Your at-home nail saviour

I feel like a bit of a Jerry Seinfeld when I say this… but have you ever noticed how crazy nails have gotten? I know I have mentioned this before, but it doesn’t appear to be a trend set aside for beauty guru’s such as Dress Your Face and it doesn’t appear to be dying? My breaking point was watching the server at a local cafe attempt to type in my order on a touch screen and then watch her prepare my coffee – I do not want that bacteria hell hole near something I am about to consume, kthx.

crazy nails

I think these nails continue to gain followers simply because you can’t escape them – walk into any nail salon and it is assumed you are there for acrylic claws with Shellac. In fact, I went into a nail salon for a polish on my natural nails and took a polish colour with me and they looked at me like I had walked in and asked them to paint my body in the polish. So, the only way to escape them is either by being very firm about what you want or by having an understanding nail artist (as I know some of my friends do have). Otherwise, you’re on your own – which is JUST FINE. It involves a tiny bit of investment and planning initially – but once you’re set, you’ll be loving life.

So, let me help you work out your at-home nail salon.

Cuticle Softener

cuticle remover.png

This makes a huge difference and I have no doubt this is much higher quality product than anything used in a walk-in nail salon. This stuff really makes you feel like you are in a salon and will make the cuticle push-back/removal process much easier.
$15.99 Priceline

Cuticle trimmer

cuticle trimmers .png
They seem like a pricey investment, but they really are worth the investment to amp up your at-home salon.
$30.59 at Priceline

Cuticle stick

cuticle stick.png

Cheap as chips and you can find these anywhere – supermarket, $2 store, pharmacy, etc.
$2.99 Priceline

File

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 12.58.45 PM.png

It’s up to you whether you want to invest in a metal file or a nail board like this one. I like to use either, but like the idea of this kind of nail board which can be disposed of eventually. Again, cheap as chips.
Sally Hansen $2.95 at Priceline

Nail Oil

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.08.59 PM.png

This stuff may seem unnecessary, but remember, we are creating a salon experience here! In fact, by adding this to your regime, you are creating a better experience! This oil will last you forever – I have the same bottle from over 5 years ago! You should see an improvement in nail health by applying this to your nails after filing.
$15.99 Priceline

Quick drying nail polish

good to go.png

Regular readers know I love all things Essie and this stuff is the shiz. Essie ‘Good to Go’ quick drying top coat will make you very happy. If you’re anything like me, the time you get to do your nails is close to bedtime which means you are at high risk of a fabric imprint! This stuff dries so quickly, so you can go to sleep and apply it in the morning or better yet, apply it about 10 mins before bedtime and sleep easy.
$17.95 Priceline

So, as you can see, you can create a salon at home with affordable items from Priceline. The beautiful thing about Priceline is that it will all go on sale at some point – so you can slowly add to your collection as items are marked down. You can resist the salon experience and have gorgeous nails – think of all the money and time saved!

And if irritation occurs… discontinue use. 

Resist the bejewelled nail

Has anybody noticed what has happened with fingernails? Not so long ago, people were blogging about gradient nails and galaxy nails, and now suddenly nails are like a battle to the death.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.32.05 pm

For the record, I am a huge @dressyourface fan – her makeup is on point, her business is #goals and she comes across as quite a beautiful person (as far as one can tell on Instagram!). She is ultra-glam, so her nails make perfect sense – but checkout assistant at Woolworths? This seems a bit aggressive for you.

I admit I am a nail traditionalist – a reformed nail-biter, a hater of cheap nail salons (I have done my time in those places but now see the light) and resistor to acrylic nails (have also done my time there). So what’s a girl to do if she doesn’t want plastic nails that can cause serious injury? Well… read on!

Nails Inc.nails inc

This stuff is very nice – high-gloss and minimal fuss. The colour range has improved a lot since I first saw the Gel Effect about 12 months ago. Retails for $26.95 at David Jones. I’m hardly a Nails Inc expert as I’ve only ever tried a few (did you see the price?!), but the packaging and colours do intrigue me.

Rimmel Salon Pro

rimmel salon pro

Decent brush, huge range of colours and awesome prices (currently $4.48 at Priceline). Rimmel has a range of polish types, but this seems to be the best value, and best pay-off. Your manicure will last you a fair few days and the actual formula will remain decent for a long time – I’ve had Essie polishes dry out faster than this one.

O.P.I. Nail Lacquer

OPI Berry

Ah, once the jewel in the nail polish crown! I was a long time devotee of OPI, back when it was a clear outlier in the nail market – expensive and luxurious. I still think this is one of the longest wearing of the home manicure polishes and the best when you want a very classic shade. If you want something really on trend and fun, OPI doesn’t do it, I’m afraid. I’ve yet to try any of their new lines such as the Gel version, so let me know if you have any thoughts. Retails for $19.95 at department stores, but not impossible to find it in a bargain bin in Gloss/Trade Secret etc. My, how far you fell, OPI.

Essiecolors_summer_sunset-sneaks

Essie knocked the crown off from OPI, in my personal opinion. It came along, not as cheap as brands such as Rimmel, but not as expensive as OPI, and took over the home manicure market. I am not a blind fan however; I recently bought a bottle which dried up after 2 uses – very disappointing! Luckily, I only ever buy it on sale at Priceline (RRP is $16.95). I’ll admit that the fact that it goes on sale made me a fan of it over OPI!  Essie’s range is updated regularly and is very fun and fast – which of course means there are some hideous shades and some lovely ones also.

So, if you are old school like me, and enjoy slapping on a colour at home when you have some free time, give these a go (and let me know!). Here’s to claiming back regular nails in 2016!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Goodbye OPI

Hello all! Firstly, my apologies for not blogging very consistently as of late – as regular readers will know, I’ve been away in the US for a few weeks. All good things must come to an end, so I’m back in Australia, and back in winter mode. I’m working on a few different posts that are looking at some of the new products I picked up (quite a few of them are much raved about products), but I need some time to have a proper play around and see if they are worth the hype.

During my trip, it become clear to me that my long relationship with OPI is officially over. OPI’s brush is no longer the be-all and end-all, and nor is their formula the best on the market. They remain one of the most expensive salon formulas in Australia, so it’s time to move on. I follow the brand on Facebook, so constantly see updates of their new shades and ranges, and one that interested me a lot this year was the Brazil Range. I picked up ‘Amazon… Amazoff’ which is a lovely teal shade – or so I thought. I also picked up ‘Red Hot Rio’, which also disappointed me. Neither shade was horrible, but neither had any sort of wow-power. The teal shade ended up looking horrible on me and I changed it after one day (God bless holidays!), and the red was just… well, it was just another shade of red.

It’s been a while since I used OPI, so I’d forgotten about the large monstrosity of a handle, and even the brush seems to have put on 10 pounds. You can catch a glimpse of the polish in the photo below – there is nothing as refreshing as a Mint Julep in Louisiana.

drink

So that’s it from me OPI – you have been good to me, you’ve been a lovely indulgence for many years, and helped build my love for nail polish – but no more. It’s Essie for the mean time – I picked up the gorgeous ‘Mint Candy Apple’ which you can kind of see in the picture below. I figured it’s about time I included some selfies on this blog, so here I am, in all my Harry Potter fandom glory – enjoying a butterbeer in Hogsmeade (i.e. Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida).

butterbeer cropped

Until next time…

US Beauty Burn: Sephora Formula X

Hello USA!!! I’ve been in the US for the past 4 days, with my best friend, MO. We started our trip in San Francisco, which I knew was going to involve lots of hills of walking, but they really do redefine my understanding of hills in that city. My legs and butt feel very toned after 4 days of walking. It didn’t help that our hotel was at the top of a huge hill, so even a simple day of shopping involved a huge gradient.

Anyways, great city, and although the shopping didn’t excite me as much as I had anticipated, it was still great, and many $$$ were spent. One of the first Sephora items I picked up was the Formula X nail polish. I picked up shade ‘Enigma’, which is a nice turquoise blue shade. I’m really feeling blue shades on this trip so far, hence why I was drawn to this shade. MO picked up a gorgeous pink shade ‘Eureka’, and we were excited to paint our nails after a long day of sight seeing.

What a huge disappointment! The packaging is so cute, and I am a lover of their former ‘by OPI’ range, so had reasonable expectations. The brush is useless, and the formula is a bit too thick for my liking. It made for a really horrible painting session, and although the finished look was alright, it was really disappointing for a polish that retails at $USD10.50. My tip for this product is to save your pennies and buy up an Essie Polish instead. The wear has been pretty good, two days later, I only have one tiny chip on the tip of one nail, but it’s not enough of a feature to seal the sale for me in the future.

Stay tuned for more US burns and loves…

Paint it On: Rimmel Salon Pro Polish

As regular readers know from my Seedless Watermelon post, it takes a lot for me to dedicate a whole blog post to one polish. I truly believe this polish is worthy of such a review though, it was such a pleasant surprise to find and to wear! Nail polish generally does give me quite a lot of joy, but this polish gave me joy that was unexpected.

One of my friends (RB) is a huge advocate of the Rimmel polish and has sent me a number of photos of her growing collection, yet it has taken me a while to give the brand a go. I’ve always been a die-hard OPI gal, but the more I want the perfect shade, the more willing I have to be to try out some different brands.

Fast forward to a fortnight ago, browsing Target’s 30% Rimmel sale, and I spotted the most gorgeous grey-purple shade – Punk Rock. For some reason, I feel I can trust the Salon Pro range more for my first Rimmel polish purchase than I can for the other ranges – the bottles are seriously sized, and the extra dollars tell me it is more special (I’m a marketers dream).

Image

 

This shade is perfection! The beautiful Chanel polish I was gifted for my birthday was a let-down as it turned out to be a lot darker than the bottle – nail polish trickery at its finest. It’s my biggest pet hate when buying a polish, especially when you’re paying >$20 for a polish! Anyways, Punk Rock turned out exactly how it looked in the bottle, which is obviously gorgeous. I haven’t taken any photos of my own nails for this blog – I’m on a manicure diet to save some $$$, and unfortunately my at-home mani’s aren’t quite the same. I think I should invest some time in a YouTube manicure video?

I did find the brush a bit tricky to use – I don’t have a point of reference, but compared to the brush size, my nail beds are quite narrow. Rimmel devotee, RB, assures me that I’ll get used to it, and even come to love it, so let’s wait and see. The colour is divine, so will get many repeat wears. The real clincher for me though, was the wear time with this $6.20 polish (I got it 30% off the RRP of $8.95). I generally will change my polish mid-week, depending on what my evenings are like, and how busy I am with the business side of my job. Last week, I was knocked down with a cold, a tummy bug and a lot of work, plus the prep work of my SIL’s baby shower, so there was no time for a polish change. Rimmel Salon Pro is the perfect pick for a week like what I had – no time to change a polish, no time to maintain your nails, no time to even think about removing the polish. No chips, just some minor tip wear after 7 days of wear! I’m off to Melbourne in a fortnight and I’ve already planned to wear Punk Rock for that week – I think my travel mates will frown upon my desire to change polishes during a 3-night work trip – but I can’t risk any chips (once my polish chips, it must come off).

Would I buy it again? I would buy a polish from the range again and I would buy this shade again – it is divine.
Who would I recommend this to? Anybody with large nail beds, Rimmel devotees, and time-poor individuals who want to get their whole week out in one polish.
Is it value for money? A polish that wears for a week from an at-home mani for $8.95? Yes.
How can you get it? Any Rimmel display – Target, Big W, Priceline, Coles, etc. This little beauty is easy to find.

A haul lotta’ fun


So today was one of my favourite beauty days of the year – a day when Priceline has 40% off all cosmetics. Whee! I made up a plan yesterday, browsed the website for some items that I’ve been interested in, and jotted down some notes about what I wanted. For any non-Australian readers, Priceline is the Australian version of UK’s Superdrug, or USA’s Duane Reade. The only better offer that happens in the yearly calendar is when Priceline offers 40% off all cosmetics and skincare. There is a lot of skincare that I’m dying to try at the moment, but I can wait for the skincare sale.

Now, my disclaimer for this post is just a heads up – I don’t plan to do a lot of haul posts. I don’t mind watching haul vlogs, or reading haul posts, as I like to know about products in other parts of the world, but overall I think they are a bit of a pointless blurb. The products haven’t been tested, tried or reviewed; just knowing what stuff is being purchased isn’t very helpful. But this sale only comes occasionally, and a lot of the products I bought I’m fairly confident about – heavily researched from other blogs and reviews, it’s more about seeing how it translates to my skin type and tone. So if you’re not a lover of haul posts, forgive me this once, and believe me when I say that these (hopefully) won’t happen very often. If you love haul posts, then take solace in knowing that when I buy any interesting product (in a bulk purchase or by itself), you will know about it.

Haul

So, in brand order:
Rimmel
Match Perfection Foundation in Shade 300 ‘Sand’ – this is a bit dark for me, unless I’m super tanned. I love this foundation, so this was just a sensible restock.
Scandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick in ‘Bad Girl Bronze’ – this was a rave review from Lily Pebbles, so I figured I should give it a go. A lot of the other colours were too shiny for my liking, so it may be a bit of a risk for my taste.
60 Seconds Nail Polish in ‘Aye, Aye, Sailor’ – I love me some navy, and one of my friends raves about the Rimmel 60 Seconds polishes, so figured this is the time to give it a try.
Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in ‘Red Diva’ – this was just something missing from my collection, and seemed like a safe choice.
Bourjois
I’m already an owner of the Healthy Mix Foundation, which I like for low-coverage days. A 40% off sale is enough to encourage me to try some of the other items in the Bourjois range. This brand hasn’t been on sale in Priceline for ages, so I feared it would all sell out quickly – turns out nobody really cares about it in my suburb.
Happy Light Foundation in Shade 54. The shades in Bourjois foundations are really limited for darker skins; I’m a 54 in the Healthy Mix, so I’m hoping this shade will work for me too. There was no tester in store. Why do people steal testers? I can think of nothing more gross to have in my makeup collection.
Colour Edition 24hr Cream to Powder shadow in ‘Petale de glace’ – the packaging reminded me a lot of Maybelline Colour Tattoo, so I am really keen to try this out. The tester felt very different from the Colour Tattoo range, it definitely turned to a powdery finish. There are only 3 colours stocked here in Aus, so I went with a safe golden shade.
Rouge Edition Lipstick in ‘Violine Strass’ – it was really tough to pick lip colours today. I didn’t want anything bright, or shimmery, or tacky – but seems like those key words are hot words currently. This seemed like a safe option, a classic shade – I was mostly interested in testing out the formula.
Little Round Pot (eyeshadow) in Shade 13 – this just seemed interesting, and since I couldn’t find everything on my list, I had a bit of room to try something new.
Revlon
Lip Butter in ‘Pink Truffle’ – I tried this tonight and the shade reminded me a lot of my beloved Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon – I definitely can’t go wrong with this!
Super Lustrous Lipstick in ‘Pink Cognito’ – a really pretty shade, and the packaging is just so pretty!
Lipburst Balm Stain in ‘Smitten Eprise’ – Priceline looks like it’s getting ready to receive all the Chubby Stick wannabes, this was the only version available today, so I thought, why not?
Miscellaneous
Sinful Colours in ‘Aubergine’ – I’ve been eyeing this off for ages, and even tried to buy it in Target one day – wouldn’t scan, so I didn’t bother.
Maybelline Express Polish Remover – it claims to remove polish from each finger in a second! I had to try it, especially at a reduced rate. I’m in the market for an OPI-quality remover without the OPI price tag, and was recently disappointed by a Sally Hansen remover. I was excited enough to try this out tonight – it’s ah-mazing!
Essie polish in ‘Master Plan’ – I’m a new convert to Essie, so trying to build up my wanted shades in this brand instead of OPI. I’ll be interested to see how this colour turns out.
Sally Hansen nail files – errr, not sure why I left this to last, this was a purely functional purchase.
For any Aussie readers who didn’t know and are interested, Priceline’s sale will continue today (Wednesday 12th March, 2014). Happy shopping!
polish_haul

Greetings Autumn…

As you have previously read, I am a great lover of Autumn. The cool change in weather, the fashion, the colours… my list goes on. This past weekend brought in Autumn in its truest form – lots of rain, and a very swift cool change. I can’t think of a year where I have taken out my boots on the first day of the season, but the rain was the perfect excuse. The last day of summer also involved a lot of rain, but boots seemed a bit of a push that day – I regretted this decision by the end of the day, when I had dripping wet shoes and dirty trousers. Oh well, live and learn.

Autumn was also christened with a new nail polish, which I think could be one of my greater loves this Autumn/Winter. Priceline had a 20% off Essie nail polish sale, and despite my best attempts to buy a base coat only and walk away, I ended up with a gorgeous new shade.

ImageBahama Mama is a deep purple & plum toned polish. I’m trying to improve my polish application technique, and dark colours always make me nervous. A busy weekend also meant that I had to paint my nails after midnight on Friday night – the potential for this to be a disaster was high with this dark shade. The universe was on my side, the colour applied beautifully (I won’t lie, I did have to redo my right hand ring finger), and it looked even better in the morning. Waking up to a cloudy, rainy day, with perfect autumn nails. It’s times like these that I feel I have my life together.

I’m really coming around to Essie polishes – they are extremely chip resistant, huge range of colours and unlike OPI, they actually go on sale! The formula is great, the brush is comparable to OPI, and I think the packaging is quite cute.

Hair masque, nails, rain and a face mask – my weekend ended up being a dream start to Autumn.

Image

Farewell Summer…

… Hello Autumn! Autumn has to be my favourite season of the year – the colours, the fashion, the weather – all divine. Spring is gorgeous, but I get hay fever, which impacts my ability to enjoy Spring, so Autumn wins by default. This summer, I am well and truly over the heat. I travelled to the US in June 2013, which gave me some bonus heat, and then to the Middle East in October, which taught me what heat truly is – so I’m ready for the cold weather to set in. Obviously I’m in Australia, so it’s not exactly an extremely cold, snowy winter in store, but it’s a nice change from the heat.

autumn1_final

So, in preparation for the arrival of Autumn, I’m maximising my summer nail polish, and will embrace autumn shades as soon as possible. This week, I’m wearing OPI’s ‘Charged Up Cherry’ which is fluro-toned pink polish. It’s definitely not for everybody, and it polarises people in my life. Either people love it, or absolutely hate it; I’m in the middle about it. It’s the first time I’ve put it on this summer, it’s just a bit too fluro for me to love enough for regular use.

Autumn colours, on the other hand, are impossible not to love! I really need to reshuffle my nail polish storage to make autumn shades easier to access. I was gifted a purple shade of polish last week for my birthday, which I’m very excited to try out. I’ve also busted out my OPI ‘Malaga Wine’ (I actually couldn’t resist, I have it on my toes already), and will continue my hunt for the perfect nude shade. I’m interested in a more grey-toned nude this season, as well as adding the perfect black to my collection.

Autumn and winter fashion is starting to enter the stores, which is making the current heat quite unbearable. Is it too much to ask for the weather to be a balmy 15 degrees on the 1st of March, with a bit of a sharp, cold breeze? I have scarves and jackets to wear!

No recommendations in this blog post, consider it my ode to Autumn.

autumn-leaves-close-up-17072(Image courtesy of Google Images – I just want you to feel as inspired for Autumn as I currently feel)

Seedless Watermelon

Now, it’s only entry #4, so I’m still finding my feet with this blog. I keep thinking, should I post things I love? Should I post things in a strategic order? Should I develop some sort of pattern?

I think posting things I love is ideal at this stage – nobody wants to read post after post bagging products, or products with significant cons. I want you to understand and see why I love stuff so much.

Which brings me to my favourite nail polish currently… Essie’s ‘Watermelon’ shade. Now, I love all things watermelon. The fruit. The colour. Watermelon nail polish, watermelon lipstick, toy watermelons – all things watermelon. However, I’ve neevr loved Essie, nor understood the craze. Essie hit the mainstream here in Australia via the department store Myer, but as usual, Myer ruined a decent brand. The display at my local Myer quickly dwindled, they always had the same boring colours marked down, and anything decent was an inexplicable $17. Now, I’m an OPI diehard, I’ll pay $20 for those – but another everyday polish brand, selling products for >$15? I dunno…

During my US trip of 2013, I saw that North America was having a love affair with Essie. OPI stands were in a disarray, shades were impossible to find, but the Essie stand? Impeccably organised, everything where it should be, and all the colours of the rainbow, and everything in between. A sucker for clean marketing, I bought into it. They had a bridal range, that although the colours didn’t interest me, the names did. With three close friends getting married last year, I was very interested. However, with names like “Using My Maiden Name” “Meet Me At The Altar” and “No Baggage Please”, I didn’t think these would make the cute gifts for my bride friends as I originally though they might. However, I saw a blue shade that matched my bridesmaid dress for my best friend’s wedding. At the time of my trip, we hadn’t discussed any nitty gritty details about nails or potential colours – but I couldn’t resist the opportunity, so bought it.

Ughhhhhhhhh. What a disgusting formula, what a disgusting colour, what a disgusting purchase. It was a hideous translucent blue, that required 5 coats to look half-decent, and it really wasn’t worth the $US12-ish (which compared to OPI prices in the US, was considered expensive). So, I gave up on Essie, and committed my nail life to OPI.

Fast forward a few months, and Priceline released Essie in their stores. An organised stand, a discount voucher, items included in store-wide sales, and I just couldn’t resist. And this is how Essie ‘Watermelon’ entered my life. 40% off at Priceline, bringing the original RRP of $16.95 down to $10.15, allowed me to trust again.

Image

I LOVE this polish. I’ve taken it with me to my local nail salon a number of times, as there is never anything as worthy in the salon’s pink range. It easily lasts a week, chip free. It does wear down at the tip of the nail after 5 or so days, but it isn’t actually a magical potion, it’s just nail polish. The colour is divine. The formula is divine. The brush is divine. Who knew I could love a nail polish so much?

Would I buy it again? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It is my summer version of my winter-staple OPI “Malaga Wine”.
Who would I recommend it to? Anybody who is a pink lover, like myself.
Value for money? Who buys anything full price at Priceline? Wait for the sale, it’s definitely worth $10-$12.
How can you get it? I’ve only mentioned Priceline 3 times.