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.