• Paloma Madhok

Your Starter Guide to Nail Art

They say you can tell a lot about a person if you take a look at their hands. Besides shape, size, markings and lines, one of the very first parts of the hands that are noticed, rather stand out, are the nails. Whether they are long or short, real or fake, painted or plain, indeed they do give you a bit of insight into what the particular individual is like, much like the way clothes do.

Nail art is a form of expression as well. All art is a form of expression, be it tattoos as body art, paintings as actual art, food as gastronomical art, music as a form of written and audible art. It shows how unique, innovative, and creative a person can be, how bold or simple they are willing to go. It also shows the talent of the nail technician. It is not easy to do nail art, and many have to either take courses in it or born with the natural flair for it. After all, you are dealing with a person’s hands, and if proper ethical steps and precautions are not taken, it can backfire badly for both the customer and the technician.

Why Go for Nail Art?

It is entirely a personal preference. Many are against it, or not interested. Others get inspired from social media or their friends and wish to give it a try. I can only speak for myself; I absolutely love it. Once you get into it, you’ll either get addicted to it or never want to do it ever again, depending on your experience.

Models in a nail salon with nails been filed by technician

Obviously, it goes without saying you’ll need to go to a nail salon which has good reviews or recommended by someone you know. There are many nail salons who do mediocre jobs and take a lot of money. Good nail art isn’t cheap, but it can be reasonable too.

Also, if there’s an occasion and you really want to deck up but don’t know what to do about your nails, you can always hop across to your nearest nail salon. There are a lot of pretty options, and you can even show your own ideas and customise.

Some people have problems growing their nails, whether it’s slow growth, brittle nails that break easily or nail biting and want to just get extensions to improve the overall appearance of their hands.

For each and every occasion and need, there’s the perfect style for you. Here are a few different categories you could choose from, if you’re a novice to nail art.

Acrylics vs Gel

There are two main types of nail art, and each entail their own special properties. Acrylics basically come in a powdered form and are combined with a liquid which give it a sort of doughy texture, which is then applied directly to the nail, or a nail tip, depending on the health status of your nails.

Acrylic Powder Colours for Nails

Acrylic powders come in many exciting colours and are usually used when you want extensions, i.e longer fake nails. They harden upon application which is why a technician has to apply it quickly and within a single swipe. Once applied, they have many advantages besides being aesthetically pleasing. They:

· Don’t require the use of UV lights since they dry really fast.

· Are extremely durable, resistant and prevent cracking of brittle nails.

· Can last for up to two months if proper upkeep is maintained.

They do come along with their own share of disadvantages too though, like:

· They’re not exactly cheap, and you’ll have to shell out money every 2-3 months if you want to continue wearing them.

· Although they are pretty strong, they are just extensions at the end of the day, and depending on the length, daily tasks can be a little challenging if you’re a newbie.

· Acrylic powder does contain chemicals which in the long run can weaken the nail’s natural state, so its advised to take breaks between sessions to allow the nails to breathe and rejuvenate.

Gel nail tips with gen nail polish bottles

Gel nails, on the other hand (pun intended), are simply versions of nail lacquer (or polish) that’s applied directly to your natural nails or even extensions. Once applied along with a. top coat, the nails are cured under a UV light for a few minutes and that’s pretty much it. The difference with gel nails is that they don’t last as long as acrylic nails, mostly 10 days to 3 weeks. Pros include:

· Cheaper than acrylics

· If they break the can be filed again.

· Remain glossy throughout.

Cons include:

· Shorter life span.

· Excessive UV ray exposure leads to risk of early skin aging and in rare cases, melanoma.

Step by step dipping powder application on nails

Dipping powder is a third type of substance used in nail art. It’s basically nail polish in powdered form, wherein the natural nails are painted with glue, dipped in the powder, covered with an activating liquid and a topcoat for finishing. It’s a relatively newer concept, and there’s a wide variety of dip powders available, from holographic to colour changing and more. Its perks include:

· Longer lasting than regular and gel polish.

· No UV lights.


· Not easy to apply, requires a professional.

· Particles easily inhaled so better to maintain distance.

Styling Them

Once you’ve understood the basics, deciding what you want your base to be becomes easier. The next step is deciding on the design. Whether its acrylic or gel based, or dip powder, there are stunning designs for each.

Model 1; Acrylic nude swirl pattern extensions, Model 2 acrylic black French tip, Model 3 Acrylic zebra print extensions, Model 4 French manicure almond nails

Acrylics can be more fun since you can use extensions and make them as long or short as you want. Some currently trending designs include swirly patterns on neutral shades, transparent glass like nails, French tips in different colours and patterns etc.

Collage of different gel nail art styles

Gel nail designs can range from autumnal shades like browns, pumpkins, and burgundies, to minimal nail art with paint, glitter or stones. Gel polish has a natural mirror like shine, so pretty nail art patterns such as florals, tribal designs and blended colours really look good.

Collage of different dip powder nail art designs

Finally, for dip powder nails, plain mattes or glosses look pretty, or even ombre shades, holographic chromatic hues, and glitters.

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