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Nail Art For Your State of Mind

I am absolutely in love with Lush products. My guilty pleasure, in fact, is soaking with one of their deliciously scented bath bombs.

And just a few months ago, they launched the Emotional Brilliance makeup range which was supposed to be about wearing colors that reflect your psychological needs. In case you are not a Lushie, the Emotional Brilliance line was about picking three colors that ‘speak’ to you.

Each color corresponded to a word like “Confidence”, “Passion”, etc. The first color that you pick is supposed to be your strength; the second color your weakness; the third your talent. You are supposed to be subconsciously drawn to these colors, which is why wearing them will serve as a boost in your self-esteem.

Truth be told, I was not so enamored of the concept. In theory, it was a good idea: to let your state of mind decide your colors. In makeup, I know what looks good on me and I try to stay within that perspective, but nail art is something else entirely more adventurous.

Long story short, you can apply the subconscious color idea to water marbling nail art — so you end up with nails that beautifully reflect your psyche (for the moment at least).

If you want to give this a whirl and you have a stash of nail polish just begging to be used up, here's a step-by step tutorial:

1. You will need a base coat/top coat, a white nail polish, a shallow wide-mouthed cup you won’t mind getting stained, some petroleum jelly, some cotton buds, some toothpicks and about three to four nail polish colors. The nail polish colors should preferably have a thin formulation, just so they are easier to drop.

2. To start off, paint all of your nails with a base coat and an even layer of white nail polish. Let it dry. Lay some dry towels or newspapers in your work area, to contain the mess.

3. I suggest that you do one nail at a time, until you get the hang of water marbling. Start by coating your cuticles with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. This will make clean up a lot easier later. Take the cup and fill it with room temp water almost to the brim.

4. Open all the nail polish bottles so you can work faster. Take the first color and hold the polish brush near the surface of the water to place a drop of nail polish right in the middle. You should see the polish spread into a thin layer.

5. Take the next color and do the same — you will see the first color move into the perimeter of the second. When your drop the third polish, you will see a bull’s eye pattern beginning to form. You can keep adding drops of polish to create more arcs but usually, five or six layers should be enough.

6. Now here’s the fun part: take the toothpick and use it to draw out the nail polish colors. Start at the middle and work it outwards. You will soon start seeing the marbling pattern.

7. Look at the pattern and see which particular section you want on your nail. Holding your nail bed parallel to the water lay it down until it submerges. You want to keep it parallel, else bubbles can form.

8. Holding your nail steady, grab a cotton bud and use it to grab the rest of the nail polish layer so that you can cleanly pull out your freshly-painted nail. Remember not to pull out your nail before you finish this step.

9. Blow gently on your nail to drive away the water droplets on its surface. You can also start wiping away the petroleum jelly on your cuticles.

10. Once it dries, paint on some top coat and you are done!

ou can actually use glitter polishes too, but you may want to hold off until you know how to work it.

I love the water marbling technique because it does not require any nail art tools at all, plus it lets me use up the polishes which tend to streak when I apply them. Just a note, filtered water works better than tap water; it allows the polish spread more smoothly.

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