Showing posts with label manicure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manicure. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Nails of the Week: Red Carpet Manicure Plum Up The Volume with Gelish Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bam

I've spent the past week in the Bay Area of San Francisco on a work trip, and as always, I applied an LED-cured gel manicure before I went.  I used my Red Carpet Manicure home gel kit, and decided to pair up my cream finish RCM Plum Up The Volume shade (which is more of a slightly purplish pink to my eyes) with a couple of coats of Gelish's Ali Baba Sim Sala Bam.  A bit of a mouthful, that last one, although with it's multi-dimensional pink and blue shimmer on a purplish sheer base, it definitely made a worthy addition to my manicure.  I didn't know that the Gelish colours actually layer well with the Red Carpet Manicure base/top coats - apparently not all gel polishes are alike, but Gelish and RCM are close enough that you can mix and match the colours.

This photo was taken after a week and a bit of wear.  My nails have grown a fair bit, leaving a reasonable sized gap between them and the polish, but the finish is still incredibly smooth and glossy, with no signs of wear at all.  Impressive stuff.

Disclosure: Original Red Carpet Manicure kit was a PR sample.  Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bam and Plum Up The Volume were purchased by me.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review: Red Carpet Manicure LED Gel Polish

I've had two gel manicures in the past, one Shellac and one Artistic Colour Gloss, and I loved then both.  The long wear, the incredible shine, the lack of worrying about your nail colour chipping for a coupla weeks... what's not to love?  Admittedly, regular gel manicures will leave a large dent in your wallet, with each manicure costing at least £30.  There are a few home kits on the market, which promise the same long lasting, shiny results at a fraction of the cost.

Red Carpet Manicure produces a couple of different kits which include a full set of products designed to give a professional gel manicure result at home.

The difference between the Professional kit and the Portable kit is in the LED curing light supplied - the Professional kit, at around £90, includes a mains powered LED light dome with a timer, where the Portable kit, slightly cheaper at around £60, includes a battery powered light with no timer.  The light pictured with the kit above is the Professional variety.

Along with the curing light, you get a gel base coat and top coat, a cuticle oil, a prep solution to maximise adhesion, a red gel polish, polish remover and a purifier (which removes any oily residue from the nail prior to application).

The basic premise is that you prep the nail by shaping and buffing, followed by an application of the purify and prep products which make sure the nail is completely clean and dry ready for application.  The gel products are designed to be applied very thinly, and have short stubby brushes which encourage you to minimise the product you can apply in one go.

Red Carpet Manicure recommend that you apply base, two coats of colour, and topcoat to the fingers of each hand followed by the thumbs, to ensure that you can fit all your freshly painted nails into the curing light.  I found it relatively easy to apply the layers of gel, curing under the light for 30-45 seconds in between coats, and ended up with ten perfectly polished nails in about 40 minutes.

And here are the results, a week and a half after application.  The polish is smooth, shiny and vibrant, and is showing very few signs of wear and tear.  Admittedly, the cuticle space is starting to look a little large, and I'll probably have to remove it before I get three weeks out of it, but that's largely due to my lack of cuticle trimming prowess prior to application.

Anyway - all in all, this is a fabulous little kit.  If you're an adept nail-painter and regularly polish your own fingers, you'll probably find it relatively easy to apply and cure the polish, and you'll get a great professional looking result.  At £90, the kit is quite expensive - but after three home manicures, it'll have paid for itself, and you'll still have plenty of product remaining.  Red Carpet Manicure also sell additional colours for £11.95 each, although I've also heard that Gellish polishes work with the Red Carpet Manicure system too. I've also heard of people getting great results using the gel topcoat atop normal polishes, which I'll definitely be trying soon.

You'll find the Red Carpet Manicure system at their website.  What do you think of gel manicures?  Tempted to try a home version?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Two Weeks On: CND Shellac in Masquerade

Over two weeks ago, I treated my hands to a CND Shellac manicure prior to a trip abroad, to save me the effort of doing my nails whilst away.  My fingernails still look absolutely immaculate, glossy, and chip-free - seriously impressive stuff.  I also find it fascinating to see exactly how much my nails have grown in two weeks.  The polish was applied right up to the cuticle, so the gaps around the cuticle are all fresh growth.  

I had my manicure at the Chelsea branch of the Hand and Foot Spa, which I'll be reviewing in due course.  The CND Shellac add on costs £25 on top of any standard manicure - expensive, yes, but for up to three weeks of maintenance free gorgeous nails, well worth it for special occasions.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Nail of the Fortnight: CND Shellac in Masquerade

As you're reading this, I'm in San Francisco on a work related trip, and not worrying at all about the state of my nails, thanks to a CND Shellac manicure.  And look... isn't it so shiny?  And so incredibly perfectly smooth and crisp?  As an incredibly clumsy person who more often than not smudges her freshly applied polish on the way home from a manicure, I'm always incredibly happy to leave a salon with a gel manicure applied - set under UV lights, they're perfectly dry and hardened almost instantly, and thanks to the gel texture, last for up to three weeks on the nail.

I've tried Artistic Colour Gloss before, and liked it very much, so I'm keen to see how this Shellac manicure compares.  It sure is shiny though.  And means that I've taken absolutely no nail related products with me on my trip at all.  Which leaves more room to bring new ones back, of course!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Artistic Colour Gloss: Two Weeks On

Two weeks ago, I posted about the Artistic Colour Gloss manicure I had at Urban Retreat, the spa at Harrods.  Now I'm following up after two weeks of wear.  Here are the before and after photos.

Freshly applied

After two weeks of wear

Two weeks on, and the majority of my nails still look pretty much the same, barring the most tiny amount of tipwear.  The exception is my middle finger nail, where I smashed my hand against a wall (clumsy).  I've been most impressed by the shininess of my nails - they've remained perfectly glossy throughout the two week wear period, despite a multitude of baths, hair washes, and a lot of typing.

Removal wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be, either - cotton wool was soaked in a removal solution, wrapped around my fingers, and covered with tinfoil.  After ten minutes, the colour was gently pushed off the nail with a metal scraper - the sensation did make me cringe a little, but after removal, my nails actually looked pretty much the same as they did before.  I've not noticed any extra brittleness or other signs of unhealthiness since having the gel polish removed. 

Overall, I'm very impressed with my Artistic Colour Gloss manicure - the colour looked beautiful, stayed perfectly glossy, and wore very well.  I did get a little bored of not being able to change my nail colour every few days - but as a solution for a very busy lifestyle, or in preparation for a holiday, I really can't fault it.  Next time I go away on a beach holiday, I think I'll be indulging again.

Disclosure: My Artistic Colour Gloss manicure was provided free of charge

Friday, 5 August 2011

Nail of the Fortnight: Artistic Colour Gloss in Crazed

I recently popped down to Urban Retreat at Harrods for an Artistic Colour Gloss manicure.  Artistic Colour Gloss is a soak-off gel manicure of the kind that lasts you up to two weeks - without damaging the nails underneath.  There are a whopping 66 shades on offer - this is Crazed, a hot pink-berry shade with blue, red and pink microglitter.  For some reason, I was under the impression that gel manicures were generally cream finish, so I was pleasantly surprised to see some sparkle on offer.

This photo was taken after four days, and my nails still look as fresh as they did after application.  Because the gel polish is cured with LED lights, I left the salon with bone dry, perfectly shiny nails - which was fantastic.  I'm quite clumsy, and often smudge salon manicures within half an hour of leaving, so having that possibility ruled out completely definitely works for me.  

I had thought that the gel layer would protect my nails from any accidental breaks, but I've found that as the polish layer is incredibly thin, the nails remain pretty flexible.  This means that if you're a bit clumsy (spotting a theme here?), you can still break your nails whilst wearing the gel manicure - which is what I've managed to do on my little finger.  Still, filed down below the break, the nail still looks shiny and polished.

I'll be posting again in a couple of weeks to see how long it lasts - so stay tuned for the results.  The Artistic Colour Gloss manicure (sold as the Everlasting Manicure) is available at Urban Retreat, where it will cost you £55 - certainly not cheap, but a reasonable price to pay if you want your polish guaranteed gorgeous for the entire duration of your holiday, or for a special occasion like a wedding, when you really don't want the possibility of a last minute chip.  The price includes a complimentary soak-off treatment to remove the polish from the nails.

Disclosure:  Manicure service was received free of charge as a sample

Thursday, 18 November 2010

NOTD Strawberry nails by WAH Nails & Models Own

Disclosure - PR sample/treatment

Here's a bit of nail art inspiration courtesy of WAH Nails, who invited us to their ultra-hip Dalston salon to celebrate the launch of the new WAH/Models Own nail art pen.

I was given a preview sample of one of the nail art pens (initially available in black and white, but planned to roll out in all of Models Own's stupendous shades). Unfortunately, I've not been able to produce anything fit to see the light of day. I thought I was the artistic type. Sigh.

I'll keep practicing. In the meantime, here's some much more accomplished work from WAH nail technician Zara, who adorned my digits with the very sweet Strawberry manicure (RRP £26).

Sunday, 1 November 2009

A Muff manicure and a mystifying morning at the Glam Show

Yesterday I was invited by Get Lippie as her plus one to the Nicky Hambleton-Jones Glam Show at London's Earl's Court. She won tickets via the magic of Facebook, and was understandably anticipating a fun day with plenty of opportunities for shopping and ogling nice things.

It's billed as a high-profile fashion mecca with displays, treatments, dancers etc. But when we got there we discovered what was basically an indoor market with a rather basic catwalk bolted on. They did have quite a nice glitterball hanging from the ceiling, and there were plenty of dubious-looking fliers in our "goodie" bags... but basically the "glam" was distinctly absent.

There were a few talks and stages, but most of them seemed to be a thinly-veiled opportunity for a sales pitch, and the speakers were "recycled" around the different stages. Other stalls included tarot readers, debt management solutions, and most woefully in my eyes a Sunday-market type stall selling 99p-type no-name nail polish and eyeshadow, billed with flourescent hand-drawn "BARGAIN!" signs. Not glam, Nicky, not glam at all. And tickets were apparently worth £25! For shame.

On the up side however, part of Lippie's prize was a free manicure courtesy of SFB Mobile Spa, one of the more enticing stalls there, and we both enjoyed having our nails MOT'd by Tiffany, who had a range of OPI, nails inc. and Essie polishes to choose from.

I opted for the hilariously named Essie "Mink Muffs" (pictured), from the new Autumn collection. It's a glossy creme taupe shade, quite cool toned and very unique. Tiffany filed my nails, pushed back cuticles with a scary metal implement (always mistrusted this aspect of the manicure process since a merciless manicurist in a New York "salon" hacked off all my cuticles completely) and finished it off with two coats of Essie and a coat of Seche Vite.

She also had a very neat trick that I want to share with you - once she had finished applying colour, she soaked a fine eyeshadow brush in nail polish remover and used it to clean up around the edge of the nail. It worked a treat and as she explained, it's much more precise than a cotton bud and doesn't risk leaving snaggy bits of cotton around the nail. Win!
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