Hi guys! I hope you will enjoy Ashley's manicure AND tutorial for the look she created for my blog. Click the jump for more out of this world photos and tips! (See what I did there....)
Hello, everyone! My name is Ashley, and I obsess over what’s on my fingertips over at Capital Polish. I was so honored when Rei asked me to prep a guest post for her extended absence this summer! At this point, I’m sure you all miss her presence and her beautiful photos as much as I do, so hopefully this post is an adequate distraction from the Rei-void.
After many failed attempts, I finally mastered my technique for galaxy nails back in March. Since I had some requests for a tutorial back then, I figured this was a as good a time as any to share my secrets with the nailiverse.
Any galaxy mani has to start out with a dark, mysterious, deep-spacey base. My go-to choice for this is Zoya - Storm, a perfectly formulated black jelly with scattered holo. The photo below shows two thin coats on its own--all that shine without top coat!
Here’s the full pictorial for the design that appears on my thumb in the first image, with the step-by-step instructions below:
Step 1: Apply your base color.
As I mentioned above, I chose Zoya - Storm, but any dark blue or black polish will work. I generally choose one with some shimmer, but it would work just as well with a basic, dark creme.
Step 2: Start with a cloud.
Using relatively opaque white-based polish, (I used OPI - Solitaire, a white/silver textured polish) add the base for your galaxy (really an interstellar cloud, but I digress) using a makeup sponge. I recommend covering at least ¾ of your nail, since the white will make any other colors you apply afterwards pop, and you’ll want a little bit of white to peek through in the finished product.
Steps 3 & 4: Add your details.
This is where you can get creative, and why I love this type of mani so much! Using a makeup sponge, add other colors to your white blobs to add depth and detail. I recommend limiting this to 2-3 colors per nail, otherwise it starts to look like a blob of indiscernible colors. Apply just a tiny bit of polish to the corner of your sponge; this way you don’t totally cover the white, and you have more control over where things go. I used two of my favorite polishes for these steps: Zoya - Aurora, a purple jelly packed with holo sparkle; and OPI - Tiffany Case, a vibrant, blue-teal textured polish with lots of shimmer. Again, I lean towards colors with glitter, but you can do this just as easily with flat colors.
Step 5: Make it sparkle.
Even if you’ve used glitter-based polishes for the other layers, a coat of scattered, basic glitter adds a nice uniformity to your skyscape. I used the classic China Glaze - Fairy Dust, but any clear based glittery polish will do. I don’t recommend using a linear holo topcoat for this step, since it will remove a lot of the detail you just worked so hard to create!
Step 6: Get dotty.
Here’s where my secret galaxy mani weapon comes in. Most people will use a dotting tool or bobby pin to add white polka dots to this design for the larger/closer “stars.” I’m not saying that’s a bad technique, but it NEVER looked right when I did it. I couldn’t get the dots to look random enough, and they were often simply too big and overpowered the rest of the design. Instead of the dotting approach, I dab on a coat of Maybelline Color Show - Clearly Spotted, a black and white matte glitter topcoat. This allows for much more random placement of white dots, and the black ones create darker areas that, in my opinion, makes your “galaxy” look more realistic.
Seal the whole thing in with your favorite topcoat, clean up your cuticles if necessary, and voila! You’ve got your own little piece of the universe to gaze at, no telescope needed.
To keep things interesting on my other nails, I took an approach I have seen some others use for galaxy nails by choosing some actual spots in the sky to recreate. I am simultaneously fascinated and terrified by space, so I love/hate browsing this collection of images from the Hubble Space telescope that I picked up for $5 off the discount rack of a bookstore years ago. Score!
For my index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers, I chose some of my favorite images from the book with the assistance of my trusty boyfriend (who, by the way, flagged over 30 images for future galaxy manis…I guess we’re both pretty into space). Here’s each nail on its own alongside the inspiration.
Index, top left - Supernova remnant, 815 light years away : Done by sponging OPI - Solitaire and Zoya - Aurora
Middle, top right - Planetary nebula, 450 light years away : Done by sponging OPI - Solitaire, Tiffany Case, I Just Can’t Cope-a-cabana (yellow creme) & DS Original (nude holo jelly); and Orly - Star Spangled (red glitter in a red jelly base)
Ring, bottom left - Whirlpool galaxy NGC 5194, 37 million light years away : My favorite! Done by sponging OPI - Solitaire, then using the waterspotting method with Orly - Star Spangled
Pinky, bottom right - Spiral galaxy M81, 12 million light years away: I think this one totally fails to emulate the original, but I still like it. Just a reminder that there is ALWAYS room for improvement! For this one, I used all the same colors used on my thumbnail described in the tutorial.
Of course I had to include a sunlight shot to showcase that holoooo!
I hope you enjoyed this mani as much as I did, and that it gave you some ideas for how to make your own nails a little more out of this world. I guess I’ll wrap this up before I make any more lame space puns… But if you like this silliness, please do pop over to my social media accounts linked below for more! Thanks for reading!
Oh. My. Gosh. Are you as speechless as I am? You got a swatch, nail art, AND a pictorial with details. I don't know about the rest of you reading this but a galaxy book sounds pretty dang awesome to me. I love galaxy nails because it's always in style! I mean hello we are in a galaxy so of course it's always on trend.
The texture polish definitely adds a little something to the typical galaxy mani that I never really thought about. I love it.
THANK YOU Ashley for this amazing post! And of course she put all her handles above so be sure to check her platforms out and show her some love!! This woman and I pretty much share a brain so say to her what you would to me!
P.s she has a super cute puppy she posts on IG as well. Motivation enough!?