Essential Nail Designs this Summer

With summer approaching, we can all look forward to long sunny days and hot steamy nights. Beach or pool parties, BBQs and relaxing days out with friends – so many ways to enjoy ourselves, and a great excuse (as if we need one) to show off our latest manicure.

Mimicking the dazzling sun, the nail design trends this summer are reflective, bright and eye catching. Cool chrome and iridescent holographic polishes vie for the top spot next to curiously mesmerising crackle finishes, rich velvet mattes, and of course, stunningly glamorous diamonds – always your best friend!

Chrome Nails

Chrome nails have been hitting the nail fan sites of Pinterest and Instagram big time recently. Frequently created with nail powders, your nails are magically transformed into a solid, high shine mirrored surface. But how?

There is real science behind this jar of seemingly mystical powder, made from glass, metal – often silver, and pigment. Your nails are dipped into the pot, or it’s brushed/ painted on – but it hasn’t got that high shine yet.

So, the science bit

The metal – or glass, it trapped between the two layers of polish – the base coat and the top coat. This metal looks like a solid layer, but in fact it’s loads of microscopic particles with tiny gaps in between. All a bit complicated – but it works and the results are brilliantly dazzling and mirror like!

Crackle Nails

Crackle polish nails are bold, brave and unusual. Every nail can carry a different pattern of crazy-paving like shatter pattern.

Crackle polish, as it dries, cracks, allowing the base coat to show through the cracks.

Brush on a thin layer of the crackle polish to achieve the effect, and wait – within seconds the cracks start appearing. Once finished and dry, add a top coat or two to protect the design and voila!

You can go bigger and bolder with a thicker layer of crackle polish, or

more delicate using a small sponge applicator. How about brushing the polish on in different directions for an even more unusual finish.

Colors, too, should be experimented with. A bright red showing through deep, plush purple or black can give a dramatic look, or how about vivid green peering through lemon yellow.  Maybe a matte polish under high gloss – the list is only limited by your imagination!

Diamond Nails 

Real diamonds  might be awesome, but  just not that practical, even if we could afford them. Faux diamonds are just as good, and because they are much more affordable, we can have some fun with them.

3D nail art is increasing in popularity, and gemstones are readily available. Designed with flat backs ready for application, they can be bought in large multi packs at great prices, and even the faux diamonds look exactly like the real thing!

Some nail art enthusiasts advocate the use of superglue to get these little beauties to stick, but after much experimenting, I’ve found one of the best methods is to:

  • Mani your nails as normal, from base coat, polish and finally top coat.
  • Before you cure that top layer, using tweezers or a white pen, gently add your gems.
  • Cure
  • Then add another layer of top coat. Don’t cover the stones with it, but brush around them, fixing them firmly in place.
  • Remove any polish that’s in the wrong place before curing.

I find this hold the gems beautifully secure for nearly two weeks, and I can dazzle for all I’m worth!

Holographic Nails

Holographic polishes and powders give your nails a iridescent 3D look that shines with rainbow brilliance as the light hits the surface from different angles.

Holographic nails are created by using a powder that contains silver, or mirrored flakes, over a gel mani. This creates the multi coloured shimmer that we love so much.

Depending on what you choose as a base colour, the final result can look vastly different. The lighter, pinkier base coats produce an almost pearl-like, watery look once the holographic medium is added, but darker base colours give a deeply mysterious appearance – think galaxy of rainbow hued stars, pin-pricking through the darkness.

Now we know why holographic nails are so very popular.

Matte Nails 

Sleek and edgy, matte nails can often catch our eye more than the high gloss finishes. We expect polished nails to be just that – polished, but the intriguingly soft appearance of matte finishes arouses our curiosity.

It is possible to make your own matte polish by adding cornstarch to a gel polish, but it’s not going to be that simple, is it. If we miss the rising of the full moon, or get the magic words wrong…….no, it doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m just going to stick with buying mine the old fashioned way.

Any color can be turned into a matte nail finish by applying a matte top coat. Just brush it on over the top and cure as normal. Experiment with color – some, like pretty pastels, gain a whole new style with a matte top coat, and I’ve seen some amazingly dramatic nail designs that mix both matte and gloss to create stunning geometric patterns. Whatever matte design you favour, dare to be just that bit different this summer!