Friday, March 15, 2013

Pinspiration: Nail Art

From a pretty young age I've had an obsession with nail art. It started on a "Girl's Day Out" excursion to a small nail salon. I'd never gotten my nails done by a professional before--the only splash of color my fingertips knew was the kind that clumped and bled childishly around the corners. At ten years old, patience was certainly not a virtue of mine. I found it easier to leave my nails bare rather than go through the frustration of another failed attempt.

As I toddled inside, the door made a dainty ringing noise. My eyes scampered around the room, taking in the new and exciting territory. A petite woman with speckled grey hair waved her hand to the wall on my right, muttering something about choosing a color. I turned, only to be faced with one of the hardest decisions in my life. Well...a seemingly difficult decision for a ten-year-old. 

My eyes grew wide. The wall was covered in a candy-colored assortment of tiny glass bottles. My brain ticked a million miles per second, feasting on the lavish scene before me. I picked each bottle up one by one, turning it curiously in my hand, as if it were a scientific examination. Each polish had a clever name stamped on the bottom like "Don't Be Koi With Me" or "You Don't Know Jacques!" I didn't get it, but a couple women next to me kept reading them off and giggling. I shrugged.

After hours of laborious decision making (or maybe it was 10 minutes?) I picked out a pearly pink. A different woman who was much younger signaled me over to her chair. I sat down cautiously, unsure of proper nail spa etiquette. She took my feet and began scrubbing vigorously. It tickled. Really bad. I bit the inner fold of my cheek, trying with all my might to surpress laughter. I tried distracting myself by concentrating on the TV in the upper corner of the room. My hands dug firmly into the arms of the chair.

Just when I thought I was done for, a third woman came over and signaled me to lift my hand. I did, and she began a series of manicure-prepping rituals: clipping, filing, buffing. Every movement was swift and precise, with an ease that had me feeling she could do this with her eyes closed.

I had nothing to do but watch as they went through each step. You can't do much when all your limbs are occupied. I analyzed each brush stroke, attempting to ingest as much nail-painting knowledge as I could. Before she added top coat, the lady looked up at me. "Do you want a flower?" I stared, dumbfounded.


She motioned in a circle above her hand like she was twirling a coffee stirrer. "Like a design...on your nails. I can add a jewel if you want, too."

"I, um...sure." I said hesitantly. She got out a small silver tool with a tiny ball on the end, dipping it into a pot of white polish. Making five precise dots in a circle, she then took a toothpick and drew a line from the center of each dot to the middle of the circle. I was mesmerized. Finally, she tacked a bit of glue to a tiny plastic jewel and placed it in the middle of the dots, completing the flower. 

A raspberry lemonade cupcake from Gigi's Cupcakes...if anyone was wondering ;)

To say I liked staring at my nails the rest of that week would be an understatement. I was enthralled. I repeated the flower technique over and over in my head thinking, how hard could it be? which is exactly the kind of attitude that turned me into a flower nail expert. While I didn't have a special dotting tool, I carefully pressed tiny flower petals onto my nails with the nail brush. I used a toothpick to draw lines in the petals, and a drop of yellow polish as the flower center. The first attempts weren't perfect, but eventually I got the hang of it. This made me the hero at every slumber party with my friends. 

And I've never looked back...or set foot in a nail salon since then. Why pay for something I can do on my own?

**Important to note: 
Base coat and top coat make ALL the difference. Base coat creates a smooth canvas and a barrier between your nails and the color. Top coat gives your nails a shiny, professional finish and keeps the polish from chipping :)

I like buying the big round bottles of BeautySecrets base coat and top coat from Sally Beauty Supply, but if I'm running out and can't get to Sally's, I usually opt for the OPI versions (which are more SALLY'S ALL THE WAY when you can!)

A few years have passed since then (obviously) and I honestly don't think I've gone more than a day without having polish on my nails. It just feels bare--and not me--without it. I sort of grew out of the whole flower thing. Doing the same design over and over was getting old.

It wasn't until recently that I decided to get back in the game. With crazy nail art designs flooding the likes of Pinterest and Instagram, it's hard to miss all the creative and fun things girls are doing to their nails these days. When I spotted a $5 nail tool at Sally Beauty a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to give this whole thing another try.

Like I mentioned before, I love getting inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram. My favorite sites for nail designs are Pshiiit and Get Nailed. I figured I'd do a short picture nail tutorial to show you one of the more recent designs I've done.  If I can do it, you certainly can ;)

Remember, nothing's going to be perfect the first time around. Practice, practice, practice! Even when I'm just painting my nails one solid color (no designs) I don't worry about a little polish accidentally getting on my skin. Once I take a shower and wash my hands a couple times, all the extra stuff on the sides will come off. I know that drives some people up the wall, but the more of a perfectionist you are, the more frustrated you'll be.

coral orange polish: OPI "Don't Be Koi With Me"
white: Ulta "37 Snow White"
yellow: OPI "Banana Bandana"
Apply base coat, then two thin coats of polish
Make [5] dots in the shape of a flower with white polish
Make a dot in the center of each flower with yellow polish
Be sure to finish with a layer of top coat!

For the original tutorial:

Got questions? Feel free to leave a comment below! :)

If you give any of these nail designs a go, tweet a picture to us! @ChasingLovely

Photos taken with an iPhone 4S

What I'm listening to: The Script – Six Degrees Of Separation

Stay lovely!


1 comment:

  1. Hi! I would like to open beauty salon. Does anybody have an experience in this business? There are too many options in different salon equipment. Could anybody give me an advise? What store is more reliable to buy Curling iron mat and Sterilizer equipment. I'm choosing between Advance-Esthetic.Com and Spa&Equipment websites.