Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gold & Glitz: Flash Tattoos & a Matching Mani

As I slowly approach the ripe ol' age of 30, it's a bit amusing to look back at how my tastes in fashion and beauty have changed throughout the years (I don't know about you, but I'm having flashbacks to pink frosted lipgloss and stackable eyeshadow from The Icing). Fads come and go, we grow as people and constantly discover and rediscover ourselves over time. Looking back at my glitter-laden teenage days, I know that my preferences as an adult have become a lot more refined. Still, I don't think you're ever too old to embrace a little bit of sparkle here and there. Hence my recent love affair with the Flash Tattoo.

For those of you who haven't caught on to this summertime/music festival fashion essential, Flash Tattoos are simply the most blinged-out, grown-up temporary tattoos you'll ever come across. With a variety of colors, intricate designs, and metallic finishes, they are a far departure from something you might have acquired out of a machine at the bowling alley when you were 13 (why is it that you always ended up with a picture of a snake or lizard while your friends got a flippin' butterfly? The injustice!). A little bit whimsical and a little bit glamorous, Flash Tattoos are as quintessential to summer as beachy waves, bronzed skin, and bikinis. Having only ever admired pictures of them from afar, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to snag two sets from Birchbox last month when they were offered as a Plus item. As I clicked the "reserve" button I had momentary anxiety over possibly being too old to sticker myself with faux jewelry, but quickly decided to say screw it and embrace my youth while I still can. Pretty is pretty, and if something makes you feel good about yourself, you might as well go with it!

While I did receive two packages of tattoos, the ones I'm currently obsessing over are the Isabella Flash Tattoos ($22). Described as "floral, delicate, and dreamy", this set features jewelry-inspired designs in blue, gold and green hues with a sort of middle eastern flair. As my boyfriend so quaintly put it, "it looks like you're wearing metallic henna". Each package of tattoos has four sheets of designs that you can mix and match anywhere on your body you'd like a little extra flair.

Applying the tattoos is incredibly easy. All you need to do is cut around the design that you would like to use, remove the plastic covering and apply to your skin at the desired area. Then, just like any other temporary tattoo, you need to wet the paper backing while you hold the tattoo in place for about 30 seconds, or until the tattoo adheres to your skin. Unlike cheap temporary tattoos, I found that these Flash ones had no trouble coming off cleanly, and the designs look really vivid and clear. It takes about an hour for the tattoo to set completely on your skin, so don't be afraid if they look a bit sticker-like at first.

Having tried a few different designs out at this point, I can say that these tattoos really do hold up well and look amazing for several days. Flash Tattoo claims that your design should last 3-4 days, but I think they can last even longer on an area of the body that isn't subject to a lot of friction or motion stretching. This is the only downside to placing your tattoo around your wrist as I've done. Because I put it right over the joint and that area is frequently bending, the tattoo gets stretched and breaks apart over time. Also, because the edges of your wrist frequently rest on something when you're typing or writing, those contact points are more likely to start to rub the tattoo off. Long story short, if you want to maximize the wear time of your tattoo, these are things to consider.

When you're finally ready to say goodbye to your tattoo, all you need to do is hold a cotton pad soaked in baby oil to it, and let it start to break down. It should wipe away fairly easily after that.

Feeling a bit inspired by the colors in the Isabella collection, I decided to try my hand at some nail art. The design that I created is actually surprisingly easy to get and doesn't require a ton of tools. Here's how you can recreate it!

After applying a layer of base coat (I'm still obsessed with the Julep Smoothing Base Coat) I swept the Julep nail polish shade Eliana ($14) all over the nail. This color is quite pigmented, so you may be able to get away with only doing one coat depending on how thick it is. Give the polish a couple of minutes to dry before moving on to the next step. To create the turquoise stripe along the corner of the nail I used the Tilda Metamorphic Topcoat ($14). To get a nice, clean line, anchor your painting hand to a steady surface. Place the tip of your brush about halfway down the nail, starting on the outside edge and roll the finger being painted (while keeping the brush stationary), to paint an angled stripe up towards the top of the nail. Then you can go back and fill in any spots and clean up your edges.

For the gold stripe I used the shade Goldeneye from the OPI Skyfall Collection (which was unfortunately a limited release), but it looks like the shade Dahlia ($14) would be an acceptable substitute. You'll need a very thin nail art brush to free paint your line. I used my Julep Plié Wand with the long thin brush that comes in the Creativity Kit, however any thin brush will do. If you don't feel confident enough freehand painting, you can use two pieces of scotch tape to mask of the areas outside the line and go to town. However, if you are going to do this, make sure the rest of your polish is completely dry, otherwise the tape will disturb your manicure. You can use the same rolling technique to create your line if that worked for you, or make tiny, light strokes to create a base line and then slowly build up the glitter on top of it.

When everything has had a few minutes to set, seal it all in with a layer of topcoat to complete!

Long story short, Flash Tattoos are super pretty, and add a little glamorous detailing to any outfit. I've gotten so many compliments on the ones that I've worn so far, some of which came from people that I least expected to think they were cool. They may seem a little expensive being over $20 a pack, but you do get a lot of designs in each one. Limited styles are available from the Birchbox shop, where you can use points/discount codes to save a little cash, but you can find the full range of options on the Flash Tattoo website.

I know there are a lot of knock-off metallic tattoos floating around in the universe, so if any of you have tried any other brands I'd love to hear about your experiences with them and whether or not they worked well. If there are less expensive but equally quality options out there I'd definitely like to check them out!

What are your feelings on Flash Tattoos? Would you wear them?