Summer Fun: Our Favorite DIY Nail Art Looks
Take your nails to the next level by trying out one of these three nail art looks created by up-and-coming nail art guru Frances Liang. After graduating from Pratt Institute, Liang made her way into the beauty and fashion industry. Last year, she got licensed to do nails professionally at Christine Valmy, an international school for esthetics and cosmetology. Liang’s background in graphic design—as well as her passion for creating intricate nail looks—makes her an amazing visionary. Below, Liang shares three DIY nail looks—and we promise, she made sure these masterpieces would be achievable for those with the shakiest hands!
“Just have patience,” Liang recommends for those lacking dexterity. A lot of nail art looks are completely adaptable and don’t require the steadiness of hands. For example, if you can’t draw a straight line, Liang suggests trying a splattered look where you don’t have to be neat at all.
For each of the looks, Liang suggests taking the time to properly prep your nails. “Manicures need a nice foundation,” says Liang. Before starting, clip and file your nails into an oval shape. Then use a buffer to soften the nail. “It’ll make your manicure last longer,” Liang explains. Next, apply moisturizer to your hands to keep them in tip-top shape. Be sure to remove shine from your nails with nail polish remover before you lay down your base coat.
The Zebra Print
Take a break from the leopard print nails we’ve been seeing throughout last season and try this vibrant spin on zebra print. We opted to use warm brights reminiscent of a beachy sunset, but feel free to use whatever colors catch your eye. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need two colors for the base—we used Clinique’s Nail Enamel in 70° and Sunny ($16), a rich golden yellow, and Essie’s Nail Polish in Bottle Service ($8), a neon fuchsia. You’ll also need a color for the stripes—we opted for Deborah Lippmann’s Nail Lacquer in Amazing Grace ($17). Finally, you’ll need cotton squares, pointy Q-tips, and a thin brush. Liang loves using the brushes that come with The Color Club Art Club Nail Stripers ($4). She dumps the polish and fills the bottle with acetone—that way, she can use the brush with any of her polishes.
2. After applying base coat, paint your nails in one coat of Essie’s Bottle Service.
3. Without allowing the base coat to dry too much, create an ombre effect by applying yellow polish to a cotton square and dabbing it onto the tips of each nail (“kind of like a French,” Liang explains). Neat freaks—don’t worry about getting some polish on your skin, it’ll come right off with nail polish remover.
4. Ensure your ombre layer is dry before applying white polish in squiggly lines with a super thin brush. Liang suggests starting in the middle, to get a good sense of the spacing, and getting more random as you spread out to the ends.
5. Apply a shiny top coat like Zoya’s Armor Top Coat ($9). Be sure to let the top coat glide on so you don’t drag the colors together.
Make a splash with cool teals in a fun geometric print. We cooled down the look by opting for a blue-based palette, but again, feel free to use whatever colors you have on hand. Here’s how we did it:
1. Find your three favorite colors. We chose China Glaze’s Nail Lacquer in Too Yacht to Handle ($TK), which launches in July, ($3.99), and Butter London’s Nail Lacquer in Fiver ($15). You’ll also need a super thin brush for this look.
2. After applying a base coat, apply an opaque coat of China Glaze’s Too Yacht to Handle (we used two coats for this).
3. Next, use the Butter London’s Fiver, a creamy pale candy mint green, to draw rectangles. Compose them randomly in different sizes and positions. Since the brush is square, just lightly press on your nails, drag, and lift to create a rectangle shape.
4. Using that thin brush we mentioned, draw boxes using Cover Girl’s Out of the Blue. Spread the outlines out randomly on your nail to create interest.
5. Allow nails to dry before applying a shiny top coat to ensure your work lasts.
The Reverse French
For you girls looking for a more subtle look, go for a bold deep-V in similar colors. It’s noticeable and slightly edgy without being over the top. We opted for a peachy pink and a brighter neon-y rose.
2. After applying base coat, apply two coats of NARS’ Orgasm to completely cover your nails.
3. Next, draw a v-mark using Nails Inc.’s St. James Park. Draw the outline first before filling it in.
4. Allow nails to dry slightly before applying a shiny topcoat.