Today sees the arrival of a new series on THAT GRACE GIRL [ta-dah]; meet THE BEAUTY EXPERIENCE, in which I attempt to bring an element of 'hands on' beauty to the scene. From now on my IRL beauty experiences will be documented in full for your delectation. Think of this series as a luxe beauty-only address book, jam-packed with everything you need to know about the best facials, manis, treatments, and makeovers on offer to the discerning luxury beauty lover.
Have your appointment books at the ready for our first stop, a mid-week mani.
WHERE? The Only Fingers + Toes Nail Beautique, UK exclusive to Harvey Nichols' Manchester beauty hall.
WHO? Only Fingers + Toes - the experts when it comes to providing a luxe mani/pedi with premium service and professional results. The brand was founded in 2012 and aims to revolutionise the industry with its 'only the best' approach to nail care - focused on quality, durability, and luxury. Expert knowledge and passion can be seen in every aspect of the brand - from the ergonomically designed bottles, to the 'five-free' formula of its polishes, and the strong skill set of the compellingly friendly manicurists.
WHAT? I experienced the best-selling Artistic Gel Manicure. If you're not yet gel-savvy, the procedure involves a thick gel-polish formula which sets only when exposed to UV light [or in OF+T's case a non-harmful alternative]. This leaves a similar [but much more natural] effect to acrylics; long-lasting, chip-free, high-shine, the whole shebang, and a hella lot safer. As a self-confessed perfectionist, expert manicurist Sam took the utmost care in ensuring pristine application, and the procedure itself was super fast. Ideal if you fancy putting your lunch break to some good use.
THE PRODUCTS : For a woman who suffers from extreme commitment issues [when it comes to nail colour], picking a single shade to last the next fortnight was a tough call. For a long-term fixture, I deemed a muted pop of colour the best option, and picked the gloriously [spring] appropriate dusky-rose hue, Uptown. The best thing about OF+T's gel offering is that the Artistic Gel colour range is exactly the same as the regular polish colours on offer, so if you're a regular you can upgrade your mani to gels without compromising on colour. Also used : OF+T Glass Nail File, and OF+T Nail Buffer Block.
THE VERDICT : With sales of nail polish surpassing those of lipstick during the recent economic recession, the world of the manicure has seen a boom of innovation in recent years. From nail stickers to textured polish, felt-tip pens, and scented lacquer, the DIY mani has fast and firmly evaded our lives. Naturally, at-home gel manicure kits reign supreme on the shelves of Boots, but for the real deal and safe application/removal, a certified salon is ALWAYS the best place to go. Those of you who prefer to sport a sleek, chic, and sophisticated look will adore the OF+T aesthetic as well as it's 'nails with benefits' premise [the entire range is free-from toxic chemicals]. Whilst I won't admit to scepticism [after my previous OF+T experience I've come to expect only the best], I have most certainly been more than impressed with my first foray into the world of gels. From the speed of the procedure itself, to the fact that immediately post-application I could rummage in my bag/apply my lipstick/peruse the Penhaligons' counter without fear of smudging or chipping. And let's not forget that fact that two weeks down the line I have managed to attain just one tiny chip [OF&T offer complimentary touch-ups on chipped gels within the two-week guarantee period] and that shine is still reigning supreme. Think : the just-painted look [minus the mess].
To experience the amazing OF+T gel mani for yourself head to the brand's London clinic or the Harvey Nichols salon. Details here.
How does this live up to your gel-main experiences?
*Complimentary experience kindly provided by OF+T