Nail art is a popular trend, and people love it. There are so many designs, and mostly all of them looks amazing. People do nail art when to go to party, occasions, social gathering etc. but why do they do it? Is it mandatory?
So why do nail art? Nail art is your creative way to enhance and beautify fingers and toenails. The basic manicure and pedicure are cleaning your nails and the surrounding skin from exfoliating dead cells. You also nourish the nail and the cuticles with moisturizing oil and lotion, to keep them healthy and soft.
Earlier, you were happy just to apply a coat of nail polish, complementing your dress and jewelry. Polishes came in various hues and shades, and different brands promoted their product with features like safety, and durability. Nail polishes came in gloss and matte types, which got air-dried.
Very soon, gel nail polish got introduced as being more alluring in terms of sheen and long-lasting. These types of polish had to get cured with UV and LED lamps. They were expensive, and metallic glitters got introduced along with the color dyes. These gave your nails the bling look, depending upon the occasion, you had many options to choose from.
Nail treatment originated as early as 4000 BC in ancient Egypt. Women of high standing got their nails treated with henna, while others dyed with pastel and natural shades. Men prepared for war by getting their nails and body parts painted. Noblemen had their nail painted in black, while the common men in green color.
Nail polish origin can get traced to ancient China during 3000 BC, and they got made from beeswax, gum arabic, egg whites, gelatin, and vegetable dyes. The women dipped their nails in this dye for hours and left them to dry. Red and pink were some typical tints available in those days. Later during the Zhou Dynasty, women got their nail polish covered with gold and silver dust to signify their social status.
During the Ming Dynasty in China, it was fashionable to grow long nails. Sometimes, these nails got protected with gold-plating. The Incas in South America were known to do nail art in their times by painting eagles on their nails.
The orange stick got invented by Dr. Sitts, a European podiatrist in the early 1800’s. This thin wood with a pointed end got made from orange wood. His niece developed manicure tools for ladies, and very soon, these ideas reached the American salons. Before these inventions, people got to use acid, scissors, and metal rods, to trim and shape their nails, and oil created the tint and shine.
In early 1900 the first nail polish got invented, though this was colorless. Very soon, dyes got added to such polish, and innumerable shades were made available. Half-moon manicure found some users for a short while, but soon the fashion returned to uniform nail color shades.
It was only in 1976, the French manicure style emerged, with the establishment of ORLY, a Paris based cosmetic company. From the 1980s, there has been no looking back with the emergence of the nail painting industry!
The print media and later, social media spread the awareness of nail art among prospective users. Easy to follow tutorials got posted by nail enthusiasts, which help you create incredible artwork on the nail canvas.
Very soon, nail art became an integral part of the fashion industry. All tools and materials that are part of the nail art application were sought after, which led to research, production, and commercial success! Media again plays a crucial role in its propagation and reach.
Tools And Technique
Let us now look at some of the tools and techniques involved in the production of nail art. Some of these tools and techniques got evolved during the early civilization, while most of the others are recent inventions and introduction to this evolving fashion space.
Pedicure And Manicure
This is the necessary cleaning and managing process of your nails on fingers and toes. You require the scissors to keep your nails at a particular length and helps you to manage any chips and cracks.
These processes can either get conducted by you at home or visit licensed nail salons. Since the tools get used on various individuals, they must get disinfected before getting used to you. Hence, visiting a standardized parlor is very important for your safety.
The filing and shaping of your fingernails, which protrude from your finger, are part of the manicuring process. There are different types and sizes of files, depending on the type of nail you have and the area getting buffed.
The area around the nail is known as the cuticle. Sometimes, when you dead cells in this area, they get removed with the help of cuticle nippers. If these cuticles spread over your nails, they get pushed to their edge with the help of cuticle pushers made from a soft angular wooden stick.
Your hand and fingers must be soft and nourished to commence any beautifying process. This includes massaging your nails, edges, and fingers with special oils and lotions, depending upon your type of skin and nail. The gentle massage helps the skin and nail surface to absorb the liquids and make them supple.
You next wipe alcohol with a swab of lint-free cotton, to ensure that your nails are free from oil, for your nail art process to commence.
Hot Oil Manicures
Mineral oil, olive oil, lotions, and unique formulas get heated and applied on your fingers and nails, before the gentle massage. This helps to soften the cuticles around your nail for shaping.
This is an alternative to gel polishing your nails. After you have prepared your nail for the nail art process, a coat of primer gets applied to your nails. Next, a layer of clear polish gets applied. Depending upon the color decided upon, you dip each of your fingers inside a container with finely pigmented powder. This gets transferred to your polished nails.
The excess powder gets dusted off, and a protective coat of polish gets applied. Repeat the process until a uniform layer of color is set on your nails. This type of manicure stays on for a week or two depending upon the wear and tear you subject your hands.
Paraffin Wax Treatment
This treatment helps your hand and feet to get soft and supple before you commence with nail art application. Since paraffin wax can melt at a temperature that does not harm your skin, it is safe for such a process. The intense heat helps in the absorption of nutritional oils and solutions.
The paraffin wax gets infused with extracts of aloe vera, chamomile, tea tree oil, and fruit extracts of apple, peach, and strawberry. You can also apply a coating of these essential oils, before covering your hand or feet with the hot wax. You allow the wax to cool and stay encased for some time before a warm wet towel gets used to remove this coating.
Since everyone has different skin types, and they are quite sensitive, you must ensure that the paraffin wax used on you at salons are safe. Hygiene is an essential aspect of these treatments.
Your nail shapes are generally oval, round, square, square with rounded edges, pointed, and almond-shaped. The square, oval shape, got to be called squoval, sturdy form and retained by those who have extensive use of their hand.
Manicure of the feet gets to be known as a pedicure. Here, the treatment gets provided up to your knees. Exfoliating dead cells gets removed from your feet using a rough stone, known as a pumice stone. Cleaning, moisturizing and massage are the cornerstone to pedicure treatment.
Let’s look at some common types of pedicure services that get offered in salons, and some of them take nearly an hour.
This includes soaking your legs in warm water for some time and rubbing pumice stone around heel and toenails to remove the dead cells. Your nails get cut, shaped, and then polish gets applied. The procedure ends with applying moisturizer and deep massage, from your knees to your toes, including the gaps between your toe fingers.
Along with regular pedicure, one of the following treatments gets added – paraffin wax, mask, and mud or seaweed pack.
Waterless Or Dry Pedicure
The feet are not washed or soaked in warm water. In this type of pedicure, your nail gets clipped, filed, and polished. Your cuticle clean-up gets done along with callus smoothening. They usually use the electronic file to do these activities.
Here essential oil gets used to massage your feet using various types of hot stone. These relax the muscles and allows the oil to permeate through your skin, making the area soft and moisturized.
Lime gets used along with water to soak your feet, followed by a scrub with saltwater. Later lime-based oil and moisturizer get used to massage your feet.
Your feet get treated with a chocolate mask, chocolate soak, or chocolate moisturizing lotion.
Wine Or Champagne Pedicure
After your regular pedicure, you get scrubbed with grape seeds, and a grape mask gets used. Later, you get massaged with grape oil and moisturizer.
Pumice stones get used to reduce calluses from your feet. This must get safely done, and pumice and other stones that get used on you must get adequately sterilized. Trimming your toenails, and clipping the dead skin around your cuticles has to get done skillfully. Those with diabetes and sensitive skin must be careful when using these services.
Several types of polishes get used during nail art today.
Nail Varnish Or Polish
To avoid any damage to your nails or discoloration, you must always apply a coat of base lacquer or polish, before any further cover or polish gets added.
This is a chemical mixture of a monomer liquid with polymer dye powder and can safely get applied to your nails as polish. After some while, they dry in the atmosphere, forming a hard film on top of your nail.
This chemical formulation also uses shellac and requires external stimulants to dry. These types of nail polishes require UV and LED lamps to get cured and dry. They don’t dry in the atmosphere like the acrylic polish.
Various elements get used these days to decorate and make your nails bling. Sparkles and designs have taken the nail art manicure to a different level altogether. The following are some of the elements that come in handy for the application.
Nail art pens
Accessories like – rhinestones, studs, beads, acrylic motifs, and aluminum foils
Acrylic powder for 3D designs
These tools are quite useful for nail art process:
Nail dotting tools
Nail art brushes
Stationery tapes and stickers
Thin colored striping tapes
Sponges for a gradient effect
Various types of changes get added during the implementation of nail art. Some such options are as follows:
Small beads get placed on wet polish, and when they dry, it gives us a rough and uneven surface.
Nail polishes with unique properties give a sparkling and rainbow effect when your nail gets exposed to sunlight.
On top of wet polish, velvet strands get spread, to give your nails a velvety feel.
A unique polish gets applied on top of the already painted nail to give it a crackled look when this top coat dries.
This is reverse to French tip manicure, where there is a different nail polish applied at the base of the nail, and the rest of the nail has another shade.
These artificial stickers mimic the myriad hues and glitter of nail polishes and studs and metals, to give your nails a 3D effect. Wide varieties of designs help you decorate your nails in a flash, without going through the entire, painstaking nail art process!
Reason For Nail Art Popularity
It is the fashion industry that got nail art promoted through their catwalks and fashion shows in London, Paris, and New York. Models got seen adorning their nails with some beautiful creations. People got to see them in fashion and beauty magazines.
The cosmetic industry quickly saw an opportunity, and they included nail art at their retail counters, in these large cities. Women, who got only used to applying different shades of polishes, now found a vast vista of options opening up in front of them.
Salons, who earlier focused only on general pedicure and manicure, now included beautifying activities for their clients’ nails. Nail art designs soon got promoted with specific events, types of dresses, and jewelry adorning the hand.
With the emergence of social media marketing, the proliferation of nail art spread rapidly. Initially, manufacturers of the nail art tool promoted their products with a sample of nail art activities they could perform. They got spread through images and video, with some celebrities flaunting such designs during social events.
Soon DIY videos got uploaded on Youtube and Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest had vast collections of such scintillating collections of nail art, which fashion-conscious men and women wanted for a particular occasion. They finalized their dress, jewelry, hairdo, and also their nails!
Customers carried designs stored on their mobile to salons and spas and wanted a specific look for their nails. They shared their artwork on Whatsapp with their friends and colleagues. Soon, nail art fashion became a way of life. Everyone wanted their nails to look different from others and thus invested a considerable amount of time and resources in beautifying them.
Nail Art Options
Sometimes, you get very confused with the images and videos uploaded on the internet. Choose more straightforward options to start with, keeping in mind that you need to carry off the outcome, just like your dress, makeup, and jewelry. The exciting aspect about nail art is that you need to get this done once for the next 7-10 days unless you need a completely different look in between!
Nail Art At Home
Here are some options of the nail that can get done at home with materials that are already available:
Tri-Color Nail Art
This nail art activity gets suggested for you if you are just commencing on this journey. Let’s look at the steps required for this type of nail design. The shades mentioned can be changed, as per your taste.
White nail polish
Pastel blue polish
Coral red pastel shade
How To Apply
Apply a coat of bottom coat to protect your nail from any damage.
Use the pastel blue polish and create a vertical strip on one side of your nail, a little below your cuticle.
Apply the next layer of the same polish a little lower in the center portion of your nail.
The final layer of pastel blue gets applied on the other side of the nail, again at a step lower. Now you have stepped design in pastel blue across your nail. Allow the polish to dry.
Apply white polish similarly, a little below, in the same stepped format, so that earlier blue is visible above the white.
Finally, apply the coral red polish, at one step below the white shade, in three vertical stripes.
Apply a top coat to protect this design, and you get done!
Bow Nail Art
Let’s now add some elements along with the nail polish, so you tend to get some variety. You can change the nail polish color, as per your liking.
White nail polish
Sky blue polish
Striper brush or any thin brush available in your craft box would be good enough. Remove some hair strand around the edge, to get a thin line out of your brush.
Steps To Be Taken
Commence your journey by painting all your nails with sky blue polish as a base coat. Allow it to dry completely.
Apply white polish in the shape of a heart at the bottom part of your nails, slightly at an angle.
Take your striper brush, dip into your black polish, and draw a line along the joint of both colors. When you reach near the center, create a small bow, and then complete the stroke.
Apply the top coat over this design, and the design is complete.
Splatter Nail Art
This type of nail will give you various other ideas to try out. As usual, try out different color options to get the design that matches your outfit.
What You Will Need
White nail polish
Light blue polish
Pink nail polish
Stiff and flat brush
How To Proceed
Apply the white polish on all your nails as a base coat. Allow drying.
Take the brush, dip inside the light blue polish, take out and spray on your nails by releasing the stiff bristles.
Repeat this process with purple and pink polish.
Once you feel you have an attractive design on your nail, seal it off with a topcoat.
Clean the skin around your nail with nail polish remover.
Chevron Nail Art
We shall now add a few more designs to your nails with some chosen colors. You can select those that suit you.
Blue nail polish
How To Apply
Paint all your nails with red polish as your base color.
Create a V-shaped stencil on the tape and place it at the center of your nail.
Apply blue nail polish on the exposed portion of your nail. You now have v-shaped blue over your red base.
Next, move the stencil towards your nail cuticle, and paint the gap with white nail polish.
Use acetone to remove the polish that may have crept to your exposed skin and cuticle.
Seal the design with the topcoat.
Glitter V-Tip Nail Art
This nail art is a significant stopgap if you are unable to visit a nail salon for a party you need to attend.
Black nail polish
Silver glitter polish
V-shaped sticker or stencil tape
How To Proceed
Paint all your nails with black polish and let them dry.
Place the v-shaped sticker towards the tip of each nail.
Apply the silver glitter polish to the bottom part of your nails towards the cuticle end.
Allow to dry and remove the sticker. Wipe any polish around the nail and lock the design with a layer of topcoat.
You can get the space, stars, and galaxy onto your nails, where imagination runs riot. Let’s see how we create these masterpieces.
What You Need
Black nail polish
Pink and blue polish
Metallic green polish
Apply black polish on all your nails and create the base
Soak the sponge with the metallic green polish and dab on the black surface.
Next, soak the sponge with the pink polish and dab on the nail surface. Repeat the process with blue polish too.
Cover the entire design with glitter topcoat, and your glittering nail art is ready.
You can use your ideas to bring about various hues and combinations utilizing this technique.
Stripes And Nails
This nail art activity requires some patience, but the outcome is quite satisfying with various geometric designs.
What You Need
Blue pastel nail polish
Stencil or masking tapes
How Do You Proceed
Polish all your with pastel blue polish as your base color. Let them dry completely.
Now place the stencil tapes with different designs on each nail.
For example, place a diagonal stencil on your little finger and paint the gap with brown polish.
Place a v-stencil on your ring finger, and brown polish gets added.
Similarly, change your design for the rest of your fingers and paint the stencil with the brown polish.
After some time, when the polish has dried, remove the tapes, and you have a beautiful collection of geometric shapes on your nail, which is mesmerizing.
Cover the designs with topcoat, to protect them.
Pastel Daisies Nail Art
Let us now start practicing a few difficult ones to attempt the complicated ones in the future. This nail art design could be for your great evening out since pastel shades would get used.
Base nail polish
Pink pastel polish
White nail polish
Gold polish, bindis or gold studs
Gold glitter nail polish
Dotting tool or bobby pin
How To Apply
Apply a base coat of polish on all your nails.
Other than your ring finger, apply pink pastel nail shades on all your other fingers.
Place the gold stud near the cuticle on your index and little finger, when the pink polish is still wet so that the stud sticks to the nail surface.
We shall have daisies on your thumb and middle finger. Using the dotting tool, place five dots of white polish in a circle. Place the gold stud at the center of these white dots.
Apply the gold polish on your ring finger, and coat this gold glitter polish.
Now, coat all your nails with the transparent topcoat to seal the designs, and voila, your manicure is complete!
If you like travel, especially sailing, then this nail art is for you. You can use the concept and try out other background and motifs for other travel interests.
What You Require
White nail polish
Navy blue polish
Red nail polish
Striper brush or thin brush
Detail brush or size 0 brush
How To Apply
Apply white polish on all your nails and let dry.
Using a striper brush, draw horizontal lines across your nails, around four in number.
Dip the detail brush in red polish and create a circle on the first horizontal line, near the cuticle.
Using the striper brush, draw a vertical line from the circle to the last navy blue horizontal line near the nail edge.
Next, draw the curved portion of the anchor with the red polish from the other vertical end.
Draw a red horizontal line at the center of the anchor design to complete the motif.
Coat the entire design with the topcoat to protect it from external damage.
Monochrome Polka Dot
Let’s now attempt an exciting but straightforward piece of nail art.