Easy Cute Cat Nail Art – Nail Stamping

Round two of testing out the nail stamping bits I recently bought, and I thought the perfect theme would be cat-related (of course). I have a black and white cat, so naturally I HAD to go for black and white nails…

So let’s get started!

I started with the Holo Taco Long-Lasting Base again. I find that my nail polish doesn’t last anywhere near as long as I want it to (this is my own fault because I do the washing up without gloves along with other careless things!), so when I started using a base coat I did notice that it prolonged the life of my nail art. I still don’t find it lasts super long, but I always used to opt for gel polish which lasts forever so the time it stays on is noticeably different in comparison. I’m taking a bit of a break from using the UV lights for a while so I’ve using the Holo Taco polishes because of the stunning colours available and the amazing quality of the polishes. It’s safe to say I’ve absolutely not been disappointed.

One thing that I love about this base coat is that it dries SO fast so I’m not hanging around for ages waiting for it to dry – a big tick in the box for me!

Holo Taco Long Lasting Base

Next I applied the black and white polishes to the nails I wanted them on. The black polish only needed one coat, and the white I used two because I hadn’t shaken the bottle properly (whoops!). These polishes glide on like a dream – yet I still seem to get them wonky around my irritated cuticles that shrivel when I use nail polish remover…

None-the-less they’re so easy to apply and I’m amazed by the colour payoff every time!

Holo Taco One-Coat Black and Not Milky White

Then it was time to break out the beloved stamper again! Using the MoYou London Crystal Clear Stamper and Scraper – £9 with the MoYou London Kitty Collection 11 Plate – £5.99, I picked up the designs that I wanted to apply using the Whats Up Nails Stamping Polish in Neither Noir – £7.25. I found it much easier to pick up the design from this plate than the Celestial palette from my other post. Perhaps it was because it was the same brand as the stamper this time around, perhaps I just needed a bit more practise to get it right…

I topped it off with a Glossy Taco from Holo Taco and then it was finished! It was so easy to do and I love how it came out, so I was pretty pleased with this nail art.

I’d removed my previous nail polish, hence the dry skin around my nails, and I quickly reshaped them using a generic glass nail file from Amazon. I also used a generic cuticle pusher from Amazon to try and keep them tidy.

Cuticle pusher and nail file – both from Amazon

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! See you next time.

The final look

Alpha-H Liquid Gold. What did it do to my skin?!

A fairly small and simple ingredient list. This is what I like to see when I’m looking at the ingredient list of a product. Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold has been very sought after for good reason. I always find it a bit daunting when a product has LOADS of ingredients, so it’s a good start to me that this one is kept short and sweet.

So let’s start there!

What’s in it?

The key ingredient in this product, as claimed by Alpha-H themselves, is 5% Glycolic Acid. This is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and is one of the most popular out of the AHAs out there for skincare. An AHA exfoliates and removes the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, but Glycolic Acid is made up of smaller molecules and is said to penetrate the surface that little bit deeper than other AHAs such as Latic Acid or Salicylic Acid. They are often paired up with BHAs to give a fuller exfoliation, but we’ll delve deeper into the different characteristics of these acids, along with others, another time. As the outer layer of the skin is being exfoliated and the dead skin cells broken down, you should always use SPF after using an AHA as the skin will be even more vulnerable to sun damage.

Alcohol denat, the second ingredient in this product after water, is an ingredient that causes some worry in many people but I will only comment on my experiences with it. I personally have never had any issues after using products with alcohol denat. You can definitely smell this in the Liquid Gold, as it has quite a strong alchohol-y , chemical-y smell. I personally didn’t have a problem with this as I prefer to use unscented products, so if it’s just that I can smell the ingredients that make up the whole thing I’m not too bothered. There aren’t really many (if any!) benefits to this ingredient, as it’s more use to the overall composition of the product, but it’s important to note when it’s in a product as it can be rather drying. I’m always conscious to increase the moisturiser after using anything with denatured alcohol in as I do find that my skin gets drier, which was certainly the case with the Liquid Gold.

On that note, fortunately the next ingredient is Glycerin which is a humectant which actually attracts moisture to the skin, thus providing extra hydration. Perfect to counteract those drying characteristics of alcohol denat!

Next up we have Hydrolyzed Silk – one of those ingredients that’s not quite as glamorous and thrown around as much as hyaluronic acid, AHAs & BHAs, Niacinamide etc, you have to delve a bit deeper to find out more about this little gem. There is a lot of evidence out there that skin and hair both benefit from silk. Hydrolyzed silk protein is said to help the skin’s barrier to retain moisture.

The rest of the ingredients are generally more targeted to the formulation of the product as opposed to any skincare benefits so I won’t bore you with those. The exception is Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract. This ingredient boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits among others, said to reduce irritation and provide some forms of protection from free radicals. However, take caution as this is at the end of the ingredients list, so while it may provide these wonderous benefits, they could well be outweighed by the harsher effects of Glycolic Acid and Alcohol Denat for example.

So, what do you do with it?

The brand advises to only use this product every other day. I first started using it only about twice a week due to my skin not being too familiar with AHAs, and I then built it up to every other day. My skin stung slightly upon application – not in an unpleasant way but in a way that definitely let me know it was having an effect!

I initially started to use it with a cotton wool pad, however I just find that my products get absorbed by the pads so I ended up patting the product on with my hands after a while. I doubt this makes any real difference, but I feel that more product goes on to my skin when I do that (this may be completely the wrong thing to do, perhaps I should actually look into it a bit and find out whether or not I should continue. I’ll get back to you!)

I used this after a full cleanse, and before any other products so that they had a fresh canvas. I did find that there was less residue and the products absorbed slightly faster after using this.

What were the results?

My skin was hands-down brighter and smoother than before I started using the Liquid Gold. It’s got a certain ‘glow’ to it that wasn’t there before.

The results weren’t instant, of course. As with any product, patience and consistency are key to achieving what you hear everyone else raving about. I would say that there was a noticeable improvement initially, but it was only after a few weeks my complexion was considerably more even and I would even go as far as to say it was clearer too! It also felt softer to touch as well, which is always a nice feeling. After a while of not using this, I noticed that the quality of my skin had deteriorated slightly (not drastically), but it was evident once I stopped using it.

The only thing I would highlight as a point to note is the drying element. I did find that my skin felt drier and needed a bit more TLC, so I would definitely suggest layering on some love afterwards to keep your skin happy all round. The description claims it hydrates, but for me this target wasn’t met.

Did it do what it said?

Alpha-H have on their site that this product does the following:

  • Gently exfoliates to clear dead skin and pollution build-up
  • Resurfaces and revitalises the complexion to improve luminosity and tone
  • Strengthens the skin’s protective barrier
  • Assists in stimulating collagen production
  • Reduces congestion and promotes evenness
  • Promotes hydration and moisture retention
  • Minimises the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, open pores and sun damage
  • pH of 2.8 – 3.0, which temporarily compromises the skin barrier to facilitate deeper penetration of active ingredients (trust us, it’s a good thing)

Whilst I may not be able to measure whether or not collagen production has been stimulated significantly, or the skin barrier strengthened, I can agree with the points around exfoliation, luminosity and tone in my complexion, minimised appearance of imperfections and my skin looking more even. I didn’t find that my skin was more hydrated afterwards – as I’ve gone on about this already I won’t go over it again – so my moisturising was upped!

I got my little duo from Marks and Spencer, who have some awesome skincare brands with economical sets I haven’t often found elsewhere. They also often have extra discounts/promotions going on so it’s worth keeping an eye out for what they have. A link to this particular set can be found here. The set wasn’t quite as pretty as it looks in the picture as it was basically just bundled together by some branded cardboard, but I wasn’t too fussed as I was more interested in getting down to business.

I’m fully aware that I haven’t covered the Liquid Gold Rose – this is very similar but a special edition more targeted to dry skin than the original Alpha-H Liquid Gold. I was pretty happy with that one too but I haven’t used it quite as much so I won’t give a detailed opinion.

I’ll be trying out some other Alpha-H products in the near future, but of course I started with the OG of the brand as what other option did I really have?!

I hope you enjoyed reading, and love this product as much as I do if you’ve tried it!

Galaxy Nail Art – Nail Stamping

My first time stamping! Ok, I know it’s not perfect but my back started aching….

I’m a bit of perfectionist, so I had the image of how I wanted these to turn out and I was going to get as close to it as possible. I actually attempted this to try it out and then had to take it all off the next day to re-do because I found out the challenges of stamping pretty fast the first time round.

I started off with the Holo Taco Royal-Tea Blue and One-Coat Black polishes. The black really is only one-coat necessary, it’s amazing! I started by doing a gradient on my middle and ring fingers using a generic sponge off Amazon and Mehron Liquid Latex to protect the skin around the nail from being covered in nail polish , and left the others black. I then topped my nails with the Scattered Holo Taco, finishing with just the Thumb, little and forefinger with Scattered Holo Taco as I didn’t want to clutter the ‘nail art nails’ too much.

Left to right: Glossy Taco, Royal-Tea Blue, One-Coat Black, Scattered Holo Taco, Flakie Holo Taco and Long-Lasting Base

Then onto the stamping. For some reason my stamper just wouldn’t pick up the pattern I wanted to transfer. I thought my stamper must be faulty (I’m using the Mo You London Crystal Clear Stamper and Scraper – £9), so I tested it on a different stamping plate and it worked. Judging by the extensive knowledge I acquired (cough) from a couple of YouTube videos I watched, I concluded that the stamping plate I was using was just a shallower one and needed a different technique to pull it off – YouTube videos linked further down. I got the general idea of what to do differently, and while it’s not perfect it definitely helped! I used Whats Up Nails – Silver Ag-ent Stamping Polish with the Dixie Mini Celestial Sky Plate, both from Nail Stamping Queen UK to create the planet and celestial effects.

MoYou London Stamper and Scraper, WhatsUp Nails in Silver Ag-End, Mehron Liquid Latex, Generic Beauty Sponge and Dixie Plate – Celestial Sky
The stamper and scraper are housed in this cute little ‘pot’

It took quite a while what with all the attempts to pick up the pattern from the plate, but for my first go at stamping I was pretty pleased with the results. I have some other plates too which I’ll use for some more designs and upload on here.

Thanks for reading and keep on creating!

Lip Balms that ACTUALLY work

I’ve been having such trouble with my lips for weeks. The relentless dryness, burning and stinging really started to take its toll on my mood. After countless Google searches for ‘the best lip balms for dry/sore lips’ and whatever other variations I could think of out of desperation, I’d started to despair as nothing seemed to do the trick. I was on the brink of going to the doctor as I’d convinced myself that there must be a deeper issue after finding no relief in any lip balm or product I tried.

Then came what I call the ‘breakthrough’ (thanks mum!). I’d complained to my mum about how sore my lips were and that nothing was helping, when she suggested I try her favourite lip balm; Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Lip Rescue. As this was coming from someone who will literally turn around and go back home for this lip balm if she’s forgotten it, I decided to give it a try.

I started to get irritated when found that the lip balm wasn’t in stock in the Holland and Barrett I travelled to, so I had to settle for a different balm from the brand. Fortunately there was a buy 1 get 1 half price offer on at the time, which softened the blow a bit. I opted for the Manuka Oil and Vitamin E balms…

And boy, what an investment that was. For £6 I had just bought (what I didn’t know at the time were) lip rescue products that will (hopefully!) see me through the winter without enduring any more irritation. For weeks (even months) I’ve been having to layer on different lip balms just to keep the symptoms at bay – which worked at the time – only for them to reappear with a vengeance when I wasn’t wearing any. Dr Organic has helped me to actually function without constantly reaching for a lip balm, and only using it as and when I feel I need to (this isn’t sponsored, I swear!)

Now I’m at an age where ‘listen to your mother’ is not compulsory, but the moral of this story is to LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. Mums know best, as proven. And if you’re not going to listen to your mother, listen to me: this stuff works. If you’re suffering too then give it a try and I really hope you get the same results!