Browsing Tag


Acrylic, Gel, Stick On Nails, Nail Polish/Care

My experience with Gel & Acrlic Nails

It occurred to me whilst writing my blog post on getting your nails back into good condition after gel nails that I have never shared my experience with gel and acrylic nails on my blog before. A few people asked me if I recommend them. Here are my thoughts…

The first time I got my nails done I went for acrylic tips. I had them done in the Nail and Beauty Bar in Clarehall shopping centre. It took an hour and a half and I pretty much hated them. I hated the feel of them but most of all I hated the shape. They resembled something like this…

Do you see the ‘shovel’ effect. I think this shape made my hands look stubby and for some reason they gave the impression that I was ‘high maintenance’ – a little Snooki from Jersey Shore. I felt like I should have an orange tan to go with them. As soon as I got home I filed the sides of them down so they looked like they belong on my hands. I would honestly rather have scutty nails than this shape.

I had them removed after a month since I wasn’t happy to pay €30 to have them refilled every 3 weeks  and have them look like shovels. My nails then crumbled into oblivion after the technician soaked and filed the overlays off until I was close to bare fingers.

About six months later I was going on holiday and my nails were disgraceful so I opted for acrylics once again but this time I tried a Slender Health Beauty salon in Raheny. I explained to the technician that I hated my nails the first time I had them done. She promised that she would keep them the shape that my own nails grow naturally. I paid €65 for them but they were worth it! (I think most salons do the for about €50 now) They looked beautiful and natural. I went on holiday and enjoyed my perfect nails. They looked similar to this picture…

Again, the upkeep was too much. Although I didn’t really want part with the €30 for refills every few weeks, I just didn’t have an hour to spare to have them done. I’m not one for pampering, I don’t enjoy sitting in salons, I get too bored and an hour feels like a week!

After the removal this time I started a 4 step plan to keep stop my nails flaking and crumbling away (How to get your nails back into good condition after overlays).

I also tried gels at another stage and found the same problems after removal. They also break easier than acrylics.

So do I recommend them?

They look gorgeous if applied and shaped well but they are very high maintenance. They are great for going on holiday or over Christmas and the New Year. But you have to be prepared for the nail crumbling afterwards. If you don’t look after your nails well after removal they will be in a much worse state then when you started.

What do you think?

Acrylic, Gel, Stick On Nails, Beauty Tips, Nail Care, Nail Polish/Care

4 Ways to Get your Nails back into Condition after Gels /Acrylics

This morning on Twitter I was asked had I any tips to share on strengthening your nails after Gel nail removal. Instead of replying via tweet I thought I would write up a little blog post since I have some experience with crumbling post gel nails.

The first time I had acrylic nails removed My nails looked great for a few days but then crumbled to nothingness over a few weeks. I was not prepared for this and hadn’t taken any extra care of my nails.

The second time around I went for gel overlays and after removal I put a plan into actions. I managed to keep my nails from peeling and crumbling. In fact my nails grew strong and long, which I couldn’t believe. Here is what I  used:

1. Vaseline Healthy Hand & Nails

Vaseline hand nail cream

This has been a favourite of mine for at least a decade, I used to keep a tube in my school bag! After my gel nails were been removed I rubbed some of this lotion into my cuticles and left a layer on my nail to absorb twice a day. This might seem like a nuisance but I found it easier to do at times where my hands were still – watching tv in the evening, reading my book before bed etc. I kept this up for 3 weeks.

2. Nail Hardener

sally hansen hard as nails natural

I used a few coats of nail hardener to prevent help prevent chipping and peeling. The one I used was Sally Hansen Hard as Nails but to be honest I would use any brand. After a few days I would remove the hardener, do a little nail treatment (see below) and the reapply. My nails were never without hardener for the 3 weeks, with the exception of treatment time.

3. Olive Oil Treatment:


olive oil

As mentioned, twice a week I removed the nail hardener and used treated my nails to a warm olive oil bath. I used the olive oil from my kitchen counter. Pour a little oil into a small bowl and warm for a few second in the microwave. Treat one hand at a time, pop all of your finger tips into the oil and soak for 10 minutes. You could also add a little Vitamin E capsule into the olive oil for extra strengthening power.

4. Nail Supplements:

perfectil skin hair nails supplement

I also took a nail supplement daily for a month or so. I started using a Holland & Barrett supplement but then switched to Perfectil Skin, Hair & Nails. They contain Omega-3 and Co-Q10 which apparently strengthen your nails from the inside. I have also heard many people recommend prenatal supplements. If you eat a balanced diet you could just add an Omega 3 supplement and add Flax seeds to your diet.

What was your experience will overlays?

Nail Polish/Care

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails

I picked up Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in Boots a few weeks ago. I hear there are more shades to choose from in the US. In my local Boots my only option was clear – which is exactly what I was looking for.

The instructions recommend applying a few coats before applying your nail polish.

Consistency wise it’s a little runnier than nail polish but it’s a treatment so this didn’t make any difference.

The first later dried in a few seconds so I swiftly applied another 2 layers. The final layer took a few more minutes to set.  It doesn’t have a shiny finish which doesn’t really matter since it’s a base nail hardener and not a top coat.

I followed with one coat of Eyeko Vampira. My polish went on without a hitch but it did take a little longer to dry. Even when it dried it was prone to dinting for another 10 minutes or so. This is definitely one I would apply whilst watching tv in the evening when I have time to let it dry properly.

My nail polish didn’t chip for 2 days, without a top coat. My nails are prone to chipping and peeling. The hardener did in fact harden my nails and protected them from splitting and peeling but only for 48 hours or so.

I bought mine for €9.95 in Boots but it was on offer – Buy one get one free. I also bought Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat, which I prefer. Click here to see the review.

Do you use nail hardener? What Sally Hansen products have you tried?


* Don’t forget – Click here to enter my MAC Stereo Rose giveaway

Nail Polish/Care, Reviews

Kiss Draw-on French Tip Pen – Great in theory

The idea of a drawing on a French tip with a marker is very enticing. I am useless with my left hand so when attempting a French polish I end up with one perfect hand and one that looks like it was applied by a 5 year old!

When this pen arrived I settled down for some nail pampering. It took me about 10 minutes (no exaggeration) to figure out how to get the colour to come out. The instructions told me “press tip of pen against protected surface”-  I wasn’t sure if that was press down or just lean on. If you’ve tried this product then I’m sure you’ll understand my dilemma. It turned out that it was ‘lean on’ rather than ‘press down’ so the instructions are confusing.

When the colour finally came through it applied like a dream to my first nail. Realising that I applied the pen without the expected French polish  base-coat, I scooped up a clear base and hastily applied. The pen was not happy!

It got stuck, dragged, blobbed and smeared. Not a good look and a far cry from the nail elegance I was looking forward to. In the end I got frustrated and went to town with the nail polish remover. This could have been because of the base coat or maybe I did something wrong but surely a white tip pen should make life easier.

Although this pen wasn’t for me I do recommend their false nails. I photographed a step by step tutorial on perfect application which I will post tomorrow.

What are your thoughts on French tip pens? Have you tried on that works?

Nail Polish/Care, Reviews

Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat

I bought Sally Hansen Double Duty a month ago in Boots and have used it consistently ever since.

Let me start off by saying that I am usually a bit lazy when it comes to base and top coats. To be honest I’m lucky if my nail polish dries without a dint of some sort. I’m very fidgety and find it difficult to sit still long enough for layers to dry.

I have tried a few different base coats and haven’t found one that was useful. The worst being the Boots Expert base coat which made my polish peel off.

I bought mine on special – buy one Sally Hansen product and get the second half price. I choose the nail hardener as my second item, review to follow on that one.

Back to Double Duty. I apply one coat before my nail polish and one coat after.

My conclusions:

1. It keeps my nail polish chip free for days

2. It prevented my nails from yellowing after days of dark polish

3. A little sticky until completely dry but not enough to mess up your nails

It’s also cheap… in most countries. Ireland as per usual has a disgusting hefty mark-up so if it’s not on special you can buy it for €2.50 on ebay. I wouldn’t pay more! But I shall be repurchasing.

What nail bases and topcoats do you recommend?

Nail Art, Nail Polish/Care

A little look inside the Rio Complete Nail Art Kit

Among the many fabulous Birthday presents I was showered with last week, was the Rio Complete Nail Art kit.  I had yet to venture down the nail art route, to be honest I wasn’t sure what my thoughts were on the whole nail art phenomenon. I have since decided that I find a delicate ornate detailing attractive in small doses but can’t quite make my piece with full on statement nails. It’s just not me, although I do appreciate the creative work that goes into them. So I am very excited about making this kit work for me. Here’s a look inside…

And the box… (I’m not sure why – for reference maybe? :)

It comes with a dvd and instructional booklet. I found the booklet far more useful than the dvd – much greater detail.

These are the nail art polishes (top), the printing polishes (bottom), adhesive and a 2-in-1 Varnish.

You are definitely limited in the shades available in the kit but if you had none of these supplies in your posession, like me, I suppose it’s a good place to start. If I enjoy using the kit I may add bits and pieces over time.

You also get the tools necessary to complete the art work. In the dvd the tutor uses the paint brush to apply base coat polish. It occurred to me that I moan frequently about the standard of the brushes inside the lid of a nail polish and it never once occurred to me to use a separate brush.

I’d be lying if I claimed to know what all of these tools are. I see a scraper, printed nail foils, a stamper, an orange stick and a thingy-ma-bob for picking up gems – It’s clear that I have all the terminology down.

And of course, oodles of gems…

I’m actually keen to try the gems. I’m such a magpie, attracted by anything shiny. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t make peace with the matte nails trend.

It also comes with a teeny tiny tube of glitter – which I am absolutely terrified of.

Although it was a birthday pressie from a family member I had a nosey to see where it came from. They’re sold in Argos for €39.99. I’m sure that they’re available from any store that sells Rio products.

What is your experience and thoughts on nail art?

Nail Polish/Care

Revlon Purple Petal – Nail Polish of the Day

I have become quite the nail polish addict lately. It could be just one of my phases but I’ve been changing my polish daily over the past few weeks.


Today’s choice is Revlon Purple Petal. I’ll show you the colour before I do a quick review..


I love the colour. It’s the perfect shade of purple for Winter. It brightens up my day!

The product itself is quite expensive for a drugstore polish (€9 in Ireland) but it is quite a large bottle. The consistency is great and it is very easy to apply without making too much of a mess. I applied two coats. It also dried quite quickly.

The downside is the chipping. This polish definitely needs a top coat. I’ve been using quite a lot of Rimmels long lastin polishes lately and haven’t needed to use a topcoat at all. Not so with the polish.

I love the colour range Revlon provides but as for the longetivity of the polishes, I don’t think so!

What is your favourite brand of nail polish?

Amy x