[the DIY Files] spilling the oxblood nails.

My nail designs, er, manis, are not all flash and sparkle. The problem with working in an office environment are the limitations placed on your appearance and attire. These manicure designs are meant to be both corporate-appropriate AND something to talk about. Enjoy!

Of the entire 12 months in the year, my favorite is October.

A. Houston FINALLY starts cooling the ‘eff down. Seriously, 6 months of 100 degree days straight should result in some kind of reward, right? Oh what I would give (my left arm, a piece of my soul, whatever it took) for some crisp Autumn days of 60 degree weather. Yeah, that’s ‘cool’ weather for us Southerners. Ha.

B. Dark colors! I can wear black ALL I WANT without having to suffer in the sweltering ridiculousness of the Houston heat and humidity.

C. Halloween. All Hallows Eve. Call it what you will, but for one night (and most of the month too) I get to indulge in all things horrific, terrifying, bloody, and demented. Not that I don’t do so on a normal basis… just that I can be EXCITED about Halloween without anyone giving me weird looks. Haha?

So the best way to combine a bit of Halloween spirit with the fall forecast oxblood trend = spilling some [ox]blood on bare skin, er, nails.

Oxblood appears as a combination of a dark, deep merlot + a slight plum base. I also just HAPPENED to have the color!

*If you don’t have a color similar to it, you can make it with the combination of a dark red + deep purple + drop of black*

whoops, I’ve made a mess with all this killing.

The best part here is that I balance the oxblood with a neutral that is near my skin color (not exactly identical) to give the illusion that the ‘blood’ is dripping down my nail bed, an effect of my nails being ripped off. Hehe. You know how nude heels give the illusion of longer legs? Nude nails coupled with a darker color don’t do any of that.

  • base coat
  • nude polish (used Essie’s Mamba here because it fits my near-pale taupe complexion)
  • an ‘oxblood’ or deep, dark dark burgundy color (used Pure ICE Scandal here)
  • a top coat (my trusty sidekick Essie’s No Chips Ahead used here)

The twist is in the technique used here: the darker color is put on AFTER the nude dries COMPLETELY, and it is DRAGGED down the nail. Not simply brushed on.

1. Paint on the base coat and let dry for 5 minutes.

2. Paint on the nude color, only 1 coat. You want this to be a ‘foundation’ layer for the blood that will be spilled. Allow to dry for 30 minutes. You don’t want any movement of the polish at all.

You will need to do the next part 1 nail at a time to get the intended effect:

3. Taking the brush of Scandal, wipe off the excess from ONE side onto the edge of the bottle. There should be a large bulb of polish on the other side.

4. Place the bulb of polish onto the edge of your nail nearest the cuticle/moon shape at the base of the nail.

5. Quickly push the color along the majority of the nail bed to cover about 3/4 of the nail bed. Leave as much of the tip of the nail clear of color as possible.

6. Wipe off any excess polish on the edge of the nail bottle AGAIN. Your brush should be nearly damp and stiff. The less polish remaining on the brush, the better this works.

7. Taking the polish brush, grab color from the edge of polish (there will be a bead of polish sitting on the surface) and drag the brush to the tip and over. You should get streaking lines over the nude color base.

8. Repeat above steps 3-7 on the other remaining nails.

9. Wait for the oxblood color to dry for about an hour before putting on a top coat. Remember, you want the color to cover a majority of the nail and streak on the last quarter near the tip. If the polish isn’t completely dry, the top coat WILL ruin this effect.

10. Clean up the edges of your nails and cuticles.

Another variation of this — once the drag technique has been practiced — would be to cover 1/4 of the nail and drag the color onto the rest of the nail bed.

these nails are a bloody mess. meh.

Note, the above photos were taken indoors until yellow/white florescent light. I keep forgetting to take photos in the SUNLIGHT.

I’m really diggin’ this color — a bit of drama and stepping into the dark side never hurt, right? Maybe oxblood will make a return trip here.



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