A little while back, our writer, Dom, wrote one of the most compelling, groundbreaking, important features to ever grace the pages of THE FILE. Titled ‘The Best Podcasts To Paint Your Talons To,’ it seriously altered the course of lives everywhere. Now that she’s done the hard task of providing us with a bevvy of podcasts to devour, it’s time to get going on the second half of that story. Enter our this week’s hero product: Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Gloss in shade Rouge Radical.

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the condition of ours hands is a snapshot into the amount of time we allocate to self-grooming. For me, this has been teetering dangerously close to zero minutes per week. “Paint me like one of your French girls,” my chipped, jagged nails whisper to me as I click the next episode on Netflix, or Ctrl+T on my keyboard. “Okay,” I am only now whispering back, as I decide whether to start my podcast bender with a true crime story or a mediation on the guilt that often comes with being a millennial feminist.

I’ve already sung the praises of Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Colour in Rose Confidentiel, but, after expressing my desire to add more spice to my manicure, our Site Producer, Betsy, recommended I give Rouge Radical a red hot go. “It’s my favourite nail polish in the world. Try it,” she tells me on Slack. “Okay,” I write back, as if it’s the only word in the English language that I am capable of using.

My metrics for the perfect nail polish are as follows: colour, durability, and ability to hoodwink people into thinking I paid upwards of $50 for a manicure. Chanel is not stuffing around here with their claims of it being a “longwear” nail colour. In the same way I brutally and mysteriously murder footwear, I have a special gift for giving manicures a ~lived in~ look within 12 hours of applying polish. The Le Vernis range is, in this sense, the steel-capped boot of nail varnish, and one of only a handful that can weather the effects of my unruly limbs. After applying one coat, I baked a cake. I washed up. I went to the beach. I really lived, you know? And guess what? I still looked like I’d just stepped out of the nail salon. Which brings me to my next point…

Like a good in-salon blow dry, it’s very hard to emulate a salon manicure at home if you don’t have the right tools. In my humble opinion, the right tools are: Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover, a nail file, the Mecca Max Nail Care Cube, the Orly Bonder basecoat, and, obvy, Rouge Radical. Invest in these tools, and I promise you will feel as though you have just won a round of Bullshit (the best card game to ever exist, in my dishonest opinion).

The final frontier is the colour. Anything red is a hard yes from me, especially when it comes to lips, nails, and T-shirts. If I were to have made a mood board for my exact dream nail colour/consistency, it would comprise exclusively of images of cans of diced tomatoes and close-ups of Selena Gomez’s lips in the ‘Fetish’ video. I wanted something that communicated both “I’ve been to Tuscany” and “I’m fun-loving.” I wanted something that was neither too rich and full-bodied nor too weak (which oft happens with sheer, glossy formulas). I was after the Pinot Noir of nail polish, and this, my friends, is it. I applied two coats to get the desired colour, and, for one beautiful second, felt like Jeanne Damas. Purchase your own bottle here, fire up your earphones, and get painting, ladiezzzz.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Magdalene Shapter.