Natural Nails

Interlocked Steel Skull Nail Art

Florida-based nail tech, Bryan Vu, offers this tutorial for a dark and edgy textured design. 

Neutral nails are a good way to transition into the colder seasons, but a bit of edgy nail art did the trick for Bryan Vu, a nail tech and educator in more than a dozen salons with a beauty school in Florida. This industrial and dark design created by Vu (@bryan_nailed_it on Instagram) was inspired by the supernatural antihero, Ghost Rider, leading the way toward fall and Halloween.

Vu, who is a master educator with Hand & Nail Harmony, says in order to introduce clients to nail art he starts them gradually. “Try something more on the neutral side so clients aren’t shocked and overwhelmed by all the colors,” he says. But before nail art, comes education. Vu advocates continuing education in order to help open doors while staying relevant in an ever-changing and growing industry. “With new techniques, creative designs, and advanced and innovative technologies, taking classes helps us develop our knowledge as well as different opinions. This gives us options, which are always great. Classes help us bring knowledge to our clients or students so we can cause a positive chain reaction,” he says.

Follow these steps for Vu’s textured interlocked steel design.


1. Prep the nail and apply a thin layer of Gelish Foundation soak-off base gel. Apply two coats of Gelish Let’s Hit the Bunny Slopes. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED light between each coat.


2. Mix a small scoop (about the size of three grains of rice) of Hand & Nail Harmony ProHesion Crystal Clear nail sculpting powder with four drops of Let’s Hit the Bunny Slopes on a paper palette. Make sure to mix well. Use a striper brush to pick up the mixed amount only on the tip of the bristles. Lay it down, mimicking the interlocked-steel pattern. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED light.


3. Apply Gelish Matte Top It Off top coat on the entire nail. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED light. Clean the nail with a cleanser.


4. This step is optional. Use nail adhesive resin to apply a small steel stud near the cuticle to complete the edgy design.

These steps demonstrate how to execute a watercolor skull on the accent nail.


1. Prep the nail and apply a thin layer of Gelish Foundation soak-off base gel. Wipe dry. Apply two coats of Gelish Arctic Freeze. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED light between each coat.


2. Use a thin brush and black watercolor paint to draw and shade the top outline of the skull.


3. Paint and shade the left and right eyes. In order to create an abstract skull, try painting both eyes in different shapes.


4. Add the nose to the skull. Paint small fine details to add depth and dimension to the skull. Let it completely dry. Apply one coat of Gelish Matte Top It Off top coat and cure for 30 seconds in an LED light. Clean up the nail with a cleanser to finish the look.



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