Nail Trends: Extreme Manicuring

Nail art used to be just about a few flowers and maybe a rhinestone or two. But thanks to nail polish’s growing popularity (lacquer sales have gone up 59% according to WWD), the days of bling and flowers have gone by the wayside. A new batch of techniques — both easy enough to do yourself and others which require expert experience — have given nails yet another reason to hog the beauty limelight. Crackle? SO 2011! Take a peek at our top picks for extreme manicuring a la 2012:

Ombré manicures are an easy at-home job that don’t need any special tools. A YouTube search gives dozens of tutorials and we’re loving this sparkly mani for evening. Methods range from sponging on a gradient of color to using sheer washes of sparkle to achieve the ombré effect. Whichever you choose, just remember that practice makes perfect.

For a more out of this world take on nail art, a galactic manicure inspired by nebulas and supernovas might be more your (light) speed. From afar it might look like you’ve got an abstract design, but upon closer inspection, you just may be able to spot a constellation or two.

In Vogue‘s May issue, Sarah Brown singled out  Monterey’s Terri Silacci. One glance at her one-of-a-kind python pedi and we were instantly intrigued. Her technique involves using real python skin (layers of scales are shed when snakes grow) that are custom fit to each of your toes and then sealed in with a long-lasting gel lacquer. She even hand-paints some of the scales to give your design more dimension. Clear your schedule though; the painstaking pedicure takes a few hours, but will last for weeks.

One of the first forays into nail art we saw in-person was Minx, but that required a salon visit and a professional. But that’s certainly not the case anymore. Sally Hansen Salon Effects give the same effect at home. With designs ranging from python (very on trend) to denim and houndstooth (perfect to match your Ferragamo clutch), the real-polish strips are easy to use and last just as long as a regular manicure.

Since every brand jumped on the crackle bandwagon, we were excited to see UK-based Nails Inc. branch out with something new. A single pass of your brush followed by a sweep of the magnet attached to the top of the bottle gives a unique 3-D effect on each nail. Imbued with iron flakes, the polish gets ripples, swirls and stripes depending on how you hold the magnet. It’s caused a craze at Sephora (the exclusive retailer in the U.S.), where you can pick up a bottle to use at home or for an express manicure at their new nail stations.

For the most glam glint, we’re loving Rococo Nail Apparel’s gold leaf polish, a clear polish with real gold flakes. Top any polish with these flakes (it’s available at Space.NK locations nationwide) and you’ll be flashing 24K gold with every flick of the wrist–a much better alternative to gold teeth!

Debuting in January at a Saks Dior counter near you is the brand’s collaboration with artist Anselm Reyle (unless you happen to be at Art Basel Miami, where you can grab the set at Dior’s pop-up shop). The polish is part of a huge collection that includes shoes, bags and more that take from Reyle’s found-neon light sculptures and stripe paintings. If you can’t take home a Lady Dior bag or a pair of wedges from the collection, a few polishes are easier on the wallet and still make an impact.

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.