Category Archives: Nails

Removing a gel manicure

While I was in Spain, I booked a basic manicure for New Year’s Eve at the Nails Factory bar in Nervion Plaza in Seville. If you’ve seen my vlog about this you already know that the nail tech simply went on full auto and gave me a gel manicure instead of a basic manicure. *facepalm*

I do like gel manicures for their longevity and durability,  however I hate the removal process with a passion and I also hate that a lot of nail techs over buff my nails leaving them very weak after I remove the gel manicure.

Yesterday was that dreaded day when I decided that my gel manicure had grown out enough, went matte enough, chipped a little bit and I was done with it. Reason always tells me that I should book myself an appointment to go and get my gel manicure removed but I hate the process so much that I also procrastinate from doing that and end up freaking out about how bad my manicure is and removing it myself anyway. I’m very impatient at doing this whole process, I hate how long it takes and this is the reason why I didn’t want a gel manicure 🙁

I don’t have a before picture of my nails but the gel that was used was Nail Factory’s own brand gel polish and the nail tech told me that it’s easy to remove.

To start off the process, I filed away the top layer of my manicure with the first nail file that came to hand. Then I used the GELLUX Gel Polish Remover Wraps (because I’m that lazy at this) and the Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover. The GELLUX remover wraps are simply squareish pieces of foil with some lint free pad attached to them.

Filing Gel Nails

Filing Gel Nails

I soak the pad with the remover, place that over my nail then wrap the foil around my finger. You can do these yourself or buy them ready made as I did. To me, it reduces my time to remove this manicure considerably so it’s well worth buying them ready made.

This is what my foiled fingers look like. Next, I tried to keep my hands warm since the acetone acts quicker in warmth and waited for 15-20 mins. When I took off the foil, the gel was almost all gone! Some nails had a tiny bit of gel left that I gently pushed away with a cuticle pusher but this gel did indeed lift very easily.

Removing Gel Manicure

Soaking Gel Manicure

Since I am impatient there seems to be some base coat residue left on my nails that didn’t go away with the first soak. I was honestly fed up with the process (although quite smooth, 20 mins is a long time in my books) and didn’t soak them any more and didn’t buff them.

After removing gel manicure

After removing gel manicure

All in all, I was unimpressed that I got a gel manicure without asking for it but I did like how it wore. I hate any gel manicure removal process but the GELLUX Gel Polish Remover Wraps make this process easier and luckily, the gel that was used lifted very easily. My nails are thinner and weaker than they were but that’s always the case when my nails are buffed.



Claws! | Elegant Touch Totally Bare 003

Elegant Touch


Soo… I was wondering around the supermarket and these press on nails caught my eye. I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to give them a go 😀

They’re the Elegant Touch Totally Bare 003 nails and they’re in a stiletto shape.

I haven’t worn press on nails in a while, mainly because the last time I wore press on nails I was on a second date and one of them fell off. I spent the rest of the date trying to hide my finger.

This time, I prepared myself. First off, I’ve been dating my bf for a while. He would understand if my nails malfunction. Secondly, I painted my nails in a light nude colour (as opposed to the dark red shade I wore on my date where my nails malfunctioned). And finally, I quickly put my spare nails, nail glue and nail polish in my handbag. If one pops of, I’m prepared!

The nail sizes that came with this packet were great, I found nails that fit each of my nails and I think I might have enough nails to wear these nails again.

I used the nail glue that came with this packet, it’s better than any nail glue I’ve ever tried. It stuck my nails on very quickly and a week and a half later, these nails are still going strong.

Now, although this nail glue stuck my nails on quite well, my nails still feel like something is stuck on them as opposed to when I get gel manicures and they feel like they’re my own (and not like they might pop off if I’m not careful).

Next, I think that these nails look gorgeous but they’re so impractical for work! I can’t type in these, so after two days of wearing these gorgeous claws, I filed them down to a short square shape for practical reasons. They filed down easily and nicely and they look very natural as they are now.

All in all I’m quite pleased with these as press on nails. I do still prefer actual gel manicures rather than press on nails though 🙂




How to: At home gel manicure — Application, useful tips and removal

Opi Big Apple Gel Colour

OPI Big Apple Gel Colour

I love a good manicure but I’m always a bit scared of going to a salon to get my nails done, mainly, because some nail technicians tend to be quite rough with my nails and leave my nails very thin and brittle from over buffing.

I have had some good experiences. The most notable was at an OPI nail bar in the Birmingham Airport departures lounge. I went in asking for just a regular manicure but the nail tech recommended a gel manicure for longevity and the drying time. I explained to the nail tech that the nail buffing usually leaves my nails very brittle but she explained to me that with gel manicures, the nails only need to be buffed to remove the shine so there’s no need for so much buffing. She did the manicure and when I removed the gel myself a couple of weeks later, my nails were actually stronger than they were before. I was impressed.

Of course, I ended up getting my own gel manicure system when I realised that gel manicures don’t have to result in thin brittle nails. I’ve been doing at home gel manicures for over a year now and here’s what I use, how I do it and most importantly, some useful tips that I’ve learned.

OPI GEL System

Gel System — OPI Gel Color Base Coat, Top Coat, Big Apple Red Color and Avoplex oil

Things you’ll need

  1. Nail file
  2. Nail buffer
  3. Cuticle remover
  4. Cuticle pusher
  5. Cuticle cutter
  6. Alcohol wipes
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Gel Base Coat, Colour and Top Coat
  9. 36 Watt UV lamp
  10. Cuticle oil

How to apply a gel manicure

  1. First off, your hands will be exposed to UV light. To protect your skin against UV damage, apply a high SPF sunscreen 15 mins before putting your hand in the UV lamp.
  2. Next, file your nails to your desired shape.
  3. Apply cuticle remover and push back cuticles. Cut any excess cuticles.
  4. Lightly buff your nails. For gel nails you only need to remove the shine.
  5. Use an alcohol wipe to make sure that your nail bed is clean and free of any product.
  6. Apply a thin base coat and dry for 2 mins in the UV lamp.
  7. Apply a very thin layer of the colour gel and dry for 2 mins.
  8. Apply a second thin layer of gel colour and dry for 2 mins. Also making sure that you’re happy with the application before curing.
  9. Assess whether you’re happy with the coverage. If the colour is not as opaque as you want it to be, you might want to apply a third layer of colour and cure it again.
  10. When you’re happy with the colour and coverage, apply the top coat and cure it for 2 mins.
  11. After curing the top coat for 2 mins, I like to cure my polish for an extra 2 mins just to make sure that all the layers are properly cured.
  12. At the end of this, your nails will end up with a sticky film on them. Wipe this off with an alcohol wipe.
  13. Finally, apply cuticle oil and massage into cuticles.

Useful Tips

  1. While applying any of the coats, stay away from the cuticles and from the skin on the sides of your nail. If the gel goes on skin, it can lift and aside from making way for all sorts of nasties, your manicure won’t look nice for as long.
  2. When applying the gel colour remember that while the gel is not cured, it can be removed and/or manipulated very easily. Once it’s dried in the lamp, it can’t be fixed unless soaked in remover. Work slowly and in thin coats, and make sure that you’re happy with your application before curing.
  3. Gel colours are not made equal. Some cheap brands of gel colour are too harsh and much more difficult to soak off. My favourite gel colour brand is OPI. The gel colour is opaque and it removes very easily. It lasts for the 2-3 weeks that I want my manicure to last. Beyond that, I can’t handle the unsightly regrowth so I remove it.

Removing Gel Colour

To remove my gel nails, I like using the ready made OPI Expert Touch Professional Removal Wraps for Gels & Acrylics and the OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover. I apply some of the remover onto the fabric pads and wrap my nails with the wraps making sure that the fabric is covering the nails.

If you don’t want to use ready made wraps, simply soak some cotton in an acetone remover, put it over your nails and wrap in foil. I prefer the OPI remover over pure acetone because it has extra ingredients to prevent drying out your nails.

Let the nails soak for 15-25 minutes or until the gel colour has lifted from your nails. Then gently scrape it off. Don’t try to buff off the gel colour of force off the gel colour because that will damage your nails. If the gel colour is stronger, it will take much longer to soak off. I find that the OPI gel colour is particularly gentle and lifts very easily.

I hope that you found this post helpful and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to never miss a post.


Updated: Swapped steps 3 & 4 of application. Thanks a lot to Lorraine Stagno from for suggesting the edit 🙂

OPI Nail Envy — Sensitive and Peeling Nails

OP Nail Envy

OPI Nail Envy Sensitive and Peeling Nails


Back in January I got a manicure and my nails were buffed just a little bit too much. My nails can’t handle being buffed, they get thin, dry and brittle very quickly and they don’t recover until the whole nail grows out again. I had trouble growing out my nails after that manicure because my nails would break, peel or split as soon as they start growing.

I went back to using the OPI Nail Envy Sensitive and Peeling nails an old favourite, and two weeks later I had my nails at the length that I wanted them (a 5mm free edge). If they’re any longer than that, I find it hard to type on my laptop.

Before trying this OPI Nail Envy, I used to think that all nail strengtheners are the same and I thought that what I wanted was for a strengthener to make my nails hard. I’ve used several nail hardeners that were meant to harden my nails and they did, but I was very frustrated because although I had hard nails, they still chipped and broke.

I did some reading and I realised that there are several nail strengtheners for different nail problems. The problem with my nails isn’t (and wasn’t) that they needed hardening, but rather, they were peeling and breaking. That’s how I found out that the OPI Nail Envy for sensitive and peeling nails exists.

It’s described on the OPI website as:

For sensitive, thin nails. Concentrated calcium strengthens and thickens. Protects nails from peeling with Vitamin E & Kukui Nut Oil. Formaldehyde-Free.

One suggested way of using this, especially for difficult nails like mine, is to apply one coat everyday for two weeks without removing it. That sounded odd to me at first, but in practice it’s not, and it works.

I’ve been using this nail strengthener for a couple of years now and I’ve always had the same good results. I can safely say that this strengthener is one that works well for me. I’ve had a look at the OPI website to see what varieties of Nail Envy they have, and they have come out with several new ones.

First off they have coloured Nail Envy, I was very excited to see this because when I do the two week nail treatment I miss having some colour on my nails. Seems like OPI now have the solution for that 🙂

I spotted that they have a matte Nail Envy. This is fantastic especially for men who don’t want to look like they’re wearing anything on their nails.

They also have strengtheners for “Soft and Thin” nails and “Dry and Brittle” nails. I’m interested in trying the Dry and Brittle Nails one, I wonder whether It would be any better for my nails than the Sensitive and Peeling one.

The final verdict is that I’m really happy with this Nail Envy an it really does what it says on the box. I hope that you found this little review helpful.


First Impressions: OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil

OPI Avoplex


Today I tried out this OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle replenishing oil and thought I’d write a post about my first impressions.

I can do some very basic nail care, but honestly my cuticles are a pain and I never quite know how to deal with them. I sometimes go to a salon to get my nails tidied up, mostly because I can never get my cuticles to look half decent.

Recently I’ve had very dry nails and dry cuticles and somehow, my normal remedies of using the All That Jazz Cuticle balm or the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream was just not doing anything. I have previously used the Sally Hansen Cuticle oil but never repurchased that since it never did much to my nails. I decided to look for something better and came across this OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil.

I gave it a go a few hours before taking this picture and honestly as a first impression, I’m quite impressed. I’ve never used something on my cuticles that has worked like this, gave me the faith I had lost in cuticle oils.

I applied a small amount of this cuticle oil over my two day old manicure and I let it sit on my nails for a couple of minutes before I massaged it in. It absorbed very quickly and it left my cuticles looking moisturised and presentable. I’m impressed! Other than the Sally Hansen cuticle oil and olive oil, I haven’t used any other oils on my cuticles so I can’t compare it to other brands or salon products.

I can say that my cuticles were replenished very quickly and without much effort (especially in comparison to using the cuticle balm and the 8 hour cream which usually need regular applications over a few days to achieve the same result). It is very heavily scented. It smells flowery and citrusy, I’m not quite sure what the scent is. It is a pleasant scent but it is quite strong and I can imagine that its a scent that might bother some people.

It comes in a 15ml bottle in the same shape as most OPI nail polish bottles and it comes with a brush. I would imagine that this bottle lasts for at least a year since I only needed to use very little of it. It is an oil, so while applying it I was cautious about not tipping the bottle over and getting it everywhere. I must say, that I prefer the Sally Hansen cuticle oil pen for application over this bottle and brush style product, but this OPI  bottle contains 15ml of product while the nail pen comes with a mere 1.5ml. So with this OPI Avoplex, I got 10 times the amount of product and it worked much better on me. I’ve never got similar results with the Sally Hansen pen.

All in all, I’m looking forward to continuing to use this and I’m hoping that I can finally handle my own cuticles.