The Nail Art That Is Getting Me Through Post-Election Devastation

Opal nail art may be so 2013 but we did just vote ourselves back to the past, so
Publish date:
November 11, 2016
manicures, nail art, opi, Sally Hansen, deborah lippmann, formula x, floss gloss, rgb, opals, Cirque

I wasn't going to write today. I woke up this morning, November 9th, after a night of bar tending the Presidential Election and felt that I just didn't have it in me.

Last night was a long one, not only because the bar was packed, but because it was so clear so early that our next president would not be Hillary Clinton. People got anxious very early, which turned into being emotional all night. It felt like I had all of the energy sucked out of me, both physically and emotionally.

I woke up too early, aching all over, but I couldn't go back to sleep.

Most of the time, I'm rambling on about how important beauty is and how transformative it can be, but times like these I get all down on myself and think, How the fuck am I supposed to write about lipstick at a time like this?

But then I realize it's because beauty will always be there for us in times like these because it's never just putting on makeup, right? That's why we get a new haircut when we go through a breakup or why we do face masks with our friends when we're depressed. It's therapeutic. When we look out and everything we see is bullshit, we can look in the mirror and like what we see, even if we're not wearing any makeup at all.

I didn't want to turn on the TV (also I literally do not know how to turn on my TV so that helped.)

And I certainly did not want to check any social media platform, so I decided to do my nails. It's one of the only ways that I can actually quiet my brain. Yoga doesn't work, sleeping doesn't work. Doing my nails is the only way I can really shut my brain off.

Maybe I shouldn't be writing right now because every time I write something like this, I get so embarrassed by the time it posts.


You know how all you freaks are mesmerized by those paint mixing videos at the moment? I don't get it. At least it's not another Arthur meme, I guess. But you know what I have been watching every so often?

Skydog Jewelry's Instagram videos.

Omggggg. Before you start with me, no they did not pay for this plug. I've just been staring at opals lately, okay?

I can year you now. "Opal nails have been done! So 2013!" I KNOW. But my nails are a little longer than normal right now. They're at that length to be perfect for nail art but make sex a little dangerous, which is such a blessing and a curse. I wanted to have a little opal moment in this trash fire of a year and I figured now was the time.

See how those opals above have so much dimension? How they're pastel one minute and so fiery the next? I mean, I know that you guys know what an opal is, but...

I haven't really seen anyone pull that specific, true opal effect off, because many people simply use flat colors when doing them. I wanted to put my nail collection to good use and pull out some of my douchromes and more dimensional polishes and see if I could nail an opal mani that really resembled the stone.

So. I primed my nails with a coat of Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails and then the base coat from Deborah Lippmann's Gel Lab Pro.

I usually see people start with a nude base that matches their skin tone, but in the videos above, the stone seems more of a milky blue, so I used Moon Baby from Floss Gloss, the best nail company in existence.

Then, to start adding a bit of opalescent dimension off the rip, I started dotting around OPI's Go On Green — an icy baby blue with a green reflex. I hate this color.

And then I grabbed a couple of my favorite and most dramatic duochrome polishes and used a dry brush technique to swipe the polish across the nail.

First I used Cirque's Version Infinity, a metallic navy blue with a purple flash.

Then for a little glimpse of shimmer, I made a few streaks of gold with Sally Hansen's Golden-i. I don't know, dude.

I wanted to work some pink in there, obviously, so I grabbed Deborah Lippmann's Makin' Whoopee, a very hot but very sheer pink. This one, I swiped around and then kind of blotted out.

I grabbed Cirque's Ghost in the Machine, a green with a purple duochrome flex, which is what I thought I originally used with Version Infinity, but I was wrong. No matter! What's the old adage? You can never have too many duochromes on one nail? Ah, yes.

I thought a shimmery red would look cool when I layered the polishes up later, so I used Blazing from Formula X, a metallic red that waltzed out of my nightmares.

And then what did I do? I took a Q-Tip, dipped it in nail polish remover, and scrubbed it around my nails. I was worried that all these little dots of polish were making it too opaque, and we can't have that now, can we?

So this is what it looks like before we move on and really make some magic happen. I'm not not into this pattern.

Next, to add a bit of dimension, I grabbed Rainbow Fish from Sally Hansen's Pearl Crush collection. This collection was in stores for approximately four minutes back in 2015, I demanded samples and then never once touched them.

It's a jelly with hexagons of glitter and foil for an iridescent shine, perfect for getting a shell, fin, or opal effect. I didn't even paint it on, I just grabbed the hexagons with an orange wood stick and placed them around the nail.

Next, I grabbed Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel in Terra-Cotta and threw that around the nail, for what reason I am not sure.

Here's where it gets good. To take this manicure from messy to opalescent, grab a sheer polish as light as you can get. A sheer light beige meant for french manicures will work fine, but for this, I grabbed Taken, from the Jennifer Fisher RGB collab from 2013, a clean, sheer white. Super unique and very unlike me, but I love it. It's one of the most unique polishes in my collection.

Next, on top of that, you want to layer a sheer, iridescent polish. I love these sorts of polishes because you can do so much with them. I grabbed all my favorites from MAC, Pacifica, Chanel, Dior, and a few others, but the one I used is the one I always go back to. Platinum by Sally Hansen Diamond Strength.

The Pacifica polish reflects orange, the Chanel polish reflects more red, but this reflects lavender, so you know I had to use it. Plus, instead of being a clear base with metallic pigments mixed in, it's a milky (ew sorry), creamy, uniform polish that is made for pulling off opals.

It reflects a surprising amount of lavenders and pinks, so I went back over it with another thin layer of Taken, to mute it just a bit. The magic happens when you layer the sheer light polish and the opal polish just enough for the colors to meld in and out of each other, look different in varying lights, and have an iridescent shine.

Truthfully, this isn't my best, but I'm not even sure that was the point this time. I love how it turned out. Next time I do stress nails, I think I'll aim to use more bright, metallic oranges and yellows between the sandwich of pale blue and the top layers, so the colors will really pop from underneath the milky top coats.

Have you done opal nails? Show me in the comments and tell me what you used! Actually just show me your favorite nails or whatever the hell else you want. I could use a distraction right now.