July 2, 2013

The Perfect Red, White and Most Importantly, Blue for the 4th

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday - I love fireworks, I love summer foods (corn on the cob! hot dogs! popsicles! No wonder I'm always so bikini ready in the summer!) and I love 4th of July manicures. I'm not exaggerating when I say I look forward to 4th of July nails all year. I do a stars and stripes and sparkle variation every year and I always use the same colors. 

OPI Color So Hot It Berns OPI Alpine Snow China Glaze First Mate Fourth of July 4th of July nails nail polish manicure
OPI Color So Hot It Berns, OPI Alpine Snow and China Glaze First Mate

The perfect red for American flag nails is probably the easiest part. Just make sure your selection isn't too sheer, too dark, too pink or too yellow. OPI Color So Hot It Berns is my personal favorite. It makes a nice Christmas red as well - it's just an all around perfect red. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Red is a good choice as well and has a more vintagey look. China Glaze Ruby Pumps and Orly Star Spangled are also good options if you're looking for something with glitter.

In terms of whites, I never use anything other than OPI Alpine Snow. Lots of brands carry whites and some people might not want to spring for a salon brand but I just feel that it's better. The application is smooth, the finish is always perfect and it's not cream or yellow tinted. Plus, it's opaque in two coats. When working with a color as unforgiving as white I like OPI's formula - other brands are too thick and unmanageable or worse, too sheer.

The blue is the hardest part of Americana nails and the part that most people get wrong. I see a lot of people use just any old blue - medium blues, baby blues, blues that are too cool, blues that are too bright. The American flag has a darker blue, almost navy. I always use China Glaze First Mate. It's a rich, deep navy blue and it's perfect for any flag manicure. Good substitutes are China Glaze Man Hunt and Revlon Top Speed Royal but First Mate is my holy grail. I never reach for the bottle unless I'm doing a flag manicure.

OPI Color So Hot It Berns OPI Alpine Snow China Glaze First Mate Fourth of July 4th of July nails nail polish manicure
 China Glaze Man Hunt and Revlon Top Speed Royal

Julep America glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
Another great July 4th polish is Julep's America, a red glitter with silver and blue pieces mixed with silver stars. This looks great over a coat of red polish or as a glitter fade. I'm wearing it right now as a fade over Color So Hot It Berns:

Julep America OPI Color So Hot It Berns glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish

Here it is as a straight coat over the same red from election night last year:

Kleancolor Silver Star Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Celeb City glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
Finally, I like to do a silver accent nail and add 3D stars to my yearly July 4th nails. My all time favorite silver is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Celeb City. I've had this bottle longer than I've had most of my nail polish. My friend from college got it for me as a gift when I was admiring her incredibly sparkly silver nails back when I only had 20 or so bottles of polish. I have about 40 times that amount now but I've still never seen a better silver than Celeb City. I use Kleancolor Silver Star for the times when I don't feel like going through the hassle of using glue on rhinestones. Kleancolor isn't too well known in terms of mainstream~ nail polish brands but I bet you can find a display hiding at a dollar store and pick up a bottle for less than 2 bucks.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Me White Out Revlon Top Speed Royal fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
I know a lot of people run to the store before the 4th after they realize they don't have the colors they need for a red, white and blue mani. I think these are the best drugstore shades you'll find on such short notice. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear is the best line for basics. I prefer my OPI colors but these two shades in Cherry Me and White Out will do the job just fine and for less than $4.50. Revlon Top Speed Royal is more IKB than USA but it's the best drugstore option. The last time I checked they carry China Glaze First Mate at Sally's and Ulta and I think it's worth the trip.

My manicure is probably going to be the exact same as the one I did last year and the year before that - stripes on my pinky and middle, stars on my index, a mini flag on my thumb and silver sparkles on my ring. What are your plans for your nails this Thursday?

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