Over the last year I've been putting a lot more time and effort into bettering my nail art skills. I've always been so envious of people who can do beautifully intricate designs without so much as a small smudge, but I quickly realised that I was only going to see any improvement if I dedicated more time to practicing and invested a little more money into buying the tools that allow you to create more complex designs and effects.
With that in mind, today I thought I'd share with you all my top tools for creating some of my favourite designs. I'm sure many of you probably already own most of what I'll be showing, but I thought it would be a nice idea to show what works best for me so we can compare and offer tips as to what tools to invest in for beginners. The best thing about each of the tools is that they're all extremely cheap, meaning that it's easy to build up your collection without having to break open your piggy banks!
The first nail art tool I purchased was a set of dotting tools. I got mine for a couple of pounds from Amazon. These nifty little things, when bought in a pack, should have varying sized tips which allow you to create a number of different dots. You can also use these to create other shapes which don't require straight lines, for example, the top half of cupcake nails or roses.
Next I made sure I had a decent brush collection. I found my set on sale in Topshop for £2, which was such a steal, but you can also find them on tons of online nail/beauty stores for very reasonable prices. Alternatively, you can just use regular paint brushes from craft stores, they're pretty much the exact same thing after all! The best sets to buy are the ones which have a number of different brushes, just to allow you the opportunity to create a number of different designs. This may seem completely obvious, even to a novice, but I started out with only 3 brushes that were all very similar and only noticed an improvement in my more detailed designs when I upgraded and got a bigger and more varied collection.
Another useful thing to add to your collection is a pack of makeup sponges. I bought mine for a couple of pounds from Superdrug and these are great for when you want to create a gradient effect or when you're wanting to lightly cover your base colour with another more vibrant colour on top. Be warned though, when using the sponges it's easy to make a mess, which is why I also make sure I have some cotton wool buds (or Q-Tips) so that you can clean around the nail when you're done.
Something I've recently invested in is striping tape and I'm really glad I did! I found a whole bunch on sale on Amazon for only a few pounds and it came in a range of different colours. This stuff is brill for adding a little extra pazazz to your designs, but you can also use it to create straight lines between colours. It can be a little fiddly at first, with it being so thin and sticky, but once you figure out the technique to apply it properly, it makes for a great nail art accessory!
Next up are the rhinestones and embellishments! The options when it comes to these are pretty much endless. I was given two of these little wheels as a gift and the other came from the fabulous +MoYou London As a lot of embellishments tend to be small, I've also made sure that I have a tweezer to allow for easier application. I place mine on using either nail glue or by putting them on to wet polish before it dries, so if you don't have any nail glue, don't despair!
A final thing I've recently purchased (from, you guessed it, Amazon) was a set of nail wheels. These things are a godsend! I bought a set of ten and have been trying out colours and designs since they arrived. They're perfect for perfecting a design or colour scheme before you apply it to your nails. Trust me, I've already saved myself from some complete disasters!
So, that concludes my top tools! What are yours?