Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nail Art You Can Actually Do (and one style you can't)

I've been dabbling with nail art lately (thanks, PINTEREST) and have stumbled on a few techniques that have yielded surprisingly cool results for minimal effort expended.   In order of easiest to hardest:

1) Crackle Polish
This is almost a no brainer.  Base coat.  Two coats of color. Allow color to dry (at least 75% of the way, if you're impatient). Apply a thickish coat of crackle polish in as few strokes as possible (you're aiming for 2-3 passes with the brush).  Apply top coat.  In this picture I used Spoiled Toad-ally Amazing (mint creme) as the base and OPI Shatter in Gold (lovely and sparkly) as the crackle:
2) Glitter Beds
Using a creme polish basecoat (OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, pictured) and a chunky glitter polish (Milani FX in Gold) on only part of the nail yields a cool, sequined effect.  I applied the glitter over half dry base polish directly with a brush.  These glitter pieces are quite large, and it took a bit of coaxing to get them roughly where I wanted them, but the entire glittering process only took 5-10 minutes, and imperfection was the look I was going for, making this a hard to mess up nail art option.
3) Glitter Tips
For this look, I applied two coats of OPI for Sephora Metro Chic (griege creme), let them dry 3/4 of the way and then applied a silver glitter polish using a sponge to the tips of my nails only.  This sounds way harder than it is.  Simply dab a puddle of glitter polish onto a paper plate and apply using a torn up makeup sponge. 
4) Galaxy
This is another sponge painting technique.  Two coats of black or navy creme, topped with a plethora of colors and glitters using the paper plate and makeup sponge technique detailed above.  I like to use a combo of mint and nude cremes, yellow gold shimmer, silver holo glitter and silver glitter.  Finish off with toothpick applied dots of white creme and a good topcoat.  

As anyone who has tried nail art knows, not every design goes as planned.  Take water marbling, for example. The technique involves making a bullseye of polish droplets in a cup of water, swiping through the polish with a toothpick, then dipping a masked off nail into the puddle in order to transfer the polish. After two solid nights of attempting this, and developing a pretty spectacular acetone high, here is my best attempt:

1982 called. They want their nails back.

Can't win them all. 

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