Salon quality nails without the salon quality small talk!
I love watching YouTube’s finest beauty gurus while I’m doing my makeup. Every morning, I boot up the ol’ computer and apply the look of the day while listening to the likes of Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury.
While on my morning watch a year or so back, a suggested video for a nail art tutorial popped up. I was sucked into watching someone very easily draw intricate patterns onto their nails. So I gave it a try, picked up a few dotting tools and quickly learned that I have zero nail-artistic ability.
And let me tell you, I was not eager to practice and learn. I wanted my nails to look awesome, and I wanted it right then and there. To facilitate my immediate need for flawless nail art, I made a purchase that gives me the easiest, perfect nail art every time.
Say hello to the magic of nail art stamping!
It's a surprisingly easy process that gives you cool nail art—no natural talent necessary!
First things first: apply your base coat and main color. I absolutely love the Orly Bonder base coat because it really locks the polish to your nails, and if you have weak/flakey nails like I do, it keeps all the fun little layers together to keep your manicure going strong.
For my main color, I went with white for a fresh, soon-to-be summer look. Sally Hansen’s Let’s Snow is by far and away the best white polish I’ve tried. It isn’t streaky and you get full opacity in two coats, which is pretty miraculous for a white polish.
You need to have your main color be 100% dry before doing your stamping.
For tools, you will need a nail art stamping kit, which can all be bought with all the pieces together, but I actually bought all the pieces separately so I could get a whopping 25 different plates to choose from. The necessary pieces you’ll need are the plates that have the artwork, a tray to hold the plate, the stamp, and the scraper. You’ll also need nail polish remover, cotton balls, Q-Tips, and a surface you don’t mind getting polish on because there will be excess polish everywhere if you don’t wipe it off on something.
The process itself may look scary and laborious (OMG SEVEN STEPS PER NAIL?!?) but once you try, it really is very quick and easy.
Load up your stamp of choice with nail polish; when choosing a polish for stamping, the thicker the better. Your most difficult to spread, viscous polish that you love the color of but can’t be bothered to work with on your nails will find its home here. Too thin of a polish won’t transfer as nicely from the stamp to your nails—trust me, I’ve tried.
Scrape off the excess polish, this is why you want to do this on paper towels. Once you scrape it you will have a bunch of extra polish stuck on the scraper that needs to go somewhere stat. I just wipe it off on one side of the paper towel and keep moving on.
Steps three and four need to happen pretty quick, but don’t sweat it. As soon as you have scraped off all the extra polish, roll the stamp over the polish to adhere the design to the stamp. The rubbery end of the stamp is rounded already, so it makes it easy to roll it over the polish without disturbing the polished up pattern beneath.
Again, quickly here, roll the polish design over your nail. If you wait too long, the design will start to dry and won’t adhere to your nail.
You will definitely get some of the design on your fingers, but it's super-easy to get off because it is such a thin layer. (But if that's going to freak you out, try Marci’s nifty glue trick for quicker mess removal.)
Clean your stamp and plate. Unfortunately, you need to get that excess polish off your stamp and plate after each and every nail or else your next attempt will have dried nail polish gumming up the joint and making a clean pattern basically impossible.
Now just repeat steps one through five on all of your remaining nails.
Clean off all that excess nail polish on your fingers. I love the pointed Q-Tips for this so you can get really close to your nails without wiping off all your hard work you just finished.
And presto change-o—you’ve got super-fancy nail art!
Wait a good couple of minutes until your manicure is totally dry to put on your top coat. If you don’t, it can smear your pretty artwork!
The learning curve for nail art stamping is pretty low; you’ll get it all figured out during your first manicure. Plus, once you pick up the plates you’ll have pretty much endless prints and will always have themed manicures as an option. I always get compliments on my nails when I have them stamped. People either think they are nail art stickers or that I meticulously painted them all myself.
- Have you ever tried nail art stamping?
- Got an awesome mani going on right now? Show us pictures in the comments!