Celebrity Nail Tech Lisa Logan just created six new nail designs currently featured in the February 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan.
1. Opposites Attract
Start with two coats of white polish (like Zoya in Snow White) and let them dry completely. For the black quadrants, use a water-based paint (like Orly Instant Artist in Jet Black); it lets you fix a mistake using a wet paper towel, leaving the white intact. Draw a thin line down the center of the nail and another across the middle, and then fill in two diagonal squares. Finish with top coat.
2. Purple Haze
The ombre trend — a gradation of one hue — has made its way from hair to hands. And cool new kits (like The New Black Ombre Shades) offer five polishes in a light-to-dark palette. Paint the palest shade on thumbs, working your way to pinkies. Prep nails with a base coat to prevent staining.
3. Make Him Gel-ous
Professional gel manis (such as CND Shellac and OPI Axxium) were once the only way to get this baby to sky blue gradation. (Pro gels are cured, or hardened, in seconds with a special light, allowing layer after layer of polish to be applied for the faded effect here.) But new gel kits, which come with skin-safe LED lights for curing, make it possible to get creative at home. Apply the base coat then a sheer nude all over nails, curing each layer. Next, apply the blue gel from mid-nail to tips, and cure again. Repeat this process, each time starting closer and closer to the nails' edges until the tips are the most color-saturated point.
4. New Moon
This new twist on the half-moon mani uses patterned nail decals, not plain polish, to create the moon shape. Pair your polish hue and stickers (we used Essie Nail Color in Da Bush). Hold the decals, rounded-edge up, against the base of your nails so they take up the lower third, then cut them straight across and set everything aside. Paint your nails with the polish, let dry. Then press the precut stickers (again, rounded-edge up) into the base of each nail. Finish with a top coat to blend the two textures.
5. Animal Magnetism
Don't be intimidated by this rippled, two-tone effect — thanks to magnetic lacquers like Color Club Magnetic Force. The effect takes seconds to create. The formula's iron particles rise to the surface when you hold a magnet, which comes in the polish's cap, over the nail. Do one at a time (the wetter the polish is, the better the magnet works), and follow this technique: apply two coats in a row, then immediately hold the cap over the nail for 15 seconds. Finish with a quick-dry top coat.
6. Ice and Naughty
It has probably been ages since you've even thought about press-on nails, but it's the backstage secret to creating intricate bejeweled tips. New sets come pre-painted in vibrant hues and in wearable lengths. Match the nails in the pack to the size of your fingers, and then spread out various nail stones (try LCN Rhinestones) shiny side up on a table. Working on one nail at a time, apply a top coat to make the tip sticky, then tap the top of the stone with the top coat's brush, and press it onto the nail where it will easily grip and stick. Create clusters of gems on as many fingers as you like. Then seal everything with top coat. When ready, just press the nail onto your natural tips, no glue required.