Every year I set myself some new year beauty resolutions – from wearing SPF to cleaning my make up brushes – with varying degrees of success. In 2019 I committed to ‘rediscover the fun in nail polish’ which was a categorical fail. So in 2020 I stubbornly persisted with a nail-themed resolution to paint my nails at least twice a month. Well that didn’t happen. Instead multiple lockdowns took place and I lost the motivation to make an effort with my nails. Which is illogical as I love the pulled together look of a manicure. But I’m finally rediscovering the simple pleasure of groomed nails thanks to a London Grace manicure. With 10 nail bars dotted around London, these salons offer not only sleek and elegant nails, but also a place to wind down with a glass of wine or to catch up with friends with a cocktail in hand (oh and they do coffee too, but, you know, wine and cocktails, hello). Here I trial 3 easy to wear shades to get my nails back in the game.
I visited the Leicester Square nail bar as it’s minutes away from my office so made for the perfect evening treat before heading to a pop-up store on Oxford Street. As always I procrastinated for ages on the choice of colour, yoyoing from a bright and bold hues to a pastel shades until I finally settled on Grace, a bluey purple toned colour that somehow manages to feel muted. Every nail polish carries a first name and it was only when someone remarked on my fresh manicure and asked if that was the signature colour from London Grace that I realised the significance of the name – Grace. Of course the signature shade would carry the name of the brand! Expertly applied by a friendly chatty and professional manicurist, two coats provided a solid wash of colour and lasted a week before started to fray at the tips. 15ml RRP £12.00
I love the idea of white nails, but a less than perfect application can quickly result in looking like you’ve dabbled with Tippex at the back of the classroom. So I was looking forward to trying Kathryn for a twist on classic. All London Grace nail polishes are vegan, cruelty-free and formulated with the 10-free approach. Only recently it would be pretty standard to read about 4-free nail polishes which exclude DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin. But increasingly the clean beauty standard involves a 10-free formula, which as well as excluding the above 4 chemicals also cuts out Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, parabens, animal by-products and fragrance. This pure white shade may be just as pure on the inside, but I struggled to achieve a non-streaky finish. This unforgiving shade requires a steady hand for flawless application and maybe a third coat for an immaculate finish. I still received compliments on this white manicure, but this is probably one of the trickier shades to get right. 15ml RRP £12.00
This shade is described on London Grace’s website as ‘pastel polish heaven’ and I’d have to agree. I own my fair share of pink nudes but this one hits just the right notes for me: opaque finish, more interesting than the typical nude but more grown up than baby pink, the pale pink with a hint of grey and lavender is the ultimate shade of elegance. Whilst the Grace shade was applied professionally, this one I used myself at home and despite being out of practice I easily achieved a clean look. Two coats still looked a little too streaky for my liking (I should have let the first coat dry) so I added a final stroke down the middle of each nail before finishing off with my favourite quick dry top coat from Revlon. I have a feeling this shade is going to become my new Essie Cocktail Bling goes-with-anything failproof nail polish. 15ml RRP £12.00
The manicurist applied this cuticle oil to finish off my treatment and we got talking about almond oil which features in this product, alongside celery seed and vitamin E. My cuticles tends to get dry very easily, no matter the season, so a few drops of this oil dispensed with the pipette every evening will keep them feeling soft and looking cared for. 12ml RRP £12.00
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