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Choosing nail varnish

Sarah Horrocks
By Sarah Horrocks Published on 17 January 2008

Clear, red, pink or glitter varnish: which to use? No panic - here are our hints and tips on choosing varnishes that suit you and make your nails look sublime.

The golden rule
Match your varnish to your look. Nail varnish is part of your style, and just like any accessory, it has to match your outfit.

Make sure your colour matches what you're wearing and you won't have to worry about hiding your clashing nails from the world.

Choosing colour
- Choose a colour the same as (or closely related to) a colour in your outfit.

- Clear, pink, cream or beige varnishes dress up your nails with an elegant, subtle touch.

Whatever the season and whatever your style, natural shades always work, they're quick to slick on and last for 3-4 days. A French manicure takes longer, but looks très sophisticated.

- Red nail polish incarnates femininity, is chic for a night out and goes perfectly with lip shine or red lipstick.

Advice: buy your varnish and lipstick from the same brand so that you don't end up with a colour clash!

Tip: red nail varnish requires a base coat and 2 coats of varnish. If you're in a rush, don't bother; but if you've got the time, you can give yourself flawless talons this way! Red varnish goes beautifully with black or any outfit with a touch of red.

- Highlight your hands with dark nail varnish in brown, plum and purple to bring out built-up, well-defined brown and plum eye make-up.
-Avoid: plum or purple nail varnish with black outfits - they don't go together. Go for colder colours like white or grey.

- Black polish is very in and can be used on short, square nails. Needless to say, black, being black, goes with black!

Avoid: brown clothes plus black nail varnish equals disaster.

- Glitter varnish illuminates your look. It glams up tanned summer feet, and can be a great way of accessorising your feet and adding a bit of dazzle to winter outfits. Only use it occasionally, though.

Choosing the right type of varnish

It doesn't stop there once you've got the colour right! You also have to choose from the different types of texture, each of which give a different effect (pearly, shiny or matte).

- For work or everyday wear, use matte nail varnish. The effect is quite subtle, and perfect if you like to keep your make-up discreet and natural.

- Shiny varnish that brings a sophisticated touch to your style is very in vogue at the minute. Whatever colour you choose, the studied, classy effect will give you dazzling, feminine hands.

- Pearly nail varnish isn’t in any more, but it can still look good on tanned hands.

Photo: Maybelline

by Sarah Horrocks

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