Manicure Must Haves

Manicure essentials with title

I paint my nails on average about three times a week, maybe more, but every Sunday night, I give myself an at home manicure and these are the products I rely on to get a salon finish every time. Before I paint my nails, I wipe nail polish remover over my nails, even if I’m not wearing polish, to clean the nail plate and remove any oils. Then I turn to my cuticles, I use the Sally Hansen Maximum Strength Cuticle Remover. It removes the cuticle in no time at all without pain or damage to the cuticle. I apply a tiny bit to my cuticles and then I buff a cotton wool pad over it remove the gel and the cuticle. Before I paint my nails I file them with my Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File. I love this nail file, I’ve wrote about it numerous times, I cannot recommend it enough, it’s the best investment for your nails. Then I buff my nails, I just use the cheap buffer from Boots and it works perfectly. After I buff my nails, I wash my hands to get rid of any residue and then I use a cotton pad with a little nail polish remover to get rid of any moisture on the nail plate. My current favourite base coat is Orly Bonder, when I use this I can get five days of wear without a single chip or wearing at the tip. If you have a problem with chipping, this is definitely to product for you because it dries matte to adhere the polish to the nail. Then I paint my nails with whatever colour I’m using then I use a top coat, my current favourite is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat. I like this one because it dries super quick and it looks really glossy but it doesn’t chip instantly like some fast drying top coats.

What’s your at home manicure routine?


2013 Beauty Favourites

2013 Favourites with title

2013 is over so that means it’s time to look back at the beauty products which hit the stores this year. I’ve only included new products to have launched this year and I haven’t followed categories because there were products which simply could not outdo some all time favourites. But, the products I’ve picked really are the best of the year for me.

Rimmel Retro Glam

I’m slightly addicted to buying new mascaras when they launch, I’m always on the search for the absolute perfect mascara (I’ve probably already found but I can’t stop myself buying more). I really like the wand on this mascara, it’s shaped like a hourglass which means it catches every lash for some serious volume. I have a full post on the original Retro Glam and a post on the Extreme version.

Revlon Lash Potion

I know its cheating to have two mascara but I have to include this one. This mascara gives proper volume in one brush stroke.

Maybelline Baby Lips

I know they’re just a lip balm but I really love them and I admit I’ve bought all six. My favourites are Hydrate (blue), Intensive (yellow) and Peachy Kiss. In America, the range has expanded to include the Dr Rescue range which is design to help properly chapped lips, I’m hoping these will come to the UK soon.

Bourjois Cream Blushes

Before Bourjois launched these cream blushes, it was really difficult to find good, affordable cream blushes. These are a cream to powder formula, the shades are really nice, I have one and three and I love both, they’re easy to blend and look super natural.

Sally Hansen Maximum Strength Cuticle Remover

I’ve tried loads of cuticle removers but this is the best I’ve tried. I was initially sceptical about it but it’s great. It is a bit expensive if you buy it from Boots but you can get it cheaper online.

Rimmel Space Dust Nail Polishes

As a rule of thumb, I don’t like textured nail polish but these are incredible. I have Moon Walking and Aurora and I love both. They’re super glitterly and sparkly and the texture is not annoying to touch and it doesn’t look gloopy.

What are you’re favourites products of the year?

Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream

Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream with Apricot Oil with title

I’m one of those people who uses cuticle creams whenever I have a spare minute. At home, I tend to use oils to moisturise my cuticles but when I’m out and about a little pot of cuticle cream is perfect because its not too messy.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of this but I do think it’s a reasonable product. My main reason for disliking is the smell, it’s a very sweet scent and for me it’s a little overpowering. It’s quite a thick balm but it’s not oily or greasy which is a plus because greasy cuticle treatments are just impractical. I don’t think this moisturises my cuticle enough but I do have dry cuticles which need a lot of attention but if you had reasonably good cuticles then this might be enough to maintenance. I think it’s a good enough cuticle treatment and it’s worth a try but I think there are better ones available.

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover Maximum Strength

Sally Hansen Maximum Cuticle Remover with title

I love anything nail related but I do find cuticles incredibly annoying, mine are dry and need regular maintenance to keep everything tidy and presentable but cuticles are there for a reason, cuticles protect the nail from dirt. If the cuticles are dry and flaking then the nail will be the same, thus cuticle maintenance is a must for good nails. I never cut my cuticles or use trimmers, I soak my nails and use a cuticle stick to push them back or I use something to break down the cuticle (Striptease by Nails Inc and Leighton Denny’s Remove and Rectify is really good).

Sally Hansen already has a cuticle remover on the market in the UK, the Gel Cuticle Remover (green tube) but it’s not amazing, it’s ok but not something I would repurchase. The Maximum Strength version has only recently became available in the UK and I have to say it’s much better than other formula. It really does dissolve the cuticle in no time at all, I have reasonably stubborn cuticle and this gets rid of them. I put a thin layer around the cuticle and leave for around fifteen seconds and then I use a damp flannel to remove the cuticle and the excess gel.

Overall, I really like this and I would recommend buying, it is quite hard to find I haven’t seen it on the Boots or the Superdrug website but it is in some stores for £7.99 but you can get it cheaper online.

Top Coat #1 – Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat

I rarely stray from my Nails Inc, Kensington Top Coat but I ran out so I thought I would give something else a go. Sally Hansen is one of those staple brands and there are some good products but this wasn’t one of them.

It’s quite difficult for a top coat to be disappointing because it’s colourless and it’s only there to protect nail polish but the problem with this is the formula, it’s very wet and it kinda drags the nail polish off the nail. It says you can apply it to wet nail polish, I did that the first time I used it because I thought it would save time but it actually removed my nail polish and coloured the brush. The next time I used it my nails were touch dry but the minute the brush touched my nails, the polish was wet again and it smudged. I finally discovered it has to be applied when the nail polish is completely dry. It claims to extend wear and leaves nail super shiny, I didn’t see any difference in shine and I don’t think it prolonged my nail polish wear but it didn’t shorten my manicure or dull my polish.

It’s not a terrible product but there are better top coats out there at a similar price, for example, the Rimmel and Revlon top coats are fantastic value for money. It’s £6.39 which means its not the most expensive top coat but it’s not the cheapest. Have you tried it? What do you think?

Keeping Your Nails In Tip Top Condition

I’m quite obsessed nail and hand care, I have a ridiculous amount of nail polishes and treatment.

I love looking after my nails and painting them, I don’t find it a chore like some people or unenjoyable. I’ve had manicures in the past and they’ve been nice but it’s something I love having, partly because it’s a bit of a waste of money because I change my nail polish really often and partly because my nails are in good condition.

This is my nail routine and how I do a “manicure” at home.

General Nail Maintainence

  • At night, I massage a little bit of Elizabeth Arden Eight Cream into my cuticles and skin around the nails and trust me this makes all the difference – it keeps the cuticle in good condition and the skin soft and well hydrated.
  • If I have nothing to do, I will massage a cuticle oil onto my cuticles. Oils absorb quicker than the Eight Hour Cream and provides quick hydration and just keeps the nail area looking more polished. My personal favourite is Essie Apricot Oil.
  • I also really like nail treatment products for on the go, Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter and Leighton Denny’s Cuti-Lips are brilliant for keeping in your bag incase you have a spare minute.
  • Once a week I use Leighton Denny’s Renovate. It’s an amazing product, especially if you have really damaged nails and are trying to get them into good condition. The treatment is meant to be everyday but nails aren’t damaged but this just keeps them strong and healthy.
  • I buff my nails with just a normal three/four way buffer, about twice a month.
  • When my nails aren’t painted, I always have OPI Nail Envy on, it gives a shine and helps them grow.


  1. I don’t do the whole soaking the nails and massaging handcream. I start just by filling my nails with the Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File, this is simply the best investment if you want nice nails. I never clip my nails, I hate using nail clippers on fingernails. In terms of shape, just do what you like.
  2. The next step is the cuticle area, I use a cuticle dissolver which makes it easier to push the cuticle back and remove horrible bits off the nailplate. Sally Hansen does a great cuticle dissolver, as does Leighton Denny and Nails Inc.
  3. Third step is to wash my hands to get rid of any products. Then I sweep nail varnish remover over the nail this dehydrates the nail removing any oils which means the nail polish goes onto a super clean surface and it means your nail polish will last longer without chipping or peeling.
  4. Last step is to actually paint the nails. First the basecoat, my absolute favourite basecoat of all time is the Nails Inc Kensington Cavier Basecoat. Then apply nail polish in two thin layers, leaving a tiny gap at the cuticle. Finally, finish off with a topcoat, my favourite is the Nails Inc Kensington Cavier Topcoat.