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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Transformative Beauty: From Bad Nails to Nail Art

The internet has been flooded with excellent Nail Art and I’ve pinned more nail inspirations then I will ever have time to try. When the trend first started, I loved ogling the lovely nails, but I kept my distance. I could barely paint my nails a solid color and have them look nice. My right hand always looked a bit like a child did it, but then, crackle coat appeared. I had to try it. It sounded like the perfect solution--I just had to brush it on to let it work it’s crackling magic. Plus, it would hopefully hide the messy polish underneath. It was the gateway drug. Nail art hooked me, and I discovered that my limited artistic abilities didn’t keep me out of the nail art world. I’ve learned a few tips along the way.


Start Simple.
I started with a crackle polish. It gave my nails a cool effect without requiring a steady hand or hours of artwork. Any polish that creates it’s own special effects is a great way to start doing nail art. Try a crackle coat over your favorite polish or go for a magnetic polish to create cool ripple effects.

Begin and End Well.
Take care of your nails. File and buff them, but don’t do it so often that you wear them down. Stop biting or picking at breaking nails. Find a good fortifying base coat that will help strengthen your nail. It will also protect your nails from staining when you use dark or saturated polish colors. Find a quick drying top coat that hardens well. This will protect the design you’ve worked so hard for.

Don’t Worry About Staying In The Lines.
You may have spent a large portion of your childhood trying to color within the lines of your coloring book pictures, but don’t worry so much with your nails. You’re going to get polish on your skin. It’s just going to happen. Get a good polish remover (the kind in a tub with a sponge in it are the easiest to access and dip tools in). Put some orange sticks and a nice paint or nail brush in the polish remover and use them to whisk away still-wet extra color as you go along. Once you’re done use these same tools to clean up again. The brush can also be handy if you glob a little too much polish on top of another coat because it will help you thin things out.

Study Tutorials and Pictures.
I can’t tell you how many nail tutorials I’ve watched on Youtube. Well, I could tell you because I’ve bookmarked a lot of them, but I just won’t go there. I love learning the little tricks people use. I never watch only one video for any technique. I look at several to get various ideas so I can either pick the one that works best for me or use a combination.

Experiment.
If you think you have an idea that will work better than all the tutorials, try it (just don’t try it an hour before you have to be at an event). As long as you have a bunch of polish remover on hand, you try new things and wipe away the failures. If you can’t get the hang of something, just remove it and try something else. Also, go ahead and buy a few nail polish brushes. You won’t have to suffer through the bad brush that comes with the bottle.

Buy Wisely.
Nail art can get expensive. Most tutorials will send you to the beauty store or department with a pretty long list. If you’re trying something for the first time, check out the dollar store (except for some specialty polishes like crackle or magnetic items--those don’t always work at lower price points). If you want to try a glitter look, don’t spend $7 on glitter polish before you know you like it. Invest in your base and top coats. If you have colors you love and will use alone and experiments invest in a higher end polish brand that you like because it will make it simpler to apply. However, several drug store brands make equal quality products that will work well without costing a lot. If a design calls for a lot of new polish, consider swapping some of the colors with things you already have. No one says you have to stay with the same color scheme.

Play with Polish.
Try new colors together. Don’t think you need to follow a set tutorial or nail trend. If you come up with a fun idea, give it a try. Try going for a traditional manicure, but give one nail added pizzazz. It will make your manicure pop, cost very little extra time and allow you to have a unique look that everyone hasn’t already seen on Pinterest. I did this for my trip to see the Hunger Games. I didn’t have time to try painting flames on my nails--in fact I’m not sure I could have done it. Instead I painted one flame on one nail. It was a hit and a really fun surprise.

Cheat.
The polish police won’t come find you just because you tried using nail paint pens for more control or because you decided to skip the DIY art and go with nail wraps. The point of nail art isn’t being amazing at creating it, it’s about having fun with style. There is nothing wrong with buying a little extra help--especially if that means you’ll enjoy doing your nails more.

Links To Some Nail Art Tutorials I’ve Tried:
Have you tried any nail art? Share in the comments!

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