Friday 28 February 2014

One Stroke BioSculpture Gels by 'Nails By Amanda'

My very lovely neighbour Amanda owns and runs an independent nails and tanning shop and since it opened, I have since been addicted to gel nails! She kindly invited me to have a full set of gels done using a new technique she had learnt called 'one stroke' which involves dipping the brush into two colours at the same time so they almost blend together.

Amanda uses the Bio Sculpture system and whilst she was doing my nails this time, I took plenty of photos for all of you to see!

First she had to remove the gels I had on previously, they lasted me a good two and half weeks and I could definitely have left them on for a further week had I not be going back to university. To remove the gels, Amanda first filed them down to remove the top coat and also to allow the gel remover through the gel. Then she soaks small pieces of cotton wool in the gel remover, places them over the nail and wraps them in foil to retain the liquid and allow the reaction to take place.  You can actually do this at home if you have pure acetone just don't do what I do as the last few times I have damaged my nails peeling them off which is a total no no! The spray Amanda is using is an anti-bacterial spray which stops the nail bed trapping nasty bugs and getting infected. All the tools she uses are fully sanitised each time.

It was then that we realised my favourite longest nail had slightly broken at the side and as I never had long natural nails this was gutting (yes, still talking about nails!). Amanda said she could fix it using the same technique as gel extensions to retain the length so she uses this foil sticker template tool thing (so technical) with a clear coat that strengthens and restores the nail to it's former glory. It then goes under the special UV lamps that dry in just 30 seconds.

To help the gels come off when they have reached their end, Amanda places a small dot of nail polish in the centre of the nail which bubbles when reacted with acetone allowing the gel to lift of with next to no damage to the natural nail.

Now the nails are fully prepped and ready for the base coat followed by the main colour; I chose a beautiful inky blue.

Now you can get gels classically simple and beautiful like they are now, or you can find a specialist like Amanda who can create the most stunning hand painted designs. I adore floral patterns and as you can see in one of the first pictures, I am wearing a blue floral top which is where we sought inspiration for this design. As you can see on the brush, both colours are painted on at once which means they are blended perfectly.

The beautiful floral design is then finished off with a clear top coat and placed again under the UV lamps.

And here they are the finished result! I could not be happier with them and receive comments daily with people not being able to believe they are hand painted and not just transfers. Going to get my nails done with Amanda is such a treat and I always go when I can. I've had my nails done in various salons before but I cannot stress enough how much better Amanda is. I find my gels last between 2-3 weeks and can in some cases last up to 4! Also you can paint over the top with polish if you like the change up your nail colour frequently which I tend to do in the third week or so. Not only is she super talented but super lovely and the 1-2 hours spent having your nails done flies by with conversation.

If you live in or around Buckinghamshire, I would seriously recommend checking out Amanda's facebook page where you can look at all her best designs.

A full set of gel overlays costs £28* which is such a great price for the quality and time they last.

I want to thank Amanda for these beautiful nails and can't wait to get more done in the future, I'm thinking glitter!

Have you had gel nails before? How much did you love having them?

See you in the next post!

L x

*This post was sponsored by Nails by Amanda

Liebster Award - Nominated Again!!

I want to say a huge thank you to Isobel over at isobelxhayes for my second nomination! If you don't already know what the Liebster Award is you can check out my last post on it here where I explain what it is. I love it as I have discovered so many great blogs this way. Basically it's 11 random facts, 11 questions answered, 11 questions asked and your nominations. As I have already done this before I will skip the random facts part! 

Isobel's questions:
1. What's your full name?
Lucy Nicole Hart

2. Name the top 5 places you'd love to visit, anywhere in the world.
New York, Miami, L.A., Toronto and Mykonos

3. Favourite hair product? 
Probably T.I.G.I. Bed Head Small Talk

4. Favourite book/series of books?
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

5. What do you work as/what do you want to work as?
I'm currently at university studying hospitality which I now definitely don't want to do but anything to do with business, sales, finance... ultimately in the beauty industry would be amazing.

6. What type of blog posts do you find the most interesting?
Beauty product reviews, I love to see how people use different products and what they think.

7. Favourite takeaway?
California Fried Chicken in Bournemouth! Literally the best chicken nuggets ever.

8. Who's your inspiration?
My family are my main inspiration but if we're talking famous people, probably Josephine Esther Mentzer better known as Estee Lauder.

9. What's your favourite song?
Stereo Hearts - Gym Class Heroes

10. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Dog! Terrified of cats! You can't tell what they're thinking!

11. Do you like junk food? 
Of course!

Now onto my questions (sorry some are re-used from my post before!):

1. What is your ultimate favourite mascara?

2. What is your go-to nail polish?

3. Which is your favourite beauty brand?

4. If you only had time to put three products on in the morning, which three would it be?

5. What colour do you wear the most?

6. What is your favourite film?

7. What is your all time favourite shop?

8. What cosmetics are you wearing right now?

9. Which cleanser are you currently using?

10. If you could design a make up collection for a well known make up brand, which brand would you most want it to be under?

11. What/who sparked your love for all things beauty and fashion and what do you love most about it?

Thanks again to Isobel for nominating me again! Although you are no supposed to nominate who nominated you, I would love it if you would answer my questions Isobel!

I nominate...

Dared to Look by Louise
My favourite blog in the whole world and it happens to be written by one of my best friends! We Facetime for hours on end talking about make up and various other beauty products! Our regular shopping trips to Southampton seem to get more expensive each and every time. We can't window shop for our lives. She is also the best bargain hunter I know managing to pick herself up the latest designer items for fractions of the RRP!

hollieclairexo by Hollie
Hollie and I are course mates and many a lecture has been spent quickly catching up on latest buys and discovered blogs. She is relatively new to blogging but has made a great start and I really love her posts!

January Glow by Kat
Kat and I went to the same secondary school and we used to go to dance class together too! She is also new to blogging but her posts are already really great with lots of different things written about so be sure to go and check her's out!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to reading your posts girls!

If I haven't nominated you but you'd like to answer my questions, I'd love to read your answers so let me know if you write a post or simply answer them in the comments below!

L ♥

Monday 24 February 2014

Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliqués - Jewelled Noir

Like many beauty addicts, I am addicted to always having something on my nails may it be polish or gels but a particular favourite at the moment has to be these gorgeous nail wraps from Revlon. They teamed up with New York fashion house Marchesa to create a range of beautiful designs including the one I'm wearing called Jewelled Noir.

In the pack you get two sheets of nail wraps, a plastic cuticle stick and a mini file. Normally in packs the little extras are of bad quality but I was pleasantly surprised! The cuticle stick is really nice to use, better than using that of a wooden orange stick and the nail file was the perfect amount of abrasive.

For nail wraps these cost quite a bit so I had high expectations! To apply the nail wraps you take the transparent sheet that features the different nail wrap sizes and hold them above the nail to work out the best fit. Compared to the likes of Essie, I felt the sizes were a little off unless you have thin nails on all nails resulting in gaps down the sides of the wraps. Some people do actually leave gaps at the side of their nails when using polish to give the illusion of longer nails but it's something I don't personally love on my nails. To avoid these gaps you could paint the nail black before applying the nail wrap to cover the edges however this may shorten their life span.

When you have selected the correct size, you simply peel and stick the wrap on the nail smoothing it out to ensure creases are limited. These nail wraps do crease a little more than I'd hope, especially on the thumbnails. You then trim the end of nail wrap leaving a couple of millimetres over hanging. Taking the nail file, you can then remove the excess and leave a nice finish to the end of the nail. My tip is to file slowly as the excess comes of much easier and neater also reducing the stretch on the design.
Then you are supposedly done!... However it is much more beneficial to finish with your favourite top coat ensuring you seal the end increasing the life time of the wraps. Mine, like many, is Seche Vite. I've never had a problem going over my nail wraps before and the top coat usually enhances them but for some reason I felt the top coat highlighted all the imperfections in the application. But I have had them on for two days now and I can confirm they are still on my nails strong with very little wear and tear!

Little negatives aside, I think the design on these wraps are stunning and I have never seen any nail wrap designs even come close to the calibre of artistry here. You can buy these at Boots for £8.99 by clicking here. They also sell the other five designs that also retail at the same price.

Do you use nail wraps? How easy do you find them to apply? Do they last a long time?

See you in the next post!

L ♥

Wednesday 19 February 2014

eBay 24 Piece Pink Make-up Brush Set

Sorting through my current make up brush collection led me to realise that I had a serious shortage of brushes that I could use for blusher, bronzer and contouring. I almost purchased the Real Techniques Blush Brush but chose to first look at what eBay could offer when I stumbled upon this lovely set of 24 brushes.

I believe the eBay seller is selling these brushes in a various different styles but I chose the pink set because who doesn't love pink? Each set comes with a faux leather brush roll and in my instance it was a bright, garish, pearlescent baby pink which I can't imagine even a Barbie-crazed four year old would appreciate so that will no doubt find a hiding place in the depths of my wardrobe!

But it wasn't for the brush roll that I purchased this set but mainly for the 5 brushes photographed above. The description lists them as (from left to right in photo above): Large Fan, Powder, Round, Foundation and Blush. 

Every brush is gorgeously soft which I would compare to that of the EcoTools brushes. However unlike the EcoTools that are synthetic and 100% cruelty free, these brushes use goat hair which with no claim to being cruelty free most likely suggests they are far from. If I had read this on the eBay page before purchasing I would have definitely taken this into consideration before deciding whether to purchase. However, with that being my only negative, albeit a large one, I cannot find much more fault that wouldn't be expected when bought.

Little glue drips, a few stray bristles and a slight colour difference from brush to brush will not affect use so I can personally overlook these issues.

The handles and ferrules (metal) are of reasonable quality and made of wood and aluminium respectively. The white bristles with pink tips was a big selling point to me as they look amazing and are also very similar to the Topshop eye brushes which I own and love.

There is a large selection of eyeshadow brushes but unfortunately there are none for blending which was a little disappointing to find. But if you love flat brushes to pack the shadow on, this set is perfect for you.

In particular, I love the Large Fan and the (Angled) Blush which I will talk about further...

I'm not entirely sure what these fan brushes are designed to be used for but I really love them! If not for use, they look great on a dressing table. Although mine unfortunately arrived a little misshapen (I'm sure a good wash and reshape will do the trick), it really is a gorgeous brush. I can see myself using it with bronzer to achieve a sharp and precise contour or with a loose setting powder all over to finish. The smaller fan brush would be good to dust away any fall out from eyeshadow around the eye.

This Angled Blush brush is the perfect size for day to day contouring the give the face a little more definition and highlight the natural shape and lines. I simply cannot wait to start using this in my make up routine!

All 24 brushes are fantastic and with negatives aside, I would really recommend them even before I've properly tried them! At £7.70 + £2.00 (P&P) = £9.70, these are a real steal at under £10! Mine arrived a little later than the estimated delivery date but this didn't bother me too much. However something to consider if buying for a birthday gift or similar.

You can find the listing by clicking here.

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like me to talk about any of the other brushes in more detail or review again once I've used them a few times, let me know in the comments below!

Have you bought and tried these brushes? Do you like finding great beauty buys on eBay?

See you in the next post!

Lucy ♥

Friday 14 February 2014

Maybelline Baby Skin

This relatively new product excited many beauty fans as it joined the 'Baby' range alongside the much hyped Baby Lips Lip Balms. Marketing itself as an 'instant pore eraser', I like many hoped it would match the fantastic Porefessional Primer by Benefit.

The baby blue packaging is cute and the squeezable tube allows for every bit of product to be used up. The strapline 'only for adults!' is most probably a legal requirement due to the name of the range but I love how they turned it into something quirky for the front label.

Baby skin itself is a silicone based primer like many on the market and is totally translucent making it perfect for any skin tone. It claims to be lightweight with a smoothing and pore minimising effect.

When I first applied the product, I found it a little greasy and thick like it was negating my prior cleanse but I persevered. For foundation, I applied one of my favourites at the moment which is the Max Factor Whipped Creme in the shade Natural. I set the foundation with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light.  Worn by itself, this foundation is very long wearing. Unfortunately, worn with Baby Skin underneath and it had slipped down my face by midday.

I didn't want to give up on the product as I had had such high hopes! So the next day I tried it underneath my Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in Ecru (which I know does not budge) but unfortunately the same happened again.

I have oily skin so perhaps this is why it wouldn't set on my skin but even as a pore eraser, I saw very minimal to no difference. The only thing that worked is that it really makes your skin feel like you have baby soft skin. I love Maybelline so this was so disappointing for me also with it's quite high price tag for a high street product retailing around the £8 mark. I have read some good reviews on Baby Skin so if you're considering purchasing it, seek out some other opinions before taking just mine.

For now Baby Skin will sit in the back of my collection but hopefully I'll find a use for it at some point like maybe mixing some with a loose powder to make it tinted with a little coverage.

You can buy Baby Skin from Boots for £7.99 by clicking here.

Have you purchased Baby Skin? What did you think?

L x

P.S. I'm still trying to get to grips with my new camera so please bear with on the photos... thanks!