I’ve recently started doing more nail art and thought I’d like some new colours so bought the Neon set of Rio Professional Nail Art Pens, they’re £24.99 from Superdrug and there are six colours in the set. They do a few different sets, at the moment the ones I found on Superdrug are the original set, the neons and a set of metallic colours and there is a bit of overlap between the neon and original set with white and black being in both and both having a yellow in. As my black and white are getting low I was pretty happy with the double up on them which was one of the reasons I went for this one.
I’ve tried a few different makes of nail art pen and these ones are slightly different to the others I’ve used in that they have two ways of using them. If you twist the top off you get a fine brush for some details and then the end pulls off for a pen tip which has a finer tip for finer lines.
The set comes with a couple of extras alongside the nail art pens themselves, the first is a brush for applying the main colour of nail varnish. I don’t think I’ll ever use this as it’s not the best quality, there’s already bristles sticking out at odd angles and a couple have fallen out plus I just tend to use the brushes that come in my nail varnishes for application anyway so this will probably sit in the drawer unused.
The second thing is a DVD with information on different nail art techniques. It is pretty good and does have an easy to use system though I haven’t tried any of the things yet. It could be useful for beginners if you want a proper look at what you can do for your nails rather than just jumping in like I have done.
The final thing is a little booklet which includes information on how to get different finishes and effects with the nail varnish as well as step by step instructions on how to apply the nail art pens. One of the things I like most in this leaflet is the pages of nail art designs in the back. They have a single sided page for each of the four main sets (they include one for pastels which I have only seen on eBay) so you get ideas of what you can do with the colours in your set and see what the others can achieve if you want to increase your collection of nail art pen colours.
The nail art pens themselves are really nice, the part that holds the nail varnish is a fairly soft material that is easy to squeeze if you need to get more out of the pen. The top for the brush does twist off pretty easily, though over time with my other set I have found that some of them get stuck and I’m left with just the pen tip. The brush itself is nice, it’s long and flexible so easy to get longer stripes pretty accurate and to the edges though I do find that something in the design means that the nail varnish tends to gather on the stick but that holds the nail varnish and can drip off at odd times if you don’t wipe it carefully on something.
The pen tip is really nice, it’s the main way I use these pens, it’s fine and easy to use though you can end up with a bit of a blob at the beginning of any line or design if you’re not careful. One thing I really like about these pens, and it may be a mix of the pen and the formula itself, is that I haven’t had any problems with there being bubbles in the nail varnish on application. I’ve had another set for years and I can’t remember it happening at all but on others I have had to chase or pop bubbles on the surface of my lines which makes them a bit wonky or less accurate.
The formula for these is so good, it does dry pretty quickly as long as the nail varnish underneath is completely set. I have found that within a couple of minutes it’s touchable with not problems if you don’t do it too thick, however if you try to fill in a larger area and it gets a bit thick it does not set for ages. They do mix pretty well together but it’s still easier to get the pens in the different colours as it dries quickly and you either have to use your mixed colour very fast or you get a sticky mess. I have also found that some top coats make it run a bit, Seche Vite for example always makes the black and white run a bit and sort of pulls it whichever way I apply the top coat even with one coat. Others aren’t so bad, my Ciate one has not had this problem and I’ve used that on top of all of the colours with no problem.
The colours included in this set are black, white, yellow, blue, pink and purple and I would say that only the pink is what I would consider a neon colour. Of these six colours I would say that three are opaque cream finish (black, white and blue), one is a thinner flat colour but less opaque (yellow) and the other two are shimmers (pink and purple).
The yellow looks different to the one in the original set when it’s in the pen but when I apply it it’s exactly the same colour which is a rich yellow, it’s nice but not neon and it’s one that you have to do on top of a white or not far off white as it’s not very opaque. The black and white are both amazing for pigmentation on most colours, the white seems to be a bit hit and miss at times and does need a good shake that normally sorts any problems. The blue is pretty well pigmented and comes out as a nice light blue. The pink is one of those ones that really needs white behind to show properly but it’s really bright and it’s got a bit of a blue or purple duochrome to it which makes it stand out a bit more as well. The purple is probably my favourite of the colours and is really opaque but due to the fact it’s a less cream formula it doesn’t show as well on darker colours, the silvery shimmer looks great and I can’t wait to do some summer looks with this one.
Overall I would definitely recommend this set, or rather I would definitely recommend this brand for nail art pens. I think that for a first set the original mix might be better as it has a dark blue, green, silver and red alongside the yellow, black and white. This neon set does have a nice mix of colours and I do really like the finish for them but I wouldn’t say they were neon. I’d also prefer it if they had the cream finish for all of the colours as it stands out really well on any colour as long as they’ve had a good shake but the less creamy ones like the yellow and the pink don’t stand out so well without a bit of white beneath them.
I think that it’s the combination of the formula for the nail varnish and the brush and pen idea that makes these my favourites. I do wish they had a greater range of colours and I think I’ll be looking at getting the pastels collection at some point from eBay as I want the largest range possible.