Southwest Cactus Landscape – Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Contest

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Hi everyone! I’ve created another manicure that I want to share: this awesome desert landscape with a bunch of cacti! Since this mani turned out so well, I will be submitting a photo of my nails to the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art contest. For this month and the next two months, Sally Hansen is holding a nail art contest inspired by different themes. The theme for this month is “Color Destinations”, so I figure this design inspired by the American Southwest fits the bill. I worked really hard on this design, and I like the result, so I think it would be great to participate in the contest. If you want to vote for me, you can do so here:

http://www.sallyhansen.com/i-heart-nail-art/contest/entry-emismanis-1400816457

The idea for this design was actually my boyfriend’s. We I thought it would be fun for us to do the “boyfriend nail polish challenge”, in which your boyfriend (or, I suppose, some other significant person in your life) picks three nail polish colors from your stash and you have to come up with a nail look using all three. He picked a brown (Covergirl Toasted Almond), a blue (Julep Margaret), and a green (Sally Hansen Pique Side), and suggested I draw cacti on my nails. At first I was like: ??? Why? But then I tried out the idea, and got really into it. Then I saw the ad for the Sally Hansen contest, and things really took off. Seeing as I wanted to submit my design to the contest, I added more colors to the look to make it spectacular. And this is the final result:

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I just love it! It’s so detailed and cool-looking! Plus, I had never painted a landscape before, so that was especially exciting. My boyfriend is clearly a secret nail art genius (haha).

For this look, I had to use a barrage of different colors – 14 in total (not including the base and top coats). I started by painting the sky, which was made of Sally Hansen Barracuda (light blue), Julep Margaret, and SH Pacific Blue in a sponge gradient. I wore this for a whole day before painting the rest of the stuff. Here is what that looked like:

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I considered leaving them like this, but painting the landscape was just too appealing. I first painted the outlines of the hills and mesas with Covergirl Toasted Almond, and filled in the ground; I had to plan out where the hills were going to go across my nails so that I could ensure the continuity of the landscape. Using a Q-tip, I dotted the hills with a bunch of different colors (Zoya Flynn & Avery, SH Grey Area & Natural Sienna) until I was satisfied. The mesas were painted with a striping brush using the same colors. I then painted on the cacti with a striping brush and Sally Hansen Pique Side. I’m so glad I picked that color: it’s fantastic! Beautiful, and with a great formula. It’s perfect for the cacti. I shaded the cacti with Essie Navigate Her and Zoya Evvie. Finally, on my ring finger, I added the cow skull with the SH white and black stripers, and SH Greige for shading. I finished it all off with my favorite top coat: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. It dries fast, imparts a high-shine finish, and is quite durable on my nails.
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Right hand (no cow skull on my dominant hand though; that’s too crazy for me):

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Overall I’m thrilled! This is definitely one of the most complicated manicures I’ve ever attempted, and it was pretty successful. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

-Emi

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