Do you spend a disproportionate amount of your life trying to please others – especially when it comes to beauty?
From fiddling about with eyeliner and concealer so that anyone you meet doesn’t have to see six years of dawn-wake-up eyes, to dealing with an inch-and-a-half of grey roots what feels like a week after being dyed – none of it feels like it’s for my benefit.
Yet creating perfectly imperfect nails is something I have always done to please myself.
I catch sight of those glossy scarlet digits and they give me such a rush of joy. I think, ‘These could be the hands of someone who does more than pack lunches and wipe bottoms’.
I have had every kind of nail-art, nail-treatment and spray-varnish going.
I have suffered from silent, seething manicure rage. You know, when they press into your cuticles with an orange stick but don’t remove any skin or file so gently you want to snatch it out of their hands and do it yourself.
And yes, I am one of those dreaded people who never utters a word but moans endlessly afterwards.
My nails aren’t perfect – I nibble away whenever I am stressed – but I do take a great interest in new innovations and trends.
I think it is a wellbeing-must for mothers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel better when their hands and feet are beautifully polished and pampered – it is sacred me-time when there is so little of it for yourself.
I wouldn’t say I was an expert but over the years I have acquired quite a bit of knowledge – especially when it comes to preparation.
A manicurist only has so long to spend removing your cuticles, and I do emphasise that they are your cuticles, so it is your responsibility to keep on top of them.
CND Essentials Cuticle Away Remover is like the crack cocaine of the nail world (it is a professional product, although you can buy it on Amazon.com) but once you begin easing that excess skin away, and see those beautifully groomed cuticles, you will be hooked.
Also essential for prep work is the Tweezerman Pushy & Nail Cleaner Tool. It has a little scoop to remove any grime at one end, and a nice sharp pusher at the other (I have been known to sharpen mine in the kitchen knife sharpener, I know, I know). I find the sharper the edge, the easier – and gentler – it is to remove the excess skin, causing less damage to the protective layer around your nail and to the plate itself. I always carry mine with me.
And my latest, and finest, discovery is EVO Oxygenating gel.
I had a manicure using it at Cloud Twelve, a wellness and lifestyle club in Notting Hill, and three weeks later it still hadn’t chipped.
Even with gel, I’m so hard on my hands that that is rare.
When I removed it, (I wrap my nails in acetone-soaked cotton wool and tinfoil) it came away easily and my nails did not have that usual white, dry look that means I have to slather them with nourishing oil. I decided to find out more.
Created by Bio Sculpture, founder of the world’s first soakable UV-curable nail gel and the brains who first brought gel nails to the UK twenty years ago, EVO Oxygenating nail base is infused with Vitamin A and E, which migrates into the nail plate improving rather than drying your nails with wear.
The next layers – the colour and topcoat – are gas permeable so oxygen and water vapour can move freely to and from the nail plate to stop them drying out. It’s also flexible and durable so that there is no softening of keratin (when you find your nails are weakened when gel is removed).
The gel itself is self-levelling so you get that perfect glossy finish and there is an array of great colours – my next choice will be the cool magnetic varnish.
A mother’s hands are so important – they do everything from healing to caring – it is so important to take care of them. I know I will mine.
To book an Evo manicure visit: www.renewbeauty.co.uk/pages/salon-finder