Wow. What an exciting title huh? I’ve been talking to a lot of women who historically haven’t been fashion diva’s like I have [well, at least in terms of nail polish designs], and it turns out they don’t know where to start with their nails. So, I thought I’d post an article talking about nail polish in general so they can get grounded in the basics before advancing to something cool like crackle nail polish! Sometimes it is easier to start with easy nail designs before jumping into the deep end of the pool!
Nail Polish Basics
So, where to start? I tend to classify nail polishes into a couple of different broad categories. One is quality, and the other is colors. Let’s start there with our nail polish tutorial shall we?
First, quality. If you buy a bottle of nail polish at your local drug store for under $4, you’re likely going to get what you pay for. Cheap polishes will tend to not go on your nails very easily or smoothly, may have bubbles in them or be a bit grainy in spots, and in general can be frustrating to apply to get a consistent look.
Once you manage to get the polish on your nails, it may also dry inconsistently. Now, after all of this potential frustration, the worst part of the cheaper formulations is that they often start chipping, cracking, or peeling after only a few days – which may cause you to think that nail designs are way too much work for little reward. WRONG!
If you stick with a quality polish the application process is super easy and smooth, and often will last up to 2 weeks without chipping or peeling! Some polishes I like that are in the $8 range which I consider high quality include:
- OPI Polish
- China Glaze Polish
- Chanel [in the $20 range] Polish
Nail Polish Colors
So this would be the next thing I think about. You can classify nail polishes into the following categories of colors – each tends to give on a distinct impression, and some are infamous for the connotations associated with them, so do a bit of research ahead of deciding on the solid color you want to try on your nails:
- Bold Colors – Red and Black are the dominant ones here. See my other articles on red and black polish to understand more the emotions and image they can portray.
- Basic Colors – These are the most common – pinks, greens, purples, white, grey, brown, blues etc.
- Pastels – These are “soft” colors. Often only seen at weddings, pastel colors have made a huge comeback in the last couple of years. These range from flesh or peach tones to light greens, blues, and even faint pinks or browns.
- Sheer – Sheer nail colors are very transparent, and may range from a glossy clear coat to a very slightly tinted color – often more flesh tones.
In addition to thinking about colors, there are also some nail polish formulations that should be considered as well:
- Glitter polish – Has tiny, almost microscopic flakes of metallic material embedded in the polish to produce a glitter effect on your nails. Gold and silver used to dominate designs, but lately top manufacturers have come out with very colorful glitters across almost all basic colors. The higher end polishes have super tiny specs in them that produce an amazing effect, while the cheaper polishes tend to have larger flakes that you can almost feel on your nails when dry [avoid!].
- Crackle Nail Polish – A specially formulated polish that randomly cracks (or “shatters”) as it dries, allowing a color of polish applied underneath it to show through in very random patterns. I have tones of examples on my site about this, so won’t spend more time here on this.
Nail Polish Accessories
Finally, there are several items you should read more about that should be part of your nail design arsenal:
- Base Coat – a clear coat applied before any colored polish. Nourishes your nail base and provides a better surface for polish to stick to.
- Top Coat – special clear coat that is applied after your done painting your nails. Acts as a protective coating and often can extend the life of your nail design for up to 3-5 more days.
- Cuticle Oil – used during home manicures to soften and enable removal of excess cuticle skin around your nails.
- Q-tips – helpful for cleaning up around your nails any extra polish that may have spilled over onto your skin.
- Nail polish remover – pretty much as it says. Removes old nail polish ahead of you putting on new.
- Nail file – helps shape and smooth your nails ahead of applying a polish.
- Nail art brush – useful when starting to experiment with painting designs on your nails.
There you have it – the basics of nail polish to help you get started. Once you venture into doing basic nail designs, you can explore my site to learn more advanced techniques to accomplish more and more sophisticated designs!