My teenage daughters do all sorts of nail art with pens and fine-tipped brushes. I think it’s great, but I am a little long in the tooth for that sort of thing. However, when I saw Louise recently, she’d done a nail-art trick that is so easy and so lovely – and grown-up appropriate – that I can’t resist blogging on it. Louise had done the tips of her nails, where the white in your French mani would go, with a very light touch of pale gold glitter over a vampy crà¨me polish — more at the tips, fading down to no-glitter by halfway down the nail. It ended up looking like a Japanese abstract on lacquerware, or a tiny detail from one of those stunning Whistler Japonesque works.
She forwarded the details, and I am using the image here with permission from the Polish Hoarder, which is also where the instructions come from. As you can see in the photo and directions, this is a variation where you start the glitter from the bottom, the base of the nail, but the concept is the same:
“I painted my nails light blue and let it dry completely (overnight).
Then, with the glitter, I put a small drop on the inside of my nail, removed the excess from my brush, and spread the glitter out lightly across my nail.
I repeated that 4 times for each nail but with each time you do it, you spread the glitter less. You want the majority of the glitter to be on the inside of the nail.
I suppose it depends on how much glitter is in your polish. I wanted to keep the tips un-glittered so I was careful not to get too much glitter on my nail at once. Less is better because you can build it slowly.”
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I was so taken with Louise’s nails that, armed with the info above, I tried it (also at the tips) with a small silver glitter (China Glaze Tinsel) over the pale pearlized-pink mani I was already sporting, and got subtle but smashing results.** My only suggestions/clarifications — I’d do one nail at a time, I don’t know your climate, but I worry about the glitter setting up too much and not spreading properly if you let it sit on your nail for long. Also: you definitely want to clean the glitter off the brush before you start using it to spread what’s on your nail, otherwise you’re adding to what’s already there.
The first time I did it my nails weren’t uniformly perfect like this photo, but they still looked great – both my girls commented on it. Instead of doing a small dot of glitter at the tip, I painted the tip with a narrow horizontal streak of glitter – like a sloppy French mani – and dragged it down with the cleaned-off brush. As Polish Hoarder notes (she did 4x for each nail) it’s easy to add more, but it’s hard to add less! I just did 1x per nail and then added more to the ones that looked a little sparse in comparison.
If you are like me, I don’t change my polish until it starts to look tired – usually micro-chips at the tips. The silver glitter gave my mani a whole new look and bought me an extra four days of wear. If I’d slapped some Seche Vite on top it’d probably have lasted even longer.
In terms of color combos, two basic strategies: the more subtle pale (gold or silver) glitter on a light base, and the more striking pale glitter on a dark base (vampy, dark blue, green, etc). Personally I feel that the results are more elegant if the base is a crà¨me. If your base is light-colored the glitter polish needs to be suspended in a CLEAR base – I made that mistake, testing things, with a blue microglitter that was in a pale clear-bluish base, and it looked terrible. Obviously you could do a dark or colored glitter or what have you, but if you’re concerned about the propriety of the bling, probably gold or silver microglitter on a crà¨me base is the way to go.
I am going to add a link here to a gorgeous, much trendier look: a dark-colored nail on MUA with two different colors of glitter on top, pulled down the nail like this – the perfect party nail – but I don’t know if the link works if you’re not a MUA member, apologies in advance.
I know some people are doing this/spreading the glitter with Orly Smudge Fixer. I haven’t used that, and would be curious to hear from anyone who has in terms of advantages (the disadvantage I thought of is, you’d have to clean the brush carefully, right? That’s the nice thing about using the glitter brush itself.) Also, anyone who has winning glitters, or color combos, or questions, please chime in!
**For whatever reason, my natural nails are long just now – nothing that would raise an eyebrow on a nail polish blog, but of a length that would pass as a set of acrylics. I used CG Tinsel at the tips of my existing base coat of CG Tantalize Me – an opalescent pink with a slight blue tinge that I have a soft spot for because it’s a dupe of a L’Oreal polish called something like Pink Pearl that I wore the heck out of in high school.