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Nail Art Novices: This Is The Easiest Design To Master At Home (Promise!)

Jamie Schneider
Author:
March 16, 2021
Jamie Schneider
Former Senior Beauty & Lifestyle Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Former Senior Beauty & Lifestyle Editor
Jamie Schneider is the former Senior Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Young woman with nail art
Image by LUCAS OTTONE / Stocksy
March 16, 2021
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While nail art sounds dreamy in theory, not everyone can craft expert-level masterpieces on such a tiny canvas. Of course, I'm metaphorically raising my hand: Let's just say my nail art skills lean toward, well, very abstract. I find it difficult to paint on one color without Jackson Pollock–esque splotches on my finger pads and cuticles, let alone wield multiple shades.

So when I attended a virtual nail art workshop with sundays—a nail-care brand focused on wellness—I wasn't expecting to fall in love with my design. And yet, I was pleasantly surprised! The tutorial was quite minimal, even for a nail art novice like me, and I caught myself fluttering my fingers the next day, marveling at my freshly manicured tips. 

Behold, the easiest nail design ever: Let Mytien Le, nail specialist at sundays, walk you through. 

An evil eye nail art tutorial.

The evil eye symbol spans a variety of cultures and religions, typically adorned as a charm or amulet as a protective measure against misfortune or injury. "[When you] put the evil eye on your hand, it can bring something positive to your daily life," says Amy Lin, founder of sundays. "And when you look down, you're uplifting yourself." 

And it's oh-so-easy to create, even on your nail plate. Here's what you'll need:

  • Nail clipper and file
  • Cuticle pusher (or wooden stick or soft cloth) 
  • Cuticle oil
  • Nail dotting tool (or wooden stick, makeup brush, or ballpoint pen)
  • Small plate
  • Base coat polish 
  • White polish 
  • Black polish
  • Blue polish 
  • Top coat polish

First things first: Clip and file your nails to your desired shape. Techniques vary depending on the tips you're gunning for (see them all here), but some maintenance is key before painting with polish. After shaping your nails, gently push the cuticles back with your tool of choice (to make the polish last longer, says Le), and massage an oil into those nailbeds. 

On to the actual painting bit: Apply your base coat (this hydrating number makes your nails super strong), and let it dry for a moment before painting on your first coat of white paint. Now, an opaque white shade may look streaky on the nail plate at first, sort of like you have vertical ridges, but Le says not to worry: "The second coat will even it out," she notes. Rather, if you layer on globs of polish, your coat will just take longer to dry. 

After painting your digits white (allow them to dry for two to three minutes between coats), let your nails dry for five to 10 minutes before attempting the nail art—otherwise, your base color will dent or two polish colors will bleed together. 

Now, for the design steps:

  1. Grab three nail art tools, ideally all different sizes. A dotting set (like this option) might make the job a touch easier, but you can use whatever small, rounded tool you have in your household. According to Le, a wooden stick or ballpoint pen can work, or you can even use the end of a small makeup brush. 
  2. Grab a small ceramic or glass plate to use as a palette (the polish will just bleed through a paper towel or napkin), and dot a heaping glob of each color onto the surface. You should have a blue, black, and white spot—make sure they don't fuse together. 
  3. Dip your largest dotting tool into the blue polish, and gently dot the color onto the nail plate. Then dip your medium-size tool into the white polish and create a smaller white spot on top of each blue circle. Finally, dip your smallest tool into the black polish and lightly tap it on each white dot to create the pupil.
  4. Repeat on your other nails, if you like: You can either choose one finger to feature the evil eye, or you can stamp one on each nail—artists' choice. 
  5. Let your fingers dry for at least five minutes, then apply a glaze of top coat to form a shiny lacquer.  

The takeaway. 

To enhance your at-home mani, this evil eye nail design is incredibly low stakes and looks professional-grade. The hardest part, I found, was not the evil eye itself but achieving an error-free coat of base polish—so if you can effortlessly swipe on a color, this nail art is a seamless level-up. 

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