Category Archives: Beauty

FOTD: Smokey Purple

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I never do FOTD’s, too lazy, but I really liked my makeup today and received a lot of compliments so thought I would share! I suppose you could consider it dramatic, my makeup is rarely anything other than dramatic. T’would make a lovely Valentines day makeup look of you plan to look sultry and simmering (I don’t!).

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I always have Kate Bush hair on a Monday morning as I tend to wash it Sunday night then fall asleep on it, then rush out to work the next day! (Told you I’m lazy).

Eyes consisted of:

  • Inner Eye & Highlight: Urban Decay White Rabbit (from the Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows)
  • All over lid past the crease: Urban Decay Vorpal (Alice palette)
  • On Lid: Urban Decay Ransom from the (very old) Deluxe Shadow Box
  • In Crease: Urban Decay Jabberwocky (Alice palette)
  • Liner: Laura Geller Inkwell Gel Liner in Black (as usual).
  • Mascara: Avon Supershock Mascara in Black
  • Nyx Brow Pencil in Dark Brown

My face looks an entirely different colour to my neck here, I blame the flash, but that is also testament to the terrible weather us Brits have suffered with recently 😦 I used

  • Avon Ideal Flawless foundation in shade “Shell”
  • Laura Geller Balance & Brighten Foundation in “Regular”
  • Laura Geller Baked Highlighter in “Portofino”
  • Laura Geller Baked Blush in “Bora Bora”.

None of which you can actually see but it looked nice in real life.

On my lips is the new Avon Kiss N’ Go lipstick in Purple Roses, although I have now bought the entire collection of these as you can get them for as little as £1.75!! I plan to do a full review of the range soon as I’m really impressed with them for the stupidly low price!

So that’s it!

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A big moan about my face.

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I have suffered all of my life with bad skin; sore, sensitive, acne prone, dry in parts,greasy in other parts, severely sensitive to a number of products and liable to suffer with eczema. Even now, at the grand old age of 28 my skin is very hit and miss and I’ve never really found a reliable routine for sorting it out. It always seems that just when I get used to a product and start to see an improvement, it takes a turn for the worse.

As a youngster, I tried every treatment for acne and spots and it never cleared. In many cases, I’d end up with these huge red welts underneath my skin and that included when I was using prescribed skin care regimes. When I was 17 I spoke to salesperson in a high end department store in Zurich, Switzerland and it was then that I had the revelation that my skin wasn’t acne prone; it was in fact hyper-sensitive and those bumps and lumps I was suffering from were merely a reaction to my sore skin and not a bacterial issue at all. She reccomended I try the L’Occitane Honey Floral Cleansing Jelly along with the matching moisturiser, but recommended that I needn’t use the moisturiser everyday, in fact it should be used sparingly and only on the dry patches of skin where I needed it.

Within a matter of days my skin looked amazing and it continued to do so for the entire time I used this combination of products. Skin bliss came to an end when (less than a year later) L’Occitane, the bastards, decided to discontinue the product. No prior warning, I couldn’t even stock up on it. There one day, gone the next.

Since then I’ve gone round in circles trying to find a perfect skin routine for my tempestuous skin. This has included:

  1. L’Occitane Foaming Rice Cleanser: not a patch on it’s predecessor.
  2. Elemis Rose Petal Cleanser & Soothing Apricot Toner: cream consistency left my skin too oily.
  3. Elemis Sensitive Cleanising Wash & Soothing Apricot Toner: felt clean but left my skin looking dull.
  4. Elemis Tri-Enzyme Cleanser: skin flared up within a matter of days.
  5. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: hyper-allergic reaction, horrible stuff.
  6. Clinique 3 Step (Dry Combination): couldn’t get on with this at all.
  7. Avon Solutions Sensitive Cleanser & Moisturiser: Actually quite liked it, discontinued!
  8. Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser: left my skin too dry!
  9. Avon Rejuvenate 30+ Cleanser & Moisturiser with the occasional addition of Anew Clinicalscrub thing: a gift from my sister-in-law, I was never keen on it.
  10. Elemis Gel Cleanser: skin felt clean but still suffered from blemishes and left skin quite oily.

Now, looking at this list it appears that I’ve stuck to the same brands. I suppose having limited success with one product encouraged me to then try another from the same range, although sadly that hasn’t panned out. I dread to think what all of the above has cost me, it’s worth adding that some of these (like the Elemis Sensitive Cleansing wash) were OK for a period of time but I just wasn’t experiencing the success I had with the L’Occitane honey product and, given the high prices of some of these, decided to try something else.

I’ve had a reasonable amount of success with the Elemis Gel Cleanser, I hardly need to use a moisturiser with it but after a few days of continued use with nothing else my makeup feels like it is running down my face and then inevitably I’ll suffer with spots because of the excess oil.

So for Christmas my Mum bought me the new kid on the block, Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm. The list of ingredients is not all that disimilar from the Elemis Gel Cleanser but it comes in balm form rather than a gel and I wondered (before purchasing) whether the emulsifiers or whatever it is that makes the solid means it isn’t as oily as the Elemis.

So far, I’ve been using it every day since Xmas and haven’t experienced any contra-indications or excess oil on my skin. I don’t have to use a moisturiser with it but I do find my skin sometimes feel a little dry and after use my face can look a little red.

Still, my skin is not perfect. I’m getting spots on and around my chin, open pores on my cheeks and dry patches down my nose. Even using the Emma Hardie Rosehip Exfoliator seeds along with the balm I don’t seem to be seeing any improvement in my skin. It’s not getting any worse and that is a good thing, but will my skin ever look bright, fresh and glowy? It seems not.

Hmph.

Request: Nail Professionals, I need your help!

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For most of January I have been quite preoccupied with my nails and now that we are a week in to February the craze hasn’t subsided. My main aim is to get my nails into a decent condition so that I can paint them at home and still be proud of them!

My concern though, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I have all the products and the good will is there, but why exactly do we have to soften our cuticles? And is constantly removing and reapplying nail polish/strengtheners doing my nails more harm than good?

So if there any nail technician-bloggers out there who read my blog, would you be interested in doing a Q&A interview for Shoeperduper? I’ll get all of my questions answered and hopefully hone my manicure technique and you’ll get some promotion for your blog 😀

 

In other news, I received my Supernails Nail Food set only 2 days after I ordered it! I had ordered a duo of the nail eat and the nail drink but it seems there was a special offer elsewhere on their site that I hadn’t seen in which the same set came with a free Zoom Therapy hand & nail lotion, so they sent me that (which I thought was nice and honest of them!).

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On a negative note, their website is horrific to navigate and it’s a nightmare just looking at the standard Zoya nail polishes. To add insult to injury I emailed them with a couple of queries as to how best to use the product and the email constantly bounces back to me, same when I email the generic order/sales email address they used to confirm my order. That puts me off a bit.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have a taker on the Nail Q&A!

Does anyone else remember this stuff? Supernails Nail Food.

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Back in the day when I worked for QVC (10 years ago!) this was their number one selling nail product and, yes, they did stock OPI, ProStrong and Nails Inc at the same time.

Legend has it that Supernails (or Zoya, or whoever the hell makes this stuff) got a bit too big for their boots and decided to sign a contract with Ideal World (QVC UK’s biggest competitor at the time) whilst still obliged to their contract with QVC. Although this stuff was available on the high street, QVC were disgusted with the lack of respect from the nail brand and so immediately terminated the contract. Nail Food went from being the best selling nail product in the UK to becoming a virtually unheard of brand overnight.

It’s a real shame because it was a superb product. It’s a two part nail solution product; Nail Eat strengthened and hardened whilst Nail Drink hydrated, defending against brittleness and peeling in the process. Depending on what course of action your nails needed you could favour one over the other, or like me just switch between the two evenly. It used to soak in rather than leave a gloss so could be applied over or under all of your existing nail polishes and in general was just one of those marvellous products that 10 years ago I wouldn’t be without.

It seems that Nail Food is still widely available in the States but I’ve only found one UK seller and that is Nail Care Club. I’ve bought some for old times sake, as I’m not getting on with Nail Envy (I never have if I am honest). It’s considerably more expensive than back in the good old days, I do believe it used to cost £12 +p&p for the two items, or you could purchase them individually or multi packs of either, whereas I’ve just paid £23 for the two bottles. Supernails also had an extensive range of polishes (Zoya) and a hand care and cuticle range called Qtica.

The sad part is that there is a completely unrelated item by Oriflame called Nail Food, which insinuates that the brand isn’t what it once was! I suppose there is a lesson there; don’t fuck with QVC.

Mild East Gel Polish Review Day 6: Reapplication, Glitter and Removal!

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So we’ve come to the end of what must be the most detailed review I’ve ever done of a single product and I hope it’s given you all a better insight into this item!

By Day 5 my thumb nails were chipped to hell so I made the decision to remove them and (in the name of science!) reapply them as my other nails were all getting on pretty well. I took the opportunity to practice glitter “rock star” nails, which was a pretty easy process.

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  • apply base coat, cure for 2 minutes
  • apply first coat of colour, cure for 2 minutes
  • apply second coat of colour and press glitter of choice into the tacky colour coat. Tap off excess, cure for 2 minutes.
  • Apply one coat of gel top coat, cure for 2 minutes.
  • Apply second coat of top coat, cure for final 2 minutes.

I was really impressed with how these turned out and I love how smooth they feel: Glitter nails usually annoy me as they are rough to touch but these are really smooth and don’t catch on anything. Plus once they are on I don’t find chunks of glitter in my hair/on my face/all over my dog etc.

Apart from the resounding success of quick and easy Rock Star nails, my other fingers gave up the ghost on friday night/Saturday day time and I was left with major chips in a few nails. It seems that once a small chip appears then you are buggered. They just keep getting bigger and bigger!

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But as you can see some of my other nails where still perfect:

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I had re-applied the gel top coat to these on Thursday and it seems that that simple step kept them in place for a while longer. Also, when a minor chip did appear it was easy to limit damage by adding a thicker layer of topcoat over the chipped area.

So 6 days down the line I was a little fed up with the colour and think I had proved a reasonable point that with careful application and following the full (tedious) application process you could get a decent life span out of this product. Just to remind you all, I removed and pushed back my cuticles before applying these and also made sure my nails were completely clean and dry, plus I buffed them a little to give a rough surface on which to start with my base coat. I honestly think that made a big difference.

Anyway…I soaked these off with pure acetone and didn’t really expect any problems getting them off. So many people have complained how easy these just peeled away. Wrong. I soaked them for a good 20 minutes and after that, although they had lifted around the edges and cuticles I still had to chip away at them with an orange stick. The middle bits seemed completely insusceptible to acetone and in the end I had no choice (or patience) other than to prize them off. Unfortunately, my nails were destroyed when they were finally removed.

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Let’s not forget that my nails weren’t in a brilliant state anyway and I presume that the damage that occurred after my last set of acrylics is still partly responsible for the enduring damage shown above (as there are no issues with the lower half of the nail, which has grown through since the last set of acrylics were on). Still I was pretty disappointed and have decided not to reapply this gel polish (to my fingers at least) until this flaky, brittle areas has grown out.

I’m still going to give these a go on my toe nails though, as promised. I imagine that they’d last quite a long time as the toe nails don’t tend to suffer from general wear and tear the same way fingernails do. For now, my nails are being treated to a full course of OPI Nail Envy and I will be painting them only with polish until they are in tip top condition!

Overall I’d definitely reccomend this stuff. It’s not the answer to all of your nail woes but I think if you are looking for a perfect manicure to last a few days (long weekend, wedding) then this is a fantastic and inexpensive home solution to Shellac!

As a recap, I bought my kit from ButterflyBeauty168 on Ebay and I purchased the starter kit (6 colours, base and top coat, general nail care crap) for £11.57. My next plan is to buy the colour only sets, in which you get 6 colours for £7.55!

My other reviews can be found here, here and here. Enjoy!

Mild East Gel Polish Kit Day 4: The End Is Nigh….

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If you’ve been following the previous installments of my Mild East review (found here and here) you’ll know that I’ve been getting on with this product quite well. I was super impressed with the high gloss finish and up to day three had seen only one sign of disintegration (which I put down to noob application!). Well today the downward spiral continued as I lost a large chunk from the other thumb aswell as losing the “repaired” bit from the original thumb.

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There has been some general wear and tear on the other nails, mainly at the tips where some of the colour is thinning off, but I don’t think that is too much to worry about. It’s worth bearing in mind that I’m constantly using my hands in work and I wash them/soak them in water a lot, so it’s not surprising that there has been some degree of erosion. When I lost the two major chips off my thunbs I was having a fight with a roll of sellotape!

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Now that I’m not feeling as precious about my nails (getting a bit bored of the colour now!) I had a little mess with the edges in an attempt to see if they were peeling or lifting anywhere else. Even around the chips, the polish is still quite firmly attatched to the nail and I’d struggle to pull it off. Same goes for the undamaged nails- If I wanted to get these off at this point in time it would take soaking or minor trauma to do so.

I expect that the next update (in another 2 days) will mark the end of these nails, but so far I’m still impressed. I’ve not got around to it yet but I will definitely be trying them out on my toes as I expect there will be greater success. I’ve also got a few designs on trying rock star (glitter) nails with this kit and wonder if that will shorten or prolong the final finish?

In the mean time, if you have any questions please drop me a comment and I will be sure to test it out and give you an answer!

Mild East Gel Polish: Day 2 Review

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So if you have read my first review of the Mild East Gel Polish kit you’ll know that I promised a follow up of how I was getting on with it.

I applied this at about 1pm on Saturday and it is now Midnight on Monday night and I’ve been doing all that standard stuff like having a wash, going to work, washing the dishes, crafting, cooking etc etc

Up to now I’ve not noticed any peeling and my nails are largely intact. There was one minor issue, when doing my friends nails I accidentally filled my own and ended up with a little chip on my thumb:

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The corners of my nails are certainly the weakest part so I imagine general wear and tear has added to this, but it has only happened on the one nail. Although I was tempted to peel the whole nail off I instead decided (in the interests of science) to attempt to fill in the chip with the base coat and colour and then finish with a generous coating of top coat all over the nail.

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I think it turned out OK, it’s hardly noticeable. I also realised that when the UV lamp is on I can see where the top coat is wearing off (or thinning) on other nails, which I quite like as it allowed me to touch up where necessary.

I’ll be interested to see how long this stays put for after the touch-up. Other than that, apart from slight wearing on the tips of the nails and the messy bits near to the cuticle (which is probably all down to an unpracticed application technique) this gel polish is holding up really well.

My sister in law is having less success. The day after she applied them, most of the nails had cracked and chipping had occurred on a couple of them. As I said in the original post, she rushed the application and didn’t bother with the basic steps like pushing cuticles back. Also, her nails are much weaker than mine to begin with and I’m wondering if that has an effect on the durability of the product.

I took some time this afternoon to also do my BFF’s nails. We didn’t file them as it freaks her out, but it gave me an opportunity to use two of the other colours in the pack; the marine green and acid yellow. I have to say that these two colours where a lot thinner than the lilac and pink and if I’m honest could have done with a third coat to get the colour perfect. Still, she was impressed with the final outcome and is another person to test out the product on.

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If I get some time tomorrow I’m going to try the remaining two colours out on my toes (blue and orange- they hardly go but it’s winter and who is going to see my feet!) just so I can give a more hollistic review of the kit. Having had my toe nails shellac-ed in the past I know that it doesn’t usually crack or chip at all, and if I can get away with a reasonable result on my toe nails it would be enough to convince me to buy a second set of colours. At least that way I can save £15ish on summer pedicures!

Day 4 review will be up in a couple of days…fingers crossed that the product prevails until then!

Review: Mild East Gel Polish Kit

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As you all know my main objective for january was to take care of my nails a bit! I’ve actually been very good, using Nail Envy all the time and keeping the polish looking nice (albeit doing them about once a week, but it’s an improvement on my previous form!).

I get a little frustrated with the life of polish though, it only ever lasts 3-4 days on me regardless of base coat/top coat/chip skip etc so as an after Christmas treat (am I the only person who does that?) I decided to buy a cheap but interesting looking soak off gel-polish kit from ebay. If you search there are hundreds of varieties and kits containing all sorts of different stuff but, as I am a newbie to this kind of thing, I opted for a reasonably cheap one.

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This was from Butterflybeauty168 and cost me a measly £11.57 including postage from the UK. For that amount I thought it was worth a shot at least! In the kit came:

  • 6 way nail file/buffer
  • cuticle nippers
  • cuticle pusher
  • toe seperators
  • cuticle il
  • base primer
  • non-sticky top coat
  • 6 nail colours

I absolutely adored the selection of nail colours and, after doing a lot of research, came to the conclusion that if the base/top coat were utter rubbish then I could at least splash out on a branded version (CID, Bluesky etc…) and still use the actual colours (it seems that those high end base/top coats can also be used with standard nail polish!).

If you find yourself getting on with this kit you can also just buy packs of six colours for £7.45, which saves on buying all the other stuff all the time.

Some of the feedback for this seller is horrific, normally that would be enough to put me off but I didn’t actually look until after I had bought it and to be fair to them it seems they ship so much stuff that they are bound to have complaints. The complaints range from delivery time (mine arrived 11 days before the estimated date) and issue with product quality, such as the top coat bubbling or just not setting at all. Having read the complaints I cannot find a single review about these Mild East products in either blog or vlog form, it’s all just one liners in the ebay feedback system.

Anyway, I had a little go of this today and I can honestly say, apart from me being an unqualified first-timer, I haven’t had a single issue. It took me a while to realise that the base coat was never going to completely dry (I don’t know if this is normal) but it retained a slight tackiness until the colour went on. Once I’d done my 2 coats of colour, curing them under the UV lamp for slightly longer than recommended everything was fine. I didn’t experience any bubbling of the top coat and the whole thing looks pretty smooth and glossy on my nails (albeit a bit messy, like I said; I’m new). I got a little of the product onto the surrounding nail and had heard about all sorts of contra-indications but it came off easily enough and I haven’t experienced any pain or discomfort with it.

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Only time will tell if it’s durable enough to truly be worth the effort (I got through 2 episodes of Friends faffing about with this!) so I will post a follow up blog in a few days!

Edit: I thought it would be worth adding to the end of this, as my sister in law came around yesterday and also had a little try. She wizzed through and had both sets of nails done in half the time that it took me. The nails ended looking lovely with only one minor problem, a tiny bubble on her pinky nail (which I presume no one would notice unless you pointed it out). Seen as it’s only happened on one nail, I think it is because of the speed in which she applied them and the general rush (I was much more determined to get mine perfect). So I don’t think it’s a fault with the item.

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I really love this colour (it’s more of a salmon/coral pink than it appears on the photographs) and will be amazing for summer. In fact, I love all of the colours in the kit and, as long as these stay put for the best part of a week, I’ll definitely be buying more.

I’m had mine on for a full 24 hours now and still no complaints. I shall be getting a bath in a bit and think this may be the first sign of peeling! But I shall let you all know.

First shopping experience with ASOS and Paul & Joe.

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I know it’s one of the biggest online fashion & beauty retailers but for some reason I’ve just never gotten around to shopping with them! I guess the brands they stock are either all available elsewhere or just not that appealing to me, until now that is.

I read an online review over Xmas about the Paul & Joe cosmetics line. It seems the fashion house have also come up with a pretty awesome range of makeup and, you know me, having read this I had to give it a go. My usual protocol when checking out a new brand is to find a couple of products for as little money as possible, if I like them I’ll start splurging on the the full price stuff. There is of course a downside to this; if I don’t like the first few products I buy then I tend to never bother again. I can be very bloody minded like that.

Anyhoo, in search of something cheap I came accross the ASOS sale, whereby there were a variety of products from the Midsummer Nights Dream collection on offer. Incidentally, one of the things I love about the Paul & Joe range is that the packaging varies between collection and all looks very pretty on a a dressing table.

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Obviously I didn’t buy all of this but look how pretty it is!!

From the range I purchased the lip gloss in Love Potion, which is that bright pink colour on the end, as well as the blush in Nubile which is the middle one on the top row. Not only did I think these colours looked pretty awesome in a wearable sort of way, I also loved the names which is in part why I picked them :/

The shopping experience with ASOS was ok. Firstly, I couldn’t get the paypal option to work at all and my order was cancelled twice because of website issues. Secondly, delivery took longer than promised (although it was free) and when I contacted them to query where my parcel was ASOS only respond with a standard email made up of delivery information already available on the site. I found this infuriating. My original contact form asked how overdue delivery was so, although I can appreciate how sending a standard response cuts back on admin on their part, I felt as though sending a detailed message in the first place was a waste of my time.

So, the items eventually arrived (3 days late) but I was still excited to receive them. Shouldn’t have bothered. The outer packaging of the products is beautiful, very art nouveau, kind of Mucha inspired greens and golds. Similarly, the actual product packaging is nice (not as nice as it seemed on the internets though) and something I’m quite proud to have about my person. Products are pretty uninspiring. The gloss is not the bright cerise pink I was expecting- it’s actually quite dull and muted, even though it’s packed full of shimmer. The blush is similarly disappointing as it has a much browner undertone that I was expecting.

In light of this I’ve decided not to even bother testing them, I have lots of blushes and glosses in colours close to these and for that reason I thought it best to stash these away somewhere for an upcoming birthday. That’s how uninspired I am by them, I don’t even feel the desire to stick my finger in them (unheard of!).

So would I use ASOS again? Yes, probably, if I ever need to. Paul & Joe? No, probably not (until they release next years beautifully packed limited editions and then I’ll no doubt change my mind). Sadface.

A word of warning: the aftermath of acrylic nails.

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Even after saying I wasn’t going to have acrylic done ever again, I unfortunately did. Namely because my friend is a nail tech and bullied me into it, partly because it was Christmas and I felt that I should go out with a bang!

My nails were not for the faint hearted, in fact I imagine most people will find them too ridiculous, but that’s just the kind of thing I end up doing when I feel festive. Anyway, they were huge; horribly long, thick, knobbly…just horrendous to have to deal with on a day to day basis. I regretted them immediately after leaving the salon, when I couldn’t get my hand far enough in my pocket to get my money for the bus.

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So they stayed on for the Christmas period even though it nearly killed me, as soon as New Year was out the way I took my self to the chemist and bought a bottle of acetone to soak them off. I’e done this several times before and, although I find it quite tedious, I’ve never had a problem. Til now! I soaked them initially for a couple of hours after cutting the ends off to shorten them. The first resulted basically resulted in the nail art coming off, but that was all I was getting. The next day, I bought a second bottle of acetone and repeated the process. trying to file with a battery-powered shaper. I got a bit further, this time at least filing them down to a natural length but my nails were left really bumpy and wobbly.

Finally, last night, I tried a third bottle of acetone and settled down for an hour or so, repeating the filing/scraping.soaking process. After about half an hour, most of them were off except my two little nails. These were still quite firmly on. In the end, I prized the nail away from my natural nail and squeezed a few drops of Sally Hansen cuticle oil down there; after much rubbing and squeezing I managed to ping them both off, but I hae to admit it really hurt.

My nails are now officially fucked. Apart from being horribly dry and bristle (from the acetone I should imagine), there is visible damage to the top layers of the nail and it looks as though some of the layers have been ripped off. Each nail now has a horrible rough patch in the centre and i’m experiencing some amount of discomfort underneath, I imagine it’s a pretty sensitive area to be messing with 😦

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Some of my nails still have acrylic and glitter on!! After 3 bottles of acetone!!

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Visible damage to the nail bed which is dry and flaky.

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Patches of nail that have been come away completely.

I took these photos straight after the cuticle oil when I’d gotten all of the nails off, so my cuticles don’t look too bad but I can guarantee they are 😦

Tonight, I’m going to cut them short to limit the opportunity for them to catch and rip further. I’m undecided as to whether I should buff them or not? Let them repair themselves and potential weaken them further by totally removing the top layer? I don’t know what is best, but I got some OPI Nail Envy for Xmas so my plan tonight is be nice to them in the hope that they go back to normal sooner rather than later!!

This is the worst experience with acrylic nails I’ve had. I’m half tempted to ask my friend which brand of acrylic she uses so I can warn people. This has totally put me off acrylics…for good.