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The Nail Files – Behind the Scenes at NYFW with CND – Part 3

In the third and final installment of our Nail Files journey with CND, we’ll be looking at custom blending. Or to you MUA nail board girls, the art of the Frankenpolish. If you missed the previous two segments, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Custom blending is what intrigued me the most during my visit with CND Education Ambassadors Kristina Baume and Shelena Robinson at their production suite. Figuring out the perfect combination of colors to precisely match a swatch of fabric or Pantone shade is such an art form. Having a keen eye for color and a vivid imagination is key. Plus it just sounds like a lot of fun.

The process reminds me of mixing finger paints as a kid, learning about the color wheel and how yellow and blue make green. Of course for Kristina and Shelena, creating an ideal hue is serious work and they have time constraints to adhere to. So the pressure is intense even with all the tools they have on hand; a Pantone guide, various lighting options (fluorescent, incandescent and daylight) and a flow chart containing all the CND shades (including international exclusives).

What amazed me most is all the colors that go into the blends. Colors you wouldn’t even imagine. Like neon or orange in a soft gray. Glow-in-the-dark purple in a deep blue. Shimmer in a creme.

According to Kristina, a lot of times when a shimmer or micro-glitter polish is used in a blend, it doesn’t result in a sparkly shade. A shimmer based polish adds reflectiveness, depth and shine to the final hue. That even if a shade appears shimmery in the bottle, it can dry with a creme finish. This is the reason they present color options to designers on the nail and not in the bottle. The sparkle can be deceptive.

Get The Look – Nordic Grey Creme from Costello Tagliapietra F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle Retro White with 22 drops Black Platinum, 10 drops Voodoo and 8 drops Hot Pop Blue.

Note: I only used 4 drops of Hot Pop Blue and substituted Color Club Black for Voodoo. CND does not recommend mixing brands so blend at your own risk.

Get The Look – Heather Grey at Catherine Malandrino F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle of Nordic Grey Creme (above) with 1/2 bottle of G’listen

Adding G’listen to the blend creates a warmer, slightly shimmery gray.

Get The Look – Custom Blue at Karen Walker F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle Blue Blood with 1/2 bottle Studio 54

Note: Blue Blood is discontinued but can still be found on eBay until CND decides to bring it back. PLEASE Bring It Back!!

While I don’t have an exact recipe for the shimmery violet gray shown at the Twinkle F/W ’08 show, it certainly has the most diverse color combination I’ve seen yet.

A mix of Voodoo, Hot Pop Yellow, Kumquat Dahlia, G’listen, Rock Royalty, Blue Nirvana

Finally, one of CND’s Spring collection shades is a custom blend used during NYFW for Spring/Summer 09

Get The Look – Fill a CND bottle with Retro White up to the bottom of the C. Add Voodoo to the top of the C plus 6 drops NFS, 6 drops Hotski to Tchotchke and 6 drops Hot Pop Blue.

Note: NFS is another discontinued color but you can find it on Goddess Within and eBay.

The result – a gorgeous cool toned, medium grey creme.

Bringing you this series about CND at NYFW has been so much fun. I hope you have enjoyed it. I want to thank CND, Kristina Baume and Shelena Robinson for granting me such amazing access and taking the time to share their passion with all of us. In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from Kristina that really sums up why I am so fanatical about nails. “Nails are not just nails, they’re accessories.”

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There Are 11 Brilliant Comments

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  1. stubby says:

    Wonderful report! The colors are amazing. I’m doing my nails tonight with CG Recycle!

  2. BeautyChick101 says:

    I’m so excited to create some of my own new colors! :)

  3. Hillary says:

    I’m excited for these recipes, may need to give them a try!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cincy, do you have any idea when Head2Toe or 8ty8 will begin selling the opi toyland collection?

  5. CincyFan says:

    Stubby – Thanks! I had such a great time mixing the colors. I just had Recycle out this weekend. Such a great shade.

    BeautyChick101 – You have to try it. So much fun

    Hillary – Hey lady! I know you tend to wear darker colors, have you tried a light gray before?

    Anon – I haven’t heard anything from either seller about Toyland. Sorry. I only get updates from Head2Toe’s email list like everyone else. You should try emailing them directly.

  6. vampyvarnish says:

    All I can say is, wow, I LOVE them all! Thanks for the tips!

  7. melli says:

    Oooo, recipes! Thanks so much…I have been afraid to franken, but this will help!

  8. melli says:

    Hi again,

    I forgot to add that I hold you completely responsible for many of my lemmings this year! I appreciate your great swatches, and the time you take in posting them. I also really want to thank you for introducing me to Zoya…I had been avoiding the brand as one of my friends told me it peeled off within an hour of painting. I have never had that issue at all, and love their colours. I love your blog Michelle…keep up the great work!!

  9. Allison H. says:

    Wow! Those colors are hot. It makes me wish they actually sold them, instead of making us mix our own. ;)

  10. Martha says:

    wow, they should definitely bottle that last bluish gray, it’s fantastic!

  11. Carleenp says:

    Very cool! I would have never thought of trying this. Now I think I will!