Name: Briana

Age: 25

Current City: Seattle

Oh dear...I should keep this short... I love photography, Photoshop, nail polish (who would have guessed?), cooking and baking (hides bundt and cakelet pan collection), video games (PC & console), sewing & embroidery (casual is the operative word), reading (insomnia pairs well with eBooks), MOVIES (yes, I insist on enthusiasm), organizing (work in progress at all times, but yes, I do this enough to consider it a hobby), reading nail blogs (oh the hours not wasted), and various crafty things. Do I spend my days doing most of this? No, not until I am retired someday; I love to shove bits of activity in where I can!

What do you when you're not doing hobbies?
Currently I'm a full-time university student pursuing dual bachelor of arts degrees and a minor, so that takes up most of my time. Periodically I do volunteer work in conjunction with my education. But I will admit to savoring time past the alarm with my face firmly planted against my pillow while snuggling my adorable pooch. Seriously, I get to look at this face everyday!

Why is your blog named Maniacal Manicures?
I've always loved whimsical names for nail polish blogs and liked the sound of repetition in the words. I associate maniacal laughter with an eccentric burst of laughter and excitement. Yes, traditionally it is associated with evil...but I prefer "mad with joy." In case anyone is interested, according to Merriam-Webster, "maniacal" is defined as:
1:  affected with or suggestive of madness <maniacal laughter>
2:  characterized by ungovernable excitement or frenzy :  frantic <a maniacal mob>
When did you become a nail polish addict?
There were two main phases:
  1. One day when I was about eighteen, I saw a woman with the most gorgeous sparkly red nails that looked like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer had had the most glorious nosebleed of all time! She didn't know the name or brand, and not being an aficionado at the time, I stalked about salons and beauty stores looking for RRNRNB (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Nosebleed) as if I was looking for the Holy Grail. I never found RRNRNB, but I found many glorious colors. Yet even then my addiction was limited to less than ten bottles of polish.
  2. Full submission to addiction began when I was looking online for tips on cuticle care and painting tips at about age twenty-two. Videos kept showing indie and boutique brand polishes that made my mouth drop. "I didn't know glitter even came in those colors. Nail stamping? What? Where has this been all of my life?!" So now we find ourselves here...in the land of every time I receive a package, housemates give me the "nine times out of ten it will be nail polish" look. Yet I am decidedly shameless! (Puts on multichrome-holo-flakie cape).
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I decided to start a blog because I wanted to participate in swatching and providing reviews, as well as reacquainting myself with my camera equipment (forgiving myself for the frequent lazy use of my phone camera...). I used to do photography regularly, and this enables me to also get back into the swing of something I used to love. I love reading other blogs and I find that few of the people in my immediate acquaintance are even passively interested in nail polish. So for me it is not only a way to contribute to something I love, but also an opportunity to connect with like-minded enthusiasts.

How many polishes do you own now?
Uh...that's a good question, one that I ask myself on a regular basis. My current inventory can be found here.

How often do you paint your nails?
On average 1-2 times per week depending on my workload, minus any swatching.

Are your nails real?
Yup! I've never had fake nails because I didn't want to be concerned about the maintenance/cost (irony, I know) and because I'm fortunate to have strong healthy nails regularly. I've had consistent gel manicures before from salons, but I no longer do so now for reasons I will post about later.

How do you maintain your cuticles?
When my cuticles start to grow in I use a cuticle remover gel once a week that breaks down the dead cuticle to be gently scraped away. I avoid cutting my cuticles and if so, I do very minimal trimming of stray bits; cutting your cuticles opens your hands up to potential infections and/or irritation, not to mention the fact that cuticles do not grow in symmetrically and you end up with fluttery, flaky edges. I liberally apply Nail Butter as needed throughout the day (yes, I sometimes don't apply anything at all for a day too--I'm human), then I apply hand lotion, and sometimes after that throw on some cuticle oil for good measure. Once a day, or every other day, I gently push back my cuticles after I put on cuticle oil to help keep them tidy. I try to remember to moisturize my cuticles after taking a shower or washing my hands, but I'm not religious about it. (See "favorite manicure and hand care products" further down the page for products.) Yet as a full-time university student working on two separate undergraduate degrees and a minor, occasionally my nails will be trashed from all the cuticle-biting and finals-week-horror.

Why does your skin tone look strange sometimes in swatches?
There a number of reasons this can happen;
  • If a polish color is neon, camera sensors have a hard time capturing it and it can cause a variation in color balance.
  • If a polish color has an undertone that doesn't compliment one's skin tone, it may affect the overall appearance of the image (See a casual reference here). I'll create a post with more in-depth and relevant information later. If you're interested in a read, check out color theory.
  • Lighting/Color balance/Viewing Monitor: I always attempt to take photos with the greatest accuracy of color, but this can vary by the lighting available (Sunlight is warmer than cool overcast, etc.); it can vary by the color- and white-balancing of the photo; and the monitor you're viewing may not be true-color, giving the appearance of tinting.
    • For example, my laptop has a blue-tinted screen (this horrified me when I discovered it while working on a Photoshop project). My phone's screen on the other hand is true colored. So for me, I have to work on Photoshop projects on a specialty screen to ensure color accuracy, but I work online on my laptop, yet have to view any photos on my phone. (When I buy a new desktop machine I swear to resolve this dichotomy...)

What are your favorite manicure and hand care products?
I'm always open to trying suggestions. At the moment I use Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover and have used it for about two years consistently. I cannot live without Nail Butter (it is worth every penny, seriously...). Currently I have been using Qtica Solid Gold cuticle oil. I love H20 Plus Spa Hand and Nail Cream and it is a lifesaver without being greasy.

What is your favorite brand?
That's a virtually impossible question. Instead, some of my favorite brands include KBShimmer, ILNP, Emily de Molly, SuperChic Lacquer, Zoya, Butter London, and more I can't think of this very second (starts snooping around in Helmers)...

What are your favorite topcoats and basecoats?
I'm always willing to try something new, but my current favorite topcoat is SuperChic Lacquer's Marvel Liquid Macro Top Coat. My favorite basecoats are Butter London's Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat, Zoya's Naked Manicure Naked Base, and Nailtiques Formula 2.

What do you use to rejuvenate thickening nail polish?
My favorite rejuvenator for thickening polish (or polish that is thicker than one's preference) is Zoya's Renew Nail Polish Rejuvenator. I especially love it because it also works to bring Seche Vite's Dry Fast Topcoat back to life after it starts to get thick in the bottle (the infamous "bottle half empty" thickness).

Will you ever make your own nail polish?
While I'm happy to collaborate with creators, I am not interested in creating my own product line. I love to swatch and wear polish, but that is as far as I go. I love to cook too, but I will never be interested in becoming a chef by profession.

Can I buy polishes from you?
At this time, no. Should I decide to sell polishes in the future, I will only sell polishes that I have purchased myself. I never sell polishes that have been provided for review or have been provided for a giveaway.

Can you review my polish line?
Before contacting me, please read my disclosure policy. Once you have read it, feel free to contact me via email at maniacalmanicures@gmail.com. Please provide links to your shop's website and social media links. If applicable, please send product photos as well. I will reply as soon as possible.

Can I contact you privately?
Certainly! Send me an email at maniacalmanicures@gmail.com.

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