Silver by Love & Beauty (base)
Sexy in the City and Grape Juice by China Glaze (marbling)
This was my first attempt at the water marbling technique, also known as tie-dye nails. After reading about it and watching a few youtube videos, I thought, “It can’t be that hard. Drop polish in water. Dip nail in polish. And voila!” Well, it wasn’t terribly difficult, but it did take more patience than a normal manicure. I painted my nails silver to provide a base for the marbling, and used Sexy in the City (blue) and Grape Juice (purple) for the actual marbling. If you’re interested in any of the colors I used, just click on the links above for EnCouleur reviews.
Overall, I was pretty satisfied with this look. Each nail is unique, and although I had a few mistakes, most aren’t terribly noticeable. I was surprised that the mistakes seemed to be more visible in artificial light than in sunlight, but the manicure looks nice either way. Given the effort it takes, I won’t be doing this often, but it’s definitely something I want to try again. The best part about this manicure is that people will notice it, and their jaws will drop in disbelief when you tell them you did it yourself.
If you’re interested in trying it out, just keep reading. (And defintely, watch some youtube videos).
Things you’ll need: plastic cups (or a glass you don’t mind getting dirty), nail polish remover, q-tips, cuticle oil (I used olive oil), tooth picks, paper towels (for general clean up), water (preferably filtered, not tap), and nail polish of course
The Process: First, I tried a variety of nail polish colors and brands. Shimmers tend to dissipate quickly in the water, but you can still use them (just add two drops at a time if you want a darker tone). I settled on two colors by China Glaze mostly because I liked the way they looked together, and I felt the silver base was fairly neutral.
Once you’ve chosen your colors, the first step is to paint your nails with your base color, no need for a top coat. (A clear base is also an option). After your nails dry, fill a cup about half way with room temperature water. I found that filtered water was better than tap water because it made fewer bubbles which can totally ruin the look if they get on your nail. Next, open your first color and use the applicator to place a drop onto the surface of the water, in the center of the cup. Don’t drop the polish from too high up though because then it will sink to the bottom of the cup. Then repeat with your next color. Keep alternating until you have several concentric circles. I did about three or four drops of each color. Use the toothpick to create a pattern. I started from the outermost circle and pulled in to the center.
Once satisfied with the pattern, dip a q-tip in oil, and cover your finger in it. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful this is when it comes to cleaning off excess polish. I skipped this step a couple of times, and it made clean up a pain. The oil keeps the polish from bonding to your skin so that you can just peel it off instead of attacking your hands with polish remover. Just be sure not to get any oil on your nail. Then find a nice section in your pattern and press your finger (nail down and parallel to the water surface) into the polish. Use a tooth pick to skim the excess polish out of the water before removing your finger.
Then just repeat this process for each nail. It’s best to due one nail at a time, that way you can be sure you’re getting a nice pattern on each nail and avoid mistakes. Once your nails are dry, finish the look with a nice top coat, and you’re done! It took me about an hour to do all of my nails, and about another hour to let them dry, apply top coat, and remove all of the excess polish.