Review: Nail Art Trends and DIY Kits Tried and Tested - Beauty - Stylist Magazine

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Nail art trends tried and tested

We test the latest DIY nail art kits

Nail wraps, gel manicures, bizarre nail shapes, Caviar and velvet – it seems every week a new nail art trend takes the beauty world by storm, and the tools of the trade, from DIY transfers to nail art pens, are now widely available for us to try the look at home.

The Stylist team are inspired daily by the incredible nail artists and bloggers posting pictures of their craft online – but can a non-professional, non-beauty-blogger/editor, slightly clumsy normal person attempt some of the latest nail art trends at home – and are they actually practical beyond Instagramming a shot of your handiwork? We asked a clutch of the Stylist team (all of varying nail art ability) to experiment – here are the results.

Lauren Smith, Online Assistant at stylist.co.uk, tested Velveteen, the Velvet Manicure from Original Sugar, £4.95, originalsugar.com, Models Own WAH nails nail art pen, £6, asos.com and the Hi Shine Nails Nail Bar in a Box, £99.00, hishinenails.co.uk (available November).

Was it easy to apply?

Velvet: Kind of - you start off with a swipe of red polish and then dunk it in to a bag of velvety hair – which is easy enough, but removing all the excess hair is the tricky part! It got everywhere, and I couldn’t blow it off! A small brush would help solve this problem.

Nail art pen: You need a steady hand for this, but the pen is very easy to use, and memories of my GCSE art skills came flooding back as I happily doodled away. I copied a design on the WAH nails website.

Gel kit: The instructions are very clear, and although it's annoying having to cure you nails for three minutes after every single coat, it's really easy to do at home.

Did it look good?

Velvet: I quite liked the purple – it stood out more than the red which I tried, and although it felt a bit odd at first, I couldn’t stop stroking my nails afterwards.

Nail art pen: I thought it looked cool - although one hand was better than the other!

Gel kit: Loved it - like I'd had a proper mani!

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

Velvet: A huge mix – ranging from “wow, that’s so cool!” to “disgusting – like a fungal nail infection” – it certainly divides opinions…

Nail art pen: It went down a treat at Bestival

Gel kit: Everyone thought I'd had a manicure.

How long did it last?

Velvet: A lot of the fluff did start to moult the next morning, but then I was moving house and doing a lot of cleaning, so it was a particularly harsh test!

Nail art pen: After a few days some of the designs rubbed off, but it still looked ok.

Gel kit: About two weeks - it survived a festival - that's all you need to know.

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

Velvet: It stays on remarkably well after washing your hands, the fur just gets a little bit soggy but dries quickly. Doing it at work was a mistake as I got hair all over my desk!

Nail art pen: Yep, no problems at all - I even did my handiwork at my desk!

Gel kit: No worries about chipping so yes, very easy.

Would you wear it again/recommend it?

Velvet: I would try it again with a pastel colour, and with a brush to sweep away excess hairs. I reckon this takes practice but looks cool after a few tries – you get a lot of hair in the bag to experiment with!

Nail art pen: Yes, but I'd practice some more so I get better at it!

Gel kit: Yes - I didn't want to give it back!

If you would, where would you wear it?

Velvet: It didn’t really chip off so you still have a slightly bald but ok look after a few days.

Nail art pen: It's great for a festival, party or fashion week.

Gel kit: Anywhere - the colours are quite plain and chic - red and pink.

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

Probably a 2 – I can paint but I’m not great at nail wraps.

Elinor Block, Online Writer at shortlist.com, tried Nailease Half Moon Zebra Flouro Nail wraps, £5.99 (above) and YSL Manicure Couture Les Fauves Duo No. 2: Griffe D’Argent, available exclusive to Selfridges, £24 (below)

Was it easy to apply?

The YSL was easy to apply but you needed two coats of the top coat to make sure you got the best effect.

The wraps were fairly easy although if you've never done them before you might want to practice on your little nail. Luckily in most packs they give you more than you need.

Did it look good?

Both looked amazing. I will be wearing both again.

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

YSL got a good reaction but everyone loved my nail wraps even more.

How long did it last?

The YSL lasted a long time and didn't chip at all. In fact, I ended up taking it off before it started fading/chipping as I like to change my colour quite a lot. Annoyingly the nail wraps chip a bit if they're not on properly. I just needed to buff them a little more and add a bit more top coat then it would have lasted longer.

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

The YSL polish was really easy, I didn't notice it and it lasted well when washing up (bonus points for that).

Sometimes the wraps caught a little bit but that's because I hadn't buffed them enough.

Would you wear them again?

Yes for both!

If you would, where would you wear them?

I'd wear the YSL for work and birthday parties. The transfers were perfect for Notting Hill carnival!

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

4.5

Jeannine Escobar, Stylist contributor, tested Elegant Touch Envy Wraps - Bling Candy Sprinkles:, £6.99, superdrug.com

Was it easy to apply?

Yes, and the packet included a variety of sizes to match the length and width of the nail bed, which was very helpful for a good fit.

Did it look good?

Yes, I received so many compliments, even from strangers!

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

My nails definitely attracted plenty of attention because they were so sparkly.

How long did it last?

They only lasted half a day. However, I was told afterwards that using a top coat is imperative to preserve the quality of the nail art. Who knew?!

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

No, sadly they started to peel off when I washed a few dishes. Again, I wish I had used a top coat to really put it to the test. Amateur mistake on my part.

Would you wear it again/recommend it?

I would definitely wear them again (with a top coat) and highly recommend it to those who are not afraid to wear attention-grabbing accessories.

If you would, where would you wear it?

This packet of nail art would be a nice touch for festive events like a fancy dress party or a masquerade ball.

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

2

Michelle Blond, Email Broadcaster at EmeraldStreet.com, tested Nails Inc Whitehall Magnetic Polish, £13, nailsinc.com

Was it easy to apply?

It was very easy to apply but a little time consuming because after you’ve painted each nail you must hold a magnet over it while it dries.

Did it look good?

The effect worked really well

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

“Wow, that looks amazing!”

How long did it last?

I had no problem with chipping, probably because I had to apply two really thick coats of polish

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

I did all my everyday tasks with no problems

Would you wear it again/recommend it?

Definitely recommend it and I would wear it again

If you would, where would you wear it?

The effect is subtle enough to wear in the office without people staring at your hands

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

I’m pretty rubbish at nail art – I’d give myself a 1 out of 5

Anna Brech, Online Writer for stylist.co.uk tried Christian Dior Golden Jungle Crocodile Leather Effect Nails, £22.90, escentual.com

Was it easy to apply?

As a bit of a nail art rookie, I struggled with application of the double layers. The gold base was fine but when it came to putting on the Khaki topcoat, things went downhill – I kept on layering it on too thickly, meaning it took ages to dry and didn’t shatter properly for the amazing “crocodile effect”

Did it look good?

After several attempts and run-ins with nail varnish remover, yes it did. I think it would look even better minus the clumsy application – it requires a really steady hand for maximum effect

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

Politely ignoring the skanky bits round the edges of my nails, most people loved the layer effect – it is pretty cool (I myself was delighted when the topcoat started shattering to form a crocodile pattern; it’s like magic!)

How long did it last?

2-3 days; after that it chipped and the layers smudged together

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

Yes pretty much; the only time it smudged was when I rooted around in my handbag for a set of keys

Would you wear them again?

Yes, but I would go easy on the top coat application next time

If you would, where would you wear them?

It’s great for a “wow” streak of glamour at a New Year’s Eve party – or a safari-themed hen bash!

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

1

Anna Fielding, Editor of stylist.co.uk, tried Ciate Caviar red white and blue manicure kit, £18, Selfridges.com

Was it easy to apply?

The first hand I hadn't really got the hang of it. You really need to pour the caviar beads on one nail at a time, just after applying the polish. Once I'd realised that very obvious thing it wasn't too tricky. Although even with a tray underneath, the falling beads went everywhere.

Did it look good?

It looked really cool, like being covered in more uniform hundreds-and-thousands but definitely more towards edgy than cute.

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

Bemused interest was the main one ("Let's see. How do they stay on? Oh look they really are 3D"), followed by generally positive comments and then one person who ran off saying: "Eugh, no, it makes me feel sick. It's all the repeating patterns, I can't stand things like that."

How long did it last?

Ten minutes, tops. It really does need a top coat, which I didn't have with me. I sat at my desk and absent-mindedly rubbed it all off whilst working. My keyboard is now full of tiny caviar beads too.

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

See above. Everyday tasks (using a mouse, typing, fiddling with hair whilst staring at the internet) were the death of it.

Would you wear it again/recommend it?

I would like to give it another go, but certainly with more care in application and definitely a top coat.

If you would, where would you wear it?

Birthdays would be a good place, plus the increasingly rare occasions I go clubbing.

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

Eh, not awful, not totally ninja. 2.5

Mollie McGuigan, Deputy Editor of EmeraldStreet.com, tried Meadham Kirchoff Nail Rocks nail wraps, £7.00, topshop.com (from mid-September) and Sparklynails gold square studs, £1.50, sparkly-nails.co.uk with Estee Lauder Pure Nail Colour in Dressed to Kill £14.50, esteelauder.co.uk (below)

Was it easy to apply?

The wraps are, providing you had the right equipment – nail file, nail stick and clippers. The studs are not that easy – you have to apply it while the nail polish is wet and you have to move it into place. It was a case of get it right first time or start again.

Did it look good?

Yes but because each nail wrap is a different design, they look best with a simple outfit in a block colour. Not so great with my floral red dress. The studs did, but I chose the wrong colour combination (gold studs with maroon polish). Looked a bit like Seventies bathroom tiles.

What was the reaction from other people when you wore it?

They loved the nail wraps! The studs got a mixed reaction. One person thought it looked like the wall tiles from their local Indian restaurant.

How long did it last?

About a day for the wraps, the others lasted longer.

Was it easy to do everyday tasks with it on?

Water weakened the nail wraps so no washing up!

Would you wear it again/recommend it?

For the Meadham wraps, I wasn't a fan of the designs so I wouldn't wear them again but everyone else loved them! For the nail gems, I would but I would make sure I had worked out the colour combination before I started applying!

On a scale of 1-5, how good are you at nail art?

3/5

Tags: beauty, nail art

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