Monday 2 February 2015

Favourite Polishes of 2014

nail polish, 2014, Barry M, Models Own, OPI, NOPI, Rimmel, Kiko, Sally Hansen, Burt's Bees

My nail polish collection seemed to expand rapidly over the last year, and whilst the beauty market (and us shoppers) take a break over January, I thought it was a good chance to look back at some of my highlights of 2014...

nail polish, 2014, Barry M, Models Own, OPI, NOPI, Kiko, Rimmel

Favourite Colour

Rimmel - Breakfast in Bed // Barry M - Sugar Apple

I'm not sure who governs the rules of fashion and beauty trends, but as far as I'm concerned Spring 2014 was the season of mint green. I was obsessed with it, which was convenient because it seemed to be everywhere. Naturally my nails had to get involved, and quite a few minty-greeny-blue polishes crept in to my collection this year. It's hard for me to pick a favourite of the bunch, so I settled on these two. Barry M - Sugar Apple is a super pale pastel green colour, with the usual thick Gelly creme formula. I love this shade, and if it wasn't for the fact it needs 3 coats to become opaque it would have come top. Equally lovely for me is Breakfast in Bed from Rimmel's Rita Ora collection. This one has a very slight shimmer, not enough to annoy me but enough to give the nail that extra shine and cover any imperfections, as well as the flatter, wider brush that I prefer. Don't make me choose.

Best Glitter

Nicole by OPI - Carrie'd Away

This is one of those deceiving polishes; in the bottle it doesn't look particularly special, just another gold glitter, but once it's on the nails you realise that this is a really nice gold glitter - sort of like the 'M&S' of gold glitters. It has a decent formula, packed with fine glitter, and gives excellent coverage in a couple of coats, making it perfect for a quick accent nail or even a full sparkly mani. I have also loved using it in nail art, particularly gradients. A really great all-rounder, and I wish there were more colours in this formula. The only downside being its price: £7.99 is steep for a 'high-street' brand, and that's after you've tracked down a Superdrug that stocks it. Definitely worth it though if you spot one on a 3for2 offer.

Best Special Effect

OPI - Push and Shove

I remember this launching back in early 2014 and when I saw the swatches I was so amazed at the mirrored effect of this polish. I used to walk past it in John Lewis every week, umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether it was really worth the £11+ price tag. The answer turned out to be yes, sort of. I actually got it in the sale, but it is fabulous. For the first time, a chrome polish actually lived up to its name. Some reviews I read were disappointed that it showed nail ridges, and chipped after a day. Longevity isn't an issue for me as I like to change my manicure every day, and to hide my nails' imperfections I first painted a layer of top coat, 1 coat of 'Lay Down That Base' (supplied) and then 2 coats of Push and Shove. The incredible foil-like effect is definitely worth the extra preparation, as are the compliments!

Best for Nail Art

Models Own - White Light

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me mention this polish a lot over the past year. This polish is part of the Models Own HyperGel collection and promises to be 'highly pigmented' with a 'gel-like finish'. I have worn this alone and can confirm it gives a lovely plumping effect to the nail, as well as being very shiny without top coat. But I love it because it's so opaque and I can use it for nail art without having to do repeated coats. Admittedly the thick formula isn't always ideal if I'm doing something which requires lots of layers of polish (like a fancy tape mani for instance) as I sometimes end up with a very fat nail! But of all the white polishes I've tried, this is the best so far!

Best Formula

Kiko - 385 Pastel Blue

Whilst I've heard a lot of good things about Kiko nail polishes, I haven't tried many as there aren't any Kiko shops around where I live. This was one of the polishes I picked up in Barcelona in the summer, and when I got home and tried it out I couldn't believe the quality, especially considering it only cost a few Euros. The colour was beautiful and creamy and applied like butter to my nails, leaving them looking smooth, shiny and perfect. It was love at first coat. I really cannot wait til Kiko open a store in Manchester or Liverpool. They opened one in Cambridge within months of me graduating from university there - talk about bad timing!
See swatches and review here.

nail polish, 2014, Barry M, Models Own, Sally Hansen, Burt's Bees Cuticle Cream

Best High Street Dupe

Barry M - Almond

Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you will be familiar with the Gelly Nail Paints by Barry M. This collection was expanded in 2014 adding lots of different colours from brights to neutrals. Whilst I'm normally more interested in the vibrant end, I couldn't help being drawn to this nude-lilac-grey polish and when I got it home I realised why. It's almost an exact dupe for Nails Inc - Porchester Square, one of their bestselling shades. This is one of those colours which is really hard to describe, but is really flattering on most skin tones. My mum is particularly prone to pinching my Porchester Square so I'm glad to have this more affordable alternative.

Best Top Coat

Sally Hansen - Insta-Dri

For a long time I wasn't fussy about top coats, as long as they dried and looked vaguely shiny. Then it was all about Seche Vite with it's ultra-fast dry time, but at £9.00 a bottle (unless ordering online) that habit couldn't continue. I can't even remember what made me try Insta-Dri, I think it was an offhand comment on Instagram, and it was also on offer at Boots, but I'm so glad I did. It's a great consistency - not too thick - the brush is wide and flat, it dries quickly, and most importantly for me it dries hard, so it's great for nail art. A manicure essential.

Best Nail Care Product

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Technically not a nail polish I know, but a product that has helped improve the condition of my nails and cuticles massively over the year. This cuticle cream is a solid waxy paste, scrape a little out and massage it onto and around the nails, then leave it to absorb for a few minutes. I try to do this every day, usually before bed, and it keeps the skin around my nails feeling smooth and soft. This has really become part of my routine now and I wouldn't want to go without it!

Best Collection

Models Own - Polish for Tans

Of all the nail polishes and collections that were launched last year, there was one set I just couldn't shut up about. Models Own released these muted neon shades for summer 2014 and I remember being hooked as soon as I saw the first set of swatches. Unfortunately these came out just after an online sale (where I splurged - a lot!), so I wouldn't let myself buy them for ages. I just stared jelously at pictures of them and planned the nail art I wanted to do - Yes I'm that sad! When I finally got hold of them mid-summer I wouldn't put them down. Models Own say these polishes are designed to 'enhance and compliment a natural tan', now I've never had a natural tan but I think these look pretty darn good even on my pale skin.

Favourite Polish of 2014

Barry M - Superdrug 50th Birthday

If 2014 is anything to go by, Barry M really are at the top of their game when it comes to producing exciting, quality nail colours at high street prices. In my opinion, this Limited Edition polish, that launched exclusively in Superdrug to celebrate the chain's 50th anniversary, was seriously under praised. It's a gorgeous pink jelly stuffed with lots of different pink glitters and gives full coverage in a couple of coats. Most chunky glitter polishes you can find on the high street are in a clear base, and can only really be used as a topper over another nail polish, but this one looks amazing on it's own. It's completely different to anything I own and the combination of pink and glitter is a winner for me.

nail polish, 2014, Barry M, Models Own, OPI, NOPI, Rimmel, Kiko, Sally Hansen, Burt's Bees

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