Friday, 12 December 2014

Blue and White Chevrons

I recently won a giveaway hosted by the lovely Claire at Kerruticles, and won not one but FIVE different sets of stencils by Smart Nails.  These are the first ones, the chevron design. I decided to make a nautical style colour combination of blue and white. 

This is two coats of Barry M Pearl, from the Silks range. The stencils are really neat little squares of plastic with the design cut out - they're tinted, so that you can easily see where they are on your finger. They stick down nicely to the dried polish, but not so firmly that they lift the polish. 


I used Barry M Blue Plum to paint over the stencils and make the chevron design, and then peeled off the stencil. I really liked how crisp these lines came out - when I've used stencils before, the polish flooded underneath in places and made a blotchy mess. 


I really like how these came out!  I know it's not festive (I'm not feeling Christmassy!) but I'm off to see Anything Goes! at the Crucible tonight, and I know there are sailors in it, so my nails are sort of appropriate. 

 

 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Dance Legend Termo Shine 181

This is the last of the thermal polishes I bought last week from Rainbow Connection, and I've saved the best til last!


This is Termo Shine 181, which is a red to black jelly glitter thermal polish.


This is two coats, with topcoat for shine. 181 is a beautiful black jelly when cold, packed with gold and red glitter. The formula is nice, and dries to a matte finish.


When it's warm, the black jelly changes to a vivid scarlet red. 


Even with my shorty broken nail, I get a gorgeous gradient red to black effect as my hands warm up, which I think is just stunning. 


Isn't this just beautiful? I LOVE this.

 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Polish Me Silly - Grey Matter

Amongst the thermals I bought from Rainbow Connection last week, was this grey one by Polish Me Silly, Grey Matter. 


This is a grey polish, with white, black and pink matte glitter pieces.  This is three thin coats, with topcoat. 


Application on this was ok, but it was a bit watery and runny, and quite sheer. I was a bit disappointed with how little pink glitter came out onto my nails, as there's quite a lot in the bottle. The grey & pink combination was one of my very favourites in the 80s - I had several grey & pink outfits in my teens! I was hoping for a bit more pink on the nail with this. 


This did dry well, and the brush is nice, so three coats was no trouble, it just took a while. There also seems to be some tiny black particles in there too, which made this look a bit gritty in places, which I wasn't too keen on. I've seen swatches of this online that look GORGEOUS, so this was a bit less exciting than I'd hoped. 


The thermal effect on this has been almost invisible so far. It's a pale grey when warm, and darkens slightly when cold. But it's nowhere near as pronounced as the swatches I've seen online. I realise my nails are quite short though, so there is that. But even with hot and cold water, I can't get much colour changing effect to show.


In an attempt to improve the effect of this, I stamped over it using Barry M Pink Punch, and MoYou London Pro XL plate 14. 


I think this is a huge improvement! I do love pink and grey as a combination, and I think the design is really pretty - cow parsley, or Queen Anne's Lace, or whatever it is. I'm still a bit... unconvinced about the whole thing though.

 

OMG Nail Strips - Peacock

I was contacted recently by OMG Nail Strips and asked if I'd like to try some of their nail wraps. The designs are gorgeous, so I jumped at the chance.  I chose this beautiful peacock feather design, and a cute skull and crossbones one. 


The instructions are pretty clear - start with clean nails, match up the right strip size to each nail (trim if necessary), peel off the backing card, and gently smooth on to nail starting at the cuticle, then file off free edge, and add topcoat.


I started by separating the 14 different sized tabs - this made it much easier to match up the right sizes for my nails. The widest one was quite a bit wider than my thumb, and the narrowest one was just right for my little finger. I had to trim a couple of them to make them slightly narrower, because I do have quite narrow nails I think, but most of them fitted just fine. 


I smoothed them on easily enough - I used a plastic hoof stick with a rubber wedge on the end. I then filed off the excess with a coarse grit emery board, and then neatened it up with a glass nail fine. 


The result looked really cool! Please excuse my dry skin - I wanted to grab some photos before I moisturised or topcoated, just in case. I found these really easy to apply on my left hand (using my dominant hand) but a little trickier on my right hand (using my non-dominant hand), so I think next time  would do my dominant hand first - one of the issues was that it was quite hard to peel off the sticker while I had stickers on my nails.

I really wish I'd left the stickers like this! I think the design is lovely - I really like how colourful it is. I'd never be able to do that design with polish. However, the instructions did say to add topcoat, so I did. I was a but dubious - surely either the topcoat can't penetrate the wrap (in which case, what is the point?) or it can (in which case, doesn't that destroy the wrap?)  I thought that Seche Vite might cause issues, as I know it can melt some things, so I used my new Glisten and Glow HK Girl, which I know lots of bloggers rave about.  I left this to dry for a good long time (at least ten minutes) and my nails were looking fantastic. But then I touched one, and the whole wrap just slid off and crumpled up into a sticky mess. My nail was left really sticky, in a sort of gluey, melted gooey mess. The topcoat had clearly interfered with the wrap, and particularly with the glue on the wrap, so I had to take them all off.  Next time I will avoid the topcoat step!

Looking at the instructions on the OMG Nail Strips website, there is an additional step there which is not on the packaging - before the topcoat, they say "after you have applied all ten polish strips, take a cotton ball the has been dipped in polish removed with the excess remover wrung out, and swipe each nail 1-3 times, paying special attention to the sidewalls, tips and cuticle area. This step is especially important, as it melts the strip to your nails, allowing for longer lasting wear."   This wasn't on the packaging, so maybe this is what went wrong... 

OMG Nail Strips can be bought on their website here, and cost $7.99 USD usually, although there are lots of different special offers and discounts, as well as party packs and so on, so you can get them much cheaper. I will post again once I've tried the other pack (without the topcoat!) - fingers crossed I'll have more success. 

These were provided for my honest review - please see my Disclaimer section for more details.     

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My First Gel Polish! NYK1 Secrets & U Spicy (*warning* contains toes!)

I've never tried gel nails before. It seemed quite difficult to try them as I don't like the idea of going for a manicure somewhere with a stranger, and if you do them at home you need the lamp and all the stuff... But then a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by two companies separately, one asking me to review their gel polish, and another asking me to review their LED lamp! I thought it seemed too good a chance to miss, so here I am, doing gel nails!


The polish is from a British brand, NYK1 Secrets. I received two colours to try, Burnt Red and Gold Wow, a glittery gold. The LED lamp is from a company called U Spicy.


Never having done gel nails before, I needed to do a bit of reading to work out what was needed - it's very different to normal polish application. I also used some Gellux products which I bought locally. First you clean the nail thoroughly, then buff, wipe with a cleanser (I used a Gellux one) and then apply a fast bond. Then base coat, then cure for 30 seconds under LED lamp.  


Then comes a coat of polish - I started with the red one. This felt really different from 'normal' polish, as it's much thicker. The brush is really nice - short and firm and very easy to control. The thick polish means that's it's also really easy to apply cleanly - it doesn't flood or run or get in places it shouldn't.  You then cure this under LED light for 30 seconds.    

As you can see, the lamp is a neat little dome shape. The lights are in the top of the cavity, but the inside is full of mirrors, so it bounces the light around. The size is perfect to easily fit a hand or a foot inside. There are 4 pre-timed buttons on top, one each for 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds and 30 minutes. I'm not sure what you'd be doing to need 30 minutes!  The lamp is this model, and is for sale on Amazon for £27.99. LED lamps are considered better than UV lamps, as they are lower wattage, but more powerful, so need less time and less UV exposure. At least, I think I've understood that right!


I did a second coat of the polish, cured for 30 seconds, and then added Gellux Top Coat, and cured for another 30 seconds. The polish is dry straight away, but has a funny sticky finish, which you wipe off with the cleanser again. It felt so strange to have perfectly dry nails immediately! In fact, I walked around with my toe separators on for about 10 minutes before I realised that they weren't necessary!


I love the effect I got with these! My nails are so shiny and glossy, and the finish is perfect. I managed to chip one nail the next day by stubbing my toe and scraping it on something metal. It definitely wasn't the polish (though it may have been my application!) But it did give me a chance to try removal. I put a cotton wool pad soaked in acetone on my nail, wrapped it in foil for 10 minutes, and then removed it. 


I was expecting it to wipe off like normal polish, but it didn't. It sort of all flaked off, in a powdery, dry bits. It really surprised me. I had heard horror stories about gel nail polish damaging the nail surface, but my nail looked absolutely fine. I redid that nail, and it looks perfect now.


These NYK1 polishes are available in a whole host of colours, including glitters and sparkly finishes!  Click here to see the range!   There are all sorts of different price combinations - one polish would be £8.95, but if you buy 3 or 6 then you get free Prep & Shine (their pre-polish cleanser) in varying sizes, or they have discount deals if you buy multiple colours. You can also buy whole sets that include all the other stuff you need such as cleansers, base and topcoats. You can also buy these on Amazon. 

I have to say I'm really impressed with these polishes! I don't paint my toes often, as nobody really sees my feet in winter. But I love the idea of being able to paint them so easily and that I can stick my socks back on straight away if I want to! And that they'll stay perfect for much longer than normal polish - I'll report back in a week or so about the wear on these. I've had them on for three days now and they do still look perfect. I do love changing the colour frequently on my fingernails though, so I'm not sure that I would wear gel polish on my hands frequently. However, I think they'd be fab for those times when I'm either going away for a week and don't want to bother taking polish with me, or when I've lost my mojo and have no ideas. I will definitely try the gold polish on my fingernails soon, perhaps this weekend, so I will post again when I do!


These polishes and the lamp were provided for my honest review. See my Disclaimer for more information.

   


Monday, 1 December 2014

Dance Legend Thermo Trio

You know how much I love a thermal polish!  Last week I finally caved, and bought several from Rainbow Connection


This is Dance Legend's Thermo Trio. I was really excited about this one, as it's not only two colours in one, it's THREE!
 


Dance Legend is a Russian brand, and I'm sad enough to be really excited about all the cyrillic writing on the bottle. 


This is three thin coats, with topcoat.  The formula is fantastic - really smooth, very pigmented, and it dries ridiculously quickly. This dried to a really nice matte finish, but I added topcoat because I wanted shiny today!


I have to say, the trio effect isn't THAT obvious, but the colour change between the deep purple colour when cold, and the pretty lavender blue when warm is really strong and quick.   

I did manage to snap this photo with my phone, just to prove that it really DOES do the three-colour thing. I found that it seems to happen when there is a sudden colour change though - like when you have warm hands but suddenly go outside into the cold.  It blends from the pretty lavender colour, through pink to purple. 

Isn't it pretty? I can't wait for my nails to grow a bit, because I think the gradient effect will be far more obvious with more free edge. (I had to cut them, I broke the corners off three of them in one day! Stupid lever arch files!)



Sunday, 30 November 2014

November Round-Up

Wow, November went quickly!  What happened?

Here are all my nails from this month. I had quite a lot of swatches, and lots of stamping. 


My favourites were the grey snowflakes. I also really liked the stamping over the Barry M Silks.  What do you think? 


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Nail Geek - Makeup Revolution

Have you seen this new brand in Superdrug?  It's called Makeup Revolution and alongside their make-up, they have a nail range called Nail Geek. 

They recently sent me these five beauties to review! I know they're not very wintery or festive, but I chose the bright ones, because... well... look at them! I love a nice bright polish in the middle of a damp and gloomy November!

The green one is called Refresher, and I think it's my favourite.  This is two coats.


The first coat is quite streaky, and the formula is a bit on the tricky side, as it's quite thick. I think that's because of the glitter that's in there - in with the green creme, there is a load of shimmery pink microglitter, which is really interesting. It's not hugely visible, but it adds a nice shimmer and a bit of an edge to the green. It dries well though, and has a lovely glossy finish.


The yellow one, Holiday, is very streaky on first application, like many yellows. It's much better on the second, although still a touch uneven. Then suddenly on the third coat, it becomes really opaque and bright and zingy, and I really liked it! 


Next time I might do slightly thicker coats, and see if two coats are enough.
I wouldn't often wear an entirely yellow mani, but I can see this being useful for snooker nails and various summer nail art. 


The pink one is called Summer Lovin' and is a lovely bright, cheerful colour. This one had a really good formula, very smooth and even. It's a touch jelly-ish; two coats do leave visible nail line, but are lovely and glossy and bright.

This pink is almost neon, and is really hard to photograph - in real life it is much less coral than this, and more bubblegum pink.


The orange one, Flare, is the least streaky of the set. One coat is almost enough. This is two coats though, just for a perfect finish. The orange is very densely pigmented. It's a bit thicker than the pink and yellow, but less thick than the green. 


The blue one is called Into the Night (although actually, my bottle says Inot the Night) and is the most pigmented of all - the colour is very strong and rich. It's less bright than the others, but has a lovely deep colour and a glossy finish. 


I like the blue a lot. It's a very Tardis-like shade, which is always good in my book!

I was really impressed with this range. They're not perfect, and the colours aren't amazingly original, but then at £1.99 each, I wouldn't expect that. The quality is nice, the colour range that they have is really good - there are 45 different colours. They're easily available - on sale in Superdrug and online here. The brush is decent, and I like the shiny pink print on the bottles. On their website, you can also buy any of their collections of five colours (this is the Paints collection) and get one of the five free.  It strikes me that the other collections would make really good ombre manicures too - like those expensive sets you can buy from some companies with five shades of one colour, but at a fraction of the cost and far easier to get hold of!

What do you think? Have you tried these, or would you?


These polishes were provided for my honest review. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.
 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Orly Color Blast - Royal Purple Color Flip

This is a polish I bought months ago, and hadn't got round to trying yet.  The Orly Color Blast range was new to large branches of Boots when I saw them, and the display was so beautiful that I was seduced into buying three bottles at about £9.50 each. 


This is Royal Purple Color Flip. 


This is three coats, with topcoat. The polish is quite sheer, but has a lovely jelly-like quality to it.  


The polish is a bright pinky purple jelly with lots of shimmery blue-purple particles that give a blueish duochrome effect in the right light.  The polish is much more purple in the bottle than it is on the nail, looking much pinker when it's applied.


This is really sheer - three coats still gave plenty of visible nail line, so next time I might try it over a creme base. I do think it's a really pretty colour though - it's bright and zingy and does have a lovely shimmer.   I find it quite pricey for what it is though.


What I do really like about these polishes is the lid - it's a nice rubbery texture with a lined pattern which makes it really comfortable to hold easily.  


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Snowflake Stamping over a White-Grey Gradient

I've been feeling cold all weekend, so my mind turned to snowflakes.



I started this look with a white base of Barry M Coconut. This is another of the Gelly range, and is a really nice slightly off-white creme. I don't think it's as good as Models Own Coconut Cream, as the MO one is a bit more opaque (and smells nice into the bargain) but it's a nice polish. I then sponged using Essie Maximillian Strasse-her and Barry M Grey to get a gradient. 


I then stamped over everything using MoYou London Festive plate 02, and Barry M Silver Foil. The Barry M foils (silver, gold and lilac) are fantastic for stamping - they're opaque, shiny, smooth... I wish they'd do them in other colours! A red and a green would be awesome for Christmas.


Anyway, I'm really pleased with how well this came out! I don't think I've stamped over a gradient before, but I do like the effect.


Incidentally, I snapped this photo in the middle of the process because it amused me - gradient and stamping together is MESSY!

 
 
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