In the beauty world, there are always new trends and techniques to try (patterned pantyhose nails, anyone?). One of the latest to catch beauty lovers’ eyes is snakeskin nails, and it’s not just the reptilian design that really wows but the way that nail artists create the effect: with bubbles, as in soapy water.
You have to see it to believe it.
If you look closely at the design, you’ll see how soapy water left it behind, but it’s pretty unbelievable that it works. Whether you’re into nail art or not, there’s no denying that this technique is supercool.
“This is such a fun look to bring some texture to your nails into the cooler months, particularly if you’re looking for a change from matte or gloss,” says Michelle Nguyen, a professional manicurist and founder of PLA Nails. “It really is incredibly easy to do—just as simple as the Reel!”
For more on this bubble nail trend, we tapped Michelle and celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi to share tips on how to create snakeskin nails. Both nail artists agree that this is the perfect look for autumn and winter to complement a cold-weather wardrobe that may feature the print as well.
How to DIY bubble nails
If you’re the DIY type and already like to give yourself gel manicures, this will be a total breeze. All you have to do is paint your gel polish—the chrome step is up to you, but we personally think a touch of metallic makes the look even cooler—and then before you cure your topcoat, add as much bubbly foam as it takes to cover your nail. Then carefully place your nail in the UV lamp.
When it’s done curing, wipe off the bubbles to reveal your snakeskin design. Michelle recommends the PLA Non-Wipe Top Coat, which doesn’t have a tacky feel to it post-curing. Unfortunately, this product is only available in the US but a good alternative is the Mylee Mygel No Wipe Top Coat, which is sold on Sephora.
Jin Soon suggests some alternatives that won’t get you quite the same look but offer a similar effect sans water or gel polish. For a relatively easy option, she says that a dotting tool can give you a sort of snakeskin look. After applying your base coat of polish and topcoat and letting them dry, you can use a dotting tool to “apply small dots of nail polish to your nails randomly.”
Then gently blend the edges of the dots together using a toothpick before applying another layer of topcoat to seal the design.
If you’re into arts and crafts and happen to have some spare tulle lying around, Jin Soon says that you could use it to create your design too. She recommends using a metallic or moody base. “Place small-sized tulle netting over the nails,” she says. “The base color doesn’t need to be completely dry; the net marks will add a 3D finish resembling snake scales.”
Then pour a small amount of gold, pearl, or black polish onto a piece of foil and dab a sponge into the polish. Before you place it over the netting, though, dab it onto a clean area of the foil to remove some of the polish. Finish by stamping it on your nail over the tulle and voilà: a two-tone snakeskin design.
Which colour nail polish looks best with bubble nails?
There are lots of buzzy colour trends right now like mocha, matcha, and milky (apparently, we love beverage-inspired names that start with m) that would look great paired with a snakeskin print. “White, blue, and green shades all work really well with this look,” says Michelle.
Jin Soon adds that it can be fun to play around with more dramatic colours like red, orange, and yellow or pink, purple, and black.
You could get creative with how you use the bubble technique, reserving it for just one or two fingers to create a statement nail — this also saves you from having to create the design on every single nail. Doing this makes for the mismatched nail style that’s also super popular.
Need some more inspo? Here are a few looks we love:
Blue chrome bubble nails
Rose gold bubble nails
Silver bubble nails
Pink bubble nails
Black bubble nails
Ombré bubble nails
Mismatched bubble nails
A version of this article appeared on GLAMOUR US.
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