Nail Know-How: Expert Manicures & Inspired Designs
Glance down at someone’s nails these days and you might be in for a surprise. Bold colored polishes, metallic top coats and intricate artistic patterns are making nails a fashion accessory. But how do you get these on-trend looks?
SpaRitual, innovative creators of vegan nail care products, and Pharmaca team up in this DIY guide to beautiful nails.
Follow these simple steps for a salon-worthy look, and create a base ready for artistic designs.
- Clean and shape. Start by removing old polish (SpaRitual’s Extra Strength Lacquer Remover Cloths are extra convenient). Next, shape with the right file. On natural nails, a fine-grit file is gentle yet effective; acrylics require a coarser grit. Pharmaca’s Nail Files are color-coded to make it simple to choose the right grit:
- Acrylic nails: violet or green, coarse grit
- Acrylics, for smoothing edges: yellow, medium grit
- Natural nails: black, fine grit
- Buffing and shining: white, extra fine
- Treat cuticles. The secret to healthy cuticles is to keep them moisturized. Never cut the cuticle, just gently push it back. Try SpaRitual’s Cuti-Cocktail Pen & Pusher, which contains botanical oils and vitamins to soften the cuticle, and a pusher to safely move the cuticle back. Use the oil at night for extra hydration.
- Exfoliate and moisturize. SpaRitual’s Affirming Scrub Masque gently exfoliates and refines the skin with micro-algae, plus Indonesian ginger essential oil warms and energizes. Follow it up with Pharmaca’s unscented Ultra Moisturizer is non-greasy and hydrates with natural shea butter, grapeseed and sesame oils.
- Prepare for color. Wipe nails clean and apply a basecoat. Try SpaRitual’s Lacquer Lock Colorstay Basecoat, which bonds polish to the nail for longer wear.
Start by choosing fun colors. SpaRitual’s Nail Lacquers come in a wide range of hues, from pale pinks to inky blue-blacks. The only tools you’ll need are transparent tape or striping tape (available in many narrow widths), toothpicks, bobby pins or a disposable wedge makeup sponge. Here are some ideas to get started.
- Make one nail stand out. Use an accent polish in the same color family, but a shade lighter or darker on one nail. Or try a metallic version of the same color on one nail if the rest are matte.
- French, with a twist. Instead of the classic white tip of a French manicure, use a different color on the tip. Black or metallic tips are hipster-chic.
- Try this year’s “it” color, emerald green. SpaRitual’s Emerald City Crème Lacquer is a standout, and a great match for fall clothing.
- Break out the tape. Stripes, plaids or chevron designs are easy to create with transparent tape, or thin striping tape. First, apply a light color polish. When it’s dry, apply narrow strips of tape over the nail in the pattern of your choice (leave a little hanging over the edge for easier lift-off). Press it down firmly so your lines are clean. Next, brush on another color over the tape and nail. While the polish is still wet gently remove the tape. Let the nail dry and apply a topcoat, or even a light shimmery metallic, to preserve your masterpiece.
- Digging the dots. Apply one or two coats of polish and let it dry, then apply dots by dipping the end of a bobby pin, toothpick or straight pin in another color and dabbing onto the nail. Start in the center and circle outward for an even pattern.
- Easy ombre. Apply a base of white polish and let it dry. Cut a makeup sponge so it’s as wide as your nail. Paint two or three stripes of the same color family (from light to dark) across the sponge, then dab the sponge onto the nail a few times in the same spot. Re-paint the sponge for each nail.