Nail art is the hottest new trends to surface. It involves the detailed application of intricate, beautiful or even humorous designs, pictures and charms on nails. Unheard of by most people, nail art gained fame in the early 2000’s and has massively grown since then, its popularity aided by the fact that almost anyone can teach themselves the basics of nail art without breaking the bank.
As with all other trends nail art divides itself into subgroups starting with natural nails versus fake: the fake splits into full nail cover (forms) versus tips (just the ends) and then again with gel versus acrylic versus stick-on, a wealth of variety!
All types of nail art start with a basic list of rules:
1. Maintain good hygiene practices; use disinfectant solution for tools and equipment, use antiseptic spray on the nail or skin before working on it and ensure the work area is kept neat and cleaned frequently with antibacterial wipes or spray.
2. Apply a base coat. This helps protect the natural nail if that is what is being worked on and strengthens the bond of the subsequent layers of color, helping to ‘fix’ it and make it last longer.
3. After the design has been positioned, and charms or gems applied fix them in place and protect the work from bumps and scrapes with one or two coats of a good quality top coat. These contain hardeners that protect both the nail and the artwork, preventing chipping and damage – they also provide a brilliant shine that beautifully finishes off the look of the nail.
Nail art has a specific tool list that starts with a basic nail care set, nail files, clippers, cuticles pushers and so on. The next set would contain various tweezers, tiny scissors and jewellery pliers, all for cutting out decals or manipulating the ornamental pieces into place. Finally, there would be such exotic equipment such as the nail drills and charm post cutters. Other vital supplies are a variety of polishes in many shades and nail varnish solvents to remove the nail art or even the acrylic or gel nail itself. Applying the nails and removing them is a fairly lengthy process, taking 15 to 20 minutes each way, not counting the time taken with the art itself.
Now, at last, onto the nail art types themselves:
Stickers: these are the most basic form of nail art and can be done effectively at home with a little care and attention. A huge range of shapes and themes are available, from animals, to fruit, to flowers to almost anything in the universe! It is not necessary to use stickers specifically made for nail art, many stationers carry sheets of stickers that can be converted to nail art; including tiny letters which can create an effectively dramatic look.
Water Decals: similar to stickers, but requiring a little more finesse, these need to be trimmed almost to size, usually from a sheet containing many designs. They then need to be soaked in water for up to 30 seconds – a little trial and error when you first use them will help you here. Once they are sufficiently soaked the decal will slip easily off the backing paper enabling it to be grasped in a pair of tweezers and placed carefully onto the nail. After a quick blot dry with tissue, they are ready for the top coat.
Stripes: Tape is used to create perfectly straight lines up, across or diagonally over the nail, a wonderfully clean effect. It is applied in very much the same way as the stickers, but care must be taken not to stretch the tape as this will cause it to lift and curl, destroying the look.
Foils: Apply a thin layer of foil adhesive and wait for it to change from blue to clear and tacky. Place the foil over the nail, matt side down then press and rub firmly to ensure the whole nail is properly covered. Use a fingertip or cuticle pusher to carefully ensure the whole nail surface has been entirely covered.
Glitter, Mylar and Crushed Shell: A fantastic effect can be created by applying a top coat and then sprinkling the wet surface with glitter, Mylar flakes or crushed shell until it is well-coated. If desired, just the free end of the nail can be dipped into the decoration so as to just coat the tip.
Charms: Charms can be glued onto the nail or, for a funky look, a nail drill can be used to pierce a small hole in the free edge of nail. Be careful not to place the hole too close to the free edge of the nail as it can cause splitting and damage. Charms can be tiny and fixed in place on the nail or they can dangle freely from the tip.
Nail art enables people to conform to trends, display their individuality or make a statement. It can be beautiful and elegant, or quirky and fun; it is endlessly versatile. Above all, nail art has found a niche in the fashion world and is here to stay.
Sources – wisegeek.com, wikipedia.com, nail-art-101.com & naildelights.com
This article is by the Chat Mag Bingo team, who are enthusiastic about the latest fashion trends.