Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sponge Manicure Nail Tutorial

This is the look the tutorial will give you, apply a final coat of fine clear glitter if you do not want a matte finish
Sponge manicures are increasingly popular and easy do-it-at-home-yourself projects. You can create a myriad of various color and shape combinations to create the most interesting manicures you've ever seen. This is not a manicure for those who are all about perfection because the randomness is what creates beauty in this type of look. So if you like speckles and soft blends of colors as well as gradients, this is the manicure for you!

What you'll need:
- Base coat
- Base color
- Paper towels
- Sponge (either art sponges or makeup sponges)
- Tweezers
- Nail polish colors of your choice - one bottom color, and one intermediate color between base color and tip color
- Top coat
- Glitter (optional)
- Acetone
- Q-tips

I suggest first trying this look with a white base color as any other accent color will look vastly different compared to the white coat and you can easily see what you are doing with the sponge, allowing you better control of your technique. Make sure not to buff your nails, because you want them to be slightly gritty for this manicure because if the nail is porous, instead of smooth and shiny, you will have an easier time applying your color. Make sure that before you start anything, you lay down a paper towel so you don't ruin the desk you're working on with polish. First, apply your bast coat of nail polish and let it thoroughly dry. Then, apply your base color (white in my case) and make sure to concentrate it on the lower third of your nail near the cuticle but lightly coat the entire nail. You will not need more than one coat of this base color.

You can then apply an intermediate color on the middle third of your nail (if you chose to go with blue as the tip color then you would want to pick something like a lighter baby blue to make it look like a gradient going from white to blue). Make sure to apply this intermediate color to the middle third of your nail using a sponge portion that you have ripped off an art or makeup sponge and holding it gently with your tweezers. Make sure not to over-saturate the sponge with polish, it may be a good idea for you to wipe any excess polish onto a paper towel before applying it to your nail. In the sponge manicure, less is more, you want to build it up rather than have to take away polish (which usually will result in having to start the manicure over again).

Then, to apply your tip color, which should be the darkest of the colors you have chosen, for example a fully saturated blue or one with glitter in it, you should use another sponge after your previous coats have completely dried. You don't want to apply the colors while the previous application is still wet because they will muddle together and the stickiness of the previous coat will ruin the manicure. If you find that your gradient is not sufficient, you can go back in with the sponge and dip it alternating in both colors to go over the line where the colors meet to improve the gradient. Let everything dry and apply a top coat, especially if you've chosen a glitter nail polish to add to the tips so that the glitter doesn't move and to make your nails appear shiny as well as for staying power. Use some acetone and q-tips to clean up around the sides of your nail if you have gotten nail polish on your fingers.
Starting with a blue base and finishing with a green tip, covering with green glitter will give you this look
Starting with a pink/mauve base and princess pink in the middle and finishing with a white tip you can get this look by adding bronze colored lines with circular tips using a toothpick or fine-tipped brush
Starting with a red base, orange middle and yellow tip, and drawing on palm tree silhouettes with black will give you this

If you're interested in purchasing a kit to get you started, Konad makes a wonderful one that you can purchase here (btw this is a great deal because these usually sell for around $20):

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