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Behind the Scenes: Sea Glass Nails

Polished by the Sea: For the NAILS August cover look, Los Angeles-based nail artist Fariha Ali uses real sea glass atop a clear gel extension.

Sea glass: luminous bits of throwaway glass that have been pounded, smoothed, and buffed by the sea. What could be a more natural bit of bling than sea glass pebbles for the nails on this month’s cover? Fariha Ali, a graphic designer-turned-nail artist, couldn’t agree more. “It was fun going through the jar of sea glass to find the perfect ones for each nail,” she says, although she admits it took a bit of experimenting to decide what she wanted to do.

It was just a year ago that Ali began doing nails. She was drawn to the profession because of its scope for creativity and self-expression. “My background in fine arts definitely comes into play when I do nail art,” she says. “A lot of my work is either art-inspired or in a painterly style.”<p>Artistic Fariha Ali (right) of The House of Polish and Enamel Diction in Los Angeles and her model Ciara Pisa.</p>

For this month’s look, Ali began with a gel extension; she created see-through extensions with a medium-long edge to match the translucent nature of the sea glass embellishments. Then she painted simple swirling patterns with white gel-polish. “I am very attracted to strong lines and a minimalist look on nails,” she explains.

The collection of sea glass at the shoot was bountiful, yet most pieces were rather large. So a bit of the morning was spent crushing shards very carefully.  Ali chose just the right pieces she wanted for the look, like any true artist would do.

<p>Cover tech Fariha Ali used Vetro products for this month&rsquo;s cover look.</p>

Here's how you can get this month's cover look:

1. Prep the nails and apply Vetro Base Max base coat.

2. Using Vetro Extension Clear, create extensions. You need to float the gel with just the right pressure (gently) during the application process and before curing to ensure there are no trapped bubbles. Cure with the Vetro Gel Lamp. Shape to a medium tapered point, then file and buff with a medium-grit and a fine-grit buffer carefully until the surface is very even.

3. Apply base coat again. No color is applied to the nails; the idea is to let light come through the free edge.

4. Create the patterns with a Vetro Liner M Brush and Vetro No. 19 Gel Pods - 23 Mat White gel-polish.

5. Paint organic looking ribbon patterns with the Mat White gel-polish, creating a slightly different design on each nail. Apply Vetro Top Gel top coat and cure with the Vetro Gel Lamp.

6. Decide where you want to place the sea glass. Apply a tiny bead of Nail De Dance Acrylic System liquid and powder to each spot and place a small sea glass piece using needle nose tweezers.

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