Does your case of spring fever have you bored with your basic manicure? We totally feel you. With all of those upcoming rooftop parties, barbecues, and spring weddings looming over us, we’re in need of something to step up our nail game from simple to statement-making.
Fear not, there’s no need for costly salons and the upkeep that comes along with them for a really knockout nail look. We turned to celebrity nail artist Mei Kawajiri to dream up some festive ideas that even the most artistically challenged and shaky-handed novices can pull off from the comfort of their own bedroom.
Kawajiri is essentially the Queen of Nail Art, with clients ranging from Janelle Monáe and the Hadid sisters to the Balenciaga and Yeezy. Naturally, we trusted her expertise on designs that may look complicated, but are actually quite easy to create. From unexpected, three-dimensional nail art to holographic sparkles that are out of this world, scroll on to get the lowdown on five fresh (and actually DIY-able) nail art ideas to turn your mani into an actual work of art.
Trippy holographicsSure, you could paint each nail with a simple holographic nail color, but why not make things extra trippy?
Kawajiri took the holographic nail look to the next level by using multiple shades of holographic nail tape cut into tiny strips. After applying a clear base coat, use a tweezer to place one skinny nail strip in the middle of the nail, and continue placing one strip next to the other until the full nail is covered. The result? A totally psychedelic look.
'70s magicThe ‘70s have been on a serious comeback train for some time now, so why not channel the trend via your manicure? For this look, Kawajiri was inspired by vintage Emilio Pucci prints.
This one definitely requires a bit of a steady hand, but if you’re up for the challenge, the look is very on point. After painting on a neutral base coat, Mei recommends using striper polishes (which come with skinny brushes) to paint more intricate designs. Don’t have any handy? Try dipping a skinny paint brush into your favorite polish.
Color Club, Nail Polish in ‘Blush Crush’ (Base), $8.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Art Striper in ‘Neon Yellow,’ $4.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Art Striper in ‘Black,’ $4.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Art Striper in ‘Crème de Razzberry,’ $4.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Art Striper in ‘Mint,’ $4.50, available at Color Club.
Fresh floralsWhat could scream “spring” louder than actual flowers on your nails? It's groundbreaking, truly.
While this certainly looks quite intricate, it’s super easy to do yourself. Kawajiri opted for a sparkly base coat, but feel free to use whatever base color you please. She applied two coats, let them dry, and then used tweezers to apply tiny flowers with nail glue to the tips of the nail. Note: Fresh flowers would die over the course of wear, so opt for fake flowers for a long-lasting look.
Paint splatterHand not steady enough for detailed designs? (Join the club.) A splattered look means you can get as messy and random as you please—no art skills necessary. Kawajiri first applies a clear base coat and then dabs on two different shades in the same color family at random to create a blotchy, splattered effect.
However, she suggests not filling in the entire nail. “Leaving a bit of negative space always looks much cuter,” she says.
Color Club, Nama-Stay Breathable Base Coat, $12.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Polish in ‘Raspberry Rush,’ $8.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Polish in ‘Endless,’ $8.50, available at Color Club.
Sequins and stonesShy away from typical rhinestone looks by throwing sequins into the mix (which make for a totally original three-dimensional design). Kawajiri went for a subtle marbled look for the base coat to make things more interesting.
First, apply the base coat. Next, using the regular polish brush from your second shade (Kawajiri opted for a glimmering bronze), swirl the color across the top of the nail to create a marbled stone effect. Once the base is dry, use tweezers to apply multicolored sequins to the base of the nail bed, using nail glue to secure the stick. Finish the look by applying a clear rhinestone to the center of each sequin.
Color Club, Nail Polish in ‘Lovey Dovey (Base), $8.50, available at Color Club; Color Club, Nail Polish in ‘Apollo Star, $8.50, available at Color Club; IBD, 5-Second Brush-On Nail Glue, $4.19, available at Sally Beauty; various colored sequins and clear rhinestones.