Nails Inc. launches the Green Queen Manicure. Feeling arty? DIY it!

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 25 - 2013

Keeping up with the latest trends in the fast-moving world of many manicures can be pretty hard work!  In light of this, Nails Inc have recently launched their Guest Manicure initiative which allows you to get to grips with a new nail trend for just £15, available from Nails Inc bars across the country.

This month sees the launch of the Green Queen manicure, a nod to the colour of the season, worn in a slightly more demure way than going all out HULK on your tips.

nails-inc-green-queen-manicure-1371812262

Nails Inc. say:  This is the Queen of all manicures for the festival season – a base of Royal Botanical Gardens in mint with with stunning emerald green Queen Victoria Street tips.  This is a subtle look to make your nails pop all festival long.  It’s the perfect way to accessorise your outfit – through rain, mudslides, thunder or sunshine, whatever the weather throws at us this summer, your nails will be bold, beautiful and bursting with colour.

I say… this one’s a bit manageable innit!  For once, will I be on trend?

Grabbing the closest colours I could muster, I did a pretty neat job (even if I do say so myself).

DIY-green-queen-manicure

Not got the time for such frivolities?

Your life is undoubtedly more exciting than mine… perhaps you’re off to Glastonbury this week to sample the delights of the long-drops and the she-pees.  In that case, skip the am-drams and get a pro to sort you out.

Book in for your Green Queen Manicure at your nearest Nails Inc. via their online booking service, here


Essie Armed & Ready NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 2 - 2012

Essie Armed & Ready is from the Spring Go Overboard collection and one that I picked up owing to it’s beautiful golden shimmer as perfectly demonstrated by The PolishAholic in her great swatches.  Can I get the golden shimmer to show up?  Can I bollocks.  I’m putting it down to the fact that she lives in Orange County, CA and I’m currently staying in Shitsville, NBA (Newcastle Brown Ale).

Despite the lack of golden glitz, Essie’s Armed & Ready is still a very nice army green, a dirgy khaki if you will.  It also applies in a single coat if you get the brush fill right, you definitely don’t need more than two coats before whacking on your quick-dry topper.

I wish I could give you some beautiful shimmer shots, but in lieu of those…. have a look at just what I have to put up with while I’m trying to blog – it’s a wonder I actually get any bloody posts written…

I’m heading home today (after my fortnight at the in-laws), have had a lovely time but it’ll be nice to get back into my normal routine!  Hope all my lovely UK/Commonwealth peeps enjoy the Jubilee Weekend! x

Sensationail DIY Gel Nails Review (Part 1)

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2012

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 at Sensationail 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)

* press sample

China Glaze Fast Track NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 18 - 2012

It’s like that time I found out about coconut m&ms (did the m&m website really just age-check me?!), I can’t remember where… some foodie blogger who was baking immense cookies with them or something.  Oh, how I hungered for the crunch of a more tropical m&m… I thought about ordering online but realised that if I’d ordered enough “candy” to make the postage worth it, I could kiss goodbye to both my diet and ever-decreasing arse.  So I waited.  And I waited.  I contented myself with peanut M&Ms as my weekly treat but it was never quite enough.

Then one day.  I snapped.  Actually, I think it was about three days later, but whatevs.

I don’t know if I’d dreamt about them but I woke up with a mission, and one that I was going to fulfil if it killed me.  We were going on a roadtrip and I WAS going to have my coconut m&ms damnit.  We jumped in the car, Leila still rubbing her eyes after being dragged from her bed (don’t worry, I made it up to her with a Tootsie Roll) and we headed up the M3 in search of Shangri-La.  Or the Stateside Candy Co. in Aldershot as Mr. L called it.

I bought two packets.  And some root beer, mac & cheese, cheetos and Vanilla coke… what?

Well anyway, I got back to the car… cracked open my Vanilla Coke (O.M.G) and dipped into the bag of coconut m&ms.

Meh.

A bit like this polish.

I wanted China Glaze Fast Track from the moment I saw it online, I mean… look at the bottle!  What in the name of all things sprinkled in gold shimmer could be more beautiful?  But on my nails, it just doesn’t translate so well.  There’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just that the base shade does absolutely nothing for my skin colouring.  Infact, it looks a bit fecal in an anaemic kinda way and no amount of beautiful golden sparkle can make a turd look good.  Unless, you completely obscure the turd with gold glitter, but this doesn’t do that.  I digress.  I didn’t mean to talk about turds either, sorry.

So yes, on paper… it’s a wonder, but when you get down to it… like coconut m&ms. it just leaves me feeling a bit, disappointed.

China Glaze Fast Lane is available to buy as part of the Hunger Games collection, priced at £6.59 from Sallys

* I want to live off cheetos and mac & cheese for the rest of my life. Orange food ftw.  Oh and these mini-doughnut things that must have been packed with enough preservatives to restore the defunct do-do.

Leila got her nails did!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 9 - 2012

Another fun shade from LittleBu making my little boo a very happy boo indeed…

My daughter’s polish collection is beginning to outdo my own!  We picked up another bottle of Emma when we were in London last month to replace her beloved red that sadly met its end when the impatient one sent it flying from the coffee table.  There was no lasting damage to the sofa (thank heavens for water-based formulas!) or that would have been the end of Leila’s foray into mini-manicures.

To say that my daughter got a little bit excited when a bottle of the creamy blue Olivia landed on the doormat is an understatement.  Well, I think that first photo probably gives you the idea – it was like watching a chocoholic discover a Twix in the fridge after the local co-op had shut its doors for the night.  If you don’t have any ishoos with painting your child’s nails (the Little BU formula is non-toxic and completely washes off with soapy water – eventually!) then it is lovely bonding time, and I never realised that L was capable of such patience and stillness!  A perfect treat for Mother’s Day?

The polishes aren’t particularly cheap at £9.95 each but the look on L’s face was pretty priceless!

* Olivia (the colour featured) was a press sample

The soon-to-be released Hunger Games collection from China Glaze has been setting the nail polish blogs alight with swatches and banter about the names and how they relate to the book and upcoming film.  I’ve got two shades to show you today; Agro – a metallic olive shot through with a heap of gold flecks and Dress Me Up – a dusty rose creme.

Agro* is a beautiful shade, not hugely unique but the formula is beautifully done.  If I’d been a little bit more careful in application, this could have squeezed through as a single-coater but the photo above demonstrates two coats to cover a couple of thin patches.  There’s not too many golden greens that look good against my cool skintone but thankfully this one doesn’t give me any issues at all.

Dress Me Up* is a simple dusty rose creme, I’m not a huge fan of these shades though I know many are.  Personally, I’d rename it Dress Me Up… Grandma.  The formula on this one is a little off – thick but runny, almost like it’s overcompensating for being on the thick side.  Again, this is a two-coater and the coverage is incidentally, pretty great.

There are a total of 12 colours in the collection, I’ve already placed my order for Fast Track and Harvest Moon as my next permanent additions to my beloved Helmer.

China Glaze is available to buy at Sallys or Beauty4Nails-Body (which has to be the worst name for a shop, ever).

Are you tempted by any of the shades in the new Hunger Games collection?

* press sample

China Glaze & Hunger Games Collection: Colours from the Capitol (Agro and Dress Me Up)

It’s more than I can do to write this post without pointing out the horrible spelling of a beautiful name.  It’s only my opinion so cool it with the evils oh “Layla’s” of the world.  But just so you know, it’s L.E.I.L.A.  Ok?

Anyway, back to the polishes… I’m just gonna let the pictures do the talking here.

Coral Glam

Mercury Twilight

Flash Black

Layla is an Italian brand of which I know practically nothing about.  Each shade shown above was a quick-drying three coater.  Wear was fairly crappy despite the nail prep (you’re supposed to buff the nail beds to a ridge-free shine before applying).  Admittedly, I didn’t experience chipping but I did have tip wear by the end of the first day (tried both with and without a top coat).  Still, when something is this beautiful – you tend to be a little more lenient on it no?

The bottles are 10ml each and the holographic effect is beautifully dramatic in each of them.  You should note that although Flash Black looks a touch duller than the other two, it’s only because the sun was starting to set by the time I was able to take photos.  Poor Flash Black, it’s just as a vibrantly blingy in real life.

Do you like these?

I paid £11.25 for each of these and bought them online from Simply Occasions, who I believe is the only UK stockist.

Avon Nailwear Pro Violetta Sparkle NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 21 - 2011

Regardless of what your birth certificate says, Christmas is the one time of year we can wear an unadulterated amount of glitter on our nails and not feel even slightly embarrassed of ourselves.

Avon Nailwear Pro in Violetta Sparkle is a festively-themed combination of purple and gold – it also conveys flashes of red when under the right lighting – but it’s mostly about the gold.

Application was fine and the above shows three coats.  I found the brush a touch long and thick but what you sacrifice in precision, you make up for in speed of application.  It also dried quickly despite the three coats.  It’s a hair grainy thanks to the glitter but a single coat of topper smoothes that out nicely and gives a needed boost to the shine that really brings out the sparkle within.

I’ve only had this on for two days, but so far no chips and considering the vampy colour, only very minimal tip wear (the above photo was taken just now).

Currently priced at only £3.00 on the Avon website, it’s making me want to explore the other sparkly shades in the Nailwear Pro Sparkle & Shine lineup!

 

* press sample

 

To complete the Fall collection, Lancome will release two new nail polishes in classic red and edgy black.

The red – #22 Rouge St Honore is a classic, vixen red creme with great single-coat opacity and a high gloss finish.  The brush on these polishes is wide and allows for 3-stroke coverage, meaning that I was completely done with the red in less than 5 minutes from start to finish (not allowing for drying time of course).

The black – #29 Noir is a little more unusual in that the inky base  is infused with mini, multi-coloured flecks.  Sadly, these don’t quite translate as vividly on the nail as they do in the bottle.  Also a little sheerer than the red, this one took a respectable 2 coats to achieve opacity.

See below for swatches…

Lancome’s Le Vernis in #22 Rouge Saint Honore & #29 Noir 29 are priced at £12.50 each and available at Lancome counters nationwide from 1st September 2011

Sometimes things just turn out that way…

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 10 - 2011

… an accidental case of perfect timing.

As the death knell sounds for the final issue of Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper The News of The World today, this newspaper manicure couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

China Glaze Pelican Gray provided the foundation for this one.

You can watch a tutorial on Newspaper nails below from Cutepolish, they’re SO easy!

Deborah Lippmann Today Was A Fairytale NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 8 - 2011

Hmmm, I think I like this one even more than Happy Birthday, maybe.  I’m not sure… I like the idea that I can do glitter but still keep it looking a little sophistimacated you know?

My idea behind this one (ooh get me, *idea*) was to emulate (ooh get me, *emulate*) the rubbish Summer we’ve been having.  OK, it totally wasn’t…. it’s just reminded me of rain after the fact and I thought I’d try and sound a bit arty but I can’t even convince myself for half a second let alone anyone else.

But it does look like silver raindrops against a cloudy sky right?  Just nod.  It’s easier for everyone in the long run.

That’s one coat of Today Was A Fairytale* over American Apparel Factory Grey (also one coat).  Which makes the entire manicure a two coat wonder.  Looks like more right?  I’m suitably pleased!!

I’ve decided that I prefer a top coat over the Deborah Lippmann glitter polishes.  You don’t *need* one but if you do… just one coat renders the surface perfectly smooth like a normal manicure.

Deborah Lippmann Today Was A Fairytale is available to buy online and instore at House of Fraser priced at £16.00

* press sample

Review: Louise James Health & Beauty in Ewell, Surrey

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 2 - 2011

I was recently invited to spend a few hours at Louise James Health & Beauty, a well-placed beauty salon just a short hop from Epsom in Surrey.  I sent Mr. L off to spend the afternoon at nearby Chessington with Leila whilst I got down to the serious business of relaxation.

The salon offers a range of treatments from the more traditional facials, massages and manicures to the latest Ultra Plus VPL (stop smirking, that stands for Variable Pulsed Light) laser machines that zap unwanted hair, thread veins, age spots, pigmentation and even pores!  Throw in some tanning, waxing and Pamper Parties for little ones and you’re looking at a complete one-stop beauty shop.

I settled in for one of Louise’s Exclusive Facials which incorporates a back massage (bliss), a cleanse (squeak squeak), a steam (sweaty), an extraction (oh yes!), the most incredible face massage in the world (fact) and a mask that in my case, smelt like weetabix.  The ambiance in the room was good with mostly dimmed lighting and the gentle sound of waves lapping at the shore… my solitary niggle was being able to hear the conversations on the other side of the door as clients came in to book appointments but in limited salon space, that’s a tricky one to address.

I emerged from my facial with not only the most incredible glow (proof coming up) but also some seriously impressive bed hair!  It was like having a 12 hour sleep condensed into 90 minutes!

check out the glow AND the bed hair! (excuse the phone photo quality)

The Salon uses Dermalogica and Louise was happy to talk me through the products she was using on me, why she was using them and the specific benefits I could expect.  All this followed an indepth discussion about my skin, how it was behaving and a bit of close inspection!  Aside from clearly knowing her stuff, it was a breath of fresh air to have the info relayed in a non-patronising manner.  Hair Stylists, take note.

Before heading back into the real world, I opted for a Jessica Cosmetics pepto-bismol pink on my nails which finally got to see the benefits of some expert shaping without the manicurist trying to insist on completely squaring off my nails… now that’s a rare occurence.

All in all, it was an experience that needs repeating.  I’ve had a few treatments over the years and for me, these things are as personal as a visit to the doctor.  I’m the kind of client who values her privacy, likes to know what’s going on during a treatment (but is sometimes afraid to ask) and appreciates simple warmth and friendliness.

Salon facilities, products and everything else aside, it’s Louise herself that makes Louise James Health & Beauty a must-visit.  Not only an experienced therapist but clearly an experienced people person who will ensure that time spent in her salon is time spent wholly tailored to you.  Through chatting with her for just a short while, it became apparent very quickly just how much pleasure she takes from her job.  It’s not rocket science, a happy, qualified therapist with good people skills will make for a very happy customer.  And I’m certainly one of those.

For more information on Louise James Health & Beauty near Epsom in Surrey, please visit the website www.louisekjames.com – prices start from £25 for a mini facial.

* I was invited for a complimentary facial and manicure as a guest of the salon.

RANDOM

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