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03-05-11 | Posted by


It’s the season of uber-glam; we’ve seen the world’s most glamorous and successful actresses and songstresses swan down the red carpet in style and, of course, we want to emulate them. So, BITB has scoured London to find the best places to get your pinkies preened and painted and the latest and greatest collections from planet polish.

Having clocked Katy Perry and the Gaga’s tapered talons, I was inspired and went in search of the world’s best known celebrity manicurist, Liza Smith, whose clients include Kylie and Jennifer Lopez, plus some well-known Brits: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Jamelia and Eliza Doolittle (whose nails she did for the Brit Awards a few weeks ago).

In the basement of the Patrick Ludde salon is Liza’s hideaway. I found expert nail guru James Mok ready to take on my horrid cuticles and higgledy-piggledy fingernails. I was relieved to hear that James is not into damaging the natural nail in order to get the look you want but he works with what you have and has been known to send away nail-biters who want a quick fix at the detriment of their natural nail – or what’s left of it.

Sixty minutes later my nails looked nothing short of perfect and better still, they would stay that way for at least two weeks because I’d experienced a revolution in nail-painting…Shellac. I am reliably informed by Liza’s expert team that Shellac was labeled “life-changing” by those beauty boffins at Vogue and I must say I would have to agree with them. My nails have not chipped or dulled yet and it’s been over a week already. James is evidently a true professional – a great conversationalist with expert skill.

If you don’t have access to the skills of James Mok for a Shellac special, don’t panic; James Mok, Liza Smith and BITB have compiled some exclusive, insider’s tips for the perfect DIY job so you can nail-it at home.

Photo Credit: www.madbeauty.com

1) To start, pick your timing carefully. Don’t paint your nails just before or after bathing or washing your hair because water-logged nails will reject enamel so you will not get a neat, even finish. Also stay away from warm water after painting because this will delay the drying process of the enamel and cause unwanted smudging.

2) Cuticles do not need to be cut; they generally grow faster and more unruly the more they are cut back. Just gently push pre-softened cuticles back with an orange stick for a clean line. You’ll be amazed how perfect cuticles improve the final look.

3) While everyone is experimenting with shaping nails, be careful how you go about getting the perfect point, square tips or smooth curve. Always file your nails in one direction only, to stop them getting ragged and breaking. Work from one outer corner to the centre. It is not necessary to use very coarse emery boards; opt for a soft grain and work them into shape gently and with patience.

4) A great tip for getting the perfect perennial French manicure is to invest in some sticker-dots from a stationery store. Paint your base, nude colour over the entire nail and wait for them to completely dry. Next, stick a dot over the nail up to the natural white of the nail, following its curve. Paint the white tip, wait for the polish to dry and remove the dot carefully. Lastly, paint your nude colour over the top of the entire nail, followed by a shiny top coat for the perfect finish.

In line with next season’s colour-blocking trend, make a new twist on this old French manicure classic and follow the steps using different shades. Toma’s new Tutti Frutti collection is pretty inspiring with the bang-on trend Mango Sorbet and Blueberry Sorbet. Snap them up fast, they’ve just launched this month and retail at £7.25.

Photo Credit: www.boots.com/www.orlybeauty.co.uk

Alternatively, if you are a highstreet gal, get your mits on the new Precious Collection from Orly nails, which is now stocked in Boots stores nationwide at £8.95. There are over 48 shades to choose from.

Hop to it, there’s no better way of accessorising a perfect outfit right now, than with a mani and pedi to die for.

Check out Lisa’a blog for more inspiration at www.lizasmithnails.blogspot.com and call to book in with James Mok at THE nail sanctuary, hidden in possibly one of the most glamorous parts of the West End, Mayfair. Liza Smith celebrity nail boutique is at Patrick Ludde Salon and Spa, 22 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 1PW, T: 020 7495 9040

Congrats to Lisa from BITB for making it to the final 4 of the UK’s Nail Salon of the Year Awards at Professional Beauty 2011.

Love from London

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