Ask and you shall receive! I had COUNTLESS people ask me how I made my purple smoke mani yesterday, so I thought a tutorial on this technique would be quite appropriate =]! I hope you like it...this is my very first tutorial! Let's get this show on the road!!!
1. Choose your colors!
I suggest using 3 colors to achieve the "smoky" look of this mani. I chose Zoya Bela (base color), Zoya Jordana (medium shade), and Zoya Dita (darkest shade). One of my lovely followers suggested I use pinks since Valentines Day is coming up =] You can use polishes in the same color family (3 tones of the same color, like I did here) or 3 completely different colors (this probably won't look smoky, though, just differently cool =P). I have had the most luck with cremes and opaque shimmer polishes. You will also need a base and top coat, of course.
2. Gather supplies- Palette, Big Brush, and Polish Remover
The tools for this mani include a paint palette of some sort (You can use a small dish like me or even just a piece of paper...just know it will get really messy, so don't use something you care about), a big and fluffy nail art brush, and polish remover. I like to use is a Trenton Round 5 brush that I bought from JoAnn's...it technically isn't for nail art, but I got it in a detail brush pack for like 4 bucks =P You'll also need a small angled brush for cleanup, but it isn't pictured.
This is just a comparison of my brush to a Zoya bottle so you can see how big it is =]
3. Apply your base coat, base color, and let dry
After putting on your base coat, apply the lightest of the 3 colors; this is 2 coats of Bela. You need it to be completely dry before the next step because instead of painting, it will drag the polish and you'll have to start over. I usually way 3-5 minutes to make sure it's dry.
4. Prepare the medium color
Next, make a little puddle of your medium shade on your palette. Don't make your puddle too big because it could get too tacky to use before your get to all of it...It's better to use just a small amount until it's gone and then add a little more instead of wasting polish!
5. Dab brush in polish
Once you've made your puddle, take your clean brush and dab just a tiny bit on the end, like pictured above. If you do too much, you'll just end up painting your nail entirely instead of the streaky look your going for. However, if you don't do enough, then it won't show up at all...with a little practice, you'll figure out just how much polish you need at once =]
5. Apply medium color until satisfied
Place your brush near your cuticle and sweep it gently over your nail in a random stroke about 3/4th of the way up your nail. Some strokes may be longer or shorter, depending on what you like. There really is no wrong direction to go, just do whatever looks pretty to you! I like to make them sort of swirly at the end =] FYI, I used Jordana for this step.
Here's a picture of what my strokes look like...
Here is what it looks like when I'm finished with my medium color. I usually cover pretty much the entire 1st half of my nail in the color so it doesn't have any weird bald spots, but I let it fade and be random-looking towards the tip. Once again, you can do this step however you want, do what looks good to you!
7. Clean your brush with polish remover
You'll need a clean brush before you use the next color, so clean it really well with polish remover. Make sure it's dry before painting with it again...this is a DRY brush technique, after all =P
8. Make a small puddle of your darkest color on your palette
Remember, not too big or it will get tacky. Just dab a little bit at a time!!!
9. Apply the darkest shade until satisfied
Once the medium shade is dry, start near your cuticle with just a dab of polish and sweep it gently toward the tip. This time, don't go as far up as you did with the medium color so that it looks like it's fading. I used Dita for this step.
Here is what it looks like once I'm done applying the darkest color. I like to completely cover the bottom third of the nail, and then have it randomly fade afterwards.
*Optional* 10. Clean brush and apply more of the medium shade
If you aren't completely happy with the fading effect, go back in once the nail is fairly dry and add just a few more random strokes of the medium shade with a clean, dry brush. Notice how I don't start near the cuticle this time; this is because the start points will be covered up slightly by the darkest color after this step...you'll see what I mean below.
*Optional* 11. Clean brush and apply more of the darkest shade
After cleaning your brush and allowing it and the nail to dry again, go in and apply just a few more strokes of the dark color. I pretty much only cover up the starting points from the last step so that it doesn't overpower the other colors too much.
12. Clean up!
Nobody's perfect...so it's time to go in and clean up your cuticles! I didn't have this pictures, but I use an angled brush dipped in polish remover to clean up the mess I made. If you would like more help with cleaning up, there is a really good tutorial here!
13. Add top coat and TA DAAAAA!
You're all done! Time to enjoy your work =]!
I hope this was super helpful (if not, email or comment and tell me if there's anything to clarify)! There are a lot of steps, but this doesn't take me too long to do, so don't be afraid to try it! Please, send me pictures or a link if you attempt this yourself, I'd LOVE to see =]!
*Some of these products were provided for previous consideration and review. The opinions within this post are COMPLETELY my own.*