What about for the detailing and thinner-brush bottles?
Art Club is great. To me, what makes a good detail polish is the consistency. If it’s too watery, it will spill everywhere. You need one that’s going to stay there. This brand Hurricane, too, which I used to be able to get everywhere in Brooklyn beauty shops (not so much in Portland), is amazing. Good consistency and texture. I am a little mad at Sally Hansen at their nail art pens though. I thought they were going to be polish pens, and then I bought it and realized I was drawing on myself with a glorified Sharpie.
I found these double-sided pens which are sold everywhere online and are essentially a metal-tipped polish pen (think White Out). This one is called Migi Nail Art, but they are all literally the same package under different names online, probably from the same warehouse somewhere. They come in all colors, two per tube. And it’s a set of four for about $20! However, it is a metal tip so it will scratch; I use it mainly for dots or leopard print. They’re definitely cool, but they won’t ever take the place of the brushes.
Oh, and [polish] thinner is essential. A few drops extends the life of your polish so much longer, and it lasts forever. And a bottle is only $6 or so at a beauty store.
How much do you spend on polish?
Surprisingly, not that much. I don’t really use the super expensive ones, like O.P.I. Sometime they aren’t as good. I buy a handful of new polishes every few weeks or so, or I’ll make lists of what I’m lacking. I do run out of the black and white detail pens really fast–mostly because I use them so much–I think any design with those accents really makes it pop.
What blogs do you like?
Well I follow a bunch on Tumblr. There’s a Blogspot actually also called The Daily Nail, of this woman who did a different nail every day, 365 designs. It’s crazy. And Youtube is fantastic for tutorials. You can just look up “learn to do this”, and there are so many ones that are really detailed.
So how long did the infamous Twin Peaks one take?
Well, I worked on it for a day. Not constantly! I kept coming back. But each probably took an hour a nail. The fork on the cherry pie may be my proudest accomplishment, because it’s so tiny and came out exactly as I wanted it to. If someone wanted it, I’d probably fit a set of nails to them and then do it and attach it. I just think the results would be better and longer lasting. Because I do just use paint, no acrylics or gels.
Do you ever go to salons?
I did the other day for the first time in a year, I got a mani/pedi. The pedicure was worth it because you get the massage and everything. The manicure I felt, you know, I can trim my own cuticles, I can buy nice oils from a beauty store. I don’t need to pay you to paint my nails; I can do that. People often ask me if I do feet–I say no. You have one big toe, the rest are too tiny.
So, for now, this is just for fun for you?
I am toying with the thought of getting licensed so I could work in salons from time to time, but first I am coming back here to get my MFA in photography. This is something I love to do, but it’s not my main path. I’d love to combine freelancing with my other interests though. The idea of working in a salon five days a week and having people who most of the time just want French tips would get so boring, I wouldn’t like it. But if I could do something along the lines of a guest artist and people could come to me when they wanted something more out-of-the-norm, that would still be fun. And in a place like New York or San Francisco you have a larger market where people are willing to spend the money, and also places that do really cutting edge art.
It’s so popular now, because, you know, anyone can do it. Think about it: we’re in a bad economy, guess what doesn’t cost a lot? Doing your nails really fun, at home, either learning how or getting someone else to do it. And I’m not doing something super insane or 3D, I’m giving you a cool, livable design for about $20. Sometimes that’s adventurous enough for people. They’re always really happy with it.
**For my manicure, I asked Ally to do something Navajo themed, and she delivered spectacularly! It’s totally true–I do inevitably check out my finger while texting (or typing this post). For the manicure, she used Sinful Colors basecoat (most drugstores, $2), Brucci robin’s egg blue (Duane Reade, $3), L.A. Colors Art Deco detail brushes in white and red (online, $2), Hurricane detail brushes in white and cobalt, and a Sally Hansen Quick -Dry Topcoat (most drugstores, $6). You can definitely do it yourself, even less elaborately, for under $20.