bellezza: A feel-good hit for your fingertips
Try a DIY manicure with my favourite new shades
See my top picks, da sinistra a destra, sotto
The mood-boosting quality of a good hair day is well known. But I also find when it comes to a quick fix in the feel-better stakes, an easy win can be found with a good manicure. Sprucing up your nails with a burst of colour is a pretty inexpensive way of getting your beauty kicks (especially if you can DIY it).
Tradizionalmente, in the winter months it’s the deep tones that we reach for – a mulled wine of a red rather than a bright pillar box – but these strictures have relaxed. Chanel started turning tradition on its head more than a decade ago with counterintuitive seasonal shades – launching iced light green Jade in winter garnered a waiting list.
But even greater change has occurred since the seismic shift of the past two years, says Thea Green, founder of Nails Inc: ‘The old rules have gone out of the window!’ The first lockdown showed ‘an immediate and steep rise in neons and polish effects – a 300 per cent rise, in fact’. These shades would usually trend later in the year when people travel to sunny destinations. A similarly bright mood prevailed polish-wise through Christmas 2020 and the first few months of last year with nail effect and glimmer also soaring early.
But singer Adele threw a spanner in the colourful works. Leighton Denny, leading nail expert and eponymous brand founder, says that within 24 hours of her ‘Easy on Me’ video coming out (with the close-up shots of her nails in it), his deep berry colour Jungle Juice shot to first place in the best-seller list. It replaced Butterfly Wings, a pale pink with a dash of blue iridescence, which had been topping his autumn/winter charts and sold out twice. (For a similar shade to Jungle Juice, try Ashe London’s Brittan Brown, far right.)
So the light and the dark of it is: there are no rules, only moods.
THESE ARE MY TOP PICKS (FROM LEFT)...
Dior Vernis in Mineral Peach, £22, dior.com
Suqqu Nail Color Polish in Uguisu, £18, selfridges.com
Revlon Ultra HD Snap! in Think Pink, £7.99, superdrug.com
Nails Inc 45 Second Speedy Gloss in House Hunting in Holland Park, £8, nailsinc.com
Rimmel Kind & Free in All Greyed Out, £5.99, superdrug.com
Max Factor Masterpiece Xpress in Feelin’ Pine, £5.99, superdrug.com
Leighton Denny in Eager Vegan, £ 12, leightondenny.com
Essie The Nail Tech Edit x Michelle Humphrey in Go Overboard, £7.99, boots.com
Ashe London in Brittan Brown, £15, ashelondon.com
NAILS NEED SOME TLC?
I’ve been finding my nails breaking so much more easily of late, making me look like a serial nail biter (which I’m not).
‘It’s all the hand sanitiser and the hand washing,’ explains Leighton Denny. Per fortuna, he created his own treatment to help – and it has worked wonders for me. Il suo Nail Rebirth Intensive Nail Repair Capsules (£ 25, leightondenny.com), made from plant-based materials, contain an intense blend of jojoba, coconut, sunflower, shea butter and rosemary for deep hydration. They also contain Neonyca, a celery seed oil extract proven to help repair nails. Rub it into the nail and cuticle area for 20 minutes every evening for 14 days and you should see great results in condition.
An extra tip from Leighton: file the tips of your nails at least three times a week to help seal the ends and keep out water and resulting damage.
Speaking of files, he has also created the Anti-bacterial Small Crystal File (£15, leightondenny.com) in collaboration with two scientists developing products for people with impaired immunity and diabetes (as they’re more prone to nail infections). To kill 98 per cent of bacteria on the file, simply leave it in sunlight for four hours.