Some Random Swatches from Nail Girls London and a Sad Story About the Worst Mani Ever

 I recently traveled for a wedding in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. Things were so hectic right before I left that I didn’t have time to do my nails (that and I was wearing a really fabu color that I didn’t want to take off, Nicole By OPI A Phil’s Paradise, review and post coming soon). Normally, I take my mani kit with me everywhere I go, but I couldn’t on this trip because the airline had some seriously oppressive baggage weight limits. So, my only option was a professional manicure. I never, ever get my nails done professionally, never. In the last five years, I’ve been once… for my wedding. And I really regretted not having done them myself. But I figured, eh, it’s just this once, what’s the worse that can happen, right? Famous last words.

My poor sister-in-law scoured the town looking for a reputable nail place. She went to about 5 different places before finding a salon that didn’t totally skeeve her out and had appointment availability. (Just to be clear, this salon was a random local NC salon, it was not affiliated with the Nail Girls salons in England). The nail tech was really nice but it was the worst manicure I’ve ever gotten. She took a scorched-earth approach to my cuticles, pushing them back so hard that it still hurts. She didn’t even remove all the polish I was wearing before she started painting. The paint job was uneven at the cuticles and had bald spots everywhere. While I did ask for her to fix certain issues, there was so much going horribly wrong that there was no way to keep asking for corrections without seeming completely rude and insane. So, mostly, I just kept my criticisms to myself and silently endured the crimes against my nails. 30 dollars and nearly 12 hours later, I fell asleep and woke up with sheet marks. SHEET MARKS!! I had to go to Sally’s to buy a bottle of China Glaze Ruby Pumps and Seche Vite to paint over the original OPI Vodka & Caviar mani and save the day. In conclusion, I will never, ever, ever get another professional manicure ever again, ever.

I’m sharing this sad tale of woe and despair for two reasons: first, doing your own nails is the way to go, period. Especially if you are neurotic like me.  If you don’t like doing them yourself, that’s totally fine too but make sure that when you do find a good nail tech you stick to him or her like glue because not all nail techs are created equally. And a truly bad manicure can have some long term consequences. It’s probably going to take at least a month for my cuticles to get back to normal.

In any case here are some swatches from the new-to-me-brand, Nail Girls London. Overall, I’m really impressed with this brand – good formula, good application, and great colors. I also really love the color name concept – don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the wacky OPI names but there’s something so intriguing and mysterious about a naming system as simple as ‘actual color + number’.

Nail Girls Teal 1

Nail Girls Teal 1 is a Dolphins-ish teal (ugh, sorry for the sports reference but I didn’t know how else to describe it and I happen to be a Floridian), leaning more green than blue. This color is seriously flattering, I got a ton of compliments when I wore it. The application was smooth and easy. Teal 1 is extremely pigmented and this mani was perfect at two coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5

Nail Girls Taupe 5, is a gorgeous mushroomy greige. The base color is similar to Chanel Frenzy, but Frenzy is a smidge deeper and darker. What makes Taupe 5 unique is the dark ash-like particles suspended in the color. The specks give the color a cookies and cream type effect, but not too obvious. The over all look reminded me of throwing clay. This is unique, but work appropriate – conservative enough that I wore it for a trial. This NOTD was 3 coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5 Bottle

The ash-specks are much more visible in the bottle shot above.  Although I really loved this color, the ash-specks do make the color look somewhat grungy, which I suspect will turn some people off to it.

Nail Girls Purple 8

And, finally, Nail Girls Purple 8 is a mushroomy griolet (think grayed-out-grape). The consistency during application was a bit like a jelly polish so this is 4 coats. The formula here was on the thick side, but not terrible. I was really impressed with the wear time. This was a Monday to Friday mani with no chips and minimal tip wear.

In terms of where to purchase these, I was able to get confirmation – these polishes are available on the Nail Girls London website (careful, it’s definitely not a .com lol). And they do ship throughout the United States because they have a distribution center here. (Which does makes sense since these polishes are manufactured in the United States.) These retail for £10.50 a pop, with the current exchange rate that is a little under $16 US.

 So, have you tried Nail Girls? Any other colors I should seek out? What about nightmare manis? Been there?


Disclaimer: These polishes were sent to me for review by Nail Girls London. 

Edited to include updated information about shipping and also to explain that my manicure-nightmare was not at the hands of a Nail Girls manicurist. 


7 Responses to “Some Random Swatches from Nail Girls London and a Sad Story About the Worst Mani Ever”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I haven’t heard of Nail Girls London before, but these are some seriously pretty shades! Love the teal especially, and I really like the “grungy” look to the taupe as well. Definitely going to keep my eyes open for this brand!

    Ugh, so sorry about that manicure horror. A good nail tech can be a lifesaver, but a bad one can take ages to recover from. :(

  2. Raina Says:

    love the teal shade!

  3. christi Says:

    I stink at doing my own nails. My filing and painting skills are subpar at best. A home mani only lasts 3 days before major chipping. My salon manicures last at least 7 days. I do it but it’s not pretty. Even with the same base coat, polish brand and top coat as the salon, I am not good at being a manicurist.

    But I only go to a real hair salon with a nail tech that does my nails on a regular basis. Someone I can chat with while she files because she remembers me from last month. KWIM? Not those strip mall kind of places with ladies wearing surgical masks and ordering you to pick a color – now! I went to one of those places just once and never will again.

  4. Rach Says:

    I haven’t tried Nail Girls, but the whole UK shipping thing is kind of a detractor for me. :/ Plus for $16, a brand better be Illamasqua fabulous!

    This post just reminded me that I might be getting my nails done for my friend’s wedding in a few months as part of a bridal party package. And now I’m freaking out a little! –Pedis, yes, I have no problem getting that done at a salon, but I can do my own hands juuuuuuuust fine!

  5. Grace Says:

    I’m so sorry you had such a terrible experience. For future reference, should an emergency arise, and you MUST resort to a salon, I recommend just going with a polish change vs. a mani. It’s cheaper, and they leave your cuticles alone!

    On my most recent vacation overseas, I used only my carry-on and so I was restricted re: liquids, but I was away 12 days and I knew my mani wouldn’t make it that long. I brought pre-soaked remover pads, a file, an orange stick, a mini bottle of Essie Pop Art Pink (fool proof buildable sheer), and a mini bottle of seche. The whole thing fit in the palm of my hand and while I couldn’t do my usual routine with clean up, etc., the polish color was so forgiving I could live with it for the last few days of my trip.

    If you’re interested, you can get the .125 oz bottle of seche here: (It’s only $1.75)

  6. Sonia Says:

    So sorry to hear about the mani from hell-town. Good thing you didn’t acquire an infection from all of the cuts to your fingers. I like Grace’s suggestions about carrying the smallest bottles of polish and (hopefully) saving yourself the grief.

    I started doing my own nails/mani about a year ago primarily for budgetary reasons. I’ve always loved getting primped but it was no longer in my budget to do it regularly. After doing my nails at least once a week, I have developed some skill! Practice does make perfect! Practice also makes you more picky – the more you learn to do your own nails the less you want to spend the money (or valuable time) to get them done somewhere else.

  7. Rie Says:

    Yeeesh, sorry about the horrible manicure but I hear ya. I think as a nail blogger I have a bit of an advantage as a soon-to-be licensed nail tech because I’m so anal retentive about my OWN nails that I am just as meticulous with everyone else. Some of the horror stories I see and hear from gals that come to me after going to other salons are nightmare fuel.

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