Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mail Regulations sending you Postal?

Let's face it, we're a little island on the edge of Europe, new mail regulations are probably going to affect us more than most. I wrote this post about a month ago and held off posting it to see if more info turned up but there's been little change or new information, since.  Also, this turned out to be a bit of a verbose post so sorry in advance and I couldn't resist the terrible pun in the title either, so apologies for that too!
Some of you may have seen on twitter or forums like MakeUpAlley, that new royal mail postal regulations have been implemented by the Royal mail.  I first saw there was an issue when A England suspended their international shipping and have since started using other e-taillers to fulfill their orders. If you go to their website a little pop up comes up saying they only post in the UK now.

A-england's pop-up about shipping

  Since, a lot of my overseas shopping comes from the UK, I thought I'd take a look.  It's probably better to describe these as better enforcement rather than new rules, and it came into force on the 14th on January.  So from the 14th January, the Royal Mail will not ship nail polish, perfume or aeresols internationally. They will ship limited quantities of no more than 4 bottles of polish inside the UK.   (More info here http://www.royalmail.com/customer-service/terms-and-conditions/compensation-and-delivery#danger1)  Just a note, these aren't the royal mail's rules, these are the International Civil Aviation Organization rules for airmail. 

Royal Mail's section on prohibited items for international mail
So you maybe thinking, hey there's nothing new here, we're shipping Art supplies or cosmetics, but it seems that the Royal Mail have stepped up their x-raying of packages and some bloggers have already had packages destroyed (http://lacquersofkasterborous.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/they-destroyed-my-pretties.html). Also some Illamasqua orders seem to have been destroyed.  A England's post office just refused to take their packages.    So is it the end of the world, will we never receive another nail mail package from the UK? In a word, no.  The US, Austrailia and Canada have already had crackdowns on the same issue, and there are ways round it. These are airmail regulations so, if someone was to ship with a courier company who uses sea rather than air, we'd still get our polish. But, this is more hassle for the companies and more expensive for the consumer. You might have noticed some US companies don't ship international anymore. 

Although the regulations came in on the 14th Jan, it seems they've just started to enforce near the end of January, so how it will turn out is a bit of a waiting game. Larger companies who have distribution centers here, I'm thinking Amazon and Asos here, probably will get around this by shipping by sea, if they don't already. Personally, you could try a service like Parcel Motel, which gives you an NI address to get deliveries to and then forwards them to your nearest depot for you to collect, for a cost of €3.50. The first two uses of Parcel Motel are free when you sign up, so it costs nothing to see if it works!

Above I said these weren't Royal Mail regulations but International regulations, so they most affect An Post too, right? Well, they do but how much they are being enforced is anyone's idea.  Well An Post have helpfully (?!) given a mnemonic to remember the postal regs. (More here)
An Post's helpful mnemonic!

Nail polish falls into two categories here, it's both liquid and flammable.  The most interesting thing here, I think, is the liquid part, this includes gels and creams and is different to the Royal mail's website where they say liquids over one litre, An Post's website seems to say any and all liquids are prohibited. On the face of it, it looks like shipping most cosmetics other than powder products is now prohibited and liable to get your package destroyed (and maybe even a fine, some US and Canadian bloggers have been fined before).  Like I said before, I have no idea if these rules are being enforced but forewarned is forearmed or something like that. I'd be a bit wary of shipping irreplaceable things that fail in these categories for a while, until a clearer picture emerges. 

It's not all doom and gloom, though luckily we've have had some great Irish e-talliers open in the last year or two and can still get our online beauty fixes.

Have you been affected by the new stricter enforcement of the air post regulations?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sally Hansen Frock Star

I was very lucky before Christmas and won some Sally Hansen goodies from the very lovely Lynnie's blog, she of the most amazing nail art. I was delighted because I find Sally Hansen very hard to get my hands on locally. Included were the nail strips in Frock Star. 

 Frock Star
I have never tried any type of polish strips before so was dying to try them. So on the eve of NYE, I sat down to attempt to apply them. In the packet you get, an orange stick, a combo file and buffer, 16 polish strips and an instruction leaflet (I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've got an instruction leaflet with polish!)

You get two little packets of strips each containing 8 different sizes of strip (so you've two of each size). This is where I ran in to my first problem, I've pretty small hands but never really realised how small (narrow) my nail beds are - the 3rd smallest one was around the right size for my thumb, the smallest perfect for my pinky and then the 2nd smallest was about the right size for each of my other fingers. I realised I was going to have to get 2 fingers out of some strips and use some that were too wide for my nail bed,but wasn't sure if that was going to work so started off. The upshot was I got all 10 fingers out of 8 strips with the 2 most mahoosive ones left over - had I been more forward thinking I could have used these for an accent big toe nail in my pedicure (but my feet are in full winter mode.....).

Frock Star
My Hand looks so awkward sans polish bottle!
Application was pretty easy, even if I made things difficult for myself by trying to get two nails out of some strips. The strips have plastic on both sides you have to remove and a little tab to hold on to while you remove the plastic. The easiest thing to do was apply the strip to my left hand with the tab still attached cut it leaving some excess and then remove the tab and apply the other half the the same nail on the right hand. Retaining the tab means that your not removing too much of the stickiness by touching the underside of the strip. You file of the excess after you apply and for some reason on both my index fingers, when I filed off the excess some of the strip on my nail came with it. I don't know if that's something to do with the fact those strips were too wide for that finger - I removed the excess with the pointy end of the orange stick.

Frock Star
Super dooper close up - Frock star full of lovely various colour glitter  

I'm on day 4, as I write this,  and they are holding up well, with a little tipwear on both my thumbs. The only issue is I feel that they never stuck flush at the cuticle end and when I'm tying up my hair I feel like it's getting caught underneath them.  I didn't apply a topcoat because I wanted to test the wear, but that would probably have sorted that out and the bumpy glittery texture.

I wore these for the full 10 days and I got compliments on them in pretty much every shop I went into, despite my sloppy application! They held up well, so well they were next to impossible to remove. They were absolutely welded on, so it appears that they are just as hard to remove as regular nail polish. Perhaps, one of the peel off base coats might be a plan for wearing under these next time.

Have you tried these or other polish strips? They are a pretty great idea if you are travelling as you don't have to bring any topcoat or basecoat with you, plus they don't take up your liquid allowance if you're flying, They also don't smell as strong as normal nail polish.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Elf Mint Cream

Next up another ELF polish, this time ELF Mint Cream. So, I really am not feeling this polish, I love the idea of mint green nail varnish, but it gives me lobster hands! Although I do like this version better than the Essie alternative Mint Candy Apple, comparison pictures below.

Ok so now for some pictures of the lobster hands, I’m not sure what to be more apologetic over the lobster hands or the terrible application that I wasn’t aware of until I saw the photos. You’ve been warned!

Elf Mint Cream

The application was actually better than some pastel colours, which tend to be streaky. The first coat was horribly streaky, but it evened out on the second and third coats. The only complaint would be the couple of stray long hairs on the brush of the polish which contributed to the horrible application.

I wore Mint Cream for 3 days before I took it off, there were no chips and no obvious tip wear. Mint Cream was £1.50 from the Elf website.

I then did a comparison between Mint Cream and Essie Mint Candy Apple, the application of both was very similar. The first coat of both was a streak-fest and I felt that the ELF polish actually applied slightly better.

From L-R, Essie MCA, Mint Cream, MCA, Mint Cream.

Essie Mint Candy Apple Elf Mint Cream

I so smudged my baby finger, for some reason my pinkie always squishes into the finger beside it! Personally, I prefer the ELF polish to the Essie, what do you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nail It for Charity

From the Nail It for Charity Facebook page

Hello lovelies, extremely long time no talk, I shan't start a monologue as to why my blogging has been sparse, but I'm trying to finish my thesis and that is taking all my time and energy at the moment (and I may never ever be finished!).

I couldn't let this week pass without mentioning the Nail it for Charity event, it started on Monday and finishes on Saturday, so there's two days left. The idea is raise money through nail related events, for three amazing charities - DEBRA Ireland, The Jack and Jill Foundation and Raynaud's & Scleroderma Ireland. I personally know of the amazing work the Jack and Jill foundation do and am lucky enough to have no personal knowledge of the other two charities.

You can support the charities in a number of ways. Get a manicure for €10 in one of the supporting salons, find the list here, go to a participating Clarins counter for a 15 minute hand treatment for a suggested donation of €5 (list here) or organise your own event (info here).

Realistically, it's too late to organise anything too big but why not have the ladies (and men) around for wine and a manicure session over the weekend? You can donate any money raised on the website. If wet nails would get in the way of the wine drinking you could always use something like these halloween themed impress nails.

Have you or are planning on doing something this week for Nail It for Charity? 

Nail It For Charity 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cult Nails Cruisin Nude

Today's NOTD is Cult Nails Cruisin' Nude. When I first applied Cruising Nude, I loved it, a nude creme with pink shimmer what's not to love. The colour kinds of reminds me of rosegold. The pink shimmer is pretty noticeable, if not obvious and makes this polish stand out from all the other nude polishes out there. 

Click to see the shimmer! 

 The application was really good, the polish maybe a little too thin but no issues with it. The pictures show three coats and I really think it need the third coat to eliminate visible nail line, but you could get away with two.   In the cold light of day, however, the colour just does not love my skin tone, I think it needs to be a smidgen lighter or darker. It seems in artifical light, it looks better on me but unfortunately in sunlight I mean daylight (there is no sunshine here!)  it kind of gives me dead hands. So I think this one to put away until summer, if that ever happens,when maybe my hands will be a little more tanned. But if you are darker or paler than me, it should work for you.    

Do you have any polishes which you love  but they just don't love you back?

Cult Nails polishes contain 15ml, cost $10 and are available from the Cult Nails website, www.cultnails.com.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Angelica Sapphire

Angelica is a relatively new to me brand of polish I first started hearing of it last summer and my little sister bought me some for my birthday in August, so they've definitely been around that long. I only remember seeing mentions to this brand on Irish blogs and a quick google shows the same, although they have a co.uk website with a UK address but sem to only reference stockists in Ireland.  So it looks like if you live outside Ireland you're not going to be able to get you hands on this brand.  In Ireland, this was first stocked in Penneys (the Irish version of Primark) but I've recently started to see it pop up in chemists too.  

The bottles are very like the old H&M bottles except the cap is white not black and contains 10 ml. They retail for €2.75 and there's a pretty wide range for a new brand, there are crackles, glitters, glitters which glow under UV light and I think they are called Jewel polishes, like today's polish.  Angelica are not 3 free, the first ingredient on the list is Toulene and Formaldehyde shows up on the list too, as does camphor, it's not as smelly as I thought it might be though.


Sapphire is dark royal blue polish with silver micro glitter ( only visible in the bottle not on the nail)  and  there seems to be a purple shimmer in the bottle.   The purple shimmer reminds me of OPI Russian Navy, in that it's visible in the bottle but not when applied, and this polish is like a not so dark and more royal blue version of Russian Navy.  On the nail, it has that lovely lit from within look to  it. 

Photo with flash. 

Natural light - No bottle because my mother took one look at it on my nails and demanded to borrow it -  she hasn't returned it yet!

In application, I found the polish a bit gloopy it could probably could have done with a couple of drops of thinner. The brush wasn't as stiff as I would of liked and  it didn't fan on the nail, but application was pretty easy. The wear was quite good on this, I took it off after about 5 days due to tipwear.

Have you tried Angelica polishes or is the fact they are not 3-Free off putting to you?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cloud Mani - My first attempt

Earlier today, I was catching up on my Google Reader blog posts, when I read this post which linked to Nailside's Cloud Mani Tutorial and then I lost about 2 hours of my life reading loads of posts on this blog! (Silly internet time vortex!) 

Fast forward a couple of hours and I'm sitting in front of the telly, trying to avoid thesis writing (my avoidance and procrastination skills are, alas, too good!) and I started playing with some polishes and ended up with my first attempt at a cloud mani. It had seemed easy enough, even I could do it.....

I hadn't planned on doing this and was just messing around with some polishes, so there's no undies (undercoat) under my  'clouds'.  I'm usually rubbish as nail art but I was quite impressed with the way it turned out, so wanted to post it!

NYC Spring St
Natural light.

No 7 Totally Teal

The teal colour is No 7 Totally teal and the orange is NYC Spring St and I topped it with a coat of Seche Vite. I think the teal looks most true to life in the natural light photo and the orange is more true to life in the flash photo.  I'll do proper posts on both of these soon. I had a little bit of drag with the topcoat on my  ring finger. I'll also point out the colour choice was a bit random as I just chose from the polishes on the table in front of me and it's not intentionally in the colours of the Irish flag. But I guess this could make an appearance during the Euros with a white base and a proper green.