Cuticle Tattoos

Cuticle Tattoos

Here’s something for everyone who does not have nails long enough for a fancy manicure or those foils which give you instant and elaborate designs. A combination of nail wraps and cuticle transfers, it focusses the attention on your fingers rather than your nails.

The tropical theme turns your fingertips into pineapples and colourful birds – the tattoos are the heads and leaves – and, although I would also recommend cutting each piece out carefully before attempting to apply it, the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Daughter #1 tried these out for me and this is what she had to say:

“As a long time nail-biter, this was something I felt I could work with. They were easy to apply although I had to resist the temptation to pair the bird’s heads with the wrong bodies. The whole process took less than five minutes and I was surprised how easy the cuticle transfers were compared to fake tattoos I’ve tried to apply in the past.

Overall I was pleased as they made my nails appear longer and the design was quite eye catching. I received many surprised comments and jokes from friends and co-workers (to whom I may have ‘flipped the bird’…)

Unfortunately, the heads of the birds did not survive as long as their bodies did, which made my fingernails a bit confusing afterwards. But I give them 7 out of 10 and would wear them again.”

Having also tried these myself, I would add that it took me considerably longer than 5 minutes to get the wraps in place, then the cuticle tattoos stayed pristine for about as long as it took to get my phone from my bag. I should probably have let them ‘set’ for a bit longer before I tried doing anything useful with the rest of my day, but they were very striking whilst they lasted.

DIY Food Art Transfers

Artistic cooks will probably already own a set of edible ink pens. Looking just like normal felt pens but containing food colouring rather than the usual ink, these are fun to use, especially when decorating cookies and so on for Christmas or birthday parties.

But it’s hard to get too creative, because the end result depends very much on the surface of your cake or cookie – a rough texture leaves you with wobbly lines, and anything porous means the colour can soak in or spread.

This is a fun and fascinating way round those problems, wafer thin film discs made of corn starch on which you can draw your own designs before applying them to the surface of your food. As the discs are completely see-through, you can even use them to trace a picture which you may not have the talent to draw freehand.

In practice, this is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The discs are so thin that they curl up with a life of their own, and you need a deft hand to hold them down and complete your artwork successfully. They also dissolve instantly on contact with water, so you have to work smartly to get the picture on the cake rather than on your hands or the table.

I had varying degrees of success whilst experimenting with different surfaces. It was hard to get the bread or the ginger cookie wet enough to hold the picture without it actually dissolving away, and the disc left a slightly slimy layer on top. The yoghurt held the colours beautifully, though, which leads me to suspect that this might work very well indeed if applied to wet frosting.

This was a seasonal special at Tokyu Hands, and for less than S$5 for a container of 50 discs, I think it is a great bargain. I just know it will be a lot of fun to play with when daughters #1 and #2 arrive to celebrate Christmas later this week.

Eyeliner Transfers

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I have to stop buying/trying these sort of things – they look so cool on the shelf yet prove almost impossible to apply properly in real life.

These particular transfers, with their artistic variations on the regular cat’s eye flick-style eyeliner, looked amazing. But somehow they seemed to be printed the wrong way up. It might be better if the main body of the line curved down rather than up, so it would be easier to get them in the right position on your eyelid. You’d need to have that eye closed, of course, but still…

As it was, once the messing about with wet cotton pads was done, there were distinct gaps between transfer and eyelashes which needed filling in with a steady hand. At only SS2 per packet, I can’t really complain, but these things are probably more trouble than they are worth.

Glow in the Dark Tattoos

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It was impossible to take a photo of these in action, but I can tell you that they work really well. Like all transfers, you cut them to size, apply to the skin and soak off the protective paper with water.

Although they are technically invisible in the daylight, you can see the shiny plastic backing sticking to your skin if you look closely enough. In the dark, however, they glow brightly, and last for well over a week if you are careful what toiletries you use… oil-based skin lotions or bath products will remove them right away, which would be a waste.

We bought these on Takeshita dori for ¥600. Daughter #2 went out carousing wearing the necklace and bracelet versions, I simply lay in bed and admired mine in the dark.


Eye Shadow Transfer

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This is another of those mad ideas which looks fabulous in the packet but is so much trouble to apply that it turns out not to be worth the effort. Which is a shame, because if you really could go out with such an amazing design on your lids, you would definitely turn heads.

Like all transfers, these need trimming down first, which in the case of trying to fit them to the shape of your own eyelids, is pretty difficult. Next you need to peel off the protective plastic film, position it all just right, then soak off the paper backing to transfer the design to your skin.

Let’s stop a moment to consider the reality of doing this before you go out on the town. You already have your makeup on, so getting water everywhere is not a good plan. The transfer is really sticky, and you need to sit there with your eye closed so it dries flat on your eyelid. This takes time… twice, and even longer when you discover your eyelids are somehow glued shut so must be prised open gently in an effort not to damage the design.

The end result was, frankly, awful. The design you see when you buy it is actually the undeside, which means the true colours are very much stronger than you are expecting. Plus normal facial movements make the pattern seem wrinkled even on young eyelids.

The only mercy was that the design peeled off fairly easily. It was fun to try, and at 35 Thai Baht a packet, reasonably cheap, but we won’t be trying it again.