The Panel: Nailing it
In the same way that shoe shopping is always attractive, even when you're feeling flat about your physique, a new nail colour lends a lift without forcing you to reassess your complexion, your hair, or your look in general.
A fashion nail polish is a minor commitment, but given that, every day, you look at your hands far more than you ever look in the mirror, a new purchase gives good bang for your buck.
This season, there's something for every hand. There is an abundance of nudes and sugar-sweet pale pinks, along with zingy reds, which go all the way into the orange and coral end of the spectrum; as well as those non-traditional nail colours that we have become accustomed to and enamoured of, such as almost-black, green and purple. If you're going nude, make sure the polish has some density, or else it's just going to look like a slightly dirty clear varnish. With reds and the uncommon colours, keep it complementary to your skintone.
Bright yellow only works if you're dark-skinned, and if you're sallow, skip the peachy princess polishes.
No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in Sugar, €9.45, Boots stores and pharmacies nationwide
The problem with a lot of the pale pinks around at the moment is their wimpishness. They look fine in the bottle, but even two coats barely make an impression and your nail still shows through them. This is a good, pretty pink, and two coats are opaque and impactful. "I like this season's nudes, but the beiges make my hands look dirty," said one panellist. "I could create a classic, girlish look with this, and it lasted well, too."
Best Bold on a Budget
Andrea Fulerton Nail Boutique Colour in Emma, €8, Superdrug, The Square, Tallaght, D24
Though Andrea Fulerton has done the nails of some of the world's biggest celebs, her own range of polishes, treatments and decals are as affordable as they are excellent. Nice wide brushes, good colours, great finish and plenty of fun in the embellishment end of things. "A deep, bold purple that didn't seep into the skin around my nail and had a fab shine," one panellist said. "I would have taken it for a more expensive product."
Best Sense of Summer
Estee Lauder Pure Color in Tempting Melon, €17, Estee Lauder counters nationwide
If you're bored of red, but feel the need of a nail colour that speaks of sun and approaching summer, this is for you. A very pretty coral, with more pink than orange, it's very flattering on skin that is still pale, but will look even sweeter once the summer comes. "Brighter than all the pinks that are about, but still with a suggestion of this season's nude trend," a panellist said. "And it didn't make my fingers look piggy."
Best Cult Covet
Chanel Le Vernis in Black Pearl, €21, Chanel counters nationwide
One panellist's recent, pre-holiday trip to a nail bar revealed Chanel's Rouge Noir, and it remains a firm favourite. Still regarded as the anti-girlie option, helped along by how it flatters Irish skin, it may, however, be time for a change. This metallic, green-tinged near-black ticks the same boxes, while being more of the moment. "It's fairly green, so it shouldn't work, but it does," said a panellist. "Love the pearliness without girliness."
Best DIY Decal
IsaDora Graffiti Nail Top in Masterpiece Pink, €9.95, Clerys; pharmacies nationwide
Nail art is very now, but it's not necessarily for everyone, particularly those who find doing the nails of their dominant hand difficult. A slick of this stuff over your chosen nail colour creates a speckled, crackled overcoat in seconds and even the clumsiest of us can't get it wrong. "A bit of fun, and it looks like you've had it done professionally, without you making any major cash outlay," one panellist said. "So no guilt when you take it off the morning after, which is nice."
Pictured, clockwise from top right: Estee Lauder Pure Color in Tempting Melon; Andrea Fulerton Nail Boutique Colour in Emma; No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in Sugar; Chanel Le Vernis in Black Pearl; IsaDora Graffiti Nail Top in Masterpiece Pink
Sunday Indo Life Magazine