Sparkling purple anyone?

IMG_4915Surprised 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   Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 20.59.40

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+).

Mercury rising

IMG_2972They 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

Seasonal sparkle

IMG_2149Okay, 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!




This is how you do it, say ‘essence’

My last post described my problems with the removal of essence base/top coat gel.  I messaged the company and received this reply.  I was clearly too impatient with my application!

Top marks to essence for taking the time to respond so quickly and to address the full range of issues. 

IMG_2048How to remove the peel off base and top coat:

Usually the gel nails are easy to remove by using the fingers or a rosewood stick. Using a rosewood stick may be easier than just using your fingers. if this does not help, soak your nails in nail oil or olive oil, lift a small corner of the gel nails with a rosewood stick and then let some of the oil seep under the gel. This way, the gel nails will come off really easily.

How well the base can be removed also depends on the surface of the nail and how thickly the base is applied. The smoother the surface of the nail, the easier the base can be removed. Also, make sure that the first layer of the 2in1 gel is applied thickly.

The colour nail polish used inbetween the peel off base and top coat layers has to be completely dry. The LED Lamp will not harden regular nail polish. If the nail polish is not 100% dry, the top coat cannot harden either, which would explain why the result was not as shiny as you expected. It is important that you apply all products with the same thickness to prevent any irregularities. If you sometimes end up with a bump or raised area, it’s probably because either too much or too little of the base or top coat was applied.

Four fabulous new Striplac colours

Expanding my Striplac collection with four new colours from completely different aspects of the spectrum:

Four new colours * Dark Rubin – the deep plum red I’ve been searching for, with a hint of shimmer

* Nude Parisienne – a dense, smokey rubble

* Hurly Burly – a classic rose pink, closely related to Bubble Gum

* Heaven’s Nude – a transparent shimmer, subtle on its own but which will turn any colour into a shimmer shade.

The biggest problem is deciding which to try first! 

Once again, the coloured labels on the bottles are not 100% representative of the contents so I urge you to look at the ordinary polish shades on the Alessandro website before choosing.


Just to remind you, the Striplac system has a twin base/top coat, each coat cures in just 60 seconds (LED or UV) and PEELS off when you have regrowth or want to change your colour – no soaking in harsh chemicals.

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.