DIY Guide To Nail Art

If it’s all over the Fall 2013 runways, you can be sure it’s not going anywhere! Dolls, we’re talking about nail art, one of this season’s hottest accessories.

Eye-catching nails can be as easy as glitter and stripes or as intricate as these multi-color collages created by butter LONDON for Libertine's F/W 2013 Collection.

Ready to create your very own work of art? Here’s a DIY guide to pulling off this top tip trend.

Nails by Katie Hughes, butter LONDON’s Global Colour Ambassador

Decide On A Design: There’s no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to nail art. It’s all about creativity! Still, it can be helpful to plan out your design. Sketch it out on paper to get a feel for the look.

Need some inspiration? Right now, Celebrity Nail Artist Karen Gutierrez is all about half-moons, florals, ombre, animal print, studded/rhinestone nails and geometric shapes…just to name a few!

Choose A Color Scheme: Pick out a base polish and then pair it with complimentary colors. Gutierrez says emerald green and blue hues are red hot right now, and metallic/chrome designs are always golden. Soon, we’ll be seeing bright, bold colors like candy apple red, fuchsia, tangerine, and hot pink.

Prep Your Workstation: Get your tools and lacquer ready! Don’t forget polish remover and cotton swabs to “erase” any mistakes. (PS: This clever tool at Sephora will prevent polish from smudging on your fingertips…and its only $7!)

The good news? You don’t need to dish out loads of dough on brushes and nail art supplies. Gutierrez says use what you find around the house. A bobby pin or ballpoint pen can substitute for a dotting tool, and painter’s tape can be used for super straight stripes. Reinforcement stickers will create perfect half-moons, or try makeup sponges for a tie-dye/ombre effect. For a sleek, custom snakeskin print, dab a paper towel with polish and sponge randomly on your nails.

If you’re looking to accessorize your digits quickly, it’s easy to find beautiful stickers and stones on-the-cheap. Some of our favorites include L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Nail Lingerie ($8.95), Essie Slick Sticks ($9.99), Kiss Nail Dress ($6.99), and Sephora by OPI Trend Tips ($12). Most are available right at the drugstore. We’re also fans of budget retailer Claire’s, where you can scoop up 3D nail art stickers and colorful rhinestones for less than $6.  

There are also plenty of foolproof polishes that create cool effects, like Nails Inc. Fishnet Magnetic Polish ($19), butter London Matte Finish Top Coat ($19), Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy ($8.99), Illamasqua Rubber Finish Nail Varnish ($14), Zoya Fleck Effect Holographic Nail Glazes ($8), and Ciaté Velvet Manicure Kit ($19).

Lock In The Look: The key to nail art that sticks is a good topcoat. Apply a fast-drying topcoat in three long strokes. Start at the base of the nail and move the brush downward along the fingernail, sealing the free edge at the bottom. Always make sure there’s enough topcoat on the brush so you don’t streak your work of art. Gutierrez recommends re-applying every two to three days to extend the life of your design.

Bottom line: don’t stress! The whole point of nail art is to have fun. Who knows? Maybe that “oops” with a nail art brush or office supply will turn into your favorite look!

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