Best foot forward into spring

First signs of spring in the UK and I’m wandering around indoors without socks so had to do something with my naked winter toenails.  This is my first try with a replica peel-off UV polish from BlueSky who have introduced a range of 24 colours at just £6.50 a bottle.  I used many of their soak off gels before migrating to the peel variety and am pleased to find a much cheaper option than Alessandro Striplac.

Application is much the same but I can’t judge durability yet as I just did them today.  This is the unimaginatively named PB14, a pearlescent deep pink, which is a bit like ‘Shiny Rubin’ from Striplac.  The colour in the bottle is exactly the same as on the colour swatch online.


Black patent spotty wedge sandals – Russell and Bromley

Performance update,  March 9:  Very pleased with the durability of this Blue Sky peel off gel.  18 days on, my toenails are like new and I’ve also used it twice on my fingernails.  I found it much easier to remove than Striplac as it comes off mostly as an entire nail covering whereas the original is sometimes resistant and needs several applications of Activator.  So, top marks for the copy.

New peel off gel online

Spotted on is a budget priced peel off UV gel from Bluesky, the copycat brand.  Not bought any yet because I have too many colours already but would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried them.  Before I transferred my allegiance to peel off gels two years ago, I purchased a lot of Bluesky soak off products and thought them just as good as, sometimes better than, the premium brands.

There are 24 colours, plus a dual base/top coat, from the seller I found, priced from just £5.50 with free P&P.

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.


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.

A whiter shade of pale

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.


Cashmere Touch

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!).


Sparkling burgundy

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.

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