Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bourjois So Laque Nude Collection & Nail Tattoos


For Spring, Bourjois have added seven new shades to their So Laque nail polish range, ranging from true nudes to gorgeous bleached-out pinks. When I first saw these polishes, the one that really caught my eye was Peace and Mauve* which I'm wearing in the photo above. This is an ultra pale lilac, almost like a white polish with just a drop of purple in it. It's unlike anything else I have - it looks so fresh and summery. 


You may notice a pretty damn cool looking owl on my thumb nail there - as well as the dandelion motifs, this little fella is one of Bourjois' Calligraphic Nail Tattoos*. Now I'm not one for nail art, it's a palaver that I have neither the time nor patience for, but these have totally won me over. They are so quick and easy to use, it's just a matter of waiting for your nail colour to dry, cutting out the tattoo that you want, placing it on the nail and holding a wet cotton pad over it for a moment or two and you're done. It's like the nail equivalent of those fake tattoos you used to get free with bubblegum in the 80s. The final step is to seal the tattoo with a top coat. 




Also on the way from Bourjois is a new version of their brilliant nail polish remover pot* (the one with the remover-soaked sponge in it that you just dip your finger in) which also includes a sponge in the lid, so you can remove polish from your toes without ruining your manicure. Genius

My next favourite shade from the Nude Collection is Tombée à Pink*, as modeled by Mags below, which Bourjois describe as 'a vintage rose pink shade with antique charm'. It is so pretty. 



All of these products will retail at €7.99 each and should be hitting stores soon, if they're not there already. The nail tattoos will be available from Asos



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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit


I'm a big fan of gel manicures, so I was really excited to try out Red Carpet Manicure, a DIY gel manicure system. I have the brand's 'Pro Kit'* which gets you up and running with everything you need to create a shellac-type manicure at home. The kit contains:

Professional LED light
Prep - Max Adhesion Prep
Structure - base coat
Gel nail polish in 'Red Carpet Ready'
Brilliance - top coat
Purify - post application cleanser
Erase - gel polish remover
Revitalise - cuticle oil


So, how does it work? If you've ever had a gel manicure in a salon, you'll know the drill. The first step, after you clean your nails, is to brush on the Prep solution, a watery liquid that evaporates straight away. Then, it's time to start applying gel, in the from of the Structure base coat, followed by two coats of colour, and one coat of Brilliance top coat. In between each coat, you cure the polish under the LED light for 45 seconds at a time. Lastly, you clean your nails with the Purify cleanser. It's very easy to use as the gel applies like normal nail polish, but it's slightly thicker. 


A few tips that I learned along the way...
  • Read the instructions! I didn't, and was thrown by the fact that my nails were still sticky in between each coat after being cured by the lamp. I thought they should be dry, and thought that I hadn't cured them for long enough, or that I had applied the polish too thickly. Doh. In fact, this is normal. They'll be sticky until you clean them with the Purify cleanser at the end. 
  • Stay well away from your cuticles. If you get the polish on your cuticles, your manicure will begin to lift around the edges much more quickly than it otherwise would. 
  • If you can, coat the free edge of your nails. In my case, my nails are so short I'm just painting skin ;-)
  • I read online that you could use normal nail polish for your colour, once you used the base coat and top coat. I tried it, it doesn't work. It is possible that other brands of gel polish will work with this lamp but I haven't investigated fully yet. 
  • Cure your thumbs separately so you can lay them flat under the lamp. 
  • Don't pick it off (I must admit that I need to practice what I preach here).
  • Red Carpet Manicure sell all of the products separately (or in different kits) but once your supplies start to run out, some of them are interchangable with other brand's products, eg. I just bought generic acetone remover and post-application remover in a salon supply place - they were much better value than the RCM products. Of course you could just use any cuticle oil as well. 


So, is it any good? Does it last the full two weeks? Is it worth the €95 that the kit costs? 

Well, on me, the polish starts to chip and lift after about a week. However, my nails are in bad condition, my day job is very hard on them, and even professionally applied gel manicures do not last the course on me. Normal nail polish lasts a matter of hours. So, I'm delighted to get a week out of a manicure. I love it for holidays, weekends away and special occasions. 

Is it worth the cost? If you get shellac manicures on a regular basis, and you are confident that you could recreate them at home yourself, then yes. You would make back the cost of this kit in less than five manicures. One of the draw backs is that you just get one colour with the kit, but other colours are available from Cloud 10 Beauty, Debenhams, ASOS and some pharmacies, with an average price of around €13 which is not outrageous. It's also worth pointing out that Red Carpet Manicure do a 'Starter Set' which costs €65 and comes with a smaller lamp that has a slightly longer cure time, but otherwise is the same as the 'Pro Kit' . 

Do you do DIY gel manicures? Would love a heads up on other brand's gel colours that will also work with this lamp! 





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Monday, April 7, 2014

March Favourites 2014



I haven't made a video in an age and a half, so here are some of my March Favourites  - it kinda looks like I am sitting on top of the camera (sorry about that).  Watch me ramble, mispronunce things, not apolagise to Karen for breaking our spending ban and say the word arse in the same sentence as ArtDonatella.

  



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Friday, April 4, 2014

Brazilia Waxing Salon Review

I'm not a waxer. Or should that be waxee? Either way, my hair removal of choice for my legs is shaving - yes, it is a pain that you have to do it so often, but it's also cheap and easy. The main thing that puts me off waxing is the regrowth required. And then there's the pain. The first and last time I had a wax was about ten years ago and it was so painful it put me off for good. However... I realise that waxing methods and wax formulas have probably come a long way in the intervening years, so when we were offered the chance to try out a treatment at Brazilia, I decided to take the plunge. I was aware of Brazilia and their reputation for waxing, and a couple of my friends are regular clients. Mags tried to convince me to have an, eh, intimate wax, as some sort of equalizing measure for this, but I thought I'd do things in baby steps, and opted for a half leg wax on my lower legs. 



Once I booked in, the first thing I did was check out Brazilia's website, where they include some really useful advice in their FAQ section, which was great for a waxing newbie like myself. I didn't shave for a couple of weeks, and my hairy legs and I made our way to Brazilia's South William Street location (they also have a salon in Sandyford). 

Brazilia's city centre salon is located on the top three floors of an old Georgian building - its age gives the place a homely, comforable feel, a little different from the more clinical salons I'm used to. Once I fill in a new client form, I'm lead to my treatment room which is a big, bright room with a comfy chair and treatment table in it. There's also a TV on the wall in the corner, so you can catch up with the news while you're being waxed, or in my case, distract yourself with a bit of How I Met Your Mother

My treatment room
My therapist was great - she explained everything she was doing and gave good after-care advice. She worked quickly but very thoroughly and to my surprise, it wasn't half as painful as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, there is some pain, you're having hair ripped from your skin after all, but nothing like I anticipated. Brazilia use Lycon wax which is infused with aromatherapy oils and is actually very kind to skin. I was in Brazilia for about half an hour (great place for a lunch time wax if you work in town!) and I left with totally smooth legs which lasted for a good ten days. 

While I haven't become a regular waxer, I will definitely be paying a return visit to Brazilia before my holidays in June. Less time shaving = more time sunbathing and shopping! 

Find a full list of treatments at www.brazilia.ie - they also do spray tanning and shellac nails. 



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