The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards may have been about the performers, but the stars of the show were undoubtedly the nails. From Nicki Minaj’s black lacquer manicure with a glitter ombre to Demi Levato’s sapphire blue nails with black designs, it was all about the nail art – the more interesting and eye-catching, the better!
Nail art is today’s scene stealer and just as much part of an outfit as a pair of shoes. So if you want to up your manicuring game and gift your clients with the same jaw-dropping nail designs they see on their favorite Hollywood stars, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the tools and techniques of the nail art trade
Nail art is a relatively broad term, but it really just means creating unique, artistic designs with the nails as the canvas. It can involve glitter, decals, stencils, and pen designs, along with stamping, sponging, dotting, and taping.
In short, nail art is only limited by your creativity as a nail technician.
What Do I Need to Create Nail Art?
Before you can begin creating designs that will have your clients coming back for more and their friends beating down your door, you need to create a great nail art kit, complete with all of the tools of the trade.
Here are some of the items every nail artist’s kit should contain:
Matte topcoat: Matte topcoats are ideal for topping your nail designs with a non-glossy, trendy finish.
Correcting pen: Nail art can get messy, so it’s good to have a correcting pen on hand to clean up the flaws and erase any mistakes along the way.
Glitter nail polish remover: Sure, you have polish remover in bulk, but glitter is an entirely different animal. Nail polish remover designed specifically for the removal of glitter is a must for the nail artist.
Striping tape: Striping tape is a very thin metallic tape that is applied and then removed when straight lines are what you seek.
Transfer foils: Transfer foils allow you to create cool designs by pressing them onto the wet top coat and lifting them away.
Dotting tool: Big or little dots on the nails require a precise tool for doing so.
Striper brush: The striper brush is a tiny little brush that’s ideal for creating thin lines and designs with intricate details.
Loose glitter: Loose glitter sprinkled over the base color can take a simple manicure to a spectacular level.
Embellishments: Tiny studs, domed pearls, clear crystals, and iridescent shavings are just a few of the embellishments you should carry in your nail art kit.
Nail stickers/wraps: Although your freehand artwork can create amazing nail art, so can premade nail stickers and wraps.
Cool polishes: Metallic, jewel tone, pastel, vibrant, and glitter polishes should all be stashed in your nail art arsenal.
What Nail Art Techniques Should I Learn?
Besides perfecting your steady hand and channeling your inner Picasso, there are a number of techniques that you should master:
Stamping: The stamping technique allows you to create detailed images on your clients’ nails. It requires essentially stamping a design onto the nail.
Sponging: Sponging allows you to use a small nail sponge to build up color and blend colors together.
Dotting: The dotting method involves the use of a nail art pen to create patterns, lines, rows, and flowers (just to name a few) with dots.
Taping: The taping method involves taping off areas of the nail while applying polish and then removing the tape to create precise lines and designs.
Advanced Training in Nail Art for Nail Technicians
From the pages of your favorite fashion magazine to websites and social media (Pinterest is the site for all things nails!), nail art ideas are everywhere, providing you with endless sources of inspiration. But before you can begin recreating some of the trendiest nail art designs, you must be skilled in the techniques and products used to create them.
Although an initial nail program leading to state licensure touches on manicures and nail art, advanced study through a course or program is undoubtedly the best path for taking your nail art skills to the next level. Luckily, there are a host of programs in advanced nail art available in both big name schools and smaller, more affordable local schools.