Tough As Nails

A while back I wrote an article about my terrible nail-biting habit. Since then, the habit/addiction has been kept in check. I have so many nail polishes that tipping the box over is nearly always the only way to find the colour I want. And once you’ve gotten over all the usual ‘today I’ll go red’ and ‘next week I’ll try a French manicure’ periods, you’ll want to try new things.

I often do my nails while I watch TV coz you tend to not need your hands in the middle of a movie, and you can apply colour during boring bits.

I also decided that life was too short to just play it safe with your nails (I had the ‘be crazy with your hair’ period a couple of years ago) and I’ve devised new styles to try on. Like the twist on the French manicure, which involves doing the line in a darker colour than the base polish, and sideways/across the nail as opposed to following the ‘white’ of the nail.



I’ve also discovered the polka dots, most easily achieved by just dropping excess in globs on your base colour, but that does involve applying top coat twice to make them even, and waiting for ages until it dries. Try a toothpick, it works a little better, although you end up wasting colour.

Speaking of top coats, I’ve tried quite a few. The ones you find within your polish brands (Rimmel, Maybelline, L’Oréal etc) are usually cheaper, but they tend to be rubbish. I tried Nails Inc. because someone suggested it to me, and that worked really well (it better considering how much it costs), BUT it ‘gellifies’ far too quickly, meaning by the time you get to the lower half of the bottle, you won’t even be able to spread it anymore. When I pointed this out to the sales assistant at Kingston’s Bentalls, she just said ‘Oh yeah we don’t usually use it anymore once it gets like that’. Well great, that’s not helpful at all.



This Summer in Spain I found this new shop, Kiko, which sells cheap make-up. There’s actually one at Westfields (and one in my hometown Lyon) so I can get stuff almost everywhere I go. They have great nail polish colours, and base and topcoats. I have the 3-in1 base coat, and purchased a gel-look topcoat because I love that effect. Now it looks really great when you first apply, but after a couple of days you will notice that your nails seem to be cracking. Whenever you type or grab something and your nails happen to bend, a deep ridge appears, and the polish often peeled or cracked off.

In despair I went to Boots and found the most amazing thing EVER: Seche vite top coat. It’s usually £9 (much cheaper on Amazon I’ve noticed) and it lasts forever. I must’ve bought mine in September and it’s still got stuff in, which is amazing considering I paint my nails twice a week! It’s really thick and dries super-quickly, so it’s my new best friend. The only drawback so far is that if you apply too much, sometimes it “retreats” so that the very tip of your nail is revealed and you feel like cutting it off or filing it down. Just ignore that and next time use less.31mlyBHCbYL._SL500_AA300_

They also do a base coat which I’ll buy when mine runs out, and I’ll just remind you how important base coat is. Not only does it help your polish being applied evenly, but it also protects your nails from discolouration. I also find that come the time, it also helps the polish to just glide or snap off because you’ve applied it so thick it’s like a fake nail made out of polish.


I bought Sally Hansen ‘No Chip acrylic top coat’ yesterday because it’s only £5 at Superdrug, I’m broke and somehow the word acrylic had me thinking of tough stuff, but what a disappointment. It takes longer to dry than Seche vite, which is annoying because you need to watch out so you don’t mess up your nails. I’ve already had to redo two. They recommend one coat and it’s not very thick, but it also make the colour ‘retreat’. It claims to be no chips, but instead the nails crack underneath, leaving ridges like canyons across the colour. A trip on Amazon confirmed that a few people have experienced the same, and I regret having bought it. I’ll try selling it to someone who doesn’t care… 31O3TsQ0X5L._SL500_AA300_

Anyway, next time you don’t know what to do with your nails before a party, just go crazy. A funky colour (or two) and a little imagination, that’s all you need.


Pictures from: and author’s own

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