Tag Archives: Dublin

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

Bringing ‘The Voice’ of Benefit Cosmetics to you…

Helen Gaughran Benefit Cosmetics director of story and voice san francisco In April I had the pleasure of meeting up with Irish born Helen Gaughran, the woman behind Benefit Cosmetics Branding (all those catchy tags and story lines). Basically she is responsible for my irresponsible spending at Benefit Cosmetics! I love the packaging and their individual stories. I am almost sold on the branding alone – thank goodness the products are amazing too or I would be in serious diff’s.

She is primarily based in sunny San Francisco, but I was lucky enough to get hold of her for a quick chat while she was back home, meeting up with her at Benefit’s stylish Dublin Boutique.

I can honestly say I have never met someone in such a high-powered job who is so graceful and down to earth. I felt instantly at ease and welcome in her company – definitely a Champion member of the team for Benefit Cosmetics.


(Nuala) So your official title is Director of Story and Voice? I’ve heard on the grapevine that you are known as simply ‘THE VOICE’.

(Helen) Yes that’s right, the team back in San Francisco tease the hell out of me to get us to drop the ‘Story’ bit of the title so they can just say “Here comes the Voooooice” *Queue Spooky Echo*

N: How does it feel to be back in Ireland again? Does it still feel like ‘home’ or is San Francisco more like your home now?

H: Ah that’s a tough one, I’ve actually lived in San Francisco longer now than I lived in Dublin.  I’ve been there since ’89, so about 25 years. Oh Wow – you’ve ruined my day, I feel so old! I was only 22 when I left here [Ireland]. I mean, San Francisco is my home now.  It feels familiar there whereas Dublin has changed like you wouldn’t believe.  Even so, Dublin will be home.

N: Can you run me through a typical day in your job, is that even a possibility?

H: No, there’s no such thing as a typical day in my job. What’s interesting is that obviously you guys see all the product names and the big splash they make but there is a huge amount of work behind the scenes.

For example, take ‘Big Easy’.  So we’re thinking through stuff like, what’s the name of the product going to be and what are our tag lines?  We know that the product is an uber BB Cream because it’s got better coverage and it’s easier to use.  So, we call it the ‘Big Easy’ and then title it ‘Bigger than BB’, but this takes a lot of time – even with a little tag line like “A Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector’.

big easy multi balancing complexion perfector Helen Gaughran Benefit Cosmetics director of story and voice san francisco  nuala campbell interview

These details are hugely important though.  We pull people in with the fun sexy names we use.  However, you will notice that more and more of our product names are starting to have a touch of directionality to them.  For example, for problem-solver products we’re looking for names, titles and tags that give an idea of what the product is and does (e.g. Porefessional – Agent Zero Shine) and this is essential in guiding customers to choose the right product for them.

Then there is the time spent talking about product testing, meetings with toxicologists and lawyers So we have that side of things which is all very business-like. Then there is the fun sexy stuff – we’ve just got done with a new spy gal theatre commercial which was hilarious and so much fun to be part of creatively.

And then, of course, there are a whole lot of emails to get through each day, and ya know how that goes!

N: It seems like there would be a lot of brain-storming in your job?

H: Yes, we probably brainstorm a lot more than other places and, selfishly, I like that. You have got to be a bit of an introvert to be a writer and it can get really lonely if you sit up in a walled off tower, so me and the girls head out to a little bakery nearly every day to sit and brainstorm instead!  To tell you the truth, it is productive as hell – sometimes even in the act of walking to the bakery we get the next idea figured out.  Then we are so pleased with ourselves that we just stay there anyway and eat cake. What’s the rush, right?!

N: What are the best and worst parts of your job?

H: The best part is the lack of creative limits. That’s awesome.  A lot of brands think, ‘What can’t I say?’ and, don’t get me wrong, we do that to a degree too but for the most part we feel like we can push good ideas out there.  I mean, the
whole story of how Benefit started was with the nipple tint! [In 1976, Jean and Jane Ford opened up a small makeup shop called The Face Place, blush-benetint, benefit costmetics, helen gaughran, director of story and voice, san francisco, interview, nuala campbellin San Francisco’s Mission District. Their first product was a blush and lip tint called “Rose tint” (now renamed “benetint”). They originally created the rose flushed tint for an exotic dancer who was in need of a nipple tint.] A company like that has, as you can imagine, a lot of creative latitude, there’s not much off limits and this come from a creatively oriented leadership.

The toughest part of my job is the pace. You have to be able to think fast and make changes and decisions quickly.  There are a lot of different moving parts to the organisation. For example, the legal team who might tell us that we can’t have a certain name which we loved. Or, we might have to change strategic direction following feedback from a customer.  You can’t get too attached to what you were doing last week, even if you were all convinced it was perfect as someone might come along the next day and tell you “yeah we’re not going that way anymore” – when this happens you just have to be like “Oh.  Alright, suppose I’ll head off to the bakery then!”

You need to have stamina. You need to have serious stamina. Very few people have that straight out of the gate, you have to build it up, grow a thick skin and tolerance. You also have to build up confidence. Early in your career, you might to get a certain place in your marketing and think, ok I’ll stop there, I’ve found something that’s good enough. We don’t do that.  We really push our ideas.  We sleep on them or even come back to them a month later and we keep trying to make them better.  I love that but it definitely takes a lot of stamina.

N: When you were growing up, did you always picture that this is what you would be doing? Was this always your life plan?

H: Oh never in a million years, I went and studied commerce at University College Dublin, which was the weirdest decision I’ve ever made.  You know what it’s like when you’re 16 and you just tick a box on a little form? I tried to drop out of commerce, it was horrible. I needed a tutor in accounting, my brain just couldn’t work out the whole debit and credit thing. I remember in my last year saying to a friend, “what are you going to do after?” and she said “Oh I’m doing marketing”, and I thought, Oh! You can do that? So gradually I made moves into marketing and then into advertising.  I was in the account management side of advertising and from there I jumped over the fence to the creative side of advertising, which took some doing!  And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.  Even though it’s a lot of ‘work’ at Benefit it’s also a lot of fun. The people I work with are so much craic – they are very open-minded and creative.

N: What do you feel is your greatest achievement to date with Benefit Cosmetics?

H: Ooooh, just one? Really? It has to be the ‘Benefesto‘. How to summarise this company with it’s amazingly rich heritage, it’s crazy beauty locker-room banter, it’s sense of fun, it love of faking it and bringing the best beauty solutions to people.  How to boil all that down into a tight little story so that everyone knows, ‘This is us’. It was hugely satisfying to work on that with a fantastic team.

benefesto helen gaughran nuala campbell, benefit cosmetics, san francisco, the director of story and voice, interview

N: OK, so this is a very important question. If this lovely benefit boutique was burning to the ground and you could only save 3 products, what would you save from the brand?

H: Oh you are crafty!! OK, no doubt about it, ‘they’re real’, ‘gimme brow’, and ‘Big Easy’.

N: One more sneaky question, is there anything new we can expect to see hitting the shelves over the summer?

H: Oh product wise?? You know, someone else asked me that earlier and before I could even open my mouth to say “I’m not allowed…” someone else jumped in and said “Oh she can’t say that!”

There is something really big coming up that I wish I could tell you put you’ll just have to wait and see!

Appletiser StyleFIX set to sparkle on Emerald Isle

stylefixFor the fourth year running, Appletiser StyleFIX will once again take to the roads and visit shopping centres across the island of Ireland with a fabulous runway show and beauty stations offering stylistas a one-stop, fashion-fix as they shop. 

 Gently sparkling, natural apple juice Appletiser has teamed up with Ireland’s top shopping destinations and is bringing StyleFIX to The Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick on Saturday 11 May; St Stephens Green, Dublin in September; Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork (Saturday 31 August); and Whitewater Shopping Centre, Newbridge (Saturday 08 June) as well as CastleCourt in Belfast in September and Foyleside Shopping Centre in Derry on 01 June.

Audience members at the summer events will enjoy high-impact fashion shows throughout their shopping Saturday where models will showcase a whole host of hot-to-trot seasonal trends on the catwalk.  With a super selection of stylish high street stores, Appletiser StyleFIX will have something to set every style aficionado’s heart racing.  From beachwear, sports luxe and cool summer whites to flamboyant florals, pretty pastels and enviable ethnic prints; no style fix will be left unsolved.  Those attending will also be able to sample delicious complimentary Appletiser while receiving free advice and pampering mini makeovers from make-up brand partner Smashbox.

 Appletiser Stylefix

Appletiser’s handbag sized 350ml bottle is great for every girl’s lifestyle and is handy to drop in your bag when on the go. Tara O’Rourke, Head of Marketing for Appletiser in Ireland comments: “Appletiser is a unique gently sparkling drink, made from 100% apple juice and has no added sugars or preservatives. The new, light plastic bottle is ideal for busy ladies who are rushing from one place to another or who are lucky enough to lunch at the local park, as it slots into a handbag perfectly, making it even easier to enjoy that magical fruit burst of Appletiser while still getting in one of their five a day.”


Stylist and show organiser Cathy Martin says fashionistas will have a lot to be tempted by while shopping.  “Summer has finally arrived and we’re ready to get out there and don the season’s latest trends.  Summer is going to be awash with a flurry of florals, soft pastels, chic nudes and colour bursts such as classic emerald greens – just perfect for any Appletiser lady.”


She continued: “The catwalk shows provide the ideal opportunity for audience members to relax and embrace the fashions on display. The beauty consultants on hand from our make-up partner Smashbox cosmetics will also be offering complimentary make-up demonstrations, making suggestions on how you can re-fresh your make-up bag to match your beautifully stylish new spring/summer wardrobe.”


The Appletiser StyleFIX tour will be calling at Belfast, Dublin, Newbridge in Co. Kildare, Limerick, Derry and Cork.  Look out for the dates in a centre near you or log on to facebook at www.facebook.com/AppletiserIreland for weekly updates.