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HOW EASY IS DIY NAIL ART? Plain nails won't cut it this season, and with so many new products claiming to make exciting nails easy, there's no excuse. Or is there? We test out the top 10.

Byline: Words: Octavia Lillywhite & Zoe Cripps.

YSL TIE & DYE NAILS, PS18 EACH

The most beautiful-looking top coat bottles we've seen in ages: each matches one of YSL's gorgeous summer colours.

Does it work?

'The top coat looks so beautiful in the bottle - and so disappointing on the nail. For starters you have to shake it before you apply which means any "tie dye" effect vanishes. Then you're just putting a semi-sparkly, semi-dull finish on top of an (admittedly lovely) polish. someone said it looked like "car paint".'

HOW EASY? 5/5

HOW IT LOOKS 2/5

NAILS INC DENIM & STUDS, PS19

A blue base polish that dries to a denim-like texture, plus gold and silver star-shaped studs for decoration.

Does it work?

'One coat gave good colour that looked like dark blue jeans. i thought the studs would annoy me but they didn't catch on things too much. it's a two-day mani at most, but that's oK as it's so quick to apply.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 4/5

HOW IT LOOKS 4/5

BARRY M TEXTURE NAIL EFFECTS, PS3.99

Four pastel shades that dry down to a textured, matte finish.

Does it work?

'It worked - it just looked horrible. The "texture finish" was like sandpaper - the opposite of that smooth look people have been trying to get since nail painting was invented (Fyi: 3000 BC in China). Gorgeous colours though - if only they had the glossy finish.'

NAIL ROCK FROU FROU 3D NAIL APPLIQUES - FRUIT MACHINE, PS5.99

Frou Frous are tiny, handmade, nail decorations you glue onto your newly painted talons. Our fave set includes oranges and strawberries.

Does it work?

'Mostly. The box comes with four types of fruit: apples, oranges, cherries and strawberries. The thicker ones are more difficult to get to stay in place. The effect is great though and our fingers resemble Pina Coladas.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 2/5

HOW IT LOOKS 4/5

ANDREA FULERTON NAIL BOUTIQUE NEON DIPPING DUST, PS10

Paint on the white base coat then pat nails into one of three neon dust pots for a textured effect.

Does it work?

'One of the ugliest nail effects i've ever seen. the wimpy orange was the worst, the pink was at least neon, but looked patchy and dull. the glittery yellow was quite cute at first but, like all of them, quickly rubbed off and looked like a cheap, worn teddy.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 3/5

HOW IT LOOKS 1/5

ILLAMASQUA PARANORMAL UV NAIL VARNISH, PS14.50

Three super-bright colours - pink, purple and a Hulk-ish green - that glow under UV light. If you want the effect without the bright colours, there's a clear top coat you can put over any polish.

Does it work?

'They glow, but how often do i wander under a UV light? Almost never. Brilliant if you're about to go clubbing, otherwise a bit fur coat and no knickers.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 5/5

HOW IT LOOKS 3/5

MODELS OWN PAINT IT, COVER IT ARTSTIX, PS6

Eight base colours, each with a jazzy top coat, in double-ended bottles.

Does it work?

'Bibble (neon pink with silver sparkles), Freak Betty (navy with turquoise glitter) and snow Mix (white with coloured specks) were faves. all easy to apply (just dab glitter on with the side of the brush), and a great price for two colours.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 4/5

HOW IT LOOKS 4/5

LITTLE MIX PRESS-ON NAILS, PS6 PER BOX

The Little Mix girls have partnered with Elegant Touch to create their own falsies. Just peel an adhesive tab, stick and go.

Does it work?

'It does. I tried Perrie's Galaxy nails and the "wow" compliments came flooding in. they have a real "nail art" look to them, one person even asked if i'd done them myself. (I lied.) they also lasted a week without budging, even after heaving on a pair of ridiculously tight jeans on saturday night.'

HOW EASY? 5/5

HOW IT LOOKS 4/5

CIATE CHALKBOARD MANICURE, PS25

A matte black base plus four 'chalk-effect' pens (blue, pink, yellow, white) to doodle on top.

Does it work?

'The base looks like a blackboard and the pens are good. the nibs were too fat to recreate some of the effects so i took scissors to them, and they worked even better after a trim.' how easy?

HOW EASY? 2/5

HOW IT LOOKS 5/5

REVLON NAIL ART EXPRESSIONIST ENAMEL, PS7.99

Ten bright colour combinations. One side is a base shade, the other, with a much thinner brush, is for getting creative over the top.

Does it work?

'It was tricky to do genuinely creative things, even with a thin brush, using my left hand. that said, i managed exciting stripes, checks and diagonal half-nails that i was chuffed with and got admiring glances from colleagues.'

HOW EASY? 2/5

HOW IT LOOKS 5/5
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 5, 2013
Words:819
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