I have developed an addiction to Nail Art and Nail Polish in general, I’ve already posted some of my feminist themed designs but I thought I’d share some other designs as well as some tips and tricks for nail art I’ve picked up along the way.

The Basics

Firstly it doesn’t have to be a big, professional undertaking; I usually do my nails in front of the TV or during loading screens when I’m gaming, I find I’m far more patient this way waiting for things to dry than I am with no distractions. If you are going for plain colour then easy peasy, just try not to spill polish on your sofa or in your bed.

nails with xbox controller on my knee in the background

Loading screens and cut scenes are the perfect time do to your nails

If you start developing a passion for nail polish and can’t be arsed with falsies that are prone to fall off at inopportune moments (remember Monica’s fingernail lasange in Friends?)  you’ll need to keep your nails in good condition. The easiest way to do this is to use a good basecoat, one designs to keep nails healthy such as OPI’s Nail Envy or Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails. Your cuticles will also need looking after, especially as nail polish remover can be drying. Mostly they just need moisture from an oil or cream, you can buy a fancy specialist one or just use any oil (olive, coconut, castor, jojoba and almond are all good) or vaseline! Lip Balm also works.  Do not trim them as they don’t really need it, unless you have a hangnail or giant flaky peely bit and it can lead to accidents if you get a bit over enthusiastic; your manicure is not supposed to draw blood!

I have a massive nail polish collection and have found little difference between the quality and lasting power of polish brands, from expensive to cheap. My advice is get a good basecoat and top coat (cult favourite seche vite really is the top top coat or good old Sally Hansen does a good range) and choose whatever colour you like not matter how cheap or pricey! Some nail polishes do tend to apply better than others, but this can vary depending on the colour, finish and opacity of the polish moreso than any brand, I do like Chanel polishes though but they are a rare treat given the price tag! For cheap colour I recommend Barry M, which has a large range of colours, finishes and special effect polishes, NYC polishes are good value for money too and are good quality.

box full of nail polish

I think I’m gonna need a bigger box, my polish stash

Getting Arty Farty

I have used Nail Art pens in the past but currently I wouldn’t advise it as they are expensive for what is essentially a tiny pot of polish with a fancy brush and the ‘dotting’ applicator tends to get gunged up very easily. Gel pens, especially those marked as ‘pigment ink’ or similar, do a fantastic job and are much easier to use as well as cheaper and they come in loads of colours, even glittery finishes! You MUST finish a gel pen design with a top coat though otherwise it will wipe away. You can also use a cheap fine paintbrush with any old bottle of polish for finer detail.

two gel pen nail designs, chervons and paisley

Gel pen designs

You can use ordinary sellotape, masking tape or old bits of post it note, sticky labels etc instead of specialist ‘striping tape’, just make sure the polish is properly dry before you stick anything on top!

a post it note used as masking tape

My professional masking technique of torn up bits of post it note

One thing that is worth investing in though is a nail stamping kit, I got mine from claire’s accessories but they are available on ebay and you can get many extra design plates and stamping polishes too. It can be messy and it takes a while to get the knack right but once you do you can have cute designs fast (the pic below is a nail stamp design)! I also love the ‘special effects’ polishes, from cackle effect to glittery topcoats to confetti style, they are an easy and quick way to spice up a plain manicure.

nail design using nail stamps

Nail stamp design and a stick on gem

a speckly top coat over pink polish

A speckled ‘special effect’ top coat and stamp design

I’ve also started making my own nail polishes! I got a franken polish starter kit from Mica-Moma and have had fun created some lovely new polishes as well as spicing up and mixing old ones.

two DIY nail polishes

Oh and one final tip for messy nail art lovers, a cotton bud soaked in nail polish remover is your best friend! If you get polish on places that aren’t your nails (the grown up equivalent of colouring outside the lines?) you can easily remove it and neaten up the edges so people think you’re super neat and tidy. Brilliant!




Feel free to comment, I do love a good debate

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