Forget your glasses, ditch the handbag and dump your bangles. The latest accessory of today is your very own nails. Paint them, draw on them, deck them up, give them a dash of glitter and adorn them with gems and you have the look!
Dating as far back as ancient Egypt when they were used as a status symbol, nail art is now becoming a fad, spreading like ink in water amongst the fashion conscious. In the United States nail art has been popular since 1999 but was mostly restricted to R&B stars like Lil’ Kim and Mary J Blige who often made a dramatic appearance through their flamboyant designs. It was not until the pop artists started showing off their intricate and funky designs that it started gaining popularity amongst the hoi polloi. The trendsetters in this regard who ushered in this new phenomenon are Lady Gaga and Beyonce, two stars known for their vibrant and eye-catching nail patterns.
The young, the hip and the happening in Pakistan too are adopting this new frivolity and are not too far behind. Owing to this almost all leading full service salons have also started offering nail art services. Aliya Farooq’s Signature Salon is one such parlour that offers a wide variety of designs. “Animal prints, floral designs and abstract motifs are most in fashion these days. Other than that I just introduced a new marble design that is also being appreciated by my customers,” says aesthetician Aliya Farooq, who keeps experimenting and introducing new designs at her salon. Along with patterns, there are numerous things that are glued on to the nails like tattoos, coloured gems, stars as well as lace, which make the nails look fancier, adds Farooq. Speaking about retaining these items, Farooq says that no special care is needed, just the same amount of care that is taken with painted nails and they normally last around a week to 10 days, depending upon the amount of work, water and soap they are exposed to.
Nail art in Pakistan is still an extravagance, restricted to certain social circles as its average cost is from Rs1,000 to Rs5,000 and people who desire a complete look with extra long nails can purchase acrylic nails that cost around Rs3,500 for both hands. However, nothing is impossible. If you can’t afford such a luxury, have no fear. This is one thing you can try your hand at while sitting at home. Many people particularly young girls are jumping onto the bandwagon by doing it themselves with the help of online tutorials, pictures, videos and their own creativity. Noreena Pervez, a 17-year-old, counts nail art as her favourite activity. Though not equipped with professional supplies, nothing stops her from getting an equally alluring look as she has come up with her innovative ideas. She has experimented nail art with almost everything available to her, including things like toothpicks and eye liner brushes. An avid user of Facebook, she enjoys beautifying her nails with elegant designs, taking pictures and sharing them with her friends. She prefers doing it herself because, “I love it when people appreciate my designs and praise my artistic and creative abilities,” says Pervez.
The nail art craze has even attracted housewives. Sameera Zeeshan is a diehard fan of nail art and is known amongst her friends circle for her interesting patterns and coordinated designs that flatter her overall look. On one of her latest jaunts abroad she even bought a nail art kit for herself. A prized possession, the her kit allows her to let her imagination run wild, explore her creative side and get the professional look at the same time. “Though I often go to salons to get my nails decked up, I prefer doing it myself, as it is customised and enhances my personal style statement,” says Zeeshan.
Lately if you haven’t turned too many heads or you’re running low on your ‘wow’ factor, nail art is just the remedy for you. Many great salons offer this service. However, if you are creative and daring enough, you can always transform your nails into mini canvases yourself. The best thing about it is that there is a very low probability for it going wrong. Leopard prints to peacock feathers, from lace to chains, from dots to dashes, from flowers to seaweed and from butterflies to ladybugs — all work best.
So unleash your imagination this winter and have fun coordinating your latest accessory with your ensemble. Be ahead of everyone else and make the most dazzling fashion statement ever!
Salons offering nail art services
• Aaliya Farooq’s Signature Salon
• Alle’Nora by Aliya Tipu
• Rain Tree Mini Spa
Do it yourself
You don’t really need to be an artist to create nail designs. You can do it yourself using some simple materials and techniques that are cheap. There are a number of nail art kits available in the market but you can very well do without them too.
Different colours and shades of nail polish, both dark and light, are the most important tool for sprucing up your nails. Choose quality and long lasting nail colours to obtain the best possible results. Remember to buy both, matte as well as glitter, nail polishes. Another very important supply you will need is a clear or transparent top coat. Buy one that is not too thick but is of the right consistency required for sealing purposes. Other supplies required include toothpicks, acrylic paints, rhinestones (all colours), paint brushes with fine tips and nail glue.
Types of nail art
This requires some practice with the airbrush machine. Various colours can be used in creating the airbrush designs. Beginners should start out with one or two colours but as they get hold of it, they can apply multiple colours to create more stunning art works.
This is the most popular nail art technique. It allows you to be more creative in nail art and the product is more unique than other techniques.
Girls doing it for the first time should start with this. Stamps enable you to reduce the time to create the nail art but it will not be as unique as the freehand style. However, it will help you get familiar with the basics of nail art designing.
This form of nail art is typically done on acrylic or fake nails, which are then applied over the fingernails. Firstly, coloured acrylic is added to a mould using a paintbrush and then it’s left to harden. Once the acrylic dries and hardens, the 3D nail art is removed from the mould and is glued to the fake fingernails using nail glue. Flowers are one of the most common 3D nail art creations. This technique requires years of experience.
Brands for nail art
Diana of London