WAH(oooo) Nails!

While not terribly posh, that’s the sound I made when, thanks to the suggestion of a dear friend, colleague, and English fashionista, I was turned on to WAH Nails of London.

I’ve long been a fan of fashion…nail fashion, that is. I can remember changing my nails to match my clothes as early as the age of ten. Of course, in my older, wiser years, I learned that matching your make-up to your clothes is actually a bit of a fashion faux pas. So I spent a few years with my go-to reds and pinks. Until one day Chanel, giver of all things beautiful and wonderful in the world, came out with some very dark nail polishes. I’m thinking specifically of Vamp, which I discovered probably eight years ago? (I’m terrible with dates, so don’t quote me. Look, there’s a reason I’m writing a fashion, not history, blog.) From there, I jumped on the trend of short, dark nails (much to the dismay of a dear friend’s mother who does my nails). I luxuriate in blacks, navy blues, greys, and deep purples, for as long as the seasons will allow (I try to stay bright during the summer months).

After a few years of deep-hued bliss, my nails happened upon a new adventure: nail art. I admit, I grew up in a land of a very different type of nail art (the Midwest). This type of ‘art’ involved long acrylic nails, airbrushed flowers, and rhinestones. Not exactly my thing. I like to describe my style as Coco Chanel on a Harley, so I love classic pieces, with an edge. Enter: nail wraps. With the resurgence of 60s style thanks to shows like, well, let’s face it, Mad Men almost exclusively, we know that things like leopard print are here to stay. That same leopard cami your grandma might have worn can be donned on the streets of New York today. So why not take that trend to your nails?

Here’s a shot of my nails from the beginning of my trip to London:

Now, if you’re thinking what so many asked (who did your nails??) the answer is: ME. That’s right, they’re nail wraps AKA a traveler’s best friend. Any girl who travels for anything longer than a week knows that she’ll run into the problem of the chipped manicure. So we travel with our bottles of nail polish wrapped in sandwich bags, praying they won’t leak, throwing in those individual nail polish remover wipes, with the idealistic notion that we’ll actually manage an 0n-the-go manicure ourselves. Wrong. It never works (ladies, you know I’m right). But take a look at these! For around $10 (these were 6 gbp at Top Shop) you can get a sparkly new manicure in a matter of minutes, and it’s as easy as putting stickers in a coloring book with your nephew. The best part: they last around 10 days! But what happens when those ten days are up, you ask? Well, can you peel off a sticker? If you can, you can remove these. No residue, no smelly polish remover, just clean nails that are all ready for their next shade of amazing!

At home, I prefer Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, pictured to the left (photo courtesy of Sally Hansen, http://www.sallyhansen.com). These are available in a variety of colors (we’re talking DOZENS) and you can get them at your local Duane Reade (or your drug store equivalent–I know we don’t have good old DR back in my home state of Michigan!). As a typical cancer, I like to research everything, so naturally I read reviews for many different nail wraps, and these bar far had the best reputation–and I can see why! They are easy to use, they stay on, and the designs are sure to get your nails (and you) noticed!

Now, for those with the luxury of an hour or two in the spa, let me turn your attention to the amazing discovery that spurned this article in the first place:WAH Nails (all photos below courtesy of WAH Nails, http://wah-nails.com/).

As I said, a very stylish English editor introduced me to WAH Nails when she noticed that we were both wearing some pretty fierce nail art (especially for a book fair, which is where this story takes place). As if that wasn’t serendipitous enough, she let me know that WAH had a book coming out, a sort of DIY guide, and allowed me to peruse her much-coveted copy.  The book itself will be released July 10, 2012. You can pre-order a copy on Amazon by clicking here. She’d had her own stunning nails done at their shop, which it turns out was not far from where I was staying! I think you can guess what happened next… 

Tiny tuxedos!! That’s right, I made my way to Oxford Circus, to WAH Nails’ TopShop location. I can only liken this experience to an art gallery meets ice cream parlour. On the wall, you’ll see the dozens of designs you can choose from, and you ‘order’ your nails much as you would a cone of mint chocolate chip. Then, when you sit down with your artist, the magic begins. I should point out, they really are artists! When I spoke with mine about her background, she said that most of them are actually artists (painters, etc.) first, who are then trained as nail technicians. As she painted on the tiny canvases of my nails, I could see what she meant! Each nail is hand painted in a series of steps. I made it ‘easy’ for mine and got all the same style, but you could have a different design on each nail, if that’s your thing! This particular manicure took about an hour and a half, cost 33 gbp, and two weeks later, it’s STILL going strong! My nail artist did advise me to keep up with the clear nail polish, which I’ve been doing (no way I’m ready to part with these, yet!) and they still look great. So, if you’re in London, stop by one of the WAH nails locations and get yourself a little piece of art to take home.

And, if you want more nail art fun, one of my very favorite sites, HelloGiggles, co-founded by the incomparable Zooey Deschanel (you know I couldn’t do a nail art post without mentioning her!) does a Nails of the Day feature! Stop by their site for photos, how-to videos, and other nail art inspirations! Much like your daily apple, it’s sure to keep the nail blues away.




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