Sunday, March 29, 2009

fly me to the moon

I adore 1940s moon manicures (check out the nails at Christian Dior, above), but was slightly discouraged when I saw a few different online stories suggesting that this should only be attempted by a professional and/or must be achieved with nail sticker stencils. Well, I'm not one to pay for a manicure when I have a bin full of nail polish in my closet, and I've never had luck with those little drugstore stick'ems. (Though I have an intense love of tacky french manicures. They're coming back, ya'll.) So I've been determined to master the moon manicure on my own.

Dita von Teese, the patron saint of moon manicures

I posted my first attempt, and though the final result was cute from a distance and earned a couple of compliments, up close it was a blobby bubbly mess. I painted on so many coats that my nails were still tacky a few hours later. Not exactly a low maintenance project. I wanted to create a white moon at the base with a purplish black shade on the rest of the nail. Sadly, my white polish was slightly sheer, so it took a few coats to reach the opacity I was hoping to achieve. The next tricky step? Perfecting the curved border of the moon with the dark polish. I'm pretty good with nail polish, but I'm also pretty obsessive about it. So I was tweaking, adjusting, and perfecting the border for ages before I got it just right. Of course, by that time my nails were coated with, oh, twelve coats of polish. The surface was uneven, the polish had bubbled slightly, and I still wasn't perfectly satisfied with how the border had turned out.

The second time I attempted a moon manicure, I had far better luck. This time, I purchased a thick white polish so that I wouldn't have to start with a million base coats. Then, instead of obsessively detailing the border with the second color, I drew a the curved line with black permanent marker. It actually went on quite easily, and though it wasn't perfect, it served its purpose beyond my expectations. I was able to color inside the line with the dark polish, finishing the manicure with minimal coats and touch ups. A black sharpie may not be the classiest beauty tool in your closet, but when attempting this nail trend, it's invaluable. If you're using a lighter or brighter top shade, try creating the outline with Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens. They come in multiple shades and though they're a little pricey, but they're easy to work with and last forever. If you insist on going the stencil route, try this neat little trick from Glamour. I'm guessing you can buy quite a few paper hole protectors for the price of one package of nail art stencils.

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