trend to try: the bold manicure

Editor’s Note: Welcome back, Kim! I have to admit, today’s trend might be a bit beyond my ken, but Kim’s here to help us push our style boundaries a bit. And there’s no question that I’ve been seeing this look absolutely everywhere this season. As always, our trusty Trends columnist has her (very well-polished) finger on the pulse.

Okay, I confess…now I’m contemplating a bit of glitter. Baby steps…


So, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not too quick on picking up manicure trends. I think I was the last person in the world to discover the power of a great nude polish. And I definitely rocked the acrylic French manicure well beyond the appropriate high school years. All of this to say that, while this may not be news to you, bold manicures are absolutely everywhere lately.

To get me started on the road to a more modern mani, my lovely friend Molly recommended that I pick up a bottle of Butter London’s matte finish top coat.  You add a coat to any color and it instantly becomes matte, and almost chalky in appearance.  I picked up a bottle at the Adorn fire sale this weekend and tried it out last night.  Pictures do not do it justice.  You’re just going to have to take my word and go try it out.  Seriously, I will never look at polish the same way again!  High-gloss solid shades suddenly feel so 2011.

Now that I’m in the mood to update my look, I thought I’d see what I could find to maximize my efforts. To scout out a few fun, bold trends, I started out on my niece’s Pinterest page, where I quickly discovered Prima Creative. Not only does this girl have mad nail painting skills, some of her designs are created based on runway trends and paired accordingly. It’s pretty amazing – check it out.

All images via Prima Creative

Some of these are clearly not for a beginner, but I love the idea of taking this photo to my favorite manicurist and seeing what magic she can work.

On the slightly more attainable side of things…

Images c/o Prima Creative / PinterestNails via Xfinity / Sweet Talk on the Spot

I just might attempt these ones on my own…rumor has it to get the ‘ombre’ french tip effect, you use a sponge eyeshadow application brush.  If you get there first, let me know if you try this and it works!

Cupcakes and Cashmere recently offered up a great tutorial to get your own mod mani, and I loved the look she came up with using glitter and paint pens (below left). You can see part way through the process all the nails are a solid color with a single sparkle finger.  I like that look too. But really, it’s all about the amazing final, graphic result.

Images c/o Cupcakes and Cashmere / Little Chief Honeybee / Hey Nice Nails

I LOVE these stripes and roses. And the stained-glass effect?? Pretty bold, but also pretty fun!

So, let’s be honest. Unless you’re crazy talented in the hand-eye coordination department, chances are you can’t do most of these manicures yourself (I know I couldn’t). Luckily, I’ve come prepared with a few tips to make these looks more attainable:

  • Adding dots is easy – just take the head of a straight pin, dip it lightly in polish, and apply the dot to your nail.
  • Stripes are a bit trickier, but there’s a new wave of nail polish paint pens on the market that would be invaluable here. Just paint on your base color, then draw the lines on with the pen. Done!
  • To get those half moons, use the stickers that come with a DIY French mani kit – they’ll give you the pefect guidelines. Just be sure to start with the lighter color, as it’s easier to cover mistakes.
  • Simplest of all, you can find all sorts of ready-made bold mani options these days. Check out the options from Sally Hansen or Butter London, or go even bolder with a site called Nail Fraud – it’s the ultimate bold mani cheat. Order a set of high impact nail decals and stick away!

Good luck…let us know how you do!

~ Kim B.

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