Fear No: Blue Waves Manicure Thursday 20 September, 2012

The simplest nail art design of all always gets me the most compliments. How I got this blue waves manicure, broken down.

It may shock most people that I only recently began dabbling in DIY nail art. After all, I’ve been working on a nail magazine for 12 years! But, shocking as it is, it’s true. And the first time I tried my hand at doing something—anything—I came up with my little waves trick, perhaps the simplest form of nail “art” ever. Because, let me tell you: I am not gifted with a polish brush. So I need simple.

So, being as I’m pretty good at this technique, I continue to do it, over and over, using different color combos. And when I recently received raves about this blue beauty from a former Allure editor and other beauty industry gals, I knew I was on to something. Here’s how I got this look:


1. After base-coating my nails, I applied a layer of OPI Neon White Base Coat to the entire nail. This serves to pump up the lightest color, which is a very soft sky blue.

2. I followed by painting the entire nail in BB Couture…ut-oh. It’s an old sample (meep!) from 2010 simply labeled #3. Sorry guys! But it’s the faintest sky blue, almost white. You always “base” your design with your lightest color.

3. Now here’s the fun part: I very randomly paint the next darkest color—in this case Dermelect ME polish in Above It—using three different-length strokes from the cuticle area to mid-nail bed. I vary stroke length from nail to nail.

4. I do the same random three-stroke technique on a smaller scale using the darkest color near the cuticle area, this time Dior Vernis in Electric Blue. You don’t have to follow the same “pattern” as you did with the previous color, but it does tend to look more put-together if you do.

And voila! You now have waves!


Why you too should have no fear: Honestly, it’s so easy. If I can do it, trust me, you can too. And the best part: You don’t have to sweat the technique. It’s not about perfection. The random feel to it just makes it more interesting to look at…and infinitely easier to master. Now, a cascade of blues may not be your thing—I get that. Just because I have a thing for blue doesn’t mean you do too. Maybe you want something less in-your-face. You can go for ombrés of the same color family, as I did, but use a lighter variety (maybe a gradation from nude to beige to sienna!), or you can use complementary colors, like purples with yellows. The options are endless; the design, way too simple for words.

I’m thinking of putting together a proper how-to post with some images…but, until then….

What do you think of this nail design?

Karie L. Frost Signature


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