I am not a girly-girl. Much to my mother’s chagrin I was a tomboy as a child, more likely to be mucking around in the dirt than playing dress up. I haven’t gotten much better as an adult but, after six years in Kentucky, a little bit of Southern femininity has rubbed off on me. Now I rarely leave the house without some makeup on and at least once a month I head to the salon to get my nails done.
Photo: A Guide to OPI Collections
I’m pretty conservative when it comes to nail colour; a pale nude pink for my fingers and something slightly brighter for my toes will usually suffice. But the plethora of polish colours that is now available has me itching to be more adventurous.
I used to think of nail art as being either really childish or kind of trashy. But celebrity manicurists have helped to create classy new styles that copy fashion trends and are still wearable in everyday life. For example, I love how Fab Fatale layered Deborah Lippmann’s Boom Boom Pow, made with 24k gold dust and chunky glitter, over a subtle nude shade to give it a bit of bling. I think this could be my gateway polish to going a little more glam.
Photo: Canadian Beauty
For even more texture, fashionistas are turning to the Ciaté Caviar Manicure, for which tiny beads of colour are applied to a basecoat. This was originally created for a magazine cover shoot and it doesn’t last very long, so it would be best for special occasions. I must admit, I’m intrigued by the look but I think that having textured nails would drive me crazy.
Photo: Running in Heels in Not Fun
Another fashion trend that has been used in everything from clothing to hair colour is the ombré effect, a subtle gradation of colour from light to dark. The easiest way to do this with a manicure is to pick five shades of one colour and paint one on each nail from lightest to darkest. If you are going to go this route, it’s best to pick colours that you really like so that you can wear them individually. Another way to achieve this effect is to buy one polish along with a bottle of white; simply pour the varnish into five small containers and add increasing amounts of the white to create custom gradations.
Photo: The Buyble
It takes a little more work, but the ombré technique can also be done on each nail. This tutorial from Beautylish shows how you can do this at home, using two colours and a makeup sponge.
Photo: Refinery 29
Neon has made a big comeback this year. I’m old enough to have worn it the first time it was in, so I’m not going there now. But I might try Refinery 29’s Neon Splatter Manicure, which manages to incorporate the bright hues without being overwhelming.
Photo: If It’s Hip It’s Here
I’m a little obsessed with text art so I was over the moon when I saw this Newspaper Transfer Manicure on If It’s Hip It’s Here. I’m really horrible at applying my own polish, hence my trips to the salon, but this is so cool I might have to bust out tools.
Photo: Daily Something
If you are also a little challenged in the nail polish application department, you might want to start with nail decals. Companies like Nail Fraud offer dozens of patterns. Styles range from subdued to show-stopping, so there really is something for everyone. Their biggest advantage? They take only a few minutes to apply and there is no drying time!
Photo: Nail Side
The secret to keeping nail art looking cool is to keep your nails short and file them in a slightly rounded shape. So this weekend, take some time for yourself; grab your favourite polish and create some art!