Product Review: Barry M Hi Shine Nail Products

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Barry M nail products. I feel that they offer exceptional value for money and that the quality is equal to, if not superior to, a great many of the professional brands that cost three to four times more.

My favourite Barry M nail products are the Gelly Hi Shine and Sunset Daylight Curing Nail Paints. They retail at £3.99 and £4.99 respectively.

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in ‘Black Grape’ and Barry M Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat

I have quite a few of the “nearly” black shades that Barry M offer in their Gelly range. One of my favourites is the aptly named Black Grape which is a fabulous shade of dark blue with a tinge of purple. When paired with Barry M‘s Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat, the finished result really does look a lot like that of a gel polish.

One coat of ‘Black Grape’ Nail Paint under regular lighting
One coat of ‘Black Grape’ with flash lighting

It’s clear to see that although one coat of Black Grape appeared to give adequate coverage under regular lighting it does actually need two coats to eradicate patchiness and streaking under direct lighting.

Barry M Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat

This was the first time that I’d tried the Plumpy Topcoat and, in all honesty, it didn’t seem to bring anything extra to the table – except extended dry time. It’ll be interesting to see whether the topcoat gives regular polish the same plump, high gloss finish of the Gelly nail polish – I’ll report back after I’ve tried it.

Two coats of ‘Black Grape’ nail paint with one coat of Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat

I’d recommend Barry M‘s Gelly Nail Paint for anyone wanting the gel look without the fuss. I find that the Sunset range generally performs better than the Gelly collection but feel that  the latter shouldn’t be overlooked given that it offers high fashion colours that are unavailable in the Sunset collection.

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Mini Haul: Nails Inc Nail Polish and Inc.redible Lipgloss Purchases

Up until this afternoon it had been several years since I last purchased a Nails Inc nail polish. Back then the polishes came in a cylindrical bottle and I wasn’t a fan of the shape – I found them difficult to maintain a grip of whilst painting my nails.

The old style packaging:This afternoon, whilst mooching around John Lewis, I noticed a Nails Inc stand – and that the bottles had been given a makeover. On closer inspection I discovered that they had limited edition, unicorn and mermaid inspired colours – two themes that are guaranteed to draw me in!Sadly the collections were incomplete, with a considerable number of the nail polishes having sold out, but from the remaining colours Reams Of Dreams really caught my attention. Reams Of Dreams is from Nails Inc‘s limited edition Fantasyland collection. Given that I absolutely adore purple it was pretty much love at first sight.

With the promise of sunnier weather to come I feel that this pretty, shimmery lilac will be absolutely perfect for Spring. I also picked up the Self Made Mermaid Nail Polish Duo – my teal and turquoise obsession is still going strong! Given that the single nail polishes retail for £11 each, I feel that the duo, at £15 for two full size bottles, is definitely a bargain. Nails Inc suggest applying one coat, for a subtle shimmery colour, or two coats for a stronger burst of colour. Each colour can be worn independently but can also be worn together to create a third shade/look.

My third and final purchase was an Inc.redible Iridescent Sheen Gloss from Nail Inc‘s limited edition In A Dream World collection – it’s called Rainbow Hooves And Crazy Moves. There were two colours that caught my eye – the above clear gloss with teal, green and lilac reflects in it and a lilac gloss with lilac reflects. I opted for the clear gloss because I felt it would work well as a lip topper over a number of different coloured liquid lipsticks that I own. I will go back for the lilac gloss next pay day though because it will look really pretty, worn alone, over the summer months. This gloss proved extremely difficult to photograph. Sadly, I wasn’t able to capture how truly stunning the reflects are or how beautifully shimmery this product is.

The product with flash:

The product without flash:These lip glosses retail for £8 – which is quite reasonable if you consider how much MAC charge for similar products such as Lipglass and Lustreglass. Nail Inc‘s offering is definitely a lot less sticky though.

Finally, this is how Rainbow Hooves And Crazy Moves looks on bare lips:I’m really looking forward to playing around with the product properly when I’m feeling less tired!

If you’d like an update on how well this gloss performs as a lip topper or how it compares to similar products in its price bracket then please let me know in the comments section below.

I’d love to hear about any new products you’ve bought recently and to explore any recommendations that you may have for me.

Until next time x

Product Review: Barry M Colour Changing Lip Paint

Like many teenage girls back in the ’80s I was lured into buying a ‘magic’ lipstick on the promise that it would magically change colour on my lips to a unique colour to suit my skin tone. Like many teenage girls back in the ’80s I was extremely disappointed when the ‘magic’ lipstick turned a hideous, neon pink on me that neither suited me or washed off. To add insult to injury there was absolutely nothing ‘magic’ about it – it turned exactly the same garish colour on all of my friends’ lips too.

Experiences such as these can really put you off a product, regardless of how many positive reviews you read about them, some thirty or so years on.

Just recently I’ve been opting for a more natural approach, in terms of make-up, and have been giving lipstick a miss in favour of lip stains and lip tints. I guess it was inevitable that this would lead me, eventually, to exploring Barry M‘s Colour Changing Lip Paint.

Photo Credit: Barry M

There are three colours available, all with quirky names – Genie, Neptune and Unicorn. I’m absolutely obsessed with unicorns however Neptune appealed to me the most, during my online research of the product, due to its lavender and magenta coloured casing. Once faced with all three, in Superdrug, I felt compelled to purchase them all. So, was this a wise or foolish move, given my past experience of ‘magic’ lipsticks? Read on to find out.

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Product Mistakes: MAC Mineralize Skin Finish – Gold Deposit

Whilst tidying earlier, I came across an unused compact of MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Gold Deposit.

As I stared down at it, in horror, I found myself wondering what on earth had possessed me to buy it!

I have extremely pale skin so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a bright, coppery orange complexion powder isn’t going to be the best of choices for me.

What I strongly suspect happened is that I’d previously bought some paler shades from the range, fallen in love with the versatility of the product and decided that I needed Gold Deposit for my collection regardless of whether it would suit my skin tone.

I have to confess: I was a little confused as to what I could use it for. The lighter shades work beautifully as highlighters and the brighter, pinker shades make fabulous blushers. I wasn’t quite sure where bright copper would fit in.

Surprisingly, the product didn’t swatch up as bright or as orange as it looked in the pan. In fact, it was barely visible on my skin when applied with a brush. I’m guessing it’s meant to be a highlighter for darker skin tones and, perhaps, a bronzer for medium skin tones. I’m going to try layering it over a matte peach blusher and see how that works out for me.

Do you own MAC’s Gold Deposit Mineralize Skinfinish? If so, how do you use it?

Battling Chronic Illness

Back in October of last year I began to experience ankle oedema and, at first, elevating my legs seemed to resolve the problem. By the beginning of November I was experiencing very swollen feet, ankles, legs and knees – affectionately nicknamed my ‘sausage legs’. I spoke to my doctor and he advised me that this was due to poor circulation and that elevating my legs and exercising them would help resolve it. I tried this, to the best of my ability, but it was difficult given my poor mobility.

I scheduled another appointment with my doctor in December. By this time I could no longer lift my legs and they were excruciatingly painful – to the point where I couldn’t bear to have anything touching them. My toes kept turning white and my feet, a horrible shade of blue. My blood test results had shown that I was experiencing considerable systemic inflammation, but nothing that could explain the extreme swelling. It was agreed that I could try medication, with caution, to reduce the fluid retention but that I would need regular blood tests because the medication could have some nasty side effects.

I had to cancel my follow up blood tests due to feeling too fatigued to attend them. I didn’t think anything of it, if I’m honest, because fatigue isn’t anything new to me. I have Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – all of which can, and do, cause me to experience extreme fatigue.

I spent most of Christmas and the New Year sleeping – I was constantly tired and, despite fighting to stay awake, generally found that I couldn’t. My legs were vastly improved and I felt a lot better physically – I just couldn’t stay awake.

My blood tests were rescheduled for January but, yet again, I needed to cancel them because by this time I was hardly leaving my bed. I just assumed I was having a CFS or Fibro relapse. More tests were scheduled for a week later and although I didn’t feel well enough to attend, my partner insisted on taking me to them.

Later, at 3am I awoke to the sound of someone hammering loudly on my front door. I noticed I had several missed calls on my mobile ‘phone, ranging from 11pm through to 3am. Assuming that it was the cats knocking stuff over in the living room, I groggily made my way downstairs to investigate. By the time I’d got downstairs, and reached the hallway, the hammering resumed – and it was my front door. Needless to say, I was terrified. Fortunately my partner was staying over that night and he answered the door to find a very harassed looking out-of-hours doctor on my doorstep.

In short, my blood tests had shown that my potassium levels were life threateningly low and the emergency medical service had been trying to get hold of me to tell me I needed to get to A&E immediately!

So, at 4am I had to wake up my son, drop him off at his sister’s, and make my way to the local hospital where I went on to spend several hours hooked up to various machines in the resuscitation room. The medication I’d been prescribed for oedema had massively depleted my potassium levels and I didn’t have sufficient left for my heart to function properly. The exhaustion and palpitations I’d been experiencing had been down to my heart beating irregularly.

Fortunately the treatment I received worked effectively and I haven’t been left with any permanent heart damage. It was frightening to discover afterwards that I would have died had I continued the medication and not had my potassium levels treated – my heart would have gradually continue to fail or I would have experienced an infarction.

Shortly afterwards I caught the flu – which took me over a month to recover from. I went on to develop a chest infection, tonsillitis, laryngitis and then a cold. It’s only as we approach the end of March that I’m beginning to feel a lot more like my broken but regular self.

It does feel like I’ve lost the past five months – I’ve barely left the house during that time and I’m still at a point where getting out of bed is achievement. Yet, I also feel incredibly lucky to have come through this. Two of my friends weren’t quite so lucky and died back in October – one from sepsis and the other from organ failure.

Red lipstick makes everything better!

Please do me a favour: try to live in the moment, not let the hurdles get you down or hold you back; appreciate all the positives you have in your life, however small, and make the absolute most of every second!

Product Review: Radioactive Unicorn Nail Polish

If you haven’t heard of the brand Radioactive Unicorn you’re probably not alone – I’ve only recently discovered it myself. Earlier this year a friend recommended that I check out their nail polishes and, a couple of weeks ago, I finally had an opportunity to place an order with them.

What is Radioactive Unicorn?

Radioactive Unicorn is an English company that specialises in nail polish. Each colour and polish is created, mixed up, bottled and labelled by the company’s head honcho, Amee Tinks.

Want to know more?

Radioactive Unicorn specialise in unusual colours and are probably better known for their sparkly offerings. Whilst there are more sedate colours in their armoury, even these have an unusual twist to them.

The polishes are competitively priced at £6.99 for a 10ml bottle. Whilst they’re more expensive than the likes of Barry M and Rimmel, they’re cheaper than other Indie brand polishes on the market.

The Good:

  • Given that these nail polishes are produced by a small, independent, online company it’s very unlikely that you’ll see many, if any, other people wearing the same colour nail polish as you.
  • The sparkly polishes are very sparkly. Visible from the moon sparkly. If you love glitter then you definitely need to buy their nail varnishes.
  • These nail polishes are very hard wearing. Even without a base and top coat I can still get around four days wear out of them before I start to experience chipping or peeling. Radioactive Unicorn sell a top and base coat which they claim prolong the wear time of their polish. I can neither deny or confirm this as I’m yet to purchase either product.
  • The polishes all have quirky names – Eternal Slumber, It’s Okay To Decay, Swamp Thing, Franken-Fine, Haunting The Chapel, Funeral Flowers, etc.

The bad:

  • The store isn’t open full time. I believe this is because Tinks makes batches to order and it’s easier for her to keep on top of orders if her shop is only open once a week for an hour or two.
  • The nail polishes don’t have name labels. I find this very annoying. I have a million nail polishes – I want to know what they’re called!
  • Some of the polishes only come alive when they’re under direct light. My pockets aren’t big enough for me carry my own light source!
  • Delivery is slow. Given that this product is handmade, to order, it’s hardly surprising that delivery can take up to a fortnight. That said, we’re all used to our purchases arriving a day or two after we’ve ordered them so the wait could be off putting for some customers.
  • Getting customer support is difficult. When I placed my order I wasn’t aware of the two week delivery time so when after 3 or 4 days my order hadn’t arrived I tried to make contact to find out when I could expect it. My first email bounced. So, I messaged them via Facebook messenger only to receive an automated message stating that this was unmanned and to email them – at the email address that bounced. I toyed with the idea of leaving a message on their wall, but decided against this after seeing how much abuse was being directed at those enquiring where their orders were. (By other customers/fans, not the company) My second email received a reply 3 days later and my order was posted out the next day.

Final thoughts:

Would I purchase from Radioactive Unicorn again? There’s no doubt that the colours are very pretty, mostly unique and that they wear very well. By rights I should be eager to buy more of their products, right? Here’s the thing, I’m not. I can pick up polishes I like just as much, that have their names on, are half the price and that I don’t have to wait almost a fortnight to receive. If this company could improve their shopping experience, packaging, quality control, customer service and delivery speed then yes, I would be tempted to purchase more.

Have you tried this brand? If so, how was your shopping experience with them?