Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Team USA Nails Inspired by Missy Franklin

I am incredibly excited about today's nail post. Even though we're nearing the end of the 2012 Olympics, I haven't been able to stop admiring Missy Franklin's patriotic nails. I knew I had to do them. Better late than never, right?

(photograph taken from

Missy's nails are painted blue on her left hand, red on her right, and two accent fingers on each hand (thumb and ring finger) with a US flag on it.

(photograph taken from

I saw many patriotic nails throughout the week, but Missy's were undoubtedly my favorite. I'm someone who enjoys simple painted nails and hers didn't look too complicated. In addition to this, Missy just seems like a lovely person in general. Her positive attitude is inspiring to me. (:

In regards to my attempts to replicate her nails, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and will be sporting this until the closing ceremonies!

(photographed: Team USA Nails, Left Hand)

As you can probably tell, I did the stars on the flag horribly. They look more like clouds than stars. But unless my hand is held up to my face I can't really tell. A for effort, right? :)

(photographed: Team USA Nails, Right Hand)

I didn't take photos as I was doing the process because, frankly, I'm not that talented, but I'll provide textual step-by-step instructions if you really want to know. I realize it's fairly self-explanatory but I always appreciate instructions even for things that look easy to someone else.

Oh, and one more thing. I know Missy did the accent flag nail on both her ring finger and her thumb, but being lazy, I decided to leave it just on the ring finger. I rarely do nail art and prefer the simplicity of just one accent nail per hand.

What You'll Need:

(photographed: What You'll Need)

  • base coat (I used: Revlon Colorstay Base Coat)
  • top coat (I used: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat)
  • red polish
    •  China Glaze's "Salsa" was my choice for the red. 
    • "Salsa" is opaque in 1-2 coats.
  • white polish
    • The white I chose to use was China Glaze's "White On White."
    • "White On White" is opaque in 2 thin coats making the stars on the accent fingers not too difficult.
    • It's especially important that you choose a white polish that can be opaque in no more than two coats. Any more than that and doing the stars on the flag will make the polish layering too thick.
  • blue polish
    • The blue I used, Sally Hansen's "Pacific Blue," isn't quite the true blue color you see on the American flag, but from looking at Missy's nails I thought my choice was the best choice to replicate her nails. "Pacific Blue" is also the most opaque blue I own requiring only 1-2 coats for complete opacity. If you want a complete review of "Pacific Blue" you can find mine here
    • (Also, I'm fairly certain that Missy's nails use two different shades of blue, a lighter one for the left hand, and a darker one for the blue of the flag. But I decided to keep it simple since I don't already own an opaque dark blue and use "Pacific Blue" for both.) 
  • 3 different nail brushes (I got all mine at Sally's Beauty Supply)
    • 1 for the red stripes (one with a thin, long brush is preferable)
    • 1 for the blue part of the flag (a flat-edge brush works best)
    • 1 for the stars (you're going to need one that you can do detail with)

  1. Base coat!
    • warning: red and blue polishes are notorious for staining so feel free to double up on the base coat
  2. Start with the white and paint both ring fingers (or whatever fingers you want to have the flag)
    • Even though it may seem risky to go back and forth between hands when painting, I wanted to do the white first so it had time to dry.
  3. Paint the remaining fingers on your left hand with the blue polish.
  4. Paint the remaining fingers on your right hand with red polish.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until opacity is reached.
    • With the polishes I chose each finger only took a maximum of two coats.
  6. When the red and blue fingers have had 1-2 minutes to dry, add top coat. 
  7. Wait for your ring fingers to be dry. If you can tap the polish lightly and not leave a finger mark, it's dry enough.
  8. Use the nail brush for the red stripes. 
    • Get red polish on the brush. You can get some polish out onto some sort of palette, or just dip into the container.
  9.  Make the stripes on your accent nails.
    • I only made three on each finger so I started by making one in the center then the two on the sides. I personally think it would've looked better with more stripes, but I'm going to once again remind you of my laziness.
    • Also try to end the stripes where you want the blue of the flag to go. Going further may be hard to cover if you don't have an opaque enough blue.
  10. Let the stripes dry for a minute or so before adding a second coat.
  11. Take the flat-edge brush, get blue polish on it, and paint on the blue of the flag.
  12. Let this coat dry before adding a second coat.
  13. The rest is relatively repetitive. Once the blue is dry, begin drawing on the starts. 
    • As you can see from my photos, I don't have stable enough hands to paint anything that resembles stars, but you can barely tell if you're not holding your hand to your face.
  14. Optional step: If you messed up with the stars like I did, you have the option of letting the stars dry enough and going in with a finer-tipped brush and the blue polish to fix up the edges. (I don't think I need to say that I skipped this step.) 
  15. This next step is important: let the stars dry a reasonable amount. Adding top coat too early can cause the white in the stars to streak over the blue and ruin all your hard work.
  16. And the last step once the flag is dry is top coat!

I hope you enjoyed my lengthy nail post. I don't do nail art often so I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't take me long (about 30-40 minutes not including drying time) and didn't look too bad!

Have you tried any Olympic nails this year?
Who's patriotic nails were your favorites?

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