22 February 2017

Guest Post - KLENails

My name is Kat Euston aka KLEnails and I was one of the lucky ladies that Dina asked to guest blog whilst she takes some time off.
I have been doing my own nails for 3 years and over time I have begun to blog about what I use and the designs I create.

Dina asked if I could come up with a blog featuring some nail art. Obviously I wanted something amazing to wow you all, so I settled for a super holographic silver polish with some optical illusion stamping over the top.
Here is what I came up with.
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Color Club Nail Lacquer - Harp On It
So to start this design I began with a base of Color Club's infamous super linear holographic polish 'Harp On It'. This stunning silver holo is one of my favourite ever polishes. It has an amazing formula which requires only one good coat to create the perfect base. I would happily wear a holo polish every single day of my life but for some reason I do forget how awesome they are and I stop wearing it for a while before I dive back in and fall in love all over again.

I purchased this polish as part of a set on Live Love Polish, which sadly is no longer an option. However it is possible to buy individually for $10 but it is currently out of stock. That's the sign of a great polish! Keep your eyes peeled on the website which you can view here, for restock info.


I recently got my hands on the Uber Chic Optical Art Magic stamping plate. It's full of eye bending images that can create epic illusion themed art.

Uber Chic - Op Art Magic stamping plate
For this design I used the 1st image on the second row. A twisty vortex! I had a feeling that over the super sparkle of the holographic base it would sit perfectly.

Now for most of us nail girls, we have our go to stamping set up.

For me; I find Mundo De Unas stamping polish and Bundle Monster's Monocle stamping set to be the best way to stamp. I like being able to see where I'm placing the image, which you can quite clearly through the end of the clear stamper. Plus MDU stamping polish has the consistency of tar. I never have a problem getting a good pick up when I am using this set up.

To purchase this polish, or any other MDU goodies please click here.
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MDU - Black stamping polish
I love how this look came together. In direct light the holo is almost blinding. It would look fabulous in Summer when the sun finally makes an appearance!

A quick and simple design which any holo-sexual could be proud of.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you like what I have created. If you fancy checking out more of my work or maybe giving my blog a read the links are below.
Instagram: @klenails

15 February 2017

GuestPost - Wacie

Fun With Pink and Coral 


Hello, Secretary's Nail Art readers!
I am Stacie from wacie.com, and I am your guest blogger today.
I have mani for you that combines many nail art techniques to create one cohesive mani.

 For this look, I used Essie's Pink Glove Service and Tart Deco, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer's Too Close to the Flame, OPI's Live, Love, Carnaval, and a nameless pink glow-in-the-dark polish I got at Rite-Aid. Each nail is topped with Dream Polish's Gem Glam top coat in the Melon Baller scent, and Essie's Matte About You matte top coat.

(The white spots are from the matte top coat)





As I mentioned, I employed many different styles for this mani.
All nails have a gradient done with Pink Glove Service and Tart Deco, but only one, my thumb, has the gradient alone and unfettered. The index finger has a coat of Too Close to the Flame under the gradient, while the pinky has it over the top. The middle two nails have the water marble done with Live, Love, Carnaval and Pink Glove Service. It's harder to see on some nails, but it is there.




Pink Glove Service is the workhorse of this mani, and I chose it because it's so sheer and so neutral that you can barely tell it's there. I definitely recommend a polish like this for everyone.

I used it here for all my negative-space needs, it watermarbles, and it's soft enough to work on every skintone.




Each nail also has a dose of the no-name glow-in-the-dark. I applied it at a different time on each nail, dependent on what nail art was done.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to get a really strong glow. I'll definitely use more if I attempt this again.

This photo was taken in complete darkness.



Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are sold in their online shop.
You probably already know where to find OPI and Essie.



Thank you so much for guestposting for me Stacie! Be sure to check out her work over at her blog wacie.com. Preparing for life as a new mom is keeping me busy, and I am looking forward to be getting back to blogging and getting the hang of having a baby around.

8 February 2017

GuestPost - Be Happy And Buy Polish

Hi everyone!
Jessica here from Be Happy And Buy Polish. When Dina needed some guest posters for when her baby comes, of course I wanted to help out since I'm also (as of this writing) expecting a baby any day now! Us preggos gotta help each other out. ;)

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna cold state, Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber | Be Happy And Buy Polish

Today I have some nail art featuring Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna and Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber. I've been watching some of Sveta's Nail Art videos and have wanted to try some drag nail art.

  Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna transition state, Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber | Be Happy And Buy Polish

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna transition state, Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber macro | Be Happy And Buy Polish

 I started with 3 coats of Euna on my pointer and pinky fingers. Euna is a thermal polish that shifts from a pink-beige when warm to brown to olive green when cold. This applies nicely but sheer and dries matte.

    Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber, Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna | Be Happy And Buy Polish

On my middle and ring fingers, I started with one coat of Sep-timber and let dry. Then I applied a thick coat of Sep-timber and dotted with Euna; working quickly I dragged the dots around.

  Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber, Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna holographic | Be Happy And Buy Polish


Girly Bits Cosmetics Sep-timber, Femme Fatale Cosmetics Euna holographic macro | Be Happy And Buy Polish

I love that on my ring finger, the dots ended up looking like leaves - which believe me, I did not intend! LOL :) I was just happy this didn't turn out as a hot mess. I hope you enjoyed my guest post today, if you'd like to take a gander at my blog, I regularly post there, on instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for having me, Dina!

1 February 2017

GuestPost - Keely's Nails

FUN Lacquer Shana with Rainbow Connection
Hi everyone!  I'm Keely from Keely's Nails, and thank you to Dina for letting me guest post.  I've got a swatch of a FUN Lacquer collaboration shade made with Rainbow Connection, which is one of a set of three inspired by the cartoon Jem and the Holograms.  This is FUN Lacquer Shana.
FUN Lacquer - Shana with Rainbow Connection

Shana is a purple crelly polish packed with tiny square holographic glitter and irregularly shaped silvery flakes.  In these swatches I used two coats and top coat.  I think that really thin coats show off the glitter in these types of polishes the best, as you can see the glitters peeking through the different layers, and you see much more depth.
FUN Lacquer - Shana with Rainbow Connection

This was a tricky polish to photograph, and it looks a bit more blue here than it does in person. It does dry fractionally darker than the bottle though.
FUN Lacquer - Shana with Rainbow Connection

I love this macro photo! It really shows the shape of the glitters and flakies, and just how many there are.  It's packed!!
Fun Lacquer Shana
I can highly recommend this polish, it's beautiful and definitely attracts compliments.  It would be lovely in the summer too, I can imagine that the sun would make it sparkle so much. Even though my photos aren't totally colour accurate, I think anyone would like this polish.
If you've never tried any FUN Lacquer before, they are a beautiful indie brand from Singapore.  There's always lots of glitter and sparkle in one of these polishes. If you want to see more, have a look at Cepheus and Ursa Major, both inspired by constellations, and made in collaboration with French blogger iParallaxe.

Thank you again for letting me guest post for you Dina!  Good luck with the newest addition to your family.

5 December 2016

Winter Survival Tips for Hands and Nails


I work in an office so my fingers take a lot of beating on keyboards, drying up due to air conditioners, radiators heating inside, and it is really cold here in the UK, which also doesn't help.
Pair that up with running a nail art blog, and you really gotta look after your skin.

I know my hands have not looked the best at times, but after a lot of trial and error, reminding myself to be better at looking after my hands and nails, I have found a couple of things that works for me, and that might work for you as well.

Since I am prone to very dry skin, that breaks up, gets red, itchy, hangnails and all that stuff, finding a solution has not been the easiest at times.

Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and you have to be vigil.

Scrubbing and peeling DIY










Lotions and moisturisers DIY

I got hold of some 100% pure Aloe Vera Gel, and mixed in with Coconut oil (60% coconut oil, and 40% Aloe Vera Gel if you want to make it yourself). Rub it in on your skin. Before taking pictures I take a soft cloth and dab away the shine and my skin looks a lot better on pictures even on bad skin-days. It is also great for when you just stepped out of the shower for a nice treat.
A little trick I learned from grandma.





When I have a pampering session I grab my homemade lotion bar and give my hands a little massage. The lotion-bars contains 3 ingredients and does wonders to the skin. Coconut oil, beeswax and a little avocado oil (equal parts of all ingredients).




Melt the coconut oil and mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour in silicon moulds of your choice. 
Leave for a day to dry, and put in a container and keep in a cool place. Massage on hands as needed.




Store moisturisers

Lets say you don't feel like mixing up stuff in the kitchen and order in oils and beeswax from Amazon, what about store bought moisturisers?

Lush



I keep these two tubs of Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (seriously the BEST stuff i have encountered for dry cuticles) and a tub of the Lush - Helping Hands Hand Cream.
The Helping Hand is very calming and moisturising for when my skin gets very itchy. Unfortunately it doesn't last long on my skin, and I have to keep reapplying it. I have found out that if I have itchy skin, I can apply Lush - Helping Hand, and then follow up with another moisturiser after half an hour or so. This way I get itchy free skin, and the second moisturiser helps on keeping my skin nice and soft.
Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter is for many the holy grail of cuticle butter on the market, and I am a huge fan as well, but on broken skin, I would strongly advise against it.
If you have a sore nose with a cold, dabbing on a little bit of this around your nose with a cotton, sure makes the skin feel a lot nicer.
If you like to hike in the mountains, bring this with you next time and if it gets cold up there, apply some of this on your face so it won't suffer from the harsh wind and cold.


Burt Bees & Body Shop

In the office I have a tin of Burt Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, a tube of Body Shop Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (hemp moisturizer for extreme dry skin). I also keep a pair of cotton gloves handy, so if my hands are getting extremely dry, I can moisturize and put the gloves on for a little bit with both products on my cuticles and hands.

Also repeat this at night time if I have particular dry and/or itchy skin that day. The Body Shop -Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (now called: Hemp Hand Protector) is great at dealing with both dry and itchy skin. I recently discovered that The Body Shop has changed the label on this line from when I last purchased a tube of their hemp moisturizer. They currently (at the time of writing this) has them on 50% discount. So if you like this moisturizer, now is the time to stock up. I know I did, plus some extra for Christmas presents.
With this one, little goes a long way, but it has a strange scent (hemp) to it that doesn't do very well in an office environment.

In my kitchen I had the Burt Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream, I find that this one is specially good after washing up when your skin really needs something to bring moisture back.
I recently ran out of this and found that replacing it with my Honey and Coconut Lotion Bars does the same job. So I crushed up two bars in the old Almond and Milk Hand Cream jar and been using that ever since.


Burt's Bees 



I have a Burt Bees Hand Salve in my bag, as well as Pure Argan Oil in a small polish bottle.
I would compare the Burt Bees Hand Salve with Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter in terms of just how much moisture it provides. While Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter can feel a bit stingy on broken skin Burt Bees Hand Salve soothes it and helps the healing process


Atrix

I wanted to talk about Atrix - Intensive Protection Cream. Like Lush - Helping Hands, a product designed for nurses struggling with skin-dryness due to high frequent washing and harsh products. It contains Chamomile which is great for itchy skin, and is thicker than Lush - Helping Hands and therefor lasts longer without having any problems with it feeling slippery on the hands.  

atrix® Intensive Protection Cream can be obtained in tube form in the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Serbia/Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Taiwan, Ukraine

I discovered that this is also available at Superdrugs under the name: Atrixo Intensive Protection Cream, currently being sold for £3.15

Another product from Atrix that is really good is Atrix - Professional Repair Cream. This one is available to purchase in the UK through various sites and Amazon. Atrix - Professional Repair Cream is best for those hands that looks beyond saving, and with daily use can bring even the roughest hands to youthful glow.

atrix® Professional Repair Cream can be obtained in the following countries:
Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, UK


Boots and Superdrug

I also keep a bottle of Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir at my desk in the nail cave. I find that while this does give some moisture it mostly just looks nice without actually giving any deep moisture. Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir is therefor best as a touch up product or a summertime product.

A product similar to the before mentioned Atrix  Intensive Protection Cream aka Atrixo - Intensive Protection Cream (for those in the UK), is Neutrogena - Norwegian Formula Hand and Nail Cream, it's lacking on the calming ingredients and it looks somewhat glossy on the hands which is why I would recommend Atrix/Atrixo over the Neutrogena any day.

For transitioning into warmer weather when you don't need as much moisture added to the skin two products I really enjoy is the Superdrug - Hand Cream and Nivea - Q10 Plus Age Defying Hand Cream. Both products keeps the skin looking its best, sinks into the skin quickly without leaving the skin feeling greasy.



UK Indies 


UK Indie Stores has some awesome stuff for keeping hands and nails in good condition during the cold season, be it from Etsy or directly from the maker. 

Soap Dodger

Some time ago I purchased the Soap Dodger Cuticle Balm as I was curious to test it out. It has a very light texture and melts very quickly into the skin. The scent is nice and fresh which reminds me of lemon gelato di crema. In terms of moisture delivery it is very good, but Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter provides a bit more. I feel like adding Soap Dodger - Cuticle Balm on top of other more moisturising products really seals it all in.

Another product that I have tried has been the Soap Dodger - Cuticle Oil I got this as a free sample when I did a large haul from them a while back. I am not a huge fan of the scent on it, but it gives decent moisture. When I add this to all my nails it has usually soaked up before I get to rub it in. It works great for pictures, but not so much for a daily Cuticle Oil in my opinion.


Opulent Essences

The winner for me in terms of Cuticle Oils has been the Opulent Essences - Nail/ Cuticle Oil , it has a nice and pleasant scent with a soya bean oil base. It is very high on moisture, sinks into the skin rather quick but not too quick so you have time to apply to all your nails before the product is gone and you feel like applying it all over again.




There you have my top Winter Survival Tips for Hands and Nails. 

25 November 2016

Untried Indie Polish - Happy Hands Nail Polish - Sandcastles in the Sand

3rd trimester is rapidly approaching in my pregnancy, and while I am waiting for baby I wanted to dive into some of my untried polishes. 
One of the things I really love doing is looking for interesting polishes from indie companies. 
#itrustindiepolish
and all that ya know. 

Happy Hands Nail Polish - Sandcastles in the Sand is a gorgeous glitter polish with a pale beige base, blue and yellow square glitter and smaller yellow hex glitters. 
It reminds me of Easter...

The Happy Hands Nail Polish shop was set to "Holiday Mode" back in January 2014, so I don't think this brand is around anymore. I am sorry about that. 

I choose to pair this with Moyra - Damask and Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape 


Happy Hands Nail Polish -  Sandcastles in the Sand stamped with  Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape  using Moyra - Damask

Happy Hands Nail Polish -  Sandcastles in the Sand stamped with  Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape  using Moyra - Damask. Closeup to really show off the glitter polish. Stunning, right?

23 November 2016

KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

One of the things I try to do, as a nail blogger, is to make sure I try out new techniques and types of polishes. When the KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer came out 4-5 years or so back, I bought the ones I could get hold of.

Back then, I was still struggling with brittle nails after having been a nail biter for so long. My nail shape was not the best, and I just didn't have the practice that I have now.
If you want to dive in my archive to the last time I wore a magnet polish, follow this link.



I have seen some brands from Russia come out with magnetic polishes, and it is only a matter of time before others follow. Right?
Do you think magnetic polishes are on the comeback, or is this just a blast from the past?



Today I am going to show you KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise, I know this is Discontinued, but I am sure some of you have these buried in your Helmers or nail polish racks/stash, completely forgotten.

Magnetic Nail Lacquer is a 5-free nail polish: it is formulated without adding harsh ingredients such as Toluene, Camphor, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin and Formaldehyde

I used the KIKO - Nail Art Magnet 01 - Stripes for today's look. This was the only Magnet that I managed to find when these first came out, but if you have magnetic polishes the KIKO - Nail Art Magnets are still for sale, just not the magnet polishes...


KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

KIKO - Magnetic blue
KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

I really like how these turned out, so I wanted to do some nail art on top of the base.
I chose Bundlemonster - BM509 to preserve the nautical feel. I used Wet N Wild - Black Creme as stamping polish because I know I can trust it to do a good job.
Sadly, I think I have received a bad plate with this one. First I tried the diamond shape with the anchors - could barely make out the image. Then I tried the trident image - after several attempts I got a decent transfer and used this for my index finger.
For the rest of the nails I used the rope design which was well etched and transferred like a dream. 


KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise stamped with Bundlemonster - BM509