Category Archives: Product Review

MAC Liquid Pigment Pearlescent Topcoat

Hello polish-lovers,

So I got a MAC voucher for Christmas and finally got round to spending it. As soon as I got in there I headed straight to the polish section. The trouble I have is not knowing what polishes I already own, I’m conscious of trying not to duplicate too many colours (I won’t ever need to buy another red polish for the rest of my life!)

The great thing about these toppers is they help you refresh your existing collection and are definitely an original addition to my collection. MAC’s instructions say ‘Highlight and illuminate nail colour with three different sheer, pearlescent shades in pink, green or gold. Nail colour will look like it’s glowing from within.’ The two I picked up were Pink Pearl and Gold Pearl.

I have to start by saying I love the MAC polish bottles. Not too wide or awkward shaped. They fit in your hand whilst polishing and have a non-slip, rubber-feel lid. The difference in the two colours are very obvious when looking at the bottles but less so on the nail.

Neutral bases

In order to show off the two polishes to their full potential I painted my nails in some natural cremes – pink, black, grey, white and taupe. (Please excuse the streakiness of the white. I had to bin it straight after as it had gotten so goopy! Can anyone recommend a good replacement?)

MAC pink pearl

Pink Pearl

That ‘lit from within’ quality really shows itself in this polish, especially over a dark base colour. On lighter shades it has a pretty, ethereal look. Indoors it has a subtle fairy-dusting of shimmer but it really comes to life under direct sunlight; making it ideal for day-to-night office wear.

MAC pink topcoat

MAC pink over whiteMAC pink over greyMAC Pink over taupeMAC pink over black

MAC pink over pink

Gold Pearl

This topcoat adds a rich, warm feel to the base colour. Unlike the pink, the gold topcoat is much more pigmented which unfortunately makes it prone to streaking. Less is more with this one, so I’d advise not overlapping your strokes.

MAC Gold Liquid Pigment

The gold paired perfectly with the taupe as it added shimmer without drowning out the base colour.

MAC Gold topcoat

MAC gold over blackMAC gold over whiteMAC gold over grey

MAC gold over taupeMAC gold over pink

The white base was least effective as whether indoor or outdoors the pearl-effect was completely lost – especially when trying to photograph it! Both polishes would really only work as toppers as on naked nails they fall very flat.

Some people say ‘Why bother with toppers? Just get a polish in a shimmer effect’ however it’s a great way to change up your existing polishes, or add a touch of pizazz without having to redo your whole manicure.

In all honesty, these two polishes were very similar to one another so you probably wouldn’t need both. My favourite of the two is definitely the pink. It has plenty of sparkle in an easy to wear way. Especially as they retail at £10 per bottle; you could easily use up your polish-allowance very quickly in MAC.

If you don’t have a MAC shop close by, you can also order online here

Happy Polishing!

Cirque Kontiki Collection

Hello lovelies, is anyone else yearning for summer yet? This cold, sludgy weather is really getting me down now. To top it all off I’m now full of cold! *sniff*

To cheer myself (and you lovely lot) up I have a summer polish collection from last year that I forgot to post – the Cirque Colors, Kontiki collection. Now I should start with a confession; this isn’t the whole Kontiki collection. At the time I bought these the pink Dear Dahlia was out of stock. So I treated myself to another Cirque pink, PowWow, which I will also review here.

Midsummer Polish Bottle

First up is Midsummer Night. A truly stunning and original polish; this deep jelly blue contains such a wonderful, colour-shifting, micro shimmer that it has to be seen to be fully appreciated. I’ve taken so many pictures to capture the array of shimmering colours it was hard to narrow them down.

Midsummer ShimmerMidsummer blue

It shines orange, pink, gold, green, copper, magenta…shown is three thin coats.

Midsummer daylight

Thicker Than Water Polish Bottle

Second up is the shimmery sea-green of Thicker Than Water. Less colour shifts in this one but it really is a magical green – think glistening mermaid tails with winks of gold and emerald. Again three coats creates perfect coverage.

Cirque GreenThicker Than Water CU

Thicker Than Water Mani

Finally we come to PowWow – NOT  part of the Kontiki Collection – but a beauty nonetheless. This is less of a pink shimmer polish and more full-on holographic with it’s bold, spangly reflecions of linear rainbow holo throughout. A real statement polish.

PowWow Pink Polish

PowWow HoloPowWow Bottle

Luckily these beauties are all still available online. I got mine from Rainbow Connection £9.50 each…and worth every penny! If you still wanna check out Dear Dahlia, then The PolishAholic has a great review.

Boots Salon Nail and Cuticle Oil Review

So my trusty cuticle pen finally ran out and I thought I’d try a new one. I much prefer a self-contained cuticle oil that I can carry around in my handbag to use daily as otherwise I forget to apply it regularly. I didn’t want to pay a fortune for it but another challenge was many of the cuticle oils contain Almond Oil, which I am allergic to!

Boots Own Brand Oil

With all that in mind I decided to opt for the Boots own brand, Salon, Nail and Cuticle Oil. Looked pretty basic and at just £6.20  a good deal compared with other brands. It’s a 9ml glass vial with a roller ball on top.

Boots Cuticle Oil Roller

The viscosity (runny-ness) of this oil is similar to others I’ve tried but beware the roller doesn’t limit the amount coming out the bottle; turning the upside down and rolling over your nails will leave you dripping oil down your fingers, hands, arms! You’d soon run out of oil if you use it this way! Less is definitely more with this product. A little massage helps the oil to absorb into the right place too.

Salon Nail and Cuticle Oil

After two weeks use I’m really happy with the effect. My cuticles (and skin all round my nail) is soft and healthy looking. Admittedly I don’t have very unruly cuticles so some people may want a more ‘heavy-duty’ cuticle oil but for average nails, that just require a little extra moisture, this oil works well.

What do you think? Have you tried Boots Salon brand products? Do you have an all-time favourite cuticle oil?

BarryM Silk Polish Review

I’m gonna start by saying this polish will divide fans right down the middle. It isn’t an easy polish to get along with. Like many non-gloss finishes it takes a bit of painting technique to get a good finish, but for me it was so worth it.

BarryM Silk Nail Polish

The colours – the Silk Collection comes in 9 colours. The one I chose was Meadow – a pastel blue/green that I totally fell in love with. All the shades are beautiful light and feminine colours which are just perfect as spring approaches. Each of the colours has the wonderful ‘lit from within’ sheen that creates the ‘silk-effect’ as opposed to your average matte finish.

BarryM Silk Meadow

The finish – In these pictures I did three liberal coats of polish. I know, I know, three coats is at least one coat too many when it comes to most polishes but it’s such a tricky finish that one coat looks streaky, two coats look uneven but three is just perfect! One tip I’d give is to make sure you streak the brush right down the centre to finish – even on the last coat the brush strokes are still visible and this will help get an even finish. No need for a topcoat either which will save a little time, and the dry time is also quick.

Silk Effect Nail PolishSilk Finish Polish

Availability and price – you can get BarryM online from their own website , or in-store at Superdrug and Boots. RRP £3.99 Just look out for the bow on the bottle lid.

BarryM Silk Bow Lid

You’ll hate it – if you like to polish and run

You’ll love it – if you’re looking for a reasonably priced textured polish that’s perfect for spring

Silk Meadow Close Up

Hedgehog in the fog

Afternoon polish-lovers,

Hope everyone had a good weekend. On Saturday morning I met with some fellow Liverpool bloggers for a lovely morning of coffees and shopping before meeting my man to go and see Guardians of the Galaxy. All in all it’s been a nice relaxed weekend.

The highlight of my weekend was bringing home my nailmail on Friday evening and finally getting to see the polish loveliness that I treated myself to with the Rainbow Connection discount voucher I got at the NWNMEET!

I have spent weeks stalking the website to try and get my hands on the Cirque Kontiki collection, and managed to scoop up two of the three, (damn you Dear Dahlia…you will be mine one day!) and will be posting separately on those soon, however what I wanted to show you today was the delectable Hedgehog in the fog* by Dance Legend.

Hedgehog in the fog

For those who don’t know Dance Legend are a Russian polish brand who make all 3-free polish. I first became aware of them when seeing the gorgeous holo polishes they produced. 

Hedgehog in the fog is a wonderfully subtle polish. From afar it is a slate grey creme but up close or in direct sunlight the irridescent flakes wink and sparkle; making this an ideal polish for those who wouldn’t dare wear glittery flakies in the office (shhh, we won’t tell if you don’t)

Hedgehog in the fog sunshine

Grey polishes seem to be having a big comeback lately. Perhaps it’s us lacquer-heads way of rebelling against the brights and neons of summer. Hedgehog in the fog leans a little bluer in these bright sunlight shots but is more of a true-grey in ‘real life’.

Hedgehog nail polish

It was the colour that drew me to this colour but the name was the clincher. We used to have a regular hedgehog visitor in our old garden. At dusk we’d peek out the bedroom curtains to see him wandering around the garden and sneaking under the garden fence. Such a shame we couldn’t bring him with us to the new house.

Dance Legend Grey

This polish is a little sheerer than I’d like. Shown above is three coats. I think if I wear this again I might put another grey underneath to save the precious Hedgehogey loveliness. If you are adverse to VNL (visible nail line) 3 coats is a must!

You can get your own Hedgehog in the fog here for just £8.50. 

*No hedgehogs were hurt in the swatching of this polish

I love my first Dance Legends Polish and will definitely be on the look out for more. Do you have a favourite Dance Legends polish? Have you any recommendations for me?

Essence polish review

Hi there peoples, how is your week going so far? I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately as it’s been months since my last polish purchase. With the move happening I put myself on a no-buy but on a visit to Wilkinson‘s lately I cracked and snaffled two polishes into my basket.

Essence Colour & Go

I’d heard a lot about Essence’s UK launch and at just £1.60 each I didn’t feel too guilty about my impulse buy! The polishes I choose are: L.O.L and Party Princess.

Essence Old V New

Essence has actually been available in the UK for a long time. I have a wonderful neon green I bought about 6 years ago from a discount store for 99p called Check me out and I was hoping L.O.L would be a replacement for it. As you can see from the swatch below, when I got it home L.O.L. is clearly a lot more pastel-lime to Check me out’s atomic apple. One thing I do love is that the new Essence bottles click when the lid is screwed on correctly – YAY! No more dried up polish. I wish all polish bottles did this.

L.O.L. Coat One

L.O.L. Coat One

L.O.L. Coat Two

L.O.L. Coat Two

Essence L.O.L.

L.O.L. was sadly not my kind of polish. It was very streaky on the first coat. Perhaps this was because I found the brush difficult, my usual three-stroke technique was tricky. For the second coat I soaked the brush in polish and did one thick coat instead. This worked better but still the polish didn’t level out. You might think I’m asking a lot of a budget nail polish but I think formula should be good no matter the polish brand – what good is a colour you love if it paints on uneven?

L.O.L. with flakie topcoat

To make this more even and wearable I added a flakie topcoat

Party Princess did not fair much better. The bottle promises deep pink, glitter-packed, jelly goodness. What is produced on the nail is a weak imitation. There is plenty of glitter and the shift of colours in this is just lovely but if there’s one thing I hate as much as streaky polish, it’s a visible nail line. There’s always the possibility to use this one as more of a glitter topper but this shade of pink did absolutely nothing for my colouring (making my pale hands look flushed). 

Party Princess

Bottle and nail colour comparison

Party Princess Coat One

Party Princess Coat One

Orange, gold, blue, and green fine glitter suspended in a pink jelly base

Orange, gold, blue, and green fine glitter suspended in a pink jelly base

In Essence’s defence I am probably not their target buyer. I am used to high-end polishes that offer good coverage and self-levelling and perhaps the price point here is more suited to teens who will use their hard earned pocket money to buy these. Also the colours I chose were ones that I don’t currently have in my collection – and the reason for that might well be because they aren’t my favourite kind of colours and don’t suit me!

Have you tried the new Essence polishes? Did you have a better experience than I did?

 

 

HOMEMADE Nail Polish by Allison Rose Spiekermann

Hey there chickadees,

Today’s post is a first for me; my first ever book review.

HOMEMADE Nail Polish Book

I bought this book on a whim and if I’d had time to talk myself out of it I would have said “You’ll never find the time, money and effort to actually begin producing your own nail polish, despite the appeal of being a bona fide indie maker” However thanks to Kindle One-Click it was downloaded before the voices in my head had chance to dissuade me, and I’m very glad of that.

Firstly, the book is short. I read the whole thing cover to cover in less than an hour! But this is not a book to be read in one sitting. Think of it more as a recipe book and though it will sit on your shelf a number of weeks untouched, it will be a staple for you to dip in and out of and come back to for tips and advice. (Why didn’t that work? How do I change this consistency? I wonder what it mentions about glitters?)

The book starts with the basics of what polishes are made up of – what the ingredients of nail polish are and what they do. More than that though, Allison warns not to run out and buy bulk orders of chemicals but simple tips on where to start and advice for dabblers (like me) who might want to cobble together things they already have!

empty polish bottles

Even if you’re not planning on making your own but are just curious what actually goes into the process there are some gems of advice for any polish lover; some more obvious (NEVER use nail polish remover to thin a polish) and others super useful (look for HDPE on plastic bottles to ensure they’re suitable for acetone storage). I literally streaked highlighter all through this book as it was packed full of interesting tips.

If you do decide to jump in with both feet the how-tos/recipes are easy to follow and the results are very sleek and professional looking. If becoming your own polish creator is something you’ve ever considered then this book will be an essential read.

The book layout (or my KindleFire version) is very simple and clean. All the polishes have clear photographs of the ideal finished product and the methods used are also illustrated throughout with step by step photographs.

I was particularly keen on the ‘Deconstructing Nail Polish’ section as it can not only be used to help troubleshoot polishes you’ve created yourself but can also help you to tweak existing polishes in your collection that are in need of a little improvement. Lumpy, too opaque, not jellifying? Skip ahead to this section for advice.

The resources section is also an invaluable resource in finding ingredients and inspiration online.

So if you want to find out how eye-shadow, silicone baking cups, and an eye-dropper fit into polish making you’ll just have to get your own copy here (currently £6.99 on Amazon)

Have you thought about creating your own polish? Would you like to know more about polish making? Have you read this book? Are there any other recommended reads for would-be indie polish producers?

If you’ve liked today’s post keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming review of How I Nailed It by Leighton Denny.

North West Nails Meet – a peek in the goodie bags

Meet up goodies

My first thought when contacting polish brands for goodie bag content was to ask Tara’s Talons. Tara is a blogger and indie polish maker who has always been friendly and approachable and most importantly creates some wonderful polishes.You can check out my most recent review of some of her polish here. Tara kindly donated some of bottles of loveliness for every blogger who attended, in a variety of colours, and discount vouchers too!

Taras Talons VillainTara Polish glitter cuTarasTalons Polish

The polish I received was the lusciously deep purple sparkle of Villian. It’s the perfect autumn colour and I can’t wait to try it out. I also got a bag full of glitter pieces in a shimmering mix of colours and textures.

Bag of nail glitter

Rio Nail Art has been a firm favourite of mine for so long and I was delighted when they not only offered to send nail art pens and discount voucher but also two competition prizes. Each attendee received a black and a a white nail art pen. The nail art possibilities are endless with these pens; a fine line striping brush and a metal nib, great formula and cleaner pin all make for great results (especially compared to cheap alternatives).

Rio Nail Art Pens

Some of my first furores into nail art were about 20 years ago using brushes similar to these. I’m going to have to get my thinking cap on to create some nail art to show these off to their full potential.

Another of my favourite British brands is She Sells Sea Shells. My all-time favourite nail decal came from them (see my unicorn mani here) and I was delighted they offered some of their new nail stickers for the bloggers to test out. There are zig-zags, straight lines, curves and the ultimate – unicorn heads! They come in an array of bright colours too so will easy to spot among my nail art supplies.

SheSellsSeaShells Stickers

As if it couldn’t get better the lovely Annette of Rainbow Connection donated discount vouchers. The site sells an assortment of indie polishes from all over the world (and ships across Europe). If you haven’t already visited I suggest you check out the site now.

Although not technically part of the goodie bags I feel compelled to mention Guppy Graphics here. Sophia a local graphic designer kindly designed the logo for the event. She creates blog designs, webiste, logos, etc. You may have seen her work on The Hotel Inspector logo. If any bloggers out there are looking for a redesign check out her website.

NWNMEET Logo

Once again I’d like to say a big thank you to all the people and brands who have shown their support. Here’s hoping the next meet up is even bigger and better.

Independents’ Day

 

Hello there lacquer lovers,

If there’s one thing we love more than nail polish, it’s Indie nail polish. Those hard-working, independent polish makers tug at our heart (and purse) strings with their creative polish offerings.

So what better time to feature one of my favourite indie brands than today; Independents’ Day!

No, I didn’t forget to spell-check; Independents Day is a national campaign to encourage shoppers to support independent retailers. What easier way to do so than sit back, put your feet up and visit your favourite brands online.

The polishes I have to show you today are both from Tara’s Talons. She was one of the first UK Indie polish makers I was aware of and has a big presence in the nail polish community.

The two polishes I purchased from her site are: Fairy Brains and Spring shower.

Fairy Brains is an amazing cacophony of girlie glitters; jam packed full of pink butterflies, blue micro glitter, lilac round and hex glitter and white flowers, all suspended in a clear base.

Fairy Brains

The formula was a winner. I got good glitter coverage from repeatedly stroking the brush in one direction, WITHOUT dipping back into the bottle. The scent was very strong and chemically, but it’s not something that would put me off.

Fairy Brains Thumb

NYC & Tara's Talons

Pink Fairy Brains

TarasTalons Fairy Brains

The glitter combination in this is delicious. The metallics catch the light with dazzling brightness and the bright pink butterflies offer a pop of colour and fun. I’d recommend layering it over a base colour but the possibilities are limitless. I will certainly have fun coming up with new colour combinations.

I confess I was first attracted by the name but this polish is so much more than just a pretty name.

Spring Shower is a dark lilac crème filled with small/medium hex glitters of amethyst, pastel pink and white, and micro glitters of neon pink and white.

Spring Shower

TarasTalons Purple

The formula was perfect. A generous amount of glitter glides easily from the long, slim brush – so no need for the dabbing and fishing around you get with other glitter-packed polishes.

Spring Shower Glitter

Spring Shower on it’s own is quite sheer. If you hate VNL (visible nail line) you might want to do what I did and add a base colour. This will also preserve your precious indie polish as you’ll only need one coat!

The pictures here show one coat of ModelsOwn Grape Juice and one coat of Spring Shower. I didn’t use a topcoat but if you hate the uneven feel of glitter polish you might want to smooth it down with a thick coat of top coat.

Taras purple

Even without a top coat this polish wore really well – 7 days wear and there was just one slight chip!

I purchased both polishes online at www.thetaraemporium.co.uk (Fairy Brains £6.50 and Spring Shower £3.50)

There’s also currently 50% off with the code: SUMMER

There’s also free shipping on orders over £20

Amazing!

Have you tried Tara’s Talons polishes? What’s your favourite indie polish brand?

 

Ciate Feather Manicure Kit

 

Evening nail lovers, I hope you’re all enjoying your weekends so far? I’ve been busy with chores today so what better way to unwind after a busy day than try out a new manicure.

A few weeks ago I posted the Ciate Feather manicure kit as my Weekly WANT and for once I actually bought it. The kit was on sale at ASOS and had free shipping so this box of loveliness cost me just £10.50 -bargain!

Ciate Feather kit

I had been wanting to try the feather technique for a while but couldn’t decide what kind of feathers would work best. The great thing about these Ciate kits is they take all the guesswork out of things; with their ‘how-to’ guide and every item you could possibly need all in one place. I have a few other Ciate kits now: Caviar and Chalkboard. I love keeping them in their original boxes because they’re easy to store and keeps everything you need for the manicure in one place.

Feather box contents

So here it is, my very first attempt at the feather manicure. Like many of these creative kits I am sure practice makes perfect and after a little fine tuning this manicure could be looking much sleeker so please bare with me.

Feather overhang

Step one – I painted my nails with two coats of Ivory Queen. I did consider choosing another base colour from my own collection (white maybe?) but for ease I tried out the polish that came in the set.

Step two – paint over the polish with a generous helping of top coat.

Step three – Whilst the top coat is still tacky lay a feather over the top and gently dab into place. This part was a bit of a struggle. You want the coat wet enough to stick the feather but dry enough not to smudge the polish as you smooth the feather down – tricky!

Pink feather hang

Step four – trim around the sides of the nail to neatly fit the feather onto the nail.

Feather fan

Step five – and this step is just my own; dab a little more topcoat under any edges of the feather that may be lifting at this point. I found the denser feather at the nail edge took a little more polish to fully stick down. I also spent a few extra seconds this time holding the edges in place.

Step six – use the buffing block to shave off any smaller feather pieces by running across the nail edge. This part worked perfectly as the harder block buffed away the tiniest feather pieces to create a really smooth finish

Final feathers bright

Step 7 – more copious amounts of topcoat help to seal the feathers down. Just make sure you run the brush the same direction as the feathers; the opposite way to what you usually paint. This is another difficult one to get your head/hands around and I ended up with A LOT of polish over my cuticles and fingers, Clean up most definitely required!

Feather fingers

So here is it, the finished feather manicure. I love all these bright feather colours but especially the green feathers as the smaller green dots were more defined. You get four different feather colours in the box – I can’t help thinking if only it was five there would be a different colour for each nail.

Bright Ciate feathers

Overall

I love the finished effect and I am positive with a bit more practiced I could create a more polished finish in a quicker time. However, it was a bit of a faff – the dry times, the sticking up bits, and the uneven bit were my finger smudged the polish all make it a lot of effort.

Perhaps if I try this again I’ll just use the feather as an accent nail.

Ciate does describe this manicure as ‘long lasing’ though so depending on how many days wear I get out of it the effort may be worth it. I’ll let you know once I’ve had them on longer.

Feather mani

So what do you think? Have you tried the feather manicure technique? Would you be tempted to get the Ciate kit?

 

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