For all you beauty fans, we need to redirect our attention to our little fingertips, as statistics in a recent Stylist article suggests, nails are the reigning beauty focus. According to retail analyst Mintel, nail polish sales have soared to £284 million – 1 million bottles sold each week! This figure means that nail polishes surpass lipstick sales, blushers , eye shadows and even contouring kits! So much for thinking that Kim K’s contouring tips and learning how to tone our face to give the illusion of model-like cheekbones was the biggest beauty craze, well apparently not. Manicure Mondays are here for the long haul.

I must admit that I love painting my nails and everything about having fabulous fingertips, however my nails are fairly weak, and so I have trialled and tested numerous tactics to keep them strong and most importantly, keep them LONG-  from filing your nail in one direction only, to various nail strengtheners, acrylic nails etc! Nails are to be maintained and there is nothing better than well kept fingernails. Having neat nails is the simplest way to instantly feel feminine and to make your hands look that little bit nicer, regardless of what length your nails are, whether short and stubby, or long talons; a stroke of polish, clear or coloured, seems to make all the difference.

So, here are my top essential nail polishes:

1- It is absolutely essential to have a clear nail varnish! I stress the importance of clear nail varnish as it acts as a base coat for your next layers to come. Clear varnish as a first layer enables you to smoothly apply the top coats, without polish clogging up in certain crevices in your nails. It also prevents your nails looking bumpy and an uneven colour to your other fingers.

2- A rouge is equally as essential. Red is a classic colour for summer holidays as it makes your sun tan pop and it works in winter as a festive colour- a transcendental, versatile and timeless colour. Although you may feel a little bit like The Warden in Holes, by Louis Sacher, with her venomous red nail varnish, a pop of this primary colour instantly brings life to your outfit. A slick of red will give your hands a crisp and sophisticated look, fit for every occasion. And seeing as the red bottom heeled Louboutins have released a nail polish collection, why not match the shade of our soles to our fingertips for head to toe rouge detailing, there’s no other rouge for it, and for a reasonable £36, why not?

3- Pastel power! A pastel hue is suitable for all skin tones, you just have to pick the right one. I must advise that although a nude makes your nails appear longer, other coloured pastel shades do not always give the same effect, so be wise with your choice. I tend to stick to pastels such as Rimmel’s ‘Mary Mary quite contrary’, which is a pale blue/ lilac/ white/ grey, as it suits for summertime when my nails are longer as it emphasises my sun tan, but it also looks equally good in winter as the colour compliments the cold weather. I also recommend lilac shades for those of more tanned skin tones, and pastel pinks, and for those with more olive skin and darker skin you can even venture with the brighter pastel shades like yellows or orange. But nude is a definite pastel for all.

4- Recently I have been introduced to ‘Kiko’, and succumbed to the temptation of buying almost everything. Among many of my purchases I bought two nail varnishes. I am quite a fan if dark neutral colours like mushroom shades, although sometimes they are too dark or too purple and it is hard to get the suitable shade…. Until I met Kiko! I purchased a medium neutral shade that is a grey/ purple/ brown blend (number 817 Quick Dry Nail Lacquer), and is the ideal colour. Nobody wears brown nail varnish and that is the deal when you buy a darker neutral nail varnish, or mushroom colour, but Kiko had the perfect shade. The quick dry element of the nail polish is perfect for me, as I am extremely impatient and always end up smudging at least one nail. Therefore quick dry polishes resolve that issue.

5- There is nothing better than a pattern, glitter or textured nail polish. For those days when you went to bring a bit of glitz and glam you can opt to paint your nails clear with a sparkly nail varnish, so it’s not OTT, or the most popular trend is to paint one nail (usually the fourth finger) in a glittery shade. But, for those who feel they are too old to be wearing glittery nail varnish, here is the alternative. Champagne sparkly nail lacquer like Kiko’s Number 303 nail lacquer is subtly shiny and is more of a champagne colour, both sophisticated and fabulous on its own and for all ages, or to be worn as an overcoat over another nail to add a subtle bit of sparkle. Any way works AND it complements the Kiko nail varnish mentioned above perfectly. This shade is not too bold or bright but a subtle champagne-like shimmer. A little but of glitz never hurt anybody and a subtle shimmer on your nails also acts to give the illusion of long nails.

Words by Maisie Bovingdon @bovingdonmaisie

Edited by Araminta Pender, Beauty Editorial Assistant @mintypender

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