With this question in mind, I tapped the artists at Base Coat—an ultra-cool, non-toxic nail salon opening in Los Angeles on November 15—for some nail-spiration.
The space is located in Downtown LA’s Arts District and stocks its own collection of 8-free polishes, an entire range of all-natural mani/pedi products formulated by Fig+Yarrow, and a retail area and bar serving up mocktails, juices, teas, and tonics. Oh, and Base Coat’s Los Angeles GM is Shelly Hill, manicurist to Gwen Stefani and Nicki Minaj—so you know the looks created there will be spotlight-worthy.
So what should you be seeking out at the nail salon right now? According to Base Coat senior nail stylist Maddie Costigan, color will be all about “earthy neutrals, deep reds, and shimmering metallics.”
And yes, nail art is still a big deal. “As we draw nearer to the holiday season, sparkle will become the must-have accessory, as will minimalist-yet-impactful nail designs that feel fresh and festive.”
Plus, the best part about using non-toxic nail polishes now is that “the quality has gone way, way up,” enthuses Costigan. “We’re now in an era where stylish nails that last no longer mean exposing yourself to problematic chemicals.”
Scroll down for 5 non-toxic nail looks that pros are predicting to be huge this season.
1. Glitter Fade
“Dusting the tips of your nails with a chunky glitter polish is a simple, yet sophisticated way to incorporate sparkle into a manicure,” says Costigan. “Fading the glitter is reminiscent of the ombre styles of seasons past with a whimsical twist.”
Get the look: After painting two coats of a base color on your nails—here, Costigan and Base Coat senior stylist Vanessa Baltierras utilized a deep red—apply a layer of glitter polish from the middle of your nail to the tip. “After your first pass of glitter has had a moment to take hold, go over the tip of the nail with glitter to create a gradual, faded look,” says Costigan.
2. Mixed Metals
“Mixing metals used to be considered a faux pas, but now it’s turned into a style-savvy move,” says Costigan. “Marrying gold and copper tones brings out the warmth of fall weather with a futuristic feel.”
Get the look: Apply two layers of one color to the nail and allow it to settle, leaving a small gap at the bottom. “Then go in with your secondary metallic shade and, mimicking the shape of your nail, trace the rounded contours,” says Costigan.
3. Subtle Stripes
“Effortlessly cool, linear looks elongate the nails and flatter all nail shapes,” Costigan raves. “A concise line on the nail is a striking statement that can be achieved without a lot of [effort],” she promises.
Get the look: The stylists chose a warm neutral for the base coat and an olive green for the stripe, which was painted on using a long-bristled eyeliner brush. Costigan’s pro tip for straight lines: “Move the nail against the stationary brush… and it’s okay to do lines in connected segments, instead of all in one go.”
4. Minimalist Dots
“The best part of placing dots on your nails is that they can go anywhere you please,” says Costigan. (In other words, it’s cool if you don’t make them perfectly symmetrical.)
Get the look: “We really like pairing neutrals with powerful pops of color,” Costigan says. “Our tool of choice is a standard dotting implement, but in a pinch at home, a bobby pin or toothpick can also come in handy.”
5. Side-Swept French
“You can see several variations of the French manicure all over the nail world now,” says Costigan. “This look maintains the same elegance, but in a more contemporary way.” Here, she used a neutral blue tone accented with sharp silver.
Get the look: Polish two coats of your base color, and then swipe the other color at a slanted angle from the middle of one side of the nail to the tip. “This is a look that will likely require some clean-up,” admits Costigan. “Careful use of a polish remover on a cotton swab will do the trick to achieve a clean look.”
Holiday beauty prep is officially underway! Check out these three hot fall haircuts from NYC’s newest sustainable salon, and find out how to score natural alternatives to the year’s buzziest makeup (Kylie lip kits included).
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