How to create 'seashell nails' AKA Instagram's new nail art obsession

Oh shell yeah

Digital Beauty Editor / August 14 2020

Ah, remember carefree beach days? Hours of sandy, salty fun in the sun... those were the times, right? As for what triggered their cruel disappearance from our lives, let's chalk it up to a winter-COVID combo...

But just because the current temperatures and social distancing restrictions are keeping us from living out our coastal fantasies IRL, that doesn't mean we can't make our nail art a love letter to the seaside havens we're missing so dearly. And honestly, when the results are this cute, it would be rude not to.

All you'll need are a few easy-to-find tools and a couple of colours we'll bet you already have in your collection. Don't stress about striving for perfection, either – they say each seashell is beautifully unique with its own story to tell, and luckily for our coordination levels, the same goes in the nail art department.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 1: Start by painting nails with two coats of a crisp white or cream colour.

Step 2: Use a small paint brush dipped in beige polish to create two horizontal lines (one a few centimetres from the top of the nail and the other a few centimetres from the bottom) made up of small brush splotches. You're aiming for a tie-dye-esque effect so keep the pressure light to keep the splotches somewhat 'soft' looking.

Step 3: Seal your 'shell base' in with a layer of clear top coat.

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Step 5

Step 6

Step 4: Use another small paintbrush (preferably with a thinner tip for more precision) to draw approximately six vertical lines onto the nail. Don't worry about making them perfect; the idea is to create slightly curvy lines that differ in width as they run from top to bottom to produce the same look as the imperfect lines on shells.

Step 5: Use a rhinestone picker pen (or tweezers if you're careful) to place a small gem (like these) onto the base of the nail.

Step 6: Brag! You're done and we'll bet you nailed it...

Main image credit: @banicured_

On the nail art train? Give daisy designs a go...

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