Friday, July 26, 2013

How I do my nails: Painting edition

Hey! I don't have a nail art post today, but I would like to talk about how I paint my nails and get them to look how they do. I don't know if anyone wants to see this, so I'll put a jump so you can skip it if you want. It's pretty text heavy.

I get asked a lot, "how do you do it?" There's many important elements to my technique that I do, but for this installation, I'll be talking about physically painting my nails.
  • First, you have to make sure your nails are clean. Remove all polish and wash your hands thoroughly. It's good to take care of your cuticles (separate post on that later) and shape your nails however you want (there'll also be a post on that later). I don't moisturize my hands after this step because if there's oil on your nails, the polish won't stick. 
  • Paint your nails with a base coat and let it dry completely.
  • Paint your nails one coat (or two, if it's a very sheer polish) of whichever color you want. You basically want to be one coat away from opacity.
  • I do characters on my fingernails. Sometimes I'll incorporate a design into them, but I am really into doing character art right now. I start this process by painting a coat of thin top coat (Beauty Secrets) onto a plastic bag and let it dry. It's so important to let it dry, I usually leave it overnight.
  • Nail polish isn't as easy to work with as acrylic paint. So I peel off the clear polish from my bag and paint my characters right on it with paint. You can position the piece of nail polish after you outline your character to make sure it fits. I tend to spend a while looking at pictures and basing my characters after pictures I see online.
  • This step is actually a personal preference so I don't get bubbles. When you're done, cut out the character. I use a paper cutter blade. It's not important to get the exact outline (such as on characters with lots of hair), but try to cut off most of the excess polish. If you choose not to do this step, just put the clear polish on and use polish remover and a Q-tip to gently remove the excess.
  • Paint your nails the color you already have on them, and stick on your character while the base is wet. You can move it around if you don't have the position just right, then press down gently so it's flush with the polish. Don't worry if your polish gets a bit dented. Let it dry.
  • Use a topcoat of your choice.
You can also paint straight on your nail polish with acrylic paint, but personally, I find it easier to paint on the clear polish and usually do so. Not always, but usually. If you do choose to paint straight on your base instead of using the plastic bag method and you mess up, you can wash it off with water and it will still leave your base looking good so you don't have to re-do the base.

Now, I'll list my reasons to use acrylic paint.
  • It's very, very inexpensive. Like, 70 cents per bottle while polish runs about 8 dollars, and it's 4 times the amount per bottle.
  •  It's easier to mix if you want different colors so you don't have to buy a different bottle every single time if you want a slightly different shade.
  •  It's really easy to work with because it's so thin and doesn't get your brush all gunky.
  • If you mess up, you can go over it with a different color of acrylic paint and it doesn't look like you messed up at all because it's so thin.
  • It dries almost instantly. 
Another tip is you want a black outline, paint the black outline first then put your colors on top of it so your nail art can have really thin lines.

The cons to acrylic paint are:
  • You need to put on multiple coats of topcoat so it looks nice and smooth when you're done.
  • Sometimes it gets a bit bubbly with the topcoat.
  • You need a few coats to get it opaque.
  • You can't use it as a base. It'll wash off, chip, and just really wear down super easily.
Those are honestly my only issues with acrylic paint, and that's if I'm being nitpicky. None of those cons actually affect my technique at all.

I hope this helped someone out there!

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