Naked Nails With Nail Art: Is This The Next Big Thing In Manicures?

Where Zooey Dechanel’s nails have gone, I must surely follow.
Publish date:
January 20, 2014
nail art, glitter, nail polishes, opi, Zooey Deschanel

During the Golden Globes, the xoVain writers were a house divided. What could have caused sister to turn against sister so dramatically?

Zooey Deschanel’s nails.

Some of us really liked them. Some of us were puzzled by them. And some of us hated them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. The phrase “golden nipples” was thrown around, which derailed the conversation completely, though everyone eventually agreed that metallic nipples should definitely be a beauty trend of 2014.

As for me, I was... confused. Like a Rorschach, everyone can look at Zooey’s nails and see something different. Tom Bachik, the man behind the polish, apparently created the look by painting a neutral pink along the face of the nail, then using a yellowish-white to create that “uneven” tip, before painting the daisy design overtop.

Maybe it was the filter or the non-focused picture, but I didn’t see any of that. I saw bare nails with a design painted on them, the free edge (that’s the white part) unevenly growing out from the quick. That’s a totally normal thing for your nails to do, by the way. But a nail art design that took several hours PROBABLY shouldn’t end up looking like a flower with a gold nipple painted on a base of nothing.

I don’t know if I like this. I personally can’t stand things that protrude from the face of my nail, so those golden studs would be a no-go. And from an aesthetic standpoint, I feel like the naked nail look beneath undermines the daisy design. It looks unfinished, undone. The pattern itself is an afterthought as I try to figure out what’s going on with the rest of her nail: Is that a French manicure? A clear base-coat? Are her nails dirty? Is her free edge growing unevenly away from the quick? If so, WAS ZOOEY DESCHANEL A NAIL-BITER?

In short, I’m not a fan.

We’ve talked about nail art on bare nails here before, and we were all a little “hmmm” about it. But since Zooey Dechanel is undoubtedly a nail style icon, where she goes, trends are likely to follow.

Personally, I am not a huge nail art person. It’s beautiful, and I appreciate the heck out of it--Glennis is an artist of the highest calibre--but I don’t do it on myself.

I prefer to get nuts with glitter. That should probably go on my tombstone. “HERE LIES ALLE: SHE GOT NUTS WITH GLITTER.”

With that in mind, I suppose my version of this trend would be wearing glittery polish over bare nails--something that I’ve never done in my entire nail-obsessed life.

You read that right. I ALWAYS wear glitter over another coloured polish. Fine glitter, huge chunky glitter--it doesn’t matter. Aesthetically, I like that the coloured base peeks through the spaces between the glitter, acting as a smooth visual “field” for the sparkle to play on. It also helps minimise the discomfort I feel when glitter isn’t evenly distributed across the nail--I really hate when things that OUGHT to match DON’T. Practically, most glitter polish is a pain in the butt to remove. I find it’s a lot easier to take off if there are a couple of coloured coats underneath it.

But I am a beauty writer, and it’s my job to push myself in new directions and explore new trends. So I girded my loins, removed my baby blue nail polish, and got ready to try out the bare nail-plus-etcetera “trend.”

I started with two coats of clear base coat. I use Nutra Nail Green Tea Hardener, because it makes my nails super-strong and prevents them from getting stained or--as is usually the case with glitter--scraped up. I didn’t bother with “faking” a more intense naked nail look with a pink shade all over my nail, then white up on the top--why bother, you know? Go actually bare or go home.

The glitter I decided to use is from OPI’s new Gwen Stefani collaboration. In True Stefani Fashion seems simple at first glance, but is totally rad close-up. Small silver glitter is suspended in a clear base, with flecks of slightly larger, round holographic glitter throughout. The largest pieces of holographic glitter are square instead of hexagonal, which is a subtle touch but feels really fresh to me. I love how they catch the light.

I applied a single coat of In True Stefani Fashion overtop of my base, then applied two topcoats so that my manicure didn’t feel bumpy.

So, what’s my final verdict?

Well, the glitter is fantastic. I hope that OPI keeps this in their regular rotation of polishes, because it’s a winner. But in the same way I don’t love the nail art on bare (or bare looking) nails thing, I am definitely not down with the glitter-on-top-of-nothing look.

Prepare for a personal opinion, and also a look into my weird head:

It isn’t that I don’t like this. It’s that I CAN’T. I looked down at my nails, and I felt like I’d forgotten something. When it got cold, I could see the pale blue colour creep across my nail beds (this is called Raynaud’s phenomenon, and it’s not dangerous for me--just odd). I didn’t like being able to see the white of my nails, because they’re different on each finger. I also didn’t like being able to see the little half-moon on some of my nails and not others. The glitter is not evenly distributed, not even close, and it annoyed me to the point where I was getting angry about it. I felt like it looked messy, and although my nails don’t always have to be perfectly painted and “done,” I like them to at least look neat. I would have preferred to have no polish on at all than multi-size glitter on bare nails.

This trend does not work with my personal style, and it ESPECIALLY doesn’t work with my brain. The relief I felt when I soaked this off my fingers was palpable (an aside: In True Stefani Fashion comes off VERY easily for a glitter polish). I can’t imagine what kind of Yellow Wallpaper madness I’d have descended into if I’d had patterns painted on my bare nails. I probably would have tried to cut off my hands.

However! I do not want to discourage anyone else from trying this, because not everyone in the world has to like the things that I like. I know that to some of you, this is totally beautiful and you can’t wait to try it out. You should! Don’t let my personal opinion on a style keep you away from something that you really love, just because it isn’t for me.

So what do you guys think: Nail art and/or glitter over naked (or naked-looking) nails--is this a trend you can get behind, or something we should scrap forever?