[the DIY Files] golden summers mani.

turquoise, flesh, and gold. Summery minimalism.

My nail designs, er, manis, are not all flash and sparkle. The problem with working in an office environment are the limitations placed on your appearance and attire. These manicure designs are meant to be both corporate-appropriate AND something to talk about. Enjoy!

I have to warn people around  me that once the days hit 100 degrees in Houston, don’t come near me. Aside from the heat and humidity, the sunny days and everyone’s cheery attitudes make summer my least favorite season. Please let me stay in my air conditioned space, away from the sun’s rays. And in Houston, it’s practically summer 7 months of the year, so you can see how I’d be kinda… sorta… sick of it.

I’m naturally a person who gravitates away from all that brightness (just take a look at my closet, it’s dark and dreary), so if I’m going to inject buttery, delicious color, it needs to be painless.

For this DIY mani, I chose to go simple — drawing elements from the gold-cap pumps gracing red carpets and catwalks. But the gold effect isn’t only being felt in shoes. Gold is SO VERY present in every fashionable element.

Such as simple combination of a metallic neutral, like gold/silver/bronze, with additional neutrals like the black or blush are a surefire method to bringing attention to your feet without screaming “Look at ME!” These particular babies command attention, not just because they’re the infamous Louboutins, but hello! gold rush. The gold-cap fever has also been felt in other areas as well — from the ombre hair of boho-chic Drew Barrymore, to handbags and jewelry capitalizing on contrasting gold and dark neutral tones.

From L to R: blocked up clutch on etsy, Barrymore and her ‘do of grown out roots, top from F21, black-capped studs at ASOS.

Time for the nail stuffz:

  • base coat (to prevent staining)
  • bold teal (used Turned Up Turquoise [Neon] by China Glaze here)
  • fleshy, slightly pink nude (used Mamba by Essie here)
  • micro-glitter gold (used High Roller by ULTA here)
  • top coat (used No Chips Ahead by Essie here)
  • Scotch tape — it works even better if you use cheap, Dollar Store tape because you don’t want the adhesive pulling up the layer of polish underneath. Pre-tear (15) pieces of tape 3 inches long each so you don’t have to do it with the polish on.
  • Time. With the multiple layers you’ll be doing, clean results = adequate drying time.

neutral-blocking, dare I say it.

First, clean your nails of any polish or oily residue. Paint (1) coat of a base coat on every nail. Wait until completely dry — no tackiness! Now, plan out which nail(s) will be your accent and which will be the majority. Above, the majority are Mamba, whereas the ‘accent’ nails are Turquoise.

Next, paint 2 coats of the color of choice (Turquoise or Mamba) on each nail. ONE COLOR PER NAIL. This China Glaze polish is streaky after 2 coats, so I sometimes have to add a 3rd coat. Make sure you have a fully opaque color on each nail.

I waited for 3 hours before this next part, but I literally sat and caught up on True Blood so my nails wouldn’t get ruined during the wait. Ah, patience comes easier with TV.

Next, affix a strip of tape horizontally across each nail on ONE hand. It’s far easier to do these next few steps one hand at a time. Make sure there are no bubbles on the nail, and wrap the excess around the finger. Taking the gold polish, slowly paint across the nail vertically.

*I specify direction here because a)this minimizes cuticle mess, and b)vertical strokes are less streaky and form a better solid gold section.*

Wait for approx. 15-20 minutes, then slowly peel the tape off the nail. From this point until you put on the top coat, wait about an hour or so. If you’re paranoid like me, wait 2-3 hours, haha.

Repeat the steps above for the other hand, careful to not let the tape touch the previously completed hand.

When the drying time has passed… on goes the top coat! Enjoy your million dolla’ nails.

If you decide to try this, please let me know how it turns out!

– Nita

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