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Q-Tip Distressed Nails

I love nail art, but sometimes, I just don’t have time to do something super involved. Luckily, there are lots of great techniques that look really complicated, but are really easy to accomplish! I’ve got one of those for you today -- and the trick is a Q-tip.

What you’ll need:

  • Base coat
  • Two colors of nail polish: Preferably, these should be colors that contrast well. Also it’s best if you choose at least one very opaque color (the kinds that cover in one coat are best).
  • Top coat
  • 5 Q-tips
  • Optional: nail art brush and acetone for clean up

First, paint all of your nails with the base coat. Select the less opaque of your two colors, and paint all of your nails with this color. I’m using Goldeneye by OPI, and this is three coats. Let this dry completely.

Once your base color has dried completely, take your other polish color (I’m using Liquid Leather by China Glaze). Paint one thick coat onto your nail. It’s important to note that this needs to be done one nail at a time! Wait a few seconds for the polish to get a little bit tacky. It’s okay if you’re a little messy -- you can clean that up at the end.

Don’t let the polish dry completely - a few seconds is usually enough time to wait. Take a Q-Tip and lightly dab it on the nail as if you were making dots. The cotton should pick up some of the wet black polish, revealing some of your base color. Once again, this should be done one nail at a time for best results.

You should use a fresh Q-tip end for each nail. Feel free to experiment with how you dab the Q-tip. You can try rolling it on the nail in addition to dotting motions. There’s no right way to do this. Every nail will look different!

To complete the look, clean up any excess polish around your cuticles using a nail art brush and acetone. Seal with a thick layer of top coat, and you’re done!



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