Nails Inc Monogram Mani

Personalise Your Nails

For the past 12 months, it has been all about the nail art.

With so many notable launches, from Ciate’s Caviar Nails to Illamasqua’s Speckled Nails, the aim now is to make nail art as easy as possible for those of us who love the concept but aren’t quite technicians. Luckily, Nails Inc are the latest to introduce a cute and appealing nail art concept that us mere mortals will all be able to achieve – the Monogram Mani.

The idea is to decorate your nails with a printed message using simple lettered stickers. Luckily for us, they’ve anticipated that trying to correctly place a thin, fiddly letter could be a pain. So, the stickers are designed with an invisible thick rim, making the swirls and squiggles of the alphabet user friendly.

Monogram Manicure

Your kit contains 3 miniature Models Own shades. You’ve got the choice of a dark plum shade called Mayfair Place, a cool grey shade called Southbank, and a signature Kensington Caviar 45 second Topcoat to finish the job in no time. Then, you’ve got four sheets of letters to use. All of the letters of the alphabet are included (with handy duplicates of frequently needed characters) and there’s also some cute additions like hashtags and @ mentions if you’re going for a timely manicure.

I had mine done for me at the Nails Inc flagship store on South Moulton St, London, earlier this week by Alice. She mixed and matched their new Gel Effect Nail Varnishes with the letters to show me both new releases, and the result is lovely! I’m really pleased with the effect and have had lots of people asking me where I had them done. One thing I will say is that a few days in I’ve noticed that I can start to see the rim of the letters slightly raising, so I’m sealing it all in again with an extra topcoat to smooth over any tell tale lines.

If you’ve got something special coming up or even want to experiment with a new trend, these are really worth trying out. I’m thinking hens, birthday girls and fan girls are going to love these. Imagine how many Harry Styles manicures we are going to see? Mine included! Ha ha.

Nails Inc Monogram Manicure Collection is available for £20.00 at www.nailsinc.com. Alternatively, you can add some letters to your Nails Inc manicure when you book in on counter for an additional £6.00.

My new Shellac manicure with a side of fruit salad…

For some time now, accent nails have been on trend when it comes to your manicure. One nail, quite often the nail of the ring finger, is decorated slightly differently to the rest of the manicure so that it makes more of a statement.

Here’s an example of Beyonce’s accent nail – a bright, mint green nail thrown in amongst a candy floss pink manicure.

Today, I experimented with this style when I went for my Shellac manicure. My favourite manicurist in Birmingham, Zoey, showed me her fruit slices and I just could not resist but to give them a go. I’d seen these on the internet before but never in the flesh – they are nail art pieces that you buy in sticks and trim down into little slices.

My Shellac colour of choice was a hot turquoise called Hotski to Tchotchke. I love this colour because it looks really vibrant when I’ve got fake tan on but also compliments fair skin beautifully for the days when I’m au natural. After applying my base coat and two coats of the Shellac polish, Zoey carefully positioned the fruit slices onto the nail of my ring finger.

When she was done, she set this under the UV lamp and then sealed it again with an extra coat of gel. Once this had set she applied the Shellac top coat as normal to all nails. After lots of polish, I was delighted with the finished result!

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If you’re in Birmingham and you’d like to visit Zoey for a fruit salad manicure, use the contact details below to get in touch with her. A standard Shellac manicure costs £18.00 and fruit salad pieces are at a small extra cost. If you’re not local then be sure to scour eBay for your own nail art sticks – they’re always really cheap and come in a variety of styles. Enjoy your experiments!

  • Book with Zoey! Call Cherry Red salon in Wylde Green, Birmingham, on 0121 647 8117.


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Dream Jobs: The Nail Artist – Scratch Dollface

In the Summer of 2011, I enjoyed the company of one of the most eccentric people I’ve ever met. Scratchy by trade and Scratchy by name, this Londoner is known to those who encounter her as Scratch Dollface. Although her 9-5 job is teaching at a secondary school, she certainly isn’t one of these ‘the bell is a signal for me, not you’ types; Scratch uses her love for Fashion and Textiles to teach BTEC as a day job and work as a nail artist in her spare time.

A girl of 28 who has taken her natural flair and made a whirlwind of creative products, Scratch tells me the story behind her ever-growing brand.

When did you start doing nail art?
I’ve always done nail art for my friends. As a teenager I think I had the whole Spectacular nail polish range from Tammy Girl – they were such great colours. It was always a hobby of mine because I’ve always been into art – I think its something I have a natural flair for.

How did the Scratch Dollface brand emerge, and what made you pursue this as a career choice?
I started Scratch Dollface about 18 months ago after numerous requests for nail art and face painting from friends and colleagues. Word spread fast and people were recommending me to their friends, so I thought it would be a great to turn my hobby into a career. I’m a dedicated tweeter, so I’ve gained lots of followers there. I’ve also built up a good client base in Liverpool since discovering Peaches & Cream. One day I went in to show them my designs and they invited me to come and work with them during my visit… I now work there during all of my school holidays. Due to the growing demand for high fashion nails, my work has appealed to a lot of fashion followers wanting something different from the ordinary white tip or glitter. My passion for creativity is what keeps me going and I would eventually love to pursue this as a full time career.

How does your 9-5 job as a Fashion and Textiles teacher tie in with your Scratch Dollface empire?
I love teaching. My students are very complimentary about my nails and they help me to keep my ear to the street. Because my school is a specialist arts college we are always putting on big performances, for which I design and make costumes and do the hair and stage makeup.

Nail art has become especially popular since celebrities such as Katy Perry and Jessie J have been known to sport elaborate manicures. How do you keep your ideas fresh and ensure that you’re one step ahead of the crowd?
In order to keep my ideas fresh, I am constantly watching the catwalk to spot emerging trends and investing in new nail products in order to experiment. For me, it’s more than just applying a product and offering good customer care; I am trying to create something different for each and every customer, so I’m constantly looking for inspiration from all around me. I am an avid reader and collector of  ‘Scratch’ magazine (which is not associated with my name). It is like a bible for the nail world – it allows me to see new, innovating ideas and see what other nail technicians and artists are up to. I particularly enjoyed creating nail designs inspired by the recent Versace for H&M collection using the O.P.I Nicki Minaj collection.

Since the Scratch Dollface empire began, you’ve started customising accessories such as shoes and earrings, and even made pieces of jewellery. Why do you think people are so keen to invest in personalised fashion pieces?
I think it’s because it enables them to have something individual and one of a kind. I love being creative; I spend most of my time teaching my students how to make dresses but never have the time to make anything myself. This means that when I do get the time to make things, I love making jewellery and customising trainers. Currently I’m in the process of organising my designs to be printed onto converse style high-tops and these should be available soon.


Of all of the things in your repertoire, which Scratch Dollface talent is most enjoyable to you?
Nail art is my obvious favourite. I love the ways it can transform a person, and that they can wear their nail art like a piece of jewellery.

As a nail artist I imagine you’re extra aware of people’s manicures and pedicures. What do you think hands and feet say about a person?
I don’t mean to sound judgemental but I think you can tell a lot about a person from their nails. I’m not one of these people who is dolled up 24-7; however, I do my best to look neat and tidy and try to keep my nails and toes in good condition. Imagine the scenario – someone has just spent hours on their makeup, chosen a beautiful outfit and then you look down and see some crusty toes hanging out of her Louboutins. It’s just not right- to me, that says “all cash – no class”!

Scratch’s top tips for creating fabulous nail art:

  • Subscribe to Scratch Magazine and read it from cover to cover each month.
  • Take clear pictures of everything you do because no one will take you seriously without a good portfolio.
  • Enter nail art competitions.
  • Go to seminars/workshops and exhibitions to keep up to date with new products.

Scratch is a fabulous example of someone who uses her time productively to have her cake and eat it too. Knowing her on a personal level, I can assure you that after all of her hard work she still has time for a cocktail or two! Famed for her outrageous cackle, she’s a great example of the following phrase: ‘do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’.

For more information about Scratch Dollface:

More in the Dream Jobs series:

Scratch Dollface, Part One: Nail Artist

Whoever said style was all about your clothes?

Meet Scratch Dollface. At work she is a Fashion and Textiles teacher in London, and at play she is a nail artist extraordinaire in Liverpool.  This Summer, she is taking her usual holiday residence at Peaches and Cream and will be making custom nails to suit every fashionista worth her O.P.I polish.

Scratch creates her nails in two ways; she can apply a set of acrylic nails for you and work over them, or she can customise a set of stick on nails of your choice so that you can keep them for special occasions and take them on and off as you so wish. Whether you want to work with patterns, photographs, celebrity faces or gems, she can accommodate all kinds of weird and wonderful requests. Prices start at £25.00 for hands and £15.00 for toes.

Isn’t her place on the shelf gorgeous? All of the necklases have been made by Scratch and are priced at £25.00, and of course the beautiful Marebands on the bottom shelf have been made with love by Big Mare. (P.S The official Marebands website will be launching soon! Be sure to keep checking Mixed Gems for exclusive info and interviews when it does.)

What are you waiting for? Make sure you indulge in the ultimate manicure this Summer! Scratch will be at Peaches and Cream until the end of August. To book your appointment, contact her directly on 07903 402 793. She’ll be happy to answer any questions and to fill you in on all of your nail art options. You may also like to view more of Scratch’s photographs? She uses Twitter all the time so be sure to say hello and view her gallery, too.

So you’ve seen Part One, but what, you may be wondering, will Part Two entail? Be sure to subscribe to find out!

www.fabulousmakeup.co.uk