Well, alright, so I’m not entirely serious, but nail varnish does have some point beyond making nails look pretty. Many nail varnishes also contain substances that will protect your nails, by stopping them from breaking and making them taste nasty so you don’t bite them. Some even claim to make your nails grow faster.
Nail varnish comes in all sorts of colours, but the most popular by far is red, followed by pink. While some men do occasionally wear nail varnish, it’s mostly a woman thing.
Here’s a quick science lesson: the most important ingredient of modern nail polish is a substance called nitrocellulose. This clever little ingredient is what forms the ‘film’ over the top of the nails, protecting them and making them shiny. The nitrocellulose will be mixed with a few other chemicals (solvents, for example, that make it a liquid that can set) depending on the brand, and then with dyes in various strengths and combinations to give the full range of colours to choose from.
When you buy nail varnish, there are several things you should look for. The one that most people think of straight away is the colour, but be careful of just picking up the first one you see that comes in the colour you want – you might be ignoring its downsides. You should look for an easy applicator bottle that comes with a built-in brush in a good shape, and is quick drying and long lasting.
The more you’re willing to spend, the closer you’ll get to a salon-quality look – and even if you spend a lot, you’re likely to spend less than you would have at an actual nail salon. If you want to make sure that things are done exactly right for a special occasion, though, it might be worth going to one anyway.