Scottish Daily Mail

Nail the per­fect pol­ish

- by ELSA McALO­NAN

THERE’S noth­ing quite like dis­cov­er­ing a fab­u­lous nail colour that suits your skin tone and lifts your mood — es­pe­cially if you ex­per­i­ment. Bri­tish women spend up to £450 a year on their nails. But as man­i­cure devo­tees know, prepa­ra­tion is as im­por­tant as pol­ish. With that in mind, I put your nail con­cerns to the ex­perts . . .

ELON­GATE SHORT NAILS

Q: I have short nails that never seem to grow. What can I do to make them look more pre­sentable? BEY­ONCE’S MAN­I­CURIST AND CIATE BRAND AM­BAS­SADOR RE­BECCA WIL­SON SAYS: I would rec­om­mend darker colours on shorter nails, from rich red all the way through to black. A deep, glossy shade will make them look glam­orous. If you want to grow your nails, a cu­ti­cle oil is key for daily use, along with a strength­ener to stop split­ting. ELSA SAYS: Nu Nail Strength­en­ing Cream (£3.60, Boots) will con­di­tion cu­ti­cles. And Ciate Nail Gym (£12, ciatelon­don.com) is an in­ten­sive treat­ment with ad­vanced oxy­gen tech­nol­ogy that will strengthen your nails.

BE BRAVE WITH NAIL ART

Q: I’m 59 and would really like to try nail tat­toos or stick­ers — where do I start? LYNN GRAY, FROM MAVALA, SAYS: At this time of year, start with a red or a deep bur­gundy shade all over the nail. Then layer a con­trast­ing glit­ter nail pol­ish over the top, cre­at­ing a gra­di­ent by build­ing up lay­ers of glit­ter closer to the nail tip. ELSA SAYS: Nail stick­ers are also great — Kiko Mi­lano nail stick­ers (£2.90, kiko­cos­met­ics.co.uk) are good value and easy to ap­ply.

POL­ISH FOR PALE SKIN

Q: What is the best shade of nail pol­ish for pale skin? I find some colours drain­ing in win­ter. AN­NETTE CLOSE, NAIL EX­PERT AT MI­CRO CELL, SAYS: Bright colours work well for pale skin. Pick out four shades and hold each bot­tle up­side down in be­tween your fin­gers. Pick the one that adds the most warmth to your skin. A shade with blue tones risks making your skin look dull. ELSA SAYS: YSL has launched four beau­ti­ful shades to match its iconic Rouge Pur Cou­ture. La Laque Cou­ture in Le Or­ange Mat (£19, yslbeauty.co.uk) is a stun­ning or­angey-red.

PRE­VENT CHIP­PING

Q: I do my own man­i­cures and spend ages get­ting the pol­ish per­fect, but it chips the next day. How can I make it last? IT IS a three-step process — start with a good base coat, ap­ply two coats of hard-wear­ing pol­ish and fin­ish it off with a pro­tec­tive top­coat. SO­NIA HULLY FOUNDER AND CEO OF NAIL­BERRY SAYS: I would al­ways rec­om­mend a base coat with a white tint to it, so the colour of the lac­quer grips to the base coat and really stands out when ap­plied.

You must also prep your nails well. Use pol­ish re­mover even if you’re not wear­ing any var­nish to re­move traces of oil.

Then ap­ply thin coats of base coat, pol­ish and top coat. The thin­ner the man­i­cure, the longer it lasts.

Re-ap­ply a top coat ev­ery two or three days. ELSA SAYS: I love gel top coats, as they give a salon-fin­ish shine and pro­tect nails best. Revlon ColorStay Envy Di­a­mond Top Coat (£6.99, Boots) is fab­u­lous.

Send your beauty ques­tions to: elsa@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

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