It's so simple to gloss over your worries: Why nail polish sales are soaring

When you feel you need a pick-me-up and you don’t want to splash the cash, what do you do

In years past, we might have treated ourselves to a lipstick, but these days, it is just as likely that we will pick up a new nail varnish or have a quick manicure at one of the numerous nail bars that are taking over our High Streets.

At Superdrug, nail polish sales rose by 37  per cent last year. And L’Oreal’s nail varnish sales were up 24 per cent, double the increase in lipstick and lipgloss sales.

Recession-proof: Sales of nail varnish are rising

Recession-proof: Sales of nail varnish are rising

‘We live in an image-obsessed world and nail varnish has become the ultimate accessory,’ says Mark Rodol, CEO of Models Own, which sells a bottle of varnish every 15 seconds.

‘Women want a quick and affordable way to get the latest look. A new varnish provides an expression of individuality and the same buzz as a new outfit for 10 per cent of the cost.’

Even in today’s tough financial times, nail bars are one of the fastest growing businesses. The biggest chain in Britain, Nails Inc, is forecasting a turnover of 22  million this year. High Street shops including Superdrug and Tesco have spotted this and are considering in-store nail bars as a way of pulling in customers.

One reason why profits in nail bars are up is the increase in popularity of long-lasting salon manicures and pedicures, such as Shellac (from 25; call Creative Nail Design on 0113 2173813 for your nearest salon).


Pick me up: More women are treating themselves to a manicure at a nail bar as a way to relax

These gel manicures, which are hardened under a UV light, last at least two weeks.

New innovations in nail varnish technology mean there is always something new to try at home.

‘Celebrities such as Rihanna and Katy Perry have sported rhinestones, prints and metallic fingernails,’ says Sara Wolverson, beauty director at Superdrug.

‘Lots of women are becoming much bolder with their nail colours and prints.’

As for those nail bars, Models Own is launching a ‘bottleshop’ — a shop unit designed to look like a bottle of varnish that has fallen on its side.

The first of these will appear at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush in April and it’s a fair bet it won’t be long before one appears near you. World domination, one nail at a time You’d better believe it.