Colour gel as a material gives wide possibilities of nail designing. It can be used for basic, everyday nail art as well as for multidimensional extravagant designs.
Success in nail art depends on good knowledge of the product and its properties and on a concept and planning of a design.
Properties of colour gel
Colour gels are like paints but they need to be cured. Good gels are highly pigmented, have good coverage and cure easily. And this is the type of material which I recommend, because it guarantees proper application and an effect of multi-layered designs.
Same gel may have different properties depending on the type of basic surface on which it is applied.
– a drop of colour gel applied onto an uncured background surface* will gradually spread till the moment of curing in UV light. I call this technique “wet over wet”. An interesting effect that is worth a while is making an “aureola”. Dark intensive pigment of gel (claret-coloured, black, amaranth, dark violet) diffuses to the background layer. This kind of appllication can be used for creating shaded backround and then making designs by dragging with a long thin brush, tooth-stick or dotting tool. They are easy and quick. The curing time is 2min.
– Application of colour gel over a dispersive film of a base layer causes that the design slightly spreads and its edges smoothly melt into the background. I call this technique “wet over a film” and use it for many purposes. One of them is creating easy but charming flowers and leaves by dragging a tooth-stick. It is possible to play with darker and lighter tones to make a design convex and emphasize lower elements (folded petals, flower calicle). On the other hand it is possible to create blured petals which gives the effect of lightness and sylphlike. If we use this technique to create a nail design composed of a several elements, it is wise to cure each of them for only 20-30s to save a lot of time.
– Colour gel applied over matt base layer doesn’t flow and that is why this technique is called “wet over dry”. It is useful for designs of sharp, clean-cut edges, defining contours and texts. On that kind of backgroung it is possible to draw fine precise lines as in peacock feather. Again, if we make a few elements with this technique, it is possible to cure each layer 20-30s only.
On top or underneath?
Apart from embedding different nail art like glitter, shells, laces into a gel nail, there are to way of creating the designs:
– on-surface single-layer design – ornaments are applied over fully shaped nails and are sealed with a gel top coat. As a background it is possible to use embedded nail arts. The main advantage of this method is great ease of removing it and changing the design without interfering in a structure of artificial gel nail. We save a lot of time and material. On the other hand there are some limitations. A whole nail art should be done with a single layer and with a minimum usage of the product to avoid excessive thickness and bad shape of an artificial nail.
– deep single or multi-layered nail art – we start creating nail art just after applying tips or scultping a nail structure on a form. Nail art can be done in a single layer or in a few layers one over another. Finished nail art is sealed with a coat of builder clear gel, a tunnel and C-curve is sculpted. After curing and filing a nail a layer of glossy top gel finishes the work. The main advantage of such design is a possibility to create deep, fanciful and very attractive designs. Additionally, artificial nail arts or colour acrylic decorations can be embedded. Whole design is sealed with clear gel and as long as all layers are kept thin, the final effect is very natural and doesn’t look thick.
Drawback: in case of refill or a new set, usually it is necessary to remove all layers which is very labour-intensive and time-consuming. For this purpose an lectric nail drill seems to be an ideal solution. To save some time, I also recommend to create that kind of designs at a one or two nails. They will look more like a kind of a jewellery.
Designing and nail art logistics
If we know the possibilities of colour gel and we have learnt how to create particular elements such as flowers, butterflies, animal images etc., it’s time for planning a design. It is a very important moment for thinking about decorations as well as harmonious choice of colours. We need to make a pencil drawing on a sheet of paper and correct it till we are happy with the effect. The we write a plan of actions where we decide what we are going to begin with, which element will be next and so on. We also decide in which moments we need to add a base layer of clear gel. First we create a background. If we use glitter gel or glitter itself, we have to seal it with a layer of clear gel to have smooth surface. Secondly, we create elements of a background such as leaves. At a new base layer we create the main element of our design, e.g. a flower or a few flowers. For more flowers we need to start the most bottom one and finish with the closest to us.
1. Apply light-yellow background with darker-yellow smudges. Cure for 2min. Paint two green stems using thin long brush. Cure for 30s.
2. very labour-intensive and time-consuming to Paint leaves with a small brush. Cure 6os. Seal the whole surface with clear gel and cure for 2min.
3. and 4. Paint bottom petals of the upper poppy and a side poppy. Each petal has to be cured for 30s.
5. Paint top petals and a central part of the upper poppy. Cure petals individually for 30s. Apply a layer of clear gel and cure for 2min.
6. and 7. Paint bottom petals of the lower poppy and shade the inner part with black gel. Cure for 60s. Apply a layer of clear gel and cure for 2min.
8. and 9. Paint top petals and do the shading. Cure for 30s each. Add a central part, cure and finish with black gel. Cure for 2min. At this moment we begin sculpting the nail with a builder gel to obtain proper shape according to the principles.
Owner in Crystal Nails.
Leader of Nail Styling School in Katowice
5-times Master in Nail Design i Nail Art Championships in Poland and abroad
Judge in Polish and foreign championships
Źródło: pismo „Paznokcie” nr 47.