Guest Post! Review: Nails, Inc. Magnetic Polish in Trafalgar Square and Whitehall

Guest post by Chaos!


This is the fastest-drying nail polish in the world.

OK, so I haven’t figured out the drying time of all the nail polishes in the world, because a nail polish review needn’t be so scientific, but this stuff dries very quickly. This is awesome, and definitely contributes to how easy it is to use. I didn’t think it was super-easy to apply the first time I used it, but having since re-applied it many times (to experiment with different colors underneath, not because it chips easily – it lasted up to six days on my nails before it chipped, and I was working in the lab, which usually means I have to touch up my nails every other day), I have changed my mind. Once you get used to handling the magnet, this is a look you can create in under fifteen minutes.

Instructions for use are as follows:

“Firstly, remove any oil from your nails by cleaning your nails with nail polish remover. Then take off the over-cap which contains the magnet. You will find that there is an inner cap that you can use to apply the magnetic polish. Then apply one coat of your selected nails inc base coat. Follow with one coat of your chosen magnetic polish on all 10 nails and leave to dry for a few minutes. Then create the magnetic effect, one nail at a time. Apply a generous coat of magnetic polish to the nail and immediately hold the cap that contains the magnet, over the nail.

There is a small lip on the cap which should be placed just below your cuticle allowing the magnet to be positioned perfectly over your nail. Hold very close to the nail but take care not to touch the nail with the magnet. Hold the magnet for 10-15 seconds and move away to reveal the stunning effect. Repeat on all 10 nails. After a few minutes, apply one coat of nails inc Kensington Caviar Top Coat to seal in your nail design and to create an ultra-glossy, salon finish”

I find that it is best to sit on the floor with my hand on a table to apply the magnet, so I have my nail and the magnet at eye-level. Otherwise, it is very easy to hold the magnet too close to the nail (even if you do not touch your nail with the magnet, if you hold it too close, the magnet is strong enough to lift the polish off a bit and messes up the design). For me, holding it about 4mm above the nail produces a nice even design, which does appear immediately after magnetizing your nail, but is more defined if you hold the magnet in position for 10-15 seconds as per the instructions. You can also vary the intensity of the design by changing the thickness of the top layer of polish – more polish tends to create a darker design. I did use a Nails Inc. base coat and top coat the first time I applied this nail polish, but I imagine that any other base coat and top coat would work just as well. Since the first application, however, I have just used top coat; not using a base coat has made no difference to how long the polish lasts without chipping (4-6 days). I’m also not patient enough to really clean and buff my nails before applying new nail polish, so it might last even longer if you take the time to do that first as well. I would not recommend skipping the top coat; along with increasing the wear length of the polish, it also enhances the metallic shine of this particular nail polish. It’s difficult to visualize in pictures, but when you move your nails in the light, the polish has an almost holographic effect.

It is really important that you do the magnet stage on all of your nails individually. The magnet only works when the polish is wet, and because it dries so quickly, if you add your second layer to all your nails at once your second nail will be dry before you’ve finished creating the design on the first one. There are some instructions, however, that you can ignore if you want to change the look a bit. The instructions mention that you should hold the magnet with the lip on the cap just behind the cuticle, but if you want to change the design, you can also hold the magnet sideways across the nail. In addition, you can hold the magnet with the lip at the tip of your finger to create an inverted design. I have also tried this nail polish over different base colors instead of just using the polish itself as a base color, and although this takes slightly longer as regular nail polishes do not dry as quickly as this one – and the base has to be really dry before applying the layer you are going to create the design with, otherwise it kind of peels off – this also works very well. The base color is visible through the design, allowing you to create different colored looks with just the one magnetic polish if you don’t want to purchase it in all the available colors.

Overall, I highly recommend the magnetic polish if you are looking for a ‘special effects’ nail design that you can achieve with minimal effort. If you’re anything like me, the ‘minimal effort’ thing is one of the biggest advantages. Some of the other special effects polishes (Sephora by OPI “Shatter”, I’m looking at you) tend to require a whole lot more removing and reapplying before you get all your nails looking nice, never mind all looking the same. I didn’t have that problem at all with the magnetic polish, and also people have asked if I had my nails done by a professional, which is definitely a sign of a good nail polish. I will add, though, that the design is definitely better on long nails as you get more ‘bands’ from the magnet, so if you have short nails or want to paint your toenails, the design might not come out quite as well. I did try it on my toes and while it did work, it wasn’t as nice as it is on my fingernails.

This comes in four different colors on the Nails Inc. website; Trafalgar Square and Whitehall (pictured), Houses of Parliament (which is a deep purple shade; I also own this one) and Big Ben (gold) for £13. Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament and Whitehall are also available at Sephora (both in-store and online) for $16, however Sephora does not have Big Ben and, unfortunately, Nails Inc. does not ship to the US (though this product is available on eBay). A new raspberry shade, Kensington Palace, will be available for purchase from starting next week (23rd January) and I suspect that it will also be available in Sephora stores shortly afterwards. Layla Cosmetics, an Italian company, also produces metallic polishes in a wider range of colors, but I have not tried any of these so I can’t say anything about their quality. The Layla polishes are also around $16 on Amazon and eBay.


Trafalgar Square (magnet used sideways):

Trafalgar Square (magnet used not-sideways):

Trafalgar Square, again:



Nails, Inc. Magnetic Polish: $16 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. It’s quite expensive for a nail polish at $16 (although this works out cheaper in the US than if you buy in the UK for £13) but it is really, really good nail polish and you would spend a lot more to get an equivalent look in a salon.

Purchase again? Well, I bought three, so I think that answers this question.  

Have you tried this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a shout-out in the comments!

Guest Post: Shellac Manicure!

From Katrina, one of our European Beauty Correspondents!

Having read about Shellac – the new super-long-wear nail varnish by CND ( – I was curious. So when I passed a salon offering it, I got an impulse manicure to see what all the fuss was about. I went to Golden Nails in Salem, MA, and was charged $25 for the mani with shellac varnish (and I immediately contacted Foxy Voxy on twitter to tell her I’d be trying it).

The varnish is applied with several layers of base and top coat, and each coat is dried with a uv lamp before the next is applied. One thing the Shellac system offers is blended shades, where a shade is created by layering two others, and their colour charts demonstrate this. The salon I went to didn’t have precisely the colour I asked for, but I got a blend of a dark red with a pale dusky pink. The result was a vivid candy apple, which though it hadn’t been what I was looking for originally, I quite liked. The finish is super glossy.

I had some small disappointments with the manicure, but that was more with the application than the product. The manicurist was a bit sloppy on one thumb – I pointed out the missed spot and when more varnish was smeared on, I ended up with ridges. So that was annoying (and unlike regular varnish, I couldn’t touch it up myself!). It wasn’t very noticeable, but my advice would be to go to a manicurist you know is super-perfectionist with application. Because you will indeed be wearing this polish for a LONG TIME. I had expected to be writing a review saying it was a load of marketing hype. I was wrong. This stuff is INDUSTRIAL STRONG.

At the end of two weeks, nail regrowth is starting to show a little. On the 14th day, I did get a large chip, the result of lugging suitcases in and out of cars. I am impressed! Sadly, I am home now in Munich and there don’t seem to be any salons here that offer it. (the catch with this system is that it has to be removed in salons too – apparently regular nail varnish remover won’t cut it). So I’ll be waiting with my one chipped nail (the others looking pretty amazing actually) til I find somewhere!


[the first pic is straight after they were done, the second two weeks later]

Guest Post! Review: Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Lacquers

Thanks to Inthelab for providing this guest post!

The backstory: Late last year I fell, dislocating my ankle and breaking both bones in my leg. One hospitalization with surgery later, I was bed-ridden for a spell. Number one daughter kindly loaned me use of her laptop with wireless internet connection. Somehow, I wound up browsing nail blogs. “Well,” I thought, “I might as well give myself killer manicures since it will be eons until I can have a pedicure again.” And when I could have pedicures again, I knew I wanted the biggest, brightest, hottest coral I could find on planet Earth painted on my newly-revealed toes.

One of the nail blogs mentioned Rescue Beauty Lounge (RBL) nail lacquers. Living near New York City, I’d heard of the famed nail salon, but not their products. RBL truly has lovely colors, ranging from blushing bride pale to killer vamp dark and everything in-between. The RBL Coral is the hottest, brightest, most outrageously red-hot coral I have seen.


In person, the color pops out even more. I had to have it. The same blog mentioned a new color for last spring, Om, a lovely blend of tea rose and mauve and I-don’t-know-what-else-to-call-it-but-it’s-lovely. Shamelessly, I bought both (dear husband called it “therapeutic”).Nail-OM-lg

Two new-to-me colors I just bought this month are Plie and (don’t laugh; OK, laugh!) Starfish Patrick. Plie is a soft pink-beige that is truly balanced between the pink and the beige tones. It’s an opaque cream, although the first coat went on quite streaky. This was corrected by the second coat (I always use 2 coats, and sometimes 3 for the sheers). I like it a lot, it has more character than the sheer nudes I usually wear. It’s performance so far is excellent.

Starfish Patrick is a sheer coral that has rave reviews. In the bottle it looks more orange than coral. This is the first non-opaque formulation by RBL I’ve tried. I like sheers best when they don’t streak, go on well in 2 coats, and don’t leave my visible nails looking “dirty” (that’s the only way to describe the look of nails through sheer color). This is more translucent than sheer, and 2 coats gave even coverage.

Colors may be just what I want, but the lacquer has to perform, especially if one is plunking down $18 per polish plus postage. Never fear: RBL delivers a wonderful product that applies smoothly, dries to a shiny finish, and lasts. I brought Om with me to Los Angeles for a niece’s wedding; the nail technician who did my manicure was impressed by its brush, texture, and smooth application (that’s saying a lot). My regular nail technician likes it better than the line her spa carries.

RBL makes a Base Coat Prep (which removes all traces of oil from your nails, so lacquers adheres well; you may not want to buy this product since a swipe with alcohol on a pad can do the same thing), a Base Coat that smooths the nail surface and preps it wonderfully (I’m switching to it from my current base coat), and a Top Coat that so far wears like iron. I like it much more than my previous top coat. All of these are $18 each.

The lacquers are 3-free, of course. $18 a bottle may sound like a lot (I think so) but when your mani lasts and lasts (ten days to two weeks for me), perhaps it’s worth the splurge for a great color or two. Sign up for the e-mails and learn when the lacquers are 50% off. The sale is usually twice a year.

Verdict: Excellent for colors and quality

Provenance: Purchased

Find them at Rescue Beauty.