Beauty and the bike: Nail Art

Victoria Pendleton’s nail art has grabbed nearly as many headlines as her medals and many pro riders count a great nail polish as part of the kit.

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Hannah Walker, team rider with Matrix Fitness Riding Academy has a penchant for nail art and it even helps her bond with her teammates. Here she pays tribute to clothing brand, Vulpine!

Top freelance beauty editor Adele Mitchell, helps Total Women’s Cycling to embrace the trend.

Warning, if you’re not a nail polish lover, look away now.

“I may ride a bike for a living but I still like doing girlie things,” says Matrix Fitness Riding Academy team rider Hannah Walker, who loves a spot of nail art (she was wearing vibrant yellow when we caught up with her this week – and she created this tongue in cheek Vulpine tribute design above on a recent photo shoot with the brand). She sees it very much as self-expression “and of course,” she adds “painting my nails doesn’t mean I can’t race hard on my bike”.

Maybe a step too far? Bicycle themed nail art!
Maybe a step too far? Bicycle themed nail art!

Hannah also recognizes that the benefits go beyond creativity. “On the Tour of Brittany last year we used nail art to help us to chill out between stages and after rides. Nail polish is really affordable and its great to travel with because it’s easy to pack and doesn’t weigh much. In fact Mel Lowther even bought along a gel nail kit. I didn’t know her very well at the time but she did everyone’s nails and it really helped us to bond”.

If you’re tempted to release your inner Tracey Emin then all you really need is a selection of nail polish and top coat, a toothpick, fine eye liner brush and lots of imagination. Just type nail art into YouTube or Pinterest if you need some inspiration!

But of course, we’re not going to stop there.

The crème de la crème of nail art is surely to be found at London nail salon Wah. Since launching in Dalston in 2009 it has become the go-to for on-trend nail art aficionados.

Magic being worked . Image courtesy of Wah.
Magic being worked by Wah nail salon. Image courtesy of Wah.

Wah currently operates out of Top Shop, Oxford Street where you can choose your design from a collaged wall (0207 927 7844 to book) and at a pop-up nail art boutique in Boxpark, Shoreditch. Here the fashion-forward designs are taken to new levels as nail artists and clients are encouraged to go off-menu with Japanese bling, digital nail printers, water decals or anything else that takes your fancy. Bookings via Shoreditch@wah-nails.com

If DIY nail art is more your thing then be prepared to be spoilt for choice.

1. First stop is Models Own whose site is a treasure trove of fabulous nail enhancing products, including Models Own Nail Art Pens (£6) available in ten colours and created in collaboration with Wah.

2. Sally is one of beauty’s best kept secrets. The site provides professional kit as well as DIY and there are pages of stickers, wraps, nail polish and pens to choose from.

3. Barry M is available on just about every High Street as well as online and is your first call for on-trend, affordable nail polish, nail effects including foil, croc, magnetic, crackle, gelly and chameleon as well as pens.

4. The Nails Inc Bling It On range includes leather, hologram effects and press on nails embellished with Swarovski crystals.

5. While Ciate Wow kits offer a velvet effect manicure, Colourfoil and the Caviar Manicure containing tiny coloured pearls.

Note of caution: some of the above are unlikely to survive an inner tube change.

Otherwise, enjoy!

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