The Art Deco Dream Manicure

Base color: Orly (Glowstick) | Accent Colors: Revlon (Posh #571 and Radiant #441) and Color Club (Blue Print #707)

Before this week’s nail tutorial, I want to address the recent debut of Christian Louboutin’s nail polishes lacquers — specifically, the outrageous $50 price tag.  Nail polish costs mere PENNIES to produce, which means consumers are paying a premium for  luxe packaging, expensive marketing and inflated brand perception.

Behold, the most expensive polish in the world. (The shoe is not included.)
Behold, the most expensive polish in the world. (The shoe is not included.)

Stop the madness.

I’ve done my nails +150 times in the last 3 years — and the BEST polishes come from the drugstore and cost less than $10. When choosing a polish, you should only be concerned about the formula. This is where the “prestige” brands fail: Butter polish ($15 per bottle) gets air bubbles. Chanel polish ($27 per bottle) chips after two days. Deborah Lippman polishes ($18-$20 a pop) require multiple goopy coats for opacity.

My advice? Don’t pay the premium. Sally Hansen, Essie, OPI, Revlon and even $2 Wet ‘N Wild polishes have superior formulas — and they have the same colors, too.

But back to the topic at hand:

Base color: Orly (Glowstick) | Accent Colors: Revlon (Posh #571 and Radiant #441) and Color Club (Blue Print #707)
Base color: Orly (Glowstick) | Accent Colors: Revlon (Posh #571 and Radiant #441) and Color Club (Blue Print #707) | Handbag: Proenza Schouler (Consignment)

Today’s nail art is a 1920s pastiche. There are dual inspirations: Art Deco artwork and a psychological phenomenon known as false nostalgia — i.e., fond memories for a time I never experienced. This design is my lucid dream of a vintage, non-air conditioned Miami Beach hotel lobby. (Think potted palm trees and chipped floor tiles.)

My inspiration included a 1920s advertisement and the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach.
My inspiration included a 1920s advertisement and the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach.

I prefer my nail art to retain a hand-painted, watercolor-esque aesthetic. Luckily, that means there’s no perfection required. Here’s how I did it:

Directions are COUNTER-CLOCKWISE from Top Left: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5
Directions are Counter-Clockwise from Top Left: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5

1. Swipe on a base coat and paint 2-3 coats of neon yellow polish.

2.Swipe a thin “french” tip of kelly green across the top of each nail.

3. Using a blue polish and a thin striper brush, draw a straight line from the green border down the center of your nail. Draw 2 diagonal lines on either side to create a triangle.

4. Using a striper brush and the green polish you used for the nail tip, surround the blue lines with green lines. Use a light touch so it looks feathery.

5. Extra credit: Add a layer of turquoise glitter across the design for a tiny bit of sparkle. Swipe with quick-dry topcoat, and you’re done.