How many colours?

How many different colours of gel do you have?  Over two years I’ve collected around a dozen shades, not counting the Barbie pink and fluorescent sparkly coral which went in the bin without ever touching a nail.  That’s the trouble with mail order – the shadecard isn’t always true to what’s in the bottle.

The colours I bought originally – plus base and top coats – still have loads of gel in them despite being used regularly.  I tend to use a few shades time and time again – dark red, darker red, even darker red (Street Swagger [Jessica Geleration] – just wish it wasn’t such a pain to apply), pearlised brown or deep pink.  I have a couple of really pale, see-through colours but almost feel naked, a bit Puritan, in them.  The purple and turquoise are definitely for toenails only!  Shades I have not yet used are Fedora (Shellac) which is SO black and a silver metallic which I am saving for summer as a contrast to pale coloured clothes.  I’ve only used the scarlet once.  Deep red – Merlot (Jessica) – was my choice this morning. 

Merlot (Jessica Geleration)

Merlot (Jessica Geleration)

UV soak off gels are really versatile.  One option is to layer different colours onto your nails.  Shellac suggest some of their shades to try like this.

Another idea is to blend different colours together, after trying a few blobs on a safe surface.  I made a pretty pinky beige this way – actually from different brands; they mixed well.  I used a see-through pale pink with dots of bright pink and grey/brown.  Just as when you’re blending paint (remember the art room?), start with the palest shade and add the tints gradually.  It takes a lot more paint – sorry, gel – if you attempt to do this the other way round.  Those tiny sample pots, in which Boots’ staff give you a trial of foundation, are ideal for storage when washed.  Make a note of the shades you use so that you can recreate it if necessary.

Or add decals/diamante after your top coat.  You will need another topcoat to seal the decorations.

Tip: Keep your polishes out of direct sunlight as the gel can harden even in an opaque bottle.


L’Oreal Double Extension waterproof mascara – review

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My usual eyelash cosmetics have been Jane Iredale Conditioner/Lengthener topped with with Lancome Definicils waterproof black mascara.  However, I can’t buy the mascara easily in the UK –  despite the non-waterproof version being readily available – so I have been trying alternatives.  None of them matched up to my stringent requirement – long-lasting, non splatter, non smudge, non clump, non flake, waterproof, tearproof – until I tried L’Oreal Double Extension waterproof mascara which sells for around £11.50 ($15).  I bought it having read reviews on this great website:    (Ironically, their No 1 performer is Lancome Definicils waterproof!)

L’Oreal Double Extension comes in a – surprise, surprise – double-ended tube with a milky extender in one end and mascara in the other.  Both have a typical 6gr load of cosmetic, so the tube is longer and heavier than a single product.  There aren’t any instructions but having used an extender before, I wait a couple of minutes before stroking on the colour.  It dries very quickly, doesn’t splatter during application and produces a flattering, natural finish without clumps or stiffness.  It comes off easily with an oily remover.  I’m impressed.

TIP:  Use baby oil to remove waterproof mascara.