cotton ball with nail polish remover and gently remove the stamped design. This will not ruin your nail polish.

Step 2.

2) Clean the surface of image plate, stamping pad and scraper with cotton dipped in acetone and wipe it dry. (This has to be repeated after every nail, If you are using a plastic card you may need to clean after a few swipes but the plate and stamper have to be cleaned after each nail).

3) Apply special polish on your stamping plate.
My note: For practice I used acrylic paints on paper. Now special polish/stamping polish is special because it is completely opaque in a single swipe. Konad makes special polish but they are expensive. Small bottle (5ml) costs around Rs.160-170, while bigger bottle (11ml) costs 240-260. As a beginner if you don’t think you want to spend so much since you are not sure if you can stamp or no, Fret not. There are other options. Some tried and tested options are: Colorama black, Lakme Metallics, Darker shades of Elle 18 pops, Lakme and some of your older slightly goopy dark shade polishes might work. Try darker shades over light polish. Most of the polishes available in India are slightly runny and so not opaque in one coat. (I am making another post to swatch all polishes I have including local Indian brands that work as stamping polishes...will update here later).
See below pic on how I apply polish for full nail designs.

For full nail designs: Load ur brush with polish, so that you cover the whole design without going back to the bottle

4) Now scrape the plate with a scraper. My note: I find it easier to use a plastic card (old/expired credit card, student id card ). Metal scrapers that come in the Konad kit work just fine, but they cause scraping marks on the plates which I think will spoil the plates in the long run. One swipe at 45° angle (see pic above) with the card/scraper should scrape of all excess polish. Support the image plate with your other hand. The only polish left must be exactly in the design.

5) Take the stamper and lightly roll over the image. My note: Most people face an issue here. They don’t pick up the image on the stamp or pick it partially. A few tricks to help:

- Always make sure you have cleaned and dried the surface of plate and stamper before hand.

- If you are sitting under a fan, try working without the fan. I find the fan and climate in India tends to dry the polish on image plate faster.

- Be quick..yes real quick. Like you can’t do anything else when stamping nails. Also remember to keep your stamper in front of can’t go searching for it after you apply the polish on the image plate.

- Roll ok...The keyword here is “RrrrOLL” the stamp. Touch one end of the rubber pad at the edge of the design and roll over till the other edge has touched and lift. Make sure you roll over the whole design..not just the upper edge or middle. See pic (above) to better understand how to Rrrroll. After you master the art of picking up the image, you could “stamp” on the image in actual sense of stamp and pick up..but until then Rrrrolll and lightly and quickly. Dont press the stamper hard on the image tends to not pick up polish if you press really hard.

- If an image doesn’t transfer: try to alter the way of scraping. You might be scraping too hard or too lightly. Sometimes an image maybe be etched too deep or too lightly, scrape lightly with quick fluid movements. Also try to alter the way you stamp to pick up the image. Roll with a light hand/ roll with slight pressure/ stamp with slight pressure. I suggest you try a few combinations of pressure and rolling/stamping till you figure out what suits you best. Sometimes newer stamps have a slight protective coating on it..Use a nail filer or buffer on the stamping pad and file it a bit. You see’ll a few bits coming off it. Please don’t file it down..ok? just say 5-7 swipes in one direction, will make the surface rough enough for polish to cling to it.

- Practice. Yes practice makes a woman perfect!! I had given up on stamping before I picked it up with vengeance after I saw all the lovely blogs on internet with stamped nail art. Yes!!! For 6 months I kept myself happy with doing freehand dots and stripes on my nails. Then, I first tried to stamp using acrylic tube colours as Konad was not easily available in India then. I practiced picking up stamped images on stamper using acrylic tube paints. They don’t dry so fast, are thick and to some extent opaque. But remember they won’t work on your nails coz the stamper causes the image to squish and the paint being thick and wet will squish. Plus I am not sure if these are safe enough to be used on hands as we eat food with them. I practiced then on’ll understand the flow of things better once you’ve managed to stamp on paper a few times. Now try the same with thicker/older polishes on paper. After you get the hang of picking up an image on stamper, practice picking up smaller designs with thick image cut outs and then move on to bigger, full nail designs and delicate full nail designs.

6) Now Stamp on your nails. My Note: Again rrrroll the stamp over from one side to other side gently. If you manage to pick up the image on stamper but are not able to transfer on your nails, it probably means the polish is drying on the stamper. So BE QUICK or Quicker. Once you get the hang of stamping on your nails, you’ll be able to align the image better with your don’t worry if your stamped images are in different directions initially.

7) Now Start all over from point 2 :p



- Dont go searching. Gather all materials before you start stamping. My stamper keeps rolling away and after I scrape polish and I have to dart about things in a flurry to search it. Keep all things where you can see them.

- Try using acetone or polish remover that does not contain essential oils or nail conditioner. Acetone helps remove the left over polish effectively without leaving any residue.

- Do not press stamper too hard on your nail because chances are, the design will smudge.

- Dont use a regular top coat after stamping. Most top coats will bleed the stamped design. There are special quick drying polishes available to use over stamped nails. Konad has one, another is Seche Vite and Poshe. The trick is to not brush the same area more than once and do so lightly. Letting the nail polish brush go over the same area more than once can smudge your design if it is not yet completely dry.


- Clean the image plate and stamper after every nail is stamped. Both surfaces must be dry before you start again. If you find cotton fibres sticking to your plate, scraper etc.. try using a cotton ear bud/Q tip/ or Lint free cotton pads. I find cotton gauze also works well. Just cut them in small pieces beforehand.


- You need to be quick..really quick. The last 4 steps need to be done in under 10-15 secs. Apply special/stamping polish, scrape, stamp plate and stamp on nails. Once you scrape an image..wipe off the scraper on the newspaper /disposable surface on which you are working. As in continue the scraping movement onto the paper and drag it down till most of the excess polish is wiped onto the paper. I find that this way I don’t have to clean the scraper much.

- Always have a bottle of nail polish remover and some Q tips ready

- Clean up after you stamp your nail. I take a brush dipped in acetone/ polish remover. Remove excess remover and lightly make small to-and-fro strokes while moving it around your nails and cuticles. Good stamping skills but no clean up looks gross. Take a thin short bristle brush or a flat brush zero number. You’d need one whose bristles are not very flouncy, but little flexible. Also helpful to stamp before you take a shower, If I have small bits of polish around, just use your thumb nail and scrape very gently around your cuticles while in a warm shower.

- Enjoy Your Nail Art :D


I know this sounds like a lot..but believe me it is not. I have just tried to cover all points that I can think of. Stamping is not difficult, nor time consuming. It used to take me an hour to do 10 nails, now it takes me 10-15 mins max to do stamping on all nails.

All you got to do is practice. Watch a couple of videos on you tube and practice with a non expensive polish on paper.


What to buy/ where: Konad/Faux kits are easily available online. I would suggest one to buy a basic starter konad kit with one plate, one scraper, stamper and white polish. Once you get the hang of it, your options are plenty. You can indulge in Bundle Monster, MASH, Cheeky plates which are resonablly priced and come in a set of around 20 or more plates. Add more stamping colours and build your collection..after you successfully learn to stamp.

I think I have covered most points..but if you find some missing or have any questions, please let me know in comments below.

Happy Stamping!!! 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Caramel Truffle Nail Art + Viviana Moody Concoction

Now...who doesnt like Caramel Truffle???
No. Think again?

Viviana's Moody Concoction is a Light Caramel coloured gooey simmering liquid!
Yeah..reminds me of Caramel filled Truffles..Sluuurrrppp!

Image from: Google

Here's a swatch of Moody Concoction. Light Golden Shimmer in Caramel.
Unlike Blinding Splash Viviana, this one gave me no trouble at all.
The application was smooth, dried fast. 2 coats made it smooth and opaque.
No Streaks, no VNL (visible nail line). Last on me almost 4 days with top coat.
Overall I was quite happy with this polish. 
I also like this shade, caramel-ley, as if  i havent said that enough :p

Here's my NOTD with Nail stickers..the ones I used in My Oriental Nail Art

Like it?

*Sample provided for review. However opinions are my own*

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lakmé Going Green + Sponging Nail Art

Summer is in full swing and how I soooo wish I could enjoy 2 months of summer holidays like we used to as school kids. Sigghhh! And eating mangoes of all kind..which I still do.
Yellow, Orange, Golden, Green..yummmm! This polish reminds me of green tangy mangoes.

As excited as I am to review Lakmé polishes, I was impressed by their new range.
While I like these nail polishes, I wished they had more variety in colours and finishes.
But for now I am happy playing with their Fast and Fabulous range
I've already review them here once. 

Today I have swatched "Going Green"* from Lakmé's Fast & Fabulous range.  Rs.199/- ($4)

Below is Going Green swatched alone.
Two coats opaque, nice creme finish. Dries fast and smooth.
Its a lively bright green..reminds me of Sinful Colors Envy. If you see that post, they are pretty similar.

I sponged Colorama Black using Nailasaurus' Fantastic Sponging technique. If you are having trouble sponging or wanna learn sponging..check her post. Simple. Pretty. Effective.

 With quick drying Top coat (below).. though I liked how they looked matt after sponging.

Sponged some local big hex gold glitter polish (unbranded) on the tips

Hmm...maybe I liked it without the glitter? U?
But nonetheless I had a fun time sponging.

*Going Green nail polish sent by brand for review. The views are my own though.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Lakmé Flaming Orange + Indian Nail Art

Lakmé Fashion Week Summer Resort 2012 saw the launch of the latest from the house of Lakmé, the
Lakmé Absolute Fast & Fabulous collection
30 fashion forward nail colours that speed dry in 40 seconds and with a unique flat brush that glides effortlessly over the nails and gives an immaculate finish in one stroke!

I was sent a bunch of polishes by the company for review.

 I picked Flaming Orange first as I havent done an Orange mani in a long time..hmmmm
maybe never. Here's a swatch. (2 coats)

This shade: Flaming Orange is a really bright orange with creme finish, but stops short of going neon.
As per Lakmé: One coat of these polishes set dry in 40 secs..Me: True that!
Unique flat brush covers full nail in one stroke... Me: Not necessarily
One coat dries fairly fast and I was impressed by that. However it takes 2 coats for an even opaque base and I found that it takes a bit longer for the 2nd coat to dry..say avg 5 mins. But thats still much better compared to most other Indian NPs. And in a humid climate like Mumbai, it did well.
The brushes are much wider and thicker than the average Indian polishes and better compared to Lakmè other range and older polishes (more like OPI), but I still find the bristles rough and streaky. If you are not careful and generous with the 2nd coat, it can drag down your first coat.
It lasted 4 days on me with a bit of tip wear at the end of 4th day.

Lakmé launched 30 shades in total: but I've never seen any shop stock all 30 together. However I have seen most and they are mostly cremes and a few are micro shimmer polishes.

Price: Rs.199/- for 10 ml (was Rs.175/- up until recently) :-/

Lakmé has changed the design for this new range..the bottles look chunky with a boxy silver cap.
Now thats a fresh change compared the previous small square-round bottles they have.

For my mani I used:
 Base: Lakmé Flaming Orange
Stamping Colour: Konad white
Stamping Plate: M64, Accent: M71 + black rhinestone
The paisley stamp gives this mani such an indiany look. I need more of these stamps.

Have you tried this Fast and Fabulous range from Lakmè??
Do tell me how you like them? Anybody used the yellow yet?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Holo-ey Grail : Glitter Gal Holo Green

I havent got much work done in the past 3-4 days.
Reason: Utterly butterly delicious Drool worthy Nail polish, havent stop staring at my hands
One of the best I own and probably ever made!! I found my Holo-ey Grail!

Presenting: Glitter Gal Holo Green
Greeen? Now's the time you ask where is the green?
Of the colours you see in the rainbow, there is slight more hue of mint yes green!
Now get your napkins out and Drool!!

Price: Rs: 700/- ($14)
Not available in India. I bought from Llarowe in US and had a cousin bring it over.
Expensive? yes!! But worth it. Lasted 6 days on my nails and I removed it with minimal tip wear.

This week was the only week I remember not doing anything on my base polish in more than 1.5 yrs.
I didnt have the heart to spoil this pristine sheet of holo! :D

This was something I had been lemming since last summer.
What are you lemming for??

Monday, 14 May 2012

Birthday Haul!!!

Of course what follows a birthday mani is Birthday haul!

However this was an unplanned haul..somethings had been ordered waaay back in Jan. Some in Feb, some March and soo on. One package from Llarowe got lost on its way to India (I blame customs..someone somewhere is enjoying holo polishes without knowing their importance!!!), and Leah generously agreed to replace that order which I promptly sent to a cousin visiting US.
As luck had it, my red angel plates got delayed and I had to file a complaint with USPS coz they couldnt locate where my parcel went  x_x
The OB-QA plates arrived without any misery (I have a few extra sets if anyone within India wants to buy). And my cousin got me Maybelline's eye tattoo in Pomegranate Punk!!! 
And all this arrived just in time for my birthday!!! :D
Have fun ogling! swatches to follow soon.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Happy birthday!!

Yeaaaaaahh! Its my birthday! Its my birthday!!
M' gonna party like its my birthday!! 
(ohh! "Was" by the time I post this)

Its soooo difficult to choose a mani for your birthday!
I think I was at wits end for 2 hours the night prior..and after one hour of hardwork came up with this.

 Base: is 2 coats of a metallic bright blue (Similar to OPI blue my mind)
One layer of Kleancolor Holo Blue
Stamping Plate: BM 214
Stamping Colour: Konad White

Pics dont do justice to kleancolor Holo blue. Its holo micro glitter not excatly a holo polish like Glitter gal. (hint!!) But it looked very pretty in person with a nice holo-ey sheen to it.

I got myself a birthday haul! pics coming up soon!
Also a birthday+blog anniversary giveaway coming soon!! Coming soon!!

Meanwhile enjoy this song!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Chained Nails: Viviana Blinding Splash+ Stamping


I have been searching for a really nice yellow nail polish.
Summer just doesnt feel complete without a couple of bright yellows.
I got a yellow polish, now I need a yellow dress and a couple of yellow accessories. Ofcourse I m not wearing all together. :p
The Yellow nps I am reviewing today is by an Indian brand called Viviana.
Viviana Nail Lacquers are DBP free and toluene free. They are priced at Rs.129/- (approx $2.5) for 8ml

My NOTD with Blinding Splash:

Base: Viviana Blinding Splash Nail Lacquer
Stamping Plate: XL D
Stamping Colour: Konad Black

The company claims: 
Viviana Nail Lacquer provides a long lasting extra gloss finish. The special formula, ensures a perfect adherence along with constant viscosity and an incredible smoothness. It is Toluene and D.B.P. free and is water resistant.  

Application: 2 coats were quite uneven and streaky. The polish takes long time to dry and I had to take out the whole thing and re-apply as I managed to dent it after 30 mins of drying time. The brush is thin and doesnt help application of the runny polish.

What you see below is my 2nd attempt with really careful 3 coats. As you can see tiny marks on the NOTD which are pillow/bedsheet marks that happened over night even after drying each coat carefully.

Shade: I loved this yellow shade, perfect for a summery afternoon outing. While I loved the shade, the application/dry time leaves a lot to be desired.

Swatch of Blinding Splash

Image of Stamp: XL D

Verdict: While I loved the shade, I wasnt too happy with the uneven application and long dry time. 

Have you tried any Viviana polish?

Disclaimer: This polish was sent to me for review.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Summer Blossom Nail Art

These days I am all about pastels and pinks. No wonder then I have another pastel pink lined up.
Doesnt that name conjure up an image of turrets in the desert with a princess, Alladin and a Genie next to them! Ahh If I met the Genie I'd ask for more nail polishes! :D

Diana of London (DOL) is an International makeup brand manufactured in France and imported to India. According to the company their nail polishes are “State-of-the-art nail enamel, High-shine finish with an instant stroke of glamour, irresistible colors go on smoother and faster without chipping and streaking, set in 60 seconds, Toluene,DBP, Camphor & Formaldehyde free”. However ingredients list is not mentioned on the bottle.

Now thats one thing I appreciate: being “3 free”. That means harmful chemicals are excluded from these polishes making them friendly for your nails. Although their shade collection is a little limited with hues of pinks, reds and browns. Also finishes are limited to crèmes, pearl-ies and a few frosties.

Sigh!! How I wish Indian brands would come up with more of glitter, flakies, foils, glass flecked, matts and the ever desirable multi-chromes and holos.

Price: MRP: Rs210 for 12 ml (although available on online sites with a discount)

Image Source: Diana of London Website

Jasmine (48) is a nice pastel nude-pink on my hands and quite apt for the season. Application was a bit streaky but a careful 3rd coat and it went completely opaque and smoothed it out while drying to a very nice glossy finish. I was pleasantly surprised at the glossy finish on this crème. Most of the crème finishes available locally do not have a gloss as good as this one.

nail polish

You see the gloss on the pic above. That gloss remained the same even after the polish dried. The formula is slightly runny and the brush does leave some streaks. I would have been happier with a better brush. Drying time was quick for the first 2 coats (say 10 mins) however the third one took a bit more to dry.

Again I am pleasantly surprised, this polish lasted a really long time on my nails. I wanted to test this for wear and I successfully wore it for 5 full days with minimal tip wear the the end of 5th day after which I wiped it off out of an itch to change my polish. Very rarely do I leave a polish for so long.

Nail Art I did with DOL's Jasmine as the base after 2 days of wearing it plain: Hardly any tip wear.

Diana of London
Base: Diana of London Jasmine (48)
Stamping colour: Konad Black
Stamping Plate: BM 224
Dotting tool: various coloured dots
Bundle monster BM 224

Flower Nail Art

Verdict: I 'd say DOL polishes are definitely worth the money. I'd buy other shades if I like them.

Disclaimer: Product sent by the company for review. However this has not affected my opinion...Really!