Nail Art

2014-03-04 01:23

Nail Art

Nail art has become an international phenomenon and many are using their fingernails as a canvas to display creativity and personality. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are overflowing with people showing off their latest and at times, impossibly intricate designs. The important question is where did it all begin and how has the colour of your fingernails become just as, if not more important than the outfit you are wearing?

The history of nail polish and nail art dates back to 3000BC in China, India and Egypt. Plants were processed to create a dye that was used as a type of nail enamel, this was then applied and represented social class and wealth; deep colours such as red were worn by the rich and lighter paler colours were used by the poor. The Inca civilization even went as far as painting intricate animals on their nails to demonstrate which tribe they belonged to!

It wasn’t until the early 19th century that nail enamel was modernised into the nail polish that we see and know of today. The boom of the automobile industry introduced a wide selection of paints and colours which were soon adapted to be used on nails. The classic “moon manicure” was created and Revlon changed the colour recipe promoting pigments instead of dyes which further escalated the nail polish industry’s success.

It was only a matter of time before nail polish became a statement of personality and creativity. Rock, punk and goth groups wore black nail polish and the colour of your nails communicated the subculture you belonged to. Today, nail art is fully integrated into the fashion world, the application of gems, airbrushing, fine detail and nail extensions means that they can complete any look.

I personally love changing the colour and pattern of my nails to finish off my outfit and rather than seeing it as a chore I enjoy creating new designs. There is plenty of inspiration on the internet and with the latest introduction of metallic nail wraps everyone can get a professional finish in half the time!

How To Apply Nail Polish

Here is a short video which shows the correct way to apply nail varnish, with expert handy hints thrown in. Create that extra glow to your appearance with our guide to applying nail polish.

Step 1: You will need

You will need:
Some Nail varnish
A Nail varnish remover
A Hand and nail moisturiser
A Cuticle stick
An Emery board
A Cotton pad
Some cuticle oil

And you might find you also need:
And a cuticle trimmer

Step 2: Clear your schedule

Take the phone off the hook, and ignore the doorbell. Or at the very least try to allow yourself some time to apply nail varnish properly. It will last longer if you do.

Step 3: Remove old varnish

You have to remove any old varnish before you put new varnish on. Put some nail varnish remover on to a cotton pad and wipe all of your nails down with it until it's gone.

Try to use remover that doesn't contain acetone or alcohol, this will dry the nails out and make the nail varnish chip.

Also try not to use nail varnish remover more than once a week, your nails need time to recover from all the chemicals to stay healthy.

Step 4: Cuticle oil

Brush on cuticle oil and massage it in. Leave it on whilst filing to soften your nails.
If you don't have cuticle oil, you can use olive oil or any edible oil.

Step 5: File your nails

Neaten the shape of your nail, using a file. Only file in one direction, so your nails won't flake at the tip.

Step 6: Wash your hands

You don't want to put a layer of varnish over a layer of dirt or on top of nail varnish remover, so wash your hands thoroughly first. This gets rid of the nail dust from the filing too.

Step 7: Tidy up your cuticles

Cuticles are the skin which overlaps on to the nail. It's a natural part of the nail, but oil in the skin means that the nail polish will not stick to it for long.

To soften your cuticles soak your nails in warm water, this can take up to 15 minutes.

A great alternative to this, is to apply cuticle remover to you nails, give your hands a generous coat of moisturiser, and wrap in cling film for 15 minutes. This softens the cuticles, and moisturises your hands!

Step 8: Get rid of hang nails

If you have any hang nails, trim these off too, with a cuticle trimmer, or with nail scissors.

Step 9: Remove oil

Wipe down your nails with nail polish remover, so that all the oil is removed. Otherwise the nail varnish would not stay on well.

Step 10: Apply a thin layer

Open the nail varnish, and wipe the brush on the side of the pot to make sure there isn't too much on it. Your nail varnish will last longer, if you do a few thin layers, rather than a single thick one.
Leave your hand flat. Brush it on quickly in 2 or 3 strokes. You don't need to worry about slight unevenness, it will settle in a nice smooth surface.
Only brush the varnish near but not to the edge of the nail. Don't paint on the cuticle.

Step 11: Wait

Don't move a muscle until it is fully dry or it might smudge.

Step 12: Apply more layers

Once the first layer is totally dry put on another layer. Most nail varnish is better and stronger if you put on a few layers.

Step 13: Tidy up

If you've just got any polish on the skin around your nail, wrap a small amount of cotton wool around a cuticle stick, and add some nail polish remover to gentle rub away the unwanted nail varnish. This is much more precise than a cotton bud.