Monday, 30 April 2012

Neon Nail Varnish and Brazilian Blow outs - Illegal in US?

This is information that is currently circulating round, due to CND's (more known currently for Shellac gel varnish) Creative Director Jan Arnold being interviewed in their MORE magazine saying that it is not possible for them to create a neon varnish because of US Food and Drug administration (FDA).

However, after reading the FDA's website and product information page this might not be the case:

"The law says that color additives have to be approved by FDA for use in cosmetics, including color additives in face paints and other cosmetics that may be used around Halloween time. It also includes theatrical makeup.

Plus, FDA has to decide how they may be used, based on safety information. A color that's OK on your tough fingernails or your hair may not be OK on your skin. Colors that are OK for most of your skin may not be OK near your eyes."

Source: FDA

UK wise we are deemed OK to use this and you can find them everywhere, notable Nails Inc. who are launching they're own range for Summer.

The same cannot be said for Brazilian Blowouts, this is a hair straighten process that is done is salons to give a long lasting straight hair result. They have now been banned due to mis-information on the label of the manufacture who have labelled it either "No formaldehyde" or "formaldehyde free". This is now being investigated on whether this is true as during the process formaldehyde gas is produced resulting in reactions in the eyes, skin, and breathing, it has been also reported as a cancer hazard.

Source: FDA and Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Currently in the UK this is all being investigated by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) after it was suggested in February that investigations should start taking place due to what was happening overseas. They're main concern is salon technicians who specialise in this field are constantly exposed to this gas (not doubting that this is the same for the US). They're next formal scheduled meeting will not be until 30th June; They are currently promoting glove use in hair salons to reduce skin exposure. (Source), for now the matter is precaution when using until further is heard.

Please note: At the moment shop brought kits are not affected, it is only products known as "Brazilian Blowouts" that are salon based. However with any hair care product (dyes, etc.) manufactures instructions must always be followed for your protection.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Masterclass - Gel Varnish's

Carrying on from last weeks discussion on nail enhancements (Here if you missed it), we now look at the ever increasing range of gel varnish's that are now hitting the market. Gel varnishs are the next evolution on gel enhancements, the drying time is quicker and the wear time is longer. The ones I shall touch on here are going to be the ones that come in brush on varnish as I consider these more gel varnish's rather than gel enhancements (the ones that come in pots).

The main difference between the gel varnish vs. enhanements is that with the enhancements you get the added advantage of strength. The finish of varnish is like having them freshly polished but has the long wearing of having a gel enhancement. There is also no waiting time after they have been cured/dried under a UV or LED light, you can go into your handbag after treatment and not chip or smudge your nails. Prices to have this done is salon is £25-£30 for a finish that would last until you get bored (most brands have quoted between 2-3 weeks for hands, 2-4 for feet).

Removal still is best done in salon to prevent damange done to the nails, each system has their own way of removal and if not done properaly can cause some long term damage. The same does also apply to the application as well.

What I wanted to do this week is talk about the main 3 top names in these ranges as well as talk about the do-it-yourself system. First the salon only brands (click the headlines to go to their website):

When I went to Professional Beauty to talk to these guys about using their system I couldn't get near them, the queue at one point was going back out of the front door. They say that Shellac stand out because of the science and working with professionals for over four years to get the perfect formula that is buitl up in layers, lasts for weeks and is easily removed in 10 minutes. Most professionals I've spoken to have finished their training in this range becuase of ease of use. One word of warning: Shellac is designed to work as a package that includes the equipment, check that everything used has the CND logo (including the lamp) or you will be dissapointed with your results. Currently has 35 colours in the range.

Claims to last 3 weeks, has 102 different colours including two new Magneto - the new gel magnet design varnish. Removal time is qouted at 15 minutes. Colours I find are bang on trend and was dribblnig over the colours they have. One of the original companies to do gel since 2010.

When OPI annouched that in February of this year they were launching their own gel varnish, the beauty trade went into buzzing mode. OPI are one of the biggest names in the nail industry, I myself have been raving about them since I qualified nearly 8 years ago. This 100% gel formulation is applied like a varnish with it's distinctive bottle and brush, it has also been clamined that is fours times faster than previous gel with a full set done in four minutes. Lab tests have claimed that it is 23% longer lasting with a wear time of 2 weeks (shorter if clients have thin and flexible). At the moment has 30 of their top selling colours from their perament range, with colours being added.

This kit has everything to do the gel manicure for yourself at home, for the price of two salon based treatments (£59.99 or £79.99 for the pro kit). Now I may be a manicurist but I still have problems with my left hand painting my right hand (the other way round always comes out perfect!), and this is my problem with this system. There is no easy clean up if you make a mistake and I worry that people who have had little experiance of painting they're nails would struggle with it. I also have question marks over the quality of the actually product. However, reviews have been glowing for it and they've been featured in a few glossys so it must be doing something right.

Any used any of above and want to add their feedback?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

In The News - Lush's 'Fighting Animal Testing' Campaign

Between 1980's and 1990's the public found out that their lipsticks, eyeshadows etc where actually tested by cosmetics companies on animals to ensure they are "safe" for human use. As you imagine there was a huge public outcry regarding this, and whilst waiting for the legislation companies who wanted to shun this practice adapted their own code of coduct. This clearly stated to customers where they stand regarding the practice of animal testing.

So far so good, the companies have a volunteer register mark to show customers that they do not test on animals, but only in the counteries where no laws are needed to protect animals. In 1993 it became illegal to experiment on animals for cosmetic purposes in UK, and 2004 in Europe.

Now this is where the grey area starts the final product must not be tested on animals, but the ingrediants can be tested on animals and not declaired. In some asia counteries it still requires extra safety tests which can include animal testing.

Lush yesterday starting their new campaign in the most eye catching and talked about way they can. They are teaming up with the Humane Society International to spearhead they campaing to ban all kinds of cosmetic testing around the world. They are campagining for the all out sales ban (that is  that is due March 2013) to still go ahead; The European Comission are looking to either delay it or put a loophole for companies still to continue.

In Regent Street yesterday they set up their own lab, where they experimented on their own human guninea pig to show what animals around the world suffer every single day. Jacqueline Traide was tied up, force fed, experimented on with lotions and humilated to the public (she did volunteer and worked alongside artist Oliver Cronk). The main diffrence is that she got to go home at the end of it while most animals don't and die within these experiments.

I am not posting any of the pictures of yesterday events as I would think that some people would find it distressing (researching the whole of this article was distressing for me). However if you do want to read more on this and Lush's Campaign the links are below:

Daily Mail article on yesterday

Lush's Fighting for Animal Testing page This also includes how you can also support the campaign

Lush/Humane Society Press Release

With the development of techinology, there should be no reason for this to be carrying on. If you want to find out if what you are using is cruelty free you can check on Go Cruelty Free

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Scotland 2012

My wonderful birthday treat from my hubby was a trip to Scotland for the week (along with my in-laws). We stayed a few minutes from Gleneagles (more known for Ryder Cup golf), and even better 10 minutes away from The Famous Grouse distillery. I do have a liking to a few wee drams of the stuff and when the assistant said I can try anyone I want (apart from the £10,000 bottle). I couldn't be rude and refuse not to try one or six *Hic*

It was a generally week of putting feet up and enjoying the wildlife and peace of Scotland. We had a resident pheasant that got fed everyday and I knew his call so I always on the look out for him. We visited Perth which is a gorgeous little town to stroll around.

One of the best things we did was visit a Crannog on River Tay (Scottish Crannog Centre) - A Crannog is a Bronze age dwelling that was built over lochs to protect itself from attack while overlooking its land. They are all made of the natural resources like the trees and wool. They have remade one so you can go inside and experience some of their life like making fire (as my hubby tried) or making flour (like I did). The Crannog was really sturdy and was surprisingly cosy, it was good enough for two ducks to nest in there.

I dearly love Scotland and was really sad to leave, the live up there is completely different to the live 'down south', within days we were friends with the locals unlike here which took months. The main thing for me was the animals - I love wildlife and getting outside for me was perfect. I spent hours of my holiday just watching everything run about, bliss.

(Note: On holiday the make up is given a holiday as well. Hiking in make up doesn't work!)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Materclass - Nails Extensions

What we are going to be talking about this week is artificial extensions that go onto the nail, rather than the latest gel varnishes (that's going to be next week, when I'm back).

Extensions are used on natural nails to enhance and/or disguise what is there already, the earliest use was in the Ming dysentery where richer woman wore them to prove they were wealthier and didn't need to do manual labour to provide for their families. Then in early 19th century Greece, higher class ladies wore pistachio nut shells to also prove their wealth. It wasn't until 1954 when dentist, Fred Slack broke his nail at work and was inspired to find a solution, that he joined with his brother to patanted the first artificial nail enhancement.
There are 2 basic type of enhancements: Tips and forms. With all systems, you will need to ensure that the techniction is competant and confident with the best quality of product they can provide you. The cheapest isn't neccessary the best one to go for, and investing that time to find that techiction can save you money and heartache in the long run. All after care must be adhere to as gospel, you don't want to ruin something that you've invested in.


These are made of a plastic that is then glued onto the nail edge to produce a longer tip. Acrylic is then applied over the nail and tip to re-enforce the tip.


These are fitted over the nail and then an artificial nail is molded out of acrylic.The form is removed and then properly shaped and buffed to a shine.

With enhacnements there are different systems that can be used to make either of the above (as well as acrylic).


This is a mixture of a powder (polymer) and liquid (monomer), which is then painted onto the nail and dried without using a lamp. They can be very strong as well as flexible, and are widely avaialble in salons for an affordable price. However, there is a higher risk of damage to the natural nail plate and if not applied and removed in the correct way can thin the nail plate in the long run. Most enhacement nail art work I've seen has been done using this system as you it's more plyable to use. Word of warning: the smell is very strong!

UV Gel

Gels don't need to be mixed as it is applied straight from a pot, it is built up in 3 thin layers which is then set under a UV light for 2 minutess each time. They have more flex to them than acrylic nails and will have more of a natural finish. The damage to the actually nail is less than the acrylics as well. The cost is much more and can chip easier if not properaly looked after (no gardening or heavy lifting in these!). Starting to become more esier to find since the introduction of gel varnishes.

Fibreglass and Silk

These both are done in the same way, the techniction will stick a nail shaped fibreglass or china silk piece onto the nail and apply a resin to keep in place. This is then sprayed with an activator and left to set for 45 minutes. This is the most natural finish of the systems, looking very close to a nautrual nail itelf. A full set will cost around the same as the acrylics and will be done up to an hour. Some people find the finish of the silk to not to their suiting which the fibreglass has little bend to it. Can be used to also be repair to natural that have split.

Next week - What is gel varnish?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Masterclass - Nails

aka. The hard stuff

Our nails are located at the end of our toes and hands, and made of a protein called Keratin, which is also present in within hair. The shape of the nail depends of a few factors: The health of the surrounding tissue called the matrix (stop thinking about the film) and the shape of the finger bones.

The Matrix is the tissue that the nail bed rests on and contains all the nerves, blood vessel, and lymph. As new nail plate cells are produced, they are round and white so they push the older dead cells forward. This way compresses and flattens the cells to produce what we see. It is also the epidermis layer of the skin that we see underneath that produces the grooves on the nail plate. As we age these plates thin and the grooves become deeper.

Another part that is talked about is the cuticles: This is a small band of skin that acts like a water proof barrier between the nail and the matrix. This also stops any germs getting into this delicate area, this is why it better to keep the cuticle trim with either a designated remover or gentle massaging the cuticle down with a hoof/cuticle stick. If this area is cut it can be very painful and more prone to infection.

So why do have nails in the first place? Evolution says that this is from the era where we used to climb trees and needed something strong to grip onto things. To keep them long and strong, I don't recommend that you do this kind of activity or using them as any kind of tool (they not designed for opening drink cans or typing devices - guilty as charged!). Water also weakens the nails so keeping them moisturised is a good habit to take up, I have about 3 on the go so I can keep up (right next to my lip balms).

I used to be a nail chewer, and I mean a chewer right down to the cuticle. Yes, it did really hurt and I did use to make myself bleed (found out it was more stress/boredom related), it was a bad habit to have. It took over year after I decided to stop for them to grow to the end of my fingers. Once you've decided to give up, go and get a manicure to tidy up any rough edges and also discuss what would be best for you long term. This will also take the temptation away to chew. Then, treat yourself to the dream nail varnish, put it somewhere were you'll see it everyday. Think about it, have photos of it on your phone to look at when you feel like you want to chew. It may take a while to get there but this'll give you a strong start.

Next Thurs: Nail systems/enhancements (a good one for chewers to read as they can protect your nails while growing back).
Note: A nail broke in the writing of this entry. Where's the nail file?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Today I am 30 :)

I can no longer describe myself as a twenty something - I am now 30 years old. Not sure as yet how to spend my day, but on Friday I depart for a week in Scotland as a birthday present from husband (with my parents and grand parents in law). Don't worry there is still masterclasses coming your way now I've mastered the scheduler on blogger.

For now here's a college to show how I got here......



Tuesday, 10 April 2012

2 Years of Marriage :)

Two years ago today at 2pm I married my wonderful husband. It was a year to the day that he proposed on my birthday dressed as The Joker from Batman.

It was the best day, sun was shinng and it was clear blue skies. After some inital drama in the morning (the wine hadn't arrived at our reception until we were getting married across town, it was suppose to be there the day before!), and hubby running around town while I painted my nails :).

I only got nervous after everyone left for the church and was on own, I just had to remind myself that I didn't have time to redo my make up! The church was a beautiful 400 year old family church that had a secret library which perfectly reflected me as my other love is books.

Our reception was at little country pub which a huge barbie in the back (thank god for the weather!), everyone was welll fed, hopefully well watered and I know I was well danced and sang out. Last one on the dancefloor - Whoop!

Just Married :)

Leaving church after signing the register

My cake designed by husband all the way from Wales (Fruit cake with mazipan - yum)

Group photo

First dance - "Endlessy" by Muse

Monday, 9 April 2012

25th Annversary Collection Palette

I entered the Collection (formally Collection 2000) competition to go to the 25th Birthday party, didn't make it to the party. However I did get the 100 runners up prize which was this stunning palette with a selection of 25 colours from the range of their palettes.

Now I have had a play with it and the photos haven't come out fantastic (a mixture of bad camera work and me still full of cold). I really like the mixture of colours that are in there, that pink in the middle is just creaming look at me. When you use them they are not as scary as they look, they do need some building up (yes including that pink!), it's a great start if you want to get into some colour but. like me, are a little out of you comfort zone.

I do love Collection cosmetics, I've used a majority of the range and haven't really come across anything I really dislike. As a brand I think they hit their target market perfectly - their a great mixture of good quality product with something that is easily fashionable and fresh, that doesn't hit the purse so you can feel not too bad treating yourself.

Have a look at the newly funkified Collection website here

Next few days I have two special posts coming out - One for my wedding anniversary tomorrow and one on Wednesday for my 30th birthday, so keep an eye out for them :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Masterclass - Hands

aka. Show me your jazz hands.

Other than our feet these are the other part of our body that works the hardest. They helps us grip, carry, lift, and take a lot of punishment. They need TLC to keep them in the best conditicon possible, it's like with any equiptment that need constant manintence to work the best they can.

The hands themselves are made up of 27 bones, grouped the same as the feet - Phalanges (finger/toes), Metacarpals (Palm/foot), Carpals (wrist/ankles). The skin is the same, a hard wearing tough skin which cannot tan (unless you forget to take self off your hands), on the hands it can be also senstive. as the same as the feet this skin doesn't have any sebum glands to naturally moistuse this.

The thing I find interesting is that the hands do not contain any muscles it all, it is controlled by tendons that go through the palm and up to the mid arm. The movement is controlled through a pulling movement like a puppet.

The mystery of why your skin still wrinkles after a bath still continues - One theory is that it is connected with the nerves in the skin as well as not having a natural mosturiser. Any more theories?

Your hands can also give a lot away, they constantly exposed to the elements and life. This iswhy they do need constant TLC. A good hand cream with SPF would be a must, this will protect the skin on the top as this will also slow down the aging process. Theres nothing worse than you face look wrinkle free to then have your hands show how old you really are.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sickness and How to survive it

The past two days I've been ill with a cold, you know one of those hot/cold flushing, can't breath, can't sleep, where everything takes effort and up to an hour to do one simple task. I hate colds, I do lie on the sofa and wail that I am dying where I full well know I'll be ok enough in a few days. The worst bit is I have a job interview on Wednesday morning to start working for Arden Beauty as an account manager, so this is no small interview, I'd really have to know my stuff and have a face full of make up (I'm not even going to show you how bad my skin is right now). A battle plan was made:

1. An arsenal of cold/flu meds was created and administrated at regular hours. Vitamin C is started as soon as there is a tickle, this will at least shorten the time it takes hold. I like the hot drink cold/flu stuff as the steam is good for loosen nasal goo, gives you an excuse to ask hubby to put the kettle on (which I am really grateful for).

2. Tissues and lots of them, and to stop it spreading I flush them down the loo so I lower the chances of hubby getting it. With the cloth hankies, boil wash them as soon as you're done with them.

3. Fluids - and lots of them, not only will it hydrate you (because my appetite disappears with a cold) but the walks to the loo will at least get you moving hourly so you don't get cramp.

4. Sleep - Do and when you feel like, you're body is fighting and rest so it gather troops for another round of fighting. If you can't sleep at night, Night Nurse is the best thing ever! (Read labels and check with the pharmacist to see if it won't cause you more harm than good).

You will feel like rubbish until the cold starts to come through, then it'll be less rubbish and you'll sound stuffy. You might want to adventure out and start getting back to normal. Make up wise keep it simple, mascara, lip balm, cream concealer over the red bits and little flush of blush. As soon as you feel the start of feeling better, have a freshen up - You will not have the energy before to change out of PJ's let alone wash. Use lots of moisturiser and keeps that skin well watered, when I do finally leave here I will be using my Clarins Beauty Flash Balm to get some healthy glow on me.

For now I need my next cold/flu drink, a snuggle with hubby (with face mask on so he doesn't get it), and sleeeeeeeeep.