Sunday, 9 November 2014

The beat goes on - a closer look at the Alexa Heart set by Nails INC...

I've fallen behind with Nails INC as a brand; you can buy China Glaze polishes year-round two or three pounds cheaper than the bigger drugstore brands, and my local TK Maxx nearly always has bottles by OPI, Ciatè, and Orly in stock for £4 or £5, so I can get two or three polishes by them for the price of a single Nails INC polish. But then came the Boots Christmas catalogue to reignite my love of Nails INC by showing me a photo of the limited edition Alexa Hearts polish set.

I went to the Nails INC site for a closer look at the set, as my local Boots is small so doesn't stock Nails INC, and once there captions like "free shipping with this item" and "free gift with orders over £35" suckered me into opening my wallet within two minutes...

Lets take a closer look: "Style insider" (is she a model? I'm not being bitchy - I just really don't know) Alexa Chung is the latest face of Nails INC, and she has picked her two favourite polish shades and one of her fabric inspired polishes for this gift set. Plus she has 'helped create' three new Special Effect (transforming topcoats) for this set too.

The set also includes a catwalk inspired cosmetics bag (I have actually used this as a evening bag a few times), and professional nail file.  
silver and gold stars top coat
bright red hearts top coat
Alexa’s favourite deep dark navy polish
shimmering top coat
Alexa’s favourite lilac polish
soft pink Cashmere effect polish

Lets kick things off with what I think are the stars in this set; the navy and the lilac polishes. They are both one coaters, that are silky smooth to apply, and they dry quickly. If I got to pick two nail polishes to include in a set I'd pick navy and lilac cremes, so I think that these two shades (not available to buy separately) are the bees knees.

You can buy the third colour polish separately; I wasn't sure what the fabric effect polish in Cashmere would actually be like, but it turns out that I enjoy it and will go on to wear it a lot. It is a lovely shade of pinkish nude that makes my fair skin look tanned. It can be worn year round, for any occasion. The polish contains glass flecks to give the creme finish a softly bobbled look (see close-up photo) - although the polish does dry nice and smoothly. This polish is very nearly a one coater; there are sometimes one or two thin spots with one coat on me, but I'm sure that someone that is better at pointing their nails can get away with just the one coat. The polish dries quickly, so applying a second coat doesn't take up a lot of time.

I wore these polishes without a base or topcoat for over two days before I began to notice minimal wear (the Cashmere was the first to show wear). But as I'm a self powered wheelchair user I'm tough on my hands and am always catching my nails, so I can't really speak for how long lasting the formula is overall.

The Alexa collection of Nails INC polishes cost £15 each so I've already got my monies worth from this set, but we're only halfway through...


Sorry that these swatches are messy; shit lighting + poor eyesight = messy mani. 
I wanted to post it anyway while this set is still easy to find, rather then redo it and retest swatch-life...

In the bottle the holographic topcoat looks like the glitter is full-on in a silver base, but on the nail I found that the glitter is very fine in a clear base. Grown-up sparkle. 

As you can see the glitter looks much more subtle when layered over lighter polishes, whilst it looks rather dramatic over a darker base. I love that you can wear it as either subtle or intense depending on when and where youll be going - this is a very versatile all-rounder. Ill have to experiment with different layering techniques with this; such as over half of the nail, or as a gradient.

The polish applies smoothly and is quick to dry too, plus it added almost two days to the life of my manicure (no base or topcoat).


And to round off this set we have two bottles of prettily shaped polish in a clear base. Nails INC calls these topcoats and the clear base means that you certainly can use these bottles as such, but I personally, like all polish brands with similar glitter designs in, find it much easier fish the glitter onto the brush and place them onto the nail - just applying this as a regular polish means that most of the time you won't pick up any glitter, and when you do the brush strokes will push it to the very end of the nail.
These do make fun accents to use in place of nail stickers, so I will happily use them, but they aren't something that I'd buy separatley. But, strictly speaking, they're free bonus items, so I have zero complaints with their inclusion in this set.
As I spent over £35 I also qualified for a free gift. There were three tiny pictures (you couldn't enlarge them) of different colour combinations for your three mini polish set in the free gift category to choose from and whilst I picked the purple toned set, not this one, I planned on using it as part of someone's birthday present anyway so can't complain about a free bonus item that I won't be using.
An awesome extra, as it is a top-quality set of nicely presented polishes, so it's going to make a very nice birthday gift for someone. 

I also joined the site's V.I.P. club, to get my order up to £50. As a V.I.P member you are awarded one point for every ten pounds you spend & can cash every five in to get five pounds of you next order. So I now have £5 off my next order.
Anyway, I pointed this out because you get a free full-sized polish when you sign up to the V.I.P list; I don't know if they use any random polish for the join-up gift, or if they have a particular polish shade that they use, but here's what I got.


Finally; my order was delivered quickly. I ordered my set on a Thursday afternoon and received it on the following Monday morning. The items were individually wrapped, then placed inside a black Nails INC branded shopping bag.

There was also a individual serving sized bag of popcorn with my order too, which was a łovely personal touch.

You can buy the Alexa Heart set from the official site here for £45. You get free shipping and qualify for a free gift when you order it.

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