As much as we love nail art, we’re better at admiring designs than coming up with them ourselves. That’s why we’ve enlisted Anna Norman, the smarty pants behind Glitter, She Wrote, to be a regular contributor. Every Monday, she’ll be sharing her latest lacquer inspiration—you won’t be satisfied with plain ol’ polish again.
My obsession with stripes and chevron patterns has been going strong for months, so there’s no question which tool I turn to almost every time I do my nails these days. Nail art brushes are easy to use, but the thought of squiggly lines and sloppy stripes can make them a little intimidating at first. Here are my top five tips to master this must-have tool.
1. There are a wide variety of nail art pens and brushes on the market, but I always stick with brushes rather than “felt-tip” nail polish pens, which dry out in a matter of days (so frustrating!). I’m currently using a Nail Art Duo Pen from Color Club, which features a super-thin brush plus a fun dotting tip, both under the same multi-tasking cap.
2. Less is more! Really. While I usually collect a blob of polish on the end of the brush when I paint my nails, I use as little polish as possible when wielding a nail art brush. It’s better to dip the brush between every line than to end up with a big puddle in the middle of your intricate design.
3. Move your nail, not the brush. For simple designs like horizontal or diagonal stripes, you can achieve a smoother, straighter line by moving your nail from side to side while keeping the brush steady.
4. Cleanup, cleanup! When I cover my nails with lines, I always end up with a bit of a mess around the edges. For a crisp, professional look, dip a small paintbrush or makeup brush (I like an angled eyeliner brush) into nail polish remover and carefully sweep it around the cuticle line. If you don’t have time for cleanup, any excess polish on your skin will rub off the next time you’re in the shower.
5. Shine! When you add stripes, triangles, and squares to your base color, you’ll end up with an uneven surface. Smooth it out with your favorite glossy top coat. Just make sure to wait until your design has dried to avoid smearing your hard work. I like Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Base & Top Coat and Sally Hansen Diamond Flash.
Start fresh with a new manicure or bring a little life back into days-old nails by adding a few simple designs. Think stripes, triangles, checkerboards, pinwheels, zig-zags…the sky’s the limit!
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