My Best Worst Manicure: The Most Frustrating Thing I've Ever Tried On My Nails

Any manicure that involves whittling is probably more than I actually want to deal with in my living room.
Publish date:
February 21, 2012
nail art, i spend way too much time looking at my nails, cute nails, nailpolish

A while back, I gave that newsprint manicure thing a try. I'd seen pictures and tutorials all over. It couldn't be that hard, I reasoned.

Mostly, I was right. The actual manicure itself was a breeze. I just failed to take into account how freaking hard it was going to be for me to find a newspaper in this town.

And in my quest for one, I wound up spending $167 on other items.

Important items. Like socks with sparkly argyle print. And nail stickers. And a new pair of stompy boots with zippers on them.

I've taken to thinking of that night as the most expensive manicure I've ever gotten. And while I've done the newsprint manicure a couple of times, it will never not remind me of that $167.

Sometimes I am bitter. Just a little bit. Mostly, though, I'm really glad I bought those boots. And those nail stickers.

But as far as "traumatic" nail polish experiences went, I figured I was getting off pretty easy. After all, I hadn't gone into debt or spent money I should have spent on bills. It wasn't the most responsible use of my time or energy (or funds) but sometimes you do have to be frivolous.

So the newsprint manicure occupied my mental space labeled Best Worst Manicure, and I continued on my merry way. Until I saw this post about a

Planet Earth Splatter manicure


Look at those amazing colors. Look at the glitter. And the shine. And the splatter.

That post wasn't a tutorial, really, but when I decided to see if I could follow her example, I didn't think splattering could possibly be all that difficult.

Y'all, I was so wrong.

The same qualities that make Orly and China Glaze polishes excellent for nail stamping work against you with the red hot fervor of a thousand burning suns when you're trying to splatter nail polish. That is -- they are thick and cohesive, kind of self-leveling, and they don't want to splatter off of whatever implement you're using.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The blogger mentioned using a coffee stirrer stick. I don't drink coffee and, even more relevant, I was at home where I use spoons in my hot beverages. I didn't have a coffee stirrer stick. But I had a bamboo skewer.

Realization number one was that no matter what tool I used, I was going to need a second pair of hands to do the splattering. This is how Ed wound up shirtless and kneeling at my feet on a Thursday night. (Insert multitude of jokes here.)

He was shirtless because the nail polish goes


when you're splattering it. Trying to get nail polish out of clothing isn't my idea of a good time at the laundromat, so we both shucked our tops.

Now it's getting racy, right? Topless nail polishing! Bamboo skewers! Those just aren't as sexy. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, bamboo skewers and finger nails just don't go together at all. What was I thinking?

The bamboo skewer, unfortunately, was too sturdy to really splatter well. So we wound up splitting one in half. I should have called a halt to the production -- any manicure that involves whittling is probably more than I actually want to deal with in my living room. But onwards, ever onwards, because at that point I was determined to make this damn manicure work.

It's really hard to aim splatters. Which isn't a surprise if you have ever splattered paint with a paint brush. It goes everywhere by design. Well, by randomness and physics, actually, but you get what I'm saying.

I wound up with nail polish all over my fingers -- and not on my finger nails at all.

Eventually, after a fair amount of laughing and swearing from both of us, Ed figured out a splattering strategy. It was still hit or miss (yes, I absolutely just went there) but it mostly got my nails splattered.

Mostly. And it took a really long time -- we were at it for about two hours. And by "it" I mean splattering nail polish, not other shirtless activities.

Because it took so long, the splatters we'd started with were nice and dry by the time we finished. But so was all the other nail polish splattered all over my fingers and hands. And coffee table.

A cotton ball soaked in acetone nail polish remover cures a lot of ills, but clean-up was pretty significant. I started getting bits of cotton ball stuck to my nails and decided to call it a night before I even finished, mostly because I'd have cried if my nails had gotten messed up by a freaking cotton ball.

I added a coat of glitter, then a quick-dry top coat, and then I headed to the bathroom to soak my hands in warm water. That's usually a pretty sure-fire way to clean off the old cuticles. Didn't work this time because there was just so much mess. When I nearly messed up a nail messing around with scraping nail polish off of my skin, I threw up my hands and went to bed.

It was midnight so it was about time for that anyway. Just saying. It's not like I went to bed at 2 in the afternoon -- it was frustrating but not



It's just nail polish, after all.

No lie, I really do love the result after a final bit of clean-up. The glitter sparkles, the splatters are very 80s, and even though I don't have nearly the complexity of splatter that the inspiration manicure does, I like the... casualness of it. It's very different from how I usually wear my nails.

Still, I'm not sure I'm ever going to do this again. I'm not sure Ed would ever be willing to do this again, for one. For another, I've got too many things to do!

Has anyone had success with splatter manicures? What tools did you use to make your splatters? I want there to be an easier way!

The newspring manicure is always going to remind me of spending too much money without a plan. I think this tops that experience, though -- this is my new Best Worst Manicure, by a long shot. It's always going to remind me a bamboo skewers, being topless in the living room and feeling utterly incompetent because two grown intelligent people couldn't figure out how to make a mess on my nails.