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Airbrush Nails: How To Take On The ’00s Mani Trend At Home

If we’re talking nail trends, then usually the more simple, the better right? Wrong! Airbrush nails may not be the pearlescent glaze we have all been gleaming over (thanks to our girl, Hailey), and it may not be the oatmilk nails the Pinterest gang told us were the done thing: It’s the revival of the noughties airbrushing trend that we’ve tried to forget (but can’t).

For the uninitiated, traditional airbrushed nails involved an airbrush machine to blow nail paint onto nails, creating a diffused painterly effect.

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Consider it the wild older sister to the evil eye nail design, the iridescent godmother to the glazed doughnut nail trend, the close cousin of the abstract nail, and the fraternal twin to the nail-art-according-to-your-aura mani. The bonus is that it’s not limited to any colours. In fact, it’s really up to you what your airbrush nails look like. The pops of hazy colour and the pearlescent finishes can be mesmerising, but how hard can achieving this kaleidoscopic nail art of dreams be?

Well, the technique can be achieved in a few different ways. “Airbrush nails can be muted or full of rainbow colour, the hazy finish gives an airy, dreamy feel to the manicure. The good news is you don’t need to go to a salon with an airbrush machine to re-create the look.” says celeb nail tech, Tinu Bello. 

What are Airbrush Nails?

As mentioned, traditional airbrush nail art is done by using an airbrush gun. It can be done using stencils and motifs, or it can be done freehand. Mixing colours will create that flawless gradient that will give an airbrushed finish. The nozzle of the airbrush gun determines the fluidity of the paint and the precision. You can change them to make the airflow wider and more diffused, or narrower and more pigmented. It means every design is unique. You can buy your own airbrush kit from Amazon, but we’ll warn you now, it will require a lot of practice.

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How can I achieve airbrush nails at home?

If you’re taking a break from your nail lady for any reason – whether it be you want to give your nails a break, or you want to give your bank account a well-deserved holiday – then we got you. 

For those of us who find going all out to buy an airbrush kit too big a commitment for a single nail trend, fear not; there is a much easier way of achieving the real deal from home with minimal tools. You’ll need the gel polishes, a UV Lamp, a dotting tool (or alternatively a pencil-thin paintbrush or even a toothpick), and your creativity. 

Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to get this latest mani trend on your cute AF nails. If you don’t have a UV lamp, just wait for each layer of your regular polish to dry. It might take a bit longer, but the end effect will be similar.

1. Prep your nails by pushing back cuticles, buffing the nail bed, and don’t forget to cleanse them.

2. Apply a gel base coat of choice and cure with a LED or UV lamp.

3. Apply a mix of gel colours of your choice using a dotting tool or a nail art brush.

4. Blend the colours, so they create a gradient. You can also blow on them to make the gradient more random and natural.

4. Apply a top coat of choice and cure under LED or UV lamp. 

5. Don’t forget to remove that tacky top layer with some acetone-free nail polish remover.

5. Cleanse hands and apply cuticle oil to the cuticles.

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For more from Glamour UK Beauty Writer Shei Mamona, follow her on Instagram @sheimamona

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