When you think of stained glass, you probably imagine ornate windows coloring the light inside a church. Nail technician Margaret Howell selected stained-glass nail art as one of her four nail style projections for the NCA’s Fall/Winter 1991 Encore trend release.

Howell, who is a member of the NCA’s Nail Technicians America and the director of nails for the California Cosmetology Association, came up with the idea of stained-glass nail art around Christmastime after noticing all the holiday jewelry women were wearing. “I created the design to look like a jewel on the nail, much like a ring on the finger,” says Howell, who works at Giovanni’s in Malibu, Calif. “Christmas is a festive time, and I wanted a festive look to match the nails,” she says.

To paint the design, Howell used clear nail polish and glitter, which was a little difficult to work with, she says. Wanting a polish that had the glitter already mixed in, Howell approached Jani Nail Design (Santa Paula, Calif.), and soon thereafter the company provided a glitter polish that suited Howell’s needs.

To bring stained-glass nail art one step further, educator Chris Young, owner of Independent Designs in Baltimore, Md., designs stained-glass images on nails, such as an Easter bunny, a cat, and the American flag, for Jani Nail Design. “Stained-glass nail art varies from extremely simple to difficult, depending on the design, “Says Young.” Over the five years I’ve been doing this type of nail art, the interest in it has held steady; it’s not a passing fad.”

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