Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Brief Analogy Regarding Rockstar Nails

Acrylic Rockstar nails with one color.
  Even several years after the coining of the term "Rockstar Nails," I continue to find myself trying to explain the meaning of the term and dispelling myths and pervasive misunderstanding of what they really are.

So, while I was taking about Rockstar nails with one client this afternoon, I came up with a pretty good analogy to help with at least one of the misunderstandings.

Acrylic Rockstar nails with one glitter color.
 The client I was working on this afternoon wears short nails with a gel overlay and UV polish and usually a touch of nail art on the ring fingers.

The subject of "Rockstar nails" came up and she said that several of the girls in her office wear "rockstar" but she doesn't really care for them herself.

I thought that sounded a little odd, seeing as how it's not uncommon for us to add a touch of glitter to her tips, so I just had to inquire...

And sure enough, as I'd suspected, her concept of  "Rockstar nails" wasn't exactly accurate, which isn't too uncommon in these parts.

Acrylic Rockstar nails with 2 glitter colors
and impressions filled with colored acrylic.

 Locally, the styles of "Rockstar nails" that get the most attention tend very elaborate: long, with as much bling as will fit!

The girls love the glitter! As well as the Mylar, the confetti, the tinsel, the Fimo cane slices, the decals... and lately, 3D objects such as small buttons and such are finding their way into nails all over town.

(Yeah, I tend to prefer 3D designs that are sculpted out of acrylic, directly onto the nail-- but not everyone can do that I guess, and not everyone wants to pay for the work it requires.)

I suppose it's no wonder that the more conservative ladies
Acrylic rockstar nails with foil, 1 color glitter, and tinsel.
in the area are under the impression that "Rockstar nails" aren't their style!

But this is SO not true!

The term "ROCKSTAR NAILS" refers to the technique of embedding the bling into the product used for the enhancement.

You can have Rockstar nails that are made with traditional acrylic products, and you can Rockstar nails that are made with gel.

Your gel Rockstars can be simple overlays on either your pinkies or your piggies! Or they can be beautiful extensions done with "hard" sculpting gel-- just like traditional acrylics. 
acrylic rockstar nails with 2 custom-blended glitter colors
faded together, confetti and mylar, and star impressions in white.

They can be French style-- with the bling only at the tips-- this is popular with acrylic because its easier to change out the colors and designs in a simple backfill service without having to completely remove the nails and start over.

Or they can embed the bling in the entire nail--more common with gels because gels are easier to file, so changing out colors goes much faster... this is also the most popular method for doing "rockstar toes" but you can totally do it on fingernails too!

Rockstar can be just one glitter color, or it can be several. It can be custom blended, it can be faded, or sculpted in designs.
Acrylic rockstar nails with one
color glitter and 3D acrylic flowers.

And "Rockstar" does NOT mean a particular color, or a particular size or type of glitter. (Yes, the nail product company Young Nails does sell a glitter that they have named "rockstar" but don't confuse that with the technique of doing "rockstar nails.")

Rockstar nails can be short or long. They can be round, oval, square, flare, or stiletto. They can be a simple glittery white or they can be lime green!

Aside from the awesome artistic and design possibilities that the Rockstar technique offers, the thing that has made it so universally popular is that,
since the bling is INSIDE the nail product, the nail can still be sealed with a gel sealant/topcoat.

Gel Rockstar nails with chunky glitter.

This means NO DRY TIME! You get all the advantage of all that glitz and glamour and you don't have to sit around waiting for your nails to dry.

And, if you remember glitter polish, you know that stuff takes forever!

Another myth I hear all the time, is that people are being told by other nail techs that you can't do nail art over Rockstar nails!

Balderdash! I do it all the time.

Here's the catch though: The gel topcoat that we use to seal the nails with doesn't really like to stick to paint. The paint has to be completely dry, and it helps if it has a coat of a protein-style bonder over it to make it sticky for the gel top coat to adhere to.

So, in cases of extravagant, or large nail art design, putting a gel topcoat over artwork runs a higher risk of chipping off. That can be heart breaking to the artist who worked hard on the design, as well as to the client who payed for the work and wants her nails to last till her next appointment.

So, I can see why some techs prefer not to attempt it. But that's not the same thing as "it's not possible" now, is it?

Acrylic Rockstar Nails with 4 glitters in sculpted pattern.

Also-- Rockstar nails can be done with ANY brand of product! 

The term "rockstar" was originally coined by a local tech (right here in Tulare County) who uses products by Young Nails. And so it's not unusual for people-- clients and professionals alike-- to be under the impression that Rockstar nails can only be done with Young Nails products.

Acrylic Rockstar nails with 1 color glitter and Fimo canes embedded.

But since "rockstar" is a technique and not a product, you can do them with any brand of product. (I mostly use Tammy Taylor.) Of course, Young Nails makes some awesome stuff, and the company is top notch! But every nail tech has their personal preferences.

So, now that you know just about everything you could possibly hope to know about Rockstar nails (oh, and not everyone calls them "rockstar;" other common names for this technique are "sparkle nails," "bling nails," and "glitter nails,") What's this "brief analogy" I was talking about?

Well... the thing is that Rockstar nails can be simple or elaborate, just like nail art.

Acrylic Rockstar nails with sculpted design (stripes) and
embedded star confetti.
  Most people are already familiar with nail art. They know that nail art can be painted or airbrushed. It can be as simple as a single stripe or flower, or it can be an complicated, ornate mural.

Nail art can be hand painted, airbrushed, or stamped. It can be painted with acrylic paint, nail polish, drawn on with Sharpie markers.

Heck, Rockstar is just another style of nail art!

But, ultimately, my point was to clarify that Rockstar nails are just like nail art: they offer a wide variety of options to suit your personal tastes.

Simple Nail art on French manicure polish using acrylic paint.

No one would ever look at the tiny flowers on this French manicure and say "that's not nail art" and no one would every look at the detailed competition nail art entry below and insist that all nail has to be that elaborate!

And Rockstar isn't any different! So go get some Rockstar nails!

There's a glitter for EVERYONE!


  1. If I had a new set of gel nails with a bow (3D bow applied) are the technicians able to fill in the nail without removing the art as long as it still looks really nice?

  2. It can be done in most cases. I prefer to just go ahead and remove 3D artwork with a fill in order to make sure the new product gets properly bonded to the existing product.

  3. Omg, those nails look like shovels... Sorry, bad work :/

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