My Nails Are Loving This…

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Erghhhh maintenance! If getting a bikini wax isn’t torturous enough, knowing that you’ll be back there in 6 weeks will certainly piss you off. I hate regular maintenance; which women does?! Waxing, plucking, pedicure-ing, root-ing. Ok fine – I made up a few of those words, but you catch my drift. If only I could channel my inner Beyonce and simply awake to a beautiful exterior, BUT, unfortunately, I have a multitude of grey hairs sprouting from my head and a mono brow that won’t quit.

I try to do most of my maintenance at home. Actually, that’s a lie. I only do one of them at home; which is my nails. I’m an avid gel colour fan. I’m rarely seen without a lick of paint on my nails; which can result in a pretty expensive up-keep if I was going to the salon every two weeks. Luckily, by the power of YouTube, I’ve learnt to do my own gel nails at home and I’ve invested in some pretty snazzy tools to do so.

After experimenting with various brands, I’ve now uncovered a sick obsession with OPI’s GelColor range. It’s not that easy to source in the UK, so I often scour the page of eBay to get mine. However, despite using a reputable brand, I found that my gels weren’t lasting as long as I hoped (or at least the 14 day benchmark that most gel colours suggest). I couldn’t get why. My nails are pretty healthy and I performed each step of the application meticulously, but yet somehow, my nails would always result in a chip (or two) by the end of day 3!

I took to the internet and stumbled across the OPI Bond Aid; which, in fairness, I had heard of before, but  never knew what its purpose was. After reading through many forums and discovering that I wasn’t alone in my gel colour woes, I realised that many nail artists and other at-home enthusiasts, like myself, were incorporating the OPI Bond Aid in their application process to enhance the longevity of gel nails. In fact, it was used as a nail preper. Well what the hell is a nail preper, I thought?! Clearly I was out of the loop, until now…

Nail prepers, like OPI’s Bond Aid, enable the nail plate to adhere to whatever cosmetic enhancement goes on top. Whether it’s extensions, gel colour or regular polish – the nail plate needs to be in top form in order for the enhancement to work at its full potential. OPI’s Bond Aid is a dehydrator; which balances the pH levels of the natural nail plate for optimum adhesion of artificial nail products. Acrylics, tips, wraps, gel colour and regular nail varnish can last almost twice as long if using OPI’s Bond Aid to initially prep the nail.

I picked mine up from Nail Polish Direct, for the very reasonable priced of £14.95. There’s a variation of sizes available depending on how often you wish to use it, but for a home user like myself, the 30ml version lasts a very long time.

The container itself comes in a very snazzy glass bottle; which shouldn’t make a difference if you’re not as superficial as me. The brush applicator, all be it small, actually glides on the nail plate pretty well without the need for multiple dipping. The application is pretty simple – prep your nails as you normally would (file, shape, cuticles, etc) then apply a thin coating of this solution over your bare nails. It’s almost like applying white spirit to your nails (sorry I couldn’t think of a nicer analogy), whereby the solution almost dries to a powdery/dry/matte surface. Sounds like an awful thing to do to your nails, but I assure you that no damage is being done. In fact, it’s worked so well at keeping my gel nail on that I’m not having to re-do them as often as I was which is obviously a lot healthier for my nails.

Luckily there’s no drying time, so as soon as you see your nail turn semi-matte, you’re good to go in with your nail enhancement. So far, I’ve gone as long as 2 weeks without a chip in my gels or any of that dreaded ‘lifting’ around the cuticle that you normally get with gel varnishes; which, in my eyes, is a flipping miracle!

You can pick up the OPI’s Bond Aid from Nail Polish Direct.

My Winter Nail Polish Picks

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Rest assured John Snow – winter has finally come. Unlike the masses who enjoy warm breezes and hot summer days, I favour the winter season by far. Cozy fires, fashionable layers, jewel-toned hues and cinnamon everything – these are just a few things that I love about the colder months.

Now that Halloween is done and dusted, I am firmly fixated on winter festivities. November and December are celebratory months for me and my choice in nail colour mimic my mindset. Out go the pastels (well some of them), the neon and the hot pinks and in come the dark and deeply sophisticated palettes. I’m by no means a nail connoisseur. In fact, I favour doing my own nails at home rather than visiting a salon. I do, however, pay as much attention as possible to my nails as I’ve now come to the realisation that I have two extremities in my life – prissy and polished or homeless and half-bitten.

Here are my top polish picks for the winter season ahead-

Greige

In all honesty the name sounds as exciting as a smear test, but greige is an extremely sought after colour amongst the fashion forward. The undertones of violet, grey and brown make this shade extremely flattering for an array of skin tones. Greige gives you the comfort of a nude with a little more spice.

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Chanel Particularie

Cashmere

Cashmere nails can be best described as effortless sex appeal with a hint of luxury. Imagine flesh-tones, blushed pinks and soft taupes topped with a matte finish. Cashmere nails require very little maintenance and are super quick to apply; which makes for a great fall back when you just can’t decide what to do with your nails.

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Essie Comfy In Cashmere

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Nails Inc. Alexa Fabric Effects In Cashmere

Navy Blue

I’ve got a love/hate relationship with blue nails. I’m not the biggest fan of royal blues, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE navy blue tones. Ink-like blue tones are perfect for the winter months when you want to experiment with a darker nail colour, but you want to steer clear of gothic black. Leave the misconception of blue nails behind and invest in a deep, rich, almost black navy.

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Rimmel Salon Pro By Kate In Rhythm And Blues

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OPI Roadhouse Blues

Oxblood

Unlike my feelings about royal blue, I actually DETEST red nails. Postbox red, stark scarlet and tangy tomato don’t appeal in the slightest to me. If I’m to invest in a red nail polish, it’s got to be oxblood. I know traditional red nails scream Christmas season, but oxblood is more my jam. They’re not the easiest to maintain and the slightest chip can turn your work of art into a complete shambles, but it’s worth the torture.
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Chanel Rouge Noir

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OPI Black Cherry Chutney

Charcoal Grey
Much like the grey-toned hues mentioned before, charcoal grey adds subtle glamour to your talons without having to settle for a simple nude. Grey nails might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you won’t know until you try and charcoal grey is the perfect way to transition into ‘experimental’ nails without standing too far from the crowd.

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Essie In Chinchilly

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OPI Infinite Shine Gel Effect in Steel Waters Run Deep

Dark Chocolate

You can’t survive winter without a bit of chocolate and that goes for your nails too. I used to think that applying a brown colour onto my nails would look slightly odd against my already brown skin, but I just never found the right shade of brown. Deep chocolate brown looks utterly delicious, particularily with a glossy top coat.

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OPI Washington Collection in SHH…IT’S TOP SECRET

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Essie In Little Brown Dress

Military Green

One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve grown old(er); I’m a lot more appreciative of completely odd ball colours. Perhaps that’s just my personality, but I love anything that stands out. Military green isn’t necessarily the first colour you would think of when you have Christmas in mind, but Christmas trees are green right? So it makes sense (in my head).

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Nars in Night Porter

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Chanel Vert Obscure

Glitter

Of course, I couldn’t talk about nail colours without mentioning glitter (you can take the girl out of Essex…). I don’t miss an opportunity to wear glitter – on my nails, on my face, in my hair, on my clothes…ok I’m slightly exaggerating, but I am obsessed with the sparkly stuff. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for a glitter enthusiast like me to wear tons of glitter on my nails and not feel guilty in the slightest (not that I ever did).

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Color Club Glitter Vixen Nail Polish Collection in Magic Attraction

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Zoya Pixe dust in London