Every woman of a certain age has these Missy Elliott lyrics embedded somewhere deep in her memory: “If you’re a fly gal get your nails done, get a pedicure, get your hair did.” It wasn’t until I was well into my mid-20s that I realized Missy was right, and I quickly became addicted to the indestructibility and high-shine gloss of salon-done nails. Getting a manicure was one of my easiest shortcuts to feeling fancy, yet once it began to grow out, it felt the opposite. Every time I got my nails done they’d look great for two weeks, then the nail underneath would start to yellow and develop deep ridges where the polish stopped and the nail growth started. How could I continue to feel like a fly gal, but with healthier nails?
I decided to test out products by Vitry, whose polish is specially formulated to let nails breathe so they won’t turn brittle or yellow. Founded in 1795, Vitry is one of the most trusted names in the home manicure business in its native France.
I started with the electric nail polisher, which looked a little intimidating at first! Turns out it’s easy to use and was key to prepping my nails. The gray tip acted as a nail file and got rid of the snags and breakages that had accumulated since my last manicure. The blue tip buzzed off my canyon-deep ridges to create a smooth surface for the polish, and the white tip buffed my nails to a lustrous shine.
Then I painted on the Nail Repair Treatment hardener to make my somewhat brittle nails more robust. (The nail hardener reaches maximum effect in two weeks, then it’s best to switch to the Sensitive nail repair care.)
However, if you have thick but ridged nails, Vitry has a ridge-filling bb base.
Next I applied the nail varnish in a moody aubergine colour, and after the second layer, my nails were already top-coat glossy. An extra swipe of the Top Coat Gel Look ensured the polish looked as slick and unyielding as the best salon manicure.
The Extra Mild polish remover helped rid my skin of the errant polish I had accidentally painted on – even in Kindergarten I never could colour inside the lines. Most nail polish removers tend to smell like funeral embalming liquid but the Extra Mild, which contains 0% acetone, emanated only the faint scent of sugared almonds. It’s contains sweet almond oil, which softens cuticles and nourishes nails. Naturally, I clumsily fudged the painting of my right hand nails, but I dipped each finger in the tub of Magic Touch polish remover – now you see it, now you don’t! – and started over. Afterwards, I rubbed on the nourishing nail and cuticle oil for peak hydration and was obsessed with the classic vanilla scent wafting off my fingernails.
The real test of Vitry, however, was the anti-callous foot file. My feet accumulate callouses harder than the rock face of Mount Rushmore. Whether I shaved, pounded or pumiced then, I never managed to get rid of them. While I was initially doubtful that an appliance could make a dent in my granite callouses, the Vitry foot file has every salon pedicure beat. I used it to catch the tricky spots that salons tend to ignore, and after 20 minutes of scrubbing, miraculously, my feet were soft. I could still feel the foundation of the callouses, but this machine performed way better than I expected. The finishing touch was the Hydra Mousse foot foam which is enriched with shea butter and avocado oil. It came out like shaving cream and left my feet feeling moisturized but not greasy.
After my Vitry home manicure, I felt like I had truly earned the moniker, “fly gal.” Work it.
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