If you saw the awesome photos from last month’s star-studded Met Gala you’ll know why nail art is suddenly back in the beauty headlines. From Elle Fanning’s coral extensions with quirky plastic accessories attached (how difficult must they have been to wear?) to Dua Lipa’s stained glass manicure to Alexa Chung’s eye-catching slime-green half-moons, the Met Gala celebs, or rather their hugely talented manicurists, proved there are no limits to what your nails can achieve if you take the brakes off your imagination.
So, if you want to follow their example and ensure your nails make an unforgettably colourful impact this summer, here are our five favourite tips and tricks for getting cute(icle) and creative!
It’s all in the preparation!
Nail art can be messy and sometimes even the experts make mistakes! One way to make cleaning up those slip-ups a little less annoying is to carefully swab some Vaseline on the skin around your nails before you begin. Alternatively, you could use a standard PVA glue and leave it to dry before you begin painting. Either way, any nail polish that accidentally finds its way over the edges and onto your skin will be easy to remove once you’re finished (although it’s easier to wipe off the Vaseline than peel away the glue.)
Another top tip is to use white nail polish for your basecoat as it will make the coloured topcoat really ‘pop’!
Don’t be afraid to cheat
Unless you’re incredibly ambidextrous, painting designs on your dominant hand can get seriously tricky. The best way to sidestep this problem – and make the design on each nail look as identical as possible (if identical is what you’re going for) – is to paint some thick coats of polish onto a Ziploc bag, paint your design on top, and then give it a few minutes to dry. Once it’s dry you’ll be able to peel your design off the plastic and then secure it onto your nail with a clear topcoat. Alternatively, you could use nail art glue.
If you want to unleash your inner Cruella de Vil, it’s easy to give your nails that flawlessly spotty 101 Dalmations look. If perfect mini polka dots are your goal, just apply the holed part of a band-aid plaster over your nail, paint over it and then peel it off after it has dried. If you want those dots to be larger and more noticeable, dip the ball end of a bobby pin in your coloured polish and use that as a dotting tool. Going dotty has never been easier!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
We’ve all heard of people who read palms but here’s a stylish and simple way to get people curious enough to read your nails! Simply cut out small sections from your daily newspaper, apply a white base coat to your nail, dip your nail in alcohol for a few seconds, press the newspaper against your nail (smooth it against your nail very gently to avoid smearing) and then peel it away. You’ll find the alcohol has transferred the newspaper text onto your nail like a miniature word-tattoo! Try playing with different font sizes and applying the words in different directions – everyone who sees them will really get the message you’re a nail art superstar!
Feel like mooning around?!
Who knew that achieving the perfect half moon mani would begin in your local stationery store? All you need are some paper hole reinforcement stickers – the kind that are used to protect four-holed paper in ring binders. Apply your base colour, let it dry, put the stickers at the base of each of your nails to create the half moon shape and then paint along with the stickers. Afterwards, and very carefully, paint a second coat on each nail and then allow it to dry before gently peeling the stickers away.
Of course, these are all just suggestions to get you started. Once you’ve mastered nail art basics, you’ll have all the confidence you need to take your marvellous manicures to the next level and beyond… and maybe even to next year’s Met Gala! Hey, we can all dream, can’t we?!
Jack has a keen interest in beauty courses and enjoys educating people on the great courses at LBTA.