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Nailphiles–the new breed of fashionistas


AGOO Bengzon

It’s no secret—I feel naked without nail polish. I can go to a party with a makeup-free face but my nails must always be painted—even for a trip to the supermarket.

I can go for months without buying clothes, but my nail polish collection? It’s always up-to-date. A good manicure is a great way to complete an outfit or, in my case, update an old one.

I am not alone in my love of polish. Today, women buy more nail polish than lipstick, realizing that those fabulous little bottles are a great (and relatively affordable) way to keep up with trends.

Here are polish-loving women who use their manicures to make a style statement.

Agoo Bengzon

Beauty director-at-large for Summit Media, Beauty editor-at-large for Preview, Avon Skin Care expert

Agoo, who lives and breathes beauty, gives us hand-envy (we’d kill for her nail beds). She has immaculate hands and feet which are always perfectly polished. Agoo chronicles her


manicures and pedicures in her Instagram account @mizmanos.

Why she loves nail polish: “I love how nail polish instantly dresses you up. I also like how easy it is to change the look, depending on your mood.”

Her collection: “Right now, I think I have about 150 bottles.”

Favorite brands: “Chanel, OPI, Essie, Illamasqua, Zoya, Dior, Deborah Lippmann, Ciate, Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder. So many more! Haha!”

Top five shades: Chanel Dragon, Chanel Black Satin, Zoya Pixie Dust in Chyna, Ruby Wing in Crowd Surf, OPI You Don’t Know Jacques and Essie Lollipop

Favorite nail polish trends: “Matte, matte with a shiny tip, the Louboutin manicure, pixie dust, neon, color-changing polish, ultra nude nails.”

Nail length and shape of choice: “Short and squoval.”

AGOO may not match hermani and pedi but sometimes her polishmatches her lipstick.

Craziest nail look she’s worn: “Platinum stick-on nails and stickers with a Pierre Hardy-looking print.”

One nail polish look she’d never go for: “Anything where you would have to attach gems.”

Favorite nail salon: “Nail Spa.”

Changes her nail color… “Once, sometimes twice a week.”

Does she ever go polish-free? “Yes, but only for two to three days.”

Favorite nail polish remover: “Sally Hansen (the green one).”

Does she match her mani and pedi colors? “I used to but in the past two years, I actually make it a point not to make them match.”

Gel nails—yes or no?“Only for when I travel.”

AGOO likes dressing up hermanicure with fab rings.

Mani pet peeves: “I cannot stand chips or polish stains left on skin.”

Her nail polish/nail-care secrets and tips: Always let your base coat dry completely so that your polish will adhere better. Also, you MUST get a bottle of Seche Vite’s top coat. It’s the best!

If she could wear only one color for the rest of her life, she’d wear… “Chanel Dragon.”

Rina Alcantara

Entrepreneur, blogger (rina-alcantara.


Rina doesn’t just paint her nails, she uses them as canvas to create tiny works of art. Cupcakes, cartoon characters, flowers and patterns—no design is too daunting for this incredible nail artist.

AGOO wears Dashing Diva’s DesignFX nail stickers.

Why she loves nail polish: “I love that it is uniquely made for women.”

Her collection: “Over 800 bottles.”

Favorite brands: “Dazzle Dry, Deborah Lippmann, Nars, OPI, A-England and Revlon.”

Top five shades: “Oh, wow. This is difficult. Hmm, I’d say… Deborah Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers, Gosh Holographic, Dazzle Dry Rapid Red, A-England Bridal Veil and OPI Germanicure.”

Nail length and shape of choice: “I maintain short and squoval nails.”

Craziest nail look she’s worn: “I actually placed googly eyes on all my nails once when I joined a nail art contest.”

One nail polish look she’d never go for: “I was never fond of crackled nail polish.”

Favorite nail salon:“I do my own manicure. But get my pedicure at Nails and Teas.”

Changes her nail color…“At least twice a week.”

DEBORAH Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers

Does she ever go polish-free? “Yes.”

Favorite nail polish remover: “Dazzle Dry Lemongrass Nail Polish Remover.”

Does she match her mani and pedi colors? “Most of the time, no. But for formal occasions, yes.”

Gel nails—yes or no?  “Definitely no.”

Mani pet peeves: “I’m very particular with how the nail polish is applied on my nails. Tidiness or neatness is the utmost importance for me. I also dislike chipping. So any sign of that and I immediately remove or change my manicure.”

Her nail polish/nail-care secrets and tips: “Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! A cuticle cream/oil is your best friend before going to sleep.”

If she could wear only one color for the rest of her life, she’d wear… “Vampy red, of course!”

Catherine K. Ilacad

CAT Ilacad

Founder and president of Posh Nails Inc.

As founder and president of Posh Nails Inc.—her nail spa company which now has 22 branches all over the country—Cat knows the importance of nail polish in women’s lives. She said, “Ever heard of people being happy just staring at their nails? I get that a lot from Posh Nails’ clients. They tweet, post on Facebook and even send us e-mails about how much changing their nail polish or having a manicure makes them feel vibrant.”

Why she loves nail polish: “There’s so much variety, so many colors, and nail polish has so much character. I love nail polish because it can set your mood for the day. It is a natural pick-me-up.”

Her collection: “At home, I probably have about a hundred and the rest are at Posh Nails and in the head office.”

Favorite brands: “OPI, Nubar, Essie, Misa, Orly, China Glaze, Zoya, Deborah Lippmann and Azature.”

Top five shades: “Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow, Azature’s Black Diamond Nail Polish in Pink, OPI’s Big Apple Red, Essie’s Ballet Slippers and Zoya’s London from the Pixie Dust Collection.”

Favorite nail polish trends: “I just love everything sparkly on the nails. Either you go super plain and classic or all shiny and shimmery.”

Nail length and shape of choice: “Short and square.”

One nail polish look she’d never go for:“Too many embellishments.”

DAZZLEDry Rapid Red

Favorite nail salon: “Posh Nails.”

Does she ever go polish-free? “Of course! The nails need rest from color also.”

Favorite nail polish remover: “OPI.”

Does she match her mani and pedi colors? “Yes.”

Gel nails—yes or no? “Yes.”

Her nail polish/nail-care secrets and tips: “Always have cuticle oil in your bag and use it for your nails to moisturize during the day. Let your nails breathe after every two weeks of polish color.”

If she could wear only one color for the rest of her life, she’d wear… “Azature’s Black Diamond Nail Polish in Pink.”

KAREN Guinto

Karen Reodica-Guinto

Merchandising group manager

Karen, who works in fashion, has great style. We’re always excited to see what she’s wearing. And she finishes off each look with a great mani, often using Chanel’s latest it-color.

Why she loves nail polish: “Its ability to complete and elevate a look. The pretty colors also help brighten up one’s day.”

Her collection: “Close to 60.”

Favorite brands: “Chanel, YSL, Dior, Nars, Deborah Lippmann, Essie and Orly.”

Top five shades: “Chanel Frenzy, Chanel Black Pearl, Chanel Blue Boy, Chanel Malice and Chanel Paparazzi.”

Favorite nail polish trends: “Non-traditional French manicure using complementing colors, top coating with glittery polish like Essie’s Set in Stones for the luxe effect.”

Nail length and shape of choice: “Short and square for easy maintenance.”

Craziest nail look she’s worn: “Looking forward to the day that I would go crazy on my polish like how Japanese girls style their nails.”

A-ENGLAND Bridal Veil

One nail polish look she’d never go for: “Animal-print nails.”

Favorite nail salon: “Cosmo World, a dependable parlor in Parañaque.”

Changes her nail color… “almost every week.”

Does she ever go polish-free? “I have not. But I think it is about time to rest my nails for a while.”

Favorite nail polish remover: “I am not so picky, any brand would do.”

Does she match her mani and pedi colors? “Yes, I do. I think that it is more put together.”

Gel nails—yes or no? “Yes, especially when you are traveling, for it is more durable.”

Mani pet peeves: “Chipped polish, matte nail polish, animal-print polish (it should just stay with bags, shoes and clothes).”

Her nail polish/nail-care secrets and tips: “1) Do not scrimp on good top and bottom coats. Orly Top 2 Bottom works very well for me. Always apply a bottom coat to avoid getting yellowish nails, even if you don’t go polish-free. Also, applying the top coat twice would make your polish last longer. 2) For polish of darker shades, it is better to apply a whitish, pearlized shade first, let it dry, then top with the darker colored nail polish.  This makes you achieve the color, as how you see it in the bottle.  I noticed that when two coats of a dark nail polish are applied, this creates a deeper and darker color which is somewhat close to black.”

If she could wear only one color for the rest of her life, she’d wear… “Chanel Frenzy. It is a great neutral.”


Ruby Gan


Ruby isn’t just a fashion-savvy businesswoman and a cool mom, she’s also a competitive powerlifter. This nail polish-loving athlete competes internationally and wins medals—while wearing her favorite polish shades.

She is daring not only in her sport but also in her manicure choices.

Why she loves nail polish: “Are you kidding me? What’s there not to love?  It’s like having a bagful of Skittles and you don’t know which color to get! With the many colors, textures and finish available now, I can play with them by wearing several colors altogether. That way, it is fun and never boring.

I started experimenting with, say, a pink hue on my fingers and a darker hue on my toes a long time ago, long before people started wearing different colors in one go. I thought to myself, “Why limit it to one color when I can wear two different colors at once?”

Then when I got bored with the look, I experimented with complementing hues: for instance, a bright yellow on my hands, and a turquoise blue on my toes.

Then I got a little more daring—while the eight fingers were sporting yellow, the pinky finger on my right and the ring finger on my left will sport maybe an orange. Bottom line is I want it fun!”

Her collection: “Too many to count.  I gave some away already.”

Favorite nail polish brands:“Chanel, OPI, Butter London, Deborah Lippmann, Essie.”

AZATURE Black Diamond Nail Polish in Pink

Top five shades: “Chanel Mysterious, Chanel Vertigo, RBL Liberty, OPI Did It On ’Em, Deborah Lippmann Amazing Grace, Deborah Lippmann Stairway to Heaven. Sorry naka-six ako.”

Favorite nail polish trends: “I like nail art (half-moon, 3D, French tip) and I also like using stickers and metallic nails. I also went crazy in love with crackled finish, especially white over glitter gold polish.”

Nail length and shape of choice: “Short and square for me.”

Craziest nail look she’s worn: “So many. Many years ago, when using different colors wasn’t in fashion, I was already wearing two different colors on my fingers just because I don’t want a boring and conventional look.”

One nail polish look she’d never go for: “Long pointy nails or long square nails with 3D crystals and flowers.”

Favorite nail salon: “Nail Tropics and Dashing Diva.”

Changes her nail color… “Every week.”

Does she ever go polish-free? “Yes, but very rarely.”

Favorite nail polish remover: “Sally Hansen.”

Does she match her mani and pedi colors? “NOPE.”

Gel nails—yes or no? “I tried once but my nails grow fast so I can see the gap between my cuticle and the gel color—I hate that. So no. If I will travel, then I will opt for something pale and sheer.”

Mani pet peeves: “Cutting the cuticles and uneven strokes when applying the polish.”

Her nail polish/nail-care secrets and tips: “I always use hand and nail lotion and cuticle oil or cream.”

If she could wear only one color  for the rest of her life, she’d wear… “Oh no! That’s like telling me not to go to the gym forever.”

The author obsesses about nail polish at PolishPolice.com

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Tags: Agoo Bengzon , Catherine K. Ilacad , Karen Reodica-Guinto , Nail polish , nailphiles , Rina Alcantara , Ruby Gan

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