Creative Nail Art Ideas for Your Next Manicure
By Nina Bahadur
, last updated January 21, 2012
The internet is a veritable treasure trove of creative manicure and nail art ideas. Nail blogs like Lacquerized and Prettyfulz review different polishes, feature their unique nail ideas, and try their own versions of trends seen on the runway. On YouTube, there are hundreds of step-by-step manicure and pedicure tutorials uploaded by savvy users and nail experts. Here are some creative manicure ideas that are easy for amateur nail enthusiasts to pull off.
French Manicure with a Twist
Mix it up with a modern French manicure. Ditch the nude polish and white tips, and go for a more edgy color combination. For the end of the summer, try a solid turquoise like Sephora by O.P.I.'s Read My Palm with a shimmery gold polish for the tips, like Looks Like Rain Dear. Other fun color combinations include tangerine orange with magenta tips, or a pale blue with beige tips.
Striped nails are one of the easiest manicures to wear. Use a nail pen like the Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, which is currently available in eleven different colors, to add stripes over a solid base. Practice on a piece of paper beforehand to make sure that the polish comes out evenly and in straight lines. Try diagonal lines, or stripes in alternating colors to spice it up.
O.P.I. has a range of shatter manicure shades, which you apply over the top of two layers of a fully-dried normal polish. The special shatter polish shrinks while it dries, created a shatter or cracked effect. Make a statement with neon colors under a bright shatter, or combine two neutrals. Sephora by O.P.I. Blasted Nail Color is available for $9.50 from www.sephora.com.
The moon manicure was a trend in the 1930s, inspired by Art Deco designs. To get this look, paint the half-moons at the bases of your fingernails a lighter color than the rest of your nail, or avoid painting them entirely. If you don’t have particularly steady hands, cut out masking tape half-moons to guide you. You could also paint the tips of your nails the same color as the half-moons, as seen on the runway at Chanel.
Start off with a dark navy or black color, such as essie’s Midnight Cami or Dive Bar. Then pick a glitter polish. China Glaze makes some polishes with larger pieces of glitter, like Treasure Chest (gold glitter) or Nova (silver/platinum glitter). Apply this polish to the top third of each nail to create a starry skies effect. You can also do this manually, with small sequins in star and moon shapes. Finish up with liberal amounts of top coat.
To create color-blocked nails, pick two colors, either complementary tones or contrasting shades. Lay a piece of masking tape diagonally along every nail. Use the masking tape as you would painter’s tape, and paint up to the edge using one color. Wait for that half to dry, then add another piece of tape and paint the other half of your nail along the edge of the second piece. If you are feeling particularly dexterous, color block with three or more colors.