Friday, November 14, 2014

Behind The Nail Art - Brushes

Hey dudes, babes and maybe the odd cat, dog or hamster that's reading along! I've been planning this 'Behind the nail art' series for a while now, since I've been getting a LOT of questions about what brushes I use, how I get certain effects in my art and what my favorite top coat is. Well, it's all going to pass by your screen in the next few weeks! I want to kick this off by talking about my brushes, all of these brushes were either bought by me or received as a gift without strings attached. I know a lot of you wonder about this so let me introduce you to my brushes!

It's important to remember that what works for someone, might not work for you. I'm going to talk about how I experienced these brushes and what the up- and downsides are, but you might have a different idea about them. Don't worry, feel free to tell me!

Let's start with what is by far my FAVORITE brush! It's the Basic One Gold detail brush from Christrio Scotland. What's great about this brush is that it has a super sharp tip, which makes it really easy to get fine lines. I've never found a better brush for thin lines! Also, because of the length of the bristles, it almost works like a striper in getting straight lines. I like to call it 'organic' because it almost seems to move on its own. It sounds weird but it does! I know I'm the one making the movements, but when I'm painting something really intricate, it's like the brush compensates for any squiggles that might occur, and instead makes it a neat line. Circles become really easy with this brush.

One downside: there's no webshop (yet). If you want one of these babies, you'll have to email Claire at and let her know!
My second favorite brush, that was my number 1 for a long time until it got beaten, is the Pure Color Glamour #1 from Stylish Nail Art Shop. I have THREE of these! They have a really sharp fine tip but I've found that they all have a tiiiiny little hair sticking out, I had to trim this with all three of them. Also, after a few uses, the tip starts to bend (as you can see in the photo). I've tried to compensate for it as much as possible, by trimming the brush and cleaning it with several soaps and substances. I thought I'd just try a few different things so I could tell you guys how to fix it, but nothing helped.

The Stylish Nail Art Shop is closed right now, due to Joanna being away from home for a while. I'll update you as soon as it's open again!

I bought my Edinburgh Realism brush from Stylish Nail Art Shop in Japan. It's similar to the Pure Color #10 (to prevent confusion: this is not a typo, I really do mean the TEN, not the ONE like I showed in this article), but it has a wooden body instead of a metal one. The tip looks fine and precise, but it's not sharp enough for the stuff I want to make. I use this one for anything I want to draw using polish. It's perfect for that use, easy to clean, and sturdy. And precise enough for polish, which is generally thicker than acrylic paint (although, some of my older paints...).

For one stroke nail art, I use this flat brush from eBay. I can't tell you the name exactly, since all it says is 'Nail art brush', but it came in a set of three (one flat, one rounded at the top and one slanted). The listings usually use words like gel, acrylic, nail art etc. And they are CHEAP! I bought a couple of sets to practice trimming flat brushes, to make smaller ones for smaller one stroke.

These brushes don't last long, but that doesn't matter for that price. I wasn't expecting super quality when buying them from China.

If you want to know what one stroke nail art is, or if you've always been afraid of trying it, you should definitely check out my one stroke basics tutorial!
Another flat brush, that's also from eBay, is the one I use for my cleanup. This one is a lot bigger and 'fatter' and it also came in a set of three, and all of them are fit for cleanup. Also cheap! It has soft bristles, which I prefer for cleanup, while some people prefer hard bristles (to get rid of those pesky stray glitters!).

I've totally killed one of them already, but it lasted months and months and you know how often I do my nails. I had to trim some bent bristles from the sides every now and then but it held up really well! Now I have to add, I use remover without acetone. So all of these brushes have a little less abuse to go through.

I have this old craft brush that I found somewhere in the house, I use it to fill in larger shapes, or even my whole nail. You just can't sit there painting a large shape with a tiny detail brush. It's madness, madness I tell you! For the love of God, Monica, don't do it!

It's a completely beat up brush and I wouldn't dare to try and paint neat lines with it. But it's fluffy with soft bristles, and hell to clean by the way :-p
Okay, so not exactly a brush, but I do paint with it! I make most dots with my brushes (I'm lazy, I don't like to switch while I'm working) but some things just call for a dotting tool, like the sugar spun technique for example. Mine is from Christrio Scotland and it's SO PRETTY! It looks like it has a lot of beautiful rhinestones but actually, it's etched into the metal, so they don't stick out and get in the way while you're working. Go ahead, click on the pic to enlarge it so you can see.

Same thing goes for this dotting tool: it's not available in a webshop. Just send Claire an email at and let her you saw this gorgeous dotting tool that PiggieLuv has and you want one too!
The most messed up, ruined brush I have (and actually kept) is this brush that I call my 'scrub brush). It's a flat brush from some kind of nail art brushes set and I tried to cut the top so it would become slanted. Don't EVER do that, please! It's important to keep the top part of your brush intact to keep it smooth to use.

But dear Piggie, what do you use this for?? Well... I use it to scrub unwanted art off my nails! Nobody is perfect, and we all mess up our art. But since nail polish is very smooth, the acrylic paint doesn't attach itself like it would on a porous surface like paper. So you can scratch it off with a nail, but that would scratch, dent, basically ruin the polish underneath. So I take this brush, and I use water to scrub away the unwanted parts!

Thanks so much for reading all the way to here! I really hope it's been of help to you, and that it has answered those burning brush questions you might have had. I'll have more episodes about other tools, base & top coats, and some nail art techniques. What brushes do you like? Let me know!!!

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