Cuticle Tattoos

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Cuticle Tattoos

Here’s something for everyone who does not have nails long enough for a fancy manicure or those foils which give you instant and elaborate designs. A combination of nail wraps and cuticle transfers, it focusses the attention on your fingers rather than your nails.

The tropical theme turns your fingertips into pineapples and colourful birds – the tattoos are the heads and leaves – and, although I would also recommend cutting each piece out carefully before attempting to apply it, the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Daughter #1 tried these out for me and this is what she had to say:

“As a long time nail-biter, this was something I felt I could work with. They were easy to apply although I had to resist the temptation to pair the bird’s heads with the wrong bodies. The whole process took less than five minutes and I was surprised how easy the cuticle transfers were compared to fake tattoos I’ve tried to apply in the past.

Overall I was pleased as they made my nails appear longer and the design was quite eye catching. I received many surprised comments and jokes from friends and co-workers (to whom I may have ‘flipped the bird’…)

Unfortunately, the heads of the birds did not survive as long as their bodies did, which made my fingernails a bit confusing afterwards. But I give them 7 out of 10 and would wear them again.”

Having also tried these myself, I would add that it took me considerably longer than 5 minutes to get the wraps in place, then the cuticle tattoos stayed pristine for about as long as it took to get my phone from my bag. I should probably have let them ‘set’ for a bit longer before I tried doing anything useful with the rest of my day, but they were very striking whilst they lasted.


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Scented Nail Stickers

I find this idea bemusing. ‘Scratch and Sniff’ stickers had a moment many years ago, and I don’t recall anyone who seriously thought they smelled anything like the fruits they were supposed to be channelling.

Fast forward to these chocolate scented nail decorations, all in cute cupcake and cake slice pictures. They have to be aimed at pre-teens, but daughter #1 gamely gave them a go (I expect the wine helped…), only to declare them “not terribly chocolatey”.

To be honest, this is probably a good thing, as being enveloped in the aroma of chocolate is highly dangerous. I will never forget the set of cocoa butter body products a friend once bought for my birthday – they were wonderfully rich but smelled so strongly of cocoa that I could not stop myself from feasting on the nearest available chocolate bar every time I used them. I am afraid they had to go…


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Nail Plates

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Diwali is coming, and all things Indian are very much to the fore here in Singapore. I saw this kit at a festival market stall, was persuaded to sit down and give it a try and well… we all know how that ends!

The metal plate is laser engraved with intricate designs, you coat the pattern of your choice with nail polish, scrape off the excess, then use the sticky tamp to pick up the design and roll it onto your nail. You have to work fast, before the polish dries, but with a bit of practise you can quickly turn your nails into works of art. A coat of glossy top coat and you are ready to impress.

There are several different plates available, each with 18 different designs. I decided on the ‘bridal’ version, despite the name, because it had a nice mix of pretty patterns that reminded me of henna designs.

This kit is actually manufactured in the UK, but despite coming all that distance was still quite a steal at S$22. I can see I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.

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Nail Bling

Category : Fashion

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There was a fashion in Japan not so long ago, which involved loading your nails with 3d decorations… beads and bows, Hello Kitty buttons and suchlike. The real trendsetters even pierced their nails to dangle bits of crystal on chains.

It was cute – well, if you were a very girlie teenager – but looked like it might make everyday life incredibly difficult to accomplish. I mean, it was hard to imagine how anyone could do something even as simple as washing their hands without causing irreparable damage to the works of art on their nails.

This is the cheats version, ready decorated nails which are attached to a discreet metal spiral that slides over your fingertip. Instant bling, which can be slipped off in a flash if you need to be doing something more useful than strolling round Harajuku. As you can buy these individually, just one on a little finger might be all the decoration that you need.


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Digital Nail Art

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This startling and impressive piece of new technology was something I have never seen before – a table-top machine which spray paints the design of your choice onto individual nails.

I have to say that it is a time consuming process, as it involves a series of procedures which start with a traditional manicure. The nails which are going to be sprayed are painted white, so the colours of your design will show up clearly, then painted again with a plasticky substance which helps to hold the ink.

Next, a specially shaped piece of dark blue rubbery adhesive sheet is stuck carefully over your finger around the nail. This is to keep the ink off your skin. Your finger is then clipped into a thick plastic wedge which holds it in place and at the right height inside the machine.

There’s an entire book of possible designs, literally thousands with a choice ranging from lace and flowers to cartoons and vivid abstracts. I chose a couple of underwater scenes with colourful fish, because they made me laugh, and the codes for these were duly entered into the machine.

It is all very clever, with a series of controls which allow you to flip the design over, change the size and move the pattern around until it covers the nail exactly the way you want. You can even see your hand inside the machine on a central screen, and watch as the colours build up into your design.

Of course, you have to keep your hand perfectly still whilst this is going on, but although it is slightly disconcerting to place your hand inside a machine with moving parts, the whole thing is painless and reasonable quick. Top coats, polish hardeners and a fair amount of time with your hands under a dryer complete the process, although it is wise to take care for a couple of hours longer before the polish is properly set. The end result, however, is worth it – I was delighted with my fish!

This was a rare treat, and I really do mean treat, as with some complicated combination of purchase and loyalty points, it came as a bonus addition to a free manicure at Etude House in Singapore. Regular customers pay S$10 per 2 nails on top of the manicure price.

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(Many thanks to daughter #2 who – for obvious reasons – took most of these photos)


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Nail Polish Protectors

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Anyone who has ever worn nail polish will know what a pain it is waiting for it to dry.

You can turn the hairdryer on it, use a special lamp, even buy sprays and drops which promise to set it hard as rock in moments. Yet even with the ‘dries in 30 seconds’ sort of polish, it takes at least a couple of hours before it really is dry enough to resist the smudges and dents that even the smallest contact will inflict.

Now finally, here’s the answer!

I bought these nail polish protectors because I thought they looked remarkably silly, and I was expecting that the clips would pinch my fingers. But I was wrong.

The bag holds 10 plastic covers designed to clip onto your fingers and provide a shield to protect your polish as it dries. They’re pink, because I got them from super girly Korean store Etude House, but that aside, these really do what they say.

The clips sit comfortably, the cover is far enough above the nail to protect without doing any damage itself, and the fact that your fingertips are left free means you can happily get on with other things.

An absolute bargain at S$5 and something I know will see a lot of use.


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Nail Masks

Category : Beauty

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These are an interesting variation on a theme…

I love the hand masks that you can wear like gloves whilst relaxing – say watching TV or with a book. These looked like more specific versions of the same thing, 10 tiny pocket shaped masks to slide over each fingertip to nourish the cuticle and nails.

They do a nice job, too, although there is one slight snag. Whereas the hand masks have the liquid product safely contained inside a plastic outer layer, so you can get on with other things whilst wearing them, the nail mask were just wet fabric, so I had to sit and hold my hands in the air whilst they were on.

The masks are supposed to be worn for 10-15 minutes, then the remaining product massaged into the nails. I did this at night, and my nails were still smooth and shiny 24 hours later, despite a busy day which included swimming, cleaning the floor and washing up. Next time I will have some of those thin plastic disposable gloves standing by, so I can be doing something else whilst wearing them.


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Nail Concealer

Category : Beauty

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At first glance this looks like just another example of the Korean beauty industry offering a product you did not know you needed! However, after giving it a try, I am actually quite impressed.

This base coat, from The Face Shop, is designed to cover up any imperfections and discolourations on your nails, apparently before you apply your nail polish. (Although you might think that the nail polish would do the job without any help…)

Without any coloured polish on top, this base gives your nails a slightly nude coloured coating with the sort of flawless satin finish I associate with those adverts for foundation you see in glossy magazines. Unlike some base coats I could mention, it also stays put despite a tough day of cooking, cleaning and swimming in a chlorinated pool. Quite a good buy at less than S$5.


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