I’ve always thought that having a perfect manicure is a signifier that one has their life together. Having geometrically shaped, non-chipped nails proves that you’re an effective time-keeper as well as someone who looks after their appearance: even the busiest and most successful women (and men) will find 15 minutes of their day to go to a nail salon. And with 2020 being the eventful (or rather non-eventful) year that it was, keeping up appearances in 2021 may be the most effective way of feeling like we have control on what’s happening around us.

As with haircuts and fitness routines, we’ve had to take the matter of a manicures into our hands. I’ve battled with using regular nail polish for most of my life and have often been defeated. I can never keep myself still enough for the result to not have some sort of evidence of my fidgetiness, and don’t even get me started on how inept my non-writing hand is at keeping within the lines. The consequence often is unintentionally textured nail polish that looks like a three year old (if I can even give it that justice) has attempted: my facade of being put together is instantly shattered.

Thankfully, I needn’t have to hide my dodgy DIY nail job under long sleeves and gloves. The Manucurist, the green, vegan friendly and cruelty free nail polish brand has resolved this issue with their at-home gel kits. Their Green Flash gift set contains an LED nail lamp, a gel base and top coat, two gel nail colours (one of which comes free) and a nail polish remover, meaning application and removal can all be done at home.

The experience was surprisingly just as relaxing as it would be in a nail salon. Each of the three steps were clearly articulated, so even a nail novice like me could do without much error. The LED lamp has an incredibly useful 30 and 60 second timer; there’s no need for you to be counting the seconds or battling with Siri to set a timer. And the result? A handmade gel manicure that even I couldn’t ruin.

Having applied it a couple of days before Christmas, I can confirm that their claim of it not chipping for 10 days stands true. No amount of vegetable chopping, present wrapping and hand washing (the most important task of this year) could diminish the shiny and smooth finish my nails had. All of this was achieved without a harsh chemical in sight; the brand is proud to say they’re 9-free, and they’re polishes are made of 84% natural ingredients.

I opted for an appropriately festive hue, named Current Jelly, which did a great job of lifting my spirits from the saddened mood that Tier four news had caused. It reminded me that even a simple attempt at a put-together look is as beneficial to my own mind as it is for letting others know that I'm doing ok.

Shop The Manucurist Green Flash kit here.

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