I've always loved nail varnish. Let's be honest, one of the rights of passage of being a woman is being able to paint your nails; and for me it was always a sign of my own personal freedom. As soon as school finished on a Friday or broke up for a holiday, the first thing I would do upon getting home would be to crack out my nail varnish collection and choose a colour to wear for the weekend. They weren't cheap then, well, I wasn't earning any money to start with, so the ones I had were precious and any new additions to the collection (nabbed from my mum or swapped with friends) were coveted. The collection was everything; I remember swatching every polish I had and carefully writing out the names from the bottle one summer day on a letter to my best friend Casey; I wanted to show off all the colours I had got, including a new favourite: an orange glitter scented polish which I'd got free on the cover of Just Seventeen. In those halcyon days the colours of choice included: a shimmery lilac and/or pink, a plum (all about the plum in the 90's) and a funny blue colour which I used to douse with copious amounts of glitter topcoat.
As I got older, I definitely leaned towards a more classic palette, I think with everything I tend to shy away from the brightest colours and instead choose blacks, taupes, beiges, creams, blushes, navy and occasionally if I am feeling adventurous, a pastel blue or green. However, I've always had a mega beauty peeve surrounding nail polish and it's this: CHIPS.
I can bare waiting ages for the polish to dry. I can put up with having to use a base coat and a top coat and 3 layers of colour in between. But what I can't stick is a chip. Because if nail polish can pull a look together, chips can undo it even faster. Hands and nails are something I notice in people; I am quite expressive with my hands and I think that's why I notice them in others. Whenever my polish was chipped, I would feel scruffy, undone, just really not at my best. And there's no hiding a chipped nail; if your face isn't looking the best, or you have dark circles or a spot, you can put on a bright red lippy and no one will even notice. With chipped nails, however, there's no quick fix; you either have to paint over the chip and hope for the best, or take it all off and start again.
I've never been one for fake nails, either, at least not these days. In my early twenties I used to wear short acrylic nails, simply because of how chipped nails irritated me and I was a hands-on retail manager then so they would chip probably the day I'd painted them. With acrylics this didn't happen but I never liked how they looked; the nail beds were always too broad for my own and they would ping off everywhere at the first chance they had. Additionally they ravaged my nails, which became weak and brittle, so eventually I stopped wearing these. And I didn't want to start up again!
I'm lucky to have quite nice nails. They grown at a good rate and they don't break very easily, I don't chew them although I do have a skin condition on my hands which gives me very dry skin there. So I know my hands aren't the best, but a nice nail can always redeem this. And so when I heard about Gelish nails, I was so excited to try them out!
I went to a local salon initially to have them done. Basically Gelish, for those who don't know, is a brand of gel polish which is cured under a UV lamp to make it incredibly hard and impossible to chip or scratch. These gel polished nails will stay looking impeccable, glossy and chip free, for around 2 weeks (so they say, but my black set lasted a month and I had my nude ones done 2 weeks ago and they are still looking amazing).
I was so impressed with the longevity and the look of these nails that I bought myself a DIY gel kit so I could do them at home (salons are quite expensive!) The kit cost me £60 for which I got the UV lamp you need, the base and top coats, two polishes, and gel remover and cleanser as well as a nail primer. So far I haven't used the kit on my hands because I don't need to take the nude polish off yet; but I have done my toes and I am so happy with how they look and have lasted. This is definitely the way forward for me in terms of wearing nail polish; admittedly you don't have the access to the sort of on/off colours you do with regular nail varnish (they take about 40 minutes to do and about 15 to take off) but I don't get bored easily with the colours I have and they go with everything so that's great! If you do like to switch up your polish colours regularly then maybe this type of varnish isn't for you, but I honestly can't see me going back to regular polish now I've tried these gels!
Hope you like these too! What do you make of Gel nails? Have you ever had them? Or are you already a convert?