Hello Loves. I have a very special mani to show you today. Sunflowers! Ok, so why is a sunflower mani so special? Because this mani was inspired by the sunflowers my little man planted for me (with a little help from his Daddy).
I apologize for the poor photo quality in the pic above. I didn't feel like disconnecting my camera and lugging it outside, so I took a cellphone shot. Color is way off, but I couldn't resist including a photo of my nails and my sunflowers! Here's another cell phone shot of my pretty little sunflowers. They're blooming like crazy and my little man is so excited to see how many more have bloomed each morning.
Ok, ok, back to the mani. There's something else that makes this one special. It is done in 100% gel polish! Couture Gel Polish, to be exact. It would have been much easier to do with acrylic paint, but I wanted to see if I could do it completely in gel. Sometimes a good challenge is just what a girl needs to get out of a creative dry spell. ;) Wanna see a better shot?
Since I knew this one was going to be quite involved, I took a series of step by step photos (again with my cell phone, so they aren't color accurate at all). Wanna see it?
Another fun fact about my pretty little sunflower mani: I used 8 different Couture gels. Can you see them in the photo above? How about a step by step? The base color is Couture Milano (swatched previously here).
- Using a thin brush, build the first layer of petals with Couture Ooh La La French (swatched previously here) and cure.
- Color in the petals with Couture Turning Heads (swatched below) and cure.
- Go over the petals again with a thin layer of Couture Tres Chic (swatched previously here) and cure.
- Fill in the centers of the sunflowers and add shading to the center of the petals with Couture Front Row Seat (swatched below). Cure.
- Add leaf shapes with Couture Aloe Very and outline them with Couture High Roller (both swatched previously here). Use the nail art brush to blend the two greens a bit and soften the lines. Dab Couture Moody Model (swatched below) in the centers of the sunflowers to deepen the color and add dimension. Cure.
- With Couture Ooh La La French, add a row of smaller petals that are staggered with the original petals. Cure.
- Go over the new petals with Couture Tres Chic. Cure.
- Add details to new petals with Couture Turning Heads. Cure.
- Top coat and enjoy. Whew!
I especially love the ring finger. The flower and petal placement is best on that nail, I think. I took a closeup. Want to see it? You can see the added dabs of Moody Model in the centers of the sunflowers much better in this shot too.
Can you tell I'm super proud of these? lol I've had this mani planned for a while now, but I just got around to trying it. Honestly, it intimidated me a little. Or a lot. I'm glad I finally gave it a shot. I love it so much I don't want to take it off! So I'm now walking around with one hand full of sunflowers and the other is purple with a champagne accent nail. I can't remove the purple yet since I'm in the middle of a wear test, so I guess I'll just be mismatched for a while. I'm sure B's teachers will get a kick out of my crazy hands when I drop him off for his first day of Pre-K this morning.
Oh, and while I'm at it, how about swatches of the colors in this mani that I haven't shown you before? I apologize for the length differences. These were taken as part of my swatching arrangement with Couture prior this year.
Couture Turning Heads is a shimmery, almost frosty orange. This one is opaque in 2-3 coats. I did have a few issues with streaks in the shimmer, but another super thin coat would easily smooth them out. I apologize for the extra pink skin tone in this photo. I had to adjust my color settings to get my camera to capture the orange accurately. ;)
Couture Front Row Seat is a beautiful, shimmer packed bronze. This one is also opaque in 2-3 coats but applied beautifully.
Finally, Couture Moody Model is an awesome, red toned brown with a golden shimmer. This one is opaque in 2-3 coats as well. Application was average with the exception of a little bit of shrink back on the first layer. It corrected itself on the second coat, so there was no need to flash cure for this one. As usual, I swatched three coats.
I'll leave you with one last shot of my pretty little sunflowers. Because, well, you know I have to include my standard pose for nail art. ;)
*The gel polishes featured in this post were provided by Couture Gel Polish as part of a swatching arrangement. All opinions expressed on the colors featured are my own, unbiased opinions.