Monday, 18 April 2011

Review - BarryM Instant Nail Effects in Black Magic (311)

Hey guys,
So a couple of months ago I finally managed to get hold of a little pot of genius courtesy of BarryM during a Boots online haul. I bought this product in preparation for my Moulin Rouge-themed birthday night out in Birmingham, in order to get the 'amazing effects' not usually attainable without shelling out for a professional manicurist, layered over the top of Topshop's Bad Habit blood-red nail color.
The product retails at £3.99 in the UK and I can honestly say that it is worth every penny... even if it does take a little getting used to.
When I initially received this product in the post, I wanted to try it immediately so I unscrewed the top and used the narrow brush to begin painting the black directly onto my bare nails. Now, those of you out there who have made this same mistake will know exactly what I am going to say, so if this means you, I apologize in advance for telling what you already know; this is not how the product works.
In the instructions booklet provided with all Instant Nail Effects products by BarryM, it clearly advises that the user 'Paint nails with chosen colour' before 'Applying a single coat' [of the product] and being sure not to 'overlap'. I, on the other hand, thought incorrectly that I knew better than to read and follow instructions and practically poured two coats of this product onto my naked talons, which resulted in a rather gloopy, matte-black color which did not provide the graffiti effect promised by the photographs attached to the pot. Lesson learned.
On my next nail, I made the effort to use a color beneath this time, in the form of BarryM's Nail Pain in Coral 294 (this color arrived in the same haul although it was not as it appeared on the website... despite its tell-tale name the photograph led me to believe that this was more of a red than an orange... I kept the color nonetheless and have since found it to be perfect for spring!) I used an old clear base coat which I've had knocking around my room for quite some time before painting the coral color onto my nails twice. Next was the moment of truth. I realized that I would have to do my nail in two strips as the brush is so narrow that it wouldn't be able to be simply applied in one swift stroke, so I began the first. This time I noticed quite home quickly the product dried into the Aztec-style print I was initially expecting. Whilst painting on the second strip, I noted the importance that the amount of product you use is in terms of getting the most professional look. Initially I assumed that as with most good nail colors one single dip in the pot would be sufficient for coating a whole nail. However, due to the composition of the formula used in order to make the overall effect possible, the remaining product on the brush after the first strip was painted was not enough. I applied more product to the brush which then ended up being too much, meaning that the effect was not as noticeable and took longer to dry.
So like I said, this product needs a lot of practice, but once its done and you have the technique under control, this item will become a night-out staple!
The best thing is that it looks good over the top of almost any bright color, adding a hint of rock-girl chic to your look in minutes without you having to go the whole hog and wander round with nails which look like they've been dragged down a sooty fireplace before being dunked in a greasy oil slick in the company of a goth-happy Taylor Momsen. People WILL stop you in the club to ask who did your nails. Even the guys couldn't conceal how impressed they were when I explained that I had done them myself! Another fantastic element to Instant Nail Effects is that along with being affordable and a little going a long way, I found that BarryM exceeded my expectations with regards to durability. I washed dishes, cleaned bathrooms and collected glasses for three days before the product even began to look worn. It didn't begin to chip until day five, and when it did I noticed that the color underneath had too stood the test of time, protected by the almost-impenetrable Nail Effects paint. However, I also found that when it was time to be removed, the formula swiped off as easy as... well, I can't even think of a suitable metaphor which would do justice to the way in which this product slipped off with ease leaving not so much of a hint of the color behind, a feat which many a dark nail color strive to achieve yet rarely do.
Of course, there are always areas where a product could do better, so I guess I had better mention them too. When the effect had dried and I had worn it for a day or so, I kind of got bored of the matte-ness. I eventually had to paint on a top coat in order to brighten my nails which resulted in them catching the eyes of even more kind complement-donors! Another problem I found which was only a minor set-back once I had mastered the art of the No Overlap Two Strip Technique (as I now fondly call it). However, I can't help but think it might make things a million times easier for the manufacturers to produce a brush which was wide enough to cover the nail in one stroke... this would also prevent the need to double-dip the brush then deal with the Product Amount Dilemma (it's a little scary how this product has crept into the daily trials and tribulations of my life...)
I'm sure that there are those of you out there who will be aware that BarryM are not the only cosmetic brand out there exploring DIY nail art in the effortless guise of a clever nail polish. OPI's Limited Edition Katy Perry Black Shatter which retails at £10.50 on and Covergirl's Crackle which has recently been discontinued but initially was sold at a similar price boast equal effects but at a higher price, so why the hell bother when BarryM Instant Nail Effects is just as good?
I have spoken. And with a brand new trio of available colors including Pink Fizz, Blue Print and White Frost all £3.99 available at and all good retailers, what more could an unqualified nail-art enthusiast ask for?
Try it out and let me know how it goes
Catch you later


  1. am going out for a moulin rouge themed birthday this sunday. i just hope corset comes in time.
    I work in a salon and we use opi's shatter. i love the effect x

  2. Ooooh, I'm going to do a youtube tutorial soon of how I wore my makeup... I had the best night of my life. Moulin Rouge is such a fun theme! Good luck with getting your corset on time sweet pea :-) x