Lately, I’ve noticed that DIY nail art has transformed from a burgeoning trend to a hurtling-towards-Earth-faster-than-the-speed-of-light trend, thanks to the power of the Internet. All of the women’s lifestyle sites I normally devour are now overrun with manuals on how to do your own nail art. You can paint yourself with the classic leopard print or floral nails, but those are for amateurs. The real nail art gurus are busy painting their digits into miniature galaxies, Disney villains, and even cardiovascular systems.
I really wish I shared everyone’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for doing fun, pretty things, but I just cannot get into nail art. It looks cool, but I absolutely cannot be bothered to partake in such an ephemeral activity. Using tiny little brushes and sponges to paint your nails is about as high-maintenance as it gets– I barely even brush my hair.
Listen, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. I’m really not. All I want to do is put forward the perspective that not every woman on the face of the planet goes crazy for miniature nail art before every website I have ever loved is filled up with toluene-scented drivel (Ed note: No nail art here. Ever. You have my word.) I’m starting to feel like a lonely island (no, not that kind of Lonely Island) in my fun-repelling dislike of stuff everyone else goes ga-ga over. If you don’t like nail art– you are not alone!
It’s not like I’m anti-nail polish. I quite like the way a coat of candy-red colour looks on my fingernails, but I can’t even seem to paint my nails a single colour without getting it all over my cuticles, so I fail to understand why anyone would put that much time and effort into a miniature piece of art that is destroyed within a matter of days.
Ever the overanalyzing Debbie Downer, I strained my psyche to come up with possible reasons for my knee-jerk reaction towards anything fingernail-related. I think my hatred of nail art stems from a traumatic experience at the annual elementary school ‘fun fair’ when I was in Grade 4. There was a bouncy castle, a silent auction, a cake walk, and airbrush nail art. It was October, around Hallowe’en time, and all I wanted was a blue-coloured bat stenciled onto one of my fingers. But alas, that wasn’t in the cards. The “nail artist” (who was probably somebody’s mom) took one look at my teeny fingernails and said she couldn’t fit the stencil on any of my fingers, even my thumb. At the time, I was devastated and this early instance of rejection has clearly triggered a serious lifelong disdain for nail art.
Since then, I’ve never gotten a manicure in my life and am somehow personally offended by this proliferation of nail-obsessed ladies on the internet. It makes no sense as to why I am so bothered by this, so I consulted with the very opposite of myself — a nail art enthusiast — in order to understand the logic behind the love of nail art. Haley Mlotek, publisher of Toronto-based WORN Fashion Journal, wrote an extremely convincing personal account of her nail love called “Nailing It: A Love Story.”
Mlotek described nail art as her preferred form of relaxation, as opposed to say, yoga. The extreme concentration required to perform feats of nail art allows an “escape” from the real world, which can be a very stressful place. Basically, nail art is like a Caribbean getaway for some people, albeit much cheaper and more realistic. That’s totally something I can get behind and respect, but I’m still not convinced enough to want to buy special brushes and sponges to be the next Picasso of cuticles.
Beauty products are temporary, which is why they fail to hold a significant place in my heart. They fade away and leave no trace, sometimes after a matter of hours, whereas clothes are usually still intact after a full day of wear and will stay that way for years (unless they’re horrible quality, not naming any names here). I suppose that’s the fun of it– being able to change your nails, clothes, hair at a moment’s notice, not being tied down to one thing. But the ‘natural look’ is permanent, and that is by far the best look for me.
Isabel Slone is a Toronto-based fashion blogger and writer. Follow her on Twitter at @isabelslone.