Part of any great outfit is a tidy set of nails; be that the latest brightly coloured trend or a classic French, the nails make the lady in my opinion. Sadly for me, I have incredibly weak nails which flake and break like nobody’s business, (unlike my lucky sister who is the opposite) which means that I am always on the look out for an affordable yet fashionable fix. Here I will run through some of the products I have tried and my opinions on them. I’d love to hear from other people about these products and any others you know about, especially those that will help strengthen my nails.
Shellac is a relatively new product on the scene and is the polish-like gel by CND. A huge competitor of this product is Jessica’s Geleration, except Geleration is not as thick as Shellac.
Shellac is marketed as a 14 day manicure, no chips, no smudges, just great shine. It goes on really quickly compared to other products as well and soaks off much more quickly than more traditional gels so is great for time saving.
I’ve had Shellac nails a number of times now and the range of colours is great, there’s loads of vibrant colours and you can have some awesome effects done with them. It costs me approx. £30 per time to have them done with an independent manicurist and that’s the cheapest I’ve found in the Berkshire area.
For most people, I would definitely recommend a Shellac manicure, especially for a holiday or occasion as it’s just so easy and looks really great. However, if you have really weak nails like me, you may find that your nails still bend quite a lot and you get chips and lifting after about a week so you might need a stronger product.
Biosculpture is a well established product which was pretty much one of a kind when it first came out. It’s another gel product which works best when applied as an overlay to the natural nail but can also work with extensions. It’s thicker than the likes of Shellac and so takes longer to cure and to remove but it comes out stronger.
There are a wide range of colours in the range but everywhere I have been they tend to stock the more conservative colours in the range. The final effect is also much less shiny than Shellac. With the independent manicurist I use, a set of overlays on my natural nails costs around £35 but round here, most salons charge at least £40 and more like £60 if you want extensions as well.
The product is more hard-wearing than the polish style gels and if it’s layered on quite thick, I find it lasts well on my nails. However, I have found that the glitter based colours have much more sticking power than the non glitter and once again, for my incredibly thin and bendy nails, it’s not quite strong enough to make it to 2 weeks. That said, for those of you with normal nails, many people get 3 or 4 weeks out of a Biosculpture manicure which really is zero fuss nails!
Rebel Nails (Nail Wraps)
I am using the Rebel Nail wraps as my example for nail wraps on a wider scale as I have tried a few brands and this brand seems to have the best selection of designs. The great thing about nail wraps is that they come in loads of funky designs and as soon as they are applied, you are ready to go. The slightly trickier piece is applying them. If you want to take the hassle out of this, try Minx nails which will be applied at a salon for you.
I’ve not tried Minx myself but my step-mum has had them on her toes and said that they are great for an occasion but didn’t last through a beach holiday of sand and salt water.
As for the ones you apply at home, here is a pic. of some pink glittery wraps I applied myself earlier on:
It took me about as long as it would take me to apply a couple of layers of polish to apply them but I am new to it and the bonus is no drying time. However, I have only been wearing them for approximately an hour and most of them are wrinkling and peeling. Not sure if this is bad application, (they looked great when first done) or if that’s just how they are, this has happened to a few of my friends as well.
In conclusion to the wraps section, I’d say give them ago but maybe go to a salon first so you can copy their application technique and don’t count on them sticking for more than one occasion.
I couldn’t do a post on nails without talking about acrylic. In case anybody has been living in a cave and isn’t sure what this is, it’s the smelly product you’ll find being used in most of the cheap nail salons on the high street (the type where they use electric files). Acrylic itself can be drying to the nail but does provide a tough barrier for weak nails like mine. The problem with it is that it is not flexible so when you do bash it hard, it hurts the nail and cracks and snaps the acrylic, leaving you with a very lumpy, unattractive nail.
However, acrylic is often very damaging to the nails because of the way it is applied. It usually comes with extensions which at best require a lot of filing to blend with the natural nail, at worst are applied with an electric file. The nail bed itself is often extensively filed to make the acrylic stick so although these nails are hard wearing, they are very damaging and look the most fake. My advice is to avoid acrylic at all costs – I used to have it myself and have seen many others whose nails have taken years to return to normal afterwards.
Yes, nail polish, straightforward paint-it-on-yourself nail polish! Believe it or not, some people can work wonders with a standard polish and have fantastic looking nails, especially with all of the nail art tools which are out there today.
I love a good nail polish but unfortunately, as my nails are so bendy it tends to chip off in huge great chunks the same day. The glittery manicure I did the other day didn’t even last until the end of said day!
However, my toes are not as bad as my fingers and I often experiment with them. A pet hate I have is for nail polishes which are too thin and take about 20 coats to even out the colour. I like a relatively thick, luxurious and shiny polish you can whack on, let dry and go.
For me, my biggest let down was China Glaze, my bright pink polish takes about 3 coats to look half decent and has a very matte finish. Some of my favourites are: Barry M – great drying time, Collection 2000 – bargainous and great drying time and Nails Inc – the most luxurious shine ever, Nails Inc polish often looks like gel.
So that, for now, is it on nails from me. I hope this is helpful to someone out there. What I would most like to know is what experiences other people have with nail products and what suggestions anyone has to help my poorly nails. I’d love to hear from you! x