Nail Art 101: Basics ♥

Hey lovelies!

How are you all? ♥

Sorry for not blogging for a few days, but I've been busy with work, exercise and trying to get over my flu. (I know, one should stay home and rest but I figured this way I either get properly sick or the disease goes away completely.) But today, I have a post for you that I have been planning for weeks now, and yesterday, I finally found the time to take pics for it. So, here we go:

Nail Art 101: Basics

I get rather often questions related to my nails, how I care for them, how I do my manicures, what products I use and so on. So, I figured it would be fun to tell you about those things in detail in few posts. And, in addition, I will try and teach you how to create different manicures at home by yourself. Later on, when we get to more complicated ones, I will try to either film videos to guide you, or I will link great ones from YouTube.

But, let's get started, shall we?

Take care of your nails (moisturizing, nutrition, filing, etc.)

The first and foremost with nail art is to have a healthy base. That means taking care of your nails, and that includes few steps. First of all, like with any beauty things, it starts with the nutrition. Make sure your diet has enough vitamins and that you consume enough water on daily basis. When you're healthy, your nails will be, too. If you're a smoker, I strongly recommend quitting, as smoking is absolutely horrible for your nails - not to mention for the rest of the body.

Now, when you're diet is in order, focus on the moisturizing. Your nails will chip, crack, and fall apart into small pieces from the tips if there isn't enough moisture. The best thing is to soak the nails and cuticles in olive oil 1-4 times per month, depending on the condition of your nails, and the frequency of using the nail polish remover (because that dries up the cuticles a lot), but a normal body moisturizer or a lip balm will do too. Also, you can invest on a cuticle oil, but seriously, you'd only need olive oil. (Which actually is more useful around the house.)

Another thing that keeps your nails in shape is filing them once a week. This doesn't mean you need to make them short, but it helps you to take off the most worn parts of the tips, and that way your nails won't chip as much. Also, it's better to file than cut the nails, because you have better control over the tool, and filing doesn't break the nails like cutting does. Some also recommend buffing the nails, but that is something you should only do like once a month or so, otherwise it'll wear your nail into bad shape. But every once in a while, it's a nice thing to do to add some shine.

The last thing to mention here is that if your nails have gotten a bit yellow (or stained) you can try to salvage them with a whitening tooth paste, or a nail whitening polish. Both tricks work pretty nicely.

Use a base coat. Always.

Now that your nails are nice, healthy and clean, it's time to get painting. But first, we better prepare the base a bit more. This is actually an issue I can't pressure enough, if you love painting your nails you will need a base coat. It's totally up to you which one to use - my pick is Essie All In One Base - but the important thing is to always use one. Base coat protects your nail from staining, and some of them at least claim to strengthen and treat your nails. Some base coats also help with removing your (glitter) polish. Those ones are called peel off polishes, and I've seen lots of good reviews about them, but haven't gotten the chance to try one out yet.

And I know there are people thinking that the nails get all chunky and thick if you use base coat, few layers of polish and top coat, but that just isn't true. For the sake of your nails, and the nail art, take the time to apply a base coat first.

Tools for beginners

While your base coat is drying, take a minute to learn a little about the tools. I picked some items below that I find useful for beginners at nail art (of course you will also need these later on, but these are great ones to start with.):

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Nail File. There are many, many options, and even if ceramic and glass ones are recommended, I prefer the classic one (the sand paper kind). The best is if you can find one with different roughness on either side, because that makes styling your nail easier.

Cleaning brush. For cleaning up the cuticle area after you've painted your nails. This should be quite thin angled brush, or at least a thin brush. You dip it gently in remover, sweep the excess off, and gently brush along the cuticle to clean up the mani. I will make a pictorial for the next post of this series.

Dotting tools. You usually get these in packs of five, which gives you quite nice variety of sizes. Dotting tools can be used to create many different patterns and designs, and they are relatively easy to use. You can make flowers, leopard print, dots of all sizes, and all sorts of cool things with them.

Sponges. These help you create cool effects, like ombre and gradient, and they are so, so easy to use. You can buy just regular makeup sponges, they work the best. More about painting with sponges will follow in the future posts.

Find the right remover for you

We're almost ready to get to the nail designs, but before that I wanna remind you of the importance of finding the right remover for you. They are different, no matter what you'd think, and the most expensive one isn't always the best. I use ones I get from a supermarket (should I call these drugstore products?), like Mavala and Sally Hansen, and they work fine for me. You might actually need to have two, if you're like me, as I have the one pictured below (Sally Hansen Moisturising Polish Remover) for removing polish from the whole nail, and a regular Mavala remover for cleanup and cleaning my tools. I feel the Sally Hansen doesn't quite clean the brushes as well as Mavala does, but of course the best thing is if you find one that works for you all over.

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Simple manicures and how to do them

Okay, now we can finally get into the nail art. I believe everyone reading this already knows how to apply your nail polish. I will, however, provide some tips and tricks for that later on.

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Now, I have five different designs for you that are easy to create and can be done with very little tools.

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French mani

A classic that fits every occasion, it's easy to do even without tools, but for the best results, I recommend using tape, or a tip guide.

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How to: Paint your nails with base color. Let dry. Apply more coats if needed, and let every layer dry in between. Add a tip guide to define the tip that you wanna paint with accent color. Take the other color, and paint the tip. Remove the tape right away after applying the polish. Seal the design with top coat.

Half Moon

Another classic that is often used on runway manis, so this one is super chic.

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How to: Apply the color of the half moon on the top part of your nail (or whole nail, but that's kinda waste of polish). Let dry. Repeat the steps as many times as needed for coverage. Take a reinforcement sticker (or any round sticker, you can even cut one out of scotch tape), and place it where the half moon will be. Paint the nail with the other color. Seal the design with top coat.

Reverse half moon/Ruffian

No matter what you call this one, it's guaranteed to look amazing.

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How to: 1) Paint the top half of the nail with the accent color. Let dry. With free hand, use the other color to paint the nail, leaving a little part of the accent color showing. Seal with top coat.


2) Paint the nail with main color. Let dry. Take a round sticker, place it a little bit away from the cuticle. Paint the narrow area near cuticle with the accent color. Seal with top coat.

Glitter gradient

Little more modern maybe, but classic nonetheless. You need no tools for this baby.

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How to: Paint the nail with base color. Let dry. Take out your glitter polish, and apply carefully from cuticle towards the tip, trying to only get a pretty thin coat, that doesn't still reach the tip of the nail, but rather the center. (mainly glitter, not so much the polish itself) Add another coat of glitter, but don't take it as far as the previous coat. Repeat until you're happy with the glitter, but be careful not to make it too thick. Seal with top coat.

One stripe

No painting skills needed for this one, but it still is super fun!

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How to: Paint your nails with base color. Let dry. Take a striping tape, and apply a piece across the nail. Seal with top coat. You can also do this with striping brush/tool or with the help of tape (still using polish).

So, here you have some fun designs that don't require that much skill, and are good for practicing nail art.

Please let me know what you think about this series, and what kind of tips, tricks and tutorials you would like to see here! I will post this also in Finnish on MyCosmo site later on, so Finnish lovelies, stay tuned there.

Now, I need to get on with my workout and lunch before heading to work. See you soon!

Have a fabulous day! ♥


  1. Oh mine, Oh mine!! Honey this is one of the best and informative post ever!
    It was long but totally worth reading!
    Thanks for the infos!

    1. Thank you dear, I'm so happy to hear it's worth it. I tried to keep it reasonably compact as I wrote it - and I try to make a little more readable pieces later on, but you know, the basics are so important I felt it would've been stupid to cut this shorter :D ♥

  2. Great post, I agree with all that you wrote.
    It was very hard for me to find a proper polish remover, that does not dry my cuticules, it took a while untill I found one based on esential oils and I absolutely love it and my nails are thankfull for that :)

    1. Thank you for your opinion, it's great to hear feedback from another nail enthusiast ;) ♥

  3. Ooh, I am absolutely loving this series - so informative. I am going to look for that polish remover!!


    1. Thank you so much, love! Hopefully you'll enjoy the other pieces as well, I've already started to plan for the next one ;) ♥

  4. Ihana ihana postaus ! Todella monipuolinen ja kattava - upeat kynnet myös ^^ <3

    Indie by heart

    1. Kiitos paljon muru! Yritin tehdä mahdollisimman hyvän pohjustavan postauksen tälle sarjalle, jotta tulevaisuudessa on sitten helpompi kirjoitella aika puhtaasti vain kynsien maalailusta :D ♥


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