Essie Gel Couture Polish

Essie Gel Coutire Nail Polish | Pink Elephant BlogWhen it comes to nails, I’m a file and polish girl. Having done the Shellac thing for quite a while, but not being able to resist peeling them once they begin to lift meant I was left with weaker, brittle nails (completely my own fault I know). I also get bored easily with colours and so generally have a standing weekly file and polish date with the nail rockstars at Nails on Wicklow St.

My Tuesday night ritual involves an hour of legs at the gym (insert relevant profanities here) followed by my nails date in town which I love - nothing makes you feel more put together than freshly manicured nails (and matching underwear!). The thing is, when things get hectic and my free time is at a premium, my nails dates go out the window and more often than not I’m left with a chipped polish situation, my pet hate.

Essie Nude Nail Varnish |  Pink Elephant Blog

Being a long-term Essie fan, the new twisted artsy bottles of their new gel couture range immediately caught my eye. Not that this should matter in terms of product effectiveness, but the absolute prettiness. Gel couture is a two-step longwear polish system that requires no lamp to bond and lasts up to 14 days with a gel-like finish. The kicker for me is that it can be removed with regular nail varnish remover.

Long-lasting nail perfection is as simple as two steps... Step 1 - apply two coats of your chosen colour, which in my case is this beautiful minky neutral from the ‘Atelier’ collection called ‘make the cut’. Step 2 - finish with the magical, long-wearing, gel-like topcoat for a seriously glossy and hardwearing finish.

Having tried polished with similar claims in the past, I can safely say Essie gel couture delivers in all areas. Within the first day of applying this polish I got not one but two compliments on my ‘Shellac’ (gel-like finish is on point). A few days in and I’m chip free, a rarity for me. There’s also a new swirl-stem brush which is a welcome benefit when getting that professional finish if detailed polish application just ain’t your thing.

Essie Topcoat |  Pink Elephant Blog

I find Essie do the most beautiful colours (especially if pastel nails are your thing) and the gel couture collection boasts a whopping 42 shades, grouped into four categories: Neutrals, Pastels, Brights and Deeps. Colour-wise they’ve covered all angles and there really is something for everyone - I can feel a bit of love affair coming on with these!

I picked up my Essie Gel Couture polishes from McCabes pharmacy, priced €14.95 a bottle.

Becky Signature

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White & Gold Christmas Nails

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White & Gold Christmas Nails | I am not a huge fan of glitter and sparkle but even I can't help myself come Christmas & New Year's! I recently got this absolutely stunning gold flecked top coat from Lancôme and new that it will have to make an appearance soon. 

White and gold is my favourite combination but the top coat looks equally as nice on deep burgundy or navy nail polish... or any other one for that matter. It's not really a glitter, it has these pieces of gold leaf suspended through it and on the nails looks like the prettiest golden snow.

White & Gold Christmas Nails - Easy Gold Leaf Effect Nails with Barry M & Lancome | Pink Elephant BlogAs a base I have used one of my favourites, Barry M Coconut, which is a gorgeous off white. Together with the Lancôme Vernis in Love Golden Top Coat it makes the perfect Christmas nails without the need for any tricky nail art (believe me, I can barely paint my nails, never mind attach small bits of gold leaf to them!!) The top coat is limited edition but it's still available, at least in Brown Thomas.

If you are looking for something a bit special for your nails for the silly season I highly recommend checking out this top coat!

Lancôme Vernis in Love Golden Top Coat (555) is €19.50, available from Lancôme counters.

What's your favourite nail polish to crack out for Christmas & New Year's parties?

Alex Signature

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Summer Red: Barry M Passion Fruit

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Barry M Satsuma Nail Polish

It's fair to say that Barry M Gelly nail polish is my absolute favourite, at this stage I own pretty much all of the colours. It's a combination of finish, longevity & shade range that makes me reach for these polishes all the time while a lot of the more expensive ones (cough *Chanel* cough) are sitting in my beauty cupboard, unused. 

Barry M Satsuma Nail Polish

Passion Fruit is one of my more recent purchases (a recommendation from the gorgeous Aoife from The Alpha Nail) and ever since I got it it's been on my nails! It's a super vibrant summery neon red that looks incredible on tanned fingers and toes! I would be a fab poolside colour for a sun holiday! I can just imagine it with a nice stripy navy bikini, on the side of a gorgeous pool in sunny Grece... I digress.

Barry M Passion Fruit The best thing about it is that it is perfect in one coat! It is super opaque, creamy and lasts amazingly well on the nails. If I have the time I put on two very thin coats but more often than not it's just one quick one on the run.

Barry M Passion Fruit

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Passion Fruit is €5.99 and available in Boots.

I've a feeling that Passion Fruit will be on my nails for most of this summer. What is your favourite summer polish?

Alex Signature

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New in Nails: Chanel, Revlon & Micro Nail

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New In Nails: Chanel, Revlon & Micro NailI've recently added to my nail collection (again!) and wanted to share some of my recent finds with you - there are some absolute treasures here! Usually, as soon as Autumn comes around, I tend to wear dark polishes, like grays, blacks and dark reds, but this year I wanted to include some brighter shades.

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Up The Ante

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Up The Ante

This is one of my favourite purchases of the last few months! I have been wearing this a ton ever since I got it! I love the colour, it's a gorgeous pinky purple. The formula is fantastic - I don't own any other polishes from this range but I am extremely impressed with this one. It goes on perfectly opaque in two thin coats, has a very nice gel finish and stays chip-free for a long time. I can wear this for up to 6 days, which is a miracle for me as my polish usually chips after 1-2 days.

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Up The Ante €10.99,  available in Boots.

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Sweet Star (limited edition)

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Sweet Star

I got this for my birthday and I am in love with it! It's a very interesting shade and definitely something I don't have in my collection. It's hard to say what colour it actually is, it all depends on the lighting: it goes from a steely metallic gray to green  / purple petrol shade. Chanel polishes tend to not be the best when it comes to longevity but they surely make up for that in the shade department. I am not sure if they have changed the formula of this particular shade or whether it is  my little new nail device I have been using (keep reading for more details) but this polish definitely performs better than some of the other ones I have from the brand.

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Sweet Star €22.50 from Brown Thomas

Emjoi Micro Nail Electric Nail Polisher

Emjoi Micro Nail Electric Nail Polisher

This is, to my surprise, one of my favourite new beauty accessories in a long time! I was quite dubious when this first came across my desk but I am now ready to eat my words! The Micro Nail is basically an electric nail buffer that comes with two attachments, one to buff and the other one to shine your nails. Using this has made a drastic difference not only to the way my bare nails look (lovely & smooth!) but it also makes my nail polish stay on WAY longer! It takes literally 2 minutes to use and the effects are much better than I had after furiously buffing my nails for 20 minutes with a traditional nail buffer. Huge thumbs up from me!

Emjoi Micro Nail Electric Nail Polisher* €49.99 from Boots (replacement roller pads €14.95)

What are your favourite new nail finds? I would love to know!

A. xx

*PR Sample

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Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

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Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

I love a high shine finish on nails, but it seems to be something only really guaranteed with two/three week polishes and gels, set under a UV light at salons...which inevitably goes hand in hand with damaged nails.

Generally I’m an OPI, Essie or sometimes Ciaté girl, but having eyed up the lovely Ashley's nails from Cashmere & Gloss  at the LLAM meet-up a couple of weeks back, I was sold on the colour alone of Barry M Gelly Nail Paint. Blueberry is a gorgeous cornflour blue colour that really pops and the high gloss finish is nothing short of amazing- I definitely mistook it for a three week polish. Having headed straight for Boots on Sunday I picked up Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Blueberry and also Sugar Apple (soft mint green). Not being able to wait until I was curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, I did a quick car manicure on route to friends on Sunday night (don’t worry- I was in the passenger seat..!!) and am absolutely 100% sold on these ever since.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Blueberry

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Sugar Apple

At just €5.99 I’m only sorry I didn’t pick up more than two, but I’ve no doubt these will be my summer polishes. Not only is the finish one of the best I’ve tried, but there’s such gorgeous colours in the line that would set off a tan brilliantly (wishful thinking maybe- although we’ve had a decent April!) I’d highly recommend getting your paws on these while they’re still in stock- superstar product!

B. xx

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Vanity Rooms: Pampering in Pink

Image Magazine Award for Best Salon  | Pink Elephant BlogLast week Becky and I were invited to the beautiful Vanity Rooms in Stepaside, Dublin 18. The salon is owned by two fabulous ladies, incidentally both called Jen, who have recently won the prestigious Image Business of Beauty Award for the Best Salon! And deservedly so! I don't even know where to start here...

First of all, the salon is absolutely beautiful, as you can probably see in the photos above. It is the ideal place to slip away for a mani / pedi with your friend or have some me-time & treat yourself to a fab facial or massage!

Becky & I went for a pedicure to get our feet sandal-ready just in time for the spring weather. I can HIGHLY recommend the pedicures & I will be returning for another one shortly! They have these cool pedicure chairs that massage your back while your feet are being pampered! It felt amazing and after the treatment my feet were soft, light and relaxed! And my toes were painted a gorgeous pink colour!

The ladies working at the salon are lovely and we had an amazing time! Congratulations to the Vanity Rooms on the award & thank you so much for having us!

Whether you are due some pampering time or you are looking for a way to treat someone else, make sure you check out the Vanity Rooms. Make sure you also follow them on twitter & facebook for competitions and special offers!

A. xx

The Pastel Lineup

Pastel LineupIt goes without saying that Spring and Summer are the time for pastel everything. This year the pastel trend has finally made it into my nail polish stash with so many brands bringing out all of these gorgeous pale, milky shades. Here are my favourites of the moment (to which I will surely be adding shortly...).These four are my absolute favourites at the moment and I feel, this selection covers pretty much all of the colours I could possibly want (you would think! I'm sure I'll be able to find some more!).

First up, Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Rosehip, a beautiful milky baby pink colour. It's a subtle shade that looks so pretty on the nails & will look even better once I have a little bit of a tan. The first coat goes on quite patchy but everything looks perfect with the second coat and it lasts very nicely with a slick of my trusted Seche Vite top coat.Pastel Lineup

Next are the polishes I have been obsessing about these past few weeks: the Les Blancs range from L'Oreal. There is four polishes in this range and the three I have are Pistachio Dragee (full post here), Lemon Meringue and Nouvelle Vague. I am missing the peach one, a beautiful colour but unfortunately not that flattering on my skin tone. The pale yellow is a beautiful, delicate shade and will also look fantastic with a bit of a tan. Finally, Novuelle Vargue, the most vibrant of the four shades is a gorgeous white based lavender. All of these apply beautifully and are opaque in two coats.I've been wearing these four polishes ever since I got them a couple of weeks ago, they just scream spring and sunshine!

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint €5.99 from boots.ie L'Oreal Les Blancs Polishes €7.69 from Boots

What are your favourite pastel nail polishes for this season?

A. xx

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Our Winter / Christmas Nail Polish Picks

Winter & Christmas Nail PolishesI have admitted it before, I have a slight problem when it comes to nail polish, I just can't stop buying it! I've had a look through my little (or some might say ridiculously big) polish collection and have dug out the ones that will be on my nails through December and especially the festive season.

The polish I wear most at the moment is Rouge Noir from Chanel and the Dior Diva one, which is a gorgeous black with gold and red glitter shot through it. Unfortunately it is a limited edition but they have a dark red one with golden glitter in their Christmas collection this year, also very beautiful. Depending on what I will be wearing on Christmas day (not decided yet) I will probably have the red glitter from Deborah Lipmann or Chanel's Quartz on my nails.

I haven't bought any new ones lately but I have my eye on a few. One of them is Essie's Hors D'evours, a beautiful silver and gold glitter and from the same collection a black glitter Essie's Belugaria. This collection hasn't yet launched in the UK and Ireland but I'm hoping I will be able to get my hands on it soon...

What are your favourite winter / Christmas nail polishes?

A. x

Loving...

With the shelves now fully stocked with festive goodies there's a lot I'm loving right now- too much for my bank balance actually! Just a few gems I'm loving at the minute...

1. Everything CiatéLovingIt's a habit of mine to flip from intense dislike to obsessing over a brand. I didn't really get Ciaté paint pots or what they had over Essie or OPI, but after holding them in my hands I now not just want, but need them all. Lucky for me McCabes in Dundrum Towncentre now stock a great range- they'll be seeing me a lot.

2. Brasserie 66Loving2It's been awhile since I'd visited Brasserie 66 but I was pleasantly surprised when we stopped by for some lazy Sunday lunch. I'd somehow forgot the warm bread on arrival and there are some superstar additions to the menu- you need to get ordering from the rotisserie roast oven section- trust me here, will cure even the groggiest of vodka remorse episodes.

3. Fairy LightsLoving3I'm not throwing myself into full blown festive mode just yet (although beware- not long til I do..!) but I'm loving warm twinkling fairy lights dotted around the house to warm up the darker evenings, particularly with the lack of a fireplace in our place. I'm mad for draping them around window frames, loosely resting on chests of drawers & filling old-fashioned glass jars with them; I blame Pinterest!

(Btw battery pack fairy lights from Penneys & vintage jar from Woodies...€6 well spent!)Loving4

4. MK Studded CollectionLoving5Like most ladyshapes in my life, I have a soft spot for Mr.Kors and have been lusting after the gorgeous studded bags and wallets in his latest collection- fueled somewhat by the full afternoons spent in the new Michael Kors store in Dundrum Towncentre (and Harvey Nichols..!) Anyway I was lucky enough to welcome this beauty into my handbag, you have to love a late birthday pressie- can't get enough of the gold studs againest the bright purple.Loving6

5. Cocktails at OpiumLoving7Having strained my neck driving along Wexford St. to get a glimpse of what was coming together next to Whelan's, I got to check out one of Dublin's newest haunts Opium for myself this weekend. I'm in love with how the venue is styled and apparently there's a full Asian fusion menu on the way soon. The cocktail menu is well worth the visit in it's own right...whoever put passionfruit and vanilla together is a mixologist genius!

B.

My Autumn Make-up Bag

Following on from berry lips, mirrorball eyes and dewy skin trends all over fashion week, I'll be updating my ever-growing make-up bag* with the following this autumn in order to a. Stay on-trend and b. Feed my cosmetic counter habit...

*the term 'bag' is used lightly here & actually refers to an Ikea set of drawers

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1. Berry Lips Berry lips were seen on almost every fashion week catwalk and are a hard one to ignore. Loving a nude lip and being faithful to my Nars Barbarella, only the lure of a glossy package & deep berry tone of Tom Ford Black Orchid (or Morrocan Rouge if you like a less intense berry) could lure me to the dark side. Barbarella, I'll see you in the spring.

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2. Berry Nails Always have and always will love vampy berry nails and am only delighted they're bang on trend for autumn, this time with lots of subtle adornment, a little nail art never hurt anyone (subtle being the key here). My go-to berry nail polish of choice for AW14 will be Ciatè Berry Poncho (now available at McCabes Pharmacy Dundrum Towncentre).

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3. Metallic Eyes With the big guns such as Chanel & Versace all rocking a heavy metallic eye, I'm pretty excited to get my hands on Stila's latest creation, Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadows; a buildable foil finish metallic shadow complete with a delux size Stay All Day eye primer to ensure no metallic flecs stray (so no glitterball-face) My shade of choice is Comex Gold although honestly I'm doubtful I'll be stopping at one..(by the way Stila now ship to Ireland- finally!)

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4. Dewy Skin Last but not least dewy skin is big again and we've reviewed, loved and will be returning to YSL's Le Teint Touche Èclat Illuminising Foundation, the holy grail of dewy glowing skin for the time poor; perfect even without a highlighter and a gorgeous addition to any kit. Rimmel Wake Me Up is a great more purse friendly alternative, or even to sample a dewy look if your a Studio Fix kinda girl.

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B x