Happy Friday, everyone! I finally managed to do my nails last night and I'm excited about showing y'all! A week or so ago I was contacted by Caroline from Nail Candy to see if I'd be interested in reviewing some of their nail art pens. I immediately said yes because I've never tried nail art pens and I've always wanted to. She sent me two of their sets - Love Letter, which is a special set for Valentine's Day, and Be Brave. I'm gonna show y'all the Love Letter set today!
This set comes with 4 colors - neon pink with a blue iridescent shine, iridescent white, bubblegum pink, and candy-apple red. None of the colors have names but I've swatched them in that order. You can unscrew the whole top of each color to use the regular nail polish brush, or pop the cap off to use the pen nib. You can also unscrew the colors from one another and stand them on their ends for easy polishing if you are using the brush.
This is three coats of each color and the formula was pretty good. It was a bit streaky on the first and second coat but a third coat evened everything out nicely. The only color that gave me some trouble was the white - it's very brush-strokey, which you can see in the pictures even though I applied it very carefully to try to avoid brushstrokes. These swatches are without topcoat, and I'm sure the brush-strokey-ness would be alleviated somewhat with the addition of topcoat.
My favorite colors are easily the iridescent pink and the red. They're both beautiful!
The pen nib is quite tiny and precise. This picture compares the nib with my two most-used brushes and as you can see it's smaller than both of them.
Since this is a Valentine's Day themed set, I wanted to do some Valentine's-y nail art with them!
This was actually the second time I tried these pens on my actual nails. The first time was a pretty abysmal failure and I disliked the result so much that I took them off that night and vowed that no one would ever lay eyes upon them haha.
There is a bit more of a learning curve to nail art pens than I suspected and this is is mostly due to one thing (at least for me): if you use them on freshly-painted nails, you can't actually touch the tip to your nails (as you would if you were drawing on paper) because it dents/drags the wet polish. You have to hover the pen just over the nail while squeezing the polish out and at least for me that makes it difficult to get nice even lines.
For this second try at the pens I thought I'd be clever and topcoat my nails and let them dry before using the pens so I would be able to actually touch my nails with them. Unfortunately for me I picked a very slow-drying base color - China Glaze Sea Spray - and my impatience wouldn't allow me to wait more than 10 minutes before starting in on the art bit. I don't know what it is about Sea Spray (and its sister, Pelican Gray) but they are both very slow-drying colors, even with Seche Vite.
I decided to go for it anyway.
As you can see, these still aren't perfect, but they are WORLDS better than my first attempt. I started to get the hang of using the pens the longer I spent on my nails and I'm happy with how these came out.
I think these pens are good quality; they seem well-made, the colors are pretty, and they were even thoughtful enough to attach a tiny little wire nib cleaner to each pen in case the nibs get clogged (none of mine did).
I only have two complaints. The first is that I wish the colors were a little more opaque - I had to go over a few lines more than once, which was kind of irritating, but it's also a problem I mostly had with the white pen, which I suppose is to be expected.
My main complaint is that the polish tends to flow from the nib even when you aren't squeezing the pen, which would be fine except that I had problems with it flowing out too fast for me to control and it ended up making some of my lines lumpy and thick. I don't know if this is a problem with all nail pens or if this is specific to this brand (or even these specific pens I received), but it definitely made them more difficult to use, at least for me. I also got occasional bubbles coming out of the nib ends, which was irritating.
Unfortunately, I don't own any other nail pens, so I can't compare these to others in terms of the things I don't like about them. I may never love nail pens as much as I love my little brushes, but I'm excited to try them again and keep working on my skills with them!
Here's a special BONUS SHOT of my right hand - I had been eyeballing Floss Gloss Perf all night while I was doing my nails and finally decided to just give in and put it on my right hand. It's a gorgeous color and I love it even more combined with a glitter gradient and accent nail in Floss Gloss Stun.
That's all for today! Have you guys ever tried nail art pens? What do you think about them? If you own a brand other than these, do you have a problem with the polish coming out on its own or air bubbles coming out? I thought the pens would be so easy to use but I was wrong haha. They definitely have a bigger learning curve than I thought they would, but I want to try using them on dry nails one day and see if that makes a difference to me.
You can purchase Nail Candy pens on their website. They also have a list of other retailers on there!
Have a great weekend, you guys!
Disclosure: Some of the products in this post were provided to me for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced by anyone else.