February 15, 2013

Friday Favorites #6: Swatching!

Happy Friday! Today I have a Friday Favorites for you, it's been a little while. I have a lot of ideas to still do with this I just have had like no time to actually do any of the things I plan. Today's Friday Favorites is all about how I swatch. This was actually a suggestion made in the comments of a post a couple weeks ago. I get asked quite a bit how I go about swatching collections but I never thought to include it in this series for some reason.


To see the methods behind my madness click the read more button below :D


Before I get into this I wanted to say this is what works for me. I doubt any other blogger out there that does a lot of swatching does this the same way. Over the years of blogging I've figured out a system that works really well for me, it was definitely a learning experience though.  I have a full time 7:30-5 job Monday-Friday (along with a social life and friends) so Saturday and Sunday are the days I do almost everything you see here.  A lot of the time stuff in Spam posts will be things I've worn during the week. During the week I usually wear things I've really loved while swatching or all time favorites that I just feel like wearing all the time.

Usually on Friday when I get home from work I sit down and figure out everything I want to get done on Saturday and Sunday to post the next week. I arrange them in my display rack from light to dark and creme to shimmer. I also like to put things that might stain and foily polishes that are hard to remove towards the end in case they cause issues. Intermingled (is that even a word?) in my rainbow of *to swatch* I usually go through and stick in glitters I want to layer over other polishes. Below is a photo of what this usually looks like.

My display rack is from a local nail supply store, I'm sure you can get something similar on ebay.


I also set up my whole "station" so that it's quick for me to do swatches. I have my remover sitting next to me along with the base and top coat I'm thinking about using. Usually the base and top coat I use while swatching are ones I want to get through because I don't particularly love them for when I do a *real* manicure. I also have a little container of acetone (the pink thing on the right), my clean up brush and and orange wood stick. Not pictured because it's off to the side somewhere is lotion, I switch between Lush Lemony Flutter and whatever random OPI Avojuice I have sitting around while I swatch.


Now I get to all the swatching. When I'm swatching I only paint the 4 fingers you see in the photos. Sometimes I top coat them, sometimes I don't. It really depends on the polish, with cremes I usually don't top coat unless they dry down looking flat or semi matte. For glitters I always top coat, they look better and they photograph better that way (at least for me!). I usually let polishes dry before I photograph them, it would be faster to not do that but sometimes things dry darker than they look so better safe than sorry right!

While I'm swatching I start drafting up posts for each collection or polish I'll be posting about. I write my notes about the formula and how many coats I needed, I also put what I layer with and anything else I feel like I want to include when I actually go to write the post later on. I used to not do this but now I swatch so much stuff that I'd never remember the small details without notes.

I always worry that I'll accidentally hit publish instead of save on these posts, you guys would be like wtf if you saw my weird notes. I tend to be lazy so everything is all abbreviated or in Jen speak so no one would understand what the heck I mean except for me. Luckily it hasn't happened but now that I've said this it probably will.

please excuse my dirty macbook. It's seen better days, it even has nail polish on it.

Then I run my booty outside and take photos, I'm planning on doing a Friday Favorites for how I take my photos and edit them soon so I'll leave that out of this post.

I hope this was somehow helpful for you guys. I think it's kind of interesting to see the behind the scenes, I always wonder how other bloggers swatch and organize themselves. I'm sure I've probably left something out, if I did feel free to ask me your questions in the comments!
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43 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm looking forward to the next Friday Favorites!

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  2. Thanks for sharing :) you are super organised!!! Very impressive! Enjoy your weekend, cheers

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  3. So many polishes to get through!



    If I'm writing out part of a post like that I'll usually do it in a Google/Word Doc (or maybe even an email) & then copy & paste when I'm ready to post it. That way you wouldn't have to worry about accidentally publishing it.

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  4. So cool to hear about 'behind the scenes', thanks for sharing!!!

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  5. How much time would you estimate you spend doing your swatching? I love posts like this- thanks for doing it and answering questions!

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  6. Thanks! I've always wondered how you managed to do all you do! Great post Jen!

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  7. This is really impressive! How much time do you spend swatching over the weekend? Your swatches are always so perfect and beautiful!

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  8. Wow, there is a lot of work involved in doing swatches. I don't know how you find the time between work and social life. I really enjoyed hearing how you do this though, so thanks for the post! Now how do you get your pictures so perfect? I have trouble with hand position and the light is all wrong and my pics just look so amatuerish.

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  9. That was really interesting! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

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  10. Fun post! Thanks Jen and have a great weekend!

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  11. Usually about 8 hours...4 hours on both Saturday & Sunday

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  12. About 8 hours each weekend, not including writing posts, editing photos etc...

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  13. I sort my polishes from light to dark and creme to shimmer/glitter as well, makes swatch-fests run much smoother :) I love your system!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this with us. I actually have always wondered how you do it.

    And I SERIOUSLY need a few of those display racks....I have over 200 polishes (65+ are some shade of blue. WTH?!) and I hate storing them in ziplock bags (by color) laying in whatever position all the time. They deserve better. Makes me crazy

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  15. This is really interesting! Weird as it sounds i never thought to take photos through the week as my workplace is conservative, theres only so many pinks people want to see! Am sooo looking forward to your post about taking photos x x x

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing! I haven't been swatching for long so it's really good to read about how others do it <3

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  17. So cool to hear how it's all done, and you always have gorgeous swatches.

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  18. Holy moly, you are one swatching machine, lady! Looking forward to seeing how you photograph outdoors! Damnit Canada, why can't I have that luxury! :D

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  19. i love seeing behind the scenes! this post was great.

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  20. Your nail polish blog rocks, thank you for all the work you do!

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  21. We do the exact say thing! Except I take notes in a notebook. But I kinda like your idea better!

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  22. Wow! Thanks for letting us in behind the scenes, one always wonder how you do it!!!

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  23. It's lovely to learn more about how other bloggers work :). This is a great post Jen xx

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  24. It makes me weirdly happy to know that your process is pretty close to my process, even though I'm an incredibly junior blogger. It means that you can do successful blogging the way I do it! Thank you for this little peek behind the curtain!

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  25. I've always wondered how bloggers like you can churn out so many beautiful swatches! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I love the "Behind the Scenes" looks we get, keep them coming! :) I can only imagine taking 8 hours a week to swatch tons of polish! Must be exhausting! But you seem to have a great system down.

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  27. Thanks for posting this! I always wondered when and how you swatch!

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  28. My Macbook looks a lot like yours! It has more than a few cracks in the shell...AND it has nail polish on it. Haha. <3

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  29. Cool, it's interesting to see how you do your blogging. You're so organised and efficient, no wonder we get such awesome content frequently. :-D

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  30. do you have a first generation macbook? my old one was that and the shell was so cracked. apparently they used faulty plastic (at least with mine) hence the breakage

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  31. Wow 8 hours per week of swatching alone!! How much time do you spend on everything else that goes with your blog? Writing posts? Editing pictures? Reading other nail blogs? Reading and replying to our comments? Anything else I didn't think of?

    Thanks so much for all your time and hard work! I really enjoy reading your posts! :)

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  32. I'm not sure which generation it is, it's a few years old though

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  33. I was the one who made the suggestion to do a Friday Favorites on swatching, so thank you so much for putting this together. It's very thoughtful of you. :) I don't think I could get through that many polishes in a weekend, but I suspect that with more practice maybe I could. I really love seeing how you organize everything. Thanks again!

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  34. Cool. Interesting. Thought-provoking. :D

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  35. Wow! The rack full of polish is so pretty - I'm curious which shades they are row by row - it looks like a candy shop! I stop by your blog all the time to see your wonderful posts. Thank you!

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  36. Great idea of taking notes while swatching! I forget what's what sometimes))

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  37. do you wear a mask? how do you deal with the smell? Do you have a nail dryer?

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  38. No, I don't really notice the small. No nail dryer

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  39. What a great post, thanks for all the background on how you manage swatching. This has been very helpful and I will be taking some pointers from it going forward. Thank you so much for sharing!! :-)

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  40. I definitely need to get a display rack for my favourite polishes I think xx

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  41. Amazing blog, and this is a super informative post. If you don't mind my asking, do you buy the majority of your polishes yourself, or do you receive most of them for free as samples from companies? I'm thinking about starting my own makeup blog, but I'm not sure about the product investment!

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  42. I buy the vast majority of what I post

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