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Let Your Wild Side Out with a Leopard Mani!

Carly Herbst's picture

Animal prints have been making a major comeback recently but sometimes it’s a bit too much for clothing.  So, why not try some leopard print on your nails?  This flashy and funky look can be toned down depending on your colors but keep reading to find out how to do a neon leopard print manicure!

First make sure you have everything prepared.  If you want to do a more simple leopard manicure, you will only need two polishes, a base color and a spot color, and a black nail art striper for doing the outline of the spots.  A nail art striper is very inexpensive, generally about $2 from any drugstore and you can find it in the nail polish aisle!  For the manicure I’m about to show you, I decided to go a little crazy so there are a lot more colors! 

First start by painting your base coat.  I’m using the nail wheel because it’s a bigger surface area to show you how to do this nail art!  I used two colors for the base since my final manicure has each hand a different color.  I wanted the neon spots to pop so I used Butter London Lady Muck for a gorgeous grey and CND Brilliant White for a pure white.

The great thing about this manicure is you don’t have to wait for it to dry between steps!  Now take your color (or colors if you want to do multicolor spots) for the spots and with a very little bit on the brush, dab some on your nail.  These spots don’t have to be perfect because part of what makes this look great is some imperfection!  Make sure the dots are spaced a bit apart so you can do the black outlining!

Now your manicure should look like this, a base color with a few splotches of your spot color.  You might want to wait a minute or two before starting the outlines because the little blobs of color can take a moment or two to dry!

Now it’s time to outline your spots!  Using the nail art striping brush (or a small paint brush dipped in a bit of black polish will work) first make sure you wipe off most of the excess polish off the brush, otherwise your outlines will be very thick.  Now just make small lines and outline two or three sides of each colored spot.  Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect which is the beauty of this manicure!  Switch it up so it doesn’t look too uniform.

Now your manicure should look like this, with your spots all outlined and some black space.  Don’t worry, you’re almost done!  Now it’s time for the last step.

To finish up, go through and add a couple of lines and a couple of C shaped designs (doing two lines that touch works well too) to round out the leopard look!  Do as many or as few as you like, at this point it’s just to fill out the rest of the look!

Now it’s time to wait a few minutes and put on your topcoat and you are done!  It may be a bit time consuming and take a bit of practice to use the striping brush, but believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!  Just needs a bit of patience and then you have an amazing manicure that people will not believe you did yourself!

I did my signature manicure, which is to paint each hand a different color and have an accent nail that matches the opposite hand.  It gives your manicure a fun flair and if you’re like me and have a lot of polish, it lets you use more at any given time!  Enjoy your leopard nails!


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