The Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts is in full swing, and artists of all kinds are exhibiting their varied works. But there is one form of art you're more likely to find on the festival's visitors than in the artist's booths — nail art.
Spring is one of Erin Arnett's busiest times of the year as a manicurist at Cottonwood Salon Spa. As the weather warms, people begin to bare their toes in sandals. But first, many of these people will make an appointment for a manicure and pedicure.
And about 25 percent of her clients will leave the salon with some kind of nail art, Arnett said. Nail art is more popular than ever and manicurists and beauty supply stores offer more options than ever for creating nail art.
You can buy nail decals that cover the entire nail with creative motifs. These simple-to-use decals can last for a week or longer. You can buy special polishes to create your own art, or you can hire a professional such as Arnett.
“People want everything from holiday art to OU and OSU art,” she said. The sky is the limit when it comes to creative nail design. A crafty manicurist can work wonders with a nail art brush, creating Monarch butterfly wings, fun animal prints, ladybugs, portraits or almost any other theme you can think of.
In March, NAILS magazine's 2012 Nail Mural Contest brought together nail artists who created intricate murals and portraits, which were judged by professionals. The winner, Robert Nguyen of Salon Nouveau in Bonsall, Calif., created an amazing mural of musicians playing their instruments and singing.
Celebrity trendsetters have been embracing nail art for years. Rihanna almost always sports artsy nails. Her medium-length nails are usually filed to a sharp point, as are Lady Gaga's long nails.
When you can see Gaga's nails — she often wears gloves with her unique fashion statements — they're usually very long and very dramatic, painted in deep shades of red, burgundy, metallics and black.
And Katy Perry loves nail art. Her nails often make more than an artistic statement — her nail tech once painted mini portraits of then husband Russell Brand on Perry's fingernails. Fortunately for Perry, nail art is not permanent. Neither was her short-lived marriage to Brand.
The most popular nail colors this season echo spring fashion's bright, bold colors with cheerful tangerines, pinks and yellows. Other colors to love include shades of plum and Champagne.
And an unexpected hue that's making waves in this season's swimwear is also a hit on fingernails and toenails — robin's egg.
“Robin's egg is more of a bright than a pastel,” Arnett said. “That's what makes it so interesting.”
Though many women still prefer long, acrylic nails, natural nails are trending this season.
“They're unique, they're yours, they're not the same as everyone else's,” Arnett said.
The dark colors that became popular for short natural nails several years ago are still en vogue, Arnett said. In fact, she said dark colors on light skin tones are considered a new neutral.
If you'd like your nails to make a quieter statement, Arnett's colleague at Cottonwood, Eryn Dieutt-Brothers recommends a light shade of buff pink or peach. These colors are transparent, letting the natural nail show through for a modern French manicure effect.
Here are some tips from Dieutt-Brothers and Arnett for getting the most mileage out of your mani/pedi: