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.
Our Queen is 90 this year and there are nationwide celebrations this weekend. Our avenue is having a street party and I’m getting into the spirit of things with a new manicure.
In the absence of a white gel in my repertoire, I’ve done a duo of blue and red.
I’ll be wearing a white dress, blue shoes, a red cardi if it’s cool and, of course, a tiara!
Secret Red from Alessandro Striplac
Something Blue by Sensationail *
* Although this is a soak off product, not a peel off, I find a base and topping of Striplac Twin Coat enables it to be peeled off easily; same for other soak off gels. It’s so much kinder on your nails than soaking in acetone.
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!
Surprised to wake and find my nails sparkling purple. How could I not know, you ask? Well, that’s what you get for applying a made up colour – a mix of Alessandro Striplac in Blackberry and a dark pink nail glitter – in artificial light at 11pm.
I bought a tray of 12 nail glitters online and have been experimenting. Doing the tips (applying to the sticky residue prior to top coat) is easy enough but I haven’t mastered trying to make a design (even spots) and it’s also tricky to apply top coat without smudging.
So I decided to mix the glitter directly into the gel – a few blobs of gel on a hard surface, a little glitter and a stir made a sparkling polish. However, the combination was more purple than I’d hoped so I am going to have to judge carefully what I wear while it lasts!
After the disaster described in my last post (Oops!), I made sure my nails were super clean and I’ve not had any gels popping off. Also, I feel the glitter stabilisied this colour which is prone to shrink from the nail edges during application.
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.