Beach Inspired Nail Art

Here in PA, we have about one more month to sport overtly beachy nails, so let’s get to it!  I am still digging my current mani, so I asked my little sis if I could borrow her nails for this little tutorial.  Here’s the finished product:

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For this look, you will need polishes in these colors: White, light blue, darker blue, coral, nude, gold glitter.

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Specifically, I used (left to right):  Wet N Wild -French White Creme, Wet n Wild Megalast – I Need a Refresh-Mint, Jordana – Boy Oh Boy, Wet n Wild – Blazed, NYC – Fashion Safari, La Colors – Dizzy.  (Yeah, my bottle of Blazed got into a fight with a bottle of grey polish inside my suitcase on a flight.  The grey bottle lost.)

You will also need a disposable plastic container like a yogurt cup, Q-tips, a dotting tool, a makeup sponge, acetone or nail polish remover, and a pitcher.   The first thing you want to do is fill the pitcher with a quart of water and let it come to room temperature.   Seriously, that’s a real step in this process, but more about that later.

To begin, paint the thumb, index, and pinky fingers with the nude color to look like sand.  Then paint the middle and ring fingers light blue:

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Let them dry for 5 or 10 minutes.  Then, in order to make clean up easy in the end, tape around the fingers with the blue polish.  You’ll need two pieces of tape per finger: one about 2 inches long, the other about one inch long.  Take the longer piece of tape and place the center of it across the tip of your finger (behind your nail) and then press it down along the sides of your finger.  Then take the shorter piece and wrap it around your finger just below your cuticle.

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Then apply a coat of the glitter polish to your sand-colored nails.

The next thing you’re going to do is give your blue nails an ombre/gradient effect.  Take a makeup sponge and apply some of the darker blue polish to it.

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Then start dabbing the sponge lightly at the very tip of the light blue nails.  As the polish begins to dry on the sponge, continue dabbing about halfway up the nail.  Work carefully and don’t get too crazy here.  It’s easy to add more dark blue polish to the nail if you need to, but if you sponge too vigorously and get too much dark blue polish on the nail, there’s not much you can do to fix it.  Here’s what it should look like after this step:

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Pretty, right?

Next, take your small disposable container and fill it with your room temperature water.  I just pulled a yogurt container out of my recycling bin.   (What you do not want to use is a Styrofoam cup.   Nail polish will eat through Styrofoam and  leave you with a big mess.)

Then, take your white polish and drop a drop of polish onto the surface of the water.  It should spread out like this:

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If your drop of polish falls to the bottom of the container, you are holding your brush too far above the surface of the water.  If your polish doesn’t spread out like this, the problem is either the water or the polish.  If your water is too warm or too cool, the polish won’t spread.  Also, I just used tap water, but I know that some people claim that bottled water works better for this technique because it doesn’t have that extra stuff that can be in tap water.  There’s also a possibility that your polish just doesn’t want to spread.  Different formulas do spread on the water differently.  Any sort of quick dry polish is going to dry on the surface of the water too quickly for you to be able to work with it.  My $1 Wet n Wild worked well, so get yourself a bottle of that.

Now, spritz the polish that is floating on the water with an alcohol based spray from a distance of about 8 inches.  I used some old Bath & Body works stuff.  As you can (hopefully) see (in my crappy picture), this will cause the polish to break up.

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Next, dip your two blue fingers into the container and just hold them there.   I need to mention that this all needs to be done quickly.  The polish will begin to dry really quickly as soon as it spreads out on the water, so as soon as it spreads out, spray it, and within a few seconds of spraying the polish, dip your fingers in there.

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While your fingers are still underwater, blow on the surface of the water to dry the remaining nail polish.  Then while your fingers are still underwater, take a Q-tip and gather up all of the polish that’s still floating on the surface of the water.  You will be able to just sort of spin your Q-tip in the water and it will collect the polish.  Now it’s safe to pull your fingers out.

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Now you can see the reason for the tape.  It’s to keep all of that extra polish for sticking to your fingers, which will make cleanup a lot easier.

Just a little side note: If this whole messing with water thing just seems a little overwhelming, the middle and ring fingers would also look great with some blue, white, or sliver glitter polish instead.

Now it’s time to deal with our sand colored nails.  Take a dotting tool or toothpick dipped in your coral polish and make some starfish.  Use a stippling motion as you make each of the five starfish legs.   Starfish are sort of lumpy and irregular looking, so don’t worry if they don’t look perfect.  When the coral polish dries, go back and add some tiny white dots down each of the legs.

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Now that you’ve given your fingers a little time to dry, carefully take the tape off of your  Tweezers may help here.

Top everything off with a good, shiny quick dry top coat like Seche Vite.  After your nails have had a minute or so to dry, it’s time to clean up the extra white polish around your middle and ring fingers.  I like to use a little brush dipped in acetone.  Pure acetone is strong stuff, and it’s really drying to your hands and nails, but it gets the job done.

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The little brush I use is the e.l.f. concealer brush.  It works really well and it only costs $1.  In a pinch you can use a Q-tip, but it’s harder to get in really close to the edge of the nail.

And here’s the finished look!

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If you give this a try, I’d LOVE to see your recreations!  You can post a picture on our Polish Me Snazzy facebook page, or use the hashtag #polishmesnazzy on instagram so I can see your work!  Thanks for reading!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Beach Inspired Nail Art

  1. Hi, Janelle! What a great icea to make “white lace” to create sea foam on turquoise ocean water! I always think of that technique for either colored marble or else black lace but never thought of your combination. I hope to use that soon. TX much for your idea.

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