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.

Ask Dija

I’ve been deliberating over the past few weeks whether to start an ‘Ask Dija’ option on my online bubble of goodness. I am a trained beauty therapist, make up artist and nail care professional and I get asked loads of questions about different products, routines and treatments all the time. Normally I just babble of an answer, but a few people have suggested that I should take questions on the blog and post an answer for everyone to see and learn from. So here goes…..

From this week, I’ll be doing ‘Ask Dija’. So if you have any questions you want answered, just email me at:

Don’t worry, I won’t disclose any personal details and if its particularly sensitive, you can request that I reply only to you on email and I’ll do just that! However, if I feel that people will benefit from the answer, I will rehash the question in my own words and post a response on the blog as well.

I’ve already got 3 questions lined up which hopefully I’ll post answers to this week.

So go on, what do you want to know?

Behind Beauty: Rodial

I was really pleased to come across this article yesterday by Lucy Tobin in yesterday’s Evening Standard. So much so I had to share it.

I’ve heard a lot about Rodial products and I’m glad to now know a bit of background. It’s always interesting to know how brands came behind about and the people behind them. When I use the products, I always feel a bit more connected and the owner Maria Hatzistefanis might be Greek born, but this is a British brand through and through.

I think this article is the perfect combination of brains, beauty, ambition and drive.

Click on article to enlarge for reading.

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.

The Only Way is Blogging (Beauty)

It’s only TEN days to go and I’m so excited!

Click on image to find out more.

4711: NouvEau Cologne Natural Spray

Colognes are this summer! There are a plethora of brands bringing out signature summer scents in a cologne form which are lighter to wear and much easier on the nose. One fragrance that has grabbed me for this summer is 4711’s unisex NouvEau Cologne.  I feel this is lighter and more refreshing take on the cult original 4711 scent which has been around for years centuries.

I received a bottle of NouvEau Cologne at a recent press event and I have truly appreciated it over the last where the temperatures have soared. When the mercury rises, I prefer a lighter scent. Nothing sweet or heavy or powdery, just fresh and fruity. I’ve had compliments galore. This is why this cologne has had a permanent spot in my handbag. It’s still in there as I write this.

With top notes of blackcurrant and litchi that’s where it packs the fruity punch which soon dissipates to warmer base notes of tonka bean (which I love), musk and sandalwood. This isn’t a fragrance that confuses my senses. I don’t like when I can’t work out what the smell is. This is clean and calming sans confusion. It just coolly washes over you and it feels good and smells good too! This is down to the use of evodia which is a popular in Chinese medicine for its calming effects. I never heard of evodia before but I gather it is a highly fragrant fruit that the Chinese have used since the first century AD. I think its interesting how 4711, a German perfumier, has combined an Eastern element into the fragrance.

One of the things I also like about this fragrance is the price. At £12.95 for 50ml, I can spray freely and not limit myself to a few spritzes. It’s also accessible and can be picked up in Boots and online beauty stores like Beautique. The last thing I’d want to do is be trawling the shops trying to find it. That would put me right off, so I’m pleased I can just nip onto the high street and pick on up when this bottle runs out.

Talking about bottle, I think it’s so pretty in a simple streamlined sort of way. Not cluttered or fancy like a lot of fragrances these days, just clean and fresh with a clever use of colours. Bit like the cologne itself.

Full marks all around in my opinion.

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