5 December 2016

Winter Survival Tips for Hands and Nails

I work in an office so my fingers take a lot of beating on keyboards, drying up due to air conditioners, radiators heating inside, and it is really cold here in the UK, which also doesn't help.
Pair that up with running a nail art blog, and you really gotta look after your skin.

I know my hands have not looked the best at times, but after a lot of trial and error, reminding myself to be better at looking after my hands and nails, I have found a couple of things that works for me, and that might work for you as well.

Since I am prone to very dry skin, that breaks up, gets red, itchy, hangnails and all that stuff, finding a solution has not been the easiest at times.

Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and you have to be vigil.

Scrubbing and peeling DIY

Lotions and moisturisers DIY

I got hold of some 100% pure Aloe Vera Gel, and mixed in with Coconut oil (60% coconut oil, and 40% Aloe Vera Gel if you want to make it yourself). Rub it in on your skin. Before taking pictures I take a soft cloth and dab away the shine and my skin looks a lot better on pictures even on bad skin-days. It is also great for when you just stepped out of the shower for a nice treat.
A little trick I learned from grandma.

When I have a pampering session I grab my homemade lotion bar and give my hands a little massage. The lotion-bars contains 3 ingredients and does wonders to the skin. Coconut oil, beeswax and a little avocado oil (equal parts of all ingredients).

Melt the coconut oil and mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour in silicon moulds of your choice. 
Leave for a day to dry, and put in a container and keep in a cool place. Massage on hands as needed.

Store moisturisers

Lets say you don't feel like mixing up stuff in the kitchen and order in oils and beeswax from Amazon, what about store bought moisturisers?


I keep these two tubs of Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (seriously the BEST stuff i have encountered for dry cuticles) and a tub of the Lush - Helping Hands Hand Cream.
The Helping Hand is very calming and moisturising for when my skin gets very itchy. Unfortunately it doesn't last long on my skin, and I have to keep reapplying it. I have found out that if I have itchy skin, I can apply Lush - Helping Hand, and then follow up with another moisturiser after half an hour or so. This way I get itchy free skin, and the second moisturiser helps on keeping my skin nice and soft.
Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter is for many the holy grail of cuticle butter on the market, and I am a huge fan as well, but on broken skin, I would strongly advise against it.
If you have a sore nose with a cold, dabbing on a little bit of this around your nose with a cotton, sure makes the skin feel a lot nicer.
If you like to hike in the mountains, bring this with you next time and if it gets cold up there, apply some of this on your face so it won't suffer from the harsh wind and cold.

Burt Bees & Body Shop

In the office I have a tin of Burt Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, a tube of Body Shop Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (hemp moisturizer for extreme dry skin). I also keep a pair of cotton gloves handy, so if my hands are getting extremely dry, I can moisturize and put the gloves on for a little bit with both products on my cuticles and hands.

Also repeat this at night time if I have particular dry and/or itchy skin that day. The Body Shop -Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (now called: Hemp Hand Protector) is great at dealing with both dry and itchy skin. I recently discovered that The Body Shop has changed the label on this line from when I last purchased a tube of their hemp moisturizer. They currently (at the time of writing this) has them on 50% discount. So if you like this moisturizer, now is the time to stock up. I know I did, plus some extra for Christmas presents.
With this one, little goes a long way, but it has a strange scent (hemp) to it that doesn't do very well in an office environment.

In my kitchen I had the Burt Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream, I find that this one is specially good after washing up when your skin really needs something to bring moisture back.
I recently ran out of this and found that replacing it with my Honey and Coconut Lotion Bars does the same job. So I crushed up two bars in the old Almond and Milk Hand Cream jar and been using that ever since.

Burt's Bees 

I have a Burt Bees Hand Salve in my bag, as well as Pure Argan Oil in a small polish bottle.
I would compare the Burt Bees Hand Salve with Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter in terms of just how much moisture it provides. While Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter can feel a bit stingy on broken skin Burt Bees Hand Salve soothes it and helps the healing process


I wanted to talk about Atrix - Intensive Protection Cream. Like Lush - Helping Hands, a product designed for nurses struggling with skin-dryness due to high frequent washing and harsh products. It contains Chamomile which is great for itchy skin, and is thicker than Lush - Helping Hands and therefor lasts longer without having any problems with it feeling slippery on the hands.  

atrix® Intensive Protection Cream can be obtained in tube form in the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Serbia/Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Taiwan, Ukraine

I discovered that this is also available at Superdrugs under the name: Atrixo Intensive Protection Cream, currently being sold for £3.15

Another product from Atrix that is really good is Atrix - Professional Repair Cream. This one is available to purchase in the UK through various sites and Amazon. Atrix - Professional Repair Cream is best for those hands that looks beyond saving, and with daily use can bring even the roughest hands to youthful glow.

atrix® Professional Repair Cream can be obtained in the following countries:
Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, UK

Boots and Superdrug

I also keep a bottle of Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir at my desk in the nail cave. I find that while this does give some moisture it mostly just looks nice without actually giving any deep moisture. Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir is therefor best as a touch up product or a summertime product.

A product similar to the before mentioned Atrix  Intensive Protection Cream aka Atrixo - Intensive Protection Cream (for those in the UK), is Neutrogena - Norwegian Formula Hand and Nail Cream, it's lacking on the calming ingredients and it looks somewhat glossy on the hands which is why I would recommend Atrix/Atrixo over the Neutrogena any day.

For transitioning into warmer weather when you don't need as much moisture added to the skin two products I really enjoy is the Superdrug - Hand Cream and Nivea - Q10 Plus Age Defying Hand Cream. Both products keeps the skin looking its best, sinks into the skin quickly without leaving the skin feeling greasy.

UK Indies 

UK Indie Stores has some awesome stuff for keeping hands and nails in good condition during the cold season, be it from Etsy or directly from the maker. 

Soap Dodger

Some time ago I purchased the Soap Dodger Cuticle Balm as I was curious to test it out. It has a very light texture and melts very quickly into the skin. The scent is nice and fresh which reminds me of lemon gelato di crema. In terms of moisture delivery it is very good, but Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter provides a bit more. I feel like adding Soap Dodger - Cuticle Balm on top of other more moisturising products really seals it all in.

Another product that I have tried has been the Soap Dodger - Cuticle Oil I got this as a free sample when I did a large haul from them a while back. I am not a huge fan of the scent on it, but it gives decent moisture. When I add this to all my nails it has usually soaked up before I get to rub it in. It works great for pictures, but not so much for a daily Cuticle Oil in my opinion.

Opulent Essences

The winner for me in terms of Cuticle Oils has been the Opulent Essences - Nail/ Cuticle Oil , it has a nice and pleasant scent with a soya bean oil base. It is very high on moisture, sinks into the skin rather quick but not too quick so you have time to apply to all your nails before the product is gone and you feel like applying it all over again.

There you have my top Winter Survival Tips for Hands and Nails. 

25 November 2016

Untried Indie Polish - Happy Hands Nail Polish - Sandcastles in the Sand

3rd trimester is rapidly approaching in my pregnancy, and while I am waiting for baby I wanted to dive into some of my untried polishes. 
One of the things I really love doing is looking for interesting polishes from indie companies. 
and all that ya know. 

Happy Hands Nail Polish - Sandcastles in the Sand is a gorgeous glitter polish with a pale beige base, blue and yellow square glitter and smaller yellow hex glitters. 
It reminds me of Easter...

The Happy Hands Nail Polish shop was set to "Holiday Mode" back in January 2014, so I don't think this brand is around anymore. I am sorry about that. 

I choose to pair this with Moyra - Damask and Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape 

Happy Hands Nail Polish -  Sandcastles in the Sand stamped with  Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape  using Moyra - Damask

Happy Hands Nail Polish -  Sandcastles in the Sand stamped with  Barry M - Gelly - Blue Grape  using Moyra - Damask. Closeup to really show off the glitter polish. Stunning, right?

23 November 2016

KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

One of the things I try to do, as a nail blogger, is to make sure I try out new techniques and types of polishes. When the KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer came out 4-5 years or so back, I bought the ones I could get hold of.

Back then, I was still struggling with brittle nails after having been a nail biter for so long. My nail shape was not the best, and I just didn't have the practice that I have now.
If you want to dive in my archive to the last time I wore a magnet polish, follow this link.

I have seen some brands from Russia come out with magnetic polishes, and it is only a matter of time before others follow. Right?
Do you think magnetic polishes are on the comeback, or is this just a blast from the past?

Today I am going to show you KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise, I know this is Discontinued, but I am sure some of you have these buried in your Helmers or nail polish racks/stash, completely forgotten.

Magnetic Nail Lacquer is a 5-free nail polish: it is formulated without adding harsh ingredients such as Toluene, Camphor, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin and Formaldehyde

I used the KIKO - Nail Art Magnet 01 - Stripes for today's look. This was the only Magnet that I managed to find when these first came out, but if you have magnetic polishes the KIKO - Nail Art Magnets are still for sale, just not the magnet polishes...

KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

KIKO - Magnetic blue
KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise

I really like how these turned out, so I wanted to do some nail art on top of the base.
I chose Bundlemonster - BM509 to preserve the nautical feel. I used Wet N Wild - Black Creme as stamping polish because I know I can trust it to do a good job.
Sadly, I think I have received a bad plate with this one. First I tried the diamond shape with the anchors - could barely make out the image. Then I tried the trident image - after several attempts I got a decent transfer and used this for my index finger.
For the rest of the nails I used the rope design which was well etched and transferred like a dream. 

KIKO - Magnetic Nail Lacquer - 705 - Emerald Turquoise stamped with Bundlemonster - BM509

8 November 2016

Baby Announcement and Gender Reveal Mani

A photo posted by Dina Ramse (@secretarysnailart) on

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might have heard the good news already.
I am expecting a baby girl the 1st of March 2017.

As some of you have noticed I have been absent from the blog for a while. Pregnancy so far has not been the easiest on me, and I feel like I have been running back n' forth to the hospital and home for months now.
At first it was breathing issues, then a severe chest infection, and lately a slipping disc from being inactive and not looking out for my spine.

I am getting a lot better now, and the baby belly has dropped a little so I can breath easier. Making my life a bit more manageable.

I just wanted to log in here and let you all know what's going on in my life. I have done a couple of hauls both nail polish and nail art items that I am excited to show you all.

Baby Shower Nails
Bundlemonster Occasions Collection - Family Ties Mani 

For this mani I used Barry M - Silk - Orchid as a base colour, for the stamping I used Bundlemonster Occasions Collection - Family Ties in BM-S231 and BM-S232 in Wet N Wild - Black Creme and filled in with Barry M - Gelly . Acai Smoothie and Barry M - Gelly - Fondant making a decal for the ring and middle finger.

If you are going to / or have a Baby Shower, this set from Bundlemonster is the only set I have seen that delivers what you need for such an occasion.

I have heard the Moyra - Childhood might be a good stamping plate for this purpose as well, but I have not seen or heard of any other stamping plates that has these kind of images.

I absolutely adore the finished look, and been wearing it for about 2 weeks now.

6 November 2016

Halloween Nails

A while ago I did a Charlies Nail Art Haul, and for Halloween this year (I know the post is up late), I was wearing the Halloween Wraps from that Haul.

The wraps were easy to apply and adjust to each nail, they had a slight textured surface so I applied two coats of topcoat to seal them in.
I wore this look for 4 days without them falling off. In my book that is a success.

Charlies Nail Art Halloween Wraps

The really cool thing about these wraps is that the skulls and bones actually light up in the dark. The light they emitted never went dull, like some other wraps I have encountered before, which was super awesome.

2 August 2016

Border and Mosaic Nails

Sometimes I just feel like switching things up a little, and pull out techniques that I haven't used for a while. Since my past two posts on here has been kinda serious, I wanted to lighten up the mood with today's nails.

We are revisiting Border Nails.

I know some people know this style better as Frame Nails, but they are one and the same technique.

For this look I am using three polishes:

H&M - Beige is one of my oldest polishes and I am surprised it is still kicking and hasn't dried all up. It has been with me since the very beginning. No wonder it is also, half empty. 

I actually won FNUG - Love Chic in a competition when FNUG first launched, and I got to choose a couple of shades from their line. Their polishes are amazing, a bit on the pricey side, but the staying power of these babies beats most of my other polishes to the boot. 

W7 - Buff is like the accident polish of this look. I never really liked this particular polish, it is too thin to be worn alone, but it works great for sponging. I think W7 make great polishes but W7- Buff is a dud. 

I also used a thin striping brush and a sponge for this look. 

First I started out with applying one coat of H&M - Beige, and once it was dry I placed 2 drops of H&M - Beige and 3 drops of W7- Buff to my Uber Chic Mat and dipped a sponge in to pick up the two colours. Dab dab dab on to the nails. 
It created a nice washed out marbled look. 

Then I went in with a striping brush and FNUG - Love Chic and framed the nails. 

FNUG - Love Chic Border Nails with H&M - Beige and W7 - Buff sponged in the middle as a washed marble look.

I am still learning to get my lines even with my striping brush, but this is definitely looking a whole better than last years attempts at border nails. 
Practise makes perfect, right?

I wore this look for a couple of days, and decided to switch up up and do Mosaic Nails. 
Grabbing my striping brush again and FNUG - Love Chic, I managed to get a couple days more wear.

FNUG - Love Chic Mosaic Nails with H&M - Beige and W7 - Buff sponged in the middle as a washed marble look.

Which one is your favourite?

25 July 2016

Sharing The Love For Ane Li

We have lost an incredibly talented young Norwegian lady in the Nail Polish Community to depression. She was a huge inspiration to me, and shared with us her talented works of art on Instagram and Youtube. If you are not familiar with her work, I would advise you to check out her Instagram account.

As Robin Williams said:
 “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

A handful of bloggers has decided to get together and re-create Ane Li's manicures in her memory, we are using #sharingtheloveforaneli if you want to check out the others creation on various social medias.

I was inspired to do a recreation of Ane Li's first stamping nail art look. I love stamping, and I remember seeing this look on her Instagram page thinking I should try it out. After all, I already owned the same plate as she used.

For today's look I am therefor using Bundlemonster BM-S107 (for the first time), using Wet n Wild - Black Creme. My base polish is Ard As Nails - Chelle from The Blogsquad Collection.
I recently did a large haul from Soap Dodger, purchasing some of the more recent collections from Ard As Nails. I will have a separate video up with Live Swatches for those of you interested in that.

Ard As Nails - Chelle is a pale grey-pink with a hint of lavender holographic polish.

Ard As Nail - Chelle from the Blogsquad Collection, stamping with Bundlemonster BM-S107

Check out the original in the video below.