Beauty: 5 of the best.... New season's nails
Nails are big business this season. The catwalks were awash with a wide variety of shades in various finishes - everything from plain and matte, to shimmery and playful. However, unlike previous seasons, any nail art that featured was toned-down. Also, shorter, neater nails were preferred.
Before you invest in any new polish, take the time to get your nails into tip-top shape. Remove any existing polish or product. Because I've naturally weak nails, I've chosen to avoid any products containing acetone, which rules out most grocery store nail polish removers. Since I discovered Benecos's Natural Nail Polish (€7.95, naturalskincare.ie) my nails are much stronger.
Once you've a nice clean canvas, and your nails are shaped the way you want, give them some TLC. I'm loving Essence's new Quick and Easy Nail Caring Oil (€3.49, nationwide). It's effective without any mess or fuss.
Ask any manicurist what's the most likely cause of nail varnish not lasting, and invariably they'll attribute it to poor application. Applying thin layers of product is best. To protect your nail, always apply a base coat, it's like foundation for the nail. You don't need to spend a fortune, Catrice do a great one for €4.
Because it can transform the look of the polish and its finish, I can justify spending money on a good top coat. Currently, I'm loving YSL's La Laque Couture (€24, department stores) as it leaves the most gorgeous, salon-like shiny gel finish.
Another reason why your nail varnish might chip easily is the formulation. There are some stand-out brands that won't disappoint, like Sally Hansen's Salon Manicure range, and their new range with top Irish designer Natalie B Coleman (€8.95, nationwide) is gorgeous, encompassing everything from soft pink, to mint to midnight navy blue.
Up until recently, I wasn't a fan of MAC's nail polish. The range of colours was, as with all MAC products, incredible, but the formulation and the brush weren't up to much, but thankfully the whole range has been revamped, and the Studio Nail Lacquer (Brown Thomas and BT2 stores) is seriously good. At €10, the price ain't bad either.
Couture Gel Top Coat, €24
YSL, available nationwide. Pricey, yes, but an impressive product that will significantly prolong the life of your nail varnish, as well as leaving the glossiest, salon-like finish.
Natural Nail Polish Remover, €7.95
Benecos, available from naturalskincare.ie Acetone-free and yet is effective at removing stubborn nail polish without drying or damaging the nail.
Natalie B Coleman collection, €8.95
Sally Hansen, available nationwide. A great collaboration that has produced a six-strong collection of summer-appropriate shades.
Quick and Easy Nail Caring Oil, €3.49
Essence, available nationwide. A desk essential: all you do is dip each finger into the pot and massage the oil into the nails and cuticles. It smells amazing and leaves your talons feeling soft and nourished.
Studio Nail Lacquer, €10
MAC, available in Brown Thomas and BT2 stores. A reformulation and a change of brush means that MAC's nail lacquers are now among the best out there, and there are 36 colours to choose from in four different finishes.