Friday, 26 August 2016

Soft, brittle nails? Nail Hardeners are here to help

The reason my nails became brittle. I regret nothing
Sometimes nails can become really soft, brittle, flaking and a hardening base coat just isn't enough. That’s what happened to my nails after I came back from my holidays. I had not taken care of them enough and swimming for hours every day took a toll on them. I needed a boost in my care regime so I did my research and –as ever- am happy to share the findings. 

Disclaimer: At this point I need to mention that if your nails aren't naturally soft and they changed for no apparent reason, I would suggest ringing up your doctor. A change in the condition of your nails can be an indicator of an underlying health problem. It could also be related to dietary changes you might have implemented in your life lately where you are not receiving enough nutrition. I will refrain from discussing this further as I am not qualified, but any change in the state of your nails is not a random event and should be investigated further.

What are nail hardeners?
So what can you do to help your nails become stronger? Despair? Of course not! Why despair when there are nail hardeners to help! Nail hardeners are different from hardening base coats. Hardeners are treatments for the nail, have a stronger effect and are not supposed to be used every time you have a manicure. All of them have a more intense treatment period and a maintenance period. Additionally some are only meant to be used under a base coat while others can be used as a base coat or over your nail polish. Each hardener comes with its own set of instructions as to when and how you are supposed to use them so make sure you read the instructions even if you are a person that hates reading instructions.
The beaches of the Peloponnese are magic!
Possible issues & how to use hardeners
One needs to be careful with nail hardeners though: all of them contain Formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is a highly toxic substance and has been removed from the majority of nail polishes. When you read about 3-free, or however many -free polishes(Korres for example is 7-free) you can bet that one of these ingredients is formaldehyde. [You can read more about it here, here and here].Whilst I do suggest caution and I wouldn't use a nail polish that contains formaldehyde, hardeners are a different thing. Formaldehyde in cosmetics is a big issue, so make an informed judgement on what is good for you. 

Nail hardeners should contain less than what is considered a safe amount of formaldehyde (5%) and are only used for limited periods of time. Nevertheless, I put nail hardener only to the top half of my nails, which is where breakage usually happens and never allow it anywhere near my cuticles, or the underside of the nail. If it comes in contact with my skin I wipe it off immediately cause hardeners tend to harden the skin as well.

It goes without saying that it's a product that can also be used by those that don't use nail polish. 

My experience
My nails are normally hard, but this summer they suffered cause I put them through nail hell. I went on a holiday and decided to take no make up and no nail care products; I needed a break from everything. All I had with me was sunscreen and a tinted lip balm. I swam up to six hours a day and whilst I enjoyed it, my nails did not. 

When I got back they were in a pretty bad shape, worse than I had ever seen them before which is what led me to explore the world of nail hardeners. The one I used is the Mavala Nail Hardener and I used it for less than the recommended amount(once every two weeks instead of 1-2 per week). After 3 uses my nails are back in shape and I am really happy about it. The Impala was given to me by a friend when I mentioned my problems, but I haven’t used it yet. I don’t think I’ll continue using a hardener now that my nails are back in shape, but I am glad I did. 

TL;DL
*Read the instructions on how often and for how long you need to use it.
*Use on the top half of the nail (not the side where the cuticle is).
*Don’t let it go to your cuticles or touch your skin. Wipe off immediately if it does.

That’s it for now, I hope it was informative enough. I always struggle not to put too much information in my advice posts and scare readers off with a wall of text and scientific jargon! 
XxX
Elysse

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Eye shadows Assemble: Putting together my own palettes

And how did I manage it without them taking up too much space? I had them in palette! 
Ever since I started using Japanese cosmetics I got hooked on de-potting them and making my own eye shadow and blusher palettes. You see all Japanese cosmetics have a tiny pinhole at the back (sometimes under the ingredients list sticker) that makes de-potting and placing them in palettes super easy. Keeping them all together like that I get to use all of them more often without forgetting I have any of them. Plus I also get to have a personalised palette that suits my needs and preferences.
my blusher palette (Shu Uemura &RMK)
A while ago I reviewed the Elixir - All in One Face-book palette and as I didn’t like the packaging, I decided to de-pot it. I ordered a couple of non-magnetised empty palettes from ebay. I have been using a palette like this for years for my blushers so I know they are actually pretty sturdy.
This is how the palettes arrived, each in an individual plastic pack. They come with a few empty pans in a spongy case. The pans are easy to remove since they are not glued on. These particular ones are the size of MAC blushers, but they do have them in eyeshadow size as well. The spongy separator was glued to the palette. I soaked it really well with some rubbing alcohol, set it aside for a while, and after a couple of hours it came off with minimal effort. In the picture you can see the marks left from the alcohol, but they are not permanent. As soon as I washed it it was fine.


As for the Allin One Face-book palette, it was easy to separate the two cardboard parts, but then the eye shadow pans had to be removed carefully cause they were glued on. The only one I cracked a little was my favourite teal, just my luck! I used some more rubbing alcohol to remove any traces of glue from the back of the pans and then I started placing them in the palette to see how I would fit them all in. 


As you can see, I could fit in all of the eye shadows, the eye brow creams and powders and then some more. In the end though I decided to put the blues separately in a different palette since I don’t really like wearing blue and instead I put some Japanese eye shadows and a few from a Wet and Wild palette I had gotten, but never really liked enough to review. When I finished the placement, I took them all out again, put some double sided sticky tape in the palette, placed them in the order I had chosen and now they are much easier to store and take with me.

Assembling an eye shadow palette may seem a bit consuming, but I find it much more practical for everyday purposes.

XxX

Friday, 19 August 2016

Mermaids and the joy of sheer stamping

Sometimes shopping your stash is a great idea cause you discover hidden gems which you hadn’t fully appreciated the first time round. This ancient Rimmel 819 –Green with Envy polish is one such case. I re-discovered it this spring and I’ve since worn it 5 or 6 times wondering why I hadn’t previously worn it more often. It’s a super shiny teal with a blue-green duochrome pearl in. My camera really can’t capture it’s shine and beauty, it looks almost chrome or molten metal.


I usually wear it on its own, but this time I decided to go up a scale in the mermaid-o-meter and do some scaly stamping. I used Models Own - Chrome Gold, a cool gold that wouldn’t contrast the teal, and stamped it first with A-England - Proserpine. The stamp had thicker lines than I wanted, but I still liked the idea of adding a bit more texture to the design so I stamped it using Green with Envy on same plate, which was sheer enough to make things more interesting without swamping it. 

I will go on pretending I am a mermaid now!
XxX


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Catch some pastel stars


It had been quite some time since I had done nail art of any sort, but the other day I met up with some friends, had a totally girlie day of pampering and playing with beauty products. By the time I got back I felt really inspired to do something playful and here it is, a stamping design that owes a lot to Sanrio’s Little Twin Stars.


My nails are shorter than usual at the moment which meant I could use a design from the Bundle Monster BM20 plate. The pastel yellow base is Korres’ 34 – Pastel Lemon and for stamping I used various mixes of: 
China Glaze – Secret Peri-wink-le
China Glaze – For Audrey
China Glaze – Flyin’High
Orly – Cashmere Cardigan
Essence – 117 Happy End
Speaking of stars, tomorrow and the day after (11&12/08) the  Perseids Meteor Shower will be at its peak. Do you plan on staying up and watching the falling stars? Here’s a link to read more about it if you like.
XxX
Elysse
 
 


Monday, 8 August 2016

La Roche-Posay ANTHELIOS XL SPF 50+ Dry touch gel-cream Anti-shine


Summer under the super warm sun of the Mediterranean is really difficult for me as I get sunburnt easily. It seems my Mediterranean genes have betrayed me and that wonderful bronze colour that most Greeks get  in the summer is but a distant dream. Since I don’t want to get sunburnt I use a high SPF all the time. I’ve read up quite a lot on the matter and usually prefer a mineral sunblock or mixed types of sunscreen, but this year I decided to try a chemical sunscreen. 


La Roche-Posay’s ANTHELIOS XL SPF 50+ Dry touch gel-cream Anti-shine(non-affiliated link) is my current favourite and I’m already on my second tube. It does everything I needed it to do and a bit more. Lets bullet-point the positives to keep things short

  • Protection from both UV-A and UV-B (high SPF),
  • Water-resistant, which means it’s not going to slip away when you sweat(something inevitable when it’s 35+C outside) and it’s not going to wash away when you’re sea bathing.
  • My skin feels velvety soft afterwards and it doesn't shine,
  • It can be used as a primer if you choose to wear a BB cream or foundation on top since it has silicone in. In fact I find it to be better at that job than actual primers which simply don’t cut it in such a warm climate,
  • It keeps my skin from getting dehydrated and it’s moisturising for the dry areas of my face,
  • No white cast,
  • No irritation. There is also a non-perfumed version for those who do not like perfume in their products. I would prefer this one, but it doesn't seem to be available in Greece at the moment.

My skin feels a lot better since I started using it and though I was sceptical when I started using it, it’s definitely won me over.
Here’s the ingredients list :

AQUA / WATER,HOMOSALATE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, SILICA, STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, ETHYLHEXYL TRIAZONE, BIS-ETHYLHEXYLOXYPHENOL METHOXYPHENYL TRIAZINE, DROMETRIZOLE TRISILOXANE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE, OCTOCRYLENE, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE

I hope you’re having a nice summer so far! Have you been on a holiday yet?
XxX
Elysse

Friday, 29 July 2016

Grab a mojito and wear this: Flormar QD15 Fresh Mint

Whoever thought of naming the colour mint like that? The plant mint is a very different green to ‘mint’and its flowers are white. Oh well! I love the colour and wear it all the time. It’s so pleasant, so refreshing and when it’s the right hue it can be so flattering. 


Flormar QD15 Fresh Mint is my mint-love-of-the moment. It’s leans slightly more blue than green, it’s just perfect, stays on forever and is smooth and opaque in two layers. Just the colour I need to keep me cool in the summer heat. Now if only I had a mojito to go with it. 
XxX




Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Friday, 22 April 2016

A-england - Avalon: a purple homage

When I woke up today I really wanted to paint my nails purple. No designs, no stamping, just pure purple. A-England's Avalon is the prettiest of my purples, therefore a suitable homage for the man who made purple his signature colour.

 

 

"But life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last"
RIP Prince


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