Seasonal sparkle

IMG_2149Okay, it’s a bit early but I’ve two lunch dates in the next few days so a seasonal sparkle is the way to go.

After the trials with ‘essence‘ I’ve gone back to Striplac for the foundation – twin coat then two layers of Rococo Red – followed by a topping of ‘essence’ Glitterland top coat.  This red has a pink hue when left on it’s own but has come out deep scarlet with the different top coat.  Just right for the slide into Christmas.

Yo ho ho!





This is how you do it, say ‘essence’

My last post described my problems with the removal of essence base/top coat gel.  I messaged the company and received this reply.  I was clearly too impatient with my application!

Top marks to essence for taking the time to respond so quickly and to address the full range of issues. 

IMG_2048How to remove the peel off base and top coat:

Usually the gel nails are easy to remove by using the fingers or a rosewood stick. Using a rosewood stick may be easier than just using your fingers. if this does not help, soak your nails in nail oil or olive oil, lift a small corner of the gel nails with a rosewood stick and then let some of the oil seep under the gel. This way, the gel nails will come off really easily.

How well the base can be removed also depends on the surface of the nail and how thickly the base is applied. The smoother the surface of the nail, the easier the base can be removed. Also, make sure that the first layer of the 2in1 gel is applied thickly.

The colour nail polish used inbetween the peel off base and top coat layers has to be completely dry. The LED Lamp will not harden regular nail polish. If the nail polish is not 100% dry, the top coat cannot harden either, which would explain why the result was not as shiny as you expected. It is important that you apply all products with the same thickness to prevent any irregularities. If you sometimes end up with a bump or raised area, it’s probably because either too much or too little of the base or top coat was applied.

Essence-ially a disaster

Down to earth with a bump after raving about budget range Essence and their gel system.  I’m not consigning it all to the bin but the claim of being able to use regular nail polish between their 2-in-1 gel base-top coat is rubbish.  I went the full hog, bought cleargel  base-top coat (have a glitter top coat) plus four striking colours from their Colour and Go range.  Now this did not break the bank as dual coat was a only £3 and polishes £1.50 each but I am very disappointed with the results.

The Colour and Go polishes come  in fabulous colours with the tops the same shade as the polish and have an innovative cuticle-shaped tip to the brush (I know Nails Inc do this now but they are very much more expensive).   Having had nothing on my nails for ten years apart from gel, which stays liquid until cured, I found the quick-drying polish quite hard to apply.  That’s my fault.

The first coat went on patchy, the second brought great opacity.  Now to finish with the clear gel top coat.  That’s where things started to go wrong…

You’re told to let the poIMG_2103lish dry completely before adding the gel coat and it was definitely touch dry.  I LED-cured for the stated 10 seconds then wiped off the residue.  The layers started to smudge and the finish was not as shiny as I have come to expect from gel. The first photo (left) shows the damage after just removing the residue.  There was nothing for it but to take the whole lot off and redo.

What a nightmare – there is no way this stuff was peel off!!

You push a nail under the edge of Striplac, it releases and the colour comes off in a single piece or bits, no difficulty.  Try getting under the edge of four layers of Essence product – nada, zilch, zero!  It took me at least 30 minutes to SCRAPE off most of the sticky mess – the colour seemed to curdle – and the rest by buffing.  The base coat was more or less intact after the colour came off.  Where, oh where, did I go wrong?

IMG_2104 IMG_2105As an experiment, I replaced the manicure with Essence base coat and a single layer of gel glitter top coat and I will try the clear dual coat with my Striplac colours.  But if I have the same trouble with removal, it will be junked.

* The Essence glitter gel top coat which I had on over Striplac twin coat (see last post) lasted well and came off no problem. 


Update 25/11/2014: I did a friend’s nails the same way.  She reported good durability but the same problem trying to remove the polish – very hard work! 




















Budget gel discovery

On holidayIMG_2048 recently in Spain I discovered Essence cosmetics, a budget range aimed at young women (LOL).  To my delight I found it includes UV gel topcoats which work with a peel off base and regular nail polish.  Instructions say apply a peel off base (which Essence makes), then any colour, followed by the topcoat which needs 10 second UV cure – yes, just 10 seconds.  I reckoned it would complement and add a different dimension to my Striplac shades.

The pricing was a steal – under £5 each – so I treated myself to a pair – Glitterland, a multi colour holographic glitter and Polka Dots, black dots.

I must confess I’ve tried it over blue and red – lovely – but forgot to take any photographs!  So the first exposure is from a quick, couldn’t-really-be-bothered-manicure, of just peel off base (Striplac) and the glitter topcoat.  IMG_2039I’m thrilled with the outcome – for strength, speed and the demure but on-trend look.

As with most glitter gels, you have to work the brush so that there’s a reasonably even distribution but this budget buy is better than any other glitter topcoat I have tried.  Gelish (soak off UV gel), for instance, was very difficult to work.

I applied my Striplac base, cured for one minute, straightaway coated the nails with the Essence product, cured for an unbelievably quick 10 seconds, then cleansed the residue off with non-acetone nail polish remover.

My only gripe is that the product is confusingly called ‘effect’ gel top coat which could be misinterpreted as gel-effect (ie looks like gel but isn’t).  Be assured that this IS a gel, which requires a UV cure.

Essence is available worldwide and stocked exclusively in the UK by the Wilko chain.  The ‘gel nails at home’ range has everything you need, including a mini led lamp with a usb connection which is fantastic for travelling.

Important updatee 25/11/2014:  Read this review in conjunction with the following: