Do you have clients who really love satisfying textures on their nails? Maybe you are doing it and don’t even know it. Traditionally, well-done nails are meant to be as smooth as possible, with no lumps, bumps, or roughness. It’s understandable if you haven’t ventured outside of this standard when creating nails. But lately, 3D textures have been trending among technicians and customers alike. Smoothness is still a good rule of thumb for the base layer to create what you’re building on, but now more than ever people are open to going wild with texture.
Why are 3D textures such a big trend right now? We think it’s a tactile thing for a lot of people. Raised textures just feel interesting, satisfying, and even calming. The extra dimension makes them look really cool too!
There are so many ways to incorporate texture into your finished nail designs. If you’re unfamiliar with the trend or want to try something you’ve never done before, here are 10 ideas to get you started and how to tackle them.
1. Abstract blobs
This simple technique is the basis for many 3D textured gel nail designs. Once you can make a dab of gel, there’s a lot more you can do. The trick is to use hard or build gel, place your blob the way you want and cure without it moving. Clear gel looks amazingly dimensional over a range of colors and glitters with this technique. Try to create some organic shapes and have fun with it.
2. Drops of water
This is the easiest design to achieve. Same technique as above; Make some small, round or slightly dripping blobs of clear gel and cure. This gives the nail a fresh “rained in” effect that enhances any underlying design. This simple technique can be done with any clear gel or regular nail polish.
This adorable design may look complicated but it is actually very easy to create. Fill an eyeliner brush with plenty of gel and draw vertical stripes, making sure they converge almost at a point at the cuticle. This creates the fan-shaped, rippled texture you might see on a seashell. Oval and almond are the best nail shapes for this effect.
Flat back pearls are a stylish and trendy addition to any simple nail look. Apply them like any other crystal, making sure to use a good gel that will hold them in place. Whether you add just a few pearls or many, the bumpy texture of this look is sure to please.
5. Steel Plate
This idea came from Australian nail artist Lili Taylor and shows how much fun you can have with 3D gel textures. Taylor took a childhood memory of steel diamond plates and translated the pattern into a creative nail look. This one requires painting alternating groups of stripes in gel over a chrome base to get that steel plate look.
6. Groovy mate
Inspired by some colorful carpets, this matte look was created by first applying a regular base color with a matte finish, then sprinkling clear acrylic powder over a vibrant gel design before curing. It creates a nice sandy texture and looks a bit like velvet.
7. Crocodile Skin
Usually done in a single color for maximum impact, the popularity of 3D textured crocodile nails has exploded in recent times. The technique is similar to the groovy matte look above: sprinkle clear acrylic powder over a gel design. The rough texture is perfect if you really want that croc skin look.
8. Drops of mercury
Although elemental mercury is so pretty, we know for a fact that it is highly toxic. Glad you can mimic the look on your nails! Create your gel drops like in the previous designs, cure them and rub some chrome powder on them.
9. Acrylic Flowers
3D flowers are a great technique that acrylic techs should know and they are easy to create. Use a small acrylic bead for each petal, press down as you place and pull outward. Complete each flower with a crystal in the center. Now your client is fabulously flowery.
10. Crystal Pillow
Everyone knows that fancy cushions convey a feeling of pure luxury. There are different ways to achieve this pillow nail design depending on the medium you are working with, but the easiest way is with regular polish. Coat the nail twice, wait until half dry, then use a dental floss pick to gently press diagonal indentations into the nail polish. This design looks great with a glossy or matte finish. Complete the look by placing a crystal or pearl in each corner.
Bonus: Mix & Match
Now that you know how to do these 10 trendy 3D nail designs, you can endlessly combine them to create really funky looks! If you have the right products and tools, all of these looks can be easily recreated. So go wild and impress your customers with some unique shapes and textures.
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