Saturday, January 12, 2013

How To: Half Moon Nails

It's not often that I post "tutorial" posts on Getting Cheeky, but when I discover a beauty trick that's both beautiful and astonishingly simple to execute I can't help but share! Several weeks ago Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere posted a photograph of a beautiful half moon manicure that I immediately wanted to emulate. Though the half moon manicure has been around for ages and countless tutorials exist, it's not something I've been able to successfully execute on my own nails. Many tutorials, in fact, recommend that you freehand the half moon with the secondary color: though I almost went to art school, I'm not that confident with my left hand!

After some time considering how to execute this look myself quickly and inexpensively I stumbled across some unloved binder reinforcements in a desk drawer. Though this idea is nothing new, I finally got it to work for me and couldn't resist sharing. I'm in love with the half moon manicure because it can be executed with any number of color combinations and has the lovely effect of elongating my nails.

One. Apply your favorite base coat.
Since I discovered OPI's Nail Envy Nail Strengthener over a month ago I've used nothing else. Not only does this base coat prolong the wear of my polishes, but it does an incredible job of nourishing my often thin and flaky nails. Since I began using it I've noticed a marked difference in the strength and endurance of my finger nails.

Two. Apply your preferred metallic base coat (Essie Penny Talk shown below) and follow with a fast drying top coat.
Though you could pick just about any shade for the base layer of color in this manicure I like the flash of reflective light that a metallic shade brings to the half moon design. If it were still the holidays I would likely select a true gold to pair with Chanel's Malice. At this time of year though I love the combination of rose gold and a soft, milky pink.

Three. Cut two rows of binder reinforcements in half.
It's important to let the first coat of nail polish fully dry before applying the binder reinforcements: if you do not the gummy reinforcements will pull off the base color when you remove them. I typically allow the fast drying top coat to work its magic on the base color for a full thirty minutes to an hour which provides ample time to prep for the next step.

Four. Apply the binder reinforcements to your nails at in the desired position.
I've discovered that if you remove a bit of the excess stickiness from the back of the reinforcements by pressing your fingers against them they are a bit easier to work with. I tend to place the reinforcements toward the bottom third of my nail as though I were exaggerating the natural arch of white at the very base of the nail bed.

Five. Carefully apply your preferred color (Essie Fiji shown below) atop the metallic shade and binder reinforcements.
Once you've placed the reinforcements in a uniform fashion paint on the second layer of color. Make sure you are applying the color carefully and evenly ensuring that the shade goes all the way down the sides of your nails past the curve of the reinforcements. A helpful tip: steer away from nail polishes that are naturally inclined to apply unevenly, it will make this step that much more difficult to execute successfully.

Six. Remove the binder reinforcements and follow with a fast drying top coat.
Once you've carefully (slowly!) removed the reinforcements follow with a second layer of fast drying top coat and enjoy your manicure!

I've been wearing the half moon manicure almost non-stop. Due to the many layers of polish this lasts on me for almost a week without needing so much as a touch up! As I mentioned above it also elongates my often short nails and manages to minimize the appearance of growth at the base of the nail bed as the eye is naturally drawn to the metallic crescent. 

Have you tried to recreate any nail art recently? If you were to paint your nails with a half moon manicure which two colors would you select?

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