Tag Archives: nails

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

 

Super pleased with this pretty leopard-print look I’ve been rocking lately. Find out how to get it over here on anez.me…!

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ESSENCE #176

Just in time for V-Day, I’ve fallen in love– with a nail polish!essence1

 

Essence is one of the better budget brands out there when it comes to nailpolish– when it comes to most things, actually, but I’m basically blown away by this effort. It’s #176, and the title is Headphones On! I picked up this bottle in Primark, but you can probably get it in all chemists that still have some in stock– I got the last one, but there’s no indication it is a hateful limited edition, so you shouldn’t have any problems. It’s also a complete and absolute steal for a polish this gorgeous, and will cost you less than €3!

Now let’s get the toad on the table: the brush pretty grim. Basically, it’s pants. This makes me very sad, because the polish is basically perfect, but it will in no way stop me from using (and loving) this polish all the same.

What’s good about it? Basically everything else. I love how it looks– it’s incredibly unusual, for one thing… But for another, if your wardrobe tends in any way towards blacks, whites, or greys, it will go with almost any outfit. It’s a dark grey glitter with super-tiny silver glitter mixed in with slightly larger blue, black, and holo flecks. Here’s an extreme close-up:

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That makes it look like the particles are larger than they actually are, so here’s an action shot so you can see it in-situ:

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The glitter is subtle, but it gives a really beautiful effect with real depth and shimmer. I’m wearing three coats here, because it isn’t fully opaque otherwise, but once you do get to the third coat, it’s pretty much completely solid. To my surprise and delight, despite three coats and the density of the glitter, it doesn’t feel rough or textured and bumpy at all. It’s the smoothest-feeling textured polish I’ve tried in ages, and I love that so much.  Granted, my application in the photos leaves a little to be desired (which is partly owing to the bad brush– this was my first attempt, and I think I’ll get better with practice), but you can at least see the overall effect.

The problem with the brush is that it’s tapered at the edges, but also untidy; for me, this is the worst possible combination. Still, a little perseverance and care and you can do a reasonable job. It’s not something you can slap on too easily, but it doesn’t fight you every step of the way, either. The formulation is also a tiny bit on the thick side, but not so much that applying it is terrible difficult. It dries quickly, barely smells, and is reasonably long-lasting. I got three days before it started to chip– it does chip rather than fade, so if that bothers you, that’s something to be aware of. (I’m not usually a fan of chipping, but this is such a rock chick look that I don’t mind it; I think it seems kind of grungey and cool.)

Grey polish is definitely a thing for me– it suits my skintone, and my wardrobe, and my style. This is I will definitely be wearing this a lot, and I’ll be looking to buy it again. For €3 in Primark, how could you say no?

Are you a fan of Essence polish? Is this a look you’d like? Do you have another grey glitter to recommend to me? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ESSIE MILLIONAILS

Having chronically weak nails, I’m always on the lookout for products to prevent breakages, so when this was recommended to me recently, I was quick to try it out!

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A recent post by the lovely Heulwen at Rays of Heulwen drew the comparison between Sally Hansen Miracle Cure (my long-standing go-to nail hardener) and this stuff, so when the Essie version was hailed as being superior, it got my attention. I’ve taken quite a shine to Essie polishes recently, and while I find them priced a little high (they’re around €11 here in Ireland), there are certain things I’m prepared to splash out on when it comes to polish. One is a good black polish (black is my bread-and-butter polish colour– always has been and apparently always will be), and the other is a hardening product.

I don’t think I can over-estimate just how crap my nails are when left to their own devices. According to my grandmother, you could only have good hair or good nails, but never both. I’ve met plenty of people who seemed to disprove this rule, but it’s certainly true in my case: my hair is thick, shiny, and happy to grow to great lengths, but my nails… They’re weedy, brittle things which peel and snap at the slightest provocation, despite eating what I think is a fairly decent diet. I even tried a course of those vitamin tablets that are supposed to beef them up once, but all that happened was I got a face full of spots for my trouble. This is unfortunate for me, since I love long nails, and nailpolish, but in addition to having naturally weak nails, I’m also a fidgeter and a tapper, and I’m almost never off the computer, so my nails are in constant contact with a keyboard for a good chunk of the day.

I’m telling you all this to make the point that when it comes to nail hardeners, I’m a tough customer. My nails are useless by nature, and I put them through hell on a daily basis. In order to keep them from breaking, a product has to be pretty damn good… Which this undoubtedly is. What I’m not so sure of is whether or not it’s better than my previous product.

I rarely had breakages with the Sally Hansen,–not unless I really slammed my hand into something (I’m clumsy as hell, so this is not as irregular an occurrence as you might imagine). I had three breakages with this, and although they were minor and the impact had been pretty serious (it involved a fridge door; we shan’t speak of it), I don’t feel this protected me any better than the Sally Hansen product did. It did stop the nails from breaking badly, though, so clearly the chemistry of this formulation isn’t too shabby. (Yes, that pun was both lame and intentional.)

The thing which really bothered me about this product, though, wasn’t so much its performance as what I read on the back of the box in the shop when I was trying to decide which one to buy.  “For added strength follow Millionails with Grow Stronger base coat”, it says. I really don’t like the idea of having to use two products for the one job– shouldn’t two coats of this one be sufficient, instead? I don’t want to have to purchase two different bottles, and I feel it’s silly to suggest I should.

My biggest gripe with the Sally Hansen product is that the polish gets thick and gummy very quickly. I find I rarely use one bottle fully, having to bin and replace at about the halfway point since it’s just so thick it’s too difficult to apply after that point. This does not happen with the Essie version– it’s a far more liquid solution, which I find a lot easier to apply. Having to use two bottles, though, would mean each bottle lasts twice as long, and that increases the likelihood of the product thickening due to air exposure. The thinner formula is actually (in my opinion) the big plus for this product, so having to use two different bottles would cancel this out.

Consequently, I only bought the one, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t find it as “protective” as I might have liked. What I did like was how thin the polish was, and how quickly it dried. I’ve said before how much I like the brush with Essie polishes, and it goes double here– with a clear polish, I am lazy, and this brush is perfect for hit-and-miss application where you don’t care if you get some on your cuticles or fingers. It has absolutely no smell, and gives a lovely, mildly-shiny finish. I’ve applied this more or less every day since I’ve got it (when not wearing coloured polish, I tend to re-apply a new layer of clear protection every day, sometimes being lazy and slapping it on over the pre-existing coat) and there is as yet no sign of gumming or thickening.

There’s a lot to like about this polish, but I’m not sure it is the best polish out there for giving you hard-as-steel nails. I feel like there has to be something which combines the benefits of this (thin, quick-drying, beautiful applicator) with the Sally Hansen (super-tough nails) for some kind of ultimate, holy-grail strengthener which is easy to apply, doesn’t need replacing when there’s still half a bottle left, and makes your nails as hard as– Well, hard as nails, basically.

Have you tried Essie Millionails? Are you a Sally Hansen devotee? Do you think I just need to use another couple of coats of this stuff to get the unbreakable finish I was looking for? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

A while ago I picked up this blue glitter polish from Boots, and I’ve finally had a chance to try it out. Here’s how it looks:

 

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It has to be said, I’m not as thrilled with this one (“Blue Glitter”) as I am its green counterpart. To start with, this is far less opaque, so I had to layer something under it. Not wanting to interfere with the pretty blue colour I bought it for, I’ve used this Revlon silver underneath. What really irked me about this polish, though, wasn’t having to use a base, it was the effect it had on that base– namely, it started stripping it.

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You see the little patch on my thumb and ring finger where the polish is almost see-through? That’s one of the spots where the blue lifted the silver. For me, this is one of the most irritating things a polish can do. The effect was less strong on the second coat, but there was still some noticeable and annoying shifting.

This polish is also quite textured, which I personally don’t prefer (but I know a lot of people do enjoy). It isn’t so textured that it’s rough or will snag on your clothing, and you can smooth it out with a layer of top-coat, but if you’re looking for a quick route to a smooth polish, this isn’t it.

On the plus side, the colour is extremely pretty. A very light sky blue with teeny-tiny multi-colour micro glitter, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and is surprisingly long-lasting. It also wears off rather than chips off, which is definitely my preferred option when it comes to light-colored polish. The polish itself is easy to apply, with both formulation and brush shape being pretty much perfect.

If you can overlook the part where it tends to strip whatever base polish you’re using (or if you can go without one), this is a decent use of your €3. If, however, you want absolute opacity and a smooth surface, maybe this isn’t the one for you.

Have you tried this polish? Do polishes that strip their bases drive you nuts? What’s your polish pet peeve? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

One of my recent January sales purchases was this fab Color Carnival polish from Boots’ Seventeen range. I am not ashamed to say I tried it out almost immediately after I got it home, and I was not at all disappointed. Look how gorgeous this is:

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Okay, yes, my nails themselves are basically hideous right now on account of the fact that I had an Unfortunate Incident with a chopping knife (frankly, I was lucky I lost only a nail and not a finger, so let that be a lesson to you, folks: pay attention when using sharp implements!) very recently. How gorgeous is that polish, though? It has amazing depth. In dim light, it has a pretty shimmer, and in intense light you can see the tiny gold flecks in the polish.

I’m always on the lookout for nice green nail polishes. For some reason, it’s the hardest colour to get… But it also happens to be my favourite colour to wear. I am so thrilled with this one, and in my opinion, it’s also a pretty good dupe for China Glaze’s “Running in Circles”. From the pictures, I thought it looked like my Holy Grail Green, so I was disheartened to discover I couldn’t get it in Ireland.

This one is a more than adequate alternative, though. I also believe it rivals any of the super fancy indie polishes that cost €30– except this baby will set you back a mere tenth of that. For that price, I didn’t expect the polish to have much staying power, but I was astonished to find it was still going strong, chip-free, on day three. That’s including three days of heavy daily typing– and even one instance of fixing a toilet with a broken flush. How’s that for a marvel bargain?

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The shade is #57 Green Gold Shimmer, and you can see the bottle above. (I haven’t tried out the blue in that picture – I suspect it’s less full coverage and more translucent than the green, but if it is anything like the green one, it’ll still be brilliant.) I suspect Seventeen is going to be my new go-to brand for budget polish now, especially after recent disappointments with other budget polishes because of their applicators.

The brush on this one was medium-sized, which is just what I like, and isn’t tapered, so it has none of that “one stroke” gimmicky nonsense that some other brands try to push. Yes, this is basic: but it’s effective, and allows for precise application. Doing your polish neatly when your nails are this short is a real pain in the backside, but I managed it with this applicator with relative ease. That’s no testament to my skills, and speaks mainly to the ease of application when you have a slim brush with a uniform width.

I’m super impressed by this stuff, from application to appearance to how hard-wearing it is. If you’re into nail polish and you can hunt out €3 from the sparse January coffers, this is definitely worth your time and attention.

What nail polish bargains have you discovered recently? Have you tried Seveneen nail polish before? What other great green polishes can you suggest? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NAILS OF THE DAY

Trying out some of the products which I picked up in Dundrum recently, and today we’ll be looking at the two Essie polishes: #88 Licorice and #293 Peak of Chic.

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I’ve layered the glitter coat over the black here, and I’m pretty happy with how it looks. These polishes are actually pretty great. I haven’t used Essie for a while, and I’d forgotten how good the quality is.

The black one (#88) is liquid enough that it’s easy to apply thin coats, but still has enough colour that even with one coat, it didn’t look horribly watery and weak. The brush is nicely shaped, too; it has a gentle curve to the sides, but is slim enough that it doesn’t try to coat the whole nail, leaving room for the precision application I prefer. None of this hit-and-miss stuff for me; I like my nails to be properly coated, and I don’t like to get any on my fingers. With this brush, I managed pretty well and only had one slip– which was entirely my own fault, because I was distracted by the television.

The polish dried incredibly quickly, even after a second coat, and didn’t smudge while I was typing or even when I went to make juice, which involves a lot of water and scrubbing vegetables. I’m very impressed with it– so much so that it might very well knock my beloved Essence offering off the top spot for Best Black Polish. It is a little more expensive, but if the quality doesn’t deteriorate too quickly and it doesn’t get tacky and thick after a couple of uses, I’ll probably be repurchasing this.

My feelings on the glitter coat are a little more mixed. I have to admit, I’m not the best with these kind of filament glitter topcoats. It’s very easy to make mistakes and end up with huge splotches of glitter on one part of your nail and bare polish on the rest. Trying to even things out almost invariably ends in disaster, with two or three coats of glitter so thick you can barely see the base coat at all. That is a bit of a danger here… Although I think with a little practice, it could be avoided. As glitter topcoats go, this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve used– there’s enough clear mixer polish in there to prevent your glitter from looking too splotchy, although careful application is still required. The glitter itself is a mix of white strips and holographic ones, which makes for an interesting combination:

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Gosh, my hands look red here! That’ll tell you what happens to my circulation in the cold, I suppose. I’m not built for this climate, damn it…! Anyway, back to topic: the mix of glitter is nice, and really stands out under bright lights. I like this, but I don’t know if I would repurchase– I expect that depends on how easily I can remove it later.

Overall, I like this look… But to be honest, I think plain, basic black will always be my preferred nailpolish look. This is fun for something different, but I prefer how the black looks when its on its own for every day. The real drawback is that the glitter coat is terribly, terribly rough and scratchy if you don’t apply a top coat (which I rarely do– I’m such a tapper and fiddler that polish never lasts more than a day or two with me, no matter what I do with it, so it seems wasteful to bother).

Both polishes were €10 in McCabes, but if you buy two from Boots online, they are the same price and you get three mini polishes as a free gift, which is nicer than a kick in the pants. I’ll definitely be looking at this brand in the future for adding to my ever-growing, slowly-spiraling-out-of-control nailpolish collection.

Do you like Essie polishes? How do you feel about glitter topcoats? Can you make your polish last or does it just walk right off your fingers like mine? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: KISS CUTICLE CARE

If you’re looking to improve the overall look of your hands, this is the product for you. Now, I do have a confession here: I didn’t actually buy this for myself, so I can’t tell you how much it cost or where to get it. (Though local chemists in the North-East of Ireland would be a good bet, based on the generous soul who bestowed it upon me.) What I can tell you, without reservation, is that this has basically saved me from having ugly hands all winter.

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I can’t speak for anyone else, but “hangnails” (the American term for those ugly little scraps of hard skin that peel away from the sides of your nails) are a big problem for me. I wash my hands a lot, I type, I engage in lots of DIY projects, I paint my nails a lot, I’m a fiddly person in general, and all of that ends up in dry hands and cuticle problems.

I’ve tried a lot of handcreams over the last year or two, and while I’ve found it’s relatively easy to get my hands hydrated and behaving themselves, my cuticles are another story entirely. I’d actually become so accustomed to the heinousness of them that I’d stopped paying attention, and one day I was visiting with my aunts when one of them noticed my terrible hangnails and commented on it.

“Isn’t it sore?” she asked, and I told her that yes, it was a bit, but I didn’t really notice it anymore. She was horrified by the prospect, and the next time I came to visit, she handed me a little pot of this. “They just looked so painful,” she said earnestly. “I thought someone should do something about it.” Wasn’t that lovely of her? I couldn’t believe it.

That said, grateful as I was, I was mildly skeptical, too. I’d had this problem for most of my life, and I didn’t think one little lipbalm-like pot could clear it up. A week after using this, all skepticism had evaporated.

This product is magic. I haven’t had any peeling skin around my nails in over a month. Now, a caveat: you do have to keep using it– I forgot to apply it for a couple of days and my skin did get harder and a little more rough, but that disappeared after two days of use, and I never had the peeling that I used to experience.

I now keep mine on my nightstand and apply it every night before getting into bed, the same way I do with my foot cream, so hopefully I won’t forget again. I don’t know how I’m going to get my hands on this stuff when it runs out– my aunt told her to let her know when I’d used it all up, but I don’t want her to have to make a present of it every time. Hopefully I’ll be able to weasel the info out of her so I won’t impose on her generosity any further, and when that happens, I’ll let you know stockist and price info.

Do you know where I can buy this product? Have you tried it before? Do you have other cuticle care products you’d like to recommend? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-