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Step by Step Guide to Gel Nails at Home

Gel Nails are an easy way to get a chip free manicure for around two weeks (depending what you get up to; drunken nights out don't always finish with all 10 nails intact)
I don't apply false tips as I am happy with the length of my nails. I just apply the gel to achieve a strong, long lasting manicure. If you were to apply tips they would be glued on before the following steps.

Step One
Buff the nails. This takes the shine away from your nails making the surface a bit rougher allowing the gel to stick properly.

Step Two
Push the cuticles back. It's important that the gel doesn't go on the cuticle or on the skin. If it touches it hurts, I've heard it described as a burning sensation. It's never happened to me but because the gel would set on the cuticle or the skin I imagine it would be really sore. Pushing back the cuticle helps to make the application easier but you still have to be careful along the edges of your nails.

Step Three
Apply the gel in a thin layer. Don't add too much gel to the brush, it just needs a thin layer in light strokes. When I'm doing a French manicure I do the pink layer on all 10 nails first.

Step Four
Set the gel under the UV lamp. I normally do it twice which is about 90seconds. When the nail comes out it will still be wet so it's important not to touch it to check if it's cured.

Step Five
Use the cleanser to remove excess gel. The nail should feel slightly harder now and not so sticky and wet.

Step Six
Repeat steps Three to Five again to neaten up the nails. I do this in case the nail isn't smooth or some are thicker than others. This is also important to ensure the colour on each nail is even and the same. During a French manicure I repeat steps Three to Five using the white gel along the tips.

Step Seven
Apply the gel UV top coat and set under lamp. After 90seconds under the lamp wipe each nail with the cleanser. 


*Do not leave the gel container open near the UV lamp. The lamp can set the gel in the container from a distance.

*Don't look straight at the UV light - it's bad for your eyes!

* Remember to clean the brush using the cleanser to remove the gel and so that it doesn't set and harden.

* A UV lamp can be used to dry regular nail polish quicker

This is a picture of my nails after a week. They're all still there but if you look closely you can see how much my nails have grown as the gel has moved away from the ends. I normally fill them in if their all there or remove and start again if some have fallen off.

I got my lamp as a Christmas present so I'm not sure where it's from. However I bought the gel and other accessories from ebay. I think this Rio UV Nails set from Boots would do the job too.

Superdrug Purchases

I went to Superdrug on Monday with the intention of repurchasing a GOSH Touch Up Concealer (in shade 2 if you're wondering) but as I seem to have a slight shopping problem I couldn't leave with just one thing.
Thankfully I didn't go too crazy and got 3 other things - 1 is also a repurchase, 1 I'd been considering trying for a while and the other was a complete impulse buy.

I'm pretty sure everything was on offer in one way or another, some had money off and then I think some of them had extra Beauty Card points. All in all I spent about £13 and got 71 points on my card.

I've tried quite a few concealers to tackle my under eye circles and with a recommendation from Zoe's blog I gave this GOSH concealer a try. I'm really impressed with it, it's brightening and hides my dark circles well. It's only a small bottle with 4ml but it does last quite a good length of time. Most of the GOSH stuff is on offer just now in Superdrug and the concealer was only £2.99, I'm pretty sure it's normally around £7 so it was a bargain.

Next up was a repurchase of the Dove Summer Glow in normal to dark. I should really get the normal to fair skin one but the dark one gets a better colour quicker which is good for me because I'm quite lazy when it comes to tanning.
I'm totally forgetful when it comes to exfoliating and moisturiser in good enough time to apply fake tan so I use gradual tanner to avoid disastrous streaks and dark elbows and knees. I find Dove Summer Glow to have the best colour, it's not too orange (like the Johnstons Holiday Skin) and it's moisturising enough. Again this had money off, it was about £2.50 and it's normally about £5.

The VO5 Miracle concentrate Argan Oil has appeared in my basket in Superdrug and Boots multiple times and each time I've put it back on the shelf thinking it's too expensive or I don't really need it or it's just a cheap version of Moroccan Oil so it won't really work. I finally made it to the till still clutching onto it and I'm glad I did. I've only used it once on dry hair (which isn't even the main use of it) and my ends felt hydrated and shiny. I'm looking forward to trying it out in wet hair. I can't remember how much this was but it must have been on offer or it would of been back on the shelf.

The last product is the Urban Fudge Sea Salt Spray. This was £4.99 which meant it  had a couple of £'s off and had extra card points added too. The reason I bought this was for "scrunching" my hair. Since I did the 4 week no heat challenge I've only been using my straighteners once or twice a week and have kept up with wavy hair. I had been using mousse but it started feeling greasy and wasn't up to standard anymore. I'm hoping this will be a bit more light weight and praying that it isn't too drying as most salt sprays are meant to be. Only time will tell.

I seemed to have a lot to say for such a small haul! If you want any reviews don't hesitate in asking :)

Lauren-esque Hairstyling

Lauren Conrad is without doubt my favourite reality TV "star". I'm a huge Hills fan and an even bigger fan of Lauren's style. She is also the inspiration to many of my go-to hair styles.

From the braided fringe
 Lauren Conrad: Love Me Eyes!

To a low side bun
Learn to love the low-do.

and beachy effortless waves.

My absolute favourite at the moment is the top knot. Although I've not perfected mine to look so sleek and well done.

Lauren was one of the many celebs who sported the ombre trend and she sure did it well. With such light hair I couldn't ever try this trend and I didn't have the guts to dye my hair darker just to achieve the look.

Her latest hair change has resulted in these multi-coloured ends.

PIC: Newly Single Lauren Conrad Debuts Multi-Colored Coif

I think this is one of her hair trends which I'll give a miss. Not because I don't think it looks good but my ends are crying out for loving care, not hair dye.

What do you think of her new pop of colour? Would you take the plunge and add bright colours to your hair at the risk of them fading?

Lee Stafford's Hot Shots 4 Blondes Review

Hello :) I've got a review of Lee Stafford's Hot Shots 4 Blondes but I'm going to start by telling you all a bit about my hair.
 I'm a natural blonde but as I got older my hair started getting darker and it was a kind of "strawberry blonde" colour. From about 14 I started getting highlights and the highlights grew bigger and I began to get more until I was about 18 when I took the plunge and got my hair bleached. Now whenever I visit the hairdressers I get my regrowth done with a toner. I haven't a clue about the exact colour but it's basically bleached.

This requires a considerable amount of care as it is easily dry and brittle and also can become brassy and yellow.To overcome the second problem - of brassiness or yellowness- I tend to turn to purple shampoos, however, you cannot use these everyday as they can turn your hair purple or grey!

Since trying Lee Stafford's Hot Shots 4 Blondes I've been converted from purple shampoos to this one off treatment every so often. This gives me the opportunity to concentrate on hydration with shampoos and conditioners.

They come in small tubes, and there is 3 tubes to a pack. A pack costs around £7 which is expensive, but I typically pick them up when their on 2 for £8 or 3 for 2 offers. 

The instructions suggest using them every other wash but this is definitely excessive and I do not advice this. These shots are much more powerful and concentrated than a purple shampoo meaning if you were to use these every other wash your hair may become whitey/silvery/purple.

I use them every couple of weeks and only use half a shot each time. This makes the product slightly more affordable while still achieving the same results as a full shot would achieve.

Just as purple shampoo is purple (DUH?!) so is this. The product is a bright vibrant colour and I wouldn't blame you if you were scared when you first set eyes on it. 
This product is used between the shampoo and conditioner. It is massaged in and lathers up quite similarly to a shampoo and left in like a conditioner. The instructions say leave it for 3 minutes. If it is left longer than 3 minutes it becomes whiter and whiter and verges on turning purple. I advise to NOT leave it longer than 5 minutes, TOPS!
As the name "Hot Shots" suggest the treatment is a heated treatment meaning your head does feel like its heating up slightly, which can feel strange but isn't uncomfortable. I'd definitely recommend not getting the gel onto your forehead/face as this can heat up and might be quite sore.
After rising, drying and styling my hair looks fresh and brighter with no brassiness in sight. It's a great way to revitalise my hair and add some shine.

I would highly recommend this product to ANYONE who has bleached hair, or blonde highlights.