The saying goes that you can tell a lot about a woman by looking at her hands; with that in mind, what do yours say about you? Why not express a little of your personal style on your fingernails with some of these beautiful techniques and fun products.? There have never been so many ways to personalize those claws, so pull out some supplies and get to it!
Over the last year or so, this lovely fabric has been gracing nails on runway models and celebrities, becoming a popular choice for delicate, feminine nails. There are two ways this style is done—the first is by using real lace and the other is by using pens or small brushes to paint on a lace-like design. The first method is the easiest; on a clean nail or on fully-dry polish, brush on a layer of top coat, lay a small piece of lace (preferably thin lace) over the nail, brush on a bit more top coat, and trim the excess lace with a small pair of manicure scissors once it’s dry.
This look can be very sweet or very bold depending on the colours used and placement of the lace. Try different colour combinations or laying the lace on the nail in a different way (like just on the tip) for a variety of pretty, frilly looks.
A swirled, multi-coloured effect is attained by the water marbling method, but the process takes a little practice to get just right. The look starts with a bowl of water with drops of nail polish dripped on the surface. Once all desired colours have been dripped onto the water, one on top of the other to create a ring-effect, drag a toothpick through the colours to create designs and then dip one finger in to transfer the design onto your nail. While still in the water, use a toothpick or swab to remove the polish from the water around your finger. Remove extra polish from the surrounding skin using remover and some cotton swabs, apply a top coat, and your nails should look like little works of whirly art.
Water marbled nails can look fantastic when they’re done well and a nice combination of colours are used, but there are a few bumps to face before getting there. Be mindful of how long you leave polish on the water since it will harden relatively quickly; you’ve got to move fast when making your design. Also, some polishes—especially cheap ones—may not sit on the water as well as others, so if you come across a couple that don’t quite cooperate, just switch them out for others.
Matte top coats are a simple way to alter the look of a basic coat of polish and are fairly easy to use, though there are a few characteristics that will take getting used to. Matte top coats tend to show any imperfections and brushstrokes can be more visible so careful application is necessary for a smooth nail. They can also be slow to dry, so even after you’ve given the perfect application, be careful while the top coat is still tacky to prevent damage before it’s set.
Matte top coats are great to add a different finish to so-frequently-glossy nails, but they’re also great for making subtle patterns over solid colours. After nails have been painted and allowed to fully dry, a matte top coat can be applied in stripes, spots, or any other desired design. This creates a look that is patterned but still subtle. Or try a variation of the French manicure—paint a matte coat over an application of coloured polish and brush over the tip with a glossy top coat.
Recently thrown into the spotlight by OPI’s campaign with Katy Perry, ‘crackle’ or ‘shatter’ polishes are used to create a cracked effect on nails. Like the matte look, this style is achieved with a single product making the process of application a bit simpler. These polishes are used over regular polish and, once dry, crack to reveal whatever colour is hiding underneath. Crackle polishes come in a variety of colours, so try different combinations; highly popular, though, is black crackle polish over a bright colour or a layer of glitter.
Also, one product can give different types of shattered looks; a thinner layer of crackle polish will dry to leave many cracks whereas a thicker layer will leave fewer breaks in the coat. Experimenting with application is the best way to find the effect you’re looking for. Either way, allow the regular polish to dry completely before applying crackle polish or it won’t break properly.
With all the products in stores and all the tutorials online, the possibilities for nail art are practically endless. So what do you want your hands to say about you? Take a little time to beautify and let a lovely set of nails do the talking.