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Nail HQ All In One | Base Coat Review

For this review of Nail HQ All In One I’ve only been testing the product for a couple of weeks. So I can’t yet say if it lives up to its claims (more of which below), but I can say that I do like it as a base coat.

This is a blue-tinted base coat that is a multi-solution product for weak, soft and brittle nails. It paints on easily and leaves a slightly roughened texture to the nail, which is exactly what you want from a base coat so that the polish will adhere well to it. The blue tint doesn’t show up on the nail at all.

Nail HQ All In One
Nail HQ All In One

All In One is made with acai berry, argan oil and “replenishing mineral complex”. That last bit is marketing speak for “chemicals”. I don’t mean to rubbish the product, but I do get angry about the marketing of health and beauty products, and with manufacturers who insist on making up product ingredients like this. After all, in my day job I am a marketing consultant, and I know how these sorts of product descriptions come about.

Description aside, it is a nice base coat and one that I would definitely use again. Up until now I have been using Beauty UK’s base coat. This is the same price and I think is a superior product, so I fully intend to switch to using this. Nail HQ All In One is available on Amazon for £3.99 (currently) as an add-on item.

So, to those claims. The formula is supposed to help prevent breakages in weak nails by hydrating the nail, strengthening it and helping to promote growth. The argan oil and the mineral complex help provide the moisture balance that is necessary for flexible nails, which in turn prevents brittleness and breakages.

Now I haven’t had any breakages or splits or flaking since I’ve used it. But I have recently changed to a new nail shape, which I think helps with all that anyway. So it’s a little hard for me to objectively evaluate this claim.

You can use this base coat on its own or under nail polish. The instructions say to wear it for 4-5 days and then remove and re-apply.

There is a whole range of nail care products available, including a “plain” base coat, a strengthener, a hardener, a growth formula and cuticle oil. This is the full range :

Nail HQ nail care range
Nail HQ nail care range

I have used the cuticle oil and really like it. I usually make my own cuticle oil, but bought some Nail HQ cuticle oil when I ran out recently. I have just this week finished up the bottle and can definitely recommend this Nail HQ product too. It is odourless, which I like. I am not always keen on the scents in cuticle oil – with the notable exception of Dadi’Oil – I can’t get enough of the smell of that! And the oil contains jojoba oil, which is very close in make-up to the body’s own natural moisturisers.


For this review I’ve used:
  • Base coat: one coat of Nail HQ All In One, under nail polish

All manicure images are copyright to Kerruticles unless otherwise mentioned.
Nail HQ All In One was sent to me for review. All views expressed in this post are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.




NYK1 Prep&Shine

NYK1 Secrets sent me a sample bottle of their best-selling Prep&Shine product to try out.

It cleans, sanitises, prepares and dehydrates the nail prior to nail treatments. Typically, this is for gel and acrylic treatments, but it’s apparently good for all types of nail treatments, including nail polish, as it ensures good adhesion.

I normally use acetone in a final swipe of the nail to make certain that it’s free from oil and moisture. However, what I like about Prep&Shine is that it not only dehydrates the nail, but it also kills germs. I’ve had nail fungus on my toenails and it’s something I don’t want on my fingernails, so I have been loving using this product for that reason alone.

A tiny bit goes a long way, and I’ve been using this before all my manicures now to ensure that my base coat adheres well to the natural nail. I can’t say for sure how well it’s done as I’ve not tested it in any formal way, but my manicures have certainly lasted well, so I think it’s lived up to its claims.

NYK1 Secrets Prep&Shine
NYK1 Secrets Prep&Shine

It’s also very good for cleaning brushes without ruining them.  Acetone and normal polish remover can both damage brushes, taking away the natural shine from real bristles, and melting synthetic bristles. I’ve not used my nail art brushes since receiving this sample, but I’ll definitely be cleaning them in Prep&Shine from now on.

Finally, Prep&Shine can apparently dilute regular polish if it’s starting to get a bit thick. Just adding a few drops to the bottle will bring it back to life. I’m not sure about this one. Well, I’m sure it would work, but the product smells a little like TCP, and that’s not a smell I’d like added to my polish personally. And anyway, I already have a nice big bottle of nail thinner.

This product is primarily made for removing the sticky residue that’s present after curing a gel nail polish under a UV lamp. I don’t have any gel nail polishes – nor even a lamp – but it’s something I would love to try some day.

However, its benefits of sanitising brushes and dehydrating the nail plate prior to polishing are good enough for me. And the 30ml bottle looks like it will last for ages. It costs just £5.95, with free mainland UK delivery. I checked out the reviews on Amazon, and they are really great, with most reviewers giving the product 5 stars.

All images are copyright to Kerruticles unless otherwise mentioned.
Products shown in this post were sent to me for review. All views expressed in this post are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.




Dark Metal Lacquer Cuticle Oil

Kam from Dark Metal Lacquer very kindly sent me some of her grapefruit scented cuticle oil to try out.

I make my own cuticle oil and I have a bottle in the living room and a bottle on my desk in my office, but despite this, I’m always forgetting to use it. But this oil from Dark Metal Lacquer comes in a pen dispenser and has been an absolute godsend. I’ve left it in the car and have been applying it at traffic lights and in jams (there are lots of those in London). I can’t use the other cuticle oils that I own in the car; I’m sure I’d spill the open bottle all down me. But this little click pen is much more convenient. You simply remove the cap and click the base clockwise, which dispenses a small amount of oil onto the brush. It’s easy then to swipe the brush around the edge of the cuticle.

I really adore the grapefruit scent. I don’t like to eat the fruit itself, but I do love the smell (and have been known to demolish grapefruit flavour sweets). There are other scents available too: coconut, lemon, vanilla, rose and almond.

Dark Metal Lacquer grapefruit cuticle oil
Dark Metal Lacquer grapefruit cuticle oil

I’ve been using it for about ten days now. I’ve used it every single day, and I put that down to the handy format that it comes in. Ultimately, this means that my cuticles are in much better shape. Before, I would frequently forget to use cuticle oil, even though I have bottles stashed where I *can* easily use them. I think having this in a format I can use in the car is the real benefit. There’s not much else to distract you in the car when you’re stopped in traffic, so it’s become second nature for me to apply some oil.

I also love that the pen is refillable, meaning I can replenish the oil when it runs out. Kam’s oil contains jojoba oil, which my own does, and which I rate very highly for nails and cuticles. She’s also put in rice bran oil, grapeseed oil and tea tree essential oil. The oil costs just £4 and can bought from the Dark Metal Lacquer shop.

All images are copyright to Kerruticles unless otherwise mentioned.
Products shown in this post were sent to me for review. All views expressed in this post are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.




Lotil Original cream for dry skin

I suffer quite badly with eczema and psoriasis. It’s covered most of my body at one time or another since I was twenty-three and had Scarlet Fever. The area it affects moves around every two or three years. Currently, my scalp and hands are mostly affected. My palms are particularly bad, and sometimes they are bad enough to crack and bleed.

It doesn’t bother me too much, except for when I’m photographing my nails. I deliberately take my photos so that not much of my palms is shown, but still, when my hands are at their worst, you can see the deep furrows on my photos.

I received a sample of Lotil cream to try. It’s supposed to be good for all number of ailments such as dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal – so great for nails bloggers – and it helps with healing.  I tested it for a week using it twice a day, morning and night.

It has a mild, pleasant scent. It’s a very soft smell that’s reminiscent (in strength) of baby products. And it was lovely and rich, immediately hydrating and moisturising my dry hands.

Lotil Original cream for dry skin
Lotil Original


I have to confess to not having heard of Lotil before, but it’s been around for more than 100 years, having first been sold in 1910. I forgot to take photos when I started to use it, but it has improved my hands markedly. Nothing seems to completely cure my hands (I need to significantly improve my diet for that to happen, I think), but this cream was soothing and really improved the dryness.

Lotil is available in various sizes:

  • 30ml tube (travel/handbag sized)
  • 50ml tube
  • 114ml tub
  • 500ml pump dispenser

There’s also a Lotil-branded lip balm and a foot cream. You can buy Lotil in Boots; the 50ml cream is usually £3.59 but seems to be on offer for £2.87 at the moment.


Products shown in this post were sent to me for review. All views expressed in this post are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.




Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Polish Remover

I spotted the Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Polish Remover in Scratch magazine and thought it looked good.  It’s supposedly more gentle on your nails and cuticles, leaving them less prone to dehydration, weakness and cracking.

Sounds good to me. My nails are dry, weak and tend to split, peel and crack and I know that my regular use of acetone contributes to this. However, I do always try to moisturise my hands and fingers at least once a day, and use cuticle oil once or twice a day too. This regime seems to help, but if I could still do that and use a better polish remover as well, then that would be the best situation.

So, I purchased a sample of this polish remover to try out. I was quite surprised when it arrived and it was in a teeny, tiny bottle. I haven’t measured it, and it doesn’t say, but my guess is that it’s about 2 or 3ml. It was only £1 though, including postage, so not too much to splash out.

Fresh Therapies natural Nail Polish remover
Sample bottle of Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Polish Remover

To test the remover, I removed the polish from a manicure where each nail had the same on it. I removed one nail using my usual acetone (with a touch of glycerine) and one with the Fresh Therapies remover. I used a lint-free pad and kept in on the nail for about ten seconds, before swiping the polish off the nail.

With the acetone, this took four swipes in total and all the polish was gone, except a little under the free edge, which I typically clean off using a brush afterwards.

With the Fresh Therapies remover, it didn’t break down the top layers of polish anywhere near as successfully, and the first three or four swipes only took a small amount of polish off.  I ended up using twenty-one swipes to get all the polish off, and had to employ a bit of rubbing too. Because it doesn’t evaporate like acetone, it left my nails wet, which I’m not used to. But it did smell nice; it had a lovely lime freshness.

Acetone versus Fresh Therapies remover comparison
Polish remover comparison: acetone (left) versus Fresh Therapies Natural Polish Remover (right)

So, what’s my verdict? I was disappointed. This remover just doesn’t work as well as acetone, and I wouldn’t buy it. (Those of you who use non-acetone remover may find it’s comparable though).

It’s also very expensive. A 50ml bottle costs £8.99 (plus £3 postage and packing). I buy litre bottles of acetone from Sally’s for £6.49. So my acetone costs 32.5 pence for the equivalent amount that I’d get in a bottle of £8.99 Fresh Therapies remover. If you look at it the other way around, the price differential is clearer to see: that would be nearly £180 for a litre bottle of the Fresh Therapies remover.

Much as I like the idea of using a more natural product that doesn’t dry out the nails so much, it didn’t work as efficiently as acetone does, and it just doesn’t make financial sense, especially seeing as I get through so much remover.