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Nail Design Ideas and How-To's

by Staff Writer | August 25, 2009

Instyle gives step-by-step instructions to recreate three nail designs, from a classic look to a modern metallic.

Over the Moon

"Moon manicures" first became popular with the celebs of the '20s, says the mag. For this  black-and-white design, nail tech Jennifer Mather used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in Whirlwind White, Essie nail polish in Licorice, and ORLY French Manicure Tip Guides.

  1. Apply one coat of opaque white.
  2. Block off the bottom third of the nail (in a moon shape) using a French manicure sticker.
  3. Paint on two coats from the sticker to the tip of the nail. Apply top coat.

Fade to Lilac

Try a gradual color fade, using just two colors. For this look, Mather mixed OPI nail lacquer in Give Me Moor and Alpine Snow.

  1. Gather deep purple and white polish, five pots or disposable plates, and toothpicks for mixing.
  2. Pour a small amount into four pots, and add increasing increments of white to each one. Mix.
  3. Paint each nail a different shade, going from dark to light.

Mixed Metals

These gold-and-silver rock-star nails are easier than they look. Mather used CND enamel in Hyde in the Dark, Kami nail foil adhesive, and Kami Metallic gold and silver foil.

  1. Paint on two coats of gunmetal polish, allowing them to dry completely.
  2. Pint on nail adhesive.
  3. Place a strip of gold foil, shiny side down, over the nail. Tap a few times to deposit the pigment, and peel off. Repeat with silver.

The magazine also recommends Minx nails for more complicated designs. "These whisper-thin flexible films are heated and applied to nails like stickers," Instyle explains.

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