iAm: Louisa Koh

SHILLS Aqua Skin Moisturizing Spray

A 30-something from sunny Singapore who's tried her hand at lots of things, such as selling skin care & make-up, working in a (boring) corporate setting, trying to carve a singing career, giving private tuition, being a fitness instructor, writing/editing etc...

Besides exasperating her parents to no end, she loves experimenting with new make-up looks, uncovering the best make-up & skin care products, modelling for herself before the camera, singing at the top of her lungs (with preferably no one to hear it), and writing whatever, whenever (as you can already tell).


louisa [at] louisakoh [dot] com

Review: Nails Inc. Bling It On London

Hallo lovelies, it’s time for a long-overdue nail feature today! 😛

Before I get into it though, here’s a little teaser to whet your appetite:

Image courtesy of http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Can you guess what I’ll be featuring today? Yup, I’ll be featuring some nail bling all right, from an English nail polish brand too!

Keep Calm and Bling It On London

Today, I’ll be featuring the brand Nails Inc. that hails from the UK. To be honest, I’ve been curious about Nails Inc. for the longest time since I heard about this brand from my sister, who lives in the UK. Another confession: This is the first time I am trying Nails Inc. too!

Like CiatĂ©, Nails Inc. entered the Singapore market around the same time last year in Sephora. And ZALORA Singapore is now carrying selected Nails Inc. sets at discounted rates 😀 Prices at Sephora range from SGD40-50 but at ZALORA Singapore, the sets retail for SGD20-36 (excluding delivery charges)! Cool, ain’t it?

Nails Inc. Bling It On London set

As you can see, the set features two mini polishes in cobalt blue and silver foil, as well as four beautiful crown bling embellishments:

What the Nails Inc. Bling It On London set contains

Here are the details of what the set contains:
Nails Inc. Baker Street cobalt blue polish (4 ml)
Nails Inc. South Kensington silver foil effect polish (4 ml)
– 4 x crystal crown embellishments
– Nail glue (3 g)
– Cuticle stick

Frankly speaking, up to date, I don’t have any experience using a nail glue to stick studs or other embellishments on my nails. This set called out to me on ZALORA Singapore’s Nails Inc. page mainly because of the buzz I’ve heard around their Baker Street cobalt blue polish. Yet at the same time, I was also curious about these metallic foil effect polishes that have been quite popular of late, since OPI’s release of Gwen Stefani’s Push and Shove foil effect polish. Click to enlarge the photo below for detailed instructions:

Detailed instructions on how to use Nails Inc. Bling It On London

How to use Bling It On London

I started off by applying the base coat I normally use: CND Stickey Base on the nails I planned to paint the Baker Street cobalt blue polish after. I did a bit of research on the Nails Inc. South Kensington silver foil polish and read that no base coat should be used for that:

Apply base coat before painting

I then proceeded to paint 2-3 coats of the nail polishes. Instead of following the featured picture and painting one colour for each hand, I decided to switch it up a bit by combining the silver and blue on both hands, but with one hand being a reverse mani of the other, like so:

Combining Baker Street and South Kensington on left hand

Combining the polishes in a reverse mani on the right hand

Next up, after having painted and applied top coat (I usually do two coats of top coat) on all nails, I proceeded to work on sticking the crystal crown embellishments to my accent nails: thumb nails and ring fingernails.

Holding the crystal crown with a pair of tweezers after applying nail glue

The nail glue should be applied to the nail, as well as the back of the crown stud. Then, press the crown firmly on the chosen nail for at least 60 seconds or until it sets. The last step is to apply nail glue under the embellishment using the cuticle stick, for the surfaces of the crown that do not lie flat on the nail:

Parts of the crown will not lie flat on the nail surface

Apply nail glue on the flat surface of the cuticle stick to reach under the crown embellishment:

Applying nail glue on the flat end of the cuticle stick


There we go! Here are the final results:

The final results on my right hand

The final results on my left hand

True to what the packaging says, the embellishments eventually fell off one by one over the next couple of days. I was lucky I was able to find them all, but otherwise, the method of removal would be to soak the accent nails with crowns in acetone, to dissolve the nail glue. The crowns can then be re-used again.

Before I go, here’s another look at the final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure:

The final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure on my left hand

The final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure on my right hand

I must say, I really liked the look of the final manicure especially due to the lovely bling crowns, although I did wish they would stay on my nails longer. I also loved the cobalt blue Baker Street, and was pleasantly surprised that I liked the silver foil South Kensington look more than I thought I would have.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this nail feature. Would you try this set or other Nails Inc. sets?

Nail Art: Ciaté Flower Manicure in Strike A Posy

Great day, lovelies! I’m back with a feature on nails again (my pet subject obviously) and this time it’s a spotlight on nail art!

Inspired by the Spring/Summer Fashion Week 2014 floral prints, CiatĂ© Creative Director Charlotte Knight conceptualised a couple of flower manicure sets that allow users like you and me to adorn our nails with natural dried pressed flowers. Ain’t that a neat idea?

Ciaté Flower Manicure in Strike A Posy

Now, CiatĂ© isn’t new to the nail art scene. I remember back when I really got into the swing of painting my own nails in late 2012, I had cottoned to their Caviar Manicure trend and wanted a little fish-egg action on my own nails but CiatĂ© wasn’t available in Singapore then. Luckily, my sister lives in the UK, home of CiatĂ©, so it came as no surprise my 2013 birthday request was for a CiatĂ© Caviar Mini Bar set (more pictures of the caviar manicure at the end of this post!)

Ciaté Caviar Mini Bar set

Ciaté in Singapore

It wasn’t long after that when Sephora Singapore started carrying the brand CiatĂ© in its stores in 2013. But the prices weren’t exactly cheap: Their Caviar Manicure sets were retailing at SGD34 each, while their individual nail polishes called Paint Pots were going for SGD20 a pop.

Since then, CiatĂ© has come up with many different nail art sets and ideas: Velvet Manicure which uses flocking powder to create a velvet texture on nails, Sequined Manicure, Chalkboard Manicure, Very Colourfoil Manicure, Feathered Manicure, Corrupted Neon Manicure, Shell Manicure and the Flower Manicure, which I’ll be featuring in this post. So much fun, right (if you have all the money in the world to spend on your nails, that is)??

Ciaté Flower Manicure: 5 ml Candy Floss pink polish, 13.5 ml fast dry top coat, 2 pots of dried flowers, tweezers & nail file

But. But. BUT. Now Ciaté is available on ZALORA SG and at an attractive discount too!

For example, CiatĂ©’s flower manicure set is going for SGD23 on ZALORA Singapore instead of SGD34 at Sephora Singapore (note this doesn’t include the delivery charge of SGD3.90 for purchases below SGD40). I just couldn’t pass up the offer!

How to Use

I’ve taken a pic of the instruction manual so you can see how easy this Flower Manicure can be achieved. I gotta admit, I did get a bit of anxiety because I didn’t know if I was going to mess it up, and I’ve been doing my own nails weekly for about 2 years now!

Ciaté Flower Manicure instruction manual (please click to enlarge)

I’m going to try and show the process step-by-step the best I can, considering I have only 2 hands and one of them has to hold the camera! 😉 (This is one of those times when having a partner comes in handy, pun intended!)

But before we do that, here’s a closer look at the polishes and pressed flowers included in CiatĂ©’s Flower Manicure set:

5 ml Candy Floss, 13.5 ml Speed Coat Pro, and 4 types of dried flowers included

In the Strike a Posy (love the pun!) set, four different types of flowers are included: Yellow flowers, blue flowers, yellow “baby’s breath-like filler flowers” and vanilla-coloured “baby’s breath-like flowers”.

Before starting, I actually picked out each flower just to see how many dried flowers were included in the set. The flowers look deceptively little in the pots, but after picking them out, I realised that CiatĂ© had included a pretty generous portion of flowers in each set! They also smelt like how dried flowers would (you would know if you used to press flowers to make bookmarks etc) 😛

PVA glue base on select fingernails before base coat

I prepped my nails with PVA glue base coat on three of my nails (it’s the white substance you see on my nails in above picture). Why 3 nails only? Well, I used to apply the PVA glue on all nails if I wanted to remove glitter polish easily by peeling them off since we know that glitter polish is a pita to remove, but found that my polish on my most-used fingers: index and middle nails would pop off sometimes barely a day or two after applying. Hence I skip the PVA glue on those nails to prolong wear and it’s worked so far!

Base coat applied on top of PVA glue after it’s dried

After the PVA glue’s dried, it will turn clear, and then I apply my base coat, CND Stickey Base, on top. Although the instructions in CiatĂ©’s manual didn’t talk about using a base coat, I do it out of habit and to protect nails from possible staining, etc.

A look at CiatĂ©’s brush from the Candy Floss mini paint pot

Here’s a closer look at how CiatĂ©’s brush looks like. I’ve compared the mini brush with the full-sized ones and they are similar in width.

Two thick coats of Ciaté Candy Floss

And so I started by painting two thickish coats of CiatĂ© Candy Floss, a bubblegum pink colour, on my nails. Formula was mostly self-levelling but can be slightly streaky if you are not careful so it’s best to use light strokes without going over a spot too many times.

After applying flowers on all nails before top coat & buffing with nail file

This is the important part: Top coat should be applied one nail at a time, and I recommend picking out the flowers you want on each nail beforehand. So pick out the specific flowers you want on your thumb nail (ha ha), for example, apply the top coat on only the nail on your thumb. Then working quickly, use the tweezers to apply the flowers you picked out on to the nail while it’s still wet, tapping them gently into place with the tweezer. This is how it looks like (above picture) before sealing with top coat and buffing the excess flowers sticking out from the free edge of the nails.

After applying top coat to seal the flowers, and buffing the excess flowers

Next, seal the flowers by applying a coat of top coat on each nail. Follow this up by buffing any excess flowers sticking out from the sides and free edges of the nails downwards with the nail file included (above picture shows these steps done before cleanup).

Post cleanup!

And voila! This is the product after clean-up! (I apologise for the poor picture quality.) As the Ciaté top coat was a bit on the thin side, I finished off with another thick coat of Poshé super fast drying top coat, to smoothen the surface of my nails further (important for those of us who rub our eyes).

What do you think of this floral manicure by Ciaté? Do you love the idea? Would you try it?
I must say I do like it as it’s quite easy to get pretty nail art without having to be artistic etc. Also it’s still looking good 3-4 days into wearing it.

As promised, here are some pics of the Ciaté Caviar Manicure I tried using the Mini Bar set:

Caviar Manicure micropearls in Candy Shop (ring nail) & Jubilee (thumb) for CNY 2013

Ciaté Caviar Manicure micropearls in Candy Shop (thumb) and Jubilee (ring nail) for CNY 2013

Ciaté Velvet Manicure in Mink Cashmere on all nails except Caviar Mani in Hologram on ring nail

Ciaté Caviar Manicure in Prom Queen on ring fingernail

Awesome paw-some much? Ciaté Caviar Manicure sets are e-tailing on ZALORA Singapore for SGD18-27 (excluding delivery charges), and Ciaté Very Colourfoil Manicure, Feathered Manicure and Corrupted Neon Manicure sets are going for SGD23 each. Select Ciaté Paint Pots are on sale at SGD16 a bottle.

ZALORA Singapore also carries a range of Nails Inc. manicure sets as well so go grab them before they run out!

Till then, toodles xx

Passion for Fashion, 7 Days a Week

Hello my lovelies, how are you keeping? 😉

Today I’d like to share some fashion buys I’ve made of late, since just before Chinese New Year this year, amounting to a week’s worth of outfits. I’ve been busy getting beautiful from head to toe, from ZALORA Singapore no less!

Future State

My shopping sprees on ZALORA Singapore all began innocently enough with not having had the time to shop for CNY clothes (*roll eyes* as usual). I had sworn off online shopping since my ill-fitting ASOS outfits and the sky-high price of sending them back to the UK for a refund.

But… but… I laid eyes on this Future State multi-coloured top with a surplice neckline and butterfly sleeves that set my heart aflutter. Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for surplice necklines and butterfly sleeves! So when Future State combined them, I was sold. 😛

Future State multi-coloured top

Many months later, I spied this lovely Paola maxi dress also from Future State on ZALORA, with butterfly sleeves and a surplice neckline no less, and I had to have it too. No regrets there! This dress, as well as a toga dress in a similar pattern, is still available on ZALORA so quick grab!

Future State Paola Short Sleeve Long Dress

As the neckline was a bit too revealing, I searched ZALORA for a brooch and found this lovely Chomel vintage gold brooch:

Chomel Vintage Gold Brooch & NCLA Flash Fete nail wraps

Isn’t it beautiful? I am totally lovin’ the entire bohemian-cum-nature theme of the dress, brooch, plus my NCLA Flash Fete nail wraps, also available on ZALORA!


My first foray into the brand EZRA by ZALORA was with this asymmetrical knit trapeze tank:

EZRA by ZALORA knit trapeze tank

Here’s a full-length look, where I paired it with River Island PVC leggings and Melissa heels:

EZRA knit trapeze tank

My next acquisition from EZRA was a pair of maxi dresses, which were going for SGD37 for both, and are still available on ZALORA:

EZRA maxi dress in Grey Melange

EZRA maxi dress in Enamel Blue

This maxi dress is also available in black, deep green and burgundy. Do note that the belts used to cinch the dresses are not included. The beige patent skinny belt on the Enamel Blue dress is from Mango and ZALORA though!


Of course, who could resist getting something from Mango since the label’s also available on ZALORA? 😉 I found myself falling for this cobalt blue V-neck dress (I think cobalt blue looks great against my skin tone):

Mango V-neck dress with patent skinny belt

Yes, the beige patent skinny belt is also from Mango! You can wear this dress in more than one way, and this is usually how I love to wear it out, cinched with a wide belt and paired with thin leggings:

Mango V-neck dress with leggings

I think part of the appeal of this dress for me is ‘cos of how much it reminds me of “The Boyfriend Shirt” style:

Mango V-neck dress as the boyfriend shirt


Looking pretty from head to toe means attention to detail, down to your earrings and accessories. Ain’t these fox head stud earrings from River Island & ZALORA, which retail for less than SGD5, cool (and not to mention, totally befitting the nature theme with the brooch and abalone-shell-print NCLA Flash Fete nail wraps):

River Island gold tone encrusted fox head stud earrings

Another look at the abalone-shell-print NCLA Flash Fete nail wraps:

NCLA Flash Fete nail wraps

And we end this fashion feature with the Melissa Spikes II iridescent peeptoe heels in Black/Chameleon from ZALORA (YES, finally a pair of Melissas to call my own):

Melissa Spikes II iridescent peeptoe heels in Black/Chameleon

This post wouldn’t be complete without a gratuitous selfie shot 😛

Gratuitous selfie

Hope you enjoyed this little fashion feature, that hopefully would spark some ideas on getting decked out from head to toe. Truly, you can find all you need to look beautiful from ZALORA, so what are you waiting for? 😉

Review: Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil

Helloooo lovelies, how have you been doing?

I have been really busy with work, as well as online shopping in between *insert sheepish face*. You know how it is with working and retail therapy, and I tell it as it is: Clothes, nail polish, and beauty products are the usual suspects for me 😛

As I was shopping for clothes online, I chanced upon Sephora beauty products online at ZALORA. I wanted to get the free shipping above $40 at ZALORA, so I decided to throw in some beauty products from the Sephora range that I needed: Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil and Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner, both of which I heard good things about. Check out Musings of a Muse’s review on the Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil

Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil & Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner

Clean up the make-up I: Face

I was in need of a new makeup remover, as my Pond’s Cold Cream jar was nearly empty and I was thinking of switching to a cleansing oil, thanks to the immense popularity of Shu Uemura makeup remover cleansing oil.

Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil – Nothing Stays On

Previous makeup removal ritual: I have been using Pond’s Cold Cream to take off my makeup for as long as I remember. My skin leans towards dry and dehydrated, so I favour creams and oils over foams for cleansing and makeup removal.

If my makeup was heavy, I would usually have to double cleanse with Pond’s Cold Cream using cotton pads, and then wash the cold cream off with my Niks Professional Ultrafine Soothing Cleansing Lotion and water.

That’s a triple cleanse to remove my makeup!

Dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested – safe for eye makeup removal too!

Enter Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil: I got this on ZALORA as it was very attractively priced at SGD20 for 190 ml. As a reference, Shu Uemura sells their cleansing oil at about SGD50-55 for 150 ml.

As you can see from the ingredients listed on the bottle, it is primarily made up of mineral oil, and contains Jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and Vitamin E (tocopherol). It seems that jojoba seed oil and sunflower seed oil are both beneficial as moisturisers to the skin as they penetrate the skin easily without leaving a greasy residue.

Here are the ingredients:
Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), PEG-6 Sostearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Fragrance, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, BHT.

Other pointers you should know about Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil:
– Dermatologically & ophthalmologically tested and suitable for sensitive skin and eyes
– Does NOT contain parabens and soap
– Removes even waterproof eye makeup

My experience using Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil: The cleansing oil had a pleasant floral fragrance to it, and was a clear runny oil in my hands when pumped out. On the website, these are the instructions for using the cleansing oil:

Directions to use:
1. Pump the oil once onto palm, then apply onto dry skin.
2. Add water to change oil into lotion. Rinse with warm water.
3. To remove waterproof mascara, gently rub lashes together between index finger and thumb before adding water.

Cleansing oil pumped onto dry hand

The important part is that the oil should be pumped onto dry hands, and spread on to the face that has not been wet with water. After spreading on the skin, then water should be added to change the oil into an emulsion which is like a white, milky lotion. This is the part when the makeup gets removed. Add water as you deem fit, to spread the emulsion over your face to remove all traces of makeup.

Milky emulsion formed when water is added

Then rinse with warm water, to remove the makeup. Being someone who’s used to double cleansing, I followed this up with my Niks Professional Ultrafine Soothing Cleansing Lotion, to wash off all remaining traces of the cleansing oil and any makeup.

After-feel: My skin felt comfortable after the entire makeup removal process, not in the least tight or dry. My skin can never do with foaming facial washes, or even Cetaphil, as I find that drying and tight. So I was quite delighted to find that the Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil had sat well on my skin, and although I did not use cotton pads to check whether there was any makeup residue after using it, my skin felt clean enough after using my Niks Pro cleanser (which is also a rinse-off cleanser), and I only needed to double cleanse, instead of triple-cleanse!

Overall, it’s a thumbs-up for me and I am quite converted to the makeup removing cleansing oil camp now, to be honest!

Here’s a test I did on both hands with Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil on my left hand, and Pond’s Cold Cream on my right and the result:

My left hand actually felt softer and smoother to the touch, compared to my right hand, but not oily at all! I’m sold!

Clean up the make-up II: Makeup Brushes

I also needed a brush cleaner that would help clean my brushes in between my deep brush cleaning ritual that comprised of washing my brushes with a shampoo under running water for a few rounds until I was quite sure the brushes were clean of makeup AND shampoo.

Deep cleansing brushes weekly is even too much of a stretch for me, but as I don’t exactly wear makeup that often nowadays, I thought a daily brush cleanser, quite like the one MAC first put out in the market, would be a good way to keep my brushes clean (and hence my face safe from comedone-causing bacteria).

Sephora Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner

In fact, I got really curious about this brush cleanser, after reading a friend’s review of it on her blog: Melva’s Review of Sephora Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner

So imagine my surprise that I didn’t have to physically make a trip down to Sephora just to get my hands on this since ZALORA now carries the entire Sephora beauty range!

Back bottle shot of Sephora Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner

I’ll do up a review of this once I have had the chance to try this out. Meanwhile toodles babes, and have yourselves a great (short) week ahead! 🙂

Nail Wraps vs Nail Polish

Hey lovelies, how have you been keeping? Very well, I hope! 😀 It’s been a month since my last post, and I’m thinking to myself: My, how time flies! (As a matter of fact, I had been preparing another nail post in between but I only managed to get past the photo selection and watermarking stage :P)

In this post, I’d like to share a few pointers on how nail wraps differ from nail polish: The good, the bad, and just maybe, the ugly, for the uninitiated.

I have been a polish gal for a year and a half now, since September 2012, but I started experimenting with nail wraps slightly less than a year ago.

NCLA Sugar Fix glitter nail polish (non-flash shot)

If you’re into nail polish but have not ventured into nail wraps, you can decide if the advantages are worth reneging, or at least, putting aside your nail polish occasionally for. If you hate nail polish for some reason (because it’s messy, it smells terrible, etc), you may find that nail wraps will give you the right reasons to want to adorn your nails again.

The Good

For those who have played with nail polish, you know what it feels like. For many years, I didn’t bother and couldn’t be bothered with nail polish because I thought it was messy (like, how do you ever not get polish on the skin around your nails, not to mention painting decently with your non-dominant hand???), smelt horrid (I am sensitive to strong chemical smells, including perfume), took too long
 yeah, those were the main reasons.

NCLA Sugar Fix glitter nail polish (flash shot)

I always looked at nicely manicured girls and thought they had a coquettish air about them (ahem… I wonder if other gals look at me now and think that way HAHA!).. but I digress. Here are some aspects nail wraps trump nail polish:

1) Easier to master
Ever since I jumped on the bandwagon and started collecting nail polish in Sept 2012, I never looked back. It took months of practice, painting once or twice a week, but I eventually got good enough to take decent photos of my polished nails without having to use photo editing software to erase the mess around my nails.

NCLA I’m With the Band shimmer nail polish (non-flash shot)

Nail wraps, on the other hand (pun intended), have a gentler learning curve. I started out experimenting with 2 different Nail Rock nail wraps, and by the time I moved on to NCLA, I had somewhat gotten the knack of applying them nicely on my nails. What’s not to love about that?!

Caveat: This point depends also on the quality of the nail wraps in question. To be honest, from my experience, I have found Nail Rock difficult to get right on the nails without some serious wrinkling and crinkling. I’ve had better luck with NCLA in comparison, but you still have to be careful to size the wrap to your nail correctly, position it carefully, and stretch the wrap slightly and gently over the nail before laying it down completely, to prevent wrinkles and bubbles.

NCLA It Don’t Matter nail wraps

2) Significantly reduced exposure to noxious nail polish fumes
Polish fiends will know what it’s really like to be regularly exposed to the smell of nail polish. Frankly, I don’t know what got me into this whole nail polish craze as well, for I am someone who cannot tolerate smoking or secondhand smoke, and I don’t even use perfume anymore.

I am pretty sure I have avoided painting my nails for the longest time largely due to the fumes, and not believing I should expose myself to the dangers of long-term inhalation of them. Hell, I even turned my back on a career in chemistry because I was so afraid of dying from toxic chemical poisoning!

NCLA It Don’t Matter wraps & NCLA Black Diamond glitter gradient on Essence Movie Star (index fingernail)

To be very honest, there was a period of time I noticed that I was having the urge to relieve my bladder more often than before. Somehow or other, I sensed this had to do with my nail polish habits (I had noticed this about nine months after starting to paint my nails). Then I found this: Symptoms of nail polish poisoning

For the benefit of anyone reading this, my parents began to urge me to get a respiratory mask to protect me from the harmful fumes. After some research and asking some other polish gals in a Facebook group, I decided to place an order with an eBay shop selling a 3M half face piece respirator 7502, together with a cartridge that filtered out organic vapour.

To cut the long story short, after starting to use it from mid-August 2013 onwards, the bladder urges have improved, although I am not sure if the face piece does help significantly. I do feel better on the whole though, than before using it.

NCLA Electric Gradient nail wraps

Nail wraps, however, require only base and top coat, so the entire process of painting 2-3 coats of polish, letting dry in between coats, etc, using acetone to clean up, is done away with. The bulk of the exposure (to the fumes) happens then, and so you are spared if you use nail wraps. What’s more, all you have to do is just peel the wraps off to remove, and perhaps go over lightly with acetone to remove any base coat residue, so exposure to acetone is also greatly reduced.

In fact, nail wraps would be a great alternative for those who are preggers!

3) Application time
Despite having painted my nails for over a year now, the entire process still takes a much longer time compared to applying nail wraps. I started out taking about 2 hours to complete an entire manicure, what with letting coats dry completely in between. And we’re talking plain nail polish, not including any fancy-schmancy nail art!

Nowadays, it takes me anything between an hour and an hour-and-a-half to do a complete manicure with nail polish. Using nail wraps, however, takes about half an hour in total, if you do it right without the need to re-do!

NCLA I Don’t Play Nice nail wraps

One hand takes about 15 minutes in total, not including the time taken to apply the base/top coats. However it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes in total if you use fast-drying base and top coats.

4) Lasting power
This one is a bit of a contentious point, which is why it’s Number 4.

I’m quite rough with my hands, so most times, my painted nails last no longer than 2-3 days before starting to chip. If a polish is particularly hardy, the manicure might last me 4-5 days max. Sometimes it doesn’t even last me 24 hours 🙁

When I first started using NCLA nail wraps, they lasted me for about a week. However, more recently, they start to peel after 1-2 days. I think it’s a combination of factors that determines its lasting power: If you don’t peel off your nail wrap to readjust position or remove air bubbles, it is likely to stay on longer. Also the most-used fingers usually are the first offenders: The index and middle fingernails, as is with nail polish.

NCLA So L.A. nail wraps

The Bad

1) Price point and sizing of wraps
I could be wrong, but I think nail wraps, in general, are more expensive than nail polish. You probably get one, or at most two applications out of a nail wrap packet, and pay as much, if not, more than a regular bottle of nail polish, which probably gives you at least 4 manicures?

I suppose you pay for the work involved in the creating the novel designs, printing them on the wraps, cutting out the various nail sizes, and the adhesive/nail file provided.

NCLA Stephanie’s Galaxy nail wraps (right hand)

Also, as nail wraps have to cater to various nail sizes, you will find that there will be “wasted” nail wraps that do not fit your nails. As a result, you are left with not enough sizes that fit you (especially for people like me where my index and ring fingernails use the same sized wrap), and a surplus of the sizes that don’t, which is money wasted.

If you make mistakes and have to re-apply new wraps for certain nails, then you “waste” even more wraps in the process!

2) The painting ritual
This sounds perverse, but a lot of us polish gals actually relish the entire ritual of sitting down for 1-2 hours, and focusing on nothing but painting your nails, and cleaning up afterwards.

It’s a bit like getting into the zone, where every care of the world seems to fall away beneath you for that length of time… So, yes, despite the learning curve, the noxious fumes, and the time taken to paint our nails, we still love it for this very reason.

Perhaps this is what entails an addiction? 😉

NCLA I’m With the Band shimmer nail polish (flash shot)

The Ugly

Actually, to be fair, this point is relevant for both nail wraps and nail polish. What happens when your manicure starts to disintegrate beyond recognition? How do nail wraps compare with nail polish when this happens?

For starters, I find that nail wraps have a tendency to turn white at the edges if you are not careful when filing the excess off. It helps to fold the excess downwards over the nail tip before filing downwards, but sometimes you still get the tip areas turning white.

Like nail polish, sometimes you get “tip wear”, where the edge of the wrap gets eroded further back than it should. Also, like nail polish, sometimes larger areas of the wrap come off, like a huge ugly nail polish chip.

NCLA Stephanie’s Galaxy nail wraps (left hand)

As for the entire wrap coming off, it’s only happened to me once. Compared to using peel-off glue base for easy removal of glitter polishes, the peel-off glue base performs worse in this respect—the problem I have with wearing glitter polish over peel-off glue base is the entire nail polish piece popping off prematurely, sometimes barely 24 hours into application.

That said, it happens mostly for the index and middle fingernails, so when I want my glitter polish to last longer nowadays, I tend not to use the peel-off glue base for the index and middle fingernails. (And hence have to endure scrubbing off the glitter for 4 fingernails.)

If you’re convinced of the advantages of nail wraps vs nail polish, do explore what ZALORA Singapore has to offer! In fact, whether it’s nail polish or nail wraps, ZALORA Singapore has ’em nailed (pun intended again)!

Don’t forget to check out the upcoming Great Singapore Sale offering at ZALORA Singapore while you’re at it too! 😀

P.S. Some of the nail wraps you see in this post, like the Electric Gradient, are available in variant shades/colours on ZALORA Singapore.