Saturday 10 December 2016

Christmas Nailed - the colours to get you in the party mood

A nice nude or a bit of rebel red on the nails, says our expert, and you're halfway to the party mood

Sarah Caden

Published 28/11/2016 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, Chanel Velvet Nail Colour in Pink Rubber; Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Colour in Stay Classy; Jo Malone London Geranium & Walnut Hand Cream; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in New Flame; LOV LovTender Cuticle Treatment
Pictured, from left, Chanel Velvet Nail Colour in Pink Rubber; Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Colour in Stay Classy; Jo Malone London Geranium & Walnut Hand Cream; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in New Flame; LOV LovTender Cuticle Treatment

It's the end of November, which means that it will be December next. We've been very restrained on this page, and have resisted until now, but it's time to mention Christmas. While some people just can't wait to sprinkle themselves with glitter and go out like a mobile string of tinsel, others prefer to keep the Christmas cosmetic cheer a little more low-key. A touch of highlighter here, a bit of glow there, and maybe a rooting out of that reliable red lipstick that makes them feel the party has started.

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If you haven't taken care of your hands for a while, a salon manicure is to be recommended. Even if you plan on switching up your nail colour a few times over the season, a professional will get rid of hangnails and rough cuticles, and give your nails a good basic shape. Once you have that foundation, then you can go as mad as you want with at-home efforts. If you are a clumsy nail-painter, a top tip is to avoid painting to the edges of each nail (do paint to the free edge, though). The polish will pool in between nail and skin, and look messy. Also, if you're really cack-handed, make sure to use a polish with a wide brush. That way, you can make a single stroke across the nail and don't have to fiddle and fuss.

Best overall

Chanel Velvet Nail Colour in Pink Rubber, €25, Chanel counters nationwide

This is a limited-edition shade from Chanel, and you need to know that it's matt. This is a make-or-break detail for a lot of people. For some, it's a desirable quirk. For others, it's all wrong; they believe that polished nails should be glossy, and that's that. The matt makes what would be a tame shade sort of edgy, and it's really worth a go. As it goes on, it's just plain old baby-doll pink, but it dries to a powdery prettiness. "I like that this is a little bit different and non-sparkly for the season," said a panellist. "It lasted well, too."

Best Gel Express

Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Colour in Stay Classy, €2.99, selected pharmacies nationwide

First off, don't ever let it be said that we suggested that this polish lasts anything like as long as a proper gel polish. But let us point out, then, its price. It's a steal, and you'll get a big night out and maybe two days out of it, no problem. A bona fide find. "The colour is a great nude that goes with anything," a panellist said, "while the gloss is high, and the application is dead easy."

Best Hand Hero

Jo Malone London Geranium & Walnut Hand Cream, €28, Brown Thomas

The fragrance of this new product was released in a body scrub last year, but now it appears as a hand cream. Obviously, nice nails look better with hands that aren't desiccated to lizard-skin, but anyone who gardens, or just likes soft skin, will enjoy this cream. It's creamy and feels luxurious, but it sinks in fast and is not sticky. The smell is subtle, too, which is nicer on the hands. "The nutty and spicily floral fragrance is just divine," a panellist said. "It's a joy to have wafting around."

Best Flaming Fingers

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in New Flame, €8.99, available nationwide

Let's be honest, you cannot beat a bit of red at Christmas. Be it on the lips or on the nails, or both, it's hard to do better than this cheery shade. And this polish is a particularly cheery and very shiny red, which is brightened up with a decent dose of orange. This is nice on pale or dark complexions, enlivening both. "The brush on this is the kind that's a doddle to use - it's wide and requires only one stroke to coat the nail," a panellist said. "And the colour is really vivid and a bit cheeky."

Best Cuticle Care

LOV LovTender Cuticle Treatment, €9.95, Shaws; selected pharmacies nationwide

A salon treatment will sort out ragged cuticles for you, but they have a pesky habit of getting horrible again alarmingly quickly. And particularly if your skin is dehydrated, which it just might be at Christmas. This light cream contains monoi oil to moisturise, and urea, which works to soften hard skin. Put it on your desk or by your bed, get in the habit, and you'll see results. "This totally made a difference to the rough edges that can really ruin a nice polish," said one panellist. "It adds that extra element of grooming, with minimal effort."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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