Don’t worry about overdoing the art - it’s all about making the designs a conversation starter.
Don’t worry about overdoing the art - it’s all about making the designs a conversation starter.

For many, the lasting appeal of nail art is that we can express our tastes (no matter how wild or subdued) without the aesthetic confines of hair and make-up. It is a mini act of self-presentation.

“There’s specificity in how we choose to do our nails,” says Miss Pop, the artist who created these four looks. “Those choices are joyful.”

And the canvas is growing. The newest nail art, largely inspired by the giddiness of the 1990s, spills on to the fingers and hands. Glitter, rhinestones and beads make up most of the designs. Summer with its non-stop events - weddings, beach days, outdoor festivals - is the best season to introduce the nail-art-as-hand-art look. But before you get started, Miss Pop has a few general rules.

* Your hands should be oil free before applying hand art. 

* Be conservative with glue. If you apply too much, it will squeeze out at the sides when you top it with a bead and will not dry clear.

* When considering designs, think about how your hand art can complement your nails. Don’t worry about overdoing it. “This is about being extra,” Miss Pop says.


Don’t worry about overdoing the art - it’s all about making the designs a conversation starter.


Cut-out Shapes

If you can use a felt-tipped liquid eyeliner, you can do this hand art, Miss Pop says. To get an even rectangle cut-out, use a striper brush to paint a thick horizontal line a third down the nail. Divide that line into thirds, with two vertical lines that end at the tip. Cross the two vertical lines with a second horizontal line slightly above the tip of the nail.

Polish around the rectangle created at the centre. With a liquid eyeliner pen draw a rectangle starting at the cuticle.

Don’t worry about overdoing the art - it’s all about making the designs a conversation starter.


Glitter Dip

Ombre glittered hands are the easiest and longest-lasting of all. “It looks like it would come right off, but it isn’t going anywhere unless you really want it to,” Miss Pop says. This very fine glitter sets durably with spirit-gum adhesive. Paint your nails first. She paired baby blue (“a classic ’90s colour”) and soft yellow with holographic silver glitter.

“You have to use cosmetic grade glitter. If it’s safe for your eyes and lips, it’s safe for your hands.” Brush a thin layer of spirit gum all around the finger.

Make sure you get the pads right underneath the nails.

Then, using a flat brush, press the glitter on to the glue.

To get the ombre effect, add a second layer of glitter tighter around the cuticle and fingertip, then brush the excess up the finger. To remove the glitter without ruining your polish, wrap your fingers in cotton soaked in spirit-gum remover for a few minutes, then rub off.

Bespoke Beads 

Each bead is applied individually, which is a time-consuming task. The best DIY option is to buy beads in ready-made clusters, then create your own design with those. “Then this becomes fairly easy.” Plan your pattern on paper. For the nails, use a combination base and topcoat specifically designed for rhinestones and beads. Place the beads right into the base coat. If you make a mistake in placement, the beads move around easily in the rhinestone polish. Polish over the design with the same clear polish. On the hand, apply the beads with eyelash glue.