Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Award Part 3

The nail art rolls on…here are entries 51-76 from the Art Tip Awards. Here, we see some totally outstanding entries, which are among some of the best I’ve seen. And as far as I’m concerned, I need a little shiny joy in my life. I’m not going to harp on politics, but I need a distraction from all the crazy stuff that’s going on. So let’s take a look.


#51. A bit gothic, with some darker greyed out purple and 3D flowers. Like the color palette, bored to death by florals.

#52. Some maple leaves on white, pretty but not rising to the level of the other entries.

#53. Butterflies n flowers. Please. No.

#54. This entry is fantastic. While the nail base is crazy large (as it it would fit almost no actual human), the design stuns. It’s “kiriko,” or Japanese cut glass. It’s a traditional art form, where hot glass is slashed to put clear geometric designs onto colored glass. These nails look just like it and are fantastically well done. Let’s check the close up!

These get my pick for technique, uniqueness and matching the theme.

#55. Very well done geisha/maiko look. We’ve seen a lot of these entries, but this painting stands out for its detail and quality. The 3D floral look is well done too.

#56. More gesiha/maikos on parade, with some excellent 3D umbrellas and knotwork. Very nice use of color as well. Very nice job all around.

#57. ? Some blood n guts. And flowers. I’m mystified.

#58. Sumo wrestlers and a very drunk dog. I bet we won’t be seeing any more like this, so points for uniqueness. Well sculpted.

#59. Nicely done cranes that do a 2D to 3D transition, along with some maple leaves. Very nice detailing here.

#60. A butterfly and some frilly bits.

#61. Some Japanese “yokai” folklore characters and very Japanese looking flames. Beautiful detail.


#62-65. All Japanese geisha/maiko figures. I’d say #64, shown below, is my favorite of the lot. All well done, but we’ve seen soo many of these.


#66. Bees, cotton ball clouds and sculpted strawberries. Unique but I’m not sure these really fit in with the theme. Another generic kawaii entry.

#67. Nicely done overall, with especially good sculpture. Little random bits and bobs from Japanese culture, including dolls, sea bream, goldfish and a daruma. Not sure how the circus monkey fits in. I’m not sure they were going for the Monkey Shines look.

#68. Haphazard lips.

#69. A bird of some sort fading into the most threatening cherry blossoms ever.

#70. While I’m getting crane burnout, this may be the best crane we’ve seen so far. The cherry blossoms are very well done, too. Grade A sculpting.

#71. Simple Mt. Fuji, crane, flowers.

#72. Cranes n flowers.

#73.  Futuristic flowers. Please no more flowers.

#74. More geisha, but very well done.

#75. Mix and match Japanese folklore- look at this painting and the level of detail!


My pick is #54, for the excellent execution and uniqueness, but this #75 is also a stunner. I hope everyone’s enjoying the entries. I have about 50 more to go through. There were a few flowers and a couple entries that weren’t really up to par, but there were also some great entries. I’m getting a little burned out on geisha and cranes, but they’re a common Japanese culture theme, so I’m not surprised we’re seeing a lot of them.

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Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Awards Part 2

I’ll just get right into it, here are entries 26-50 of the Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Awards. The theme is “Japanese Textures” and we’ve got quite a few nice entries in here. As always, click to enlarge.

Here’s 26-50:


Here’s some of my notes on the entries:

#26. Very lovely detail painting of geisha, a bit short on 3D elements but solid 2D painting.

#27. Flowers. We all know how I feel about that.

#28. Geish and fish.  Nice work but we’ve seen a few of these so far.

#29. Goldfish. A good piece overall but I don’t want to think about the texture of goldfish. Especially those vile ones with the huge bulgy eyes. But that’s just me.

#30. More flowers. So tired of flowers.

#31. Very prettily painted scene and nice maple leaves, but the outstanding part is how the red umbrella transitions from 2D to 3D. This type of illusion is very difficult to pull off.

#32. I am mystified. Lips, red white and blue with stars. This one is so random I can’t figure out if it was even meant to be entered.

#33. Hearts n butterflies. This one is not even close to being in the same league as other entries, though we’ve all got to start somewhere.

#34. Butterflies and sakura on monochrome red. The knotwork is pretty, but these aren’t doing anything for me.

#35. This kind of looks like a tragic scene. Is it a shower suicide? Is the hand reaching for drops of blood? Rose petals? While I don’t really understand it, I can appreciate the skill it look to do the 2D-3D transition with the hand.

#36. Flowers. Nice use of color but I am so sick of flowers for every theme.

#37. Gorgeous detail work and museum-quality painting…of? There’s a snake involved and classical Western figures, but I’m coming up short on the corresponding story.  Can anyone help me out on this? Amazing technique but I’m baffled on the meaning.

Check out more detail:

#38. Oiran figure with maple leaves and wagon wheels. The wheels definitely took some skill, as round things are the hardest to get right. Nice use of color, too.

#39. Goldfish are swimming in something green and white. The background is too busy to appreciate all the detail.

#40. Monochrome flowers. Needs something else, color or bolder detail.

#41. Cute 2D work but needs way more to compete with the other detailed entries.

#42. Lots of jewels and rich colors, but not sure what this is about or how it keeps with the theme.

#43. Flowers. Black/red leaves and red 3D tsubaki flowers.Flowers. Gah!

#44. Another goldish n geisha mashup, with some flowers thrown in for good measure. Nice transition between the “scenes” on each nail but needs something else to make it pop.

#45. Nice work on the 3D crane, it’s hard to make birds look good, but the background is much simpler than the other entries we’ve seen.

#46. Red with floral/vegetation details. Nice detail work but you know…

#47. Mix n match scene with maple leaves, geisha Mt. Fuji and temari balls. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve seen these quite a few times, but the work is nice on each entry.

#48. Traditional Japanese figures, very nicely painted but are just not grabbing me since I’m on Oiran Overload at the moment.

#49. Lots and lots of red beads and studs. Are they whips? Am I a pervert? They remind me of cat o’ nine tails. These seem like something you’d see in a video that you had to show ID to rent. At least there are no flowers. 🙂

#50. Nice floral scene (gasp!) The 3D irises are very well done. At least there’s a crane and some rhinestones to add some interest.

I meant to do another round of 25 entries, but I’m getting to that state where I keep staring at the same photos over and over again because I forgot what I was just looking at. I’m going to chip away at the rest slowly but surely. 🙂

#37 is my pic from this round, due to the excellent details and great use of color. I just wish I knew what it was depicting. Seems very mysterious, but no matter what the story, the work is top class.

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Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 Art Tip Award Part 1

Hey guys, I’m sorry this is coming at you so late. I had some video/upload issues in Tokyo that I was too jetlagged/frustrated to do anything with, so I left it until I returned to the US and felt a bit more sane. Blasted roaming 2G  Internet…ah, Japan.

First off, the Expo was great as usual. I believe this is the 7th year I’ve attended. My only complaint is the lousy crowd control. I don’t want to be a nail snob, but it might be useful if they let professionals in early and then the general crowd. The pros know what they want and zip in and out- not so much the case for the general admissions. However, the mayhem is all part of the experience, I guess. Though it runs for 2 days,  I did only attend on the 30th, as the 31st was my wedding anniversary and Mr. NTMG and I zipped off to the hot springs in Hakone. I did miss the Nail Queen fashion show, but I’ll share the images from the show coverage in the next Nail Max magazine.

For some live footage, check out my summary video from my Facebook page here:

But here’s my favorite part of the show- the Art Tip awards! I’m bringing you *every single entry,* despite being nicely crabbed for lingering too long at by the security-type guy at the Art Tip wall. There is a time and place to pretend you don’t speak a lick of Japanese. 😉

These entries are submitted by nail artists with a given theme. This year is “Japanese Textures,” which should be a pretty familiar theme for most of the artists. We will still see a few die-hard hearts and flowers people, who pull the same lame designs no matter what the theme, but there were quite a few entries with some real creative chops behind them. The crowd gets a voting slip with their entrance ticket and can write down the numbers of their favorite entry.

Here’s 1-25. Click to enlarge.


Some notes on the entries, with the number corresponding to the entry numer:

  • #1. The lady oiran (high-class courtesan of the Heian era) figure looks a bit surprised, but the sculpted red acrylic (?) ring is very nice quality. Not sure why the not-very-Japan peacock crashed the party, but they’re kind of jerks like that. They always strut right in.
  • #2. I like the colors but we need something more. Also, why are the goldfish swimming up Mt. Fuji?
  • #3. Nice bold colors, but not sure what the large red disk is- umbrella? Anyone know?
  • #4. While the work is very nice, the bird looks like it’s contemplating devouring the much smaller baby. Being that Japan has an incredibly low birth rate, babies wouldn’t be the first thought on my mind for the theme, but that’s just me. Also, are babies textured? If so, then something is really wrong with the ones I know.
  • #5. Really tight work on the stone lion dogs. The maple leaves are a nice seasonal touch too.
  • #6. Erm….more details please! Unless the 2D work is extraordinary enough to stand on its own (and one later entry was), we all want to see a little 3D action going on.
  • #7. Very fine geometric detail work but the base nails were HUMONGOUS. I mean, they would have fit an elephant.
  • #8. These look a bit haphazard, I couldn’t quite get what the artist was trying to portray. You’ve got to bring on a little more color and detail to make a statement.
  • #9. I like the way the artist used the space even in between the nails to add texture and 3D drama.
  • #10.  Nicely done crane over traditional patterns, but the design seems a bit cramped overall.
  • #11. While the maiko/geisha figure is a bit off proportion, I love that dragon that looks like he’s plotting something wicked, right down to the whiskers. He’s the star!
  • #12. This is the first entry with a kind of modern pop twist. Bright colors and kawaii animals, along with a random daruma, goldfish and maneki neko. I like…
  • #13. Ah, here come the hearts n flowers brigade. But these are well done enough so I don’t mind too much. Lots of color keeps it interesting.
  • #14. A koi feeding frenzy with interesting beadwork to add flair. This is off topic, but I had a dorm-mate at University of Hawaii who referred to koi as “fatty boombalas.” It described them perfectly.
  • #15. Can anyone help me out with the figure on the right? Is it a dragon, or some tradtional yokai that I’m not familiar with? I  keep thinking it looks like the weird Elmer’s glue figure on a bad day. The background scroll work is gorgeous, though.
  • #16. Another maiko/geisha type entry. Some goldfish and a pretty crane add to the design, which is very traditional. We will see a lot of these.
  • #17. It kind of looks like a gothed-out Veronica from Archie, complete with dripping bloody rose. Definitely different! I guess the texture in this case is blood.
  • #18. Japanese…snake? It’s hard to tell it from the photo, but there were tiny individual scales on it. High marks for patience.
  • #19.A gal and her horse. Nice painting work and use of color but I’m having trouble associating it with Japanese textures. Also, the Japanese enjoy eating raw horsemeat. It’s called “basashi.” I once got duped into eating basashi ice cream. It was exactly what you’d expect.
  • #20. Nice use of color to show some very simple patterns, but it’s time to “level up,” as the Japanese are fond of saying. At least it’s in keeping with the theme.
  • #21. This is my pick of the best for this round. Very fine details and in keeping with the theme- there are fans, daruma, kitsune foxes, maple leaves…stunning detail. Take a closer look below. That’s fantastic painting skills.
  • #22. Cutesy oiran. While I’m less inclined to the kawaii stuff, the leaves and detailing show a lot of skill.
  • #23. Nicely done…phoenix? Hmm…great detail work- check out the geometric knot in the back.
  • #24. Goldfish, kokeshi doll type figure (?) and fan, very traditional. Nice work overall, with a good balance.
  • #25. Hearts n flowers, but again, well done. Not in keeping with the theme in my opinion, though.

So, that’s the first 25. There are approximately 100 more to go, but I’m in major jet lag mode. I hope you have enjoyed them so far- which one is your favorite?

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Tokyo Nail Expo 2016

Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 has wrapped up, and it was a great event, as usual.

Unfortunately, I’m having problems uploading photos to the blog on my mobile device, so will be a little short on photos until I can get to my computer. I have some photos on my Facebook and Instagram @nevertoomuchglitternailart for those of you who would like to take a peek. Below is a quick collage that I was able to upload, but the individual pictures are timing out.


The start was pretty chaotic, since there was very little crowd control. There were thousands of people everywhere trying to get in and nobody to direct the line, so it was really chaotic.  In any other country, it would have been like running with the bulls, but the Japanese are pretty orderly, so it was OK in the end. But it was really miserable and a bad start to the event. Surprising, since her previous years they’ve had a good crowd control and manage to get everyone in an orderly line. Not for the faint of heart!

Once inside though, there was lots of glitter and things to look at. One trend was whole hand art. Rather than just the nails, people were also adding airbrushing, tattoo stickers and stick on stones all over the hands,rather than just nails. I don’t think this will work as everyday fashion  in a fairly conservative country like Japan, more as a look for a special event.

Japanese nail art has gotten more conservative over the past few years, and this year was no exception. Of course, there is some wild nail art on display, but in general, things are conservative. There were a lot of florals, plaids and textured designs for the upcoming fall/winter. I miss walking on the street and saying some crazy nails.  I miss walking on the street and saying some crazy nails. Now, the nailer on the street is downright… polite.

The entries for the Art Tip Award were pretty good this year. The theme was “Japanese Textures.” There were a few diehard hearts and flower entries, but we also had themes ranging from bondage (?!) to Japanese ‘kiriko’ cut glass.  Interesting how a theme can be interpreted in many different ways, isn’t it?

I do apologize for the lack of photos that I can upload, but everyone please out check out my Facebook and Instagram for some pictures. I will be back shortly with more photos so you can see some snapshots of the event. I just need to track down an actual Internet café. Do they still exist? 😉

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Countdown to the Tokyo Nail Expo 2016

I’m super excited to be in Tokyo, where the Tokyo Nail Expo is starting tomorrow morning. Usually the expo is in November, but for some reason this year it’s end of October. It’ll be extra fun because everybody’s dressing up for Halloween. I see lots of people in costume of the street to Tokyo, which is not something I remember seeing a lot of years I lived here. It’s a really fun vibe.

This year, the theme is “Wa.” No, it’s not the sound made by adults in Charlie Brown shows, it refers to the Japanese word for their own culture. It’s basically a word that sums up the essence of all things Japanese. I’m way too jet laggedto think of a better explanation than that, but that’s pretty solid definition.

For me, the highlight of the event is the Art Tip Award, where nail artists send in press on nails they’ve made according to their interpretation of the year’s theme. We’ve had some disappointing runs in the last couple years, though. A lot of artists just ignored the selected theme and did cutesy flowers for Punk, etc. For a few artists, I had a feeling that they would submit the same nails no matter what the theme was.

I have some hope that this year will be a bit more creative than the last couple years we’ve seen. I hope people really take the theme into account and try to build a nail around it, rather than just doing the same old hearts and flowers endlessly. This year’s theme for the Art Tip Award is “Japanese Textures.” We’ll see what the Japanese artist do with a theme that would be very familiar to them. I’m hoping for some amazing work!

I’ve been in Tokyo for a few days, mostly eating, shopping and catching up with friends. I have really bad jet lag, because Japan time is just about opposite from New York City, but I’m making the best of it. 🙂

I hope the formatting of this is not too weird, because I’m using the phone to try to post and it’s not being cooperative. Sorry for the possibly weird formatting and lack of pictures for now. I will be back over the next couple days with all the details from Tokyo Nail Expo 2016. Stay tuned!

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What I’ve Been Making, September 2016

I’m a huge fan of Halloween (even got married on that day!) so I’ve been dreaming of spooky nail designs pretty much since summer.

This will be my first “real” autumn in many years, as I was living in a tropical, seasonless area. I’m excited for crispy days and changing leaves, though I am not looking forward to the upcoming winter.

I’ve been playing with the trendy chrome powders/liquids, but I find it’s not terribly durable. Fun for a party look, but it doesn’t wear all that well. I’ve played around with a few different topcoats, but I haven’t gotten great results.

Making Sept 2016.jpg

Other stuff: Day of The Dead (always a fave here at NTMG!), some kimono-inspired nails on the top right, followed by groovy 3D bow and floral nails (probably because I’ve been watching the 70s Hulk TV show), purple spiderweb nails with chains and 3D spiders, some kawaii bomb nails with lots of lace, florals and bows, some jack o’lanterns, 3d Happy Birthday nails, some custom fall wedding sunflower nails (lower left), unicorns with star dangles, and some autumn leaves.

So jumbling around in my mind,  apparently I’ve got chromey knives with blood drips, kimono, groovy florals, unicorns, fall leaves, and Dia De Los Muertos. Sounds pretty accurate.

There will be more Halloween goodies upcoming, of course, and perhaps some weird sci-fi since I’ve been reading a lot of Phillip K. Dick. Perhaps some electric sheep nails?

This year, the Tokyo Nail Festa is on October 30 and 31 rather than the third week of November as it has been for the last 20 years, so I’ll be in Japan for Halloween this year. It should make for some fun nail art, but the timing is actually not ideal. Please note that this means ALL Halloween nails will need to be purchased by the evening of 23 October, since my shop will be on vacation from the 25th as I fly out to Tokyo very early in the morning of the 25th. Please order early!

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Confessions of A Glitter Hoarder

I have a confession to make. I’m a glitter hoarder. This won’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been reading along for awhile. I say it sort of tongue in cheek, but now that I’m back from living overseas, I’ve seen how much pigment, polish, glitter and supplies I have…and it’s waaay more than I imagined. Part of it was the result of all the moves I made. It was much easier just to buy a duplicate than to hunt around for something in storage, provided I was even in the same country as my storage unit. But now that I’m getting everything assembled, it’s kind of a wake up call.

Yep, glitter hoarder. I confess. So now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. I tried eBay, and I’m embarrassed to say I actually *lost* money. I’m not talking about not getting what I paid back for the items. It’s a given that won’t happen and I wasn’t expecting that. I mean I actually *lost money* because most of my items went for such a low price, I was out of pocket when Ebay and Paypal took their fees. So it actually cost me money to sell my items online. To borrow a Singaporean word, “Aiyoh!”

Oh, and I had buyer demand money back on Ebay after claiming an item was used when I had sent it off in new condition. That put me out of pocket for the item plus the shipping. Not only does the buyer get refunded in full, they get to keep the item. No more Ebay. I’d rather give it away than reward people with free items. It would also be cheaper to give it away, as I wouldn’t have to pay to deliver my stuff to their door. A wretched hive of scum and villainy, Ebay is!

It’s a bummer, but I just have Too.Much.Stuff. Now that I’m living in a pretty small apartment and all my junk is consolidated, it’s time to pare it down. I’m not sure how it will happen, as Ebay has been a bust, women’s shelters only want unopened goods, and I don’t know anyone in NYC who likes to franken. Maybe a blog giveaway? 😉 I’m open to ideas!

But just tossing all my things has proven to be a bit hard. I’m not to Hoarders-level ready jumping on the dumpster, but it is hard to acknowledge I have way too much stuff, spent too much money, and have waaay overpurchased considering how few nails I actually sell.

But before I chuck everything, I’m going to at least do some swatches.

Today, we’ve got Pure Luxe Pigments. I believe these guys went out of business a while back, but I don’t know any details. They actually had a nice range of affordable, good quality pigments that were intended for cosmetic use (eyeshadow, etc). Of course, I used them to make nail polish!

I used my trusty silicone mixing cup and regular old clear nail polish to swatch these. If you need some details on the basics, check out my Pigment Tutorial here.

Here’s the swatches. Though Pure Luxe is no longer kickin around, lots of other companies have similar pigments. I see the same colors duplicated from brand to brand, as many companies just re-package existing pigments.


Copper Aura was very easy to work with and not too streaky, but That’s A Beachin’ Color was a problem child. It looks totally different mixed into the polish vs the jar color. Baldy spots and streaky city. Disco was also a mess. Disco is always a mess. It had a lot of baldy patches and took 4 lumpy coats for opacity. It was kind of a sparse microglitter with very little binder, so that might explain why.


Oranges and tans fared a bit better than the pinks. Tangerine yielded a nice autumn color that I don’t have too many dupes of. Peach Champagne was a bit frosty for my personal taste, but had great opacity. Asp was a bit so so and was a bit streaky, but workable. Beach Party gave me a sort of creepy Yoo-Hoo purple-tingled milk chocolate brown. What’s in Yoo-Hoo, anyway? And why does it taste good and bad at the same time? Mysteries of the universe…


Chocolate Grapes yielded a grandma-mauve, but had good opacity. Chocomint is a pigment I’ve seen tons of times before from MAC, Fyrinnae, TKB Trading and others. It’s a brown with green flash and would probably make a lovely eyeshadow for folks with green eyes. As nail polish, it gives me a kinda creepy baby-poo vibe. Maybe for Halloween? Boy Toy was a sea-monster teal frost which needed 3 coats for opacity. Sour Apple was really opaque but gave me ’80s flashbacks.


Blueberry was a nice electric blue with a smooth finish. Grape was similar, but had a very fine grind so it took a lot more pigment to get opacity. The Liner Voodoo was meant to be eyeliner, so it was very opaque but chunky. I think the Liner blends were meant to be mixed in with some sort of blending agent and are definitely a different formulation from the other pigments. Jazzy was a gorgeous cornflower blue with purple flash that I’m keeping in my personal stash. 🙂 Razor was a pretty standard silver with good workability and a smooth finish.


Tiger’s Eye was really different swatched than in the jar. It made a neutral bronzey gold that seemed like it would go really well with giraffe spots, for some reason.  Beauty Queen was a pretty copper with silvery flecks that would probably make a really nice eyeshadow. Glass Slipper was a whitish silver pearl with a really smooth finish.


And some random close ups:

Pure Luxe.jpg

So, what do you guys do with your leftover cosmetics? Is there a secret stock exchange or a worthy cause to donate to? I’m open to suggestions!

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Hitting The Rails + What I’ve Been Making, August 2016

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a great start to August. I went to Montreal via Amtrak with the Mr. for a few days. It was a loooong ride from NYC to Montreal. The train was so crowded we couldn’t sit next to each other, which was a bummer. If you’re taking that ride, be sure to check in more than an hour early since the line gets crazy!

Notre Dame Basilica was definitely a highlight for me.


The old town was really stunning, very European.


We stayed near University of Quebec, which was a bit sketchy. Apparently there is a serious drug problem in Montreal, which was too bad. No one bothered us, though. At least the streets looked cheery with their pink balls.

st catherine

And there was a random festival with lots of dancing. It seems like the Canadians really make the most of their warm weather with lots of festivals and street events.


So that was pretty fun. I miss the ease of international travel, compared to Singapore. I could be on a boat/bus/plane and be in a different country within the hour. At least living in NYC offers a lot of chances to experience international culture. One major oversight: the ethnic food here is not spicy! I had “authentic” Indian and it was way short in the spice department. After Singapore, I’m ready to get my spice on and the food tastes sad and lonely without it. Usually the restaurants will throw a couple chili peppers your way if you comment on the lack of spice, but that’s not really the same.

OK, onto the nails- that’s what everyone came for, right? 😉

I’ve been having lots of fun with some UV color change (the ice cream nails, center top row) and thermal pigments (the sunset beach nails on the upper right/ghostly rider nails on the bottom right.) Thermal pigments change color when they are exposed to heat/cold, whereas UV change color in sunlight.

August 2016

My recent personal favorite are the ghostly rider nails- check out that tiny menacing skull! The fact that the nails change into flamey colors is just and added bonus. I also got my boho hippie chic on with some sun/mandala nails, some just-for-fun Kawaii Hello Kitty action, and some outrageous nautical nails. Someone commented that they looked like they looked like something a Playboy model would wear, but hey. Maybe it was the tassels. I don’t discriminate. 😉 You can have fabulous nails whether you’re a pinup model or a librarian.

I’m looking forward to fall. I’ve lead a seasonless life for the past 5 years, so I’m excited to get my autumn on for the first time in a long time. It’s my favorite season. I do miss the Tokyo fall, which is waay longer and better weather-wise than the northern Atlantic US fall, but there’s apple cider here, so it’s kind of a toss up. But for now, I’ll squeeze the last few drops of summer while it’s here. Fruit salad all around!



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Deviantly Daring + Spectraflair Holo Close Up

I had a couple folks ask me for more close up views of my holo frankens from last post. Just a quick show of one of the 18 shades I made. 🙂

Here’s one of my favorites, made with China Glaze Deviantly Daring and Spectraflair 14. I used 2/3 DD and 1/3 Spectraflair. The photos on this overcast day don’t really do it justice, but here they are. I think I’d call this mix “Deviantly Spectraflaring.” And it is kind of deviant, since Spectraflair is technically an automotive pigment.


Yes, seamonster teal holo! Yes! DD is pretty on its own, but it’s a bit frosty and sheer for my taste. But with some holo in it, it becomes a gorgeous sparkly seamonster/mermaid-y type green. Wouldn’t this be nice for a mermaid nail?


Just for comparison’s sake, here is the original DD and the franken side by side. We are experiencing clousy (cloudy +lousy) weather here, so the photos are not really up to par, but I hope y’all can get the general idea.

Oh, and speaking of mermaids, this color inspired me to get on it:



Obviously, I am missing the ocean! I think it’s time to zip away and do some scuba diving…just not in the Atlantic, which is both the nearest ocean and my least favorite ever. It’s cold and gray. I’m all about warm and aqua blue, but any day in the water is pretty much a good day for me.

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Holo All The Things!

I love mixing custom polishes, but sometimes there are just polishes that can’t be duplicated without special pigments. One of these is Spectraflair.

A little Spectraflair background: It’s an automotive pigment made by a Japanese chemical company. It’s basically holo pigment in its most concentrated form. On its own, it has a silvery base that shifts color in the light and shows a fine or coarse rainbow reflection. It is graded by particle size, with a smaller number yielding a smoother finish and a higher number yielding more rainbowy flash with a scattered finish.


I tried to get this stuff forever. It’s made in Japan by a Japanese company, and I used my mad Japanese skills and natural charm to try and get them to hand over a sample/sell me buckets of the stuff. No dice. It was like trying to buy cocaine. (I’m just imagining here, I have never actually attempted to buy cocaine. Ahem.) All very furtive. I managed to snag some, and it was pretty dodgy. I emerged several thousand yen lighter but with all my body parts intact. I felt like the James Bond of the glitter trade.

Still, the rewards were great and sparkly. I mixed all of these with half Spectraflair and half regular nail polish:

Holographic nails

And macarons. Just because they’re a kawaii Japanese favorite, along to go with my hard-won Japanese Spectraflair.


Here’s Spectraflair Size 14 mixed into clear nail polish. Yes, I was having fun pretending to be a nail stylist. 😉 You can buy similar colors, like Color Club Halo Hues/ ILNP Mega, etc. without the cloak and dagger drama of having to buy Spectraflair in a dark alley in Tokyo, but this comes with more of a backstory.

Or…you can just buy it online now in 2016. I placed an order there quite a while back, and got some good liquified Spectraflair after exhausting my pigment supply. You will be hard pressed to get your hands on the powder pigment- in fact, it’s near impossible. Most sellers offer it pre-disbursed in a liquid base, which you can just add to nail polish. Some sellers claim to offer Spectraflair in pigment form, but this is likely to be a knockoff Chinese version of it, which is not really up to par. Much like Beverly Hills Poolo Club or Kelvin Klein items one can buy in China, bogus Spectraflair is nowhere near as good as the real thing. And yes, I have actually seen “Poolo Club” items. Other polo-related favorites are U.S. Polo Club, USA Polo Club, Larph Lauren Polo and America Polo. Who knew polo was so beloved in Asia?

Anyway, back to the polish. A little Spectraflair goes a long way, but due to the intensity of the silver in the base, it will lighten up any polish color you mix it with. Deep reds will yield a fuschia or orangey pink, depending on what is in the base color. That’s why you generally see so many holo pastels vs really dark, deep colors. Most very dark nail polishes look similar on, but many of them actually have different undertones which will be revealed when mixed with a powerful lighter color pigment.

Although it’s awesome, DO NOT USE IT ON YOUR SKIN. I personally never apply Spectraflair mixes to my natural nails- it goes on press on nails only so there’s a barrier between my actual skin and the polish. It’s an automotive pigment, folks, so it’s definitely not approved for any kind of cosmetic use. At all.

So while my glitter spy skills were pretty lacking, now you don’t need to speak Japanese and meet people in shady back alleys to get some Spectraflair. If all this is too much trouble, but you still want holographic polish, just grab a bottle of holo silver and tint it with your favorite polish. There’s lots of ways to shine! 😉


Posted in Mixed Colors (Frankens), Nail polish, Supplies | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments