By Bridget Owen
Nothing sets off an outfit like the perfect shade of nail polish, but now its not just about colours, its about having fun with effects too!
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve become especially interested in different effects that I can create myself at home. Without looking like they have been done at home!
My favourite nail varnish brands are OPI and Nails Inc. I go back to these brands as their quality always remains the same, but that’s not to say there are many other cheap alternatives that can work just as well!
I have ten favourite pieces for your nail essentials bag that will leave you with a shade and look for every occasion!
1. Base coat & Top Coat
Most importantly, a good base coat needs to be applied before you can start decorating with your favourite shade.
The nails need to be clean, dry and filed before you apply the base.
My top base coat is OPI, that comes in a small set with a top coat. You can buy both for £10.00 at Amazon.
2. Pastel Shades
Pastel pink and blue can look really fresh for spring and summer. Barry M sell a lilac shade called Berry Ice Cream – it’s perfect. Barry M have an extensive range of shades and you can buy them for 3.99-5.99 in Superdrug and Boots stores.
Illamasqua have created a special range of ‘speckled’ pastel shades, created to look like birds eggs. They are around £14.00 from Debenhams and other beauty retailers. The collection includes pink, blue, yellow and green.
3. Matte Effect Shades
Nails Inc Kensington Matte effect top coat has been designed to go over any shade and give it a matte effect!
I love this trick after looking for matte shades in 2012 this handy polish will make any shade look chic! I think it looks best over grey, black and brown shades!
Nails Inc. Kensington Matte shade is available at Debenhams, House of Fraser and online for £12.00.
Credit: Pandora’s Nails
4. Nail Caviar
Nail caviar has only recently been seen in the beauty industry but is already available for you to do yourself at home.
The effect is created by many little balls sat together on your nail to create texture- very much like the look of caviar.
Different brands sell nail caviar, but a brilliant cheap version is Nail Constellations by MUA.
They come in 5 different colours and are available at £3 per bottle. They’re so easy to use- apply a base coat and then pour on the beads to the nail to stick them on.
I bought ‘Libra’ and this is how my nails turned out on first attempt!
Remember, if you’re using nail caviar just paint and stick beads to one nail at a time. Once all your nails are done, go back over them with a base or top coat to keep the caviar beads in place. If you have any gaps you can stick more beads to the clear top or base coat too!
My Caviar Nails
5. Feather effect
Nails inc have created a creation of feather inspired nail polishes. These multicoloured confetti like strands go onto your nails in a clear polish to sit on a base coat or alone. I love this effect, and the cute little bottle it comes in! Nails inc shades can be bought for £10-£15
Credit: Nails Inc
We all love to get out the glitz and glam for girlie nights out and dressed up dates- but how about for your nails?
On first seeing this trend, it reminded me of painting my nails for the first time, using cheap glitter from a girls magazine- but OPI had bigger ideas for glitter.
The James Bond Skyfall collection flew from shelves at Christmas as OPI brought out their special collection for the new Bond release.
I bought 5 of the shades from the collection, consisting of bright reds, sultry greens and glittering golds. Their is also a special edition ‘man with the golden gun’ which has real 18k carat of gold in.. Could you get any more luxurious?
Glitter can be over-done, but can also be worn in so many ways. It’s all about being creative and seeing what will work.
Yes, I know, fur effect nails sound a little different.. But this is how they look!
The fur again sticks to nail varnish much like the caviar effect.
You can buy a little pot of fur effect by MUA from Superdrug stores or online for £3.
This is the effect I’ve had most doubts about- but the finishing look of the nails is really good and the effect is really unique.
8. Magnetic effect
It’s simple to create this effect. Magnet nail polishes are available to buy from Boots and Superdrug for around £5.00 for Barry M shades and around £10.00 for the Nails Inc. version.
Each bottle of varnish comes with a magnet in its lid. After you have coated your nails with varnish, you hover along the magnet over the top of the nail creating a ripple or wave effect which you can see below!
Credit: Nails Inc
9. Nail foils/wraps
Without a steady hand, nail wraps can be a nightmare to apply and look professional.
I first tried Primarks own nail wraps, which were Zebra print and only cost £1. It took hours to do both my fingernails and toes.
The nail wraps were much too big for my fingernails and toes and cutting them down was really difficult.
Once I’d got the right size the wrap would no longer be sticky or there would be an air bubble when I tried to apply the wrap.
I have since tried Superdrugs nail wraps (£4.99). Again they were too big and really fussy to apply to look professional, but they were a better quality and made an impressive leopard nail effect.
If I was going to use wraps again, I’d go for some from a trusted beauty retailer like Superdrug or Boots, I wouldn’t buy them from clothes shops such as Primark or New Look.
I’d get a really cute design too, like these beauties!
10. Nail art pens
So you’ve tried magnets, fur, caviar and all sorts of other beauty crazes. Now it’s time to get creative and do your own! Express yourself 🙂
Nail art pens are brilliant! Sally Hansen has a brilliant range of pens for any design you can imagine.
I love creating cute little floral designs, daisies are my favourite for summer- but it’s so hard to paint them on my nails without these pens! (They usually look like fried eggs.)
So go ahead, mix and match your nails and see what effects you could achieve…. without the hefty salon prices!
Credit: Sally Hansen
You can go into any large Debenhams store across the country to find a Nails Inc counter, where you can test all these effects on your own nails, and get a beautician to show you what you can achieve too!
Read more from Bridget here