Whether your social calendar is filling up with dates for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, wedding rehearsals, “the big day” or all of the above - the reality is we’re entering peak wedding season, people! Try.Not.To.Panic.
If you’re anything like me, it can all seem a bit overwhelming. I am a major planner with a penchant for procrastination. I like to focus on the details (i.e., nails, jewelry, hair) and often leave the bigger stuff (i.e., travel accommodations, flights) until later. So, in pure “Jessie” form - I have a dress and I went for a nail session with Mary Wolf 8 months out from walking one of my best friend’s down the aisle. I am happy to report that this was VERY SUCCESSFUL. Mary nailed the PERFECT wedding season nailstyle. This gemmed gel manicure has just the right amount of sparkle and wow-factor without being too bright or flashy.
Metallic accents continue to be on trend and we thought mixing different metal finishes (silver, gold, and rose gold) would allow this manicure the flexibility to complement any occasion - and outfit! The final result: a 100% showstopper and, lucky for us, Mary broke down the steps to what has quickly become one of her signature styles.
- Do a dry manicure: Have your client wash their hands before you begin. Cleanse the surface of their nails with alcohol. Use a cuticle bit to buff away cuticle from the nail bed and push any dry skin back. Use nippers or e-file bits to gently and lightly get rid of any dry skin around the nail bed. File free edge of the nail to the desired shape. Brush away any dust left behind and cleanse the surface of the nailbed with alcohol.
- Apply 1 layer of base gel to all 10 nails one hand at a time and cure. Apply a second layer of base gel and cure.
- To create a look with gems and studs that you can mirror on both hands work with one hand at a time. Pick one nail to begin creating your look on and cover the nail with a layer of hard gel with a thicker viscosity. I enjoy using Vetro Extend II Gel. You want the layer to be thick enough to hold onto the gems and studs as you create your look but not too thick to where the gems and studs will move around too much as you work.
- With your layer of hard gel down, use fine point tweezers or a wax stick to pick up and begin placing the bigger pieces such as gemstones or larger studs in key points of the nail such as the center or top and bottom. These will be your anchors for each design.
- Work around the larger pieces to begin placing smaller studs or gemstones and create a symmetrical pattern as you work.
- Once you have your first nail complete use a UV/LED Flash Light to cure the pieces in place. This will allow you to move on to the next nail and reduce any heat spikes when doing the full cure of each hand.
- Continue to work on the remaining nails, designing and curing the looks in place with the UV/LED Flashlight until you have all 5 nails on one hand complete. Do a full cure of the completed hand in your UV and/or LED Gel Lamp.
- Now move on to the second hand where you will copy the designs you completed on the first hand by working in the same way: one nail at a time curing the completed designs in place with an LED/UV Flashlight. Once all 5 fingers have been mirrored on second hand do a full cure in your UV and/or LED Gel Lamp.
- Use the same thick viscosity hard gel to encapsulate your completed designs on one hand, do 4 fingers at the same time and save the thumbs for last to avoid the hard gel sliding to one side of the thumbnail. Encapsulate and cure the thumbs separately so that they can lay flat in the UV and/or LED Gel Lamp.
- When encapsulating you should float the gel over the gems and studs rather than brushing. This will help avoid air bubbles and make the encapsulation very smooth and seamless. Beginners might want to try encapsulating and curing one nail at a time in case they work slowly, this will ensure the gel being used to encapsulate doesn’t pool off the gems and studs and onto the skin around the nail.
- Thicker viscosity gels have more molecules and they tend to have heat spikes when curing, especially when using a large amount to encapsulate large gems and studs. To try and avoid this flash cure the encapsulated nails with a UV/LED Flashlight.
- Once all 10 nails are encapsulated and cured check the edges around each nail to make sure there aren’t any parts of gel sticking out. You can carefully file away imperfections around the nail bed if needed. Cleanse the surface of the nails with alcohol and make sure no dust and debris are present.
- Now it’s time for the top coat! Use the top coat of your choice and cure according to manufacturer instructions.
- Lotion and cuticle oil to make your client looks picture perfect!
I wore this look for over 6 weeks (insane!) without any lifting. When Mary told me that her nail art typically lasts 4+ weeks I was pretty skeptical but she clearly knows her stuff. From the dry manicure to flash curing individual nails to avoid heat spikes - I was impressed from start to finish. A major added bonus: opting for a clear base kept my manicure from ever looking grown out — even at week 6!
Written By: Jessie Gutierrez