Category Archives: Nails

NY Fashion Week Catwalk Nails

We have now officially entered into autumn, my favourite season. I love the transition from summer dresses and denim shorts to snuggly knitwear and oodles and oodles of layers along with beautiful soft leather boots teamed with cosy snoods as the weather begins to get colder and colder.

As the colours of the leaves on the trees change so then must the colour of our beloved manicures.  Time to say goodbye to the pops of neon, pastel tones and my favourite white manicures – it is time to make way for some new deeper and richer shades of polish and gel.

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: Rodarte & Helmut Lang

New York Fashion Week is a trustworthy source to look to when deciding what colours to revamp your nails with.  This year we saw an influx of barely there pinks and nudes on many runways from Oscar De La Renta and Carolina Herrera to Kate Spade – super chic.  No matter what the season I always have a few nudes in stock for my clients to choose from as they are always in demand.

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: Zimmerman, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Kenneth Cole

As always Reds and Burgundys featured heavily on the catwalks in true autumn style.  I think the deep reds are my favourite colours for autumn especially on almond shaped nails – It is just such a classic style along with the fact it matches all skin tones, what’s not to love?!

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: DKNY

A very welcome addition to my wardrobe of nail polishes and gels for autumn 2014 will be Grey. Obviously the designers showcasing at New York Fashion Week share my love for all things grey – every shade was seen on the runways. 

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: Vera Wang and Badgley Mischka

It doesn’t matter whether you prefer metallic or matte shades of grey, everything goes!  Grey is a lovely alternative to summer white manicures or black winter manicures, it’s somewhere just in between.

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: Tadashi Shoji

The final major colour scheme seen on the catwalks in New York was full throttle heavy metal – from silver tips to all out rose gold, every shade and tone was being showcased. 

For those of you who like something a little bit quirky on your nails this is the style for you. Get creative and paint a natural nude on your nail plate and finish the look off with a slick of gold along the tips – perfect for a night out with the girls. 

The best bit about this look is when the tip of your nails begin to chip you can simply patch it up with a dot of the metallic polish you used and due to the nature of the metallic shades you won’t be able to see where it has been repaired once your top coat has been applied.

NY Fashion Week Nail Trends: Mara Hoffman and Dannijo

I have currently got a Bio Sculpture gel overlay on my nails in one of their most popular colours – #74 Real Red – but now I can’t wait to get inventive and make some metallic creations! It’s all about having fun with your style, so don’t be afraid to have a play with your nail polishes to create something new.

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

Celebrity Nail Watch – Lily Allen

I have been LOVING watching Lily Allen play around with her fresh new style.  She is looking amazing (particularly considering she has recent had 2 children) and I love that she is fearless when it comes to colour.  She’s been experimenting with some wacky nail art on some super long extensions and, once again, I have been creeping about on Instagram taking notes on her latest manicures to share with you guys!

Lilly Allen Nails

These bad boys are neon hippy crazy and I absolutely love them!  I’m sure they took a few hours to complete!  The tie dye nail art is really effective in these neon colours and, believe it or not, it’s actually really easy to do at home!  To Copy the design on Lily’s thumb first you need to pick the 3 or 4 colours you want to use and draw some vertical lines on the nail using these polishes – make sure you use quite a lot of product when drawing these lines as you don’t want them to dry straight away!  Once you have drawn the lines take a cocktail stick and drag horizontally straight through the lines of polish – this will mix the colours together and create the tie dye effect.

When you have mastered the technique you can start experimenting and move away from vertical lines… give some horizontal lines a try!  You can also use more colours or, alternatively, use only 2 colours to create a similar swirling pattern design like the one on Lily’s ring finger.  You can even add some glitter to the finish design to add a bit of extra sparkle!

Lilly Allen, Embellished NailsEmbellished nails, see above, are also quite easy to replicate using a steady hand, some nail art studs/crystals/pearls, a splash of nail glue and a bit of imagination.  Prep your nails, apply your chosen base colour and allow it to dry, then go crazy with the nail art studs!!  Remember to finish with a slick of top coat.

Lilly Allen, Ombre Fade NailsIf you aren’t a massive fan of intense nail art designs then an ombre fade pattern, shown in the picture above, is a great choice – especially for shorter nails.  If you’re feeling adventurous you can add some glitter or a few studs to complete your ombre fade look.

LA4Unfortunately there is absolutely no point in me giving you a step by step tutorial for the nails above.  The truth is, there is no easy way to complete a nail art design like this!  You just need to have the patience to play with some nail art pens and polishes for a few hours and still have enough patience left over to embellish the set of nails with some studs and crystals!

 

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

Shine Bright Like A Diamond!

 

ASU Nail and Beauty Supplies

I was recently asked if I would like to attend a training course for ‘Swarovski  Bling toes’ down in Dublin at a nail and beauty training academy called ‘ASU’. I jumped at the chance!

The training academy was fantastic.  They run courses like clockwork every single month for dozens of different treatments. You don’t actually have to have any previous beauty training behind you to attend any of these courses which is great for beginners and enthusiasts.

The staff were amazingly friendly and extremely professional – these girls really know what they are talking about!  The downstairs of the academy consists entirely of an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ showroom where you can purchase all of the fantastic products and accessories they have to offer. I could have spent an absolute fortune!

For more information about the professional products which they sell, and to see a list of training courses that are on offer, have a look at their website www.asunailandbeauty.ie.

Once we’d been shown around we made our way upstairs to the classroom, took a seat and had a read through the Bling Toes Manual and other paperwork that had been given to us whilst we tentatively waited for the training to begin.

Workshop materials at ASU Beauty Training Academy

Our educator on the day was a lovely girl called Laura who couldn’t have been more helpful or knowledgeable about the course.  The class began with a bit of information on the treatment itself, the products involved and the importance of client consultation prior to completing the treatment on any customer.  Once Laura was happy we were all up to speed with the necessary info she got straight into a demonstration of the treatment which we all eagerly watched, taking in all of her advice and helpful tips along the way.

Workshop in action at ASU Beauty Training Academy

Finally it was the moment we had all been waiting for… it was now our turn to have a go on each other’s tootsies, so we paired up and got busy!  My partner went first while I kicked back and watched her showcasing her newly learnt skills.  Having the treatment applied is a really relaxing experience…  I could barely keep my eyes open.  This procedure is all about pampering and really is the ultimate treat for your feet!

Swarovski  Bling toes workshop at ASU

This lavish pedicure is created by the individual placement of genuine Swarovski crystals being set into a clear gel overlay on to every single one of your toenails.

We used the smallest crystals to give the maximum sparkle. The nails last up to 6 weeks so would be ideal for any brides wanting a bit of extra bling on their wedding day, lasting right through to their honeymoon or even just for those of you who are like me and enjoy a bit of everyday sparkle in their life!

Swarovski Bling Toes Workshop

I was disappointed when my treatment was finished but was keen to give the technique a go for myself!

6xI was impressed with the quality of the gel that we were provided with in our kits as it was very easy to work with.  Once the crystals were applied to the gel and cured under the UV lamp they were stuck there for the long run!

This brings me to the little tool I was most excited about… the wax pencil AKA The Amazing Picker Upper’!  I have spent years using bits of blue tack, dampened cocktail sticks and various other makeshift tools to lift and apply crystals to nails.  This pencil actually revolutionised my work… I’m not exaggerating!!  It is literally just a pencil with white wax down the centre instead of lead.  All you need to do is touch the top of the crystal and it sticks to the end of the sharpened wax ready to be applied to the nail.  You can purchase these from ASU for ONLY €1.50! This pencil made the whole process of applying the bling toes much easier and allowed you to get into a soothing rhythm.

Swarovski Bling Toes WorkshopOnce everyone had completed at least two big toes Laura began talking us through the in’s and outs of after care for your Bling Toes and demonstrated how we should safely remove the crystals from your clients nails.

The final part of our training, which I thought was very helpful, covered how we should price the treatment in our salons and even how we should go about marketing the treatment.

Sometimes beauty training courses can be very daunting but I can honestly say I didn’t feel one bit uncomfortable or nervous at ASU.  The staff couldn’t have made us all feel any more welcomed or valued.  The training course itself was superb, covering every possible aspect of the treatment and I loved every minute of it.  I will definitely be back down to do a few more courses in the ASU academy and I couldn’t recommend it enough to any of you who are considering signing up to a training course, whether it be just as a new hobby or even as a new career.

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

Glitter Fade Nail Tutorial

In the wise words of Jessie J; I’m feeling sexy & free… Like Glitter’s raining on me!

I have a confession to make… My name is Louise Henry and I am a glitter-holic.

Glitter makes everything better, you can never have too much – especially when it comes to your nails. It is such a simple solution to cheering up plain nails and it is super-duper quick to apply.

There are many different methods of applying glitter to a manicure or pedicure but my favourite is probably the glitter fade.  It makes it look like glitter is raining down over your nails.  You can use it to add an element of sparkle to pale pink bridal nails or bling up a set of neon holiday toes. It’s SO Versatile!

All you need is your nail preparation kit along with a base coat polish, your chosen colour of polish, an extra sparkly glitter polish & your top coat.  I would recommend Barry M’s glitter polishes – very reasonable prices and great finish.

Glitter Fade Nails

Prep and prime your nails as always.  Once your nails are prepped apply your base coat and 2 layers of your chosen colour… don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous!  Allow these layers of polish a good 15 mins to dry as you don’t want to smudge them when applying the special layer of glitter.

After you have allowed your coloured polish to sufficiently dry you can go all out with the glitter.  Using the nail polish brush, apply a thick blob of glitter polish either at the cuticle end of your nail or else at the free edge of your nail, doing only one nail at a time as you need to move quickly – when I say blob I really mean it, keep that polish thick and the glitter dense!

Now you need to wipe ALL the excess polish off your brush & using this brush slowly wipe the glitter down the nail in small strokes, allowing the glitter to rain down your nail like a sparkling snow fall.  Be gentle with this part as you don’t need much pressure.

Repeat this step on all of your nails. You will get more confident as you go along.  Don’t be too fussy as the glitter does most of the work and that’s the joy of this style of nail art!  Once all of your nails have been adequately jazzed up, pop a thin layer of shiny top coat on and a slathering of cuticle oil… now you can sit back and admire your handy work.

Glitter Fade Nails, The Nail Room, Studio 75, Bangor

Easy peasy lemon squeezey, amazing isn’t it?!

Send me in some of your attempts via facebook/email or tag me in your pictures on Instagram, I’m happy to help if you have any trouble following the guide.  I’ll leave you with a few pictures of some glitter fade gel manicures I have done on my clients. L xx

Glitter Fade Nails, The Nail Room, Studio 75, Bangor

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

I Was Made for Lovin’ You Kiss Nails!

It’s so exciting when I get new products to play with.  I’m such a big kid- it’s like Christmas morning, ripping the boxes open to have a peek inside.  I wasn’t disappointed when I was recently sent some new products from Kiss Nails.

Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish French Manicure KitKiss is an American cosmetics company that provide a wide range of products from make-up & false lashes to top of the range hair dryers.  All of their products are generally of professional quality and great value for money.  To get an idea of all their fabulous products have a look on their website www.kissusa.com.  You can also purchase their products in Boots and Superdrug stores!

I love to keep on top of the latest products and technologies to hit the market so I was super excited to test out the new Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish French Manicure Kit and Kiss Everlasting Pro LED Gel Lamp.  The instructions provided in this kit are so simple – I reckon even my boyfriend could do it if he followed the step by step process.  Let me guide you through it…

1. I recommend you go back to my very first blog post on nail preparation before applying any nail products – the Kiss kit provides you with all of the tools to carry out this prep. Once I had completed this step I cleansed my nails using the Kiss cleanser & wipes provided.

2. Once the nails are cleansed & ready to go start sizing the magic little white tips to make sure you find the perfect fit – this is the trickiest and most important part because if the tips don’t fit the nails will lift. Take your time and be patient, trust me it is worth it!

Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish French Manicure Kit

Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish French Manicure KitKiss have created these little curved pieces of plastic, similar to a false nail, but when you stick them down on to your own nail using the supplied glue and carefully remove them using the instructions provided the little white tip is left imprinted on your own natural nail… absolutely ingenious!

Why have we ladies spent years trying to paint a perfectly straight line for a French manicure when we could have been using these nifty little tools?!  These white tips are what I love most about this system; they ensure that every white tip is exactly the same size, no wobbly lines or irregular shapes – it satisfies my OCD greatly!

3. When the little tips have been applied to all of the nails on both hands, it is time to apply the base layer gel to one hand and cure under the LED lamp – always being careful not to touch any skin or cuticle area.

Kiss LED LampAs with a lot of gel systems you need to do your four fingers first then your thumb separately on each of your hands to ensure the LED light reaches all areas of your nails and they are hardened correctly.

4. Now you have a good base down on your nails you apply the colour gel in exactly the same way as the base to that same hand. It is down to your personal preference whether you apply one or two layers of this colour.  I personally prefer a slightly more natural French manicure so I always opt for the one layer unless a client requests otherwise.

Peel Off Kiss Color Gel5. To seal all of your hard work in apply a thin layer of the top coat to the hand that you have been working on, cure the gel as before and then cleanse the nail with the wipes & cleanser provided.

Peel Off Kiss Top Gel

6. Finally finish by cleansing the nails. I would recommend that once you have cleansed your nails you apply a layer of clear nail polish to make sure they are super shiny and as always use a heap of cuticle oil to keep your cuticles hydrated!

If you have followed all of the steps carefully and used the products correctly you should be left with a beautiful French manicure.

Beautiful Kiss French Manicure

This is a really simple and straightforward product to apply and you don’t need any experience to give it a go.  If you find yourself struggling with applying this product to the hand you don’t normally work with, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you out.

I am usually quite dubious about home gel kits, but the gels provided in this Kiss kit were of a great quality and I was really impressed with the final outcome.

The Kiss LED lamp was fab, dinky little size; perfect for storing and it even had a timer button just like the one I use for my clients in the salon.

The kit is ideal if you have a keen interest in doing nails or simply just enjoy doing your own nails at home.  Kiss also supply solid coloured gels that you can apply in between the base layer and top coat gels using the same process as explained above. I’ll be reviewing one of these Everlasting Gel polishes in one of my next blog posts along with a special little tub that Kiss sells to safely remove your gel manicure… so watch this space!

I would love to hear if any of you chose to regularly use gel nail kits at home instead of paying salon prices or if you have tried this one before and could give me a few tips.  I’d especially like to hear about your home disasters as we can all learn from each other’s beauty mistakes!

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

Celebrity Nail Watch: Vanessa Hudgens

Instagram #NAILARTI don’t know about you guys but I am totally addicted to Instagram.  Every chance I get I am on there! It doesn’t matter where I am; whether it is in the dentist’s waiting room or lying in bed at night (my boyfriend always shouts at me for my late night insta-creeping… oops!) – I just can’t help myself from refreshing my Instagram feed.

I especially love the pictures that ‘Instagramer’s’ share of their fave new fashion trends, beauty buys and their fresh new mani’s and pedi’s.

When I am stuck for artistic inspiration I can get some great ideas for nail art simply at the swipe of a finger.

Mani’s & pedi’s are staying white hot this summer

Both mani’s & pedi’s are staying white hot this summer in the fashion industry.

Nail art has become a big part of how celebrities and style icons express themselves, with new ideas and trends constantly emerging.  No outfit is complete these days without a striking manicure.

Some fashionista’s in particular are paving the way in the manicure-style-stakes. I love to see what they’re wearing on their nails just as much as what they are wearing on their gloriously groomed & toned celebrity bodies.

So, I thought I would start documenting my findings for you guys to have a nosy at… just like a nail tech version of David Attenborough I suppose…

Vanessa Hudgens, Spingbreaker’s actress, manicure trend setterMy ultimate bohemian nail art crush is Spingbreaker’s actress Vanessa Hudgens. I adore her hippy-chic fashion sense and the way she is always pushing boundaries and trying new things.  I love checking her Instagram to get a look at her latest manicure – always guaranteed to be super snazzy.

4Vanessa is a big fan of the lengthy almond shaped nail extensions, adorned with various multimedia bits & bobs.

Britney Tokyo nail designs using glitter and small pictures

Britney Tokyo Nails

Gel and acrylic are like clear cement – you can encase anything small enough within them from tiny little pictures, lace, glitter, feathers, etc.  The possibilities are endless for anyone brave enough.

I know for sure that I couldn’t cope with such long extensions on my own hands on a day-to-day basis – due to my job and the fact that I struggle to get my face cream out of its jar when my nails are even a tiny bit long – but I would certainly love to recreate a few of Vanessa’s recent nail art escapades.

Naomi Yasuda Nails

Naomi Yasuda Nails

Each of the more extravagant sets of nails can take anywhere up to 3hours (or more) to complete by a super talented nail artist with an incredibly steady hand.  Vanessa is a big fan of two nail techs in particular, Britney Tokyo and Naomi Yasuda.

Both of these amazingly talented artists were born in Japan and now work between New York and California.  Between the pair of them they have styled more sets of nails for various different major celebs than I have had hot dinners… They are living the Nail Tech dream!

You can find me on my own personal Instagram at www.instagram.com/lawesh. Feel free to let me know of any hot new nail trends you have spotted on Instagram or just drop by to say hello.

Keep your eyes peeled for my future Celebrity Nail Watch posts!

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

Full moon, Half-moon… Total Eclipse!

It has always been my go-to nail art.  It’s so quick & easy, yet the end result always oozes high maintenance chic!  The half-moon manicure has been around since the 1920’s, along with a blood red lipstick the ladies of fashion back in those days also loved some foxy red nails.  The style has varied throughout the years; the first half moon manicure was painted with only one nail polish, leaving the half-moon blank with no polish at all.  This style eventually evolved in the 1940’s & it then became fashionable to also leave a French tip blank at the free edge of the nail as well as the half moon.  As seen below in an amazingly retro Cutex advert.

Cutex Polish

As with all fashion and style nail art has not been left behind, our techniques and products are continually progressing along with the style of nail art we are choosing to apply.  However, this manicure has held its position as one of the top dogs and most popular styles to date.

Nowadays we are spoilt for choice and we can now mix things up a bit; using more than one colour of polish for the body of the nail and also the half-moon/French tip detailing and we also have the luxury of thousands of different shades of nail polish, picking a colour according to our mood or what the weather is like outside.  This is why this manicure is so versatile, once you have ‘nailed’ painting the half-moon shape (pardon the pun) you can go crazy and mix ’ n ’ match lots of different colours and polishes to create nails for all different occasions!

This is where I let you all in on a little shortcut to the perfect half-moon shape.  This technique doesn’t need a steady hand or even a talent for painting nails.  Just slap the polish on and away you go!  I even found this amazing tutorial online that walks you through the manicure step by step.

Half Moon Manicure

So begin by choosing your two colours of polish.  You can opt for a metallic and coral combo… or a red and fuchsia colour blocking combo… or a monochrome black and white combo… the possibilities are literally endless!

  1. Once the difficult task of picking your colour scheme is complete, start by preparing your nails as I explained in my previous post & apply your base coat.
  2. On top of your base coat apply the colour you want your half-moon to be – only apply one layer of this polish.  Allow it to dry for 5 minutes…

…This is where things get interesting!

  1. You know those little annoying white circular sticker things you always had kicking about at the bottom of your school bag but never really had a use for? (I think their technical term is actually ‘hole reinforcements’… naughty!) Well these are the key to the perfect half-moon! Stick one of these little stickers on each of your nails, just below your cuticle at whatever depth you want your half-moon to be & make sure the edges are all stuck down tight to your nail plate.
  2. Now apply your second colour of polish.  Getting right up to the edge of the sticker on your nail, making sure the whole nail plate is evenly covered – don’t be afraid to paint over the edge of the sticker!  Depending on the consistency of your nail polish this may require two coats.  Leave your nails for 10 to 15 minutes… relax, maybe watch a bit of E! Fashion Police or have a cuppa… just be careful not to smudge!
  3. Once you are sure the polish is adequately dried you can now begin the delicate procedure of ever so slowly peeling off the little stickers from each of your nails.
  4. Et Voila! The perfect half-moon manicure is now complete & you did it all by yourself!!  All you need to do now is apply a super shiny topcoat & treat your cuticles to a slathering of oil.

Half Moon Manicure

It really couldn’t be any easier and it looks fabulous.  One of my all-time favourites!  I hope you all enjoy recreating your own 1920’s inspired half-moon manicures at home, be sure to let me know how it goes.

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook