The end of lockdown is nearly in sight and after been stuck inside for months, it's time to out there and enjoy yourself.
Summer is coming and if you've got a special night or day out in mind you've probably been planning your look for months.
You've got the dress, the bag, the shoes and now you need the perfect nail polish to complete the look.
READ MORE:We tried different high street concealers and two scored top marks
There are endless options out as well from gel look varnishes to non-chip products or ones that dry in seconds.
And that's even before you try to choose the right colour.
So this week we put a range of nail varnishes to the test to see which ones came out on top. Here are the results:
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint
I've always loved Barry M's nail varnish. I love the different ranges, colours and finishes they offer and their products are vegan and cruelty-free too.
I decided to try a collection I hadn't used before - the Gelly Hi Shine range - which promises an extra glossy finish and a gel effect. It's described as being made with a 'highly pigmented, chip-resistant formula designed to give an extra glossy, gel-like finish with a single coat'.
But what I like best is that the colours are all named after fruit and the different shades look good enough to eat! I went for a bright aqua colour - aptly named Greenberry.
The directions say to apply a base coat, but I never bother with that instead I applied the first coat and I was made up with the initial results. I probably didn't need to apply a second coat but I'm glad I did as it really made the colour pop.
I was still really pleased with the product after a couple of days of washing dishes, showers, and even a bit of gardening, my nails were still shiny and bright with the minimal of tiny chips. I don't think I'll ever pay for gel nails again.
I was so impressed I even ordered the nail varnish in another colour, Dragonfruit, a shade of bubblegum pink which is supposed to be THE colour of 2021.
Where to buy: You can buy Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint at Amazon, Superdrug, Boots, Look Fantastic and Feel Unique.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish
I’m not usually one for nail varnish if I’m honest. I’m a nail biter and have always found my nails to be quite brittle so for the last couple of years I’ve stuck with acrylics to make life easier.
Due to lockdown I’d said goodbye to my acrylic nails a while ago and just haven’t found the time to get back into a salon quite yet. Instead, I thought I’d look for a cheap alternative that not only wouldn’t cost me a good £30 every couple of weeks, but would withstand the usual knocks of day to day life without chipping constantly.
After searching online I came across the Sally Hansen No Light Gel System, which advises the use of a nail varnish and a top coat in order to get “up to 14 days of colour and shine”.
It also boasts that it is “more chip-resistant than regular nail polish”.
I took a trip to my local Superdrug to check out its Sally Hansen collection and spotted the colour ‘Mauve-olous’ (number 244) in the Miracle Gel nail polish. This is considered Step 1 in the Sally Hansen No Light Gel System and is supposed to be followed by Step 2, the matte top coat (number 102).
I found the first coat of the mauve nail varnish quite thin initially, but it had come together and looked much better by the time it dried. I decided to give it a second coat just to be safe, and now the colour looks full and bright.
I enjoyed the larger brush, which helped get into the corners of my nails without too much effort - or hand shaking.
If you’re wanting a very shiny colour, I’d advise against the matte top coat, which did take the gleam from my nails. I enjoyed this, but it does change the finish and will depend on personal preference.
Since my nails are prone to chipping easily I kept an eye on them for a while but despite me tapping away at my laptop, doing the dishes and even scrubbing the washing machine my nails stayed perfect.
The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish does exactly what it says on the tin and I’ll definitely be going back for more colours.
Where to buy: You can buy the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish from Superdrug, Boots and LookFantastic.
Rimmel London 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish
I love a nice bright colour in the summer and this Hot Tropicana shade really made me think of holidays (remember them?).
Over the years I've tried so many nail varnishes and splashed out on pricier brands hoping to get results, only to end up disappointed. I'm yet to find that wonder product that really does everything it claims to do.
I've often found cheaper high street nail polishes can do the same job for a fraction of the price, so was up for testing this Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish, which is just £3.49 from Boots.
The varnish has a nice wide brush, which helps it go on smoothly without the need for multiple strokes that can give a messy finish. Just one coat gave a fairly thick application and it did in fact dry quickly. Another coat really made the colour pop but it took a little longer for me to be confident it was fully dry.
The finish was great - glossy high shine nails in a fun, bright summer holidays colour. But a day later and the chips began to appear, as is the case with pretty much every varnish I've ever tried in nearly three decades of wearing the stuff.
At least I wasn't massively out of pocket. The hunt goes on.
Where to buy: You can buy Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish from Boots, Superdrug, and Lookfantastic.
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish with Plumping Effect
I received a bottle ofNails Inc. Gel Effect Polish with Plumping Effect in the shade Lexington Gardens as a free gift with a purchase - winning.
I love lilac and don't usually wear stronger purple shades but decided to give this vibrant number a go.
The consistency of the varnish is really thick and malleable, gliding onto my nails with ease. My hands can be a little shaky at times but I was able to apply this formula like a pro.
The varnish dries to a beautiful, smooth finish which is long lasting and chip resistant - ideal for clumsy people like me. It is expensive for a nail varnish but with how long it lasts, it's a worthy investment.
The only minor issue I had with this product was the lid; to maintain Nails Inc.'s famous boxy shape, there's a separate lid over the top of the applicator which I usually have to take off before being able to access the product. It's a little fiddly and annoying.
Still, with how long lasting and pigmented this shade is, I'm keen to try other colours by the brand.
Where to buy: You can buy Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish with Plumping Effect direct from Nails Inc.'s website. It's also available in some John Lewis and Boots stores.