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What Is Nail Art Brushes?


What are nail art brushes? Nail art brushes are those brushes that will allow you to make various nail art designs. Without this brush, you won’t be able to create the designs of your liking. These brush comes in multiple sizes and designs and is specifically designed for nail art.

Manicure or nail art has different levels of difficulty, and its price tag differs accordingly. You may choose to get this nail art done on your own. There are many tutorials available for you to refer to. These tutorials also provide you with all the required materials to get the artwork done.

Some of the nail art tools are as follows:

Metal Design Plates

These are sturdy metal plates, where the required designs get engraved. They have a highly polished surface and can withstand repeated cleaning with acetone. Stainless steel is one of the preferred material that gets used for this purpose.

Nail Stamper

Usually made from silicone, these stampers transfer the designs from the plates to your nails. The face of the stamp must be firm enough to pick up the plan and replicate it on the nail surface.

Base coat

You must always cover your nails with a base coat before you commence with your nail art activities.

Nail Polishes

There are various shades of polishes and also different textures. The regular polish contains ethyl or butyl acetate, which evaporates to leave behind the dyed polymer on your nail surface. These could be glossy or matte finish and gets air-dried.

On the other hand, gel nail polishes get made from acrylic monomers and oligomers, which require a UV lamp to cure or dry the surface. This polish provides sheen and gloss to your nails.

They also last longer than classic polish, but harder to remove using the acetone.

Glitter nail polish gets made from polyester and has the metallic powder to bring out the glitter. Depending upon your nail art choice, you decide the type of nail polish you wish to apply.

Nail Stickers

If you wish to find a shortcut to your nail art, stickers are for you. You get most of your nail designs from these glued films. It’s easy to use and very cost-effective.


To get bling to look to your nails, you can use stones, metal chips, and pearls, glued to your nails.

Nail Brushes

If you wish to create art on your polished nails, you need varieties of these brushes. Acrylic paints generally get used for this purpose. You could either create a design using these brushes or add a few strokes, along with other tools.

What Are Nail Brushes Made Of

Nail brushes are either made of natural or synthetic bristles. Maintaining natural bristle brushes are essential to its life. Though they are costlier, you can work on detailed artwork with such brushes. Natural nail brushes get made from Kolinsky sable. These are bristles found on the tail of Siberian weasels. Low-quality brushes use hairs of other commonly found animals.

Types Of Nail Art Brushes

Nail art brushes come in various forms and sizes since each gets used for a specific set of activities. Let’s look at the basic types of brushes and their application to nail art.

Round Brush


Round brushes are present in everyone’s manicure kit since they get used most often. You can make intricate designs using this brush, including some firm strokes. You can also create a 3D design using this type of nail brush.

Stripette Brush

This is the shorter form of striper brush and gets used for short stripes and lines required in your design.

Liner Or Striper Brush

You can create strips and lines with this brush. Zebra and tiger stripes are made easy with such a tool. They come in three different types and get picked as per the required design. This is a handy brush for your nail art kit.

Angled Brush

This brush has its bristles, set at an angle. It is quite useful in loading two different colors on both ends and creating shades using a single stroke – another useful brush for creating exquisite flower designs on your nails.

Flat Brush

There are different sizes of flat brushes. You use them to create shades, waveforms, and strokes. They also get known as a shader brush and is particularly useful for flower designs. This brush gets mainly used for gel polish and design.

Fan Brush

The fan-shaped brush has multiple uses. You can create swirls, shades, and strokes with this brush. Gets used for dusting glitter on your design, or remove glitter from dried corners.

Shader Brush

Brushes, which are in the form of a right angle on both ends, gets to be used for creating shades and filling up the gaps. They come in 2-3 types and get picked up as per requirement.

Crooked Detailer Brush

These brushes have a short length and are round. They get to be used for finer details and for creating outlines.

Detail Brush

The fine-tipped brush is a must-have in all your nail art kit since this brush gets used to add details to all your nail art activities. You can remove and correct with such a brush. More exquisite features get integrated into your nail art, more use for such types of brushes.

The shorter, stiffer bristles of this brush help create a logo, characters, outlining, lettering, shapes, and patterns since you will have better control over your design work.

Pointer brush

This gets used for broad stripes, petals, and designs. You can add pressure initially and then reduce with your stroke.


Your brush kit is incomplete without this dotting tool. Gets used on creating dots in your nail art designs. For larger dots, you may have to choose a larger instrument.

Each of these brushes has many sizes, depending upon its applications. Different brands provide varieties of add-ons to these brushes, like cases, cover for the tip, and bristle tip perfection with professional cuts.

Brushes empower nail art professionals with the most important working tool. The grips of these brushes are different, and many are light-weight. Even the synthetic brushes come in various types. Some of the bristles give very near-natural bristle outcomes.

The angle of the brushes also plays a vital role in delivering its promise. Another critical aspect of these brushes is how these bristles are held together, without losing its shape or falling off. All these provide user satisfaction, and hence it’s prudent to check feedback before purchase.

Nail art brushes get used with acrylic, polish, and gel paints. Everyone requires a clean-up brush, to remove paints and polish from the edges of your nail and the cuticle. For all kinds of designs on nail extensions, you will require acrylic brushes. If they get adequately maintained, they will last years. Do not use acetone for brush cleaning, but soak them in the monomer.

In case you plan to use nail brushes on polish surfaces, along with stamper design stampers, you may use acetone for any type of corrections. Since nail polish remover damages natural bristles, try and use synthetic brushes for such applications. For all gel-based design work, you can use Kolinsky brushes, since corrections here are by using alcohol or monomer.

How To Take Care Of Nail Brushes

Both types of brushes get best cleaned using nail polish thinner and monomer. Do not for any reason whatsoever use acetone or nail polish remover for this purpose. The sable bristles will quickly lose their moisture and start dropping off. The synthetic bristles will soon follow this path.

Immediately after completing your nail art activity, dip the brushes inside a container with nail thinner, and wipe the wet brush on soft tissue or waste cloth. Remove all traces of paints and polish from the brush, shape the tip, and get dry.

Do not wash your brushes with water, since the thinner will get sticky and cling on to the bristles. If your brushes have stubborn paints, sticking to the base of the hairs, soak them in a polish thinner, or monomer for a few hours. Clean the brushes to remove the liquid with the pigment on waste material, and allow to air dry. Ensure that this cloth is lint-free.

If your synthetic brushes have stubborn, hardened polish stuck to the bristles, you may have to soak them in acetone and quickly wipe them on lint-free waste. This process may weaken the hairs, but it’s much better than disposing of them.

Brushes For Acrylic Application

The brush to work on hard polished surfaces must be fine and accurate. The bristles must be close together and not bushy. Sable hair bristles suit all kinds of acrylic painting; hence natural brushes get preference over the synthetic ones. To create dots, lines, flowers, and exquisite designs, you need precision tools.

For all stamp transfer images, too, you need to provide the required touch-ups using natural brushes. The single brush stroke designs, with perfect shades, can only get delivered by the Kolinsky brushes.

For Gel Nail Art

Using gel polish or paint for a nail art activity, you can use both types of brushes. In some cases, especially working near the cuticle curves and the edges, synthetic brushes get preferred, due to its stiffness. This assists you to have smarter control of your brushes to navigate around corners, especially with gel.

How To Paint Your Nails Correctly

Let’s look at the following steps for a perfect nail polish application:

  1. There should not be any colors remaining on your nails.

  2. Do not clip your cuticles, but soften them up with cuticle oil. Massage the oil gently around each of your cuticles, so that all the oil gets absorbed.

  3. Use a flattened wooden stick to push back the cuticles away from your nail gently. This will help the polish reach the crevices between your nail and the skin for a clean look.

  4. File your nails, around the edges, and at the sides, as per your requirement. Move your nail file only in one direction, so that the nail edges are even. If you tend to move the file in a sawing motion, you might end up chipping your nail, leading to uneven nail shapes.

  5. Wash your hand so that all nail shavings get cleaned away. Wash each nail with alcohol, so that all oil gets removed from the nail surface. Use lint-free material for this purpose.

  6. Choose your nail polish, commence applying polish from the center, near the cuticle, and work your way to the nail tips. Do this till your entire nail is uniformly covered. Do not go near the cuticles or the edges, and flood the gaps with the polish. It is tough to clean these areas, without messing with your polished nails.

  7. You can touch up near the cuticle area and also along the edge of the nail. Allow the polish to dry completely before you apply that second and final coat of polish. Check for any air bubbles that may get trapped under the layer of polish.

  8. Use an angled brush to remove any polish that may have strayed over the cuticles around the nail. With acetone gently remove the polish stains, and take care not to touch your just painted nails.

  9. Apply a top coat to seal the polished nails and give them required protection. Allow the nails to dry, and not be in a hurry to shake them all over the place!

Cutting And Shaping Your Brushes

Brushes get frayed at the edges, and the bristles tend to open up, compared to its earlier compactness. Use your nail scissors and remove all those bristles that do not get aligned with the central strands. Whether it is the detail, straight, or angular brush, cut the frayed edges uniformly.

To get a thin straight line on your nails, it is essential to keep trimming your brushes, so that the bristles are aligned together, to give you perfect thin lines. For your detail work too, you may have to cut some hairs around the sides of the brush, to retain the center strands to help you with your nail art.

You also use nippers to snap out the bristles from your brushes. Remove the bristles close to the base, where they meet the metal tip. Do not pull out the hair with tweezers. This will loosen up the grip from the inside, and dislodge the rest of the strands.

Do not cut the bristles from the top since it will hamper the basic structure of the brush. Always trip around the bottom edge and remove the loose hairs all around, allowing the central strands to remain intact.

Apply a small coat of gel, to store your brushes. If your brushes look disfigured at the top, dip the bristles in alcohol, loosen up the hairs, and check if they are springing back into action. Do not smash the tip during storage.

How To Clean Stiff Brushes

You usually clean your brushes immediately after use with polish thinner and monomer. In case you have allowed your brushes to remain tainted with the acrylic paints and polish, you need to do the following:

  1. Arrange to get small glass containers with lid.

  2. Pour pure acetone inside, so that the brush bristles just submerge. Do not wet your brush beyond the metal tip, since we don’t want to loosen the glue that bonds all the hairs together.

  3. Now, submerge the dirty brushes inside this acetone and move it around. You will find the paint particles dissolving in acetone. Once all the polish is off, wipe gently with lint-free pads.

  4. Reshape the tip with your fingers and let them dry by letting them sit on your work desk.

  5. You can also clean your dirty brushes with nail polish remover, poured into its cap.

  6. The dotter tool gets cleaned with these methods.

Nail Art Brushes For Beginners

If you are new to nail art designing, start with simple craft brushes available in stationery stores. Professional nail art brushes are expensive, which you can purchase once you feel a little more confident. The bristles could be either synthetic or less expensive camel hair. Create your own set of nail art brushes as follows:

Liner Brush

Pick up 2-3 long bristled of different sizes, and trim the bristles from the base to arrive at the striper brushes. These get used to drawing straight lines on your nails.

Flat Brush

These brushes get used for shading, and one stroke design application. Choose the shorter width ones, which can get used on the nails.

Angular Brush

These brushes get used for the nail corners. If you don’t have this type of brush in your craft brush kit, you could bend halfway down the metal tip with a small plier, without damaging the bristle grip. The bristle length must be short and few, to work on details around the edges.

Detail Brush

Short and small size brushes can get used for detailing on your nail design. If you wish to remove few strands to make it thinner, remove few strands of hair from the base.


This set is available separately and comes in different sizes. You can use this tool for small and large dots in your design.

Cleaning these brushes can be done with the help of polish thinner, and if stubborn paints cling to the hair surfaces, use acetone. Wipe the liquid and pain on a lint-free napkin or cloth.

Points To Consider When You Buy Brushes

When you decide to buy your set of nail art brushes, keep the following into consideration:

Brush Shape

Striper brushes must be long and lean, to get those zebra stripes on your nail. While the detail brush is short and slim, so you have control over minute details of your artwork.


When you are commencing your nail art journey, you should look at the value pack set. Practice well using these brushes, and once you get more serious, you can start to invest in professional sets. These help you have better control, great detailing, and elegant finish, though these would be quite costly.


They are either natural or synthetic but are in varied grades and price points. These days, the synthetic bristles are made of good quality and can withstand acetone and are much more durable than earlier.

Other Details

Brushes with covers help protect the bristles from getting damaged. Otherwise, you have to be careful in storing them. They also come in carrying case with an organizer like pouches, for their upkeep.

How To Paint With A Nail Art Brush

Here are some primary forms and the specific nail art brushes that will get used:


You would require the dotting tool, which comes in two sizes. Dip the end in nail polish and place your dots on the nail surface, as per the design planned.

Line Or Swirl

The striper brush gets used for such strokes. Depending upon the quantity of paint or polish your brush is holding, you can make thin or thick lines.

Petal, Teardrop, Or Comma

Use detail or flat brush for this purpose. For petals and teardrops, press initially with your brush while applying the paint and slowly ease the pressure while you complete the design.


Place two paint drops next to each other with the dotting tool and then mix them on the nail surface as per the design you have envisaged.

French Manicure Tip

You will require flat and detail brushes for this design. French tip guides also help you with this design more accurately.

Some Common FAQs About Nail Art Brushes

Let’s check some common queries you may have about nail art brushes.

Why Use A Brush For Nail Art?

The brushes allow you to make intricate details and exciting designs using brushes. It provides you with the scope to replicate your ideas on to your nails.

How Is Regular Brush Different From The Nail Art Brush?

These brushes are not very different except the following:

  1. They are shorter since the application is your small nails.

  2. Nail art brushes are specific in terms of functions like the striper, angular, detail, shader, and dotter.

  3. The quality of the bristles is different, since, in nail art, you may have to protect the brush hairs from acetone.

Can I Use My Craft Brush For Nail Art?

You can use any brush, but the brushes must be thinner, shorter, and a few angular types to do your nail art.

Where Do You Buy These Brushes?

These brushes are available off the shelf, along with other cosmetic products. This form of purchase is better since you can choose as per your requirement. The other option is buying them online. You can go through customer feedback before identifying your brand of brushes.

What’s The Price Of Brushes?

Brushes get made from synthetic or natural bristles, and the price range varies between $1-20 depending upon the quality and brand.

How Long Do Brushes Last?

This is directly in proportion to how much you care for them. The most crucial aspects are cleaning them immediately after every use, and also storing them properly.

What Type Of Brushes Get Used Frequently?

There are more than ten types of brushes and tools and an equivalent number of sizes. The most frequently used brushes are stripers and detail brushes. You also use dotter tools quite regularly. At the same time, the least used is the fan-shaped brush.


Nail art or manicure is a huge industry today. Various tools get used for your nail designs. One of the most critical tools being the brushes. They got introduced when nail art came into fashion. In earlier times, craft brushes got used, with some changes to the structure of such brushes.

As the industry grew, specific tools like the nail brushes got created for a particular application in the manicure process. Now there is clarity concerning the function of each of the nail art brushes. Some of them get used more than some others. Few have more sizes, depending upon their application.

The bristles’ material, the way they get held together, the grip of the body of the brush, have all undergone changes over the years. You have the beginner’s less expensive brushes than those which get used by professionals in their salons.

Most of these brushes should get cleaned with polish thinners and monomers. Use must avoid using nail polish remover and acetone since they weaken the structure of the bristles.

These days, many synthetic brushes can withstand the harsh acetone for cleaning. However, natural hair brush loses its moisture with acetone and hence needs to get avoided. Very intricate designs get made with nail art brushes. You can explore all your fashionable ideas with them.

You could use the brush strokes and other materials like rhinestone or metal chips glued to your nails. In case you are using metal plates and stamper to transfer designs, detail brush helps in various touch-up activities. These brushes also assist in cleaning up the nail surrounding, and providing you with masterpieces!

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