In an unashamed attempt at squeezing in more self-care into my week, I pitched the idea of copying the manicures of some of my favorite people in the fashion and beauty sphere to Her Campus UFL for my weekly article. I scrolled through my Instagram feed and dove into a photo-searching frenzy, searching for manicures that best represented each person’s online persona. With the final contenders in hand, I went to the dollar store and scooped every color of polish off the shelf, ready to spend a week pampering myself with DIY versions of high-end manicures. Here’s what it was like to recreate these stunning manicures on myself.
1. Mi-Anne Chan
Mi-Anne Chan is a writer and host at Refinery 29. When I’m not watching her incredible YouTube series called #BeautyWithMi, I’m scouring her Instagram for laid-back, stylish inspiration. While scrolling through her feed filled with glittery eyeshadow looks and pastel hair pictures, I found one of the cutest manicures I’ve ever seen: pastel blobs! If anyone knows me, my favorite colors are pastels, and shades like lavender, millennial pink and pale peach make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. To create this negative space manicure, all I did was paint three little blobs starting at the middle of my nail bed and top with a generous layer of a glossy clear coat. This manicure was so cute, I didn’t want to take it off.
2. Sam Escobar
Sam Escobar is the digital deputy director at Allure magazine, and one of their Instagram posts has one of the quirkiest manicures I’ve ever seen. Introducing: the evil eye manicure. Before starting this manicure, I’ve got to admit — I was pretty nervous to mess it up. The thin black lines, crescent moon-shaped white space and tiny pupils were staring me down and making me think twice about my decision. Nevertheless, I persisted and began by coating my nails with a milky white polish. I then swept on a light cerulean shade that reminds me of the exact color I imagine a blue raspberry would be and left a little bit of rounded space near my cuticle white so I could create the shape of the eyeball. After that, I grabbed my trusty dollar store black nail polish and began outlining the lash line of the eye, as well as adding black stripes starting from the white part and then flicking them out toward the edge of my nail. Finally, I added a cute little pupil, slicked on a top coat and went about my day warding off evil energy.
3. Michelle Lee
Michelle Lee is the Editor-in-Chief at Allure Magazine. I’ve been a fan of Michelle Lee since she worked at Nylon magazine, but once she transitioned from Nylon to Allure, I’ve been hooked. One of my favorite things about her social media accounts is that she always, and I mean ALWAYS posts a #nailfie each time she has a new manicure. After months of seeing her gorgeous nail beds grace my feed, I figured I would give one of her manicures a try. I chose this super cute cheetah print inspired look. I started with a base coat of a pale pink shade, then dolloped on metallic splotches on top of the base coat. After those coats dried, I took a black nail polish and snipped the tip of my brush diagonally to create a more precise, tapered brush ideal for detail work. I squiggled a few black lines along each golden dot and was left with a manicure that would make any cheetah girl jealous.
4. Erica Smith
Erica Smith is a writer at Man Repeller who rocks an unconventional nail trend: chipped nails. In 2017, she wrote an article in defense of chipped nails, proving that chipped nails are the sign of a woman who is a.) probably too busy to get another manicure and b.) doesn’t feel like committing to a gel manicure. In honor of Erica’s article, I painted my nails fire-engine-red and followed the advice in her article for smudging and chipping nail polish. I painted my nails and then buttoned my high-waisted mom shorts with a completely buttoned fly, typed the rest of this article and zipped on a hoodie and made sure to get an indent on the nail polish. Honestly, after a few days of trying to perfect nail polish like my favorite media mavens, it was refreshing to feel accomplished after having messed-up nails.
5. Olivia Muenter
Olivia Muenter is a fashion and beauty writer at Bustle and also happens to be a Gator Alumna. When she isn’t posting photos about body positivity, her travels or cute photos of her pup, Winnie, a handful of manicure pictures can be spotted on her Instagram feed. This simple outline design caught my eye because it looks chic, sophisticated and low-maintenance. Though this manicure is the simplest design of the week, it actually required a little bit of prep-work to recreate. Before smoothing on a ballerina-slipper-pink shade as a base coat, I poured out a small amount of a sultry crimson shade onto a folded piece of paper which served as my palette. I then grabbed an old angled eyeliner brush and set that aside with my polish puddle as I painted on my base coat. After the base dried, I dipped my angled eyeliner brush into my pool of red polish and gently outlined random parts of my nail. If I’m being honest, this look was probably the most difficult out of all of them. Their simplicity drew attention to any flaw I made while striping on the strawberry-colored-shade, which caused me to re-paint a few fingers. Although this look was challenging, it was worth the extra time.
After a week of dedicating time to painting my nails, I have a few takeaways. First, painting your own nails is an amazing way to relax and unwind. Although I was a little tense when I was painting more intricate designs, I was dedicating uninterrupted time to one of my favorite things: beautifying myself. Not only that, but this week was an exercise in patience and accepting imperfection. Both patience and acceptance are two things I’ve strived to work toward this year. I can truly say that after a week, painting my nails might be the answer I needed to help me better myself.