Nail the Textured Manicure with Breakthrough Polishes, Kits and DIY Ideas

Meadham Kirchhoff, Spring 2013 via IMAXtree

Meadham Kirchhoff, Spring 2013 via IMAXtree

Sure, you can pick up a classic red nail polish at the drugstore and be ready for any occasion, but sometimes it's fun to play with your manicures, just like you do with your wardrobe. Let's call it mani technology, and say that it's been growing by leaps and bounds. No longer are mere polka dots, zigzags and abstract designs all that's available. And no, I don't mean reviving the 80s rhinestone craze either. What then? From rubber and concrete to velvet and caviar, textured nails raise your polish to new heights. Here are some of the latest products and techniques to bring to your manicurist or try at home.

Velvet and Caviar

When it comes to hot new DIY manicure kits, a company called Ciate rules the pack. Each kit comes with a base coat, texture element and top coat (if necessary) as well as a special brush to apply the nail modification. Just what kind is available? One boasts tiny sequins, another kit uses velvet powder to give your nails a fuzzy finish (below). Their most popular kit is the one they call caviar. Tiny round beads are added in varying colors for something that looks a little out of this world. Kits range between $19 and $25.

Ciate Velvet Manicure

Ciate Velvet Manicure

Rubber and Concrete

Two other polish companies are offering subtle texture elements in an unusual solid-colored finish. Illamasqua has a range of colors called "Rubber Finish". The claim is a unique after-effect that mimics the shiny, flexible material. Not to be outdone, Nails Inc. boasts a polish they call "Concrete." The polish dries with the same rough texture we know so well under our feet. 

Nails Inc. Concrete Nail Polish

Nails Inc. Concrete Nail Polish

DIY Lacy Lady

If you don't mind a little cutting and fitting on your own, try the lace DIY mani. It's simple, really. Buy an inexpensive piece of lace, any color you like, and cut pieces to fit your nails. Apply a base coat and top coat, let them dry. Then lay your lace overlays on top of your nails. Apply another top coat and you're good to go. Who needs an impressive outfit when you're walking around with this look? Exactly. 


You think I'm talking about tacky stick-on polish or nails in a snakeskin design, right? Mais non. I speak of the real thing. But this is no time for DIY experimentation. Real snakeskin appliques have been hitting up the London salons for months, and no doubt are already creeping into high-end salons in places like NYC and LA. If you don't have a thing against wearing parts of animals, and you have an extra $300 laying around, this could be your next fashion adventure.

DIY Feather Fetish

The feather manicure is one to try at home. Did you know craft stores sell bags of feathers for just a few bucks? Once you've acquired your birdie accents, take one at a time, laying the very tip on each nail so it kisses your cuticle. Cut if off where it meets the end of your nail. Now apply any base coat you choose, followed by a top coat. Allow it to dry. Lay your cut feathers on your nails and apply a topcoat to secure them. Let the feathers steal the show with clear or nude polish, add another visual element with a bright polish underneath. Or use black or oxblood, keeping the feathers on display only for those who are close up enough to see your art. 

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