Life is a Catwalk: Nailing the art of nail art

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Nail art has swept the nation – but why all of a sudden is it fashionable to get arty with the tips of our fingers?

I remember more than a year ago reading something about WAH! Nails on a website. What were these nails? Did they have built in baby-crying sound effects? And why was everyone talking about them? I soon found out (for those of you out of the loop) that WAH! Nails are only the coolest nail artists in the country, they launched their salon in Dalston, London, back in 2009, then the following year they became a permanent fixture in Topshop Oxford Circus. Needless to say, nail art is cool again.

I remember rubbing transfers on to my nails back in the 90s, but the new breed of nail art is much more sophisticated, free-hand art - and more creative than most of us could possibly conceive. Leopard print, candy stripes, lettering, animals, flowers, flags, anchors, you name it, and someone, somewhere, has turned it into nail art.

Most of us don’t have a steady enough dominant hand, nevermind the other, to complete such masterpieces, but there are a few short cuts you can take. ‘Crackle’ nail polish, now available from brands including Barry M, OPI and Models Own, allows you to paint over a solid coloured base coat to create a patterned effect. Plus there are now more modern nail transfers, including those encrusted with jewels, which can create an impressive effect for very little work.

If that sounds like too much faff, just choose a nice bright sherbet shade in lemon, peach, mint or sky blue and you’ll be on trend for the summer. Or you could just practice your free hand – I’m off to try elephants, song lyrics and rural landscapes...or maybe not.