When L'Oreal invited me for an evening of nail art I literally couldn't wait to see what they had in store. L'Oreal have noticed how crazy we all are for nail art these days, and have responded not only with some great new additions to their ranges, but also a new website completely dedicated to all things nails - nail-art.com. On the site you'll find tonnes of nail art inspiration, and you can search for something you'll like based on colours and level of difficulty, and there are tutorial videos to show you how to re-create looks step-by-step.
If you don't have the time or patience for nail art, L'Oreal have that covered too with their new range of press on nails called nails à porter, which is a play on the phrase pret à porter - meaning ready to wear.
Nails à porter come in both plain and patterned styles - my favourites are the taupe and green patterned ones called neo couture and the black and nude reverse mani called killer nude. There's also a bright Hollywood red called femme fatal, a classic french manicure called french touch, and a snazzy black and gold called drama queen.
You get 22 nails in each pack giving you a choice of ten different sized nails to get a perfect fit. I have quite small nails, so the biggest two nails in the pack are too big for me, but number two is a good fit for my thumb. My little finger nails are very tiny, but the smallest nail in this pack - number 11 - fits perfectly.
Also in the pack you get full instructions, a nail file and sticky tabs in sizes matching all of the nails. I found these really quick and easy to apply - you just twist a nail off from the strip, match it up to your own nail, apply the sticky tab and then press on the nail. Practise makes perfect with these - I found on my second attempt I was much quicker because I knew which nails would fit, and I didn't make the noob error of washing my hands right after application before the nails had a chance to properly adhere - doh!
These are the killer nude pack - I really like the finish of these ones - they're classic and classy but different and eye-catching at the same time. I can never achieve this kind of precise nail art myself - especially not on my right hand (I'm right-handed) so these are the perfect alternative.
And this is neo couture. I know my hands aren't matching - I was trying to decide which way looked better - I matched them up before I left the house!
The nails à porter nails claim to last for up to 5 days. Unfortunately on me they didn't, but I think I'm quite rough on my nails - lots of furious typing and using my nails to open things etc. I always try to remember the 'nails are jewels not tools mantra' and treat my nails with more respect, but I just can't help it. Saying that though, these do stick on pretty solidly and stayed on better than other press-on nails I've tried. It was mainly my index fingers and thumbs which would pop off after about half a day, as they must be the ones which have the hardest time. The pack comes with plenty of spare stick tabs, so it was no trouble to stick a nail back on if one came off. I'd prefer it if there were more sticky tabs provided as I could then keep wearing the nails for longer as the nails themselves didn't get damaged and could easily be worn again.
Another thing to mention about these nails is how flexible they are, which makes them less likely to pop off easily or to break. I think another thing which helps is that they're not overly long - I think the longer the nail the easier it is to catch it and rip it off. It's something to be aware of if you have long natural nails - when I first got these my own nails were too long and peeped out underneath, so I saved applying the nails until I'd had a break in my natural nails and needed to file them down.
L'Oreal color riche nails à porter cost £7.99 per pack and will start to appear in the shops in September.
I was also lucky enough to get to try out L'Oreal's new color riche shades for Autumn 2013.
Blue reef is a dusky turquoise colour which is pretty different from anything else I own. Addictive plum is a classic autumn colour, and opera ballerina is a lovey soft and sheer pale pink. Hypnotic red is another typical autumn colour - it's a really deep blood red. And finally black swan, which is, err, black.
These all have the usually high quality formula you'd expect from L'Oreal - the go smoothly in a couple of coats and dry to a shiny finish.
The new shades are available now and cost £3.99 each at Boots
Also out now are some spangly new additions to the range of color riche topcoats. Last year L'Oreal brought out the black and white confetti topcoat which was sold out everywhere for ages - I think sequin explosion will be this year's confetti. I already spotted an empty space for it at my local Superdrug last week!
I really like sequin explosion - I do have similar multi-coloured glitters, but what I like about this one and all of the glitters here is that you can get practically full coverage from them, so you can layer up as little or as much as you want to get different effects. Black diamond is the fullest coverage of the four as it's a fine silver glitter suspended in an opaque black base. Scarlet tinsel and bling bling bang - best name for a glitter polish ever - are both serious party season glitters. The blue one - bling bling bang - also has an interesting texture as it's made up of different sized glitter pieces.
The new top coats cost £4.99 each and are currently on a 3 for 2 offer at Superdrug.
This is a glitter gradient mani I tried out after following a tutorial at L'Oreal. It's sequin explosion layered over opera ballerina and black swan. I like!
And finally, last but not least, I also got to try out the La Manicure base and top coat and 7 in 1 saviour.
The top and base coat does what it says on the bottle. It does the job as both a base and a shiny top coat and you only need to carry one bottle around. My only complaint with this is that it's such a small bottle - the same 5ml size as the color riche nail colours, and seeing as it doubles as a top and a base, I don't think it'll be long before I run this out!
7 in 1 saviour is a special base coat for repairing all signs of damage in your nails. It's a milky coloured polish which could be worn alone if you just wanted a fairly natural finish and it aims to strengthen the nails as the same time as reducing peeling, breaking, splitting and ridges. I've not used this enough yet to fully confirm it can do all of those things, but so far so good. Like the 2 in 1 protect, I'd prefer this in a bigger bottle too.
7 in 1 saviour and 2 in 1 protect are £5.99 each and both are on 3 for 2 at Superdrug.
Phew, that was a lot of nail products! Will you be picking any of these up?