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Technique

Behind the Scenes: Negative Space Floating Nail Tips

by Erika Kotite | November 7, 2016
Tony Ly (right, with model Jennifer Dao Kim Khuu) has been a nail tech for 10 years. He traded his familiar glitzy style for a look that is just right for clients’ holiday festivities.

Tony Ly (right, with model Jennifer Dao Kim Khuu) has been a nail tech for 10 years. He traded his familiar glitzy style for a look that is just right for clients’ holiday festivities.

Nail artist Tony Ly, owner of Tony’s Nails in Wichita Falls, Texas, is a quiet, humble person who became almost instantly famous last year within the nail world for his wearable aquarium nails. When he’s not whipping up mini snowglobes, Ly’s innovative designs lean toward stunning stilettos festooned with glitter and jewel clusters. At the same time, he often exhibits a very modernist sensibility, using contrast, negative space, and sleek long nail shapes that appeal to contemporary tastes.

This month’s cover presents holiday-ready nails that are the ultimate in sophistication. Ly takes advantage of transparent tips shaped into a stiletto, then tops them with clear and white acrylic for dramatic see-through stripes. These are paired with black matte nails adorned with a few discreet crystals. “I wanted to do something easy, but with a pretty and elegant look,” Ly explains.

Here are Ly’s steps for how to get this month’s cover look:

1. Apply a clear tip on the nail and shape to a point.

2. Pre-cut Minx nail wrap into a triangle shape and apply along the nail diagonally.

3. Apply clear acrylic over the Minx nail wrap.

4. Using a thin piece of metal wire, cut the acrylic diagonally on the top where the Minx is placed and repeat the same step on the bottom. You want to have crisp diagonal lines.

5. Apply white acrylic in areas above and below the clear acrylic.

6. Shape and file to the desired look.

7. Clean the nail then apply top coat to the underside of the nail tip. Buff the nails.

8. Apply no-cleanse gel top coat on the nail. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED lamp. Finish with cuticle oil around the nail.

9. For contrast nails: Apply black matte color (either lacquer or gel-polish) to shaped nail and apply 3-4 Swarovski crystals along the edge of the nail. Finish with a gel top coat.

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