Nail Art

Dedicated to the infinite joys of nail art and design: handpaint, airbrush, colored acrylics and gels.


Upgrade Your Nail Art Arsenal

Is your nail art kit in need of a serious upgrade? These trends and techniques will help you master the latest styles so you can keep on wowing your clients with your skills. Don’t worry — we won’t tell them how easy these looks can be!

Nails by Tony Ly (@tonysnail)
<p>Nails by Tony Ly (@tonysnail)</p>

Bring on the Embellishments

Bling Nails
Iced out, crystal covered nails are having a major moment, thanks in part to Jenny Bui, the nail artist to rap artist Cardi B. For this look, it’s go big or go home, and there’s no such thing as too many gems. Secure crystals in place using a crystal gel or high-viscosity hard gel, then finish by adding top coat in the gaps between the crystals. Don’t cover the tops of the crystals though — this will obscure the facets and dull your manicure.

Nails by Jenny Bui (@nailson7th)
<p>Nails by Jenny Bui (@nailson7th)</p>

When placing the crystals, begin with the larger sized ones, then work your way to the smaller ones. Fill in tiny gaps with bullion beads or Crystal Pixie for a gorgeous finished look.

Nails by Reina Seegobin (@jaysmommie)
<p>Nails by Reina Seegobin (@jaysmommie)</p>

Aurora Chrome

Nails by Tracey Lee (@traceyleenails)
<p>Nails by Tracey Lee (@traceyleenails)</p>

Known by many names (like opal chrome, mermaid chrome, or unichrome), aurora chrome is a truly chic member of the chrome crew. This powder is super versatile, and its effect changes based on what you put it over. It’s definitely eye catching, but it’s not as flashy (literally) as its metallic sisters.

Nails by Mary Wolf (@nail_wolf)
<p>Nails by Mary Wolf (@nail_wolf)</p>

Apply it over black for a scarab-beetle, multi-chromatic finish.

Nails by Reina Seegobin (@jaysmommie)
<p>Nails by Reina Seegobin (@jaysmommie)</p>

Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)
<p>Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)</p>

3-D Art Gel
Upgrade your nail art with art gel that pops up off of the nail. This fun product can be used for looks from simple to complex. Experiment with using a clear 3-D gel for springy water droplet nails, or use colored versions in the summer for pretty textured mandalas.

Nails by April Ryan (@red_iguana_)
<p>Nails by April Ryan (@red_iguana_)</p>

Combine shiny 3-D gel with a matte base for an additional texture contrast.

Nails by April Ryan (@red_iguana_)
<p>Nails by April Ryan (@red_iguana_)</p>

The Latest in Effects

Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)
<p>Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)</p>

Blooming Gel

Via Instagram: @nailgurl
<p>Via Instagram: @nailgurl</p>

Ready to get trippy with your nail art? Reach for some blooming gel! The technique is easy, but the effects are endless, and the best part is that perfection isn’t required. Apply a thin layer of the blooming gel, then without curing, use colored gel to add dots, designs, or loose swirls. The colored gel spreads out — or blooms — creating mesmerizing tie-dye-style designs.

Nails by Michelle Won (@califreenails)
<p>Nails by Michelle Won (@califreenails)</p>

This product can come in clear or colored variants. Be sure to order the right product for your desired look.

Nails by Megan Lee (@brightskynails)
<p>Nails by Megan Lee (@brightskynails)</p>

Magnetic/Cat Eye
Magnetic polishes aren’t new, per se, but a recent resurgence in popularity has led to some awesome new formulations. In this trend, holding a magnet to the wet magnetic polish causes the particles to move across the nail. This creates a gorgeous, dimensional cat eye effect. These products are sold both as pre-mixed soak off-gels or polishes and as loose pigment that can be mixed for use in nail art.

Nails by Katie Masters (@nailthoughts)
<p>Nails by Katie Masters (@nailthoughts)</p>

Via Instagram: @ohmynailsnyc
<p>Via Instagram: @ohmynailsnyc</p>

Cat eye manicures are a great way to introduce nail art to your more tentative clients. Its hypnotic effect will have them staring at their hands all day long.

Nails by Fariha Ali (@nailjob)
<p>Nails by Fariha Ali (@nailjob)</p>

Glass Gel
Glass gels can be used to create beautiful translucent effects in your nail art. Apply them alone for a sheer look, paint them on in sections for a stained glass finish, or layer them over glitters for a shimmering rainbow!

Nails by Gena del Portillo (@i_heart_nailart)
<p>Nails by Gena del Portillo (@i_heart_nailart)</p>

Glass gels can be applied over the top of your chrome manicures to give them new life!

Nails by Asa Bree Sieracki (@asabree)
<p>Nails by Asa Bree Sieracki (@asabree)</p>

Stamp It Out

Nails by Kate Dix (@dixie_plates)
<p>Nails by Kate Dix (@dixie_plates)</p>

Textile Patterns/Brocade

Look for plates with patterns mimicking textiles for literal fashion at your fingertips. Brocades are a great place to start, and many stamping brands have variations on the pattern. Try monochromatic tone-on-tone looks, or go for extra luxury and stamp in silver or gold.

Via Instagram: @sfnoma
<p>Via Instagram: @sfnoma</p>

Combine these types of plates with additional embellishments like gold decals or studs for a look that’s totally festival-ready.

Courtesy of WhatsUp Nails
<p>Courtesy of WhatsUp Nails</p>

Grab a matte top coat for a fabric-like finishing touch.

 Courtesy of MoYou London
<p> Courtesy of MoYou London</p>

Bold Patterns
No wallflowers here — these bold plates will make your clients stand out. These nail styles are a great way to display confidence and style, and get noticed.

Nails by Fee Wallace (@fee_wallace)
<p>Nails by Fee Wallace (@fee_wallace)</p>

If your client finds these bold styles too intense, tone them down with softer color pairings, like a sheer white base with opaque white stamping.

Nails by Dee Timmer
<p>Nails by Dee Timmer<br />(@thisisdeetimmer)</p>

Nails by Fee Wallace (@fee_wallace)
<p>Nails by Fee Wallace (@fee_wallace)</p>

Boho and henna designs are super simple to achieve with stamping. These flowy, intricate styles can be complicated and time consuming if you try to hand paint them, so skip the work and reach for the plates instead!

Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)
<p>Nails by Lauren Wireman (@wildflowersnails)</p>

Courtesy of Uber Chic
<p>Courtesy of Uber Chic</p>

Inspired to upgrade your nail art? Check out our nail art buyers' guide to get started with the designs you saw in this article. 

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