Beauty Review: Maybelline Forever Strong Professional Nail Varnish in Orange Couture

I've been collecting a bunch of ideas for nail art for a while, but this one just struck me as the one I wanted to do today. Now, I have to admit that my make-up purchases are influenced mainly by two things - magazines and friends' purchases - and the base nail polish for today's nail art came from a feature in a magazine about summer brights. I am a sucker for bright colours and nail polish is no exception. As you might be able to guess from the name, Maybelline Forever Strong Pro in Orange Couture is a very bright orange, almost a neon but not quite. I did buy it on a bit of a whim but thought it would be a fun colour for summer, and then when I was looking through my polishes earlier I decided that it would be the perfect base polish for the idea I had.

The polish itself applies really well, largely thanks to Maybelline's brush which spreads out perfectly to give full coverage in one stroke rather than having to go down the middle and then do the sides as I normally end up doing (and which seems to make the polish go streaky more often than not). I don't have any other Maybelline polishes - apparently there's a lovely deep purple out there as well but I haven't found it in years of searching - but having found the brush so good I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for them (including that purple!). The polish also contains calcium, iron and silicia, which based on how rotten my nails are currently is a Very Good Thing.

The accent for this manicure is something that's been having a moment recently - Barry M Instant Special Effects, aka 'crackle'. For those who have been living under a metaphorical beauty rock for the past few months, crackle polish looks like an ordinary coloured polish, but when you apply it to your nail it 'cracks' (not entirely sure how, I think it's something to do with being exposed to air), leaving chunks of crackle polish on top of your base colour. I only have it in black but when I've played around with it before I've loved the effect, kind of a bit punky but also giving the base colour an edge. I knew it'd be perfect for the nail art idea I had in mind - black crackle over orange nail polish, hence 'tiger nails'!

This is done using two coats of Maybelline Orange Couture and one thick coat of Barry M - generally I find the thicker your crackle layer the fewer chunks it breaks into, which is good for this design, but if you want something where you can see more of the base colour then a slightly thinner layer would work better.

Base coat is Nails Inc Hyde Park and top coat is Seche Vite.
I really like this manicure - I think it's very funky and a bit different, and whilst it hasn't lived up to the vision I had in my head it does still look pretty cool. Plus it's confirmed my crackle addiction - expect a *lot* of these posts to feature crackle in the next few weeks!

You can buy both Maybelline Forever Strong Pro and Barry M Instant Nail Effects from your local Boots, Superdrug or independent pharmacy. The Maybelline costs around £4.09 a bottle but is quite often on offer, and the Barry M is £3.99 a bottle, which is slightly pricier than a normal Barry M polish but as you only need one coat it does last a good while. It's also on offer quite often as well so do snap some up!

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