Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BalbCare Waterless Manicures & Pedicures Workshop

Have you ever considered having a manicure or pedicure done without water? The answer is probably no, as was mine up to last Monday. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at Beautica nail salon in Paola, where, as part of a group of 10 professionals in the beauty industry, mainly nail technicians and beauty therapists, we were introduced to the innovative BalbCare Waterless Manicure & Pedicure Kits.
I was intrigued to attend the workshop as soon as it showed up on my Facebook news feed as it truly is something innovative, and I don't regret being a part of it at all! Read on to find out what this is all about and how you can upgrade your hand care experience at Nailara for just an additional €5!
First of all, BalbCare kits have been developed by BalbPharm Institute which is based in Brazil. The company is not only concerned with offering high quality products, but also with the health of customers and promoting an environmentally sustainable range of products for the care of hands, feet and ultimately nails.
image courtesy of BalbCare Malta on Facebook
Statistics show that every minute, more than 100 BalbCare kits are used around the world, so this has to be something good that clients enjoy. First of all, BalbCare eliminates the use of water, hence reducing the risk of contamination and fungal/bacterial nail infections (we all know that fungi and bacteria thrive in moist environments). It also eliminates the use of cuticle removers and oil, creams, scrubs and paraffin as well as the use of towels and soaking bowls. Thereby, the treatment is much less time consuming.
What makes BalbCare so effective and innovative? Well, the answer is simple, really! Basically, the system provides disposable kits which contain gloves or socks, an emery board and a cuticle pusher - all sterile. The magic is all in the gloves/socks where they contain 26g/30g of emulsion respectively which provides 6 benefits to the client:
- The emulsion is a professional-grade base emollient
- Anti-Germ Protection System
- Contains Haemostatic Powder which helps to seal damaged skin tissue
- Calcium enriched formula to promote strong, healthy nails
- Keratin Nutritional Complex which also promotes strong nails
- Exclusive Polymer Holder which promotes better adhesion of nail polish, gel polish and nail enhancements to the natural nails  
Moreover, BalbCare kits contain naturally derived active ingredients such as Tea Tree together with its essential oil and Allantoin which are known for their antiseptic, antifugal and anti-inflammatory properties; as well as Calcium Pantothenate (to strengthen the natural nails and provide nutrition for the same nails) and the exclusively developed 3 R236 Polymer which adapts the nail surface for further product application.
All these factors make BalbCare especially good for people who suffer from Eczema and Psoriasis as the ingredients in the emulsion will help ease dryness and soothe the skin. Other advantages that this system offers are protection against fungal and bacterial infections, healthier nails, reduced treatment time and treatment innovation with highest hygiene standards.
After a very detailed presentation and demonstration delivered by Karolina, the salon owner herself, we were each given the opportunity to try BalbCare ourselves on each other. I really enjoyed being pampered for 5 minutes by fellow blogger and nail technician Lorraine from Lola Loves Sparkles and then I had the opportunity to return the favour!
Us with Karolina
Results are seen and felt from the very first application and I am really looking forward to offering this service to my clients! BalbCare manicures can be done on their own or in conjunction with gel manicures (more info on my page will be published soon).
image taken by me
image taken by me
image taken by me
For more information about this innovative way to do manicures and pedicures, check out the BalbCare Malta Facebook Page and their website at

At the end of the workshop, we were each given an official certificate of attendance which I shall proudly hang in my nail room :)

Photos were all taken by  photographer Raymond Muscat (unless otherwise stated). He can be contacted by email on

Monthly Favourites | August

August was all about having fun in the sun for me :) Starting the month right off with a weekend in Gozo and every weekend that followed was pretty much characterised by lazy days at the beach when I was not working. All along, I have been enjoying the following products throughout the month.
My favourite summer scent is Coconut, more specifically, the one that The Body Shop products have. Now I can carry this scent for a longer time thanks to their Coconut Eau de Toilette :D I got this for free the last time I went shopping there with the Love Your Body Card and I have been using it everyday since! It's got a nice scent that's not overpowering yet it still lasts all day :)

Another favourite smell that reminds me of summer is Mango and I have indulged in these travel sized shower gel, body scrub and body butter while in Gozo. They are all from The Body Shop as well and I really do recommend getting your favourite products in this format to save on space. They smell so good, you almost mistake them for the real thing! The same can be said for the Mango Sobet body lotion of which I have a sample and have been loving lately. It's definitely going in my wishlist!
The last The Body Shop product is their newly launched InstaBlur. It is basically a primer that can be used alone or under foundation. I love how the product melts into your skin and evens out the skin tone and provides an excellent base for any makeup, even in this heat!

Using sunscreen everyday is a must, more so in the hot summer days. I always make sure to protect my face with a high SPF factor so a little help to look tanned is always welcome. This year, my favourite bronzer is the Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing Powder for Medium Skin in 010 Shimmering Bronze. I'm super pale skinned but this bronzer doesn't look dark on me. I like to use the light part for a subtle sun-kissed glow.
If you live in a place with a humid climate, you know it's an everyday struggle to keep makeup from sliding off your face. For my eyes, I favour waterproof mascaras during the summer and my favourite one is actually a new discovery for me...the Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara. It has an insanely black colour and it lasts all day without budging and it can only be taken off with waterproof makeup remover!

I have also been enjoying the Sleek MakeUP Arabian Nights Smoke & Shadows Limited Edition Palette. There are 12 beautiful smoky shades that I have been playing around with a lot lately and I love the different ways they can be combined together for unconventional smoky eye looks.

For lips, I have three Pupa Milano products that I have been wearing all the time. The Shiny Lip Fluid 001 Princess Nude is my favourite nude lipgloss and I wear this mostly during the day. For brighter alternatives I favoured the Navy Chic matt lipstick 001 Chic Pink and I'M Lipstick 206 Coral Dream.

Lastly, I have a few nail products. The Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat has concluded my search for the perfect top coat...I just love this one! It has a glossy finish, dries fast and makes manicure last longer. Next I have a selection of glitter polishes from Sally Hansen which I have enjoyed wearing alone or as toppers over other polishes. The shades are 510 Strobe Flash, 540 Glitter Gun and 740 Carnival. The last product is also by Sally Hansen and it is their Cuticle Rehab. This has been a cuticle saviour for me as it helps keep them moisturised and my nails feel as strong as ever with this new addition to my nail care routine!

The last favourite I have to share for this month is this manicure where I have used decals from Born Pretty Store. I like how it turned out to be and the results were totally worth the time!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review | Sleek MakeUP i-Divine Snapshots Palette

A while back, I blogged about Sleek MakeUP's latest limited edition i-Divine palette, the Arabian Nights Smoke & Shadows. Today, I have the Snapshots i-Divine palette, which for me, with its rich, bright collection of shades is the perfect eyeshadow palette for summer.

By now, you all now how the i-Divine palettes are packaged in a carton box and how sturdy yet light-weigh the actual palettes are. The large mirror is also compulsory and so is the clear plastic film bearing the names of the eyeshadows and the dual ended sponge applicator.
The colour pay-off of the shades in this palette is exceptional especially the frosty shades. The matte shades seem to be less pigmented and the lighter ones are in fact not as pigmented as I would have liked them to be, but nothing a good primer base can't fix. Lasting power is also very good for both finishes (the frosted shades have proved to be equally long wearing even without a primer). 

Now, let's get to the fun part and have a closer look at the shades in the Snapshots palette:

Summer Breeze ~ light minty-green with a matte finish

Martini ~ frosty nude beige

Sand Walker ~ medium matte beige

Washed Ashore ~ orange based beige with a matte finish

Kiwi Flower ~ a super pigmented kiwi green with a frosty finish

Lotus Flower ~ another richly pigmented frost eyeshadow, in a dark lilac colour

Sunset ~ deep rust with red undertones and a frosty/shimmery finish

Green Iguana ~ blue-based green with excellent pigmentation and a shimmery finish

Humming Bird ~ shimmering teal with gold frost throughout
Tequila Sunrise ~ burnt orange with a frosty finish
Purple Haze ~ matte deep purple
Magenta Madness ~ matte magenta
I would really recommend this palette to anyone who isn't afraid of playing with colour on their eyes 
and at €9.99 it makes a lovely gift too! Get yours now on the Sleek MakeUP website!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review | Born Pretty Store Flower Water Decals

It's no secret that I love using water decals on my nails to give an original touch to a manicure. Consequently it was only natural that I chose this sheet of floral decals from Born Pretty Store for my next manicure.
There are a total of four varieties to choose from for this particular decal but you can find a multitude of other nail art decals on the website.
Since the design is continuous, I decided to go for something different and opted to use the decal on half of each fingernail. What I did was simply remove the protective film and cut the decal to the size I wanted. Next, working one nail at a time, I submerged the individual pieces in room temperature water for 10 seconds before taking them out again and positioning on dry, polished nails.
The decals give you approximately one minute to work with them before they dry so you have plenty of time to get them to where you want them to. Always blot excess water with a tissue and when completely dry, seal with a top coat to protect your design and ensure maximum wear. For this design, I also added some striping tape before the top coat for a more polished look.

The decals remained intact until I came to take them off after 5 days of wear and they never shrinked with top coat or anything.
What do you think of this design ladies? Are you fans of water decals? Get your flower nail water decals for just $1.43 and you can always get 10% off with the code EBABK31!

** From the 10th till 31st of August, nail art decorations in wheels from Born Pretty Store are all at 30% off! ** 

PR Sample

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review | Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat

In the beginning of the month, I was on a short break at Gozo, our more serene and tranquil sister island and of course, I had to fit in a little shopping spree.
I picked up this Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat after hearing a lot of good things about it and seeing I was searching for the perfect top coat, I thought of giving it a go. After trying 3279 top coats and a gazillion ways of trying to make them work, well, I can officially say the search is finally over!

Pupa Milano are well known for their novelty packaging and while the nail polishes themselves are presented in pretty standard bottles, nail treatments and in this case, the Gel Top Coat are supplied in a small carton box as well. I really like the brush of Pupa Milano nail polishes because it has a roundish end that mirrors the shape of the cuticle, hence offering easy, fool-proof application.
The formula is very easy to work with and dries to the signature volumised, glossy look of gel manicures. Moreover, on me, it lasts for a whole 6 days without chipping or tip wear! It can be used with any nail polish but works exceptionally well with the Pupa Milano Lasting Colour Gel polishes (check out my review here).
The Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat does not require a UV lamp to dry but it still dries very quickly despite its thick formula. Better results are achieved if the colour underneath is allowed to dry completely before applying the top coat.  
One last thing to mention is that I have never experienced any smudging on my nail art while applying this top coat and it is perfect for glitter polishes as it eliminates that gritty feel.

Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat is available for sale from authorised pharmacies and outlets at €6 for 5ml of product. More information can be found on the Pupa Milano in Malta Facebook page.