Friday 31 October 2014

Polish your act for summer with latest summer trends

If you want to nail the new summer trends, Sarah Caden hears the panellists' verdict on the latest manicure products

Sarah Caden

Published 04/05/2014 | 02:30

Pictured, from left: butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Goss; Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Beach; Jessica Phenom Oil; wet n wild megalast salon nail colour in Tropicalia; essence gel nails at home clear gel top coat; peel off gel base; and mini LED lamp

Forget your swallow-spotting and the smell of cut grass, there are those for whom thoughts of nail polish is the first sign of summer. Many of these will be the type who eschew painting their fingernails for the rest of the year, but who, come May, take a peep at their feet and take action. Dead-skin removal and toenail-painting begins and, suddenly, there is that first sense of summer's arrival.

For the fortunate few with early sun holidays on the horizon, there are plenty of fizzy summer colours on the shelves, as well as all manner of pink, which is the shade of this year's spring/summer.

Further, there are foil-effect metallics to be found in every colour you can think of, which can be delightfully light-catching when the sun arrives.

Also, this year, brands have brought out at-home gel-nail kits. We give our well-polished thumbs up to essence's good-value offering, with which you can use any colour you choose. Get painting the polishes on both hands and feet, and, in coming weeks, we'll have tips on getting the latter a little more lovely.

BEST OVERALL

Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Goss, €15, Avoca shops, or see www.beautymatters.ie

This is an extremely wearable metallic, which is almost velvety-looking and not at all gritty. The colour, which is a pinky-nude, is flattering to both pale and dark skin tones. The "3 Free" of the name means that it's free of the chemicals toluene, formaldehyde and DBP, which more and more people strive to avoid. "The texture is oddly luxurious," said a panellist. "It dries amazingly fast and is satisfyingly opaque with a single coat."

BEST EARLY CORAL

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Beach, €32, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork

Ease yourself into summer coral with this pastel-ish pink-orange shade. It's creamy – like papaya ice cream – and very glossy. We don't love the brush, but the polish is good and the colour is gorgeous. "It reminds me of Opal Fruits," a panellist said. "It's not too chalky, though, so it's flattering on my still-pale feet and hands."

BEST POST-POLISH TREAT

Jessica Phenom Oil, €21.40, beauty salons nationwide, tel: (046) 984-1091, or see www.frenchbeautyroom.com

Regular nail polish can leave nails dry and brittle, but that's nothing compared to how ravaged they can be after gel-nail colour. Particularly if you've picked at it, and who hasn't? This is impressively nourishing – with sweet almond, rice and jojoba oils – and kind to cuticles. "My dried-out, nasty-looking nails were restored at top speed," a panellist said. "And the speed part is crucial."

BEST PRETTY PINK

Wet n wild megalast salon nail colour in Tropicalia, €2.99, Dunnes Stores; Penneys

This American make-up brand recently arrived in Ireland – the prices are amazingly low, which might distract you from the awful name. No product in the range is more than €7, and all of the nail polishes are under €4, and have wide, one-stroke brushes that we think every brand should adopt. "A nice opaque pink," said a panellist. "It lasts quite well with two coats that apply easily."

BEST VALUE GEL KIT

Essence gel nails at home clear gel top coat, €4.39; peel off gel base, €3.99; mini LED lamp, €24.99, Penneys

While at-home gel nail kits such as this one will cost a great deal less than a salon visit – even if you add on cleanser, corrector and moisturiser products – there is no denying that they are time-consuming to use. Practice will pare back the time it takes to complete the process, but, if you skip stages, such as sealing the nail tip and touching up those messy edges, the overall effect will be spoiled. This is a product for the perfectionist, perhaps. "I love that these are designed to peel off," one panellist said. "And that they make it clear that any nail colour can be used along with the gel base and the top coat."

  • Email thepanel@independent.ie

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