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!
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!).
This is Striplac Silk Champagne with a top coat of essence black spots. The base colour is too light for me so I spruced it up with spots. Can’t wait to try this over Striplac Pret a Porter dazzly red (below) for the ladybird look!
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
Okay, 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!