Now that we have all of the boring stuff out of the way, it's time to have some fun!
I'm going to show you a flashy way to paint your nails that anyone can do, and I mean anyone. You don't have to be ambidextrous or a contortionist to get great results with this technique.
Don't forget, you can click on any picture to see a larger version.
You will need:
- Tape or Horseshoe Nail Forms (available at Sally's Beauty)
- Base and Top Coat
- White Nail Polish
- Cosmetic Wedges
- Two or More Colors of Nail Polish
- Acetone Nail Polish Remover
- Sable Clean Up Brush, or Cotton Swabs
- Dappen Dish, or Small Glass Dish
Step One: Prep
Step Two: White Polish
Coat each nail that you will be color blending with white polish (I'm just doing an accent on my ring finger, so that's the only one I painted white). The white polish creates an opaque base, and allows your colors to pop with fewer coats.
One thin coat will do, it doesn't matter if it's blotchy or doesn't cover your nail completely.
Allow your nails to dry completely before moving on to the next step. I recommend waiting at least thirty minutes to give the polish enough time to cure all the way through.
Step Three: Mask Your Nails
Use tape or nail forms to mask off all of the skin around your nails. This step isn't completely necessary, but will save you a lot of clean up time, and give your nails a neater appearance when you're done. Personally, I prefer using the nail forms because they're already contoured to fit a fingernail, but if you prefer not to spend the money, tape works just as well.
I cut my form into three pieces to help it conform to my fingernail.
The top of the horseshoe fits across the eponychium, and covers a small margin of nail at the base of the nail plate.
The sides of the horseshoe are placed along the sides of the nail, again covering a small margin of the nail plate, and tucked under the free edge of the nail.
Tape will work in a similar fashion, though you may need to use your scissors to create a custom fit.
Step Four: Load the Wedge
Place a drop of each of your nail polish colors right next to one another on the edge of the cosmetic wedge. When choosing your colors it's important to remember that the colors will blend together. So, for example, yellow and red polishes will create a a band of orange between them. Remember to choose colors that will blend into something pretty, or you may end up with muddy brown nails.
Step Five: Start Sponging
Dab the wedge across your nail in the direction you want your blend to follow.
You can blend either horizontally or vertically for different looks.
Step Six: Reload and Repeat
Allow your first coat to dry for a couple of minutes, and then reload your wedge with fresh polish, being sure to place each color in the location where it was placed before. Then, line your sponge up with your previous color application, and dab on a second coat.
I've found that with the white base coat, two coats of color are usually enough for complete coverage. However, depending on the quality of the polishes you use, you may need a third coat.
Once you are satisfied with how it looks, remove the mask from your nail.
Step Seven: Clean Up
Pour a little acetone nail polish remover into a small glass dish (acetone will melt many plastics, so glass is recommended. You can purchase glass dappen dishes from Sally's for around $1). Dip a sable nail brush (available from Amazon) or a cotton swab into the acetone, and clean any stray polish from your skin.
Step Eight: Save the Wedge
You can reuse your cosmetic wedge many times, by simply cutting off the used portion.
Step Nine: Top Coat and Admire
Paint your nails with a good quality top coat (Seche Vite) to protect them from chipping and scratching, then stand back and admire your work.
Tomorrow I'll show you how to add an easy hand painted design to your color blended nails to make them really pop. People won't believe you did it yourself!
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