After a couple of years of nail polish-free living, I’m embracing fancy fingertips for spring. This is an easy way to let colour in without giving yourself a fright every time you look in the mirror; and an opportunity to step away from the smartphone and switch off. When it comes to decorating nails, I usually leave pedicures to the experts and go for a simple DIY manicure at home. Yep. That Is My Manicure. Boots UK asked me to get creative with their gorgeous selection of spring colours, this involved a little experimentation with masking tape and a few goes at it before I came up with the final, quite minimal design.

Photo via essie

Being a bit colour shy, I almost opted for the more subtle combination of pale ballet pink ‘at the barre’ with a burgundy ‘spiked with style’ contrast; both from Essie at Boots. But it’s spring and time to bring out the brights, so out came Essie’s lovely coral ‘on the list’ colour with neutral ‘at the barre’ contrast.

To get this look you need a steady hand and some quiet time, so you don’t end up in a smudgy mess. Ahem:

  • Push back the cuticles and apply hand cream
  • Prep nails with a coat of Rimmel London Nail Base & Top Coat
  • Add two coats of the main colour and leave to dry
  • Using a fine nail polish brush, apply the contrasting colour (masking tape aids precision)
  • Allow to dry for at least 10-minutes
  • Use a top coat of Rimmel London to seal the deal
  • Be careful! For the next hour (no texting or Instagram)

For a speedier colour fix without the faffing, paint a couple of nails contrasting colours for a rainbow mani in half the time.

This is a sponsored post.  Boots UK is on a mission to raise the health and happiness of the nation and there are loads of products on offer and lots of nail colours to choose from.

19 thoughts on “Bringing bright nails back

  1. I love Essie and a great tip is to use the Essie gel setter on top of all – it will last for ages! Also if you are like me . . . an ants in the pants type who cannot ever manage to sit still long enough to let fingernails dry, always ending up with dents then use the Essie quick-e drying drops . . . works a treat to speed up the whole process!

  2. I’m a bit of “a plain Jane” and have clear polish on my hands, but my toe nails are always coloured. Catching a glimpse of them lifts my spirits on a day when the weather is not conducive for going outside. I’ve used both the Essie setter (from my daughter) and Rimmel top coat and can recommend both products. Warm regards, Elizabeth

  3. Your nails look so lovely! I really like the color combination and simple design you chose. Now I’m inspired to do mine.

  4. Since the menopause my nails have been a nightmare – splitting, flaking, breaking. I’ve tried everything on the market to no avail. I’ve tried going without polish but that seemed to make things even worse, so I have a mani/pedi once a month from a local therapist who does home visits as I’m a housebound carer. I have a big bathroom with a sofa which makes it a nice place to have a luxurious treat even if I can’t get out. My nails are short, but they look cared for which is important to me. I tend to stick to Jessica’s Kensington Rose which is a bright but not brash pink with a lovely finish.
    I love your nail art, Alyson; maybe I’ll get my lady to have a go!

    1. A year ago I admired a friend’s nails and she gave me the trick, straight from ol’ Helen Gurley Brown herself: Nailtiques formula 2, and Biotin. Worked for me!

  5. I love the coral colour for spring, and the two-tone on the two fingers. Really subtle, and pretty. I’m not fan of the bejewelled look. Icck. Too much muchness, as my friend Liz is fond of saying.
    Happy Easter, Alyson, Now that spring is here, and the temperature is above zero, I’m getting ready to resurrect my Twiggy suede jacket that I won right here last spring. Love that thing to death!

  6. Nails – the bane of my life (well, not quite!!!!). This post makes me green with envy. Any tips from any of your ladies post menopause with dry, peeling rubbish nails that won’t grow past your fingertips anymore? I have a stackabox choc full of polishes that I can no longer wear as my nails look awful.

  7. I stopped using nail polish, too many toxins even with the 5-free ones. I take a marine collagen supplement from Vital Proteins and have to file my nails down constantly. I also found that buffing them works wonders and makes them shine almost like a clear top coat. I’m also starting to let my gray hair grow out since there is really no safe hair color out there. I’m embracing my natural 64 ye old self. Love your blog.

  8. I also suffer from peeling and splitting fingernails. Best product I’ve found to use is made by OPI. It’s called Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenish Oil. Natural smells of almond oil. When used regularly painted on then rubbed into nails and cuticles it really helps make them less dry and healthier looking. I used to keep on shelf in living room and apply when watching television rather than before bed, which is fine too. Loads of hand cream several times a day. A very nice one is Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, not the cheapest but pleasant texture and sold in Boots and elsewhere. I’ve abandoned trying to use polish on fingers keep them short and clean. For my toenails which are on show all year round because I go to yoga classes I mix pedicures done professionally, which look lovely with a coral colour polish and DIY attempts at same with good quality polish: OPI base and topcoat used with their polish or sometimes Chanel, which is very long lasting. This keeps cost down. Foot files are a really good idea as is using cream on feet regularly, advice given by a podiatrist recently.

  9. I also suffer from peeling, dry fingernails. Best product I’ve found is by OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil. You paint on and then rub in. It’s sweet smelling like almond oil. I apply while watching television. It really helps dryness and adds shine. Because of Nail problems I no longer paint finger nails just toenails. A mixture of DIY pedicures with foot file, OPI base and topcoat and their polish or Chanel. I alternate this with professional pedicures in warmer months because it looks so much better than I can achieve.

  10. I used to have the horrible flaky peels nails mentioned above, but have been using The Ordinary Squalene as a cuticle oil daily for the last few months, which has improved things enormously. My mum, who has great nails despite spending hours gardening each day sans gloves, believes that her daily cup of homemade chicken soup is the foundation for strong nails, all that gelatin apparently!

  11. I have never been very good at doing my own nail polish – it never lasts more than a day. My treat is a shellac manicure and
    pedicure. The manicure survives even gardening and my nails grow longer. I use Superdrug’s own cuticle oil pen on both hands and feet 2/3 times a week.

  12. My nails used to be dreadful, splitting, flaking, breaking and weak. The solution is Nailtiques; my nails are now strong and long. Nailtiques is quite hard to find except online but it’s definitely worth it. Do try it first.

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