Ask Dija: What are the must have nail products?

I believe having good nails is a very simple job and not as time-consuming as we sometimes think it is, so long as you have all the right products and tools to use. Every home care kit should include:

Nail File – Leighton Denny  Crystal nail files (£12.50) are the best. It doesn’t shatter or peel the nail as you file and you can file forwards and backwards unlike traditional emery boards. It was a lifetime guarantee, so long as you don’t drop it! 

Nail Treatment – Dr. Lewinns Renunail Nail Strengthener (£17.50). It contains calcium to boost weak nails and camphor which is a soother to sensitive nails. It’s an award-winning formula that delivers a lot of TLC!

Cuticle Exfoliator – watching your favourite TV programme – stick this on and rub into the cuticle area. 15 minutes in they will be soft enough to push back. The best one I’ve found is OPI’s Avoplex Cuticle Exfoliating Treatment (£12.80) which contains a melange of AHA’s and the specially patented avocado (very moisturising) lipid complex. It’s a gentle slougher that works amazingly on dead skin cells.

Cuticle sticks and cuticle scissors – these pesky slivers of translucent skin that travel up the nail bed need keeping in control. You have to be extremely careful with cuticle scissors. Only nip what you can see on the surface of the nail or you can draw blood. If in doubt don’t cut. See a nail care professional. I cannot stress this enough.

Hand Exfoliator – keep this at the kitchen of bathroom sink. Every couple of days, scrub your hands. After your face and neck, your hands show age next. L’Occitane One Minute Hand Scrub (£13) contains organic brown sugar for working away dead and dull skin and shea, grape seed and sweet almond oil to moisturise.

Moisturiser – There are so many out there to choose from, and the one you use I think is down to personal preference. Personally for me I love the brand Olivina’s Olive Hand Cream (£15). The list of beneficial ingredients is outstanding – shea, olive oil, grape seed oil, vitamin E, chamomile extract and aloe vera. For a more high-tech scientific punch Sisley Global Anti Age Hand Cream tackles the loss of elastin and brown age spots. Contains UVA and UVB filters (spf 10). It is £70 though so think twice and use sparingly.

Cuticle Oil – Keep a bottle at your bedside. Try and remember to put some on before bed.  CND Solar Oil (£12) is excellent and contains ultra moisturising Jojoba oil and vitamin E which will penetrate and protect the nail and surrounding skin. If not OPI Cuticle Oil on the Go (£9.60) is a lovely gel version in a squeezy tube with a brush that you can keep in your hand bag for when you have a spare minute on the train or bus. Nails Inc do a snazzy pen version which too is very handy (£12).

If you wear nail lacquer – I highly rate the following base and top coat.

Base coat – OPI RidgeFiller (£11) – this fills out all ‘nail wrinkles’ giving the smoothest ever surface to paint from.

Top coat  – Orly Glosser  (£6) – delivers super shiny nails and dries in an instant.

Remover – Sally Hansen Acetone free  (£2.45) – takes polish off and is gentle on nails and wallet.

So there you have it. With a little investment and some quality products you can anyone can achieve beautiful hands and nails at home.

This week I’ve been loving

Biologique Recherche P50

This product was on my toner wish list and I’ve finally lain my hands on it. To get it, I had to go out of my way to EF Medispa in St Johns Wood. I live in Hertfordshire. When I called to find out if they had any in stock, the receptionist said no, they’d finished and she wasn’t sure when they’d get it back in. Then by luck, she found one and phoned me back to come and get it. FATE! It was cold and raining, but I hoped on the train anyway. DEDICATION.

From the first use, I felt the difference in my skin. Its more refined, smoother and brighter. This is a keeper. At £49, I’m using it sparingly though.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere SPF 10 Foundation

I’ve been stuck in a foundation rut for a few months and I finally climbed out of that pit. Stylishly in Chanel too. I love how its feels really light on my skin with its floral smell. It’s a liquid foundation and I buff it in for a smooth flawless finish and it holds up well in my busy days, lasting at least 6 hours before a touch up is needed. The colour match is excellent and a little goes a long way – 2 pumps covers my entire face for medium coverage which is what I need.  At £36 its the top end of my budget, but I believe you get what you pay for and this time I’m getting a great deal.

Magazine Freebies

I read magazines for content, but if a little sweetener is thrown in, even better. Especially if it’s a freebie that I’ll actually use. July editions of Marie Claire and In Style came with a nail polish and Body Shop Kohl Eyeliners. All are welcome additions to my ever-growing make up stash. It’s good to read! lol!

One from the archives

I used to write another blog – BeautyMaze. And I was going through my files the other day and came across this.

This was such a fun day, messing around in the garden with OPI acrylic nails, diamantes and make up. The orange nail polish is OPI’s a Good Mandarin in Hard to Find from the 2010 Hong Kong collection.

Polishing Up – OPI’s Vodka & Caviar

Every Sunday night, I choose my nail polish for the week. Before I get to choosing, I always toy with the idea of ‘oh, this week, I’ll do blue or orange or maybe even purple.’ Never happens! No matter how much I tell myself to do something different, it NEVER happens. I have failsafe colours that I always revert to and they never change.

I think I’m coloured out. I have well over 100 nail polishes, some never opened – all the colours of the rainbow and back again. But they just don’t appeal anymore. I’ve been there, done that, have several t-shirts. All these new nail polish trends and fads that come along, don’t do anything for me. There was a time, I wouldn’t ever be caught without the latest. But, now I’m grown (imagining my mum’s face – ‘I can still smack you!’ Guess one can never going to be too grown) I’m stuck in my ways perhaps. If I want colour, I stick to red, if I just want to low-key I stick to nudes.  Easy peasy, just the way I like it.

Even within those two colour choices, I have failsafe colours that I stick to. Life is complicated enough, than to start giving myself too many options. My favourite ever red, the one that always makes me love red nail polish even more is OPI’s Vodka & Caviar. It’s blue based and stands wells against my medium toned black  skin. Its got depth and is a stalwart red. The kind of red, everyone should have. It sometimes tends to compete with Essie’s Russian Roulette, which is a warmer red. Looking at it, it seems I have a thing for colours with a Russian connection.

By the way, can you tell which nails I’ve got falsies on?  Suffered a major break on two nails and had to rectify the situation with faux nails courtesy of Broadway Nails….which by the way aren’t bad for a quick fix.

Girl about Town, part 2: Bourjois Boutique

*****Warning — Picture Heavy*****

Following the LFW show, I decided to pop in the beautiful boutique from Bourjois. It’s their first in the UK and the venue of choice was ever so chic. Only Beach Blanket Babylon!! Too cool.

Suffice to say, it was very colourful, candyshop pretty and fabulously girly. There is a golden poodle swathed in pink ribbons waiting to welcome you at the top of the stairs. Need I say more?  I could have spent the entire day there. There were make overs, manicures, styling sessions, body art, the works….Bourjois really laid it out! Channel 4 are also filming LFW bits and pieces from there with Jameela Jamil for T4.  They also had some good deals on their products with up to 65% off in some cases. I wasn’t bowled over that the sales assistant pushed a sale on me as soon as I entered, but I was far too dazzled by all the make up and products to be too bothered.

The amount of products on display was truly astounding and everything was laid out for you to have a good rummage and play. I never knew that Bourjois did body washes. They do, but only in France. That is such a shame as I was told by my friend that the vanilla one smelt scrumptious. I couldn’t smell, bad cold!!

The nail polishes were nice, but I didn’t buy any as I have a lot of similar shades already and I’m really trying hard this year not to make any double purchases. Same story with the eyeshadows. I was just happy to look around and play really.

Unfortunately I was too late for a goody bag 😦 but I took loads of pictures!

Girl about town, part one

So yesterday, I immersed myself (only a little) in the craze of London Fashion Week. It’s been a few years since I did the show circuit and I’d forgotten how crazy it is. Right now, it’s 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon and I’m still in bed with a legendary back ache.

I was helping out a friend who has just launched her own nail business(Omoge London – full feature coming soon) to make sure all the models hands were ready for their close up’s in the Francesca Marotta show at Goldsmith’s Hall. Lady like nude on long oval nails was the shade du jour!

Anyway, I took a few photo’s, so enjoy.

ps: I would have put descriptions under each photo, but for some reason my settings are acting up. *cries*

Beating the smudge

Always painting your nails before bed and wake up to smudges? Or in my case actually painting your nails IN bed?

I’ve found, if I wait 2 minutes after top coat is on the last nail and then slather on a nail oil it protects my nails from smudging. By slathering, I mean a fresh dip into the bottle for each nail and no rubbing in either!

Added bonus, is that your cuticles and side walls (nail tech speak) get a huge dose of intense moisture and hydration for the duration of your sleep. Fabby, no?

I use the OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Oil, as its ultra hydrating and penetrates fast, but there’s loads out there to choose from.

I would love to know what do you do to avoid smudges?

Go forth and conquer the smudge!