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I tried to buy Les Beiges when passing through my local airport a few days ago and found that Chanel had withdrawn it – but it’s being reintroduced shortly, presumably after customer outcry.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.
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+).
Had to do a rush job with my nails after I’d put my contact lenses in – wearers will understand that sometimes you see better up close without the plastic – so, for fewer mistakes, I chose a pale shade. Striplac Cashmere Touch is a classic soft beige, much the tone of British skin in the winter; a whiter shade of pale than a Max Mara camel coat.
It goes on smoothly, no shrinking, no blobs, and has cured to a tough finish. The last few weeks, I’ve been having problems with applications coming loose at the tip or popping off very quickly but these, 48 hours later, are stable. Maybe it’s the damp air (how much rain have we had in the UK??), more hand lotion; can’t really find a reason as I do the same prep as normal.
If you want a subtle, don’t frighten the animals look, Cashmere Touch is they way to go.
A later rendition by Procul Harum, but as spine chilling as when I first heard it in the summer of love, 1967 (yes, I am that old!).
Took a risk this week and sandwiched a soak off gel in between two layers of Striplac Twincoat to get a dynamic sparkling burgundy.
I chose Red Carpet ‘Draped in Rubies’, a glorious red wine hue with a fine sparkle. It peels off just as good as a full Striplac manicure so I will buy more shades as I can see the true colours in my local ‘Sally’s’. No more gauging colours from the web and being disappointed at the reality. RC is around £12.98 for a 9ml bottle.
Update, Jan 2, 2016 I’ve kept this colour going right through Christmas and New Year because it looks so festive and cheerful. Dark, wet winter days in the UK demand a touch of colour, on nails at least.
No problems whatsoever peeling if off, having used Alessandro twin coat for base and seal. Must investigate the rest of the Red Carpet hues.
ROCK STAR, the Striplac shade (5ml) which was on back order, arrived and I couldn’t wait to get it on my fingertips. Black with a shimmer sparkle of deep teal, it’s a gorgeous rock chic colour (and perfect for coming Halloween).
Unlike the regular shades, this says shake well before application to disperse the shimmer particles. It covered beautifully in two coats but I had to take care not to apply too thickly. I did get some puckering under UV on the first coat but it disappeared with the second.
As I mentioned with my first try of a 5ml bottle, I like the shorter brush in this size as it feels more precise.
Couldn’t resist this from eternal rockers Status Quo!
They call it Grey Silk, but my newest Striplac colour reminds me of mercury rising in a thermometer…
A deep pewter grey, it’s one of several iridescent shades added to the range and available in a new 5ml size. These smaller bottles have a shorter brush head (about 2/3rd the length of the 8ml size) which I found made the gel easier to apply.
Needless to say I ordered several colours but Grey Silk is the first to make it to my nails and I got great opacity with two coats, no shrinking from the nail edges. As with all pearlised polishes, you have to take care that you stroke straight from cuticle to fingertip. It has great glimmer when wet but has dulled after the top coat – which is a bit disappointing as the shine is usually brilliant with gels.
Other shades in my bag
- Pret a Porter – brilliant red shimmer which is a cert for Christmas (too early for that word!)
- Silk Champagne – fudge shimmer
- Rouge Noir – deep purple, very like Dark Rubin but without the faint shimmer (full size)
and, on back order, I am awaiting Rock Star – another newbie black with blue/turquoise shimmer. Bring it on!
Wear update 19/10/2015
Grey Silk didn’t behave like any of the other dozen or so Striplac shades I have tried. Normally my nails feel strong after a Striplac application and the product peels off easily. With Grey Silk, they stayed very soft and flexible, plus removal took ages, even with copious applications of Activator. I was teasing it off in tiny pieces which were much softer than the normal peelings which often come off intact. It lasted but I didn’t feel as confident as usual. Maybe I’ll try a double base coat another time.
The trio of 5ml bottles