Weekly Nailgasm: Ombre Tribal

Hey boos!

It’s been a while since my last nail art post, so I wanted to kick off my Weekly Nailgasm series again! What better way to sashay back to nail art glory than with this chic ombre tribal print?

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Better GIT IT. I love ombre so much, whether it’s on hair, fabric, or nails. Speak not to me of trends! I don’t know whether ombre is still “in” or not, and I don’t care. I adore it and I intend to wear a disrespectful 34-inch ombre Mongolian weave to my 70th birthday paree. You’re all invited.

Ok! So for ombre nails I like to select three complementary colours. It’s super easy- I just paint each third of the nail a different colour, working fast so none of the colours dry before the next one goes on. This makes it easier to muddle the colours a bit at the transition line.

I always start with a good base coat- my fave is Sally Hansen’s Double Duty. For this design I used the following three colours:

“Beach Bum Blu” by Essie
“How do You Lilac It?” by Rimmel
“Shorts Story” by OPI

Once the base was dry, I used a black nail art pen to create thick graphic lines. All you need for this step is a steady hand and your imagination (wine helps, too). I let the lines dry and then I added some highlights with a white nail art pen and “Golden Nuggets” glitter by Essie.

Let the whole shebang dry and then finish with a good quality top coat- my favourite is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. And there you have it!

I loved this design so much that it inspired me to create this cute painting. That’s right. I’m my own muse, bish. YAAAASS for matching your nail art to your wall art!

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Hope you liked it, dolls! Look out for more Weekly Nailgasms coming soon. Hugsies.

Love,
Adjpants

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Weekly Nailgasm: All That Glitters

My darling dolls, my sweethearts, my raisons d’etre! How have you been? I just wanted to share my new nails with you, because I love you and want you to have nice things.

I recently told you guys about my fave nail salon, Chapel Spa Nail and Beauty in Angel, North London. Well this week they slayed yet again…

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I saw this gorgeous design on my friend’s nails and RAN to the salon (we all go to Chapel Nails dahling) to request the exact same thing. I love it love it love it! Perfect glossy pale pink, with that opulent golden glitter on a feature nail. These nails are subtle enough for the office, but fierce enough for the dancefloor.

imageCute, non? Want to know how to recreate this look at home? Treat yo’self!

1. You’ll need a good base coat, a pale pink polish, loose gold glitter (you can get this on Ebay for next to nothing) and an uber-glossy topcoat. I recommend Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat.

2. Apply your base coat and allow to dry.

3. Apply one coat of your pale pink polish and allow to dry. Psst! With these sheer/pale polishes you really do need to let that first coat dry properly, or you’ll get a streaky finish and you will be sad. Ok? Ok.

4. Apply your second coat of pale pink polish, but leave your feature nails until last. The polish needs to still be wet, so the glitter has something to stick to.

5. Feature nail time! Carefully shake a tiny bit of glitter onto a piece of paper, and then use a fingertip to pick up a small amount. Take it slow or you’ll get glitter everywhere- it’ll be like the dressing room on RuPaul’s Drag Race! Now G-E-N-T-L-Y start to pat the glitter onto your nail in your chosen pattern. The key is to *just* touch the wet surface of the nail, very very lightly. The glitter will stick straight to it!

6. Dip a cotton bud into some nail polish remover and clean up any excess glitter on your cuticles.

7. Allow to dry and finish off with a slick of top coat.

8. WERK hunty!

Love,
Adjpants

p.s. Sorry about my dry skin in the first pic- this winter ain’t loyal! All the shea butter in the world can’t fight this struggle xo

Weekly Nailgasm: Christmas Edition!

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My sweethearts, it’s Christmas Eve and I couldn’t be more excited! You all know I LIVE for glitz, glam and all-round eleganza, and Christmas is the perfect time to get really stuck in.

Before I get knee-deep in turkey and champagne, I wanted to quickly share my festive nail combo with you guys. I decided to treat myself and go get my nails did at my fave salon. My North London gals- get on down to Chapel Spa Nail and Beauty in Angel, STAT! Ask for my homegirl Cindy, she’s the bestest and I adore her.

One layer of OPI “Big Apple Red” was used, with OPI Liquid Sand in “Impossible” on top. I love this Liquid Sand polish- it’s a pink/red glitter with tiny silver dots and stars.

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Tres cute, right?

Have a wonderful festive season my darlings! Eat EVERYTHING, laugh, love, kiss boys (or girls), take care, and be fierce! God bless x

Loads of Love,
Adjpants

Let’s Get Nailed: Easy Peasy Nail Art Tutorials!

Previously published by my darlings at The Toast

Darlings! You have been sorely missed- I’m so glad to be back amongst you Toastinis (Toasterinis? Toasterazzi? I’ll get this). Thank you for the incredible Toasty warm welcome to my column last month! You are a lovely and incredible bunch. Please accept these virtual hugsies as a token of my gratitude.

Scrolling through your comments was the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on! And I was picking up what you were throwing down; I saw a LOT of requests for nail art tutorials. Luckily doing nails is essentially my reason for living, so welcome to my very first tutorial!

I’m overjoyed that nail art is all the rage these days. I remember when it was associated with being a) Wrong and b) Ratchet. Don’t get it twisted, there are still some dark corners of East London where 4-inch long Burberry print talons reign. But for the most part, the heavy burden of nail art shaming is gone. Now, I know a lot of women working in corporate environments worry about whether fancy nails will get them the side-eye at the office. I truly believe it’s all in the way you wear it. I like to keep all my nails the same colour and just include a one cheeky “feature nail” on each hand. Keep it classy and your nails can be as slick and corporate as your pencil skirt/blazer/chignon combo.

I know there’s a lot of apprehension when it comes to DIY nail art shenanigans. Some of you are thinking “HALP- I can’t paint my nails without smudging colour all over my fingers/face” or “I’m too clumsy to do patterns” Nonsense. You are fabulous and fierce and you can do this. It’s much easier than it looks!

So! Are you all sitting comfortably? I’ll put on a pot of bourbon and we can get started.

*comes back into room with tray of drinks, wearing silk kimono*

Right. I’m going to show you three of my favourite nail art looks: The Tiger Stripe, The Leopard Print, and The Glitter Fade. I’ll use step-by-step pictures and walk you through. I’ll also explain how you can make each look work for you double-time:

1. One version for heading out on the town and cutting shapes on the dance floor
2. An optional #TurnDown version for the work week

First let’s talk about your kit. You don’t need any expensive equipment- I’m going to recommend a couple of cheap nail art tools, as well as DIY versions which you’ll have lying around the house.

One of the most essential tools in your kit (and I will not bend on this) is a really good base coat and top coat. Whenever I hear someone say “Yah I don’t bother with all that” I start to shriek and flip tables. My current favourite is Sally Hansen Double Duty: A fabulous protective nail polish that strengthens your nails, protects from staining and provides a great base for colour. It also doubles as a top coat. A good top coat will protect your art, make your polish last longer and provide a gorgeous mirror shine. I have no room in my heart for matte polishes… I don’t think they are what Jesus would have wanted.

The next obvious thing you’ll need is some good nail polish. I’m quite partial to a nice bottle of OPI or China Glaze, but I also love cheaper drugstore brands. All you really need is something with good coverage that lasts well. Make sure you have some nice bold base colours. Then for contrasts, i.e. the colours that will form most of your designs, you’ll need the following:

– Black
– White
– Glitter (either gold or silver)

The final thing you’ll need are little awesome things to make designs with. Two-way nail art pens/ brushes are THE BIZNESS. You can get variations of these cheaply on Ebay, and you really only need them in black and white to start off with. They have two ends- a little dotting tool and a skinny brush. Alternatively, you can use a toothpick as a substitute for the dotting tool and a trimmed paintbrush instead of the skinny brush.

Now ladies, you really don’t need long nails to create nail art. We just want neat nails that aren’t a bitten mess. Pro tip: If you do have problems with nail-biting, think about getting a mini aloe vera plant. Fresh aloe gel scraped from the leaf is one of the most bitter substances known to man. It tastes like despair and devastation. When I was a little nail-biter running around in afro puffs, my mum would rub the gel on my fingertips. Then whenever I put my finger in my mouth, the bitterness would have me YELPING out loud at the sheer injustice. It worked like a charm!

Let’s go over the basic nail prep which is the foundation of any nail art look.

– File the nail into your desired shape. I know people have shunned the 90s square nail, but you can do whatever you want (who’s gonna check you?). The “stiletto nail” is totes hawt right now; the pointy shape you see all over Pinterest. Since I wear contacts/ am scared, I tend to steer clear of these. I prefer the ever-flattering squoval shape, which is kind of pointy with rounded edges.

– Apply your base coat. Don’t overload your brush- we don’t want a thick gunky layer here. A great way to paint your nail polish is the 3-stroke method. Apply one stroke along the middle of the nail, and then one on either side. Pro tip: Avoid flooding your cuticles: leave a gap between your cuticle and the polish to avoid that fugly clogged look. Another pro tip: ALWAYS seal your base and top coat. To do this, once you finish painting each nail, simply flick the brush over the outer edge of the nail. This barrier helps to prevent your polish from chipping too fast.

Huzzah! Let’s get nailed! *winks with entire face*

The Tiger Stripe: 

Tiger

1. Use a nice vibrant orange base for this look. Think Tony The Tiger from Frosties (is he still with us?).

2. Grab your black two way nail art pen and get the brush part ready (or your trimmed skinny paintbrush). Start about one-third of the way down the nail from the cuticle. Make sure your brush isn’t overloaded. Place the tip of the brush near the edge of the nail and quickly flick a line inwards.

3. Fab! Now we’re going to repeat this two more times. Make sure you leave enough room between each stripe.

4. Take a quick break to do a victory dance and then move over to the other side of the nail (you may need to twist your hand the other way). We’re doing exactly the same thing on the other side of the nail, placing the second set of stripes between the first set.

5. You’re done! If you’re feeling extra sassy, use your white nail art brush/trimmed skinny paintbrush with white polish to add a cheeky highlight. Pick one set of stripes and paint a white stripe above each black one. Instant fierce.

6. Wait a solid ten minutes for your art to dry before applying your top coat. Pro tip: To make sure you don’t smudge your designs, carefully overload the brush until you have a blob of clear polish hanging off the very end. Now lightly apply the top coat, ensuring that the actual brush itself never touches your nail. This way you end up with a perfect top coat application sans smudging!

7. Optional #TurnDown Look: Simply recreate the look using a nude polish, or even a bare nail. Just add base coat, stripes and top coat!

The Leopard Print: 

Leopard

1. For this look, make sure you have a dark colour for your base and a lighter colour for your leopard spots (white works best)

2. Growl and fling your hair in a wanton fashion to get in the zone. Ready? Ok.

3. Paint your base colour on as normal and allow to dry.

4. Now for the spots. Make sure your brush isn’t overloaded because we only need a teensy bit. Create different sized spots on your nail by lightly flattening the tip of the brush onto the nail bed. We want flat spots, not huge blobs of colour. Let the spots dry.

5. Now for the fun part. This is the bit most people find scary, but you’ll quickly see how easy it is. Get your nail art brush/skinny paintbrush in black (make sure the brush isn’t overloaded). Slooooowly create a squiggly black semi-circle line around one of your spots. Now repeat this until each spot has a black border (don’t join up the squiggly lines, we want a broken effect)

6. You’re doing a GREAT JOB! You sure you haven’t done this before? Ok now carefully add some random squiggly lines in the space between spots. Not too many- one of the most important things in nail art is to keep stopping and checking to make sure you’re happy with the spacing.

7. Finally, add a few random black dots in between spots and squiggly lines.

8. Done! Wait a good ten minutes for your design to dry, and then apply your top coat as normal.

9. Optional #TurnDown look: Use a nude colour for your base and skip the light coloured spots. Instead just move straight to the black squiggly outlines once your base is dry. So cute! Whatsherface from Accounting can’t possibly give you Judgment Face for this classy version:

Nude Leopard

And now… The Glitter Fade:

Glitter

1. This is the easiest of the three and my personal favourite. Who doesn’t want their nails to look like they’ve been dipped in gold? By the way, if you now have Midnight Star’s“The Midas Touch” running through your head, I love you and can we please be besties? Paint your base (for added drama, I like to use a very dark plum colour) and allow to dry.

2. Grab your gold glitter and make sure there’s only the lightest smidgen, the smallest suggestion of polish on the brush before you start. Aim for the centre of the nail and lightly brush down towards the tip. You don’t want a harsh dividing line between the base colour and the glitter, so go for a jagged, uneven effect.

3. Go back in with your glitter and repeat the previous step. This time you can be more heavy handed with the polish, but concentrate it mostly on the tip of the nail. This is where the glitter should be heaviest, creating that gradual faded effect.

4. Allow to dry for a good ten minutes, as glitter polishes can be very thick. Pro tip: If you need your polish to dry faster, allow to dry for ten minutes and then run your nails under an icy cold tap.

5. Apply your top coat as normal.

6. Optional #TurnDown look: Use a nude or clear base, and add gold glitter. Subtle yet glam.

7. Optional #TurnAllTheWayUp look: Use a bright neon base colour, and pair it with a multi coloured chunky glitter. Serve with sparkly hotpants and roller skates:

Party Glitter

And there you have it- three simple designs to take you from drab to fab. Don’t worry about getting things perfect the first time, or even the second or the hundredth time. Just go on with your bad self and have fun! For a professional finish, keep some Q-tips handy. When soaked in nail polish remover, they’re perfect for cleaning up any spills or smudges on your cuticles.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this tutorial so please hit me up in the comments section! Thoughts? Questions? Requests for future posts? All welcome. Ooh and please feel free to get adventurous and recreate these looks! Can a sister get a hashtag? That way you can upload your pics to Instagram for us all to coo over. I’m thinking #AdjpantsNails maybe- what say you?

Putting Your Face On with Adjpants

Sweethearts! You may remember me excitedly harping on about how I was once the Beauty Correspondent at The Toast. It was an absolute blast and I loved every minute. I’ve decided to share my previous beauty columns with you lovely people- so get yours! Huge shout out to the legendary Mallory Ortberg, Co-editor of Awesomeness, for the title: “Putting Your Face On With Adjpants.” This was my very first column.

This is the story of how an awkward, funny-looking teenager became an awkward (funny-looking but working it) woman who loves make-up, nail art and all things sparkly.

Now darlings when I say I was awkward, I feel like you don’t yet understand the severity of the situation. Please see conclusive evidence below:

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Is that clearer now? May I direct your attention to the glasses which covered approximately 99% of my face? The half-up-half-down side pony? And I presume you SEE that scrunchie?

So growing up I just accepted that I was never going to be pretty. Instead I concentrated on quietly blending into the background. But you know how sometimes a person comes crashing into your life and shakes things up? When I was in my early 20s I became friends with an absolute glamazon. I was intimidated by her swishy-shiny hair and immaculate make-up, but she turned out to be lovely and warm. She took me under her wing, and one day she asked if she could try some make-up on me. Just this once. When she finally handed me the mirror afterwards I sat there in disbelief. It was me- but the best possible version of me. Defined. Glowing. I suddenly sat up straighter and lifted my chin. From that day on I stopped trying to blend in and started learning how to stand out.

I started asking for advice at beauty counters, and voraciously watching YouTube videos to teach myself tricks. As I gained confidence, I incorporated the tips into my everyday routine. Make-up is an art form, and your (gorgeous) face is the canvas.

But before painting your face, you gotta take care of that base (poetry y’all)! I am a huge advocate of natural skincare, having grown up in a household where aloe vera gel was the answer to everything. Insect bite? Get the aloe. Rash? GET. IT. Leg fell off? Child, what did I tell you about getting that damn aloe?

These are my natural skincare faves:

Aloe vera gel: Incredible for skin irritation. Aloe gel is to pimples what Chuck Norris is to bad guys. Always look for the purest gel possible- most wholefoods stores sell a 99% organic aloe gel. I use it every night as a sort of face mask. Avoiding the eye area, smear on a thin layer and let it dry before bedtime.

Tea tree oil: This antibacterial oil is also fab for skin irritations or minor infections. Because I’m hardcore I get the 100% pure essential oil and use it neat. If you have more sensitive skin, look out for it as a blended oil. When I get those epic chin pimples I just dab this on directly, and the spot usually disappears by the next day. Quick note- this stuff is STRONG yo! Wash your hands after using it or you’ll forget, touch your eyes, and shriek in tingly burny agony.

Witch hazel and Rosewater: These are my favorite natural toners. The former is a glorious astringent skin cleanser. It removes excess oils and whatever grime may be lurking in your pores, waiting to cause trouble right before a hot date. The latter is pure vintage- you may remember seeing a bottle of Glycerine & Rosewater on your mum’s dressing table as a kid. I don’t need to tell you that mums are ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, including this toner. It gently refreshes and cleanses your skin without over-drying, and you’ll smell like an exotic rose garden. I recommend the witch hazel for oilier skin, and rosewater for the more sensitive gals. Remember- as always look for these two in their purest forms! In fact just take up residence at your local wholefoods store. The staff are usually nice, knowledgeable, and likely to feed you free almonds.

Coconut oil: I cannot possibly overstate this. Coconut oil is everything you have ever needed. Frizzy hair? Gone. Dry skin? BANISHED. This miracle oil is a beauty all-rounder. Go and buy some, I beseech you. Ask for organic extra virgin coconut oil; it’s cold-pressed to maintain the nutrients. Not only can you baste yourself in it daily, you can also cook with it or eat it straight from the jar. The oil is solid at room temperature, so just pop the bottle in some hot water before use.

I actually make most of my hair and skin products out of these few ingredients. Making your own concoctions is fun, easy and cheap! Otherwise look out for great natural skincare ranges and use this simple tip: Always read the ingredients. Remember they’re listed in order of greatest quantity first. So if you’re buying “pure aloe vera shampoo” and aloe is listed near the end of the ingredients, you have been caught in a web of DECEIT. Don’t stand for it honey.

Now on to my two favourite looks!

The Girl Next Door

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This is my standard everyday look. The idea is to look fresh, glowing and effortlessly fabulous. So much so that people will exclaim “Gosh you’re looking well!” And you can nonchalantly flick your hair and say “Oh, these old rags?” The key to this look is luminous skin, flushed cheeks, and a nude lip. I’m usually a MAC gal but you can easily recreate this look using any of your fave cosmetics! Products used:

MAC Pro-longwear concealer in NW50: I start by using this darker concealer shade to cover any blemishes on the darker parts of my face, like under my chin
MAC Studio Fix Foundation fluid in MW47: I then use this lighter foundation shade to conceal any other blemishes
Bare Minerals Loose powder in Golden Deep: Set the concealer with a mineral powder and fluffy powder brush. Mineral powders give light coverage with a natural glow
MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Thing: This is a pinky shade with subtle gold shimmer. Swirl on the apples of your cheeks and then arc upwards along your cheekbones for a sculpted finish
Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Black/Brown: Use tiny strokes and follow your natural arch. Start from the outer ends first and work your way inwards, lightening the strokes for a natural gradient effect
Maybelline Volum’Express Cat-Eyes mascara: Concentrate on the outer top lashes for a wide-eyed effect
Maybelline lipstick in Pink Sizzle: A very subtle nude/pink with a tiny bit of shimmer- just slick this on over some lip balm

You’re done! Go on with your bad self!

The Pin-Up Girl

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When I want to crank up the glamour, I go for a vintage bombshell look. This look is all about immaculate skin, big defined eyes, bold brows and a perfectly lined red lip. Products used:

MAC Pro-longwear concealer in NW50: As above darlings.
MAC Studio Fix Foundation fluid in MW47: Again, as above.
MAC Studio Fix powder in N9: For a sophisticated look like this one, go for a powder foundation, which will have more coverage than a sheer powder
MAC Sheertone Blush in Ambering Rose: Use a warm neutral toned blush for this look, as the focus should be on the eyes and lips.
Benefit BrowZings kit in Dark: Define those brows girl- I love this kit because it comes with a dark wax to shape, and a matching powder to set!
Rimmel Masterliner in Black: You want a winged eyeliner with this look. Subtle or bold, it’s up to you! Gently pull your closed eyelid taut with your finger while you apply
Benefit Bad Gal Lash mascara: Use the lushest, most voluminous mascara you have, or opt for a set of thick falsies
MAC lipliner in Cherry and Maybelline lipstick in Red Revival: Roll up your sleeves and sharpen your lipliner- it just got REAL in here. Start by carefully lining your cupids bow. If you want to exaggerate it for a more pouty look, why not? Outline the rest of your lip shape, using small strokes. Tip: Fill in your lips completely with the pencil, focusing on the inner corners, because these are the areas that wear off first. Then follow with your lipstick. Blot on a tissue and reapply your lipstick for maximum staying power.

Done! Now go and stand on a conveniently placed air vent in a flowy white dress.

Now let’s talk about my love for nail art. I was always an art geek and it was a natural progression to start experimenting with colour on my nails. My mum (who is one of the most incredible and glamorous women I know) used to have this huge tub chock-full of nail polish. I always had my hot little hands in there, and would re-do my nails several times a day. I would paint each nail a different colour, dust them with glitter, glue on gems. I then started using trimmed paintbrushes to add patterns and shapes.

I feel like nail art is just another mode of self-expression, another way of saying “HEY WORLD, I’m here and this is what I’m about.” And it’s really not as hard as it looks! Here are a few of my favourite designs so far:

Pic4So my dears, I’m really looking forward to sharing some more of my tips with you! I am by no means an expert; I’m just in it for the love of the game.

For me, make-up has never been a mask to hide behind. On the contrary, experimenting with it can actually teach you to make the very best of what you’ve been blessed with. In my case, it helped a painfully shy girl come out of her shell.

Love,
Adjpants

Weekly Nailgasm- Great Gatsby Inspired

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Full disclosure: I only read The Great Gatsby for the first time last year. You know how sometimes you’re in a strange frame of mind and you lose interest in a book within minutes? Write it off, put it down? And then you come back to it months later and BAM! You’re in love.

This is how it was with The Great Gatsby and I. On the second try, I was enchanted, hooked, gagging on the sheer ELEGANZA of it all. The glitz, the glamour, the wild jazz and the painfully beautiful tale of a doomed love affair.

*sighs wistfully while staring out of window*

So yah I created this nail art look inspired by Gatsby art deco fashion. Think flapper chic; deep moody colours, gilded with delicate lines of gold.

Serve with a Prohibition mint julep, old sport!

Love, Adjpants

Weekly Nailgasm- African Wax Print

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I’ve always loved traditional African wax prints. I grew up on their vibrant colours and intricate patterns. The printed material is used to sew gorgeous outfits, astounding headresses (the bigger the headress, the bigger the swag), and even to make home decor and jewelery.

So this week I’m wearing a feature nail inspired by my beloved wax prints. I used a white nail art pen to create clean lines on a deep plum base. I then added some random white dots. Finally, I highlighted with gold glitter. The key to this kinda design is PATIENCE- make sure you let the polish dry between steps.

Instant chic! Serve with graceful swaying walk, head held high, and a ton of attitude. YAAAAS.