The sun is finally emerging in the UK so flower shades are in order. I still can’t think of hot pinks but this fuschia is helping me bridge the seasons.
This is a real cheapie peel off – MRO, shade 25 – which I found on ebay. It’s supposedly a 3-in-1 product, no need for base or top coat;£3.55 apiece, including postage.
BUT I didn’t feel it worked well on its own. For a start there were no instructions and those sent by the seller, after I’d asked, referred to soak off rather than peel off.
I gathered that 60 seconds was the curing time and realised that there was no sticky residue to wipe off after application.
The two coats I applied left my weak nails feeling fragile; the shine was gone after 24 hours and the tips began to chip. Because the gel was so thin – just two coats instead of four – it wouldn’t peel off an entire nail and I was forced to chip, peel, chip till it was gone. However, there was no staining on the nails.
The photo shows my second application where I used a dual base and top coat from Bluesky in conjunction with MRO. The nails feel much stronger but some tips have chipped already.
This sandwich application was also difficult to remove. I then tried base coat, layer of Bluesky, layer of MRO, top coat. Watch this space…
Having used a variety of tinted moisturisers for many years, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect one. I like the texture and cover of most but have trouble finding the right shade. There was a Dior – Hydraquench, I think – which had a great feel but one shade was too tan, the next too light. I mixed them in a little pot but it was messy, and expensive buying two in quick succession.
Tops recently for me are:
- Diorskin Nude BB Creme (Shade 003)
- Chanel Les Beiges Tinted Moisturiser (30)
- Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser (Warm Radiance).
I love the glow from the LM, but this shade is a touch golden in the UK in May with me still pale after winter – so I’m putting it by for summer.
I tried to buy Les Beiges when passing through my local airport a few days ago and found that Chanel had withdrawn it – but it’s being reintroduced shortly, presumably after customer outcry.
Instead, I was introduced to Chanel Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Makeup. Compared with moisturisers, this is more liquid (you have to shake before use). Though I’ve not used ‘foundation’ as such for decades, this has a lovely light feel with a silky, sheer finish and was available in ‘my’ shade, 30. Plus it was a bargain (!) at £24 in the tax free shop.
I wish beauty product manufacturers wouldn’t fiddle with formulae.
Most recent off my list of preferred moisturisers is Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream SPF20. The revamp has the bonus of a decent SPF but it has a heavier texture than the former and is minus the delicate rose scent. I like my beauty products to smell nice and this is neutral which takes away so much of the pleasure of using it.
Worse still, Clarins has discontinued my adored Multi Active Serum. The very first serum I used was the famous Boots Protect and Perfect which did me well for several years. Then a Clarins holiday kit introduced me to their beautifully scented serum which I use to this day.
Last year I was persuaded to try their Double Serum (a whopping £70+) but was not impressed. I finished it, went to restock on Multi Active and found it was going out of production. I managed to get some 10ml tubes online – then a huge 100ml salon size at a knock down price – all of which will last me many months. It’s still around online – but at double the price.
Spotted on ebay.co.uk is a budget priced peel off UV gel from Bluesky, the copycat brand. Not bought any yet because I have too many colours already but would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried them. Before I transferred my allegiance to peel off gels two years ago, I purchased a lot of Bluesky soak off products and thought them just as good as, sometimes better than, the premium brands.
There are 24 colours, plus a dual base/top coat, from the seller I found, priced from just £5.50 with free P&P.
Can’t believe it didn’t occur to me earlier to add extra coats to prolong my gel manicures on my soft, peeling nails. The revelation came as I dealt with a nail which had split vertically, down beyond the tip protruding over the nail bed. I put on three layers of base coat, two of colour, then two top coat to finish. Overkill, perhaps, but it outlasted all the rest of the nails and allowed the split to grow out.
I’ve fine-tuned the number of layers down to two base, two colour, two top coats except on my thumbs which, contrarily, are very strong, and get the normal base, two colour coats plus the top coat.
The extra time – one extra minute per hand for application, two extra UV minutes – is balanced by not having to re-do individual failing nails in between a full manicure. And I reckon I’m not using more product overall because this stronger manicure lasts a full two weeks, with a full, lasting shine, rather than around seven days. In fact, I removed the polish today, over two weeks on, because I had more regrowth than I could stand seeing!
It’s summer so I’m into the bold pink of Striplac Bubble Gum.
This little palette of glitter pots was an ebay bargain, slightly more than the cost of a first class stamp. I’m experimenting cautiously after viewing a few videos on YouTube but particularly like mixing a few specks of glitter into a Striplac colour to give it oomph.
These nails are Alessandro Striplac Rouge Noir mixed with the deep pink glitter (top right in case) and I love the result. Wasn’t too sure after the first coat which looked like a relative of those sequinned boob tubes from the 80s! But it was tempered with a second coat of the naked gel for an intense stained glass feel. Result!
Took off my gel nails last night in readiness to redo them, slathered my hands in hand cream before sleep then washed and prepped them before my manicure this morning. I used a recent Alessandro Striplac shade – Blackberry – which isn’t the easiest to apply as it shrinks away from the nail edges and was horrified to find the gels popping off my nails within an hour.
I think I have to blame myself because I used this colour on a friend who got three weeks wear. I’m suspecting that my handwash and prep (non acetone nail polish remover) wasn’t thorough enough because my last few applications with other colours have had good staying power. Most times I remove one shade and straightaway put on another (because my nails are weak and peel when naked).
So, I’ll not forgo my hand lotion (Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream*), but I will make sure I give my nails a good brush and cleanse with soap and water before starting again tomorrow.
Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream
This is my all time favourite hand cream. Originally I had a small size in one of those travel kits you buy on planes but fell in love when I realised it healed, then prevented, the skin under my nail tips from splitting in winter. It’s not cheap but I’d tried all sorts of balms to deal with my tender fingertips and this is the only thing that has worked. It also claims to reduce age spots – see me in 10 years time to see if this is true! The 30ml size sells online for about £7.50, the 100ml from £15 and sometimes you can find the bumper 200ml tube in duty free shops for around £25 (otherwise £30+).