Friday, 19 December 2014

Winterized Nails

I love my nail polish. If only I were a bit more patient and less inclined to use my talons as screwdrivers, bottle openers and ice scrapers, I might be a nail blogger. I've certainly got the kind of nail polish collection that's more commonly seen in a mid sized branch of superdrug (not that they stock some of my brands!).  Trouble is, winter plays havoc with my nails. We had a little weekend away recently, and a few days of wholesome outdoors in the cold, a fair bit of swimming, and a slight coming together between my thumbnail and a sofa base have left my usually lovely long nails looking like sad little nubbins.  Breaks, splits, and the less said about the skin on my hands the better.  (I cried when I broke my thumbnail. Actual real tears, in front of 4 year olds, whose idea of tragedy is a weekend without Disney Junior)

Winter is a pretty terrible time to be a fingernail, I reckon.  There's all that cold, icy windscreens and the like.  Then there's central heating, and a tendency to spend too long with hands under the hot air dryers in the ladies.  Gloves, while cosy, aren't best friends with a pretty manicure, and unless you're very fussy, can catch on any tiny rough edge and ooops, there goes another nail.  And the all-important office Christmas party.  Ours was last week, and my nails are still nubbins by my standards.  I was this close to a trip to the local nail bar for a full set of acrylics, until I remembered that there's a good reason why I haven't done that in 5 years, and my nails only look like nubbins to me, to anyone else they're actually OK.  But half the office gave in to the temptation of extensions, gel manicures, and the sort of treatments that look great at the time, but take a whole lot of effort to get back to normal.

There are a few ways to help a poorly looking set of claws through the freezing season. A little bit of love goes a long way, so when Julep, one of my favourite brands (honestly), got in touch, I just had to share some of their advice in the form of an infographic.

I've got to say, cuticle treatments are my number 1 tip. While I wouldn't have bothered until a few years ago, the difference a really good treatment makes is amazing, in terms of look, feel, and the life of your mani.  And aside from all that, they tend to smell incredible. Think almonds, think peppermint, think things that almost make you want to start biting your nails again (or is that just me?)  Don't do it though, nibbled nails are so not a good look.

I'm trying to avoid the typical Christmas nails of metallic red, green and gold this year. Everyone and their dog has found a nail bar who will give them the kind of sparkly mani that was strictly the reserve of the enthusiast a couple of years back, so it's onwards and upwards to new things,  Contrasts and nail art are good. Textures are good (if only because the gel manis haven't got there yet!). Multi-dimensional and duochrome effects are a real soft spot of mine, and I do love a twist on a granny colour.  You know the sort of dusky pink you'd normally associate with crinoline toilet roll covers and winceyette nighties?  Well, I've got to be honest, it looks STUNNING on a good set of nails. Trust me.  Something like Shari or Malala (which I adore as a colour, before I even learned about its inspiration & charitable donation).  Maybe even with a glitter topcoat for the party season. Bling comes in all shapes and sizes these days.

Check out the mani I did a few weeks back  (but please don't look at the awful state of my cuticles, or the horrible work car park background.  I used a deep burgundy base, topped with a mylar flakie topcoat.  These are a complete pain to apply, I have to admit, because the mylar flakes don't lie flat and make the polish gloopy, but they are so pretty to look at.  I think it reminds me of ice particles forming on my nails - Elsa style maybe.  In fact, maybe I should try it on a blue.  Mylar shows up best on strong bold colours, so an icy blue or silver base probably wouldn't work, but maybe something like Amy would, then I could do my real Ice Queen look.

What's your favourite winter mani? And how do you balance stunning nails with the need to keep your hands warm? Have I missed a trick?

Disclosure: I have not received payment for this post. I chose to share the infographic because I found it interesting and thought readers may do too.

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