Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Nail Art using OPI and Polycolor

After enjoying my Axxium Nail Art Workshop with OPI - I purchased the books from Dynamic Nail Art (based in the US) and spent this evening trying out the designs on my nail pops - which are really useful for displaying nail design ideas.

I used polycolor acrylic paints, which I have so far found the most useable paints available - and I do not think are terribly expensive as you can mix the colours really well - these can also be used for one stroke painting (something I am still working on!).

It is best to buff the colour pops as I find lacquers and gel adhere better. I have an old flex file that I use for this.  I also used a UV cure top coat to ensure longevity.

The pictures below are the ideas that I got from the books - these are by my hand but not my ideas:
 'At First Sight' with Magenta, Gray, Black, White and Crystal
 'San Tan-Tonio' with Magenta, Black and White
 'At First Sight' with Grey, Yellow, Black and Primary Yellow
 'Lady in Black' with Blue, Grey, Yellow, White and Crystal - this one didn't turn out how I wanted it - will try again later this week!
'San Tan-Tonio' with Black, Red, Blue and Yellow

I am working on some other designs not from the books, and will upload these with a 'tutorial' over the weekend.

Hope you find these helpful!

Don't forget to enter my opening giveaway!!

Claire xxx

Axxium SOG Update

I am so indecisive as to what to do with my nails at the moment!  Last night I played around with my OPI Axxium Gel and tried to do dramatic smile lines with 'Lady in Black' and 'DS Radiance'.  I think my nails are a little to short, and also didn't really have the ability to do them on myself - but I don't think they look too bad - I will have another go at the weekend!  I have done these with dark pink tips with a client and they were much better - practise will make perfect!

I added crystals, to try and enhance then nails, but don't think they have helped.  The also slid a bit in the top sealer.  I used the regular sealer and perhaps should have used the thicker one.  

Anyway, I hope these have given you some more ideas!!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!

Claire xxx

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Opening Giveaway

To celebrate the opening of my blog which, thanks to you lovely people has received over 600 view in 6 weeks - I have pulled together a giveaway to say thank you and so that one of my lovely followers can try out some of the latest products in time for summer!

This Giveaway includes:
Lumos Base & Top Coat
OPI Katy Perry Collection - Black Shatter Top Coat & Last Friday Night (Blue Glitter)
OPI Texas Collection - Don't Mess With OPI (Green) & Y'All Come Back Ya Here? (Orange Sorbet)
and a few extra help make them extra special and keep your nails healthy!

All the items have been purchased myself, and are products that I use as part of my own nail service.

The Giveaway closes at 5pm GMT on Sunday 10th April and is open worldwide (to those countries that accept lacquer).  The winner will be chosen using  All form entries are counted once, any blog and/or twitter announcements count for a further entry each! You must be following me publicly to enter.

If you have any questions or do not want to use the form below, you can email me directly at:

Good Luck!!  Claire xxx

Saturday, 26 March 2011

This Weekends Nails

I had a lazy afternoon and painted my nails with this lovely Essie 'Perky Purple' and topped it off with Roccoco's Gold Leaf Topcoat.  The top coat is quite pricey, so I do use it quite sparingly.  My nails are not in the best condition having had a variety of enhancements on the over the past few weeks, so I used a coat of OPI's 'Nail Envy' and a base coat using 'Ridge Filler' to prevent my polish from looking too lumpy and chipping.

The polish is the same consistence as my other Essie polishes, which is thinner than that of OPI and Chanel.  The coverage is great, although the colour is not quite a bright as it looks in the bottle.  I bought this colour in America last summer, and have only just got round to trying it out!

To finish, and to smooth over the gold I floated a thick coat of Lumos, followed by 'Rapid Dry' and 'Drip Dry Drops'.  My nails were touch dry within 5 minutes!

Just thought I'd share :)

Claire xxx

Thursday, 24 March 2011

OPI Texas Collection 2011

My nails are in a terrible state - please do not let the condition effect your view on the products I have used!!  My gels are too thick and I did not have time to soak them off - and really could not wait to have a play with the colours!!

I ordered the Texas Collection last we and received it this afternoon and could not wait to get home to give it a try!  I have heard and seen some very mixed reviews about this collection, and I have to admit I was really unsure how these would turn out.  So far I would have to say I am very impressed - and think there is a lot of scope to use these for many different looks.

Lets start with the collection display, I bought display A as I do not keep stock.  The stand is lovely, and unusual looking - you most certainly cannot miss it!

There are 12 colours, split in to six types.  There is a 'Sorbet' style for six of them and a collection of six opaque colours.  The sorbet styles colours are reds, pinks, orange and purples - looking at them on the brush they look very much like the 'Juicy' lip glosses!!  I started off doing my colour pallet:

 The green colour - 'Don't Mess With OPI' is very similar to Essie's 'Pretty Edgy'.  All the others are different to polishes I already have in my collection (see Collection page).

I was quite impressed with the coverage - given that most reports I have seen describe them as very thin. I have only used 2 coats on each nail with top coat.  I will say that they are slightly runnier than the usual polish but nothing unmanageable.  Any streaks are covered with the second coat.

Using the colour pallet can show the colours differently as they are white, so I have a play with different colours and layers on myself (OPI on Facebook talks about different uses and suggests layering).  Please note that I have encased stars and glitter on my nails at the moment - the colours do not have stars in them, although a couple have a shimmer (Austin-Tatious Turquoise and It's Totally Fort Worth It).

Above, from top to bottom I have used one coat of each of the following (note I have note used top coat):
Don't Mess with OPI and Austin-Tatious Turquoise - Great colour, slightly stonger that Austin on its own
Louvre Me Louvre me not and Houston We Have A Purple - A juicy take on the already lovely purple
OPI Red and Guy Meets Gal-Veston - A great colour, slightly muted the red and looks luscious
Lucertainly Look Marvelous and Do You Think Im Tex-Y? - Not too sure about this, slightly brown in colour - but sort of works :)

On my thumb I tried Glitzerland with Y'All Come Back Here - Orange over gold - not too sure what I think of this one!?!

My right hand I only tried two colours - as suggested by OPI I used Alpine snow with Too Hot Pink To Hold 'Em - I was very impressed with the colour over the white - it really jumped out with one coat and I would suggest this for those that want a more opaque look - but do let the base dry a bit!  I also tried Lady in Black with Big Hair...Big Nails - nothing to really report on this, but looked nice, although subtle.

Following advice I have seen I painted my nails with a glitter - in this case OPI and Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream'.  

I thought this would look good over the stars and holographic glitter I have in my gels - and was loving them...but really wanted to test the layering...
The colour was completely transformed (maybe I did use too much Too Hot Pink To Hold 'Em?!?).  This did work though, the colour is not too thick and has added a depth to the already wonderful Teenage Dream. I will be trying these out on clients.

Overall I cannot give a complete view as I only just got these, but I will update you on how I get on both on myself and clients.  I was pleasantly surprised given some of the review I have read, and do think that come the summer this Sorbet/Jelly look will be popular, and will also look great on toes.

Hope this has helped you!  Do let me know if you have played around with any other more successful layering ideas!!

Claire xxx

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Using OPI Axxium Soak Off Overlay Gel to 'Encase'

I was very bored this evening, and decided that my nails needed infilling - I had them on for 13 days. They were still great looking, no lifting or chipping - though I had done a few enhancements on Sunday and managed to file my own top coat and fingers, so they were a little dull! (Picture is after 10 days)
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my OPI Texas collection this week, so thought I should just do a clear overlay.  I started and then remembered that you can 'encase' nail art items in the gel.  I have never done this before, so thought I should give it a go, given that I am going to paint over them as soon as I get the new polishes (Fingers crossed for tomorrow!!)

I used Purple and Gun metal stars that I bought online and some NFU Extra White Holographic Glitter.  I love the glitter - and I use the NFU coloured and glitter powders for my L&P services.

I know that these look a rubbish, but I would stress that I was only playing around with them and will be painting them soon!

To do them, I filed off the colour to the base, then preped, applied base as directed, a layer of the overlay gel - added the glitter and stars - then floated the the gel over the top to add strength and encase.  I did this layer a bit thicker than I would do normally.  After curing I buffed and applied top sealer.  Had I been concentrating more, I would not have needed to buff and add the top sealer - but they were a little bumpy!

The shine and the clarity of the gel is very impressive.  It looks slightly yellowy/cloudy in the jar - but so not be fooled. 

I will let you know how well they wear!

Claire xxx

Sunday, 20 March 2011

OPI Shatter & Katy Perry Range

I have been using the OPI Katy Perry a lot this week and have had it since its release in the UK. I have also seen sales of the Shatter really pick up - I am so very excited to hear that there are further colours to be released. In May we will be seeing a Silver Shatter released in the UK as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean Collection which I just cannot wait to get my hands on and think it will look fantastic even over darker colours.
My clients have really been enjoying the Katy Perry Range, the two glitters have been popular as well as the two colours.  They seems to be used by both my natural an enhancement clients, and over an age range of 20-65!  I was very suprised with the up take of it, and hope that the collection will be around for a little while longer, especially into the summer when I think it will go down a treat.  

My client below used 'The One That Got Away' with 'Black Shatter' over a clear overlay gel.  She was so worried when I put the Shatter coat on, but was amazed with watching it Shatter!  It was the first time I had ever known her lost for words :)

The Shatter TopCoat can be used over most of the other colours, below I have used 'Ski Teal We Drop' which is also supporting the cure for Ovarian Cancer with Lena White/OPI - which I lost my mother too.
This also looks fantastic over the OPI Gold Glitzerland and any hot pink!
I hope something similar can go on to be created for use over Gels - at the moment it will not shatter over the Axxium Soak Off Lacquer, where I think this would also go down very well with clients.

Anyways, I am awaiting with eager anticipation the arrival of my Texas Collection this week - blog will follow soon after - and looking forward to being able to offer a small give away of the latest collection when I reach 50 followers! Keep your eyes open!!

Claire xxx

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My nails have grown nicely since having the Shellac on for 3 weeks and I wanted to keep growing them.  I thought I should test the endurance of the OPI Soak Off Overlay Gel under some Black Cherry Chutney Soak Off Lacquer.   

I used the base layer, a layer of the overlay gel - adding strength the stress area, two coats of colour and then sealer.  I am very impressed with the result.  The overlay gel is self leveling and very easy to use - I have only tried this out on a few clients but many are comparing the look and wear to the Bio Sculpture type overlays.  It soaks off just along with the coloured lacquer, and to take the whole system off takes about 30 minutes using OPI's Expert Touch Remover.

I had to cook a lot over the weekend and managed to peel my hand as well as the vegetables, and still my nails look lovely, despite catching them!  The overlay is comparatively thin - when compared with L&P and the nails are still flexible.  I have not been wearing gloves to wash up etc in an attempt to see how well they wear - as often clients won't be careful with their nails!!

I shall keep you posted with how they get on - here's hoping for no breakages! 

Claire xxx

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

OPI Banana Bandanna

As there have been a number of giveaways from OPI of Banana Bandanna, and yellow is being featured as a colour to watch for the summer - I have tried to be on trend and painted my toes in Banana Bandanna and Shatter TopCoat.  Just thought I would be summery!!

Not too sure that I like the yellow colour - not really my thing, bit felt I should go for a change!  The polish I think is being discontinued.  It has good coverage, but I found I needed three coats on my big toe - this could just be the nature of the colour.  I used the RapidDry top coat over the shatter as I prefer a glossy finish over that Shatter.

What do you think of the yellow trend?


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Why do so many people wear French Polish when there are such exciting patterns and ideas out there.  I have had seven french polish clients in the last few days - and I just think that we need to inject some colour into nails!  I understand that it looks 'polished' and many say 'clean' but sometimes a muted tone can look even better especially of the nails are very short.  I am not complaining - just hope that clients get braver as they get used to services!!  I have found it helps if I have something crazy on my nails - but do also think that it can put a few off!  

I have also had some difficulty with a number of new clients - I hope that they have been satisfied with my work, and all leave me happy, but I am worried that so many new clients have called me asking for Shellac - and then do not understand how the system works!  I throughly explain how the systems works and that they will need to return in 2-3 weeks to have the product removed and reapplied if they want or a manicure.  Some have asked if they can remove it at home and I have explained that it should be professionally removed but have in some cases offered the remover and wraps for purchase - but still there is difficulty!  One customer even asked if they soaked it off in a bowl of water - despite me explaining clearly no!!  Has anyone else had this problem?

Many people are now going to services for the 'name' rather than it's qualities.  Another client had very think flaky nails and I suggested an alternative service which would add some strength ie OPI Axxium Soak Off Overlay which also come in fantastic colours and lasts the same time, but wouldn't try it as it is not what her friend told her she wanted.  This can be so frustrating, so I make it clear that I have suggested an alternative service which they could try next time if there is no improvement.  

I hope that educating people is the way forward, but sometimes group pressure wins - I will keep you posted with how they get on!

Anyways, sorry for the rant!

Have a great week, 
Claire xxx

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

OPI A-Team Advanced Axxium SOG Workshop

This afternoon I took part in the OPI A-Team Advanced Axxium Workshop with the OPI Educatiors Vu & Robert Nguyen.  It was an amazing class/workshop and I learnt so much about how the Axxium gels can be used in different ways.   We could ask lots of questions and learnt many techniques for designing nail art - both simple and intricate.  I am going to need to practice lots - but there are some really simple ways to embellish simple nails without it taking too long, but I hope to get the opportunity to also practice the more detailed nails!!  I need to practise my tiger stripes and swirls more - swirls I am really struggling with - my clients will need to be very supple!

OPI have also introduced a Silver and a Gold Glitter Gel which is going to be so useful for all nail art on gels.  It will make glitter fades much easier, and the look fantastic both alone and over colours - this is a great idea from OPI!  The kit that came with the course was perfect - with 2 glitter gels, a black, brush, dotting tool and rhinestones - Everything it seems we need to make some fantastic designs!

I am looking forward to creating some great designs now having been able to learn some basics that can be applied to designs.  I am hoping to be able to transfer some of these ideas to both lacquer and Shellac applications.

I would really suggest all gel users to look into a nail art course as it is so much more diverse that lacquer and you can create many designs and wipe it off until it is perfect!

Anyway - back off to practice!

Claire xxx

Shellac Update - Experimenting with Soaking Off

I have been having a lot of interest in Shellac - and I have never been busier or had more enquiries!  It is so exciting - I even treated myself to some of the new colours - Rock Royalty is lovely and I cannot wait to use Cocoa with Blackpool Tips!

I have a lot of mobile clients and was so excited to find that my Essie carry case holds the Shellac bottles perfectly!  This is going to be really useful, and as the case is unbranded it's not going to confuse clients.

Most people seem to be going for French - I think that my pink and purple glitters may have put some people off the colours!!  I am finding all the colour options slightly overwhelming - as there are so many to choose from and a number of possible combinations.  The Romatique and Negligee seem to be the most popular.

I had training today and needed to soak off me Shellac from last week - the picture is how good they looked today - 7 days on!

I decided to experiment with soaking off - I put one hand in a bowl with Expert Touch and the other with the Shellac Soak-Off Wraps.  I left them both for the required 10 minutes.  The wraps seemed to work better, with less product to push off after the 10 minutes.  I can only think that this is because my fingers were warmer with the wraps and colder in the bowl, so I will use the wrap method when possible!  I was happy that the 10 minutes is all that is required, I find with my Axxium SOG that the time is much nearer 30 minutes, so this will be a real boost to treatment times for those who want Shellac over the OPI colours.

Hope this has been helpful!

Claire xxx