Saturday, 24 November 2012

Millennium Nails Nail Striper Review and Comparison

Happy Weekend to you!
Typically, as winter is pretty much here now, and everyone is rocking their cool dark mani's, I've been digging pastels and neons!  Yes, it may just be the contrariness in me, but what the hey.  I've also been having a bit of a stripe frenzy.  These two things came together and demanded that I buy a pastel yellow striping polish.  Could I find one on the whole of the internet? NO!
I do own some striping brushes, and some pastel yellow polish, but for some reason I really can't enjoy striping like that.  It's alot of messing about, cleaning brushes with polish remover while wearing the polish and trying not to smudge anything.... too much hassle for me!  So striping polishes are ideal, all packaged up nicely, and when you're finished, just pop the lid back on and you're away!
So anyway, I couldn't find a pale yellow one.  Lots of pastels in green, blue, pink, but no yellow.  I decided what I would do is buy a white one and add some yellow polish to it, voila! A pale yellow one.  Now as this is obviously a bit experimental, I don't want to buy an expensive striper, but likewise, I don't want a rubbish one either, as some of the stripers I've bought in the past have been a bit pants.  So I found this cheap one on Amazon, only £2.39 plus £1.55 P&P, there weren't any reviews for it, and I couldn't find any on blogs anywhere (hence this review), but I took the plunge anyway. HERE'S the link
I thought I would show a comparison against my trusty Color Club white striper, which I love, to give you an idea of the quality, and actually I quite like how it came out, which surprised me, as I'm not a great fan of red nails on me.

Without further ado, lets get on with the pics.  I used the Millennium Nails striper on my index and middle finger, and the Color Club striper on my ring finger and little (pinky) finger:
Millennium Nails snow white striper review
As you see, there is a TINY amount of difference.  The Color Club is slightly more opaque, and where the lines begin at my cuticle is a bit neater.  This is because the Millennium Nails brush wasn't completely even at the tip, am wondering if I can maybe give the brush a bit of a trim with my nail scissors to improve it.

But, actually, for the price, not bad.  Here's another pic:
Millennium Nails white snow striper review
The bottle is glass, and not the same one shown in the Amazon pic.  It made me giggle, because the writing on it says "YCC Stripping Pen".  Not a pen, and certainly not a stripper!

Anyhow, for anyone who's interested in seeing the undies for this mani, it's Maybelline Express Finish in Cherry, which is a nice bright red, a bit darker than it's showing in my pics, a bit of VNL in one coat (which is all I used), but for the purposes of this mani that didn't bother me:
Maybelline Express Finish in Cherry
And finally, here's a pic of the actual brushes, I couldn't find a pic like this anywhere before I bought the striper, so hopefully someone stumbles across this if they're looking to buy.  Apologies for the slightly scruffy background, it was the only black piece of card I could find:
Color Club White Striper Review
As you can see, the Millennium Nails one is slightly longer, but both brushes have a nice firm spring to them, and both were nice to hold and use.  Maybe I should have cleaned off the neck of my Color Club one before taking the photo haha.  Amazon says the Millennium has 8ml in it, whereas the Color Club has 7ml.

So, in summary:

If the Millennium Nails stripers came with free P&P, they would be a total bargain.  As it is, with the shipping they pretty much come alongside the better quality Color Club ones, which have free shipping.  So if you're looking at both, I would say get the Color Club one.  I haven't done my yellow experiment yet, but will let you know how it goes!

Until next time....


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Seche Vite - is it worth it?

This is something I've been asked a few times on Twitter, and I always seem to take about 7 tweets to say everything I want to about it, so tonight I decided it would be much better to actually write a post about it.

Firstly, I took two pictures of the products I have, on different colour bases.  I couldn't decide which picture worked best, so I'm putting them both up.  Here's the first:
I bought the tiny bottle first to test it out, and then I went on to buy the regular sized bottle.  I now keep the small bottle in my nail art box, so if I forget to bring the big bottle out, I don't mess up my nails rooting through my top coats to find it.

The benefits to it:

1) It does dry super duper fast

2) It is exceptionally shiny

3) It is hardwearing

4) It doesn't smudge nail art

...All you could want from a topcoat, right?  But there are drawbacks.....

1) Seche goes gloopy pretty flippin quickly
If it does go gloopy, the fast dry benefits are lost, and then it dries on the surface and stays wet underneath, which makes it easy to dent

2) It smells REALLY strong, strong enough to give you a headache if you use if for too long

3) As it's drying it shrinks away from the tips of my nails, which means my tips wear faster than usual.  If I wrap the edges I've found it shrinks down from my cuticles, which makes my manicure look like it's prematurely growing out

4) When you get down to the last quarter of the bottle, you have to tip it sideways to get a decent coverage of polish on the brush, as it doesn't quite reach down far enough

So it's not all good.

Doing research to combat the gloopiness I discovered that Seche doesn't agree with regular thinner (I usually use the Mavala one), so I had to buy a bottle of Seche Restore.  It's a bit trial and error of how much to use, I like the addition of the pipette in the box, which makes it easier. I've been adding five drops, having a bit of a shake and checking it.  Apparently though if you add too much all you have to do is leave the lid off and keep checking it until it's evaporated a bit.

I bought all of mine off Amazon (I do alot of shopping there):
Regular Seche Vite £6.79
Seche Restore £10.95
Both with free delivery

I couldn't find the tiny bottle any more, perhaps they've stopped selling it, I have had it for a while.

Here's the other picture I took:
The clarity isn't as good in this picture, but the all white background looks cleaner, this is why I couldn't decide!  Which picture do you prefer?

So to sum up, even though Seche has it's drawbacks, I still always use it for over my nail art, as it's the only one I've found so far that doesn't drag my designs, but if I'm just painting over a plain manicure, especially one I'm planning to keep on for a few days, I'll use a different topcoat that doesn't have the shrinking issues.  I'm not sure you'd be able to use up your full bottle of Seche Vite without also having a bottle of Seche Restore.

I hope this has helped anyone who's considering it, it's always best to know in advance the pro's and con's before you let go of your hard earned cash!

Until next time....


Sunday, 18 November 2012

TX Maxx OPI Trio - Swatches and Review

Hi there again!

I've been back to my trusty ole TK Maxx, and yes, I've come away with lots of polishes as usual.  I really don't think I'll get round to swatching and reviewing all of them, especially now with the winter light preventing weekday swatching, but I've done these ones today for you. 

I have a massive blog post half way done about winter photography lighting, but I don't want to publish it until I successfully manage to find good lighting, and I haven't managed it yet.

Here's how they come packaged.  It's quite a cute little bag they come in with poppers on the top.  Waste not want not, I'm going to use it to keep my stamping plates in, as the little OPI bag I keep them in now is full to bursting.
As you can see I paid £14.99, which isn't too bad for three.  I don't really wear alot of pinks or reds, but I don't have many OPI's, so I thought I'd give them a go.

The first one I tried was on the left hand side, Be A Dahlia, Won't You.  It's alot pinker that it shows in my photos, in the bottle it looks like a red base with fuschia flecks.

Here's the first pic:
The first coat was a bit sheer, thin and a bit patchy, definite VNL.  Quite nice and flowy though.  If you don't mind a tiny bit of nail line, you could definitely get away with two coats.  By the third coat the VNL was pretty much gone, and the colour had a nice depth to it.  Dry time was medium.

Here's the close up:
It's not bad, but there are others like this in my collection which I like more.

The next one I tried was Big Hair, Big Nails.  From the first coat, I knew this wasn't one for me.  Here's the one coat pic:
Sheer enough for you?

However, in the interests of science (lol), I carried on with it, but I knew this was never going to opacity.  The formula was a little bit runny, but nice and smooth.

Here's what it looked like at three coats:
Such a shame, because it didn't give me lobster fingers, and it's quite hard to find a red that suits my skintone.

Here's the close up:
I know for a fact I won't ever wear this by itself, I'll maybe try layering it over a nude polish and see how that goes.

The last one I tried was Skull and Glossbones:
The formula was thin, and streaky at the first coat.  Dry time was medium/fast. The second coat self levelled nicely, but was still a bit patchy.  After 3 coats I still had a couple of bald spots at my cuticles, but these were pretty simple to cover.   And it was so worth it!  I love this colour.  It's a warm light grey creme, and it somehow has an ethereal look to it.

Here's another picture (I took lots):
It has a lovely shine to it, and it's definitely one I'll be reaching for alot.  Strangely, now winters on its way, and I should be embracing the darks, I seem to be having a pastel phase, oh well!

Finally, here's the brush shot:
All in all, a mixed bag.  But Skull and Glossbones redeems this set.  I highly recommend that one, the other two I wouldn't bother with personally, but am sure they'll come in handy for something! 

Until next time....


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Nailart: 3 colours, two different ways

Morning All,

I know it's only 11am on Saturday, but so far this weekends going brilliantly!  Finally I've finished my physio for my achilles problem, and she said I can try a small run, so off I went this morning, and it was awesome!  They're are still a bit sore, and she said I can only go once a week at first, and not far, but it's soooo good to get back out in the fresh air and out of breath again.  Also, that means no more Saturday working yaaaaayyyyy!!!!

But enough of me, onto the nail art, that's what brought you here, right?

Friday night is nail art night for me, and last night, I knew I wanted to do something stripy, but I wasn't sure which colours etc to use.  So I went upstairs, tipped a load of polishes out of their baskets onto the bed and just picked about, and experimented on a nail wheel until I found a combo I liked.  A very happy hour that was!

So here's the first look I came up with:
This is the look is was going for when I ended up with my Black Forest Gateaux nailart (LINK), I've finally sussed out tape manicures after some good advice from Sammy at The Nailasaurus (LINK). 

She suggested I use Seche Vite over my base colour, wait five minutes, and then only lightly apply my tape, and then I wouldn't get the problem I'd had, which was my base colour coming up with the tape, and she was spot on!

Firstly I used a base coat, then a base colour coat of Nails Inc Devonshire Row.  This is one coat, and that was enough, one coater, great formula, gotta love it.  Then I taped off the top of my nails using a cheap Wilko rip-off of Scotch Invisible tape.  I stuck the tape to my hand a few times first so it wasn't super-duper sticky.

Then I striped all the stripes completely in white.  Firstly to make sure they were evenly spaced, and secondly so that the white base would make the yellow show up nicely, and for once, all my ideas worked out first time.  If I were to to it again, I'd maybe be a bit more careful with my stripes, but that's just the perfectionist in me coming out.  Heres another pic of it:
Now, as much as I like this look, I decided to do something different on my other hand.  I went a bit more freeform this time.  Like the last look, I did the whole design in white first, then went over some of it with the yellow.  This is what I got:
This shouts 80's to me, and Inkynails13, one of my Twitter friends, called it Punk Tiger Nails, and I LOVE that description, it's just right!  The slightly scrappy overlapping works in its favour I think.  Heres another pic:
I actually want to try this design again in true 80s colours, black, grey and red, would be fun!

Here's the polishes I used:
I am really liking the fact that I've got a different design on each hand, but using the same colours to tie the two together.  I think this might become a regular thing for me!  Which one's your favourite?

So to carry on this super duper weekend, am off shopping, where I may happen to stumble over a polish or two...

Until next time....


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Judith Williams Phytomineral Neck Treatment Review

Hi again!

I've had this cream for a while, I've been holding off writing a review on it because I wanted to give it a decent chance to work.  I bought it from QVC, where it had rave reviews, HERE's the link , I paid £26.00 plus P&P.

The packaging is pretty, if you have a nice dressing table, it would certainly 'grace' it:
Judith Williams Neck Moisture Treatment
While the nice shiny lid does look nice, I've found it slippy and difficult to open if I have any product on my hands, like face cream or hair oil.

It comes with a leaflet, here's what it has to say:

"This beauty treatment was especially developed for the care of the tender skin on the neck & decollete area.  Reveal a smoother appearance throughout your skin.  Gently massage into cleansed skin in the morning and evenings.
7 minerals, 7 plants.  An active agent complex made from 7 precious plant extracts and 7 important minerals & Coenzyme Q10 which moisturises your skin and protects it against the signs of premature aging.
The 7 plant extracts for revitalising the skin are Ginseng & Guarana, Hops, Cocoa & Cocoa seeds, Lotus blossom, Maca and Roseroot.
The 7 minerals to supply the skin with important trace elements are Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Manganese, Selenium and Zinc.
The Phytomineral care products are suitable for every skin type"

All sounds great right?  So what's it like then?  Here's what it looks like out of the tub:
Judith Williams Neck Moisture Treatment
Hopefully you can tell a bit about the texture from this shot.  It's a bit like a fluffy cocoa butter, it does have a really nice texture.  However the fragrance is a bit strong for me, it's a bit like a chemically floral, and it does linger for at least an hour.  If you put it on at bedtime, you're still going to be smelling it until you fall asleep.

It is VERY moisturising.  I've found that if I put it on in the morning, by lunchtime my thirsty skin still feels moisturised, but it was too heavy for my face, and it made me break out.  Of course it's not designed to be used on the face, but what can I say, I like experimenting.

Apart from the strong smell, my other slight disappointment with this cream is that it did nothing to improve the look of my neck area.  Now I look at the description more closely, there's actually nothing to say that it will, but call me old fashioned, I just expect a neck cream to have some kind of tightening properties to it. 

My neck area is starting to look a bit slack now, and I have perma-creases on my front, so I was hoping to have a reduction in the appearance of these, but nothing, no difference at all.  Granted I haven't been using it religiously morning and night, have pretty much only been using it when I remember, but I have had it, and been using it, for about six months, so if it was going to make any difference, I think it would have done by now.

So all in all, to sum up, it's not bad, and if dry skin is your only issue on your neck, and you don't mind a strong fragrance, you'll probably love this.  Certainly judging by the reviews on QVC lots of women do love it.  However, my neck area needs something with some lifting and firming, and while I'll probably use all this cream up, I'm still browsing for the next 'wonder' neck product.

Do you have a favourite neck treatment?  Or are you lucky enough not to need one yet?  If so, lucky you, enjoy it while you can!

Until next time....


Saturday, 10 November 2012

OPI Alpine Snow vs OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls

Hi All!

It's Saturday and I'm off work, so happy!  Even better, the suns out, and that can only mean one thing, SWATCHES!!

This is a post I've been meaning to do for a while, then I saw that someone navigated to my site while looking for a comparison, and I felt all bad because I hadn't done it yet, and it spurred me into action.  So whoever you are, anonymous, thank you for the boot up the bum that I needed.

Looking at the two in the bottle, it's obvious why people can't decide between them:
OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls vs Alpine Snow
In this, and every, picture, My Boyfriend Scales Walls is on the left, and Alpine Snow is on the right.

So lets get into it on my nails:
OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls vs Alpine Snow
As you can see, Alpine Snow on the right, is ever-so-slightly brighter.  This picture is a pretty good representation of how it looks in real life, indoors but in the light from the window.

Formula wise, you can see that I had a little bubbling issue with My Boyfriend Scales Walls, I didn't have that last time I used it, perhaps I shook it a little too vigorously.  These pictures are all three coats, and I didn't need to do any clean up.

Lets have another pic.  This one's in the sunlight:
OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls vs Alpine Snow
I think this one shows the shine nicely.  You can see on my index finger that My Boyfriend Scales walls shows more shine than Alpine Snow.

One last pic of it on my nails, this one in the shade:
OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls vs Alpine Snow
Getting back to the formula, they are slightly different.  I prefer the formula of My Boyfriend Scales Walls, because it's less self deleting than Alpine Snow, and it seems to self level better.  Also, I'm pretty sure I had to add some thinner to my Alpine Snow when I first got it to make it more cooperative. 

Brushwise, theres not much in it.  If I HAD to chose between them, My Boyfriend Scales Walls brush is a tiny bit better, you can see the difference between the formulas quite well in this next pic, look at the difference in how each polish clings to the brush:
OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls vs Alpine Snow
The coating on the brush is denser on Alpine Snow (right), and that gives you a pretty good idea about the application.

They both needed the three coats for perfect coverage, dry time was identical and medium/fast. 

I would actually say that this is the one time where I'm happy to own both, even though they're so similar, as they both have their place in my collection.  Alpine snow where I need a bright white, especially for nail art and dotting, and My Boyfriend Scales Walls for all over nice shiny and level nails.

But, if you can't afford both, and so I absolutely have to pick, I would say to choose My Boyfriend Scales Walls, as it's a bit more versatile.  I bought both of mine from Amazon and paid about £7.50 each.

So there you go, comparison done, I hope you liked it!

Until next time....


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Revlon Top Speed 606 Stormy review and swatches

Hi everyone, sorry for making you wait until after the weekend for my regular post...

My blogging routine is all over the place, I had to work pretty much ALL DAY on Saturday, and then dash to the shops, by the time I got home it was late, and there's just no light left in the evenings now to take my pretty photos with, bah.   Sunday gets written off with visiting relatives each week, I took some polish to see if I could do some swatches, but I wasn't able to.

So, I've ordered a cheapie lighting photo set up thing from Amazon, hopefully that will mean I can do swatches in the evening and still get half decent colour accurate pictures, that way I'm not just stuck with blogging at weekends, I'll review it anyway when it comes, so you can see if it's worth getting or not.

But... it's not the weekend now, I hear you say?  Well, I've tried to be a bit cunning.  I painted my nails last night, took the photos in my car on my lunch break, and now I'm doing the post in the evening, so it's taken 24 hours to get to the point where I can actually write my post, and I have no idea yet if my photos will be any good.  If not I'll just have to do my best with the kitchen lighting.. sigh...

Anyway, let's get on with the swatches and review!

I bought this polish in store from Superdrug and paid £6.49 but I've looked and they don't have it on their website.  However I've seen it much cheaper than that when I just looked on Amazon, LINK here - isn't it always they way?

OK then, I've just looked at the photos I took today and they're awful, sigh....  off I go to try and take some half decent ones in indoor lighting, wish me luck!

Here's the first one:
Revlon Top Speed Stormy Swatch Review
The colour is warmer than it's showing here, think a taupe-y grey rather than just a flat grey.  As you can see I added some nail gems, I absolutely love the look of them against this polish, they remind me of drops of honey.  They're actually faceted, but I used so much top coat to try and keep them on that they've become cabouchons lol!  The topcoat I used was Sally Hansen Insta-dry, which is another polish I'm not so keen on, but it needs to be used up, which is why I used it.  I actually got alot of bubbling in my topcoat, which is why all my day time photos looked so awful but actually in real life they're not so noticeable.  You can see them around the gems in this next pic though:
Revlon Top Speed Stormy Swatch Review
However, with using so much topcoat, it's been 24 hours, I've washed my hair, peeled the potatoes, been typing all day, and I still have all my gems, and no chipping on my nails, so it has its benefits.

On to the review.  I love the colour, but I hate the formula!  It managed to be runny, patchy, floody and bumpy, worse on the first coat, and with another coat and a bit of clean up it was a half decent finish, but not as good as I would have liked.  The fact that I even bothered with a clean up and didn't just take it off is a testament to how much I like this colour, the photos really don't do it justice, so frustrating!  Dry time was medium to fast.

So here's a picture of the brush sitting on top of my glamorous (lol) pine tea caddy, it was a little bit too soft for my liking, and added to the application issues:
Revlon Topspeed Stormy Swatch Review
And finally, for completeness, here's a picture of the gems I bought.  I bought them from Amazon UK HERE is the link, I didn't have any problems with the speed of shipping etc, and they were less than a fiver, bargain! :
Nail Gems
So, to sum up, if the formulation were better on this polish, I would wear it all the time!  Such a shame, but I will still struggle on with it, because when I'm wearing it, and I look at my nails, it makes me smile. 

And after all, that's rather the point, isn't it?

Until next time....