10 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Speed Coat

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Top coat is a funny old thing. It seems essentially useless and is incredibly boring to contemplate, but actually, it’s one of the most important parts of any girl’s nail varnish stash. The right top coat not only makes your colour last longer, but it can also fix bumps and lumps in the finish, and even set your varnish faster – and harder. I’m a long time convert to Seche Vite, just like any other nail blogger, so I was interested to see what Ciate had to offer.

10 Dec opening

Colours are always exciting, but an essential like this is good to have in a sample size for travelling, and it’s great as a way of convincing those who aren’t quite sure yet that that top coat is actually worth using! Not only does it hold your caviar manis in place, but it also brings out the shine in other top coats.

Ciate says: “Speed Coat is an award winning Formaldehyde free top coat which guarantees touch dry nails in sixty seconds, locks in colour and can extend colour wear. Taking the nail industry by storm, this formula has won many industry awards since its 2008 launch. Including U Magazine’s Best Top Coat award. A high gloss finish and chip free for up to 10 days, this gorgeous product delivers a perfect performance.” You can purchase the new and improved formula here – currently priced at £11.

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Here’s yesterday’s Pillow Fight, layered with Halo, on the left. On the right, I’ve topped Halo with Speed Coat. As you can see, even in the incredibly subtle medium of photography, there’s a much glossier shine on the Speed Coat version – and it was much more pronounced in real life. Speed Coat is an impressive blend – thick, easy to apply, and it brought out a deeper shine on my finished nails. A keeper!

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Halloween Snakeskin Nail Art Tutorial

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I’m really getting into the Halloween spirit here, and this is my third and final Halloween nail tutorial. (You can see my post about a pretty starry night tutorial here, and a pumpkin confetti tutorial here.)

As I’m going to be dressing as Medusa this Halloween, I thought a snakeskin mani was the only appropriate choice for nail art! Luckily, it’s pretty easy to replicate this.

Snakeskin Montage 1Indigo Skull Scarf, Alexander McQueen

All you need is are two contrasting colours, some lace, and a makeup sponge. I’ve found that this effect works best if you use a dark colour underneath and a lighter colour on top. My tools are in the top left, and my first attempt is on the top right. Bottom left shows you how to place the lace over your varnished nail: basically, paint your nails as usual with your base and colour, then stretch over the lace and sponge the lighter top coat over the top, very sparingly. You then end up with the effect on the right! I used Ruby & Millie in Green, and topped with Revlon’s Gold Coin. Then, a slick of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, if you’re happy with the look. But me, I’m NEVER happy…

Snakeskin Montage 2Snake Finger Tip Ring, ASOS / Grey Snakeskin Bag, Primark / Snake Bracelet, ASOS / Snake Necklace, eBay / Grey Skull Bracelet, Links of London

The top two images are the plain snakeskin mani, but if your base colour is very opaque, you can paint that over the top again, and get a really subtle snakeskin look, especially if you use a metallic glitter like I did…

But wait! There’s more!

Matte montageEmerald Ring, Primark

If you’re going the whole hog, you may as well add some OPI Matte Top Coat, too! I found it really makes the snakeskin effect pop through the opaque layer…

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Any plans for fancy nails this Halloween? Is anyone going to try out these tutorials? Let me know below!

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Halloween Confetti: Pumpkin Manicure

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Another manicure inspired by Pinterest (specifically this one), this is pretty much a copy, except it’s matte. So, in essence, it’s a completely original idea I had all by myself. Hooray!

I’ve been totally obsessed with matte nails for ages, and it’s fascinating what a difference it can make to the overall look just to take off the shine. Somehow it looks more… I’m trying to think of a word other than polished, but I can’t. Holy contradiction, Batman!

Halloween confetti mosiac

At my local Boots, I found a grand total of three different orange polishes and ended up plumping for Maybelline Orange Attack, as it was the most vibrant. I always use Nailtiques Formula 2 Plus on my nails, as they are very weak and need all the help they can get. After that, a couple of coats of Orange Attack, then a couple of L’Oreal Confetti Top Coat, then one of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Then, the finishing touch – a swipe of OPI’s Matte Top Coat to finish.

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An easy, effective Halloween manicure that looks much more complex than it actually is. One word of caution – the Confetti Top Coat is incredibly difficult to remove! You have been warned… WHOOOOO! (Insert spooky sound effect.)

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