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Friday, October 22, 2010

Syrup nails with Borghese Menta

The best obsessions are the ones that don't cost you a single penny. So I LOVE that my current obsession didn't have me running out to a beauty supply store, craft store, the grocery store, whatever. All I had to do was find the sheerest nail polish I own, and get to work.

Before I go any further, I need to say that I owe this entire post to the lovely Jbrobeck, who posted this manicure the other day. Ever since, I've been obsessed with mastering the art of the syrup manicure.

Now, I need to just reiterate that I in no way am an expert on all things nail-related. Quite the contrary! I sometimes incorrectly describe shades and textures of nail polishes on this blog because I'm not an expert. I'm a gal who loves nail polish and I just try my best to describe things as I see them. So if I mistakenly say something that's incorrect here, all I ask is that you kindly leave a comment and correct me. I love being corrected and I'm grateful for it! Seriously, feel free to let me know if I'm wrong. OK? Great!

As far as I know, syrup nails originated in Japan. I think they first took the nail world by storm in 2007 or so, but again, I'm not sure. From my research on google, I can tell you that this type of manicure is also quite popular in European countries, but it seems to be slowly creeping its way into the hearts of US gals as well.

As for the difference between the syrup manicure and the gradation (or gradient) manicure? Well, as far as I can tell, the gradation manicure utilizes two, three or more different colors of polish to achieve a gradated look like this pretty blue one that Nihrida did. There are also variations on the gradation manicure! One of my favorites is this deconstructed polka dot gradation that Beautopia did. Also, there's this lovely variation, in which you paint each nail a slightly different shade within the same color family. And of course who can forget what might be the most stunning glitter-gradation I have ever laid eyes on, created by Deez Nails. I still swoon when I look at that post!  

Of course if you want a gradated look to your nails and you don't want all the hassle, you can just buy one of those Claire's Mood Polishes and get a pretty darned cool look that way as well! If you haven't seen Claire's Mood Polishes yet, check out the lovely Nicole's swatches here to see how cute they are!

The syrup manicure utilizes just one color (a very, very sheer color) to achieve the look of syrup being poured down your nails.

Again, Jbrobeck has mastered this technique so definitely check out her syrup nails here. I LOVE them!'s my attempt at the syrup manicure, and after the pics, I'll explain how I did it:

First of all, how cool is it that you NEED an extremely sheer nail polish in order to pull this off? Most of my sheer polishes have been cast into the reject bin of my nail polish stash, never to see the light of day again. But now? I am digging through bottles and bottles to actually find my sheer polishes, just so I can try to do a syrup manicure with them!

When I stumbled across my bottle of Borghese Menta, I was thrilled when I remembered how sheer this polish was!

So for this mani, I tried using Jbrobeck's technique but I couldn't get it to work with this particular polish.  I tried so many times, changing up the amount of layers, how much polish I used per layer, etc. and I finally got it down to a combination that worked for this particular polish. One point I really need to make is that the amount of layers you use really depends on the particular polish you're using, so experiment with different techniques on each nail until you "nail it". Heh heh.

For Menta, I took Mr. G's advice (yeah, can you believe he advised me on this?) and used the technique that, apparently, those master car painters with the crazy air brushes use. I started by just painting the very tips of my nails. Then, I went back and painted the first third of my nail, going over the part I just painted (the tips). This made the tips look darker, of course. THEN, I went back a third time and that time I painted my entire nail with a thin coat of polish. This made the color of my tips even darker (because remember, my tips now had three coats of polish on them!). After that dried, I applied one more very thin coat of Menta to my entire nail, and followed it up with my clear top coat.

I don't think this look truly gives off that "syrupy" vibe because Menta has a lot of shimmer in it. But I still love it, because I think it's got a luminous, dreamy, mermaid-in-the-ocean type feel to it. Anyway, if I'm able to achieve a more syrupy manicure using a different shade, I'll post some pics and show you!

In the meantime, have you tried a gradation or syrup manicure? Do you like the look of them? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I absolutely love this mani! I am gonna try it out with some of my sheer polishes now! xxxx

  2. Something new to is it that i have never heard of any of these manis??? Love yours G.!

  3. I love this so much! I'm going to try this with all of my sheer polishes. :D

  4. honestly, not too fond of the syrup manicure in this sense. i like the gradation nail, the glitter gradation nail, and even the polka dot one is cute! but to me, this manicure just looks like the polish doesnt apply well. (not just your version, other syrup manicures as well!). just not my thing. =]

  5. Now this is a technique I think I can master. Going to dig through my rejects too.

  6. wow! I've never heard of this technique (but then I'm also not well versed in nail art, so most things beyond a french manicure are new to me).
    I don't know that I'd love this in all colors, but the effect with that turquoise is very pretty :) I agree with your 'mermaid' assessment.
    And yay for having a good way to make use of sheer polishes!

  7. lovely ; ) your blog is really interesting :)

    if you want follow me :* <3

  8. G I love this one! You are right, it certainly is trial and error when it comes to different polishes. I am gonna try again with some old Maybelline polishes... any jellies that are thin would work... maybe even some of the milani neons if you thin them (except the blue and green 'cause they are not jellies).

    You rock! Thanks for the shout out!

  9. Wow I love this look! You did a great job. That's gorgeous color too.

  10. I am definitely doing this!!! I now found a use for my Butter London jellies :)

  11. I have a Halloween inspired manicure in mind for next week with some nail stickers I picked up at Walgreens, but I REALLY REALLY want to try this NOW! Thanks for sharing this awesome technique. I absolutely love your nails!

  12. Thank you so much for your tutorial! I've been admiring this type of nail look for awhile, but thought it would be too difficult. ...It wasn't!
    I just tried it out with the shade Nail Junkie by Sinful Colors and it looks amazing! Actually it's very similar to your look plus lots of glitter! =3

  13. hahaha this is perfect! I just got a bottle of super sheer polish. It's a shimmery duochrome, so it probably won't be jelly...but still, I can't wait to try this! I'll definitely link back to your post if I end up trying it :)

  14. i Love gradient/syrup manis. It was one of the very first looks I posted on my blog. I'm definitely going to try this because I just got menta this weekend

  15. I have never tried a syrup manicure. In fact, this post is the first I have really heard of it. Your manicure is beautiful. I like the subtle gradation. And it does look like shimmery syrup or boiled candy. :D

    I have a couple of polishes I think might work very nicely with this king of technique. I think it is time to try it out. :D


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