Space nails!

The world of nails has made some significant advances since the early days of a quick shape with a metal file finished with a clear top coat. What with acrylics, gel, shellac, UV lightboxes and all manner of powders and liquids, it can be a confusing minefield – more easily interpreted by an industrial chemist. That’s why I was delighted to be <ahem> taken in hand by Sarah at Maddison Avenue, who offered to show me some of the latest techniques in nail decoration. And, what better substrate to demonstrate on than my own nails.

The process started with nail preparation: roughing-up and shaping of my nails, followed by a de-greaser to give a dry base for the colours. The choice of colours was pretty comprehensive, ranging from bridal pearl to a hefty gothic black and all manner of sparkles and shades in between. I opted for a space look; blue glitter with holographic foiling. Starting with a single coat of blue, the nail colour was built up with successive coats, each hardened in a UV lightbox for a couple of minutes.

Of course it was the holographic foil that had turned my head initially. The foil is fiddly and it was probably too much to ask for it to be applied in a smooth and flat layer, but its crackle-effect application gave the nail a pleasing space nebula look. My nails were then topped with the gel coat and, after another session in the lightbox, they were wiped, oiled and moisturised with a fragrant mango lotion. Unlike conventional polish the gel nails were ready to go without fear of smearing and, with reasonable care should last for several weeks. The only trouble is choosing what to have next time!

And, of course, this isn’t just for the ladies now that Snoop Dogg is busting convention with his French manicure.

Thanks to Marc and Sarah at Maddison Avenue, Union Street, Ryde for the nail treatment. A full set of gel nails starts at around £20.

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