All you need to complete this look is a base nail polish color (in this case royal blue) and the color you want to be on top of the 'acid wash' look (in this case white) as well as cotton buds or q-tips and acetone/nail polish remover. The first step is to paint 2-3 coats of your base color and wait to make sure that they are dry and smooth, this requires some patience as some nail polishes do not dry as often as others. Then, after you choose a contrasting color to make the 'acid wash' effect come to life, you should apply just one layer of the top color. After letting it dry thoroughly, soak a cotton bud/q-tip in acetone (but make sure it's not dripping wet, just saturated). If your cotton bud is not saturated enough, it will just smudge and blend the two contrasting colors together, which may make for an interesting effect, but will not allow you to achieve the acid wash manicure. Swipe the cotton bud over your nails, not pressing it down but gently dragging it over so that it removes only parts of the top layer of nail polish (of the contrasting color, white in this example) and leaves your blue intact - this is one of the reasons why you want to apply at least 2 coats of your base color. Finally, as with any manicure, if you want staying power you should place a layer of topcoat to seal your design and smooth out any bumps.
You can achieve really varied looks depending on which colors you choose, remember that when you apply your topcoat, you will stop the acetone from eating through that layer. For example, in the manicure below, you can achieve this design by doing the base in a yellow and then making sure to seal it with a topcoat so that it will not wipe away when you swipe with the cotton bud. Then you want to add a layer of orange polish and a layer of gray nail polish, not sealing these down with topcoat. You can use your acetone to remove parts of the top two layers of polish. As always, seal and protect your design with a final layer of topcoat when you have finished your faux acid washing.
|Various colors of nail polish manicures using the acid wash technique|