whoever you want to be…

Nailing it


Yep, they’re all mine. And that’s after a clear-out (and not including at least 4 nude shades I deemed too boring to photograph). Ever since I grew my nails after years of biting them to the quick I haven’t been able to resist the lure of those shiny, rainbow-hued little bottles. I’ll happily spend ages choosing the exact right shade to match my mood, or my outfit, then Instagram-ing the results. My collection includes everything from cheapo Collection 2000 to spendy Chanel*.

Ringing the changes roughly once a week, I’ve come to really enjoy my home manicures. I relish the little bubble of time spent focussing on one thing, without the television, or Twitter, or that pile of washing I really should put in the machine distracting me. After too many botched rush jobs (smudging my nail varnish is one of the things guaranteed to make me use all the bad words) (you won’t catch me painting my nails on the tube or the bus – how do women do that without getting varnish everywhere?), now I make sure to take my time. Even so, I’m still fond of anything that speeds up the process a bit – so here are my home manicure tips:

  • First, something that the glossy magazines won’t tell you – go to the loo before you start 😉
  • Make sure you have everything you need to hand – remover, cotton wool, nail file, buffer, varnish, hand cream.
  • To remove old varnish I use the Bourgois Magic pot, which is brilliant. Quick and easy to use, and lasts for ages.  No need to scrub nails to remove stubborn bits of old varnish, unless it’s a glitter one, in which case the best way to remove it without losing the will to live is the foil trick: soak cotton wool in remover, wrap around top of finger and cover with foil (it will look like your fingers are wearing foil hats). Leave for 5 minutes, then remove. Hopefully most of the glitter should come away easily.
  • You do need a base coat and a top coat if you want your manicure to last more than 5 minutes  – you can use the same thing to do both jobs, but I have separate ones. I swear by Sally Hansen base coats, there seems to be one for every nail ‘issue’. A good base coat will also prevent the polish from staining your nails.
  • I really do recommend getting a quick drying top coat, as it’s so frustrating to have spent time creating pretty nails only for them to smudge as soon as you do so much as think about using your hands for anything. I use Seche Vite, which is excellent – my nails are dry more or less instantly, with a lovely glossy shine. A bottle should last for ages, so it’s worth the £8 or so (I’m only on my second bottle in two years).
  • With your chosen colour try and paint following the shape of your nail, rather than trying to cover the entire nail – many a time I’ve ended up with varnish all over my cuticles and the skin at the sides. For most varnishes two coats should do the job. Tidy up any messy bits with a cotton bud dipped in remover, whack on your top coat and you’re good to go.
  • There are a couple of things I am lazy about – cuticle care, and hand cream. Life is too short to worry about cuticles, but when I feel they need attention I splodge on some Flexitol Cuticle and Nail Cream. It takes care of cuticles and hang nails without having to wield any fancy clippers.

My favourite varnishes at the moment are Illamasqua and L’Oreal Colour Riche. Illamasqua are expensive, yes, but have excellent sales on their website – I’ve picked up stuff for a fiver in the past. Their famed speckled ones are gorgeous, and I’m wearing Lament at the moment – a lovely bright coral that’s perfect for summer. L’Oreal have a great colour range (I have my eye on the new neon ones), with a wide brush that makes applying a doddle. And they are 3 for 2 in Boots at the moment! Both have great staying power.

Whether I’ve used a budget brand or that O.P.I pay day treat, seeing my colourful nails catching the light or clacking away on my keyboard lifts my mood. It may be frivolous, but hey, we all need a bit of that in our lives, don’t we?

*Oh, Chanel varnishes. Such beautiful colours, but they always always chip on me more or less immediately. So annoying. Save your money, and buy 3 drug store ones instead!**

**Maybe don’t take advice from a woman with an obvious nail varnish-buying problem…


4 comments on “Nailing it

  1. Stella
    July 29, 2013

    Oh, I love Chanel nail polish. But I only use it on my toes (how Paris Hilton is THAT?!?) which probably makes chipping less of an issue. I also got a sample of Maybelline Colorama in Power Red recently which is a great red and seems to have staying power.

    • Anne-Marie
      July 30, 2013

      Yep, I’m using up my Chanel ones on my toes too! Will definitely look at that Maybelline one, thanks!

  2. Susan Walters
    July 29, 2013

    I’ve only recently started using nail varnish as I always bit my nails when I was little and I was too self conscious to draw attention to them but now I love them (helped a little by having a six year old who loves all the colours!) great tip about the glitter – Olivia kindly added some to my toes and it took forever to get the stuff off!

    • Anne-Marie
      July 30, 2013

      Yay! I actually only stopped biting my left thumbnail two years ago – I managed to kick the habit with all the others in my twenties but that one was so hard to stop nibbling :/

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