Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gift Ideas for the Budding Nail Artist

New polishes are always fun, but here are some things besides polish that can take nails to the next level.  If there's someone in your life who loves to do nails, I can guarantee that she'll appreciate anything off this list.  By the way, this post is very information heavy, but it's all for you!
Super helpful gift guide for nail artists

#1 Stamping plates and stamper 
photo credit to Nailblog.net
When I first saw pictures of nail stamping, I was instantly enamored and amazed.  I didn't know they existed until this year, and they opened up a lot of new possibilities to me.  MoYou London is my all-time favorite brand, but they're kind of expensive, and international shipping can be a beast.  Thankfully there are lots of other companies out there, and many of them sell on Amazon.  Bundlemonster has a lot of fun but well-priced options on Amazon.  I have their CYO collection.

This stamping plate set is one of my favorites (because look at the dinosaurs!), and I think it's a great place for beginners to start because of the good variety of images available.  If your giftee doesn't have a stamper already or if you're not sure if they do, be sure to pick one up for them so they can use the stamping plates!  Here's a good two-sided option, and here's another popular option.
Pro tips: Sometimes stampers don't pick up the polish at first.  A few swipes with a nail file will fix it right up and give the polish a good surface to stick to.  Also, here's a comprehensive (or nearly comprehensive) list of nail plate companies and what to expect from them.

#2 Striping tape
photo credit to eventglitz
This is another one of those game changers, and the coolest part is how striping tape can be a part of a manicure (example) and it can be a tool for a manicure (example).  Another cool thing is that striping tape is really cheap.  Less than $3 for 30 rolls?  Not a bad deal.
Pro tip: Many nail artists use nipper tools like this to clip the striping tape.

#3 Nail decals
photo credit to Polish, etc.
Decals are an easy way to add flair to your nails.  They're sometimes water transferable (like temporary tattoos) or some stick on like stickers.  For $10 a month, Nailed Kit sends out boxes of fun, seasonal decals to its subscribers.  They also sell sets of their decals a la cart.  Etsy is a great place to search for specific decals that fit your friend's personality.  You can find pretty much any decal you're looking for if you search for it.  This Doctor Who set is just $4!  I think it's neat that, if you know your friend has some specific interests, you can find something to fit that.  Makes the whole gift that much more special, you know?

#4 Detail brushes
photo credit to Geek Girl Brunch
Ah, detail brushes.  They will take some time to get used to, but with practice, they can lead to some very creative or detailed designs.  Detail brushes let you do things like this and this.  I don't have any detail brushes right now and I can't properly recommend any, but I'm sure something like this nail brush set or some long thin brushes from a dollar store or craft store would be good for someone starting out.

#5 Liquid palisade
photo credit to Chickettes
The self proclaimed cure for messy manicures, this stuff looks great!  Instead of using Scotch tape or Elmer's glue to cover your cuticles during nail painting, brush on the liquid palisade (like this one from Kiesque) around the edges of your nails. When everything is dry, peel off the liquid palisade you painted on, and your cuticles are all clean and pristine!  Don't believe me?  Here's a video demo.

#6 Cuticle oil
photo credit to Beauty Haven
After all the polish remover you use, cuticles and hands can get really dry and cracked.  And, if you're like me and pick at your cuticles, they need some extra help even on a good day.  Some girls swear by 100% jojoba oil or coconut oil.  I've used a blend of coconut oil and tea tree oil in the past, but not religiously.  Burt's Bees lemon butter cuticle cream is popular, and I bet it smells great.  Essie apricot oil gets a lot of love, too, and it comes in a handy polish bottle with a brush.

#7 Matte topcoat
photo credit to The Daily Varnish
I had never seen matte nails until a couple years ago when I stumbled upon a matte teal polish.  Turns out they sell top coats to take away your polish's sheen and give you that unique finish.  This diagram lists NYC Matte Me Crazy as the best matte top coat.  And while we're on the topic of top coats, I wholeheartedly recommend Seche Vite's top coat for it's unbelievably fast drying time with a glossy finish.  That top coat was my #1 game changer this year.

#8 Special glitter polishes
photo credit to  Glitterfied Nails
Whether it's used as an accent here and there or a full on color, a glitter polish is always welcome.  Essie's "Shine of the Times" was a very popular flakey glitter polish this year.  Nayll is an online company that lets you design your own custom glitter polish.  This could be great for a sports fan who always wears her team colors.  Gold flake polishes are always a hit, too.  Check out this comparison of some of the tops faves to see which ones are in your budget.

#9 Bottle Holder
photo credit to Miles Kimball
I know it's a bit superfluous, but when asking other lacqueristas for their suggestions about gift ideas, this little gadget came up.  Looking at the pictures, I can completely see how helpful it would be to have this holder.  Having the bottle opening at that angle would make getting more polish easier and quicker.  The one I have pictured is called the grip and tip nail polish holder.

For more info, pictures, tips, and tricks, I recommend the online community of RedditLaqueristas, which is where I get a lot of my own inspiration.  I also recommend Instagram user yagala who not only shows her beautiful nail art, but she shows how she did it, too.  I appreciate her tutorials a lot

To see my own inspiration, see my Pinterest board here!

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