2011 was the year of The Statement Nail. Cracked-effect and magnetic nails from Barry M, OPI and Nails Inc became the essential accessory of every beauty blogger; Kelly Rowland flashed an intricately designed talon every Saturday night; and the beauty pages were filled with how-to guides on creating zebra print and lace effect nails at home.
So when I received a voucher for Urban Retreat at Harrods, I chose the Everlasting (gel polish) Manicure, £55. Inspired by a nail feature in Look magazine, I opted for a French manicure style shocking pink nails finished with glittering gold tips. I was expecting outstanding results from Harrods, especially at a cost of £55 but sadly I was disappointed. Urban Retreat felt more express nail bar than luxury salon; the manicurist was friendly but I felt I was burdening her when I asked for a glass of water, which arrived in a tiny paper cup.
The not-as-glam-as-you-think Urban Retreat, Harrods
I was surprised when she started by painting my entire nail in the shocking pink, I expected her to start with the gold tip, and then paint the pink polish, just as a French manicure. After the pink was dry the manicurist layered the gold, in a very thin strip, directly on top. Immediately I could tell that the gold was not a strong enough colour – it was completely overpowered by the pink underneath. The gold looked muted, not the stand-out flash of glitter I was hoping for. Forty five minutes and £55 later, my nails looked good, but I wasn’t blown away.
The manicure stayed perfect for the next seven days but on the eighth day amid a badly timed flat move (I scrubbed the oven, unpicked parcel tape and washed countless dishes... all without gloves) my nails started to chip. Unfortunately, they didn’t just chip in small chunks but in long strips - the layered gold tips began to peel off completely! Again, I was disappointed as I felt the manicurist should have recognized that by layering strips of gold polish onto the pink she was creating an uneven surface that was likely to peel off.
Four weeks on I have one nail left standing – my thumb! I think it’s time for me to remove the polish from the rest of my nails!
I would definitely get a gel manicure again; I loved having practically perfect nails for seven days straight. However I wouldn’t get them done at Harrods. For £55 I expect an excellent service, not an express nail bar environment, bad advice and colours that peeled off.
And for those that don’t know... a gel manicure is a gel like substance, applied like normal polish but dried under an ultra-violet light. The gel polish isn’t damaging to nails in anyway and the polish stays chip free, shiny and perfect for two weeks or more.
Have you had a gel polish before? What did you think of the results? Can anyone recommend a great, but affordable gel nail bar in London?