Hugs, kisses and hearts: The perfect Valentine’s nail art tutorial

The finished product!

The finished product!

TWO YEARS ago I could barely paint my nails successfully. Since then, I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to it, progressing from simple dots to full on designs. I often get people asking how I do it, but I’ve never actually found it that hard!

To prove my point, I’ve written a guide for my latest design – a simple Valentine’s theme of X’s, O’s and hearts. Here’s the finished product, and below, a full walkthrough on how to make your nails ready for V Day!

I really recommend all the brands I’ve used, as well as being cheap, they’re really quick drying, last a long time and work really well together. However you can pretty much use any similar colours and it’ll be fine! The exact ones I’ve used though (all available at Superdrug) are:

  • Matt White – Barry M, £2.99
  • Bubblegum Pink 251 – NYC Expert Last – £2.49
  • Fever Red – MUA, £1

Clear Nails FinFirstly, cut your nails (with a nail clipper – throw away those manky scissors, now! They’ll only lead to hangnails!) into a nice shape – everyone has different shaped nails but you should know what suits you. I usually go for quite a circular tip but some people prefer squarer ones – it’s really up to you!

Then, file the edges down. I hate filing more than anything, it puts my teeth on edge, but it just makes the tips of your fingernails *so* soft.

Next, it’s time to start painting! I always (especially when I’m wearing darker or very vibrant colours) wear at least one coat of clear.

That’s the clear coat done – wait for it to completely dry before doing anything else though. I usually do the clear coat before bed so it properly hardens before the morning.

Red Nails Fin

When you’ve waited for that, it’s time to start with the colour. Take your chosen red and paint it on. Don’t worry about going over the edges too much, although if you’ve got a good brush on your varnish bottle it shouldn’t be too hard. Only paint to ~1mm above your cuticle line, not right down!

Depending on how good the colour you’ve got is you made need a few coats. I’ve used two to achieve my look, but it’s really a matter of personal taste.

If you do go over then invest in some of Superdrug’s cotton buds – not the normal ear ones, but you can get pointed ones. They’re a little more expensive but the BEST and getting rid of niggly areas.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to move onto the design. What you’ll need here is a cocktail stick (an old pen also works, or if you’re feeling fancy, a proper dotting tool – about £1 on eBay if you’re interested).

nailvarnishThe best way I’ve found to do small designs is by emptying a little bit of the nail varnish onto a Post-it note, and swirling the cocktail stick around in it. From that you’ve basically got a pen! Practice on the Post-it before actually putting it on your nails though, although it is relatively easy to wipe off if you do make a mistake.

The design I picked is alternating X, O and hearts, although you can pick any little characters you want. Draw them on in lines (starting with the little finger so it doesn’t smudge).

I’m a big fan of accent nails, which I always do on the thumb and fourth finger – they’re the ones with the full design on. The others I drew an imaginary line in my head and stopped the design there, so it looks like it’s on half – although you can choose to do it any way like that. You can even have the design on all of them if you want!

The great thing about simple designs like this is that it’s so easy to alternate between colours or anything, and means once you’ve done it once, you can KNOW that next time, it’ll be easier, but you can change it enough that noone will notice!

Get painting and show them off!