I go through real phases with painting my nails: sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. I’m not very patient, so waiting for them to dry drives me insane – if there is any possible way to speed up the process, I’ll try it. I did used to have a UV lamp thingy, but I read some scary stories about what it does to the skin on your hands (NO idea whether it is true or whether it is complete crap) – so I stopped using it years and years ago. I’m also not a massive fan of getting my nails professionally done – again, I did years and years ago and loved it – but what with work/kids etc. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to keeping up with appointments etc. And to be honest, I’d rather spend the cash on higher end beauty/skincare products. But still, each to their own, and I’ve seen some gorgeous nails that my friends have had done professionally – so if you love it, fab.
Anyway – I’ve raided my nail polish collection (I think I’ve got about 50-60, but only about 20 that I use again and again … I need to do a sort out and chuck) for the best autumnal/wintery shades that I like to wear at this time of year. In the summer I like a good, bright coral/hot pink/orange-toned red on my nails. In the springtime, pastels and pale nudes are a favourite of mine. In autumn/winter, I go for ‘christmasy’ reds or darker shades (I have got a Christmas nail post coming up – basically stuffed full of glitter and sparkle!).
I own very few high end nail polishes (I still lust over Deborah Lippmann polishes £17-18, or more recently, Smith and Cult – they are £19.00 and have the most amazing packaging! – sigh…). If there is an OPI shade I need/want I shop around for ages and Beautybay or some other site have regular discounts/offers on them. I did make one exception (ok, two…) when I purchased two of the most beautiful shades from Chanel: they were a present to myself for getting through the last few shitty weeks – they made me smile so I guess that means they are worth it?! … Anyway – I’ll do a little post about them soon – they are gorgeous – but that is my Chanel nail polish itch, scratched now: back to Barry M!
Before I start, I always use OPI Nail Envy on my nails underneath all nail polish. It is a growth/strength treatment and I couldn’t be without it. It can be pricey (in Boots) but I shop around online and get it on one of the beauty websites or Amazon. I used to be nail biter in my teenage years (that was originally why I got acrylic, then gel, nails) and after I stopped getting my nails done, they flaked, peeled and broke easily: now, they are as strong as anything and I’m in the fortunate position of ‘having’ to cut them because they get way too long and witchy. I credit OPI Nail Envy with this (picture in the bottom photo).
- Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy in 620 Roulette Rush £6.99 (Boots) – This new gel formula from Revlon is amazing. I always walked past Revlon for nails as I’m drawn to gel-like nails, then they brought this formula out and it is gorgeous. The colour is a slightly pink-red – not the true post box/Christmas red, but I love it. Glides on smooth – I do two coats but you could get away with one. Lasts for a good 5 days without chips.
- No7 Gel-Look Nail Colour in Deep Wine £7.00 or £2 with a No7 voucher (Boots) – Again, No7 nail polishes used to be crap – I wouldn’t buy the non-gel version, but the Gel-Look is excellent. Similar to the Revlon formula – lasts well, glides on and a bargain when you have one of those No7 Boots vouchers (NB: that voucher promotion finishes on 30th Nov). This colour is a wine colour – it is actually a little darker than in the photo above and quite a creamy looking wine (if that makes any sense at all!?)
- No7 Gel-Look Nail Colour in Pillarbox £7.00 or £2 with a No7 voucher (Boots)– This is the true Christmas red – it looks a bit orange above, but it is bright and colourful. Looks amazing on nails – I’ve said before that I’m really pale and all of these colours suit my skin tone. You cannot go wrong with the No7 gel-look polishes – well done Boots.
- Essie 48. Luxedo £7.99 (Boots) – I think the name is meant to be a play on words with tuxedo … Anyway, I like Essie polishes, but I don’t love them. I don’t think they last as long as other brands (Revlon, No7, Barry M, Maybelline) and they are more expensive. Essie is a blogger favourite and there are some colours that are very sought after (Mint Candy Apple, Fiji) but the quality just isn’t there for me. Having said that, I love love this colour – on the nails it looks virtually black: a very sleek colour. I do three coats (and only wear this on a posh night out as I can’t be arsed to do three coats!). On a positive, Essie changed their brush a few years ago, to a wider style and it is really nice and a big improvement (I never, ever use the polishes that I have with the old style brush as it is so crap).
- No7 Gel-Look Nail Colour in Galaxy £7.00 or £2 with a No7 voucher (Boots) – This is a beaut.i.ful shade! Perfect for Christmas or a party. It is a purple/red colour with tiny metallic shimmer in – when it catches the light it is gorgeous and is one of those polishes that could be several different colours on the nails. Again, same brilliant formula and price.
- Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Blackberry £3.99 (Boots) – This is my most recent nail polish purchase and I have already worn it and I love it. The Barry M Gelly Shine polishes are amazing – the quality is fantastic and much better than some other high-end brands. And for less than five pounds (with regular offers in Boots/Superdrug), they cannot be beaten. This colour is a creamy dark blue and application is great: smooth and easy with two coats. I cannot recommend Barry M Gelly Shine enough.
- Maybelline Forever Strong Pro (shade isn’t on the bottle, but I *think* it was called Taupe Couture) £4.49 (Boots) – Again, another really solid great high street brand that does great nail polish. These really do last and they have just expanded the shade range too: I have a lot of this brand in pastel/spring colours. No chips for at least 4/5 days and a breeze to apply – and it does dry hard and strong. Colour is a browny/taupe colour – kind of dull looking in the bottle, but I really like it on the nails: a nude for winter.
- Bourjois 1 Seconde Gel Nail Enamel in Bleu Moonlight £3.72 (Amazon – can’t find it Boots) – This was my first foray in to high street gel effect nails and it was a good one. The 1 second thing is a bit of an exaggeration, but, the brush in this polish is amazing and it does only take a careful 1 stroke to cover the nail. I have quite wide, large nails so it covers mine well – if you’ve got tiny nails or they are very curved, you might have to do a bit more work. The colour is a gorgeous deep, slightly shimmery night-sky blue: I love it.
- Revlon Nail Enamel in 799 Plum Night £3.45 (Amazon) – This is the odd one out in my list of polishes: it is not a gel polish. I got this quite a few years ago (you can still get it) from one of those discount beauty sites (FragranceDirect) and it was under three pounds if I remember correctly. The colour is a really deep, dark purple colour and although it isn’t gel, because I apply a gel top coat to all my polishes, it still lasts well. You can get some really good bargains on the discount sites on polishes – worth a look.
- No7 Gel-Look Nail Colour in Neptune £7.00 * but only £2 with a voucher! (Boots) – Oh look, another No7 polish – the number of No7 polishes I own really is a testament to their quality and value for money. This shade is gorgeous. I love love love grey – it is one of my favourite colours. This is the most perfect stormy grey. Creamy and deep.
- Avon Gel Finish Nail Enamel in Envy £7.00 (avonshop.co.uk)– I have a love/hate with Avon skincare/makeup (actually, it is more hate to be honest – I just don’t ‘get’ them and I find some of the quality of their products is shocking. With the exception of a mascara I had for a while which was good) – but their gel nail enamel is great. Not too expensive, lasts well and a great colour range to chose from.
So these are my nail staples:
OPI Nail Envy £18.65 (Boots) or £9.10 (Amazon) – the strengthener/treatment that I use as a base for all my polishes and on bare nails too. As a treatment, you’re meant to apply to bare nails every day for seven days and then remove the lot, and start again: I do this sometimes if I’ve had a nail polish overload and my nails need a break. Putting this underneath also prevents staining from really dark polishes.
Leighton Denny Miracle Drops £11.00 (www.lookfantastic.com)– These are drying drops. When they first came out, these were one-of-a-kind, but there have been a whole load of copies since (like the Beauty Bay ones next to it). You drop one drop of the liquid over each finger so it runs down over the polish. So the routine is: polish, polish, top coat – wait 2 minutes – miracle drying drops. It really works to make them touch dry (it isn’t going to make them rock hard in two minutes!). In this bottle is actually the BeautyBay.com product next to it, that I’ve decanted in to the Leighton Denny bottle as I like the dropper thingy.
http://www.beautybay.com Drop Dry £2.50 (BeautyBay.com)– I got this as a free gift when I purchased a load of stuff from BB ages ago. I really like it- it isn’t any different to the (much more expensive) Leighton Denny product above. The only difference is that the BB one has a brush to apply and the LD one has a dropper- which I prefer. Definitely worth a look if you want a drying product and an amazing price!
Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy Diamon Top Coat £6.99 (Boots) – The mother of all gel top coats in my opinion. I’ve tried Essie and Leighton Denny and Sally Hansen – but done are as good as this one. I apply this on top of EVERY polish I use – even if it is already a gel polish – it just feels like it makes the polish last longer. I love this stuff.
Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream £14.95 (allbeauty.com)– Now, when I did these photos, this hand cream had been my usual hand cream – I got it free with a Clarins order as I wouldn’t pay the ridiculous price for a hand cream! But, we’re in the middle of a cold snap here on the IOW, and this hand cream has done NOTHING for me whatsoever. In fact, my normally ‘normal’ hands have actually been worse since using it! So, despite the fact that this is in the photo above, I will be giving it to someone else and going back to my Neutrogena Concentrated Hand Cream (this one: http://www.boots.com/en/Neutrogena-Norwegian-Formula-Concentrated-Hand-Cream-50ml_1505/). The Neutrogena is only £2.77 and is amazing – best hand cream I’ve ever used. Definitely do not bother with the Clarins. My mum swears by Avon’s Glycerin Hand Cream if you fancy that one instead.
Christmas nail polishes coming soon, as is my rather indulgent post about the most gorgeous, never-to-be-purchased-again Chanel nail polishes.