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Vivid Digits

Ombre is everywhere this year, and this season the trend hits nails as well.

Ombre is everywhere this year, and this season the trend hits nails as well. Photo by Trip Burns.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably noticed that fingernails garner a lot of attention these days. From Olympic coverage taking note of the female swimmers’ patriotic polish to a social media frenzy over Michelle Obama’s shade of gray during the Democratic National Convention to E! Entertainment Television’s new “Mani-Cam” on the Emmys red carpet, nails are experiencing a major moment in the spotlight.

And why shouldn’t they? Polish is a fun way to have fun with a pop of color without breaking the bank or making a major commitment the way, say, chopping off your hair would. With all this focus on the fingers, there are plenty of new trends and techniques popping up, allowing you to easily take your manicure to the next level.

One easy update is to file your nails differently. Instead of a rounded oval, try an edgier shape, like an pointed nails.

Becky Mayoros of SMoak Salon in Fondren, advises that the current version is a medium-length oval with a point, not ’80s long.” Popular with stars like Adele, Fergie, and Rhianna, this dramatic look is not for everyone; whether you think of them like finger stilettoes or claws, it can understandably be a bit intimidating for the faint of heart (or, perhaps, those who work with children). However, if you’re brave enough, it can release your inner rock star (especially if you add a big cocktail ring or three) and elongate your hands.

In terms of polish, long-lasting shellacs and gels (CND and OPI are among the most popular brands) are the latest breakthrough in technology. These gels are specially formulated—once painted on, they get hardened under a UV light. In addition to lasting for up to three weeks per application, shellacs are instantly dry—you’re able to immediately leave the salon without any fear of chipping or smudging.

But there’s more to these long-lasting manicures than a simple color: the new thing to incorporate into your gel manicure is an additive. Mayoros has started experimenting with clients interested in playing with these powdered colors. She advises that people in more conservative work environments shy away from them, but with endless options and color combinations, looks ranging from subtle to extreme can satisfy just about anyone.

After she paints and hardens a base coat color, Mayoros applies the fine powder additive on top with a brush. The additive changes the color of the base polish—for instance a purple base coat with a red additive layered on the top half of the nail bed creates a subtle ombre effect. Younger clients or those in more creative professions get more adventurous, pairing a silver basecoat with black additive for a punkier look, or silver and blue for a sleek modern effect. In addition to ombre, Mayoros can use different brushes to create designs—lines, dots, or other shapes with a fine point brush, or a faded effect with a fan brush. A topcoat seals and hardens the additive.

Shellac or gel manicures at local salons and spas range from $30-$55 and should be removed by a trained professional.

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