Peel off tip

Although I’ve been using peel off gels for about five years now, I’ve only now discovered that removal is easier if nails are soaked for a couple of minutes in warm water.  The brainwave came when I did my nails just after a long soak and hair wash.  The gel peeled off so easily compared with a cold start.

Maybe you haven’t ever experience reluctant gel, but sometimes I find a few nails won’t fully budge and get very annoyed.

Another tip is to use manicure orange sticks to lift the edge of the gels rather than a thumb nail, especially if your nails are fragile.



Soft nail gel solution

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.


Thinking laterally

This week I was away and although I took my travel kit – mini LED lamp and Striplac bottles – I forgot nail polish remover to cleanse the nails or remove the final sticky residue. None of the nearby shops had non-acetone remover and I didn’t want to buy a bottle of vodka (it does work) so I pondered what had the same properties as alcohol…after shave!

It works, it works – but I didn’t let on my friend I’d borrowed it from his bathroom cabinet. Guess perfume would do the same as they both contain alcohol.

Striplac essentials


The Striplac suite consists of Twin Coat (dual base and topcoat), cleansing pads, activator, correction pen and colours.  Initially I bought twin coat, alcohol-soaked pads and colours, then activator when I had trouble removing gel from some nails.

On reflection and multi use, I recommend prospective users to pare down the kit to three items – twin coat, colours and activator (which works within five minutes as claimed).  Forget the cleansing pads and corrector pen.

* non-acetone polish remover or alcohol (vodka?) on a cotton pad has the same cleaning effect as the Striplac pads; also, having used half the tub, I find the rest of the pads are dry and unusable.

* remove any smears from around the nails before curing and there’s no need for a corrector.

Making the most of your vintage hoard

When I added an ‘other stuff’ category to the blog I made a wry comment about how I ought to be selling my unused vintage perfume on ebay.

Well, I did it – and made a cool £45 ($70) plus postage.   It was a 1/4 bottle full of Christian Dior Diorling which I’d bought from the Dior boutique in Paris in the mid-90s as it was no longer sold in the UK.  It had been a favourite for many years but because it became difficult to find and was then discontinued, I switched to another scent.  I found full, unopened bottles for sale on ebay for hundreds of pounds!2013-05-12 14.15.45

This bottle I was kept in the box and then in a drawer so had aged well and I felt confident listing it.  The buyer was from Canada and, from her purchase history, looked to be a collector.  I described it fully, took some clear pictures and underlined that it was the original formula as Dior has, in fact, just started selling it again.

Classic scents such as this, especially when they have been discontinued, are valued by collectors and wearers alike.  The ingredients of many perfumes have been ‘updated’ through time so original formulas are particularly sought after.  Nothing brings back a memory like a particular perfume.  Even empty bottles or boxes can bring good prices!  If the bottle is a special edition – some were made by Lalique and other grand designers – it will bring a premium price.

I’ve read that even 60s scents such as Aqua Manda and the Mary Quant range (I remember using PM), although not classics, can bring a good return.

Tips for selling

* It must be a classic – none of your celeb scents. 

* Think Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef and Arpels, Nina Ricci, Patou and any long-gone manufacturer such as Schiaparelli.

* Raid your mum and granny’s cupboards!

* Search ebay to get a guide to prices.

* Give an accurate description of condition and quantity – eg don’t say perfume if it’s eau de toilette.

*  Include several, good quality photographs.

* Make your listing available internationally.

* Package your bottle well for mailing.