Candlemania

As well as my plans for mini posts, I also want to try and get back to doing a few posts here and there that is not related to nail art to mix things up a little bit. Therefore this week I wanted to share my favourite candle brand, which is Yankee Candle.

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I love having a fragranced candle burning in various rooms of my flat to make the place feel more cheerful. I have tried a few random brands and I find the level of fragrance just does not last, especially in the cheaper brands.

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Also Yankee have a huge selection of different fragrances, which they are always changing with each season. I’m the kind of person that loves to try out different ‘flavours’ of things, as some of you might know from my shower gel collection/addiction.

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For this reason, I usually like to burn the small votive candles so that I can mix up the fragrances more often. You can also find many cute little votive holders around in the shops, markets and on the internet to make the place look more pretty. However I recently got this pretty wax burner, which looks great in my living room. I also find the level of fragrance is more prominent with the wax burners. I guess this is because all the wax is melted at once.

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I also got this large candle with a pretty mosaic tray and jar lamp shade for my mom. It looks great in her kitchen even when not in use.

Midnight Pearl Nails

When thinking about what I wanted to do for my nails this time, I was looking through my really old nail varnishes. In there I found a really old Cover Girl one from their Nail Slicks range in #49 Sheer Pearls. I’ve had this for at least 12 years I would say, but back then I wasn’t really into nail art and so only ever wore 1 colour at a time. I was surprised the consistency was still as liquidy as a new bottle of nail varnish, even though some seemed to be dried onto the inside of the bottle near the top.

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It’s a light pink base with a pearl finish. When you move it in the light you can also see some bluish shimmer inside, which also looks slightly purple at times. I thought it would look nice as an overcoat on top of another colour nail varnish. To try it out I decided to put it over black. However as you can see in the pictures below it came out a lot more boring than I expected lol.

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What I did was paint all nails except my ring finger and thumb with 2 coats of a black nail varnish. On the thumb and ring finger I painted on the retro blue colour by Barry M that I have. This is because on those nails I wanted to do something different.

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Therefore, next I added some clear nail varnish to the ring fingers and thumbs one at a time. I then dipped this into some dark blue beads. Once that had had time to set I put plenty of topcoat over it to hold it all together. Although this sticks them all to each other as a solid looking thing, it makes them last a lot longer on the nail so I prefer to do it this way.

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Then on the rest of the nails I painted them with the Cover Girl nail slick. Straight away I could see that the pink in the base was just too sheer to show up and that all I was going to get was the blue shimmer. However 1 coat was too streaky so I needed to add another coat. It does have a pearl finish to it still though I felt.

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I think next time I need to try it over much lighter shades. This is because when I’ve used it on its own it looks really nice. However I think I will still try it out over a dark colour though rather than over black to see if this makes any difference. But to be fair I can’t really complain. I was shocked the consistency was so good after it had been sitting in the back of a drawer for so many years lol.

Royal Tip Nails

This week I decided to try out another of Barry M’s matte nail paints. This time one called ‘Vanilla’. I also tried out one of their other new nail effects called ‘Royal Glitter Texture Effects’. The shade I used for this design is called ‘Lady’.

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Although Lady is primarily a white fine glitter and texture shade, it also has pastel orange and green flecks of glitter in it that you can catch a glimpse of when you move your nails about. However, I’ve always had trouble photographing such nail varnishes, and so it looks a lot more beautiful in real life than it does in the photos in this post. You can see a close up of the bottle below to help show what the shade consists of a bit better. Also the level of texture is also perfect in my opinion as it is more of a fine grain texture, which I prefer.

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Although the matte shade is called vanilla it is more of a greyish lilac shade. It is quite a pretty nude shade, but then lilacs and purples are my favourite colours. I feel that this design would make a nice bridal nail design for someone who was having a white and lilac wedding dress, or bridesmaids wearing lilac for example.

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I firstly painted all of my nails with the matte shade. I layered this up as 1 coat of the matte, then my top coat, and then 2 more layers of the matte in order to try and help get a weeks wear out of it. I then gave it plenty of time to dry. In the picture below you can see where the camera managed to pick up some of the orange and green shades in the glitter.

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I next used some striping tape, and placed it diagonally across the tips of each nail. I made sure there was enough overhanging at the sides so that I could pull it off later. Your nails have to be really dry when you do this so as not to pull off all your hard work with the tape later.

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Lastly, I painted the tips with ‘Lady’, making sure not to got over the striping tape. I did this one by one, and removing the striping tape as I went so that the nail paint did not have time to dry. This left a nice straight line that looks more professional than doing it freehand. However it is a lot more fiddly and time consuming to do it this way. I am really pleased with how it turned out, and it lasted well considering I couldn’t put a top coat over the top.

Matte Spot Nails

Barry M have recently released some matte shades as part of their autumn releases. In the past I haven’t really had much luck with matte polishes. They seem to crack and chip up really easily and can be difficult to apply smoothly.

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However because I was eager to get their new flakie and royal glitter nail paints, I decided to give a couple of these a try. In the pics below I used one called ‘Crush’. It is a dark reddish colour. I found it dried darker than in the bottle and in some lights it can almost look slightly brown.

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Like I said matte polishes always seem to chip easily for me. I feel the Barry M ones are quite durable, but I will need to test this out properly still. As I wanted this manicure to last a week I came up with an idea to try and make it last longer. What I did was painted on 1 layer of the matte. Then I added 1 coat of the top coat I normally use.

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Once this was dry I added to more layers of the matte on top. This seems to have worked as I have been wearing this for 7 days now and apart from some chip wear it’s only really 1 thumb and 1 little finger that has big chips.

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In order to make my nails look less plain and boring I used a clear top coat to apply some glossy dots over the matte. Lol I really can’t just paint my nails in 1 shade and leave it like that any more.

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I placed these along the one half of the nail only. I started with a large sized dotting tool and then worked my way downwards in size until the gaps were filled in as I liked. I like how it turned out, but I felt from a distance it did look quite plain still. However I can see why this would be good, for example if you can;t have bright and bold nails for work but wanted to make them a bit special than just plain.

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I also felt the consistency of these polishes were quite good. They were nice and liquidy which helped them to go on smoothly. Hopefully this remains the same as the bottle gets older. I hate when a matte polish is drying before you have even painted half of your nail lol.

Look at MUA 12 Shadow Palettes

I was was given a neutral MUA eyeshadow palette by a work colleague a few months back which I thought was quite handy. I know their products are quite affordable as I have tried their nail fur and beads, and also have a couple of lip glosses by them which I quite like. I wanted to get another eyeshadow palette in non neutral shades to team up with it and figured I’d do a little post on them with some pics.

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This first palette is the neutral one and is called ‘Undress Me Too’. The ‘too’ is because its the second of the neutral palettes they do. From looking online it seems both of their neutral palettes are dupes of the Urban Decay Naked palettes for those of us who have a lower spending budget for makeup.

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The second palette is called ‘Glitterball’. They do a lot of different palettes containing 12 shades each. I went for this one as it has a good variety of colours and I wanted something that I could easily mix and match into many different looks. I like both shimmery and colourful eyeshadows, and I like to mix a colour with silvery or gold shades. This palette has enough diversity in its colours to meet all this criteria and it therefore appealed to me the most. Another reason why I wanted such a palette is to use as a travel palette. Although my 88 palettes are quite portable, these are even more so whilst keeping a good level of diversity.

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In the neutral palette there is also a good range of neutrals. Some are matte shades and others are shimmery and so you can also get a lot of nude and smokey eye looks with this palette as well. There are also some silvery/greyish tones in the palette as well. So you can do both a gold or a silver smokey eye if you team them up with the black shade in the crease.

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Both palettes cost £4 each. You can get a lot more eyeshadows for a little bit of extra money off the internet for example with the 88 and 120 palettes. However from the makeup you find in stores and on the high street, £4 for a palette is a very affordable price. Of course, when comparing to high end brands, I found the quality was nothing amazing, but I still felt it was good enough to serve its purpose. For the price of the palette though, I would say the quality is good.

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The palettes also come with a sponge applicator. I know a lot of people hate the sponge applicators that come with eyeshadow. I used to also, but lately I have found that I prefer to use them to get the main lighter colour onto the main lid area and then switch to my eyeshadow brush to add a darker colour into the crease and blend everything together. I also use the pointed tip of the sponge applicator to use on the very inner corner of the eye. The pan sizes of the shadows are also decent as they are around the size of a 20p coin.

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All the shades in the Glitterball palette have a high amount of shimmer and glitter. Some shades seem to veer more towards being glittery whilst others seem more shimmery. As much as I love shimmery eyeshadow, I can’t make up my mind as to whether a couple of the shades go a bit overboard with the shimmer. For example with the pink shade I felt like the silver shimmer in it was trying to drown out the pink from coming through too much. When compared to my 88 palette I felt like the shimmer in those eyeshadows was a bit less and so more manageable and wearable.

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I found the texture of the shadows was fair as they wasn’t really overly dry and powdery. Also when applying I found that there was not much fallout, but then I find fallout mostly occurs when I use a brush over a sponge applicator anyways. The wear time was good. In the look I decided to try out with the palette and show you below lasted the whole day, it wasn’t until late evening that you could see it was starting to crease. I hate when an eyeshadow look creases up in no time even though you used a good quality primer. I always use the Two Faced Shadow Insurance to prime the eye area before adding shadow.

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So for this look I first primed the lids and then picked the pink shade (this would be #7 if you numbered them from left to right, top to bottom in the palette). Using the sponge applicator I applied this over the entire lid. I then used my brush to blend it out a bit to soften the edges. I did find that I had to pack on the pink a bit and build it up to get it to how I wanted it to be. I then used the white shade (#6) with my brush and blended a very small amount above the pink and up to by brow. I like any highlight on the brow to be very subtle.

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Although I had to build up the pink a bit, I feel this is only because as mentioned previously, it felt like the shimmer was trying to drown out the colour. The pigmentation on the whole seemed good. I next used the black (#1) along the crease and outer corner. The pigmentation of the black was very good as I only used a tiny amount on my brush and that was plenty for what I wanted. However I did find that it did need a little bit of work to blend it out as much as I wanted it to be blended. This was probably because I wanted it to look more slate grey than black though. I also added a very small amount of the silver (#11) into the inner corners using the sponge applicator.

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I don’t know if it is just me, but for some reason I find that when I’m applying my eyeshadow it never looks how I want it to and I get a little annoyed that things are not going as planned lol. However the second I add my eyeliner and mascara everything seems to suddenly look fine and exactly how it should. I guess it just shows how important eyeliner and mascara is to complete a look lol. Anyways, for this look I used Barry M’s bold black eyeliner to thinly line the upper lid, and the silver eyeliner on the bottom. I like to set the eyeliner on my upper lid using a similar shade of eyeshadow on a flat angled brush. I find this helps reduce it from transferring onto the crease area during the day. I finished off with Rimmel’s Scanladeyes Lycra Flex mascara.

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All in all I really like these palettes. What you get for the price is very good and they will be perfect for on the go as you can make plenty of different looks using them, even though you only get 12 colours in each. The packaging is nice and compact and they come with an applicator which again makes them good travel partners. The pigmentation is decent and I was pleased with how the look I tried turned out. There was also very little fallout. However I do feel I like my bigger unbranded 88 palettes more than these for everyday wear. However the MUA Glitterball palette is good for if you want a very high shimmery look for going out and for parties and such.

88 Eyeshadow Palettes

Some of you may have seen my post on my 120 palette back in 2011. A few weeks ago I decided to treat myself to 2 new palettes. One is a neutral one and the other was a colourful shimmer one.

Neutral Palette

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Each I got off Ebay for just under £5 and £7 respectively. Both have 88 colours and I managed to get them from UK sellers meaning they arrived in a couple of days.

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Both the palettes have a mirror and two sponge applicators in the top half of the lid which is quite useful for on the go. Although I normally use a brush for my eyeshadow, I have tried the applicators and have found them to be pretty good at getting the shadow onto the lid.

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Of the colours I have tried so far they are all very well pigmented. In the neutral palette there is a good mixture of nude colours in both matte and shimmer shades. I think some of the matte ones may be less pigmented because I find that is normally the case with eyeshadows but I am yet to confirm this.

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There are plenty of different lighter shades for highlighting and in the corner of the eyes as well as plenty of darker shades for the outer corner and the crease. You could use this palette for both smoky and nude looks.

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In the images below you can see one of the looks I have tried out so far using colours from the neutral palette.

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For this I used one of the orangey shades in the inside 3/4 of the lid. This was more of a matte shade but I could see a small amount of shimmer in it. I used one of the sponge applicators to apply it.

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Then I used one of the darker pinkish purple matte shades on the outer 1/4 of the lid. I used my normal eyeshadow brush for this and blended it with the orange. They blended together very well and quite easily.

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On the inner 1/4 of the eye I then used a very very pale off white shade that had gold shimmer in it with the sponge applicator. I gave this a bit of a blend as I like to have shimmer on the inner corners of the eyes.

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For the upper lid eyeliner I used the Barry M bold black eyeliner and used a black matte shade from the palette on a flat angled brush to go over the top to help keep it in place. On the lower lid line I used Barry M’s bold eyeliner in bronze.

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Above the eyelid going up to my brow I used a very pale almost white pink with a little shimmer in it to give a very subtle highlight that the camera didn’t really pick up.

Colourful Shimmer Palette

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All the shades in the shimmery palette are of course shimmer shades. I am addicted to shimmery eyeshadow so just had to have this one. I had seen an identical palette which is a mix of matte and shimmer shades for people who do not have a shimmer addiction like myself. There was also a metallic palette which had more neutral colours which have a metallic finish to them but as I wanted the natural palette I managed to resist getting that one for now.

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The first thing I noticed about this palette is that although it is colourful like my 120 palette, the shades in the 88 one seem to be a bit more wearable. Some of the colours in my 120 palette haven’t even been touched as they are a bit too bright.

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One problem I have always had with eyeshadow whether its a cheaper brand or not is that after about 6 or 7 hours it starts to crease up bad. I normally use an eye primer, but whether I use it or not I still get this problem as my eyelids do get a bit oily throughout the day. On a normal working day I don’t get home for at least 11 – 12 hours after applying my makeup though. However on the first day I used this palette I was pleasantly surprised to find that my eyeshadow had not creased at all by the time I got home from work which is probably my favourite thing about these palettes. Every time I have used them so far it has lasted all day.

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I also find that the texture of these shadows are a lot less powdery feeling than some other brands I have tried in the past. Another problem I have is the whole fallout all over my cheeks thing which drives me mad lol. I get this problem a lot with my 120 palette. However with these 88 palettes I have found the fallout to be a lot less which I think may be due to the texture.

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So far the only negatives I have for these palettes is that I find the boxes a bit difficult to open and don’t want to mess up my nail varnish opening them lol. My 120 palette opens so much more easily. Also the size of the pans holding the colours are a lot smaller than the ones in my 120 palette. But for the price you are paying it is still great value for money.

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Overall I am very impressed with these palettes. As much as I love my 120 palette, I have to say I love these 88 palettes more. In general I like palettes containing a lot of colours because it helps me to experiment with colours without having to search through all my stuff as everything is in once place and easily accessible.

Cherry Blossom Nails

So about a month ago Barry M released some new nail art pens in black, silver, white and pink. I’ve seen good comments about them online so decided to give them a try. I had a little play with them straight away on top of the nails I was already wearing that week and was very pleased with the results. I decided for my first proper nail design using them I would go for a cherry blossom design.

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I used the black pen for the branches and randomly drew those on top of the colour I chose for my background. Luckily for this design it didn’t matter how messy the right hand ended up looking lol. Then I used a medium sized dotting tool to place white dots on top of the branches. When this was dry I added smaller pink dots on top of the white ones before adding a top coat. I recommend using a top coat with the pens to stop it wearing off too easily.

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I’ve always struggled with doing very fine lines neatly in my nail art as I find normal nail varnish to thick and quick drying, even when using thin nail art brushes. I am trying to avoid buying a load of acrylic paint colours to use, which I have seen many others do to get such detail, as I already have too many nail varnishes to fit in the room I have as it is lol.

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As well as thin brushes, I have also tried in the past those bottles that have a metal tip with a hole in like a needle where you squeeze the nail varnish through in order to do details. However I always end up with big blobs or I poke a smudge into the still soft base layer of my design. Also I find no matter how long I leave it to dry my top coat will smear the whole thing when I attempt to apply it.

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However with the Barry M pens the nib is more like a real pen and it did not drag dents in my base colour. It reminds me a bit of those handwriting pens they used to give you in primary school. Except with the nail pens you can press the nib in to get more of the colour to come into the nib if required. I also found that the consistency is thinner than normal nail varnish which also helps with doing thin lines. However I did find that sometimes you needed to go over a line again to make the colour bold enough. Despite this I found the pens dry very quickly and that my top coat did not ruin the design at all when applying it. All in all I was very impressed with these and they were as easy to use as a normal pen.

Simple Handmade 3D Flower Card

Back when I was India I found these craft paper punches while shopping one day. The good thing is everything is so cheap there compared to back home, especially things like costume jewellery and such. For example I got some really pretty metal hair clips  that were covered in gems and rhinestones and such for the equivalent of about £0.24 each! My fiancé was really tempting me to buy tons of accessories for my self while I was there. I really wish now that I had listened to him more lol.

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Anyways I decided to pick up a couple of the paper punches for myself to use for future scrap booking and other crafty things. Both the ones I got were flower shaped ones as I felt they would be the most versatile. A link to the same brand that I managed to fins online is here.

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As I am sending my fiancé a gift in the post, I decided now would be the perfect time to test them out by making a simple little card. The card itself was made using some leftover scrapbook paper that I had left over. For the flowers I first punched out 20 flowers using one of the flower punches. 10 in a light orange and 10 in a darker orange.

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I then used a bit of PVA in the middle of each darker flower and placed the lighter one on top. Using an orange stick I turned the lighter one so that you could see the petals of the darker one underneath. Once that was dry I used my fingers to make the petals stick upwards a bit so that it wasn’t so flat.

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Afterwards I added a silver rhinestone to the middle of each flower. I then attached them to the card using those sponge stickers that you use in decoupage as I wanted it to have even more of a 3D effect. You could make flowers like these and use them on many things. Basically anything crafty that you would stick embellishments to at least.

Mosaic Crackle Nails

I bought one of the Avon crackle effects recently even though I have a few crackle polishes, but I was drawn to this because of the shimmer in it and also because I don’t have a green crackle. I got it in colour Gleaming Emerald.

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I found the application slightly less forgiving than the Barry M crackles are. Therefore you will need a bit of experimentation to get it right. I decided to try it over a lilac base.

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However generally I found that if it was too thin you would end up with a translucent coat with very thin vertical lines forming the cracks. If it was too thick then you wouldn’t get enough cracks to see that it was supposed to be an effect.

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I preferred to aim mine around a medium thickness as I wanted the green crackle to stand out boldly, but I also like thick cracks going both horizontally and vertically in between. The only thing that I do love about this crackle over other brands that I have tried is simply the fact that it has a lot of glitter in it.

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Another thing I noticed about this one was that it took quite a while for the full effect to come out. At first I did not think it was working, because with the other brands I have tried the effect is very quick. However it does need some time to look its best.

Furry Nails

I’ve seen images of the velvet nail trend online long ago but never felt in the mood to try it out back then. It always looked like it would be too messy. However my friend gave me a pot of the MUA Fur effect nail fluff for my birthday last month. I have it in colour ‘fluff and cuddles’ which I would describe as a nice dark magenta colour.

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It recommends you use a similar colour for a base coat so I painted all my nails with 2 coats of Nails Inc’s Malibu Cosmo, which was the closest colour I have to match. I wanted the ring finger to be different so I did something that would be the opposite to fur by using a glitter nail polish. I decided on Nails Inc’s Special Effects in Bloomsbury Square. This was then finished with a top coat.

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The fur comes in a pot with a sifter on top. You can either sift the fluff into the top and apply or remove the sifter and dip your finger in the fluff. I decided to dip mine in. I painted each nail one at a time with a coat of the colour and then dipped it in the pot. I pressed the fluff on gently to the nail with another finger to help it stick.

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After leaving it for a while to set, I used a cheap eye shadow brush that I don’t plan on using to brush the excess back into the pot. If there were any missed spots I just dabbed a bit more nail polish on the ‘bald’ area and put more fluff over it to fill it in. It was less messy than I expected and it wasn’t too hard to get most of the mess back into the pot to reuse.

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I really loved how it turned out and I really love the texture. I couldn’t stop rubbing my fingernails all week. A friend at work thought it was cool also and described it as feeling like a velvet lined box. I found the durability was better than I expected also despite the lack of a topcoat. Also when I did get chips or areas wore ‘bald’, it was easy to just reapply the fluff as required to the relevant areas only. Doing this in this way was quite seamless and it wasn’t obvious that you had tried to touch areas up. I do recommend giving this a go to people who love uniqueness to their nails.