I discovered a lazy girl's trick to looking posh and presentable with almost no effort
And you won’t be able to stop staring at your hands
The Tweak office is firmly divided across a fault line. On one side, we have the perfectly manicured set, not a hair out of place nor a wrinkle in their weather-appropriate OOTD. Across the abyss, there’s us. Dishevelled right down to our DNA, uneven nails and hair a-frizz from having hopped into a rickshaw without properly drying it first. Even though I’ve accepted my lot, I do catch myself wishing I could take a temporary vacation to the other side, especially for days when I need to look put together.
‘Why don’t you start with a manicure?”, a colleague suggested, causing me to nearly choke on my Maaza. Painted nails and I go together like toddlers and chocolate pudding— delightful in thought but a disastrous mess in execution. Between Muay Thai classes, household chores and cleaning my cat’s litterbox, most nail paints chip and crack like a Mumbai apartment in the monsoon.
But she had a challenge in mind — to trial the OPI Nature Strong range, their first natural origin nail lacquer that claims to be long-lasting while being vegan and cruelty-free (You can shop the collection here). The new range also benefits from OPI’s highly pigmented, quick dry formula.
If only to prove her wrong, I relented, ordering the shade Strong As Shell. The milky white is designed to set off the vintage gold rings I inherited from my grandmother and, like the rest of the range, is made from 75% natural origin ingredients, free from formaldehyde and parabens.
Here’s how the OPI Nature Strong nail paint fared
Day 1 – After successfully applying the lacquer to my nails without leaving evidence on my furniture, clothes and cat, I settled in for a lunch of dal, rice, aloo gobi and a spicy mango pickle made by a friend’s mother.
Haldi, I thought to myself, would settle the odds in my favour, but to my surprise, after washing up, the shell white remained unsullied. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for the cushion I was using to prop up my plate, so an emergency round of laundry ensued.
Day 2 — I was at my desk when I heard my colleagues call for me urgently. They were shooting a few Instagram reels that required close-ups of someone’s hand, and they thought of… me.
It was unprecedented. I’m usually the one asked to hold the camera or adjust the light. Clearly, this ploy to make myself more presentable was working, and all it took was two swipes of nail paint.
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Day 3 — After a sweaty Muay Thai class — where I accidentally elbowed my trainer in the face — I inspected my nails to see if 50 minutes of jabs, crosses and left hooks had left any damage.
Strong As Shell was living up to its name, and not a crack was visible. On my nails, and thankfully, not on my trainer’s left temple either.
Day 4 — The weekend began with a beach clean-up followed by yoga on the purged sand. Again, OPI’s Nature Strong formula triumphed against the elements. Nothing like a morning spent dredging up plastic return gifts from the ocean to make you thankful that the line’s packaging is made from 20% recycled plastic.
Day 5 — I had to admit that despite subjecting the nail paint to rigorous testing, it hadn’t cracked, peeled or changed colour. It had, however, earned me a tonne of compliments. And allowed me a brief glimpse into how the other side lives. The gold star review was delivered by a friend who’s an avid painter of nails. She couldn’t believe that it had been five days and didn’t even wait to leave my home before adding to the cart.
As an alumnus of the academy of low maintenance, I was pleased to find something that could elevate my everyday look without stealing precious moments better spent napping or playing with my cat. Ten minutes in 5 days is a compromise I’m willing to make.
Despite not putting a top or base coat, the paint clung dutifully to my nails, so I wasn’t worried about constant reapplications. And the fact that the OPI Nature Strong Range tries to be mindful of the environment without compromising on pigment or durability is the rabdi on this crispy jalebi.