This was the question that my brother recently asked me. No, I had not hit each of my fingers with a hammer, but had in fact painted my nails a metallic shade of blue.
Wondering why he was asking me about something that was not particularly unusual, I answered “Er, because I painted them…”
And I was stumped; I had no answer. I genuinely had no idea why I painted my nails. I couldn’t say, “Because it’s fun!” – do I seriously have nothing better to do? Though on a side note, don’t underestimate the difficulty of nail painting; it is quite a challenge trying to paint your nails on your right hand when you aren’t a leftie.
I don’t have the best looking fingernails or toenails in the world (I was told at my very first dancing lesson that from that day onwards, I was never going to be a foot model), so I suppose, painting them makes them look nicer than they actually are.
Still, it became one of those things that you think way too much about but really have no answer for.
Throughout history, many used nail colour as a means of conveying their social order – it had a purpose. The Egyptians used red to signify those at the top of the social order, like Cleopatra who supposedly took a liking to crimson, whilst those in the lowest classes could only use pale colours on their nails. The Chinese applied mixtures of gums and scented oils to their nails to convey a similar idea; the royals even used gold and silver to enrich them.
So in a democratic country where social standing based on royalty has been more or less abolished, do we really have a specific reason that we still paint our nails?
To try and clear up this matter, I’ve turned to my lovely friend Dreem to answer some of my queries; the girl otherwise known as the Queen of Nail Polish.
|Queen Dreem's famous nails!|
So first things first, modern-day girls paint their nails for a number of reasons – they think it looks pretty, sophisticated, and for some, it even acts as a barrier to nail biting (though that is yet to stop me – gross I know!). Why do you paint your nails Dreem?
It's a hobby of mine really. I actually find the whole process therapeutic, and it's a nice way to spend my personal 'down-time'. Also, I'm a lazy accessoriser, jewellery wise. I try to compensate through my nails, which I consider as an accessory. I often plan ahead and complement and contrast my nails with my outfits.
For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve had lovely long nails. How long ago did this obsession with nail polish start, and how many bottles do you think you’ve owned altogether?
My obsession with nail polish started when I was two! I remember wearing a dark crimson pink shade. I haven't done a count of my collection recently, but it's definitely over 100 now.
That’s quite a collection you have. How do you choose what colour to wear and do you have some sort of system for dividing them up into particular groups?
My nail polish collection is organised by brand and then colour-all kept in a drawer of my desk! It's my current lack of storage space, which is preventing me from buying any more at the moment! Just like my wardrobe, I change my nail colour according to seasons. For example, I would wear darker shades in Winter and brighter shades in Summer.
With all those colours to choose from, what would you say would be your favourite colour of all time?
That's very hard to answer! I have every shade of the rainbow but I have to say that I frequent towards classic colours. I have a lot of reds in my collection. At the moment, I'm liking greens and blues too. My current manicure, Ulta3 Black Plum, is one of my favourites.
Any colours you refuse to wear?
Like any type of cosmetics (and trends like you pointed out recently!), not everything suits everyone. I rarely wear pink polishes as it usually doesn't complement my skin tone. I think it's important to learn what suits your skin tone, and what doesn't. This is really apparent when you are trying to find a complementary nude polish. Individuals with yellow undertones will find nudes with beige undertones far more flattering than those with pink undertones which are great for those who have pink undertones in their skin. You quickly learn what shades suit, and which don't! There aren't definite colours which I refuse to wear. Just certain nuances!
From the 1970s through to the 1990s, black nail polish was always associated with the goth and emo sub-cultures, but it’s amongst one of the most popular colours for everyday wear now. What’s your opinion on black and do you think there are particular situations where you should not wear it?
I think black polish can look very sophisticated, especially on short nails. Look at red carpet pictures and you'll find that celebrities agree! However it has to be very well maintained, and the moment the polish starts chipping, it should be removed. I personally don't think black is appropriate for conservative work environments. Definitely don't wear black polish to a job interview!
Have you noticed a significant difference in quality between the different brands?
Despite the amount that I have, it has actually come at a pretty reasonable cost which is a relief! A lot of my collection is made up of Ulta3 nail polish, which is an Aussie cheap gem, found at Pulse and Soul Pattinson pharmacies. If you're looking for something ridiculously cheap, but also of good quality, I really recommend the brand! It is actually Australia's number one selling polish brand, and wonderful word-of-mouth reviews have had prices recently going from $2 to $2.50. I think you should all go out and get them now!
There is definitely a difference in quality between brands, but the wear will obviously vary for each person. Chanel might be super long wearing for one person, but a chip-y disaster for another. Remember, you can always find great polishes at reasonable prices- you just need to discover them! Another good quality polish line, which you may not have considered is the Nail It! line at Sportsgirl which always comes in fashion forward shades at $7.95 each.
Stay tuned! To be continued in Part 2 - this is one epically long interview (but a goodie, I promise!). Thanks Dreem :)