Mood boosting Mani’s

Can the nail polish colour you wear really affect your mental wellbeing? Research says yes; colour can absolutely affect mood, behaviour and stress levels

Article by Lauren Naylor

I’ve always picked my nail polish hue subject to the mood I’m in, and the way it’ll make me feel for the next few weeks whilst sporting it – call it empowerment, mood enhancement or the feel good factor. One of the other key elements in my colour choice is also the name. Yes… really! As inconsequential as that sounds, it’s a huge deal to me. I’d rather be wearing a ‘sunny disposition’ or a word I resonate with positivity, over a ‘wicked’ or ‘bad gal.’

Many years ago in New York, I got to meet the legend that is Essie Weingarten, of the eponymous Essie Nails, the now L’Oreal owned nail brand. Of course, I had to ask the effervescent lady (she’s really rather fab, not to mention inspiring) where the hell do you come up with inspiration for the brand names? She cited personal happy experiences. Which would give sense to my obsession and resonance with names!

In a previous interview with ITG (Into The Gloss) the nail brand owner has said: “When I was in the ladies’ hosiery business before starting my company, all the pantyhose had great names. I learned that if you give things names that women appreciate and adore, they’re going to remember it.” Essie created her top-selling pale translucent pink, ‘Ballet Slippers’ (one sells every two seconds) as a nod towards her Saturday ritual of getting manicures with her mother.

If Essie, an aspiring ballerina had performed well, her mother would take her for a treat to get her nails painted – so she created the feminine shade to pay homage to those happy times. It seems the ladylike shade that made her so happy is revered by women worldwide – even Royalty!

It’s rumoured that the hue is revered by the Royal family, in 1989 Queen Elizabeth’s hairdresser requested a bottle of the pale, nearly translucent pink polish be sent to Buckingham Palace, and both Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton allegedly sported it on their wedding day. ‘Ballet Slippers’ also made a cameo in the 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

So, in short, if a nail colour makes one person happy, the likelihood is it’ll bring a warm fuzzy feeling to a plethora of ladies. Bringing it back to the point, yes, colour is intrinsically linked to wellbeing. Even in times of difficult economic conditions, women find simple pleasure in a slick of colour, whether that’s on our nails or our toes, or the purchase of the latest fiery red lipstick.

The theory is that when facing austerity, consumers are more likely to buy less costly luxury goods and services while eschewing big splurges such as shoes and bags. This was first identified during the Great Depression when cosmetics sales rose between 1929 and 1933 while industrial production halved in the US. During the war years, women were encouraged to wear red lipstick for morale. In my opinion, beauty was not their duty in order to bolster the males, but colour as aforementioned was genuinely transformative for mood for both sexes.

With all this in mind, there’s been a surge of Trendy New York style Nail bars popping up throughout London. All uniquely designed to entice consumers through their linear powder pink squares on Instagram before we even set foot in the door. Nail bars are just the tonic for a quick pampering fix without a huge financial commitment.

There’s nothing like taking an hour out chatting to a stranger while she fastidiously paints your fingers with the latest polish or angles her foot pumice to slough off the layer of dead skin cells accumulating on your feet. In some cases it’s a chance to sit mute, but content scrolling through your social media or just taking time out for self-care. Not only is the treatment extremely relaxing (and we do like to treat ourselves). A strategic choice can actually make a big difference in how we feel there and then.

For that positive pampering colour fix, I’ve put together a guide of my current favourites (and I’m off for an ombré nail myself in the next half an hour!)

Townhouse – 88 Great Portland Street, Oxford Circus
Located just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, tucked away in Great Portland Street, Townhouse is aiming to redefine the nail salon experience. With non-toxic products and hospital grade sterilization technology the experience from start to finish is exquisite, included the branded water cups.

Townhouse uses the latest LED lamps to minimise UV exposure, and they have a zero tolerance for acrylics. You will never look at a nail salon in the same way again.

From the Townhouse instagrammable interior to the impeccable customer service. I relished every moment. I opted for Hoxton a glossy black for my toes all while charging my phone on the armrest, yes really!

Manicures start from £35, with nail art £9 for 1 – 4 nails / www.mytownhouse.co.uk

Blow LTD – Slingsby Place, Covent Garden
Blow is focused on accessibility; pampering in the comfort of your own home, office or hotel.

If you weren’t aware, as well as the home service which is absolutely booming, Blow LTD now has seven Fast Beauty bars in the UK inspired by NYC style nail bars – with their huge flagship store housed in bustling Covent Garden.

Highly desired brand OPI has set the bar for on-trend hues, with their botanical spa products keeping toots and hands silky soft. Nail services include classic, gel, and chrome manis and pedis.

Blow also offer a group service so you can go with your friends for pampering and prosecco and post-pedi enjoy the nightlife of Covent G. We’re loving the huge airy space, and location, location, location.

Prices start from £30 for a 40-minute classic OPI mani / www.blowltd.com

Shoreditch Nails – 13 Cleve Workshops, Boundary Street, Shoreditch
This boutique nail salon in East London provides manicure and pedicure treatments at incredibly reasonable prices. Housed just off bustling Boundary Street the Workshops are carefully crafted to suit their trendy clientele. The salon is cute and quirky, and space well thought out, while the customer service is second to none.

Known for their graphic nail art, and statement talons their trendy nail art includes classic shellac styles, as well as monochromes, block colours, and metallic tapes. I always opt for minimalistic nail art featuring negative space or a cheeky dot and still find them to last incredibly well.

From £22 for The Full Works Mani, and £3 nail art per nail / www.shoreditchnails.com 

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