Denim: It’s become a staple of most everyone’s closet, and you’d be hard-pressed to meet a person who hasn’t worn it at some point in her life. As such, we know denim inside and out—specifically when the fabric comes in jeans form. Rivets, buttons, zippers, pockets and stitching all provide fodder for exemplary nail art, as do denim’s edgy rips and washes. We invited stellar nail artist Fariha Ali (@nailjob) to create designs based off of the jean-ious details found in our fave blues for our January/February 2016 cover story “Blues Scene” [[LINK TO DIGITAL COPY]], and she shares her exact steps here for getting these all-American looks. —Karie L. Frost
Denim Design #1: Beyond Riveting
Use a dry brush technique for an effortless wash effect.
Step 1: Apply two coats of medium blue polish.
Step 2: Using a fan brush, apply white polish sparingly in diagonal brushstrokes. Keep your pressure very light. Repeat this with a dark blue polish, using diagonal brushstrokes in the same direction. Tip: Pour the polish onto a piece of foil to allow you more control over the amount of polish on the brush. Keep the brush as dry as possible; you may have to pat or “brush” off some of the excess polish on the fan brush before applying the color to the nail.
Step 3: Using the dark blue polish and a detail brush, create pocket details. Using a yellow polish and a detail brush, create the stitching detail using light dashes.
Step 4: Apply matte top coat. Adhere a gold button stud to the nail using nail glue.
Denim Design #2: American Beauty
This abstract geometric take on the American flag is the perfect complement to head-to-toe denim.
Step 1: Paint the nail with two coats of red polish.
Step 2: Using a dotting tool, drop five dots on the nail. These will act as your hexagon guide. Connect the dots using a striping brush and white polish.
Step 3: Fill in the hexagon with white polish.
Step 4: Apply top coat. Apply nail glue on top of the hexagon—either on its outline only or the entire interior—and adhere crystals.
Denim Design #3: Let Her Rip
Bare nails using negative space in a design that’s inspired by that other bare-all denim detail: rips.
Step 1: Using a striping brush and white polish, create random shapes on the nail.
Step 2: Using a detail brush and white polish, create “threads” in the shapes. Tip: Zigzag the brush back and forth to make the look more organic.
Step 3: Paint outside the ripped effect with white polish to the edges of the nail. Allow the design to dry and apply top coat.