Friday, January 6, 2012

Serious Nail is Serious

Another nail trend that makes nail techs crazy:

I really only have one regular client who prefers her nails this way-- but take a look at those "smile" lines.

The "smile line" is the point where the white tip meets the pink nail bed in a traditional French manicure.

No. This is not a traditional French, but it may be the best picture in my current repetoire that shows off the high, flat, "smile" line style.

It is not my favorite look. (Although, I gotta admit, THIS picture sure is a great one!)

Right now, in many parts of specifically the U.S., trends in nail fashion are leaning toward extreme styles that fly in the face of everything that diligent nail artists have struggled to create as the "perfect nail." The "perfect" nail-- and there IS such a thing, as established by mulitple competition circuits throughout the world-- has parallel sidewalls, the white tip is never longer than the pink nail bed, and the "smile lines" SMILE. Which is to say that the line where the white and pink (or which ever colors you choose to use) meet makes a U-shape. It can be just a little U, or it can be a super deep almost V shape... but it isn't flat and straight.

Oh... and, it should be just above (toward the cuticle) the natural "smile line" so as to cover the natural line and allow some room for the nails to grow out before the natural line begins to show through the product.

Alas. Just as every teenager eventually walks out of the house to threats from their parents if they don't change their clothes immediately... so too, must nail styles push the envelope and explore new trends.

So, just like those flare nails that we had discussed earlier, this high, flat demarcation line (because I can't call it a smile line if it isn't going to smile) is all the rage.

It takes some getting used to.

Frankly, I like flare nails more than I like a straight smile.

I actually prefer this straight line when it's placed very high on the nail-- close to the cuticle (btw: always refer to your nails the way your nail-lady sees them! "up" and "high" refer to the cuticle area, "down" and "low" refer to the end of the nail.)

The high placement makes practical sense to me. It gives you the most room for color and art while still allowing blank space near the cuticle, which means that as the nails grow out, it's less annoying to see the space between the color and the cuticle growing so it doesn't look like you need a fill after only a few days.

Also, a high placement-- especially on a flared nail-- means that the line cuts straight across at a narrower place on the nail. When the line is straight across the actual natural smile line, the straight line across what is often the widest part of the natural nail, and is usually in line with the natural fingertip, creates an unflattering illussioin that makes fingers look wide and fat, and often makes the ratio of the tip to nail bed colors look boxy, giving the entire nail structure an unflattering, undefined sort of chunky chickletteness.

Maybe that's on purpose, but it's not very common for women to want any part of themselves to appear fat.


  1. I am one of these rare individuals who likes my nails to be short, wide/slightly flared and smile lines to be placed midway on the nail bed, however I do like them smiling not straight. I'm sure I am a nail tech's nightmare, lol. This is just personal preference and you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get someone to do them the way I like them. No one wants to listen to me!

    1. You're bound to see a few more posts about these new trends in nails, my goal is to help clients who love these looks to understand just WHY so many nail techs hate them and/or won't do them.

      I'm coming around. It takes awhile to get used to looking at designs that are SO different from what's been popular for so long! And, like I've been saying, these styles are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what we've been trying to perfect! The nail industry has worked so hard for so long to create "fake" nails that look like real nails! And here Fashion goes, shaking things up, and now everyone wants Fake nails that LOOK fake! LOL!

      Keep looking! More and more techs are learning to appreciate this style and learning to do it.