Archive | May, 2012

Nails for London lovers

29 May

I posted about Minx stick on nails last week , and I’m finding them increasingly easier to apply now I have the knack (these ones went on in about 10 minutes before work this morning!)

My latest look features Royal Guards in bearskin hats, London buses and Big Ben in the background – seriously what could be better for the week of the Queen’s Jubilee?



Gel manicures – great or hate?

24 May

I was very interested to read the favourable Guardian article about gel manicures by Sali Hughes, one of my fave beauty journalists, because I have to admit to being more on the fence on this one.

I agree with Sali that ordinary nail varnish can be an absolute bugger to maintain, and there’s nothing more annoying than spending a whole evening carefully applying base coat, two layers of varnish and top coat only for it all to chip off the next day.

The main selling point of the gel manicure is that lasts for up to 3 weeks and dries instantly, avoiding that awkward moment where you try to put your coat using your elbows. However the pay off for this staying power, in my experience, is that the polish is a complete nightmare to remove.

Both the gel manicures I had were done using Artistic Colour Gloss nail polish, and unfortunately the range of colours was quite limited. There was nothing particularly bright and bold, perhaps because when committing to a colour for this long customers prefer something more neutral (not me!)

Anyway for the first manicure I went for the only vibrant colour available – bright orange. I was definitely pleased with the results, particularly the gold flecked sparkle you can see below.



My next gel manicure was a few months later at The Beauty Lounge in central London, a favourite spot for celebs (well, I did spot Lucy from The X Factor there!)  The Beauty Lounge beauticians were responsible for keeping Kelly Rowland’s nails in check during her X Factor judging last year, so obviously when asked about the colours I wanted, “I want what Kelly has” was the only answer.

Well apparently Kelly is a fan of the statement nail, so I ended up with the look below:


I liked the results of both, but have to say I found the nail varnish looked and felt really thick (‘Are they meant to stick out that much?’ was a question I got asked more than once!) I was surprised that neither salon gave me any advice on removing the gel, but luckily my colleagues told me that  I had to soak them for 15 mins in a nail polish remover containing acetone.

Well if only it was that easy. After 30 mins soaking, I was hardly making any progress, and have to admit that, in objection to the £20 removal fee from the salon, I ended up picking the bloody things off. Yes, I know, it’s the one thing you’re definitely not meant to do. But there didn’t seem any other way to go about it!

Needless to say my nails underneath were an absolute mess, and in a catch-22 situation, I now have to keep painting them to cover up the horrible state they’re in. I’m sure it’s not helping improve the nails underneath but I can’t bear for them to be seen.

So yes, gel nails are good if you’re ok with sticking to a fairly basic colour palette and are willing to fork out £20 to get the colour removed. Otherwise  avoid avoid AVOID!

Red, blue and white crown nails

24 May

Following on from my Union Jack nails, I’ve been on the hunt for some more cool Jubilee nail art, and I think I’ve found it in the form of Minx stick-on manicures.

Already modelled by everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyonce, Minx nails are seriously hot property in the beauty world, where we all want awesome nails but don’t necessarily have the time, tools or steady hand to create them ourselves.

These Minx nails were surprisingly easy to apply. Simply buff the nail first for a slightly rough finish (this makes it easier for the nails to stick). Then cut them to shape without removing the backing  – I originally made the mistake of  peeling it off  first and then trying to cut them to shape, so by the time I applied them they’d lost their staying power.

After you’ve stuck them on you can remove any excess with a sharp pair of curved nail scissors and voila – super cool nails that last from 4 to 8 days (I’ve had mine 5 days so far and they’re still looking good!)

Apparently the best way to remove them is to heat with a hair dryer and then peel off, although knowing my I’ll just end picking them off during my daily commute. They have a massive range of designs including everything from skulls to tartan – take a look at their website.

Polka dot nails

20 May

polka dot nails red

red polka dot nails

For anyone out there looking for a bit of easy nail art to try out, here it is! Polka dot nails are pretty much foolproof and look great in most colours. I painted my nails with Rimmel’s I Love Lasting Finish nail polish in red, and then added white spots randomly using Models Own white nail art pen (just can’t get enough of those bad boys!)

Below is another version, this time embracing the pastel trend with nails painted in five different colours (all No.17 from Boots) before I added the dots. Everyone at the magazine I work for loved them so must be on to a good thing! Just make sure to use a good top coat after they’ve dried otherwise the dots can look a bit lumpy – I used Models Own 3-in-1.

pastel polka dot nails

Aqua eyes

20 May

Under the sea is in. That’s the official view from magazines from Cosmopolitan to Elle, and let’s be honest, who didn’t want to be a pretty girl with a tail after watching The Little Mermaid?

Leaving aside the fact I am absolutely terrified of fish, I’m a big fan of this shimmery, aquatic look, not least because it’s a bit of a break from those recurrent summer trends: Tribal! Summer brights! White!

It’s also quite a fun trend to translate to make-up with lots of shiny turquoise, green, blue and gold colours. Below I used gold eye shadow from Mac, Urban Decay eye shadow in turquoise and a bluey-green No7 eye liner to create a subtle pearlescent look, blending the colours together and OF COURSE adding a few tonnes of Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara (ever since Hilary Alexander complimented my eyelashes I swear by it!)


Blue and Gold nails

17 May

Sausage and chips, Dolce & Gabbana, Ben & Jerry, Mitchell and Webb – we all know the best things come in twos, and this  formula definitely extends to nails.

I actually can’t remember the last time I just painted all my nails one colour and felt satisfied with  it. There’s always the temptation to add a bit of leopard print, swish on some glitter or just go crazy with the nail art pens.

One very simple way to make your nails a bit more jazzy is just to paint them half one colour and half another – simple enough for even me to manage!

Below I’ve used Topshop Nail Polish in Cosmic Karma (£6) and Barry M Instant Effects Foil Nail Paint in Gold (£3), two lovely metallic colours which conjour up images of golden sands, azure skies and tranquil lapping waves *looks at rain outside window and cries*

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter

15 May

I have to confess – I am an absolute lip balm addict. Seriously, if I get to work and realise I haven’t got some kind of Vaseline/Nivea/Cocoa Butter on my desk or in my handbag, I freak out. Then I normally end up going to Boots at lunch and buying about eight more to calm myself down and guarantee that I will never, EVER be caught without the stuff again.

The only time my lip balm addiction takes a breather (apart from when I’m sleeping) is when I wear lipstick, which admittedly is a pretty regular occurrence but one which often leaves my lips feeling dry. Obviously there is the in between option of a tinted lip balm, but I tend to find these only give the tiniest sheen of colour and all too often are only available in a horrible pearlised pink or have a really gloopy consistency.

I was excited then to read about Revlon’s new Colorburst Lip Butters, which pack a full punch of colour with moisturising properties in a range of vibrant shades. I bought Peach Parfait since I already have millions of bright reds/pinks, and wanted something I could apply without having to reach for a mirror every time.

As you can see the packaging is really pretty and the colour itself is great – I love the delicate golden sparkle effect it has without feeling at all gritty. As far as its hydrating benefits go, it definitely doesn’t dry out the lips like some products do. However I have to say that if my lips are having a bad day I’ll still by rushing straight back to my Burt’s Bees!

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