Summer Review: Coral Nails

As I mentioned in my June Birchbox Review, I am absolutely in love with coral nail polishes this season. It’s a super bright and happy color that really just makes you look super tan. It’s really flattering, and I honestly can’t say anything negative about it right now. So as promised in my previous post, here’s a review of three different nail polish brands, each in similar shades of coral: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in #460 Snappy Sorbet, Ruby Wing in Peony, and Color Club in Reign in Spain. I will be reviewing these different brands not based off of color (all are very similar) but based of of their formulas, pigmentation, and the ease of brush use.


First up, is Sally Hansen’s brush. I will admit a few years ago when polishes starting coming with the flat wide brishes, I hated them. I was also a lot younger and hadn’t really practiced doing my nails much. As I’ve gotten older, this is my all time favorite brush. The flat head coats the entire nail (or almost all of it) in one sweep and the slightly curved shape allows you to shape around the base of the nail and get a professional looking job done, versus that uneven edge with smaller brushes. The wide brush also allows you to smooth out the color easily leaving no weird overlapping layers, which makes even just one coat of polish when you’re in a hurry look good.


Sally Hansen

Ruby Wing and Color Club have essentially the same round brush, which does the job, but takes a steadier hand to make a professional looking edge as well as it’s pretty hard to get an even first coat, so you’ll need at least 2 to make your color look decent.


Color Club


Ruby Wing

Now onto formulas. Sally Hansen definitely has the thickest polish which helps in its ease to apply. If you have slightly too much on the brush, it won’t slip and slide all over your nail. Color Club is almost as thick which did make it easier to apply with the smaller brush but Sally still has the upperhand. Ruby Wing is a very water consistency, so much so that barely any polish clings to the brush when you pull it out of the bottle.

First coats

First coats

As for pigmentation and number of coats to achieve a good color, Sally Hansen only took one coat to achieve a nice even color. Color Club came in second place with two coats and Ruby Wing is last. After 3 coats, I can still see through to my natural nail. I will say however that I do still love the Ruby Wing because it is a color changing polish, therefore I excuse it’s flaws, but I would defiitely recommend using a similar colored polish as a basecoat under it. It’s way too many coats in my opinion.

Final Coats

Final Coats

So that’s my little review. Let me know what other brands of polish you guys have been using recently and what you think about them, or just drop a comment with your favorite summer color!

Love Mel


Blue & Gold

As I was titling this, I realized I had somehow managed to sport my¬† nails with my high school’s colors…oh well. This is a super simple tutorial and an easy into into nail art using tape as a design tool for those of you without steady hands or who just want to perfect it right from the start. Using tape allows you to choose your shape and reposition if you don’t like the look of it BEFORE you paint!

For this design, I used three colors. Sally Hanson’s The Sky’s the Limit, Maybelline Color Show’s Bold Gold (70) and NYC’s Matte Me Crazy topcoat.


I started off my nails with a basecoat using just the matte topcoat from NYC. Yeah, I used the top as my bottom. You can use any base coat or clear polish you want. I find the gold chips pretty easy directly applied to the nails, so I’m testing it out with a base to stick to.

Once that has dried, give your nails a good coat or two of the gold. It probably needed two coats because a few of my nails had sparse spots, but one coat was good enough for me. (I work in a warehouse, so this polish is gonna last me maybe 1 day).

And if you’re interested in using other color combos, go for it. Just keep in mind which color should go on top. The top only gets one layer so don’t try putting a light shade over a darker. In my case, I wasn’t sure which was the better color for the top, so I used scratch paper and tested blue over gold and gold over blue. The blue was more pigmented so the gold was now my base.


Once your base color has had a good chance to dry, use small cut pieces of tape to tape off the triangles at your nail base. (Tip: Cut the tape pieces before you begin. It’s hard to use scissors without messing up fresh nails.)


As you can see, I lined my tape pieces up on the edge of my desk.

Once your nails have had more than enough time to dry (this is really important because the tape will pull off wet polish!), carefully place your tape pieces down. If you don’t like the way it looks, move it around till you do, then smooth out any bubble around the edge so no polish will leak under. You don’t want rough edges do you? (Tip: press your tape onto the back of your hand to get rid of a little stickiness. This makes the tape easier to remove from your nail)


Now carefully use your second color to paint the exposed nail. As soon as its coated, quickly remove the tape before it starts to dry. It’s best to do this one nail at a time, and one hand at a time. Go from start to end on one hand and then when that hand is completely dry, you can start your other. Trust me, it’s hard to place tape using nails that are still drying!

Once all nails are done go over with a top coat of your choice. I like matte nails (yes I like matte metallics too!), but if you don’t use a glossy coat! It’s up to you!


I hope you all enjoy this tutorial and if you try this, or any other cool designs with tape, be sure to send me pics! I’ll even post them on the blog!


PS: My ring is from Forever 21!

Dot It

Who doesn’t love a little retro inspired nail tutorial? These nails are super simple and look a lot cooler than your typical polka dot nail.

I used three coats of NYC Black Lace (the third coat really helps give it that solid black coat), then used just the brush from Sally Hanson French White Tip and wiped off the excess color and made dots going across my nails as even as I possibly could. For me it was about 9 dots on each nails. If you don’t trust your hand, you can use a wooden dowel or chopstick and dip that in the polish to keep them uniform. This would even be fun to do as a domino affect (later tutorial maybe?). I then topped it off with Sally Hanson’s UV top coat.

Have fun!



Start with clean nails and paint 2 coats of base color. This design works best with light colors. I used two coats of Sally Hanson French White Tip.

Next, take small strips of tape and place around the nail bed, being careful not to get tape directly on the nail.

Take a cup or glass you don’t care about and fill with room temperature water. I used a red plastic cup (repurpose those leftover beer pong cups, ladies!). Using a few different shades of polish, place a drop of each color in the cup. Alternate colors of your choosing. This is easiest to do if you get as much polish on the brush as you can without wiping any off on the side. Colors I used: NYC 119 Black Lace Creme, Sally Hanson 640 Plum Luck, and the white from before.

With a toothpick, quickly draw lines through the polish ring. Think of those coffee art designs made with creamer and a toothpick!

Carefully place your nail into the design, being careful to avoid bubbling the design. Quickly use a Qtip to swirl the excess polish out of the cup then pull out your nail.

After the polish has dried a little, peel off the tape and apply a clear top coat. As they harden, you can begin to clean up polish from the edges.
If these directions are a little confusing, you can search water nail art on YouTube to find a good tutorial.

Book Nerd

I’ve been meaning to try this nail design for ages. I love books and I love the idea of carrying typography around with me on my nails. Also it’s like a secret message where only I know what these words mean together (my nails are from an article on art and culture!).
First I laid down two coats of L’oreal’s Grecian Goddess. Let dry well. Next, I poured rubbing alcohol in a small bowl. Dip each nail in to wet it then press a small strip of newsprint (with the side you want to use face down to the nail) onto the still wet nail. Leave for 10 seconds making sure its well pressed down. Be careful not to move it or the letters will smudge! Carefully peel off the newsprint and paint on a clear top coat to seal in. Voila! You’re done!
This can be done with any color nail polish and any text really, just be wary, the letters will transfer backwards!
Have fun trying this and send me pictures of how it turns out!