Mark Gel Shine Nail Enamel – new from Avon

Wednesday, October 11th 2017 Beauty, Nails

Mark by Avon Gel Nail Enamel header

Meet Mark – no, I’m not talking about a boy – it’s a new cosmetics range. Brought to you by Avon, Mark is a capsule collection for beauty lovers who enjoy bold colors and creative looks. It’s a bit of a different path for Avon, which has been around for over 100 years and has usually resided at a more classic end of the market. I was sent a few different items from the range, and it was the nail polishes that drew my eye first. The Mark Gel Shine Nail Enamel promises gel-like results without a UV lamp, or even a top coat. Time to put it to the test…

Model for a day with Bonnie Hu Nails and Makeup

Sunday, May 14th 2017 Nails

wearing Lady Voluptuous Flamingo

My friend Bonnie recently opened a makeup and nails studio here in Auckland, and invited me to come along to try out her services. I also have a friend who is a starting out as a  photographer, and she wanted me to model for her. I combined the two, added a couple of new dresses I had bought for my birthday and celebrating my new job, respectively, and here we have this shoot!

Nailed it NZ Nail Tool Essentials Kit Review

Wednesday, April 19th 2017 Nails

Nailed it NZ Nail art brushes review by Lena Talk Beauty

My friend Jessie from Nailed it NZ has released her own line of nail art brushes, and sent me the Nailed it NZ Nail Tool Essentials Kit! Jessie is a trained nail technician, and has been producing nail art videos on YouTube for several years now. She created this line of nail art brushes to enable people to create their best nail art, and I wanted to put this to the test. I am not at all what you would call a nail artist, but I’ve watched enough of Jessie’s videos to feel confident putting the Nailed it NZ brushes to the test.

Jamberry Nail Wraps Review

Thursday, March 30th 2017 Nails

Jamberry Brooklyn Bridge nail wraps by Lena Talks Beauty

Jamberry nail wraps have been on the beauty scene for a couple of years now, but I just got sent some and used them for the first time! What are nail wraps you ask? They are thin sheets of vinyl that adhere to your nails using heat and pressure, and come in a range of fun patterns and colours. Jamberry says their wraps can last up to 2 weeks on your nails, and I put that to the test. Now, I’m sure many of you are aware that Jamberry is a direct sales/network marketing business. For the purposes of this review, I am just going to focus on the wraps themselves – I’ll touch on their business operations at the end. I really wanted to keep an open mind and review the wraps in the same way I would any other product.

January and February 2017 empties

Wednesday, March 8th 2017 Nails

Lena Talks Beauty empties post - swisspers, simple, weleda, sebastian, olaplex, palmolive, pure fiji, mac cosmetics, collection cosmetics, paula's choice, innisfree, orly, hk girl

It’s time for another empties post! I didn’t use many products up during January so decided to make it a combined affair with February. Then everything seemed to run out all at once! I’ve been really trying to finish one product before opening another but we all know how hard that is. I have finished skin, hair, body, makeup, and nail items, so at least one from each of the main categories that I blog about. Some are even full size! Now, without further ado, let’s get stuck in. I’ll be linking in the titles to where I have reviewed the products previously.

Essie Naughty Nautical Nail Polish Review

Wednesday, February 8th 2017 Nails

Essie Naughty Nautical Nail Polish - Lena Talks Beauty

Essie makes some of my absolute favourite nail polishes, and today I’m excited to show you  Essie Naughty Nautical nail polish. If you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen it featured there. I was given this by Essie back in December, and it seemed particularly appropriate since at the time my friend Sophia and I were obsessed with watching the reality TV show Below Deck. There are plenty of naughty nautical activities on their luxury super yachts, as I watched while I painted my nails.

“Sail the sexy seas and chart a course for adventure in this shimmering, brilliant blue-green nail polish. Naughty never looked so nice”

Essence The Gel nail polish – Pretty Cool Life

Saturday, November 19th 2016 Nails


As you may have seen on my Instagram I recently got sent a bundle of goodies from Essence, and in it included Essence The Gel Nail Polish in the shade Pretty Cool Life. Not to be confused with their Gel Nails at Home range, The Gel Nail Polish is Essence’s conventional polish range, which was formerly known as Color & Go. Unlike a traditional gel polish you don’t need a UV or LED lamp to cure Essence The Gel Nail Polish. My understanding is that it is similar to Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and Revlon Gel Envy ranges. I put this polish to the test over the last week, and now I’m sharing my review of Essence The Gel Nail Polish with you all.

How to care for cuticles and nails

Friday, November 11th 2016 Nails


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or following me on social media, you probably know that I love having nice nails. I always have them polished and tend to wear them fairly long. However, this wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, my nails were a wreck. I bit them, and I worked in cafes where they just got ruined every day. I stopped working in hospitality about four years ago, and started trying to grow my nails. After I conquered the biting, I wanted to figure out how to make them strong and look nice. My nature is to research everything I’m interested in to great detail. So over the last few years I’ve been researching how to care for your nails, from the internet as well as through having a couple of friends who are qualified nail technicians. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the products that I use to care for my nails and cuticles, as well as some of the lifestyle tips that help me too.

Ombre nails with striped feature nail

Tuesday, March 15th 2016 Nails

ombre with striping nail art the beauty context - lena talks beauty

Hi,  I’m Marleen from The Beauty Context and today I’m guest posting about ombre nails while Lena is busy unpacking in her new house.

I am nail obsessed! I stalk nails on Instagram, drool over nail polish stands in store, and occasionally I attempt doing my own nails. Sometimes I have huge plans for them, intricate patterns and designs which more often than not, leave me with smudge nails and a whole lot of frustration. So today I thought I would share with you an easy nail look that anyone can do.

This nail looks is a simple ombre nail with line details on the index feature nail. It might look difficult but it is fairly simple once you know how to do it.

January Empties

Wednesday, February 3rd 2016 Nails


During January I managed to finish a respectable five products, as well as deciding to throw out a couple of things that I just never use. They were: Trilogy botanical body wash*, Eleven miracle hair treatment, Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF 15 as well as a sample size, Manicare Cuticle Therapy Oil, Kleancolour Madly Matte top coat, and Jordana calcium basecoat. All bar one of them were full sized as well, so that’s a good effort. I haven’t been wearing as much makeup lately because it is SO HOT and humid here in Auckland so that probably explains why everything is skincare, hair, body, and nail products.

eleven miracle hair treatment, trilogy adrian hailwood body wash - lena talks beauty

Eleven Miracle Hair Treatment

I got this in a subscription box way back in September 2014! I went back to see what I wrote about it when I originally got it and I said “Even considering how much I need to use for my long hair, I think this would last a fairly decent amount of time, so it’s good value for money” – well I was right! I used this the majority of times that I wash my hair and I always noticed a difference in how it dried.

Repurchase? Probably, I’m currently using a similar product but will buy this again.

Trilogy Botanical Body Wash – Hailwood limited edition*

This is Trilogy’s classic Botanical Body Wash in beautiful limited edition packaging in a collaboration with NZ fashion label Hailwood. The scent is nice and it’s unisex (compared to a lot of the body washes I use/buy) so guys have been happy using it too. I like Trilogy’s eco-friendly ethos as it’s research based and isn’t hysterical about chemicals like some natural skincare companies are.

Repurchase? A bit expensive for me, but maybe as a gift for someone special.

Kleancolour madly matte, jordana calcium basecoat, manicare cuticle therapy - lena talks beauty

Kleancolor Madly matte top coat

The reason why this is in my empties despite being nearly full is that it’s a terrible product. I replaced it with Sally Hansen Big Matte top coat which you can read a review of here). If you want a bargain then save yourself some money and don’t buy it,

Repurchase? No way

Jordana Calcium Gel

I bought this at a time of desperation when my nails kept breaking, but it didn’t have any real benefit. My nail technician friends don’t think base coats or things like this are of any use, or at least no more so than a plain clear nail polish. I gave up using it after a while and stuck to my favourite Orly Bonder or Essie Fill the Gaps.

Repurchase? No.

Manicare Cuticle Therapy Oil

In contrast to base coats, cuticle oil is something I’m always told is beneficial for my nails so I try my best to use it regularly. Manicare Cuticle Therapy oil has Apricot oil, Wheat germ oil, mineral oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera extract so it’s a great combination of nourishing ingredients. The only thing that I didn’t like about it was that it was hard to get the last of the oil out of the bottle with the brush, I had to resort to pouring it onto my nails. Instead of buying this again I bought Benecos Natural Nail Care pen because of the handy dispensing mechanism – buy it from

Repurchase? No, but wouldn’t rule it out.

neutrogena hydro boost spf 15, neutrogena hydro boost - lena talks beauty

Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF15 & Neutrogena Hydro Boost

I’ve written about how much I like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range in previous posts, and I still feel the same about it. I like that it’s Hyaluronic Acid based but you don’t have to apply it separately like the famed Hydraluron serum which I was pretty lazy with applying. However, I’m a creature who seeks novelty so I haven’t repurchased the Hydro Boost SPF 15. The classic Hydro Boost was also nice but I have sooo many other moisturisers that this one didn’t tickle my fancy enough to buy again.

Repurchase? Maybe one day.

Good effort me! I’ll be moving within the next month or so, so i imagine next month’s empties post will be pretty full because I’ll have to do some downsizing of my collection. Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?


*Product provided for review.


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