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It seems that tie dye has resurfaced in more than one way this year. From tie-dye sweatsuits in everyone’s wardrobe to multi-colored beauty looks, there’s no doubt you’ve come across one or more takes on the trend as of late. If you’re looking for some manicure inspiration, it should come as no surprise that tie-dye nails are trending, too! This colorful manicure is perfect for warm, sunny summer months, which is why we’re sharing how to DIY it—three different ways. Read on for three step-by-step tutorials on how to do tie-dye nails.
If you’re looking to create a tie-dye manicure that resembles your favorite swirled T-shirt, follow this water marbling how-to.
What you’ll need:
Nail polish remover
Nail clippers and file
White nail polish
Colorful nail polish
Petroleum jelly or tape
Small bowl with lukewarm water
Get the look:
Before we get to creating your tie-dye nail art, you’ll want to properly prep your nails. Use nail polish remover to ensure there are no traces of polish on your nails. Then, shape your nails to your liking with the aid of nail clippers and a nail file.
Next, you’ll need to apply a base color. When it comes to tie-dye nails, it’s always a good idea to start with a coat of white nail polish. This will allow the bright tie-dye colors you use later on to appear vibrant and true-to-color.
After your base has dried, it’s time to prep your fingers. Apply petroleum jelly or cuticle oil all around your nail—taking care not to get any on the actual nail. This will help stop nail polish from sticking to the skin around your nails. Alternatively, you can apply clear tape to the skin surrounding your nail. It’s just like applying painters tape to protect your molding when you’re painting the walls.
This method of creating a tie-dye design involves learning how to water marble your nails. In brief, you create a design on the surface of water using nail polish, then transfer it to your nails.
To give it a try, fill a small bowl with room temperature water. Then, drop your tie-dye nail polish colors into the water. To do so, hold the nail polish brush over the water and let a single drop fall. The drop should spread out on the surface of the water. Then, repeat with three to four colors, layering the colors over one another.
To create your tie-dye pattern, use a toothpick to draw lines through the nail polish, mixing them and forming a tie-dye creation. Continue to mix until you’re happy with the appearance of your tie dye.
Hold your nail upside down and dip it directly onto your tie-dye design. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then use your toothpick to gently remove any polish that's floating around your nail. Lift your finger out of the water.
You’ll need to be fairly quick with this step. Since the polish is spread thin on top of the water, it will dry fast, and you want to transfer it to your nails before it does. It might take a bit of practice to get the timing right, but you'll get it down!
Use your toothpick to clean the surface of the water, pulling out any polish that is still there. Once done, repeat the process of mixing your tie dye and dipping each of your nails.
This method will leave you with polish on the skin—or tape—around your nail. If you applied petroleum jelly, use a cotton swab to wipe away the excess polish. If you used tape, wait for your tie-dye polish to fully dry on your nail, then pull away the tape—and the excess nail polish in the process.
Editor’s tip: Still have some polish on your skin? Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and carefully wipe it away.
Once you have a full set of tie-dye nails, apply a top coat to lock them in, prevent chips, and add extra shine. As a finishing touch, smooth on the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey All Over Balm - Face, Neck, Chest and Hands to nourish your hands and cuticles.
Do you like a gradual transition of colors? An ombré tie-dye nail look is the perfect summer mani for you.
Colorful nail polishes
Get the look:
Begin by removing any old polish, then clip and file your nails to your desired shape.
Smooth a white nail polish onto each of your nails as a base. This will help your tie-dye colors look more vibrant!
Use your makeup sponge to create your ombré design. Apply a stripe of your first tie-dye polish directly onto your sponge, placing it near the edge. Then, swipe on another color beneath it. Continue to add colors below one another until you have enough stripes to cover your nail. Then, align the sponge with your nail and press it down to transfer your gradient pattern.
Continue to add polish to your makeup sponge and press the colors onto your nails until you have a full set of ombré tie-dye nails.
Using a cotton swab and some nail polish remover, carefully trace around the edges of your nail to remove any polish that may have ended up on your skin.
To complete your tie-dye manicure, smooth on a top coat that will prevent chips and add shine.
If you don’t think plastic wrap has any uses outside of the kitchen, we’re about to prove you wrong. A little piece of plastic wrap—the same stuff you use to preserve leftovers—is key for one of the easiest ways to create a tie-dye nail design. Here’s what you need to know.
This step is always the same. Clean up your nails with a little nail polish remover, then give them a quick shaping.
Choose one of your tie-dye colors to paint all of your nails with, but leave one nail on each hand bare—you’ll use the remaining one to create a tie-dye accent nail. Polish the bare nails with white to really make your design pop.
Once your nails are dry, crumple up a small piece of plastic wrap and add a dab of each of your colorful polishes to it. Bounce the plastic wrap onto a piece of paper to remove excess polish, then press it onto your nails. Keep doing this until all of your nails have an abstract tie-dye design.
Did you color outside of the lines? Clean things up with a cotton swab and some nail polish remover.
Add a layer of shiny top coat to all of your nails.
Next up: Now that you know how to get tie-dye nails, perhaps you’d like to learn how to create another summer nail look. Check out our article, Jelly Nails Are Our New Favorite Nail Trend.
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