Allow me to begin this article with a confession: I am terrible at doing my nails. Embarrassingly so. I’ve had decent luck at painting my left hand, but any and all attempts at painting my right has completely ruined the entire endeavor.
Maybe that’s why I become hypnotized when I see nail art videos on my Facebook feed — and perhaps it’s why I feel the need to try this popular trend for myself.
Nail Art 101:¬†A Step-by-Step Guide
Just recently, I had breakfast with mom and happened to notice that my 60-something mother had painted her fingernails complete with a glitter-nail accent on each hand.
My own mom was totally showing me up, so I decided then and there to learn how to paint my nails once and for all.
At first, I dreamed big: swirls, patterns, even jeweled accents on the tips. Then, I got real and decided that I would try just one nail art technique — the glitter accent — along with a few tips that I’ve seen in those popular video tutorials.
1. The Outer Limits
Whenever I watch those aforementioned nail art tutorials, I’m always mesmerized by the liquid latex¬†that’s placed around the nail bed to keep the polish off your skin.
What is this miracle product, and does it really work that well in real life?
I actually had no idea where they even sold the stuff, but surprise, surprise:¬†My mom just so happened to have a tube I could borrow. If you don’t have this product or a mom who’s suddenly a skilled manicurist, use this DIY Elmer’s glue technique instead:
- Start with fresh, clean nails.
- Cover the cuticles (and only the cuticles) with Elmer’s glue. Alternatively, you can pour glue into a dish and paint it on with a small brush (an eye shadow brush should work just fine.)
- Allow glue to dry ‚ÄĒ about two to three minutes.
- Polish your nails as you normally would (aka, as sloppily as a kindergartner with finger paint). You can opt for a second coat and finish off with a top coat. Allow polish to dry completely.
- Finally, just peel away all of your mistakes in the most gratifying way imaginable! It couldn’t be easier… or less toxic.
2. All About That Base
Evidently, the base coat you use is a very important part of the nail art process.
I used one coat of white polish, which is supposed to make your nail polish look brighter.
3. Glitter Done Right
After painting the majority of my nails with a basic pink polish, I gave¬†the glitter polish a try.
I’d researched this trick beforehand and actually spotted a brilliant hack for getting the glitter to look like it does in the bottle. (Normally, my glitter polish just looks clear with maybe three sparkles max per nail.)
If you have the same issue, here is the perfect solution:
What You’ll Need:
- A base coat
- Liquid latex (optional, but recommended)
- Your favorite glitter nail polish
- A cosmetic sponge
- A top coat
- Apply your base coat as normal.
- Line the skin around your nails with liquid latex so it won’t get covered in polish.
- Apply the glitter nail polish of your choice onto the edge of a makeup sponge.
- Dab the sponge onto your nail. (FYI, this is where the real trick lies. The sponge soaks up most of the actual nail polish leaving just the glitter behind, so it goes on dense and opaque in one fell swoop.)
- Peel off the liquid latex.
- Apply your top coat so the glitter doesn’t chip off as easily.
Next, I applied a nail sticker to the nail on my index finger for a little something extra.
I had trouble getting it to lay smooth, but it filed down fairly easily. (This particular sticker had flecks of rose gold, so it was totally worth the extra effort in my eyes.)
4. Top of the Line
Finally, I applied two layers of top coat to my nails. I’d read that you should apply¬†one layer of top coat to the tips of your nails before applying a second coat to the entire nail after the tips have dried. This is supposed to prevent your nails from chipping, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt.
Check out how it turned out above!
Honestly, nail art is just not my strong suit! But at least I tried — and the tricks above definitely made the process easier.