NAIL ART: Fiery Dry Brush Desert Mirage Nails

by - August 09, 2021

Back in the spring, I was explaining to my best friend that I really wanted to do cactus nails, but I didn't feel like it was the right time - and immediately she understood that what I meant was that my brain says that cactus nails are for the summer. This is why she's my best friend, our brains work the same way when it comes to arbitrary things such as this. Anyway, now that we're well into summer, clearly that means it's time to get this show on the road and so a whole week of Cactus themed nails - starting with these! 

Keep reading for more!

When it comes to creating a desert scene on my nails, my brain immediately goes to a gradient in tones that are so warm they're hot - but in the case of doing a southwestern style desert (which is the inspiration for this one) it definitely feels more like an orange to berry type of gradient than a yellow to red one like this, which feels like a completely different vibe to me. So for this mani, I went with a gradient of orange, hot pink, bright berry and neon grape purple. 

Rather than doing the usual stamped gradient, for this one I used my nail art mat and a fan brush to create a gradient with a little bit more texture to sort of create that feeling of a mirage. I started by applying strips of each color in gradient order onto my nail art mat and then I used the fan brush to blend them together, moving it slightly back and forth to get those strips intermingling through the gradient. If you're going to try this, be sure to work quickly and to not over blend - this is one of those times that you don't want the blend to be too smooth. 

While the decals were drying on my nail art mat, I applied one coat of orange polish to all of my nails - not only because it's the lightest shade in this gradient but also because it's the one that is at the base of my nails and it makes for easier clean up. Once the decal was dry enough that I could peel it up smoothly, I applied a thin layer of sticky base coat to my nails and waited for it to get tacky before transferring the decal over. To get a nice smooth adherence to the nail, I smoothed it down using a silicone tool that really helped press it out to the edges of the nail, and then trimmed with a cuticle tool.

For my stamping, I wanted to keep it really straightforward so I used the same cactus landscape image on all of my nails, stamping in black for a silhouette sort of vibe. On my ring finger, I also added the setting sun part of the image in a yellow stamping polish to really bring everything together and create that sunset vibe.

Once I was happy with my stamping, I went in with a water based top coat to seal in my design and then followed with a matte top coat to take down the shine and really bring out that desert feel. And voila!

All Products Used
Color Club - Tropical State Of Mind
Color Club - Warhol
Color Club - Biscuits & Jam
Color Club - Disco Dress
Whats Up Nails - Fab Cab
Whats Up Nails - Neither Noir
Orly Bonder Base Coat
Maniology Smudge Free Top Coat
Anchor & Heart Sea Glass Matte Top Coat
Pueen Liquid Peel Off Cuticle Guard
Whats Up Nails B060 Deserted Succulent Stamping Plate
Whats Up Nails Magnified Clear Stamper
Nail Art Fan Brush Silicone Tool**
Born Pretty Cuticle Tool

** Product gifted from - new customers can use code TRYSH for 10% off.

Not even going to lie, this is one of my favorite manis I've done all summer. It was a little bit of trust-the-process situation as I was doing it, but I love the way that the gradient turned out, I love how it really calls forth that southwestern vibe without feeling too on the nose, and I love how the matte finish really sells the hot, desert sort of vibe. I'm obsessed and I don't feel a lick of shame about it.

Be sure to head over to Cosmetic Proof and See The World In PINK for more Summer themed nails for this week's #CBBxManiMonday!

Thanks so much for reading!

You May Also Like