Monday, February 22, 2010

Trial 2-Creating a Gradient Mani Using a Sponge and Regular Polish- A KOTD with Orly Gumdrop and Snowcone

A few months back, I posted a tutorial on how to do an easy gradient using a sponge and the Konad special polishes. I speculated that you could probably do the same thing with regular polishes, but I didn't know this for sure. I was feeling like experimenting this weekend so I gave it a try using 2 polishes from Orly's Sweet collection (Snowcone and Gumdrop). I actually had to run 2 trials for this, as the first time I attempted it, I tried to use China Glaze Fairy Dust to give it that extra sparkle. Unfortunately, 2 coats were required to get the amount of sparkle I wanted..add Seche Vite on top of that to try to dry it all down and it was a super thick disaster that I kept smudging. More on the experimentation after the pictures though.
Here's another picture in the sun
Indoors, natural lighting
Indoor lighting, Thumb night of mani...cleanup was hard on my cuticles.
Right hand, indoor natural hand's unnaturally red here, but it was the only pic I could take that was nonblurry. I like the gradient better on the right hand anyways. The gradient's a bit stronger rl anyways..but my camera's not the best. It's old..still does the job most of the time though.
Anyways, back to the technicalities of the experimentation. I discovered 2 things the first time around ..that a stamped gradient would work with regular polish... and that a makeup sponge would also work as a tool to do so. Basically, anything with small, fairly uniform holes will work, though a sponge that's appearance is too smooth may be difficult. The one I used for that first attempt had a similar texture to that of the Sonia Kashuk blending sponge. I did find that it took way more time/polish than I had remembered it taking with the Konad special polishes and the sponges that came with my kit. The second time around I gave it a try with a sponge from the kit. It was easier and a bit faster. However, the sponges that came with my Konad kit didn't hold up particularly well using regular polish, and still took longer than the Konad polish. I think this is because Konad special polishes are thicker and more pigmented than regular polish. The dry time also differs by a bit, so you can get more polish onto the nail before you have to reswatch it onto the plate and refill the sponge. The faster dry time of regular polish makes the polish on the sponge somewhat tacky (sticky) after a while, so I had a bit of an issue with bits of the sponge coming off onto my nail and having to pick them out carefully with a pair of tweezers. I also changed the way I smoothed out the gradient a bit. I used smudge fixer to smooth it out initially before topcoating it the first time before the Konad. The final mani was topcoated with Out the Door Northern lights; a nice holographic top coat.

I highly prefer using Out the Door for Konads vs any of my other topcoats. Its thinner texture makes it much easier to quickly coat over a Konad without smudging it after allowing a few minutes for the pattern to set. It's also great because it won't shrink up like Seche does with multiple coats.

Also, if you read my tutorial, you might notice that my cleanup on this mani is significantly better than the one there. I totally have to thank MeganChair for her AMAZING cleanup tutorial. A few things to note about the tutorial:
1. It will still work if you don't use Pure Acetone, but it's much harder to do. Pure Acetone is quick and easy. Pure acetone is, however, really drying. For something like this, I recommend cleaning up as much as you can around the cuticles with a qtip and nail polish remover, then cleaning the gap and areas closest to your nails with a brush and pure acetone.
2. Pure Acetone will eat through the ecoTools Eye Shader brush, albeit slowly. It's made with synthetic fiber, which doesn't hold up well with something as caustic as acetone.
3. Be very careful with can eat through plastic and finishes on furniture if you spill it. I had a mishap with my bottle and it started eating through my UDPP bottle and my computer mouse before I managed to clean it up.


  1. Just found your blog and subbbed through bloglines. :)
    Absolutely beautiful. :)