Textured, Abstract Nails That Evoke Beachy Memories

And just in case you can't find the textured nail polish needed for this look, I'll show you how to make your own!
Publish date:
May 13, 2014
manicures, nail art, How-To, nail polishes, sally beauty supply, zoya, California, Julep

I recently ventured to the northern coast of California (Carmel-by-the-Sea, specifically), where I relished in temperatures below 100 degrees, dug my feet into the cool, white-sand beaches and consumed my fair share of local wine while chatting it up--slightly buzzed--with the wine makers themselves.

Gourmet cheese, delicious wine, cozy hotel fires and impeccably done seafood aside, my favorite part of the whole ordeal was the stunning sights of the Pacific Ocean. As a desert dweller, a coast line that seemed to go on for infinity was a sight for sore (and dry) eyes!

I miss it already!

Inspiration hit me while my husband navigated the winding roads of the 17-Mile-Drive, a stretch of which is nestled against the tranquil, otter-dotted California coast. The weather was textbook perfection and, as such, we got out many times to explore.

How could I not be inspired by such beauty? I mean, c'mon!

Regarding the nail art, I considered going into super fine detail, but sometimes that's hard to explain in a tutorial and most people who come across complicated looking nail art shake their head and mutter, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Instead, I decided to do a more abstract beachy scene that's loaded with texture. I know that texture isn't everyone's cup o' tea, but I think it suits this look and it's definitely one that'll earn you attention.

What You Need:

• A selection of pretty blues in various shades. I'm using Polish & Co "Get Over It," Julep "Tracy," and Models Own "Indian Ocean."

• White polish. I used Sally Hansen XTreme Wear Nail Color in "White On."

• Beige or nude polish. I opted for Zoya "Minka," a creamy beige.

• Nail art brush.

• Makeup sponge.

• Sugar.

To begin, tear your makeup sponge in half. Then start randomly applying dots of color straight from your nail brush to the sponge. (If you've ever done galaxy nails, this is the same deal.)

Next, start dabbing the makeup sponge onto each nail. You can dab off some of the polish onto another surface (I always use index cards) to control the color better.

By the way, cleanup is pretty easy. I usually use cotton swabs doused in nail polish remover and gently sweep it back and forth around my nails. Some polish will stick to your cuticle beds, but after your next shower (or a good hand scrub once nails are completely dry), that will disappear.

Keep building up layers with various colors. I decided this was a little too dark, so I added more white to the mix until I got this:

You can see I didn't apply a ton of polish to the lower part of my nails. That's because I'm applying the beige there.

Once you've got your blue abstract ocean waves applied with your makeup sponge, it's time to apply your "sand." There are actually nail polishes that already come with texture, but those aren't as common this year as they were last year. I searched high and low for the perfect textured beige, but I couldn't find any I liked. Naturally, I decided to make my own!

If you're making your own textured polish, here's how: Apply a couple drops of beige nail polish to an index card and then sprinkle the tiniest bit of sugar on top.

Mix it all up with a nail art brush and then paint it onto the tips of your nails. I did this without much thought to keep with the abstract theme.

And there you have it! I actually went back in with my Models Own "Indian Ocean"--a duochrome of iridescent purple and teal--and applied it to the waves for more dimension.

When it comes to texture on nails, most people either love it or hate it. I think it's really beautiful in same cases, including this one. I hope you like it and, better yet, try it yourself!