Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Beauty on a Budget

Nail Art and Techniques on a Budget

Let's start off with the basics: How to properly polish your nails. Here is a chart that is found just about any and every where on the internet.

Nail Art Tools You Have Lying Around Your House

These pictures by and show several different tools around the house that you can use as dotting tools.

Also this video by Cute Polish explains several ways to make your own dotting tools.

Other things you can use include make up sponges, hole re-enforcement stickers, scotch tape, painters tape, regular and patterned scissors, saran wrap, crafting glitter, lace, and Zip lock bags.

Easy Nail Trends Using the Tools Around the House

1. The Ombre Nail: Using 3 different nail colors and a make up sponge. Use this step-by-step photo tutorial by @noemihk as a reference. You can also YouTube search ombre nail technique and there are several videos that come up that you can view.

Instagram @noemihk

Here is also another way to do a gradient or ombre look using painters tape and two different polishes.

2. Waterless "water marbling": Paint one coat of your base color. Let it dry and paint a second thicker coat on your nail then dot several blobs in different nail colors and use a brush tip, a toothpick, or needle point to swirl on the nail in "s" like patterns. When it is to your liking, press your index finger on the sides and tip of the nail lightly to pull some of the excess polish off so that your nail will dry faster. This YouTube video called Easy No Water Marbling Technique by Robin Moses Nail Art explains step by step of how to do this technique.

YouTube Robin Moses Nail Art

There is also this technique to do "waterless" water marbling using a ziplock bag and toothpick.

3. Use scotch tape to make different designs on the nail: Play around with patterns and placement for different looks. Check out this tutorial on for some ideas on how to use scotch tape.

You could also use patterned scissors and scotch tape and make a french tip like in this post here.

4. Use stripping tape or make your own by cutting up scotch or painters tape to make different designs: Here are a few step by step pictures of examples of what you can do.

5. Use paper hole re-enforcement stickers to make french tips, half moons, and the top of a heart: Make sure to cut the top part of the sticker as shown below. It makes it lay flat and it is easier to remove.

Instagram @noemihk

flickr photo

The French Tip is easily achieved with this tutorial.

6. Use saran wrap crumpled up between your finger tips or in a pair of tweezers to make an interesting pattern on the nail: See the picture tutorial below.

7. Make a glitter gradient using loose or glitter polishes already in your collection. This is achieved by using multiple sizes and shapes of glitters, concentrated densely at the tip or end of the nail and gradually fading as you pull the brush up.

Instagram @noemihk

8.  You can also use Sharpie Markers to do nail art: Check out this post here for several ideas for using these great household staples.

Simple Tips and Tricks to Make Your Manicure Last

1. Proper polishing order is:

Base coat- 1 coat
Polish color- 1-2 coats (depending on desired opacity)
Any glitter or nail art
Top coat to seal in the polish/nail art
Apply cuticle oil or balm

2. When painting your nails, Cute Polish on YouTube recommends to place your hand on a hard surface and rotate the finger you are painting on the hard surface instead of holding your hand in the air. This makes it easier to keep the lines precise and you are not shaking as much either.

3. It is best to do several thin coats of polish rather than a few thick ones. Also wait 10 minutes in-between each coat of polish to minimize the risk of smudges and dings.

4. Paint your fingers first and paint your thumbs last. Use your thumbs to clean up around the edges of any nail polish you get on your cuticles before it has a chance to dry. (Glam Life Guru on YouTube
suggested this tip and it has worked for me on several occasions)

5. If your polish dries on your cuticles before you have a chance to remove it, use nail polish remover (acetone based ones work best) and a small stiff brush to wipe and clean up around the edges. This method makes the nail polish outline look really straight and even and makes your manicure look professionally done as well.

6. To prevent polish from getting on your cuticles you could do one of two things. You could put a light layer of vaseline around your cuticles and wipe it off at the end. This also serves as a
cuticle moisturizer. You could also use scotch tape and tape off your nail. This is very helpful for when you are doing the actual water marbling technique. If you want to learn how to water marble click this link here.

7. If you don't have time to redo your whole entire manicure and need a quick touch up because the ends are chipping off, paint your nails with a really dense glitter polish instead. It will reflect the light so you won't notice the chipping as much.

8. To remove glitter polish, soak cotton balls in acetone and place on your nail. Then wrap in aluminum foil and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Repeat process until polish is removed. Don't forget to put on a cuticle balm or lotion when you are done, as acetone can be very drying.

9. There are several methods you can do to dry your nails faster. You can place your fingers in a bowl of ice water, buy drying drops, or even a drying spray. For these tips and more watch this video here.

10. When doing nail art, it is easier and faster to use acrylic paints to make your designs. It might look clumpy and horrible at first, but paint a clear polish over the top and it revives your design and instantly smoothes out all the lines.

11. Instead of buying loose hexagon or other shaped glitter to place on your nail design, get a glitter polish you already own and a toothpick pick them out and place them where you want them to go as in this photo below. Also if you want to learn how to do this "Quilting" technique watch this video here.

Instagram @neomihk

12. When applying glitter polish, it is better to pull out the brush and leave it on the bottle lip and let most of the polish liquid run back into the bottle. Then dab the glitter on the nail. Then when you have the glitter the way you want it, dip the brush back in the bottle and glide the polish over the nail with barely any pressure. That way you insure that most of the glitter will stay where you want it to.

13. Square with rounded corners or oval/rounded nail shapes are the most universally flattering nail shapes. Here is a chart of nail shapes you could experiment with.

14. Use clear flat vase filler stones like the picture below from the Dollar Tree store to practice nail art on. The surface of the stone is rounded like a nail is and will give you an idea of what the design will look like on your own nails. This will save you the frustration if a nail design doesn't work out. I will look up nail art ideas on the internet for specific occasions or holidays and will paint the design on each stone and use them as reference when I am painting mine or my daughters nails. The polish is also easily removed from the surface of the stone and you can use them over and over again.

15. You can make a Nail Polish Swatch Book like this one here. You can also make Nail Polish Swatch Wheels like these here:
I used both of these methods and incorporated them together. I made mine buying nail swatch wheels on eBay and numbering and painting them in the same manner as the picture above. I went through all of my polishes and separated them out by color and I wrote the Brand and Color of each nail polish next to the number it coordinated with in my book. Then next to the name and color, I put a white polish base down to make the nail color more opaque and then painted the coordinating color over the white polish. See photo out of my swatch book below:

16. You can custom make your own polish color by using a clear polish and loose eye pigments or broken eye shadows. So don't throw out that eye shadow that just shattered. Try to fix it using this technique here. Or make a polish out of it!

17. The typical nail used as an "accent" nail is the ring finger. I like to use the thumb as well as the ring finger. I also like to paint each nail differently, but I coordinate all of them using cohesive colors and techniques. See examples below:

Instagram @noemihk

Instagram @noemihk
18. For other life changing "Nail Hacks" click this link 20 Life-Changing Hacks for Doing Your Nails from Red Book Magazine.

People to follow or get inspiration from on Instagram:
@cutepolish; @noemihk; @rachell_rachell

People to watch on YouTube:
Cute Polish and Robin Moses. Cute Polish has many designs and tutorials for beginners and Robin Moses is for more advanced nail art, but she still has amazing tips and tricks for beginners as well.

You can also check out the Pinterest board I made at for links to most of these pictures and tutorials all in one convenient place.