Three years after Wah! Nails kick-started our nail art obsession, with their clashing prints and tiny painted-on designs, the trend is still gathering pace. We’ve seen handpainted animal patterns, the shattered effect, nail wraps designed to match specific looks from the runway, and the Ciate caviar manicure, which sold out as soon as it hit the Selfridges shop floor.
This year, the focus has been more on intricate finishes and topcoats – probably inspired by the Ciate manicure, which left nails looking as if they’d been sprinkled with hundreds of tiny pearls. First Illamasqua brought out their speckled-effect polishes just in time for Easter, with spring-fresh shades of blue, pink and pistachio eggshell. Now this month we’re buzzing about YSL’s tie-dye topcoat. Not, as the name suggests, an easy way to do nail art inspired by trippy, hippy tie-dye, this polish is more for creating a graduated ombre effect, going from glittery to almost clear. Worn alone they create a subtle, glossy effect, but we prefer layering them over a solid basecoat for a more dramatic look. You can shake it up for a more consistent finish if you prefer, but that seems less fun.
Meanwhile Nails Inc, who have a reputation for being first to the scene when it comes to new textures and finishes, have added a ‘feathered’ effect to their collection. In four multi-dimensional colourways, we weren’t sure the result looked feathery so much as densely textured, but we still loved it. We’d like to see it used as the background for a nail design, but for those without a steady hand it’s a quick substitute for more elaborate nail art. Our favourite colour is York, a summer-ready combination of coral and peach, but there’s also Edinburgh (blue and orange), Chester (green) and Cornwall (cobalt blue).