Friday, 26 July 2013

Chanel Le Vernis Provocation

*Warning * I'm going to keep it short in words this time because I'm about to photo spam you. 

Chanel Provocation was gifted to me by Tasha and I could not be happier with it. I have only ever purchased and owned one high-brand that I didn't end up liking it too much. 

Swatch below is two buttery, thin coats of this creme with one coat of Seche Vite. The Chanel website describes Provocation as 'a deep, rich plum' colour but their picture shows a lighter, more purple colour. I had a bit of trouble taking colour accurate photos a couple of nights ago due to my lighting and was looking at this colour wondering whether this was a plum or a brown.  I decided to wait unitl today to take the photos and I can now see the the plum in it. 

This was a dream to apply and have no issues with it. I didn't apply any base coat and had to get remove the polish of one of my fingers due to a smudge, and it didn't leave any staining  like most dark colours tend to leave behind. 

There are lot more pictures, so please click on read more to see the full post.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Gradient Glitter Sandwich Accent

I didn't really want to put another pink post up but I have to tell you this is my third attempt at nail art today and I was getting a little frustrated. I grabbed the closest one coater and went from there as I really wanted to post something today. 

I started with Leighton Denny, a UK brand, in SO L.A. and applied one medium coat and left it without top coat as it was shiny enough without it. For the accent, I dabbed a coat of Sportgirl's Nail It! in Atlantis and created a gradient with OPI's Yodel Me on My Cell and An Affair In Red Square. I only sealed the accent with Seche Vite.


The gradient was quite sheer but it let the glitter colours pop a little more than expected.

I know, I know. The gradient wasn't great and the glitter coat created a lump on the side  of my nail. Like most of my nail art, it looks better from afar. :)

In my last post I mentioned the colour of What'Up could be very easy to find and I think I may just have prove the point.

To my defence, So L.A. came in a 8 bottle pack where I couldn't choose the colours. So What'Up is still totally justified. 


I'll leave you with that. I promise I'll have something better in the next post.

Till next time, 


Monday, 22 July 2013

What'Up: Peel Off Nails From Topshop

I'm a big fan of Topshop polishes and I have realised I haven't yet shown that love in this blog. I find their polishes can be your usual colours but amped up or trendy dupes from popular brands. I paid $12 for Hidden Treasure, a dupe for Chanel Peridot that retailed for over $40 and I could never find, last year and I can't tell the difference. The characteristic that keeps me coming back to these polishes is the consistency on their quality long lasting, shiny formulas. I have worn some of Topshop's shades for up to a week with some tip wear and minimal chipping.

I usually look at Topshop's website and hope that when I'm near one of their two Australian shops, the colours I want will be in stock. Once, I went into Melbourne's  Topshop and they were getting their nail polish shipment the next day and there were none in sight. I was really disappointed as I was leaving Melbourne that day. :(

In the last few days, I was able to get my hands on one of their polishes. What'Up is a dusty pink, a colour I'm sure you could get anywhere, but it has a peel-off formula without need for special base coats. Swatch below is done with three coats no base coat or top coat.

The formula on this one was a bit thin but manageable and very sheer, it's not very noticeable in the photos but there was still VNL. It was also a bit lumpy and it didn't self-level but it wasn't a big issue.

Wet polish                                             Dry polish          
The polish has this dusty pink, almost lilac colour that I don't have in my stash so its purchase was completely justified. What I didn't take into account was the fact that one of the main ingredients is the same polymer used in PVA glue, which turns from white to clear after it dries. When dry, What'Up turns into a redder pink that the bottle.

I cleaned up the edges by using a orange stick instead of acetone by pushing the edges into the nail and it seemed to have worked OK. I finished it all off with a coat of Seche Vite to even out all the bumps.

Now, one problem I have with PVA base coats is the fact that if you try to use tape over it, it will most likely rip half you polish when trying to remove it, especially if there a tiny loose bits for the tape to cling to. After letting the Seche Vite dry, I created different pattern using sticky tape on my index and middle fingers and striping tape on the ring finger and pinky.

I can happily say that the polish didn't even chip with the tape and, even though my patterns weren't great, the lines are crisp and you can't tell the difference between this and a normal polish.

I don't think What'Up will be replacing my PVA base coat as the 8ml for $12 could be pricey and the Australian availability is limited to the Melbourne and Sydney Topshops, no online buys due to UK Mail restrictions. I would use and recommend this polish for days when you want a super quick mani or for an away trip when you don't want to take a base coat, polish, top coat and remover.

Have you tried any peel-off polishes? Do you know any other brands that make this sort of polishes? Would you give it a go?

Till next time, 


Friday, 12 July 2013

Pastel Dry Marble Skittle

Most of the manis I've done in the last two weeks or so have involved lots and lots of coats of nail polish and Seche Vite. I enjoyed doing them very much but they took a long time to create and the layers started to peel from how thick they were together. I decided to create something a little simpler and quicker for today's manicure. 

What's the best way to create nail art with lots of colour but none of the thickness or the effort? A dry marble skittle manicure! 

Index finger: Two coats of Essie in Penny Talk
Pinky: CoverGirl Outlast in Everbloom 
Middle and ring fingers: The two polishes above and CoverGirl in Mint Mojito on a Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On base. I created the dry marble using this technique. The marble was really shiny without top coat but it was really uneven, so I topped all off with a coat of Seche Vite.

Yeah, I know, my clean up was shocking but the detail of the contrasting green and rose gold looks really good, doesn't it?

I think I met my goal of creating a simple mani even though it wasn't that well executed. I may need to change my clean up brush and be a little more patient when it comes to removing little bits of polish stuck in the cuticles. 

Hey guys! It's...


Have a good one!

Till next time, 


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Cuticle Eraser + Balm

When it comes to nail polishing, I've had some ideas very ingrained in my head that I didn't change until I started blogging. For example, I only ever applied two coats of polish, no matter how sheer or opaque it was as I thought that was the rule. When it came to my cuticles, I always pushed them back with a orange stick after a shower. I read that tip in the magazine that started my love for nail art and I have been doing it almost religiously for a few years. That is until today...

I have heard of cuticle removal creams and treatments quite a bit on the blogsphere but have been giving them a miss since I thought my routine was good enough. My adventurous side saw me buying some orange cuticle last year when Terry White had China Glaze treatments for less than $10... and less than a week. I used the oil when pushing back my cuticles and seemed to work OK. This wet and very cold winter has left my cuticles quite dry and the oil just wasn't cutting it anymore.

My budget is quite small and I couldn't justify buying Butter London's Melt Away, which I've heard is one of the most effective cuticle treatments out there. I knew Sally Hansen had a treatment even though I hadn't heard much about it. I went into Priceline today not looking for anything in particular and when I saw the 20% off promotion they had happening for the Sally Hansen range, I figured paying almost $12 for the Sally Hansen treatment was better than $25 for a Butter London product that I thought wouldn't make a big difference to my current routine.

So here it is: Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Cuticle Eraser + Balm. It claims to "remove dry cuticles and moisturize in 1 step". The white tea and cucumber formula loosens and exfoliates stubborn, overgrown cuticles and leaves the skin deeply moisturised.

The instructions are simple, massage the cream into your cuticles until absorbed and use a cuticle pusher, if needed. It is also recommended to use the cream daily for maximum benefits and to wash your hands before applying polish.

The cream feels like a very thick and rich moisturiser but it's not greasy or heavy. It is also slightly scented but the smell doesn't linger for too long. I'm guessing it's supposed to smell like white tea and cucumber but when I smelled it it reminded me of fruity cream and my mum thought it smelt like caramel or those red and white swirly lollies. 

I was skeptical. I really didn't think this cream would "eat" the cuticles away and I thought it would just work as a rich moisturiser. I chose to apply it on my right hand to test it out as it is my dominant hand and it doesn't get as much loving as my left one. I have particular dry spots on the side cuticles on my pointer and middle fingers. Here's my right hand, not looking terrible but feeling very dry.

I applied a very small dab in each finger and started rubbing it in.

After about two minutes, the cream wouldn't absorb into the skin anymore and I took this as a cue to bring out the orange stick to push back those cuticles.

This was the end result. 

I know there's not a lot of difference on the photos but I could see it and feel it, especially when pushing back the cuticles, I felt the cuticles slipping off the nail bed and the ones that had always been stubborn moved back without too much trouble. My cuticles also felt super moisturised and those pesky, little dry spots on the sides of my nails were hydrated, something that I have rarely experienced.

For a dramatic demonstration, I took my nails polish off my left hand with acetone which left my finger like this. Take note of the paper cut at the top of the photo and the dry spot on the bottom where the nail meets the skin.

Before the SH Cuticle Eraser
See the difference?  
After SH Cuticle Cream

I never thought I would be able get rid off that dry spot that lingers on my skin when I have short nails. And that paper cut? almost unnoticeable. Then again, I have nothing to compare this cream to but I'm absolutely blown away by the results. In my experience and for my hands, this is a cuticle saver and I am in love.

I washed my hands after using it to paint my nails and I found that even after using soap, my cuticles were still soft and supple. 

I also noticed the difference tidy cuticles can make to a mani, which give it a very polished look (see what I did there?). Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser + Balm has become an instant favourite.

Have you tried cuticle remover treatments? Do you have any favourites? Do you have other ways of removing them?

Till next time, 


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Valentino Inspired Manicure

I love (virtually) rummaging through the online New York Mag fashion sections for inspiration for manicures. Think all those designer collections that appear on Vogue and Elle but at your, er..., fingertips for free. Today, I've got a manicure loosely based on the one of Valentino's Couture Collection dresses for the 2013 Fall.

Photo 32 from Valentino

I look at the details, colours and textures to see how they can be translated to the nails without being too literal. When I came across the above dress I knew I wanted on my fingertips!!!

I must warn you, the details of the nail art wasn't great but I liked how it all looked together and that's the main reason I'm putting the photos up. I know it's not perfect but this blog is also part of the journey towards amazing manicures... Deep, aren't I? Haha!

I started with four coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Peatal Pusher for the nude base then stamped the pattern only half way up the nails with Bundle Monster's BM-201 plate using Konad Special Black polish. I sealed it with a coat of Seche Vite to make sure the stamping wouldn't come off when I placed the stickers for the half moons. I don't actually know if that would happen but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. 

Once the Seche Vite was dry I put on half of a round sticker in each finger and striping tape on the tips as french manicure guides. I carefully painted  Ulta3 Black Satin on and removed the tape and stickers as soon as I was done with each finger. Finished it all off with one last coat of Seche Vite.

There was a lot of smudging, crooked half moons, bad and excessive clean up, major shrinkage on my pointer and the french tip lines weren't as crisp as I had hoped.

The photos weren't turning out either and each of these photos were taken at different times because I just couldn't take a good one. I could keep going about how this was a bad experiment but one thing I managed to accomplish was to get out my comfort zone and think how I could create a mani from a dress. I think this is one of the most creative things I've come up with and that makes me a tiny little bit proud. I would  usually shy away anything that involves creating arty things.

What do you guys think? Do you have sources of inspiration?  I hope you guys enjoyed the mani.

Till next time,


Friday, 5 July 2013

Sally Hansen Lustre Shine Azure

At the beginning of this week, I was unpacking a bag of new clothes that I had laying around for almost a month and when I got to the bottom of it, I found a bottle of Sally Hansen Lustre Shine in Azure. I had, and still don't, no memory of the moment when I bought it. I could only imagine I bought it with the last lots of Sally Hansen Lustre Shine bottles I got as the Chemist Warehouse is next to the clothing shop. It must have been an impulse buy because I wasn't really lusting after it and when I saw the colour I wasn't overly impressed.

Azure is a royal blue shimmer with a strange formula. Swatch below done with three thin coats and one coat of Seche Vite.

The first coat went on very sheer but the second and third coats evened the colour out nicely and each coat dried quickly. That's where the good ends. Unfortunately, the shimmer was very streaky and it had some bubbles I couldn't get rid off with the brush. The bottle had been sitting on my rack for a couple of days at room temperature, so I'm not sure what caused the bubbles. 

Considering Lava, Copperhead and Scarab, all from the Lustre Shine range, had duochrome shifts, I was a bit disappointed that this one didn't have the slightest colour change when tilting my nails. :( 

I have similar colours with better formulas but considering this bottle was $4.99, I can see why I bought it. 

Another plus for this polish: When I cleaning this up, the shimmer didn't go everywhere. I'm guessing it's got to do with the sheerness of it.

I didn't just want to wear plain blue so I added some sponged on tips with Sally Hansen's Scarab.

It's a rough gradient, I know. I decided to cut up my trustworthy gradient sponge but it  seems the inside was much more absorbent than the outside so whatever polish I'd put in it, it'd absorb it leaving no polish on my hands. Weird... I'll just have to pop in to the $2 shop for some more.

If I had been conscious of my purchases, I would have given Sally Hansen Lustre Shine in Azure a miss. There are plenty of royal blue shimmers out there that don't streak and are opaque with less coats. I should know, I have at least two others in my stash. ;)

Till next time, 


Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Challenge Entry That Wasn't

I always wondered how nail bloggers got involved in 31 day challenges. Does one just find a challenge and starts doing it? Would one have to get an invitation to participate? Was there some sort of exclusive club I didn't know about that created all these challenges I saw floating around? I still don't know the answer to these questions but I was really happy when I came across the Oh Mon Dieu! It's The Rather Awesome 31 Day Challenge Giveaway!. As you may infer by the name, this is a challenge open internationally in which you can win prizes for completing each challenge and get up to 31 entries for the month, when completed. I came across it by the second day of the challenge and funnily enough, I had completed the first two entries unknowingly and figured I could jump on the 3rd day without too much trouble.

Excitedly, I thought of all the possible nail art I could create with the prompt Purple. One of my all-time favourite polishes is actually a purple by B Collection by Bloom called Dubai (no longer on sale) but a simple swatch wasn't going to do, so I created curved, black and gold french tips to spice it up.

Version 1: Two coats of B Collection by Bloom in Dubai on a base-coated nail followed by a coat of Seche Vite. Once dry, I painted Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Night Flight with the polish brush, let it dry, then applied OPI's Goldeneye for the gold and used one last coat of Seche Vite to smooth it all out.

I had a lot of BAD drag marks from using Seche Vite to dry the first two coats on all my fingers. I did it late last night and I didn't really noticed the marks until after I had taken the photos. By the time I was done editing the OK photos, I was too tired to fix them or do them again. Hence, version 2 was created this morning. Same steps as version 1 but iIapplied Dubai carefully and skipped the first coat of Seche Vite.  

I was really happy with the way it came out, even if all the tips had a different curvature/centre from each  other. Especially keen on the middle finger.

My camera was freaking out a little from all the shine on the nail and I couldn't really show a lot of crisp detail. So what would I do in these sort of situations? Bring out the matte top coat.  Doesn't that look cool?

I got some cotton fluff stuck on my ring finger, had to fish it out with tweezers, tried to smooth it out with matte top coat and hoped that it wouldn't be too noticeable.  

So we all love Goldeneye, right? When I was taking the photos for version two, I noticed there was a lot of green reflecting from this polish. I was wearing a green cardigan at the time so I took it off to make sure it wasn't that colour reflecting. In a much closer, the Goldeneye over black seemed to bring out a green tinge on what seemed to be translucent flakies. Night Flight is a green based black so that might explain the green. I wonder how Goldeneye would layer over other colours but that may be another post altogether.

I was really happy with the way this turned out and this curved french mani and colour combination are things I wouldn't have tried had it not been for the challenge. 

So why the challenge entry that wasn't? Well, when I checked out the prize pack that corresponded to Australia, I was a bit disheartened as there was nothing in it I didn't already own. This is not a critique on the prizes but it wasn't an incentive for me to enter the competition. The challenge bit was exciting but I know I won't be able to complete since I go back to uni in two-ish weeks. Maybe I'll start my own challenge... I'll like to see how that goes.

Have you been part of a challenge? Did you enjoy it? Any that you would recommend?

Till next time, 


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Matte Glitter Gradient and the Terrible Smudge

It stopped raining around this neck of the woods and I thought, 'Fast, go out to enjoy it before the sun sets!'. It sort of happened coz I jumped into the car and went to the local shopping centre to run some errands. In said shopping centre, there is a Priceline and we all know how dangerous going in there can be when one is sucked into that place. I went in anyway and I came across a new-in-Australia Sally Hansen range. If you haven't seen the bottles, the Fuzzy Coat range is a dupe to Nails Inc Feathers collection at a more affordable price. Surprisingly enough, I resisted buying it for a multitude of reasons, including the lack of price on the display, even though I've been looking the top coats for a while.

Another reason I decided not to buy it was my realisation that I have a lot of un-blogged polishes and that need a go before I start buying polishes that you can only show once. Originally, this was going to be a splatter manicure but my first try was a disaster  and I ended up smudging it so much I couldn't save it.

Instead, I went for a simpler technique like a glitter gradient that I had never actually tried, successfully or otherwise. I started with two thin coats of Maybelline's Electric Blue and one coat of Seche Vite for quick drying. For the glitter gradient, I used a Leighton Denny polish in I Am Diva  and put a drop of this dense glitter near the cuticles and brushed it up the nail with the polish brush. I stamped my ring finger with Bundle Monster's plate in BM-206 with essence's Silver Twister. Topped it all off with Rimmel and Essie matte top coats, each in two fingers (can you tell the difference? I still can't!).

There are a lot of things wrong with this manicure. For starters, I was impatient with the Electric Blue and touched it to see if it had dried. It hadn't and I created a massive smudge. Second, the glitter gradient is very sparse to be considered such and lastly, the stamp is crooked and not centred, even though I tried really hard.

A much better angle for this mani.

I couldn't bear having two unsatisfactory (in my standards and probably a lot of others') manicures  in one day and decided to still post this. 

Squint your eyes and it doesn't look that bad.

Anyway, this is what happened when, after touching the wet polish, I tried smoothing with my fingers AND applying a coat of Seche Vite. I have found this topcoat can fix mistakes if applied quickly after the smudge has happened, unfortunately, it didn't work for me this time.  

I have come across a few pages in Pinterest where they recommend licking your polish into place. I always had the idea that polish shouldn't go anywhere near your mouth so I skipped that one.

Do you have a fail-safe fix for polish smudges? If you can't fix them, would you rather leave them or start over?

Till next time,


Monday, 1 July 2013

Couldn't Remember...

Whenever I thought of white polish, these came to mind, which may be some people's cup of tea but not mine, or simply undies for marbles/nail art/non-acrylic french manicures. As I was browsing Pinterest this morning, I came across a beautiful gold glitter, pink AND white mani. There was a lot of white in it and it somehow it looked amazing so I thought may be I could overcome the fear I had of white by recreating it. I really wish I hadn't closed the browser tab two seconds after looking at the pic so I could show you what it looked like and I could have a better guide.

I need to say, the only two similarities of this mani and the one I saw in Pinterest are the colours and the use of tape. The Pinterest mani had beautiful pink and white triangles near the tips where mine just has lines. You could say this is not the greatest (white/pink/gold) mani I've ever seen, this is just a (very toned down) tribute.  *Ba dum tssshhh*

I hope my lame humour hasn't put you off and you look at the rest of the post. :)

I started with three coats of theBalm's You're So Hot and Gold, which I've reviewed here, let it dry, taped each finger with striping tape and carefully applied a coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On. I find this white polish can be a one coater if I'm very careful with the application and, together with luck and patience,  I managed to do it this time. I had to apply Seche Vite to make sure the white was completely dry before applying the last colour.

Once dried, I taped up my fingers again with striping tape and painted essence in Raspberry Twist  from the Marble Mania collection. This was a one coater reddy, coral pink that's been sitting on my polish rack without too much use and I knew this could be it's time to shine.

I applied one final coat of Seche Vite to make all the layers even. All up I ended up with seven layers of polish over a PVA base so it's looking thick, it's most noticeable at the tip on the above photo. I wanna see how long it last and hope none of the nails just pops off from all the weight. It's happened before.

Overall, this mani took me a little over two hours to finish mostly from waiting the polish to dry. I am very happy the way they look and in no way they remind me of these. I'd say the effort was worth it and may have even given me the incentive to show white on manis more often.

What's your take on white nails? Yes, partly or just plain no? Is there a colour polish you guys won't wear? 

Till next time, 



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