NAIL ART: Smoky & Swirly Drybrush Grunge Nails

by - March 17, 2021

I have to say, I don't think I've actually done a mani in today's dry brushing technique before - which is such a mess, but it makes sense. For a long time, I was weirdly scared of doing dry brushing, even though it may be one of the most fool proof, beginner-friendly nail art techniques out there, and then I started finding weird and significantly more complicated work arounds rather than just... slapping some polish onto my nails after scraping most of the polish off the brush. I do use a drybrushing technique for a lot of my abstract designs, but even that feels very much different to this classic style. Anyway, thanks to the prompts for the Whats Up Nails March Nail Art Challenge, I just went for it?

Keep reading for more!

So I knew that for the best results, I needed to go with really richly pigmented polishes and I felt like these three shades from would work really well together for this mani. I started with this sort of lavender grey and applied one coat to all of my nails as a base. I might have gone for two coats if I wasn't adding nail art just to be sure that there weren't any light spots, but since I was adding nail art one coat was plenty.

For the dry brushing, I started with the darker of the two shades, this rich royal blue, and cleaned most of the polish off the brush before going in with first horizontal and then vertical strokes over my nail. Next, I went in with this beautiful berry shade and applied it in very much the same way. The trick, I think, to making this look good is to not be too precious with the application - you want it to be random and a little bit messy. Once the berry was applied, I went in with a couple more strokes of the royal blue, just to make sure it didn't get lost.

I knew that I wanted to add stamping - I'm me, I very, very often want to add stamping - and I had been eyeing up this squiggly image from the Whats Up Nails B039 Geometric Trance Stamping Plate ever since I got it last month and I figured it would fit perfectly. I decided to go with a taupey grey that is lighter and more beige than the shade I used for the base because I figured it would feel cohesive and strike a balance so that it would neither look too stark or disappear against the busy base. As I tend to do, I alternated the direction that I placed the image on the nails, but it's very subtle with this image because it's really similar either way.

Once I was finished with my stamping, I sealed in the design with a water based top coat and then finished with a quick dry matte top coat to bring down the shine and add to that sort of grunge feel. And voila!

All Products Used
Heroine NYC - London Fog
Heroine NYC - In The Deep
Heroine NYC - Lovesick
Clear Jelly Stamper - 015 Stone Cold
Maniology Smudge Free Top Coat
Quo Flash Dry Matte Top Coat
Whats Up Nails B039 Geometric Trance Stamping Plate
Whats Up Nails Magnified Clear Stamper

Something that I'm really, really loving about this March nail art challenge is that it's pushing me out of my comfort zone with a few techniques that I genuinely tend to avoid for the most absurd, nonsense reasons. I think that I tend to get in my head a lot and think things like, 'I don't really do that" but then I do it and I end up loving the result, so having this challenge is actually really, really a great challenge to remind me of that. I really want to do more nail art challenges in the future!

Anyway, follow me over at @pblnails for all of my nail art - including video tutorials for all of the mani's that I post here on the blog and some extras that I only post over there!

Thanks for reading!

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