Hand Craft

4th December 2009

Nailing A Problem…

Beautiful nails have been a lifelong challenge for me. I can literally tick all of the ailment boxes – my nails bend, they split, they peel, one has ridges. If I use nail strengthener or some kind of paint on fortifier, they simply peel all the more. So, taking a lead from our American friends, I decided to take matters in hand (so to speak). I booked my first Bio Sculpture Gel treatment.

First my own nails were shaped and lightly buffed to remove the natural sheen so that the gel could adhere. From then on it was all about layering and curing. Starting with a base coat that conditions and treats your specific nail type and encourages healthy growth, a first coat of coloured gel is applied, then ‘cured’ (dried) under a tabletop UV light unit for 2 minutes. The process is repeated to reinforce the colour definition. Finally, a topcoat acts as a sealant. You get to choose the finish you prefer – I went for high shine to celebrate my initiation, but there is a option of something a little less showy.

I was certainly rather nail-conscious to begin with, and the gel felt a little strange, but it’s flexible and lightweight and daily maintenance is pretty minimal. You do need to commit to regular salon treatments to fill in the gaps as your own nails grow, but, I think it’s worth it. There are over 120 colours to choose from, your own nails are protected and it’s a very relaxing treatment. At the moment, I can’t think of anything quite so sophisticated as being able to tell friends, “I’m having a manicure.”

Bio Sculpture Gel Treatment prices vary from about £35 upwards. For your nearest salon, call 0845 331 2347.

Keeping Those Cuticles Cute…

According to celebrity nail expert, Leighton Denny, hands and nails need as much attention as our faces, and more so, of course, in winter.

Says Leighton, “We all know that by removing dead skin cells from our face our skin is kept in the best condition. Hands, nails and cuticles are no different. By exfoliating every two or three weeks, hands are kept smooth and ready for other products such as a nourishing hand cream.”

Leighton Denny’s own Diamond Skin Like Silk (£10) is a richly moisturising exfoliator that really brightens the skin. Follow with Leighton Denny Best Defence (£8) a rich, non-greasy, comforting cream boosted with sunscreen.

Also worth checking out is that old favourite, Nivea, which has a range of textures and moisturising formulations including the SOS Intensive Balm (£3.45) if you need intensive rehydration, and the slightly lighter Hand Age Defying Q10 Plus (£4.59) that contains Nivea’s exclusive Co-Enzyme Q10 Energy Complex and UV protection to help reduce wrinkles.

Stockists: Leighton Denny: www.leightondenny.com
Nivea is available nationwide; see www.nivea.co.uk

Bold & Bright

Following on from seemingly endless seasons of French manicures and nudes, nail colours are clawing their way back. There had been signs with gothic black enamels making appearances on the catwalks, but now there’s a colour free-for-all in nail trends with vibrant plums, rich berries, pillar box reds, and wait for it… even green! They don’t come much more seasonal than that.

Here’s a few to check out, but be warned – these are attention-seekers, so hands and nails need to be in tip-top condition.

Essie in Turning Heads Red – £8.95
Revlon in Plum Night – £6.16
OPI in Green-wich Village – £9.95
Dior Vernis in Black Sequin – £15

Essie: www.nailsbymail.co.uk
Revlon: Boots & Superdrug nationwide
Dior: counters nationwide, or www.dior.com
OPI: www.lenawhite.co.uk.

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