Like clothes, the manicure is also subject to trend. And, as Fiona Adams discovers, the latest techniques are not only beautiful but durable too
Once upon a time, I had beautiful nails. They were long, strong and routinely painted in a rainbow palette of colours. Then I left uni and, with less time on my hands – literally – my talons fell into a state of disrepair.
After years of neglect and too many nail-biting Danish dramas, I’ve been left with short, raggedy nails and crisis-stricken cuticles. Was there hope of resurrection? Fortunately, yes, in the shape of beautician Nikki Peacock and revolutionary CND Shellac, the go-to celebrity manicure of choice.
Dubbed the ‘power polish’, Shellac comprises four coats of fast-drying lacquer that lasts two weeks, with a continuous mirror shine and the durability to withstand many household chores.
In the beauty business for five years, Nikki is a real nail artist. While nail bars have popularised elaborately decorated false claws, completed in record time, she has specialised in creating lovely, unusual effects that don’t weaken your nails.
In addition to Minx and Shellac nails, Nikki also applies transfers, creates and paints new designs and customises nail effects, with layers of colour.
Statement nails have never been more fashionable, and while colour trends change, so too do effects and nail shape – the squoval, a medium-length nail with rounded corners, is this year’s hot. You can now choose from leather and eggshell-look polishes and rediscover the classic French finish with soft-white tips.
With my stubby little offerings, I eschewed Nikki’s range of dark vampire hues and opted instead for nude baselayers with an irridescent top coat, which is the look du jour for spring. Two weeks on and several bowls of washing up later, my nails still look shiny and unchipped. They even survived the concluding episodes of Borgen.
Shellac Hybrid Polish Two Week Manicure, £35, Peacock Beauty, Guildford; tel: 07788 682467
See cnd.com/find-salon for your local Shellac expert. Around Richmond these include WT Spa, Totally U Beauty, Beyond Skin and the Roehampton Club
Feeling adventurous? Try Michael Do at Spa Nails in Teddington, dubbed one to watch by Elle
Nikki’s nail know-how
- Apply cuticle oil daily; it helps to protect and moisturise the nail and cuticle area. CND solar oil is ideal; it contains sweet almond and vitamin E, and is light and fragrant.
- Exfoliate your hands once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells to leave the skin soft and brighter. It will also help moisturiser penetrate more easily.
- Moisturise every day even after washing your hands. It will help to prevent premature ageing and protect the skin from sun damage (and more ageing) if you find a cream that contains an SPF.
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning and washing up; harsh cleaning products and chemicals will dry the skin out. When it’s cold outside winter gloves will help stop the skin getting chapped.
- Have regular manicures to keep on top of your cuticles, nails and problematic conditions such as brittle and peeling nails. A professional can recommend the correct products/treatment.
- Don’t pick at dry cuticles – you will only make them worse. Use an oil to prevent this problem
- Don’t pull or pick off nail enhancements as this will cause dry, damaged, soft nails. Get them soaked off properly by your beautician or ask her to show you how to remove them safely!
- Don’t saw at your nails with a nail file, as this causes friction and can make nails brittle; use a file to go from one side to the otherin strokes.
- Don’t paint your nails without a base coat. This will result in unsightly staining!
- Spring: fresh pastels and nude colours, often with contrasted colour effects
- Summer: bold colours – emerald greens, royal blue, orange pink