I got a note last week after posting the Bettle Burnout Nails asking what I meant by corpse nails. Since I woke up a little early today (and was confident my doctor’s office staff had a good sense of humor) I decided to do a quick tutorial on how to sponge in this zombie-like manicure. Same deal with the beetle nails, this is all about the light sponging and layering. I started with a base of Essie Great Expectations in 3 coats (for a color like this, I don’t mind the extra work, and because it’s on the sheer side it’s a good match for this design) then used ZOYA Charity to sponge around the tips.
Couple of things to note here: first, you see those spots near the tip where there’s basically no Charity? That’s because I had too much polish on my sponge and was picking up polish that I’d already put down. You’re really doing yourself a huge favor by only putting a little bit of polish on the sponge (I’ll usually lift up the applicator and lightly touch the sponge to the stem of the brush) since it means you’ll have to correct less… but in this case I wasn’t super worried about those spots since I knew I’d be covering it up with the next color. For each round of sponging you’re probably going to go over the nail a couple of times, so go light. Second, get into the corners of the nail for this one: you want to foster the illusion that the blood and dirt would be creeping out from the nail bed and edges. If you’re super committed to this you’d probably want to do this all the way around the nail bed, but I’m in a love-hate place with my cuticles lately and am trying to keep from digging any polish in near the top of my nail these days.
Anyway, next step! Same idea, darker color: I used OPI I Brake For Manicures, which has a deep purply base and could be laid on heavily enough to look like dried and caked blood on the tips. It doesn’t have to be perfect — you’re still going in with another round of sponging — but try to keep this second color a little bit below the first one so you’re letting the two create a decent gradient.
After finishing the tips I went in a did a clear coat to help seal down those dark colors and ensure I didn’t pick any of it up for the final step; I used a cheapo Wet n Wild quick dry number that wound up bleeding the colors a little bit, but that’s ok (not what I intended, but whatever). To wrap your dead nails up, go back in with your base color (remember, sheer is good for this!) and start working back over the nail to help round and smooth out any areas where you may have gone in too heavy with the darker colors. You can really get lost in the layering of this, rolling from one color to another to do touchups, until you get it to where you want it. Honestly I normally would’ve tinkered more with this but I had to get moving out the door and my nails HAD to be dry.
Seal it with a good topcoat, get in with some nail polish remover to clean up the extra polish you left all over your fingers, moisturize, buff to a shine (or matte it up if you’d like) and you’re dead-and-done! And yes, this one gets noticed a lot; one of the nurses today was all “guuuurl, those are CREEPY.”
Don’t forget, less than a week left for the Winter Goodie Giveaway! Still not gonna give a detailed list of what’s going in the winning haul (“What’s in the boooooooxxxx?!!!“) but it’ll be coming from this general area (plus a couple of other piles not pictured). And yes, I’m in the middle of a wtf-do-I-do-with-all-this crisis when it comes to storing the nail polish; I started with the fridge and that quickly overflowed (now houses all my favorite/more expensive polishes) so I bought the two display racks, then those filled up… My original goal was to keep everything color grouped but there’s just no way I can get them all in one place as I have things set up now. Ack.