Officially THE Best Bridal Treatment In The World
No matter how, where or when you're getting married, having sleek, freshly-groomed nails is a must.
But if you're jetting to a tiny Greek island or tepee-ing it up in deepest darkest Dorset, finding a skilled manicurist to come to your venue on your wedding morning ain't gonna be easy. The solution? The three-week gel manicure, currently my new obsession and gracing every beauty editors' hands in town. You can have it applied a few days before the wedding, it won't chip or smudge, and it'll look gorgeous until you're back from honeymoon.
So what is it? Well, unlike horrible traditional acrylic nails (which ruin the nail bed, chip easily and never, ever, look natural), a gel manicure looks exactly like a normal manicure and is removed without affecting the nails whatsoever.
The application process is the same as a classic mani: first a base coat, then two colour coats and a top coat. What makes it last is that the products are polymer-based and 'cured' between stages under a little UV lamp for a couple of minutes. This dries them immediately (honestly, like rock-hard immediately), keeping them super glossy and smudge-proof, plus the application is thin, not thick like acrylics. And you can paint over them with normal nail polish if you fancy changing the colour, and remove it too, since the gel doesn't wipe off with normal nail polish remover.
When it comes to choosing your gel colour, it all depends on the brand and how many they can offer, but you'll usually find a dozen or so shades including classic pinks, reds and burgundies, plus a few trendy ones like navy and coral.
Right now, the best brand in the business doing gels is O.P.I. The treatment's called Axxium Soak Off Gel System, offers 18 shades and is currently launching in salons nationwide as I write (from £40 - find your nearest salon at www.lenawhite.co.uk). It's also at their flagship nail bar in Selfridges - where I spotted Dannii Minogue last week!
Their prettiest colour for brides in my opinion is Bubble Bath: a pale ballerina pink that's clean and clear and not too opaque. Or if you want something with a bit more pink in it, try Hawaiian Orchid.
I've had them twice now and I'm head over heels. They look absolutely flawless for the first two weeks, then begin to fray at the edges slightly so it's a good idea to add a layer of normal topcoat. After three weeks, have them removed back at the salon (they are soaked off in 30minutes), and I dare you to leave without having them reapplied straight away!