This ‘week’ we just decided to go for some really fantastic patterns. Just a bold colour with freehand black patterns over the top.
And with a POWDER GRADIENT contrast nail.
Here we opted not to cover the crystals with a top coat and therefore many of the were lost in the battles of everyday life, as you can see below.
We are quite into these but it is not the extravaganza we had dreamed of. Dreaming bigger for the future. You know. Soon photography standards will return to normal as well, you will all be relieved to know.
Today I have finally got round to two designs I have been thinking of for a while.
One is this rope/plait/chain type thing, which I have done on top of a Barry M ‘Instant Nail Effects’ cracked-effect colour.
The other is the Eye of Horus, an important symbol which I have borrowed from Egyptian myth. Eyes, triangles and motifs like this are zeitgeisty in nail art at the moment thanks to Sophy Robson. Also, Madonna at the Super Bowl and Rihanna at Hackney Weekend have both added an Ancient World flavour to their much-talked-about performances.
I have enhanced the eyes with nail art jewels from Poundland.
The second 8 in a row. These work well. Into the chains, but they probably would stand out more with a less messy background. Alternating black and white might be nice. It was also hard to draw the black outlines and detail on the chains after covering the wet gold paint with glitter, but these are the challenges we face in life.
You can see these nails in motion below:
For our Easter nails we have gone for two nails decorated with patterns inspired by ones you typically find on springtime confectionary packaging, some Easter bunnies, some daffodils, and a Christian cross in springtime colours, to remind us of the sacrifice of Christ.
I am constantly amazed by the triumphs and challenges nail art presents. You would think that the white rabbit or the daffodils would be, by some margin, the trickiest nails here, and yet these designs have produced strong results, and the straight-forward looking crosses are the wonky villains letting the team down.
Sorry, but I haven’t included any instruction or photos of different stages because there’s too many techniques involved when every nail is different.
Click on image for ludicrous HD.
We’re quite proud of how these have gone, and may have even gone for a rare 10/10 score if the crosses were a little neater but unfortunately we were hurried just as were finishing those two. Not 100% sold on the gold swirly fingers, either – I would never have done a design like this if it weren’t inspired by Easter eggs, and there is a brown to purple Powder Gradient which is not as visible as hoped.
But Best City Nails is not about perfection – it is about spirit.
May the true spirit of Easter be with you this weekend.
“And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” – Mark 16:6
Oh hi there, welcome to Best City Nails, your one-stop shop for making the best of your bargain basement nail art products.
Awarded a healthy
…the main things I have learnt from these nails is the powder gradient WITHIN a masking tape stripe, executed poorly on the right thumb (my actual right hand, but to the left of your vision) but really quite ok on the left contrast nail.
The glitter is not done justice in this well-lit close-up, but in normal life and particularly in the evening these clumps of glitter are a bit more dazzling, which accounts for a fair portion of the score.
Also very taken with lurid pink and greeny-yellow BUT are these nails a bit 2nd wave Nu Rave? And if so is that OK?
But by far the BIGGEST lesson I have learnt is
Square Tips are a Nightmare…
…for natural nails. Square-tip acrylics are one thing, and one day we might just have to go there.
But square-filed natural nails crack SO easily in comparison to their pointed/almond-shaped rivals. As in, the CORNERS (which you otherwise don’t have) snap off all the time, without you noticing, to leave a diagonal, literally like cutting the corner of a piece of paper. Which is very dispiriting if you wanted a row of ferocious fake-looking angles and have to gradually watch them chip into meaningless neither-here-nor-there shapes.
Also I am told, a lot sharper. Whatever.
We’ll soon be making the transition back.
Yes there have been some severe nail art setbacks, significant breakages. But now I have set the standard of honesty I am soldiering on and letting you grimace at process. The dream is now long square tips like KID SISTER. Here’s some short, some medium, mostly kinda square, raggedy cuticles…eugh it’s basically a war zone.
This was achieved with a lurid yellow base, then Barry M ‘Dazzle Dust’ and ‘Fine Glitter Dust’ in blue and pink. Then white zig zags with a gloopy old striping brush, and gold glitter applied to blobs of wet nail varnish and scruffily circled in eyeliner. Apply a coat of Seche Vite, and despair.
They are kind of fun, and the housemates are into them, but the disparity in nail lengths and sloppy execution really holds this one back.
A bad week.
Enough to make you want to go back to writing about Lana Del fucking Rey.
Throughout the Born to Die video Lana Del Rey features a very acrylic-looking square-tip, with a V-shaped red at the top, giving a conventional design a very slightly sinister edge. In luxurious attention to detail, the red tips are separated from the neutrally-coloured nail with a sliver of gold.
As the video begins in an embrace (the couple’s relaxed, tender, NAKED pose perhaps suggesting post-coitus) you might be forgiven for interpreting Lana Del Rey’s crimson-tipped talons as bloodied claws, dug into the skin of her partner during the freakiest throws of intercourse. This would sit well with the passion/pain duality in the song’s lyrics, which draw more from themes of mental darkness and physical death than one usually sees in popular love songs.
I believe it was the Marquis De Sade who said “It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure,” Madonna who said “There’s a certain satisfaction / In a little bit of pain,” and Lady Gaga who put it “And when it comes to love, if it’s not rough it isn’t fun.” So there’s a keen Pop tradition of exploring the sexual pain/pleasure relationship.
But Del Rey is an artist people seem be taking very seriously. In her choice of nail art perhaps she is not investigating the dynamic of pain in sex, but the more fundamental one of life and death. The French have an idiom that describes the orgasm as ‘le petite mort’ – the little death, and it is easy to expand a savage, animal sexual encounter, involving pain and the expenditure of life force, into Death at one end of the equation and, of course, a possible conception of new life at the other. The ‘blood’ on Del Rey’s nails therefore can be seen to encapsulate the paradox of the song’s title Born to Die.
It is not only in life’s creation that we may see a painful element, but in its preservation, also. The 1849 Tennyson poem In Memoriam A.H.H. contains a phrase often cited in reference to the cruelty and violence we can read into the evolutionary preservation of life: “Nature, red in tooth and claw”.
In fact, Del Rey introduces the Evolution Vs Intelligent design debate in the very first verse classically asking: “Is it by mistake or design?”
But the shock of Del Rey’s death at the close of the video over-writes much of this speculation with a new layer. How has she died? Was she really ‘born to die’ as she herself suggests, if so perhaps the earlier blood on her nails is her own, and it foreshadows her death at her own hands. Perhaps she mauls and tears at herself in a fulfilment of her destiny, and a completion of the creative process. Who can say?
We may have liked to see Del Rey’s nails in the throne scene a little more extravagant, perhaps even aping the splendour in tigers or the flowers that surround her, and contrariwise maybe a second less high-concept, standard nail bar look for the car scene would befit better befit the wayward but somehow all-American runaway couple.
But maybe this wouldn’t allow for the all the business about exploring sex, violence and the harsh realities of nature, and we all know that is what nail art is really for.
Nice going, Lana.
See the nails in motion below:
We met our new fashion-foward friend Jasmine on the Ferry from England to Dublin and instantly fell for her look that expertly treads the line between cute and badass.
You won’t be completely Christmas gobsmacked to find that Jasmine – 18, from London – is a fashion student.
Jasmine’s paw-print nails in classic RuPaul Drag Race colours were clock-able from across the boat! As you can see, they complimented her creature hat, and there’s even some creatures on her ring. We’re particularly keen on the index finger nail.
My friends at a Christmas party last night described Jasmine as a ‘cool lady’. I feel this probably is what has enabled her to carry off Dr Dre headphones without looking like a massive poser.
The Contrast Nail here has ended up looking like a print for the harem trouser fabric of some sort of yogurt-plaiting, yoga Mum but in a way this works because the rest of the nails are kind of psychedelic, so they represent her acid-dropping, trip-hopping, mind-bending, festival-attending youth, and the contrast is her mellowed-out maturity.
She lives in Totness, Devon.
This set, then, represents age and the sands of time, and the processes we all go through on our winding way to the boneyard.
HERE’S HOW WE ACHIEVED THE LOOK…
Begin with the Powder Gradient - this is gold with a bright pink Barry M powder. The powder this time is at the nail tip rather than the bottom, which calls for a slightly different technique and is a bit messier (don’t do this in bed). DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE OUT YOUR CONTRAST NAIL if you want to do one.
Using a nail art pen, a striping brush or a liquid eyeliner, draw a ‘splat’ shape in the centre of the nail, then draw a thin stripe around the shape paying attention to emphasise the bumps and curves. Simply repeat outwards with increasingly thick stripes.
Apply a thick top coat (if you have used eyeliner, you may have to do this a bit softly to avoid flaking)
Losing marks for it’s slightly awkward hippy-dippyness, but overall a lot of fun and have proven popular over the week. Peace and Love, as always.
So I visited Pak’s Cosmetics in Dalston where you won’t pay more than £1.50 for a nail colour.
The quality is very thin so it is yet another of these 4-coat situations, but sometimes you can’t argue with spending £1 instead of £10. It’s up to you. Lion King, Lion Queen, as they say.
WHAT WE USED:
Beauty Forever – 30
Beauty Forever – 49A
Beauty Forever – 130
No 7 ‘Stay Perfect’ in Betty Blue (so blue it’s actually black after one layer)
Standard cheap as chips eBay striping brush.
I didn’t feel as though this contrast nail really worked well with the rest. It was a clash…not enough to be gaudy and satisfying, but enough to slightly irk.
Was very into the custard / skin colour, though. Hope to put to better use in future.
The glittery polish was so gloopy and thick it took an age to dry. About two weeks later there is still no sign of chipping to these nails, so they have been incorporated into the next look.
RuPaul is a huge hero of ours, and his wisdom and beauty should be an inspiration to everyone with an open heart and mind.
In light of this, our pretty simple and rushed manicure is a pretty paltry tribute for the Supermodel of the World.
In fact, I copied this look from a girl I saw crossing Kingsland Road in East London. I then realised the hot pink and black and white check is EXACTLY what the Drag Race promo shots are all about!
These were quick and easy to do and were eye-catching. We might need to create some more kind of exquisite RuPaul dream nail in the future, but for a QUICK FIX, these were pretty cool.
The whole contrast nail situation has become a very definite thing since we first introduced you to it in our Street Style at the beginning of the year (well, early April…but we spotted the look weeks beforehand)
Since then we’ve tried our own (more to come) and now celebrities are getting in on the trend, which has sprung from Peckham and East London.
Seen on the court here with a purple set, and silver contrast.
Obviously we go for a slightly more complex design at Best City Nails, but Serena’s purple/silver look is on-trend and appropriate for sports.
Most people really aren’t into Cher Lloyd’s debut Swagger Jagger. The tune itself would be OK as a novel album track but for a debut single it doesn’t really showcase her well enough.
BUT you can’t fault the video for it’s on-point nails. A very slightly over-styled Cher sports a contrast manicure even simpler than Serena’s (which is probably for the best, as there is already so much ‘going on’).
Cher’s slightly pointed (good) black/silver nails are first seen at the beginning of the video, lining up the track:
And again, as Cher blows a kiss-kiss to the haters:
With give both Serena Williams and Cher Lloyd
…because we’re just so very into a Contrast Nail.
Hard to go wrong.
For Glastonbury festival, we opted for a favourite colour combination of purple and orange. One of those glorious clashes.
For a bit of the sun we hoped for, a nice yellow was used on the Contrast Nail.
And, if you look closely, the Contrast Nails…CONTRAST WITH EACH OTHER! Mindfuck.
…as if you needed to ask the score for these beauts.
WHAT WE USED:
Seche Vite – Dry Fast Top Coat
Rimmel – Nail Tip Whitener
Rimmel – I <3 Lasting Finish (280 Sunshine)
Beauty UK, Glam Nails – (52 Jade)
Purple ‘Nail Star’ striping brish & pen (eBay)
Glitter (Art shop)
Wait for the white to dry completely before painting two layers of the Jade (so the glitter only sticks to the wet colour)
One finger at a time, and as soon as you can after painting in the tips, sprinkle the glitter. If you don’t want too much glitter - like here - sprinkle from a greater height. If they white is totally dry, the glitter shouldn’t stick.
This last step shows the purple lines, and the top coat (remember, the more Seche Vite, the better. It dries very fast so don’t worry too much about layering it on. It can be quite hard to drag over the glitter without a good few drops).
Again, a ‘colourway’ that looked pretty fly in the bottles just doesn’t look the same when painted out, and in different amounts. There’s something of the gaudy bathroom tile about that Jade colour, but then the yellow messes it all up.
Still, I like the V-shaped tips with the regular-shaped half moon. Muy bien.
We ran into Victoria, who is a hiphop’n’happening young stylist from Sideview magazine.
She was in the audience of Ziad Ghanem’s London Fashion Week show.
She wowed us with her square acrylics; clear/natural base with black tiger stripes, and gold glitter details.
Importantly, she also accessorised with some amazing gold finger-candy. Glitter, wings, studs, a leopard. All just what’s needed to set off those pro nails!
She said she didn’t have much loyalty when it came to getting her nails done, and has manicures in lots of places.
You’d have thought that with a budget about 10,000,000 x the size of Best City Nails’, she’d be able to cook up a look at LEAST as good as ours.
Nope. Proudly-pouting Miley does not impress us with these plain black, stubby eyesores.
Perhaps she had ferocious talons, fit for a queen, but they got chipped and broken during THE CLIMB – hahahahahahah.
Oh well. Pro nails are probs not the best thing for herding cattle and playing geetar.
A mark for the fact the’re painted, a mark for the fact they’re not chipped.
The generosity goes no further.
Read this interesting and funny feature from an East London news site about nail bars in Hackney, using a picture from BEST CITY NAILS!
Lynn Enright is a good journalist.
Here’s some choice extracts:
“The workers hunch over their stations; little paper masks protecting them from the noxious fumes and floating detritus. Furiously they file and buff; there is no time for small talk.”
“Hackney-born Charaf is eager to chat away though. “We get all sorts in here,” she says. “A bit of everything – old ladies, young school kids, black, white, but never Vietnamese actually. The Vietnamese run the nail bars but they don’t get their nails done.” “
“So from America to Hackney, with the help of the Vietnamese diaspora, and then onto Ireland, this is one trend that’s truly global.”
Here’s just a little something I whipped up, y’know.
The main colour is Rimmel’s 60 Seconds, in ‘Blue My Mind’ – delightful.
The second coat of this was liberally sprinkled with silver glitter of the coarse kind you can buy in an art shop, and sealed in with a top coat.
As you can tell in the main picture, there are two dividing lines – one hot pink and one glittery purple. This look would have worked better without the purple line because it is too close to the main colour, so it just looks like there’s a gap between the pink and the tips.
It spoils the strength of the look.
Zebra tips, always a favourite.
- losing out on full marks because of the purple stripe fiasco. So near, yet so far.
Welcome to BEST CITY NAILS…
You’ve heard of CITY BEST KEBAB, and BEST AMERICAN PIZZA, and BEST CITY FOOD…well now it’s time to give London’s raggedy nails what they deserve – the best.
We’ll keep you posted on what we’re wearing on our talons week by week, PLUS:
- How to achieve FIERCE Best City Nails-inspired looks
- Celebrity nails
- Nail street style (it could be you!)
- Nail tips
- Nail bar reviews
- Nail product reviews
- Cultural nail studies
- Nail Fails
- And more…
So get ready to SUBSCRIBE (for real), and let’s VARNISH London town – all the colours of the ‘bow man.
SOHO! RIHANNA! POP! NEON! FRENCH TIPS! STRIPES! NEW CROSS! SPOTS! STRIPES! BOW! FASHION WEEK! PARTIES! SHOREDITCH! CELEBS! FOILS! LONDON! GLITTER! KID SISTER! FIERCE! HOXTON! KATY PERRY! KEBAB! CHECK! CLUBBING! SEX! DOLLY PARTON! STARS! COOL! DALSTON! DANCING! HIP HOP! WHITECHAPEL! AMAZE!