There comes a point in our lives when we may find ourselves looking in the mirror, bemoaning the fact that whoever said “pevention is better than cure” was an ass.
All the sun-protection in the world won’t stop the inevitable ageing process, it’s a fact of life, and one that some women seem better prepared to deal with than others.
It’s at this point that you might find yourself searching for your own “cure”. From so-called miracle creams, lasers, supplements, injectables, and even surgery, there are seemingly limitless paths to explore.
Have you thought about a spot of DIY?
Tok-Tok, produced by UK company U-Biomed (and not to be confused with the death-defying mini-wagons on the streets of India – that’s tuk tuk!) claims to be the world’s first home beauty device that lets you ‘inject’ your own skin with anti-ageing therapies including the much talked-about Epidermal Growth Factor protein (EGF).
Regardless of potential gimmickry or efficacy, I think it shows an interesting shift in the direction of “cosmeceutical” treatments. We live in a world where our leisure time is compressed and our budgets increasingly squeezed, does the DIY beauty option fulfil our changing needs?
I think it also goes to show just how much more confident we’ve become in understanding, and even using, gadgetry within our beauty routines.
Which begs the question, would you inject yourself in the name of beauty?
Remember my post a couple of weeks ago about bringing salon-style beauty to the comfort of your own home? I wasn’t convinced that DIY options generally lived up to the expectations or convenience of salon service. Well, the people atSensationail rose to the challenge and sent me the Sensationail Starter Kit* to give it a whirl for myself. I’ll do the review in two-parts, today is the application and initial results and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to let you know how the manicure lasted.
I should also preface this by saying that I’ve had two gelish/shellac-type exeriences in a salon and both were poor, with lifting after only a few days. That’s Groupon on for you I guess? Basically, I’ll admit that my expectations aren’t all that high.
The kit is frankly over-priced at £85 in the UK. Over-priced? I hear you say. Yes, not because it’s lacking in quality (although the bottles I received did have the writing peeling off them and the labels weren’t fully stuck down which didn’t give the best impression of quality) but because in the U.S., our neighbours across the pond are charged $59.99 for the same kit. That’s around £35.
Cross-border rip-offs aside, in theory – you should still be able to break even fairly easily with this kit against the cost of getting your nails done in a salon. The average price in my area for shellac/gelish nails is around £22 – so you’re looking at around 5 manicures before you get your money’s worth. Which is all well and good, providing the kit lives up to its name and actually provides a good quality gel nail that lasts the course.
I’ll admit that application was indeed, very simple and didn’t cause a single problem for me. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, the lamp worked just as it should (although I did wonder how I was going to fit all five fingers and thumbs inside until I read that you er, don’t).
In the starter kit, you receive: an LED curing lamp, gel cleanser (basically an alcohol solution), gel primer (nail dehydrator/bonder), gel base/top coat, gel colour, and some lint-free swabs.
Following the instructions, from start-to-finish, I was completed in around 30-minutes and the nails were completely bone dry at the end of it. The beauty of the UV-activated gel is that you have ample time to get your manicure applied neatly, my biggest tip would be to keep the coats as thin as possible. The base/top coat in particular had a tendency to pool in my cuticles while I was completing the other nails, not really a fault of the system… simply a sign that my coats were not thin enough.
If you do get some gel on your skin, make sure you wipe it off before curing…. not only will it feel pretty uncomfortable with this hard resin stuck to your skin but it will also cause your manicure to prematurely lift at the edges.
Here’s my finished result… basically, it looks and feels great.
I’m going to embed a tutorial video which I found on the Boots website, you may notice that she hasn’t capped the tips of her nails with the polish (you can see this at the end) – this is a pretty crucial step when it comes to making gel nails last. If you want them to stay the distance, you need to take a little more time to ensure that you’ve bullet-proofed your manicure.
I haven’t been able to fault the application process but the bottles in the starter kit are tiny and feel/look cheap. The UK price hike is outrageous. Ultimately, my final thoughts on Sensationail’s worth will come down to how long this manicure lasts on me. I’ll be back with an update soon, but hopefully not too soon eh?
Check out the brand’s UK Facebook page for more information, they’re also active on Twitter (something this Twitter-addict always likes to see!)
You can purchase the Sensationail Starter Kit instore and online at Boots.com, priced at £85.00(individual colour gels are priced at £15.00 each)
I’ve been using the Lumos High Speed Top Coat (and base coat) for a few months now, it’s a product that I hadn’t heard much about before. It’s not cheap but I’m confident that you’re going to need it.
To be honest with you, it’s been *killing* me that I haven’t been able to blog about this sooner but I wanted to make absolutely sure that I didn’t go ahead and rave about this top coat only to watch it go the same way as my numerous bottles of Seche Vite a few months down the line – i.e. gloopy and unusable.
The Lumos High Speed Top Coat hails from a company called Famous Names LLC and a little bit of digging reveals that this company is owned by none other than Jim and Linda Nordstrom of Creative Nail Design fame. These are people who quite frankly, know what they’re doing when it comes to nails.
So… why do you need it?
Because it appears to be the top coat we’ve all been waiting for.
~ It dries solidly in a couple of minutes… touchproof, smudgeproof. It’s equally as good as Seche Vite in providing a quick-dry finish.
~ It applies effortlessly, floating over the nail bed without pooling and it doesn’t complain and drag if you need to ‘go over’ it to spread it a little thinner.
~ I haven’t noticed any shrinkage or colour change to my polish after application.
~ It doesn’t go gloopy after a couple of months (3 months of frequent use, still perfect).
~ It seems to last and last and last!
How about some cons to even things up a bit?
Well.. it’s a bit expensive at around £10/£11 a bottle… but considering the image above shows 3 months usage (yes, really – there’s barely a dent in it!), I think it still represents great value for money.
I’ve also been using the Lumos Instant Impact Bottom Coat which promises to increase polish longevity but in all honesty, I’m just not the best placed to comment on its effectiveness simply because I don’t suffer from chips and I rarely want to wear my polishes for longer than 4/5 days at most anyway. I can say that I haven’t experienced nail staining from my blue polishes (a.k.a smurf nails) since using this, so on that score – it’s a good base coat.
The UK distributor for LUMOS are Sweet Squared, a professional-only distributor. I bought my duo set from eBay in January (£19.50 for both) but a quick google search also reveals a few other stockists that will sell directly to consumers.
If there’s one thing I associate with the Czech Republic (other than beer), it’s the country’s long and distinguished history of working with glass. Czech glass is world renowned for it’s quality and craftsmanship.
I took delivery of a sample nail file a few weeks ago from Mont Bleu, a company based on the outskirts of Prague who produce tempered glass nail files by hand.
It arrived in a substantial leatherette mock-croc gifting box.
The nail file itself is tucked inside, housed in a velvet pouch and arrived with an authenticity card. All these little extra touches really single a product out as being gift-worthy!
I received the Red Medium Nail File with Swarovski Crystals in a ‘marbles’ design which you can view online here.
It’s a well-made product as one might expect and is comparable to my Leighton Denny file in both size and quality. I’ve used it daily to give it a thorough wear test and so far, the surface has remained as pristine as the day it arrived.
My one distinction in the quality between them would be that the Mont Bleu file feels ever so slightly “grittier” when filing than the Leighton Denny. I’m not 100% sure on this and have been wavering and asking everyone who visits to weigh in with an opinion. It’s divided everyone!
The Mont Bleu files are available in a variety of designs and can be bought online in the UK through their distributor BestCrystalNailFiles.
Priced at £10.99 for a medium size, it’s a lovely gift choice for Mothers everywhere this Mother’s Day.
I was given this by PR a few months ago and from first use, I wanted to jump on here and exclaim my love for it… but I didn’t. I’ve spent good money on glass nail files before, fallen in love with them and then watched them become ineffective after a month or so.
Leighton Denny’s Crystal Nail File is different. It’s made from lead crystal that’s been treated to create a filing surface that is literally guaranteed to last a lifetime (the guarantee is in the box!).
This is the 135mm ‘model’ that comes in an aluminium case and I really recommend getting one that comes protected like this. Whilst the filing surface should last indefinitely, they’re still delicate tools and prone to breakage if dropped or carried around in handbags.
I finally felt the push to bite the bullet and upload this review for one particular reason…
I developed a horizontal split in my thumbnail after dropping something very heavy on it a month ago… it reaches very nearly halfway across the nail bed and I’ve been nursing it in the hope that I can keep the nail intact until it grows out. With a fragile nail like this, I didn’t think I would be able to go near it with a nail file… but I was wrong. The Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File is so gentle that I can carry on like nothing has happened.
The file glides, it never catches… it turns the nail to dust right before my eyes and I’d liken it to a hot knife slicing through butter. It’s like kryptonite to the ragged edges of my nails.
At £12, it’s one of those purchases that you wouldn’t appreciate until you started using it. I wouldn’t be without mine and when Leila got hold of it a couple of days ago, I panicked… turning into a jump negotiator as she waved the crystal wand around in her chubby little hands (perilously close to the table edge).
“Come to Mama lovely… want a chocolate? No… don’t swing your arms baby… one more step… *grab*”
I’m completely in love with this Crystal Nail File and would happily rate it as a beauty must-have.
Leighton Denny’s Small Crystal Nail File is available online and instore at Boots (priced at an even more bargainous £11!)
Not the most exciting beauty product to be featured on Lipglossiping… but you can’t get much cheaper than a quid, and when it’s a staple… that makes it a precious find!
I’m not sure if it’s seasonal stock… but I don’t *think* it is. I’ve tried most supermarket brands, ‘named’ brands, chemist owned brands… and this is simply the best. It may not be the most moisturising (though it does contain glycerin), but I don’t care. I just want last week’s polish off my tips and QUICK!
Classics Nail Polish remover is available from Poundland and really, really does the job!
Last year, they were everywhere and they divided opinion. Some loved ‘em, some hated ‘em.
What am I talking about? Matte Nails of course!
17 Nails Xtras Matte Top Coat Polish 8ml (£3.99) from Boots is due to be released in September and I’ve got a sneaky peek for you!
Well… finally! A really, thoroughly decent matte top coat with great availability and a price tag to match!
It may a little late to the mass market to be considered the height of fashion, but this budget matte top coat from 17 Cosmetics is gonna be a hugely popular seller in my humble opinion.
It applies a true matte finish, none of this satin semi-matte nonsense. So far, I haven’t noticed it accentuating any ridges or imperfections in the polish application underneath and it dries fully in minutes. Actually, that’s my one caveat… you need to apply the top coat quickly as it will dry rapidly. Once you realise this, it’s not a problem as the polish glides on smoothly anyway.
After wearing for a couple of days, the matte finish does get slightly shinier… more satiny. But I haven’t noticed an increase in chipping or tip wear as a result of topping up my standard manicure with this little gem.
£3.99? You’ll want to get this! Hurry up September!
INM’s Out The Door is a serious contender to the Seche Vite crown… firstly, I’m gonna come right out and say that this stuff doesn’t dry my nails as fast as Seche Vite. I’ll be surprised if anything does. But, it does dry them respectably quickly. I also find the texture of the product makes it far easier to apply.
I know that Seche Vite suffers from thickening, but even comparing this to a new bottle of the Seche, INM’s Out The Door applies beautifully smoothly… it’s as if I’m coating my manicure with water rather than polish.
In the time it takes me to ‘top coat’ all my nails, the first will be touch dry by the time I’m finished. Not dent-dry however… this takes about another 10-15 minutes to fully harden. Which is fine for me, I just take a little more care and haven’t had any problems yet.
Where the INM Out The Door blows Seche outta the water is with shrinkage. I haven’t experienced even a millimetre of unnecessary tip wear with this top coat.
Less pungent smelling and easier to apply makes for a happy Lipglossiping. I often decide to paint my nails about half an hour before bed, and I haven’t had any problems with duvet imprints!
Availability and price is also an issue as this seems to be a little easier to get hold of in the UK than Seche Vite. Price varies but I’ve found it here for a bargain price of £3.95.
Recommended to me by the rather lovely Jamilla from MakeupForProfessionalAsianWomen as her salon uses it to nourish her cuticles. I’m always on the lookout for cuticle softeners (it makes nail painting SO much easier if your cuticles are in good shape) I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle to try.
Almonds, marzipan… gawd I could drink this stuff. Though I don’t recommend it.
A synergistic blend of naturally light oils and Vitamin E, designed to deeply penetrate and protect skin and nails.
Jojoba Oil carries Vitamin E deeply into skin to help reduce visible signs of aging. Naturally light oils keep skin soft and supple. Keeps natural nails, nail color and nail enhancements tough and flexible. Repeated use drives oils deeper into natural nail.
It’s been 3 days and I’ve swiped the brush around my cuticles about 9 times maybe and I’m starting to see a huge improvement.
The thing I like most about the CND Solar Oil is how well it absorbs… taking just a few minutes of massaging into the surrounding skin before I can get on with whatever I was doing previously. By contrast, my LUSH Lemony Flutter takes a good 10 minutes, by which time I’ve usually grabbed a tissue and wiped most of it off.
Time will tell if it’s as effective as my usual methods… but I’m already fairly condident that it’s outperforming.
After a while (not even that long in all honesty), the quick-drying saviour that is Seche Vite starts to lose it’s magic. The formula thickens, goes stringy, straggly and gloopy. Quite literally, it becomes unusable and you end up turning the air blue after it ruins the manicure you’ve just spent the last 40 minutes applying.
There is a solution, although it comes at the cost of having to buy another product.
Seche Restore is a thinner designed to breathe life back into not only your bottle of Seche Vite, but other polishes that thicken over time.
Taking the dropper, pull some of the thinner into the chamber and simply drip about 6 drops into your bottle of Seche Vite. How many drops of thinner you need to add will depend entirely on how gloopy your Seche Vite has gotten. I needed to add quite a few… (more like 14/15 overall).
The thinner liquid will kinda sit on top of the Seche Vite, so you need to take the bottle and gently roll it between your fingers, encouraging the thinner to mix with evenly through the top coat.
And you’re done! Check consistency until it’s as you remembered it. If it still seems gloopy… add a bit more!
Now… the *other* trouble with Seche Vite…
Why is the brush so darn stumpy and what am I supposed to do when the level goes below it huh? huh?
I bought my bottle of Seche Restore on eBay and paid around £8 for it inc. postage. I’d rather not have to… but the bottle will last me a hell of a long time and I’m sure I’ll put it to other good polish-restoring uses aswell… now where did I put those gloopy Ciates?
My thumbnail broke last night on a ring pull It didn’t just break. It fractured halfway down the nail bed.
I’m trying to be grown up about it, honest I am! I mean, they’re nails for chrissake, and I was overdue a chop… but I didn’t wanna chop them down to my knuckles!
On the plus side…
~ I can now type without waking the neighbours
~ My iPhone actually responds when I tap it
~ I won’t be waking up with random claw marks on my cheeks
~ Leila doesn’t have to dodge the nails of doom mid-nappy change
~ I can scoop product out of jars without that horrible “loadsofshitstuckundermynailsgetitoff” feeling.
~ I can pick my nose without damaging my brain
On the negative side…
~ I have stumpy nails.
See where the break began? Stoopid ring pull.
Ok, I realise this post is *incredibly* self indulgent, but I did have more in mind than just to invite you all to my pity party.
See how yellow my nails are? That’s from using copious amounts of nail polish.
You’re supposed to be able to avoid it by using a good basecoat. Not sure on that one, I do use good basecoats and it doesn’t seem to matter which brand I use… I still get yellow nails. Infact, as an ex-smoker… my nails have never been yellower than they are now.
So my point is, this gives me the perfect opportunity to trial 3 things that have been waiting for a test.
1). Bubble White Nail Cleaner (available at Sally Beauty)
I have a sachet of this hiding somewhere in my bathroom cabinet, I shall dig it out and give it a try.
One of the goodies Barielle sent me. I was a bit disappointed when I saw it was a cosmetic product as opposed to a treatment. But if the Bubble White doesn’t do it’s job, I’ll be very pleased to try it!
3. Nailene So Natural/Real/Couture Glue on Nails (I *think* you can get these in Boots – any confirmation gratefully received!)
It’s been many years since I’ve worn glue-on nails… I hope technology has improved since then, or these will last about 45 minutes on my fingers.
So um yeah… every cloud and all that… *sniff sniff*