Product Type: Barry M makeup
Newest Review: ... nail varnishes last much longer but I think this is my standard experience with Barry M as a brand. A clear top coat does help it stay... more
Barry M Instant Nail Effects
Member Name: sandemp
Barry M Instant Nail Effects
Date: 20/05/11, updated on 20/05/11 (188 review reads)
Advantages: Striking, salon-like effects
Disadvantages: Brush could be wider, goes gloopy quickly
Although I wouldn't class Barry M as the cheapest of the cheap (I'll save that distinction for 2True), it is still a budget make-up brand, with most of the products being easily affordable. Their standard nail paints generally retail for £2.99 and the Instant Effects is slightly more expensive, coming in at £3.99. Originally the Instant Effects was only available in black, but in the last month or so three other colours were added to the range (white, blue and pink). I bought my bottle of Instant Effects in black along with some of their standard nail paints from Boots in a three for two offer, and I must admit that after using the black I have ordered one of each of the other three colours.
The Instant Effects Nail Paint is supplied a square glass bottle, with the 10mls being easily accessible via a standard screw top. I do find that the top tightens a little too firmly for me to be able to open one-handed though. The square design of the bottle does make it easy to hold without worrying that I'm going to catch my newly painted nails on it. I especially like that the design of the lid instantly tells me that this is an Instant Effect varnish, otherwise it would be very easy to assume that this was a standard varnish. Odour-wise, this smells no worse or better than any other nail varnish, so yes it stinks.
Instant Effects is not a nail paint that you use on it's own, instead you paint it on top of dry varnish. Personally I think it looks better if you start by using a bright base colour, I currently have the nail effects over the top of a bright (almost emerald) green and it looks fantastic. No matter which base colour I use, I apply it as normal, which for me is two coats and then allow it to completely dry. Once my nails are dry I begin to apply the nail effects, which is slightly more difficult than normal varnish. To get the best effect you should apply it in one stroke, but I find that the brush is only wide enough for me to be able to do that on my little fingers. So I try to cover my nails as quickly as possible so that the first stroke hasn't dried before I apply the second. One thing I have come to realise is that because of the way this dries, it's best not to apply this right to the edges of the nails.
As the varnish dries it starts to crack leaving an intricate pattern over the surface of the nail. How many cracks appear and the resulting pattern depends on how thickly you paint the varnish on. A thin coat will result in more cracks and little islands of black, while a thicker coat will result in fewer (but larger) cracks and bigger patches of black. To me the effect almost looks like crazy paving. Personally I think that the bolder effect from painting the varnish on thicker gives a far superior look, but that's just me. The varnish dries very quickly, literally within seconds, I find that by the time I've finished coating the last nail on a hand the first is dry. It does dry very matte though, so I find I need to give at least one coat of clear varnish to give the absolute best final effect.
Once the clear top coat has dried, my nails look really striking, they really do become a talking point, and without me needing to spend much more time on them than I normally would. One thing that I find a little disconcerting is that rather than being completely smooth, when you run your finger over the nail you can feel all the bumps. Now I realise that this is just me, as an ex-nail biter, I like the feel of completely smooth nail varnish on my nails, as I will rub them when the urge to bite hits me. I've tried adding an extra top coat, but this really didn't help very much. However, as much as I'm not fully happy with this less than smooth feel, it's something I've got used to, and my thirteen month old son thinks it's fantastic and will sit for ages feeling it. My partner also loves the final look this varnish gives and his comment was "it looks like you've been to a salon".
I've not noticed that using Instant Effects will make my varnish last any longer or make it more susceptible to chipping, although I do worry a little that something may catch on the raised pattern. Talking of catching, I have worn stockings while wearing this and the lower denier does snag if a top coat is not used. Removing this varnish is no harder than any other, I use a cheap nail varnish remover teamed up with cotton wool balls. I do find that I use a few more balls though, because there's a surprising amount of pigment meaning that the cotton wool goes black very quickly. Because it is worn over the top of a different varnish, this doesn't stain my nails black either.
Barry M Instant Effect Nail Paint is an innovative product that can be used to create striking and original designs. It's easy to apply (I was successful on my very first attempt) and with practice can be used to create even more effects, with no two applications giving exactly the same results. That's not to say it's perfect, the brush could fan out a little more and I do find it goes gloopy very quickly (probably because it dries so quickly). But I do love this and would recommend it to anyone who likes their nails to stand out. Basically for £3.99 you are potentially doubling the amount of different effects that you get from your regular nail varnish collection. So I'm giving this nail paint a hearty four stars out of five.
Summary: Fantastic nails in a few minutes