Yes genetics, environment, diet and lifestyle all play a part in how the aging process will hit you—gently, like a summer’s breeze or punishing like a tropical storm—but most people who have the time, money and inclination have smartened up with a skincare regimen that does some (okay A LOT) of the work for them.
So why doesn’t the same hold true for nails? A nice mani is one thing but kept-up nails that are clean, smartly filed and healthy-looking have long been a priority to me because if I feel good from the neck up but my nails are an uneven mess, something is off.
When I was introduced to the Londontown nail line by founder Marina Dimentman, who was in town to promote her line late last year, I was struck by her holistic approach to nail repair and protection, based on a family blend of botanical ingredients known as Florium Complex, that is vegan, gluten- and cruelty-free. Not only that, she rightly asked why we’re willing to spend so much time and money on our skin but our hands, which can often tell more about your age than crow’s feet, are often an afterthought.
I was very eager to get my hands on Londontown’s Nail Treatment System to see for myself and test drive the multi-step system.
Step 1: Remove
I actually flipped the script and switched the last step for the first since I wanted a clean slate. The Strengthening Lacquer Remover smelled more like white vinegar than the typically potent nail polish remover and something that reminded me of a pantry ingredient instead of harsh chemicals was a welcome change. Once I removed my existing nail polish, my nail beds didn’t look dry and slightly discoloured as per usual. I’m already happy.
Step 2: Strengthen
The 2-in-1 Nail Hardener and Base Coat is a level above your typical base coat because it’s not only hydrating, it also acts as a shield against cracking and peeling, and of my personal pet peeves, staining. Also, my nails are so. damn. shiny.
Step 3: Protect
After I applied my nail colour (Essie’s Between the Seats), I followed up with the velvety smooth Protective Top Coat that is insanely glossy, chip-resistant and quick-drying—all wins.
Step 4: Nourish
Letting my colour dry completely, I applied the Nourishing Cuticle Oil that comes infused with hydrating oils and vitamins but miraculously isn’t greasy. By protecting my cuticles from splitting or peeling, which is unsightly at best and painful at worst, I’m basically extending the life of my polish by making sure the barrier that protects my nails is in good shape. Pro tip: use the enclosed dropper instead of the brush for more precise application on your cuticles.
Step 5: Hydrate
A cream just for my nails? Into it. The Restorative Nail Cream is meant to moisturize (which is very necessary considering how many times a day we wash our hands) and help restore nails that have been damaged by gel or acrylic applications. For the best results, it’s suggested to wear the provided white gloves overnight—à la intense hair mask—but all I want to do is handle priceless works of art. I opt to wear the gloves for about half an hour and my hands emerge silky-smooth.