Meet The Experts: Gemma Pavey, Leighton Denny Expert Nails


Debra Brock quizzed Gemma Pavey, Group Training and Education Manager at Leighton Denny Expert Nails on how best to look after nails and what to choose for this Autumn.

DB: What should we be doing everyday to look after our nails and what are the key components of a home nail care kit?
GP: Key components of a nail care kit should include a crystal nail file, hoof stick, a nail & cuticle oil like Slick Tips (£12.00), and a cuticle remover like Remove and Rectify (£12.00). To look after the nails everyday the key product would be Slick Tip to nourish the nail and cuticle – without nourishment the nail will become dry and brittle and begin to break. If the cuticle is dry it can begin to crack, making it look untidy or even begin to grow up the nail.

DB: And what should we do when our nails have issues like splitting, peeling etc?
GP: When your nails are damaged take a break from polish and focus on getting the nails in a good condition. File them with the crystal nail file then use a strengthening product like Renovate & Buffer (£12) to repair the nail. Regular manicures will also help to keep the nails in shape and encourage healthy growth, particularly if a buffer is used as this will stimulate the blood supply to the nail along with fresh nutrients and oxygen. The therapist or manicurist is also an expert so will be able to offer guidance and advice.

DB: Is there a “best shape” to file nails into keep them in good condition?
GP: There isn’t really a best shape as such but you should try to follow the nails natural shape. By keeping the nails shorter you will help to strengthen the nail and prevent breakage.

DB: Have you got any top tips on painting your own nails? Mine always go brilliantly when my right hand is painting my left, not so much when I swap over!
GP: It is always more difficult to paint your own nails due to one hand being stronger (your writing hand). I would say set aside time to do your own nails as if you are in a rush they never go right! Try not to overload the brush and apply product in thin coats, then apply more if needed. Wipe the tip of the brush as you remove it to ensure excess product is removed, place the brush onto the centre of the nail a few millimetres from the cuticle (so you don’t flood it), then pull up towards the edge and repeat on each side. Allow to dry before applying a second coat. Ensure a top and base coat are used.



DB: What are the current trends for shape and colour, and what should we be looking out for as we head into Autumn / Winter?
GP: I am seeing a lot of tapered nails at the moment, and AW16 colours seem to be classic and moody. Pastels have been continually strong and will continue to be so throughout the season, and expect to see metallics really in-demand for the Autumn / Winter season, particularly orange, silver and intense red. We’ve got a statement collection coming soon, with colours that demand attention but are wearable at any occasion, so keep your eyes peeled.

DB: What’s your favourite nail look at the moment? What’s your favourite that you’ve ever created?

GP: My favourite looks regularly change depending on the occasion, for example I am going on holiday tomorrow so I’ve chosen I Love Juicy (£12) which a beautiful coral colour. I think the best thing isn’t so much a creation but seeing a transformation of someone’s nails, especially when they go from damaged to healthy.

DB: Should we co-ordinate colours on hands and feet? Should we co-ordinate with clothes and make-up?
GP: This is a very personal choice and sometimes I co-ordinate and other times I don’t at all, sometimes it is nice to have a contrast. For special occasions I do try to do-ordinate with makeup and clothing.

DB: When choosing a nail bar / salon what should we look for?
GP: Research the salon thoroughly, check their reviews, see if they have a website, do they have qualifications showing in the salon and on the website. The appearance of a salon gives you a good first impression, and also if the staff are friendly and knowledgeable when you approach them. You should look for excellent reviews and check their Facebook page to see what their work is like. Avoid places that wear face masks as they are likely to be using strong chemicals, and I also avoid electrical tools.





Debra Brock

Debra Brock is co-founder of and a contributing writer.

Related - Interviews
Related - Interviews + see all

In The Bathroom With Jamie Genevieve

Sali joins Jamie in her Glasgow bathroom to talk working on counter, dogs, the joy of baths and her new makeup collection, Vieve.

In the Kit Bag with Dick Page

Sali has a rummage in top makeup artist Dick Page's pro makeup kit in his NYC bathroom

In The Bathroom with Zanna Roberts Rassi Part Two

Zanna talks tanning, piercing parties and her favourite beauty products.

In The Bathroom with Zanna Roberts Rassi Part One

Sali talks to editor and founder of Milk Makeup Zanna Roberts Rassi in her NYC bathroom