If you think “easy nail art” sounds like an oxymoron, you’re in luck: negative space manicures, the season’s trendiest look, are crash-proof.
As someone who has tried (and failed) their way through countless DIY designs, I know how frustrating nail art can be. Painting on a canvas that not only moves, but is also slightly wider than the brush you’re painting with can seem almost impossible. But this look is much easier to create than it sounds.
Negative space manicures invite you to paint just a fraction of his nail, and abstract patterns easily hide any wrong strokes. The results are stunning and effortless, which is why celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa, and Normani have dipped their fingers in the trend, flaunting everything from sixties spirals to nineties flames.
If the color blocking seems daunting, don’t worry – according to Sigourney Nuñez, OPI education manager and nail artist, even artistically challenged people like me can achieve some of the best results with nothing more than a bottle brush ( although the adventurers among us can use a detail brush to enhance their designs).
Nuñez, whose TikTok tutorials for the trend have garnered more than 4 million views so far, says that all the line work will be challenging at first, but practice makes perfect and “looks are very therapeutic to achieve.”
Once you’ve mastered the basics, the possibilities are endless – you can reinvent a French Kylie tip, move on with a Queen’s Gambit-inspired chessboard, or see how many of the season’s coolest shades can fit in one hand, like this which is the perfect excuse to channel your inner nail artist.
Here are Nuñez’s pro tips on how to perfect three different negative space designs, so that beginners and experts alike can get the most out of this craze.
Multi-Colored French Tips
Because you are laying various shades over a French tip, this style is twice as fun and twice as challenging. Nuñez recommends waiting to make sure each coat dries before adding a new color on top.
He starts with his base coat. Then, using the corner of her bottle brush, she paints a side swoosh across her nail, creating a French tip (see pale green and pink base shades). She repeat to cover.
Once dry, use the detail brush to paint your additional shades over the base color and finish with a top coat.
Calling all newbies – this one is for you. The simple swirls in this design make it easy to practice your technique before moving on to the big leagues.
First of all, always (always) apply a base coat. “It promotes adherence and prevents yellowing,” says Nuñez.
Then he takes the bottle brush and twists the edge around the nail to outline where you would like the color to be. Fill accordingly, then add a second coat for maximum coverage and finish with a top coat.
If you’re using a detail brush, pour some of your polish onto a makeshift palette, like a piece of aluminum foil, to get started. Dip the brush in nail polish remover to remove dirt and twist it on the nail polish so the tip is pointed.
Paint a thin, wavy line on the nail bed, shaping where you want the color to be. Then fill it in with your bottle brush and repeat.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to finish with your top coat; it’s key to adding shine and protection to your design, says Nuñez.
If you’re worried about making mistakes, the nail expert recommends adding a cleaning brush to your artist’s tool kit; It can be anything from an art brush to an eyeliner brush that you no longer use. Just dip it in nail polish remover and use it around the nail bed to erase any mistakes.
Sunset Half Moons
This advanced look is a great style for short nails. Nuñez recommends taking a detail brush for this one, you will need it.
Start with (you guessed it) a base coat.
Next, use your detail brush to paint a crescent on your cuticle. Let it dry before outlining the shape with a second color and use your cleaning brush to refine the design as needed.
Paint a spectacular French tip with the corner of your bottle brush and finish with a top coat. Let the paint dry and then pat it on the back – you nailed it.