Tuesday 30 July 2013

Red Carpet Manicure (gel polish system) Star Power (neon pink)

I've never tried gel nail polishes before, so this system was completely new to me, but I've heard great things from friends who've had a gel manicure at the salon. The most appealing factor, a manicure for up to 2 weeks with no chips. As my manicures have never really stayed chip free for more than 3 days max I've been very eager to try this out for myself. Needless to say I'm not a fan of having my nails done at the salon, I'm very fussy about buffing, and every time I've had a "pro" manicure, I've left with bleeding cuticles, not a good look!

Up until now Gel Manicure systems were a little out of my price range, with UV lights costing £100 and up, and also the curing time of 3 minutes a coat, was a slight put off. So I was most intrigued when I came across the Red Carpet Manicure System, an "at home" gel nail polish system that promised the same results you can expect from a salon manicure, only with a new LED UV light that promised to cure each layer in just 45 seconds :O

This did sound a little too good to be true, so I searched the internet for reviews, and I was pleased to find mostly positive reviews stating the system did all it claimed, and although it would need a lot of practice to get the right technique, it was completely feasible to create an "at home" gel manicure. 

I searched around to find a starter kit at a reasonable price, the best I could find was on QVC uk, and it was an amazing deal. I'll leave the details of the kit for another post, right now I want to get to my first gel manicure, which was a massive success. Along with the kit I popped to Sally's to buy a few more colours. Red Carpet Manicure have a gorgeous Neon Range for summer out at the moment, so I went with Star Power a vibrant Neon pink:

I will try and provide a more detailed tutorial with photos in a later post, but for now here's an idea of the process: (due to the size of the LED light, its best to complete 4 fingers on one hand, then the other 4, and do the two thumbs together at the end)

1. file nails to desired shape 
2. apply cuticle remover/softener and push back cuticles using a hoof stick or cuticle pusher, use cuticle cutters to snip any edges
3. gently buff the surface of the nail bed removing and shine, I used the buffer stick and pad that came with the kit:
I cant tell you how much I love this tool, it makes buffing the nail bed so much easier, and you don't end up with a buffer thats worn in the middle and still new on the edges, love it!
4. apply the "Purify" (alcohol based) liquid using a lint free pad to all the nails to remove excess oils from nail bed
5. apply "Prep" over the first four nails to dry out the nail bed and prep the nails for the base coat.
6. Apply a very thin (this is really important as thick coats won't cure as well) coat of "Structure" Base Coat to the 4 nails ensuring you wrap the polish over the tip and cure under the UV LED lamp for 45 seconds (it has a timer so switches off automatically which is handy)
7. Apply a very thin coat of colour, in this case Star Power, to the 4 nails wrapping around the tip and cure under the lamp for 45 seconds, repeat up to three times to get full opacity. I did two coats
8. Apply a thin coat of "Brilliance" Top Coat over the 4 nails again ensuring to wrap over the nail tip, and cure for 45 seconds
9. Using a lint free pad apply "Purify" again over each nail, this is to remove the tack residue the nails will have at this stage.
10. Repeat this process with the other hand, and finally your two thumbs and your good to go!

When applying the gel make sure you dont touch the cuticle, or the polish will peel off. 
The Gel won't dry until you cure it under the light, so you can clean up any gel thats gone on your fingers easily before putting it under the lamp.
Be Patient and use very thin coats
Wrapping each coat is vital or you will get tip shrinkage.

Considering this was the first time I've tried Gel Polish, I was really surprised to find how easy it is to create a gel manicure at home. I absolutely love it. The best thing: there's no sit around and wait to dry time, once you've finished the last step your nails are rock hard and good to go!!

I had no chips at all after 7 days, and that is an absolute first for me, around day 11 I had a minor chip, but by then there was a lot of growth at the cuticle and that's the main reason I took off the manicure. its still going strong on my toe nails after two weeks :D

The Colour
Star Power is a gorgeous Neon for summer, It's a vibrant pink with some coral undertones, which makes it a lot more wearable than a typical hot pink neon. It's a creme finish so no shimmer, and looks great with a tan. The nails maintained their super glossy finish the whole time I wore the Manicure. Depending on your preference it will take 2-3 coats to get an opaque finish. 

Here are a few more photos through the week:

Wednesday 17 July 2013

My Wedding Manicure - French manicure with Seche and Nail Art

This is perhaps the longest I've ever been away form blogging :( many many apologies for my lack of updates but its been a little crazy this year, I got married in March :), so most of my year has been spent organising the wedding and honeymoon, and I'm just about returning to some semblance of normality :) I've had a bit of time off this week, so thought it was a good time to try and start up this blog again :D And what better way to begin than with my wedding manicure :D

I was too caught up in wedding mania to take a photograph of my manicure (oops), but thankfully, my wonderful photographer snapped a few shots :D here are a few close up crops (all photos by eyeimagine.co.uk)

I used Seche's French Manicure kit, and some stickers I bought in Sally's, the stickers were called Instant Nail Art by Nailtopia (Nagelkunst), I've used this brand before on a halloween manicure aeons ago, here's a link. The stickers have a lovely texture and really made the french manicure look a lot more special, here is the kit I used:

French Tips - Using Seche Porcelain I drew the white tips free hand (doing the tips before base coat, means you can clean up any errors and really get them perfect)
Base - 1 coat of Seche Clear
Polish - 1 coat of Seche Rose
Top Coat - 1 coat of Seche Vite
10 mins to dry
I then applied the nail stickers using a hoof stick. On a previous manicure I made the error of applying top coat after the stickers, this looks fine on day 1, but by 2 there was bubbling all around the sticker, so it's best to apply the stickers after, they still lasted a good 4-5 days.

you can read more about the Seche Vite French Manicure Kit here

In other news, I've just tried my first ever "at home" gel manicure :D I'm so excited with the results, but I'm only on day 2, so once I see how this wears expect a full review up with more details :D

Those of you awaiting the rest of Ciate's advent calendar, I will do my best to get back on those swatches asap, if I can tear myself away from gels for a minute :D it's good to be back :D