We asked Jae a few of the questions we’ve always wanted to ask a nail art expert, and have included the answers below for your reading pleasure. Check out our chat with Jae, and then give her nail art tips a go! Be sure you share your efforts with us using the hashtags #harperbee #harperbeeme
Q: How did you get involved with nail art, and when?
I started around 7 years ago just playing around with colours and shapes, using sticky tape to create angular French tips and the like. That eventually grew from a sometimes thing into a more regular hobby, and I eventually started Tumblr and Instagram accounts in 2013 to record everything. It wasn’t until I started those accounts that I realised what a huge world of talent is out there, and what incredible things you can do on the tiny canvas of your nails!
Q: What do you love about it?
I love that I can express my creativity in any way I want – I can play with colours and shapes, textures and finishes. It’s accessible to anyone, and you don’t need expensive supplies to get started. I also love that it was something I could see myself improving each time I did my nails – my painting was more precise, and it allowed me to challenge myself even further.
Q: What are your favourite nail polish brands?
I mostly use indie nail polish – there are some incredibly talented and creative women (and a handful of men!) around the world who handmake nail polish and come up with the most dazzling creations.
For nail art, Emily de Molly, Kester Black and Pretty Serious make fantastic plain creme polish. I find most readily available store brands can be hit or miss, not to mention brands like OPI and Essie are super expensive in Australia! Ulta3 is a great budget option available in most chemists – they have a great range of colours and are good quality for the price. For pretty nail polish I love Emily de Molly, Grace-full Nail Polish, ILNP, Femme Fatale, Cirque, and Scofflaw.
Q: What’s your go-to nail polish colour?
I love two ends of the spectrum – I’m obsessed with neutral shades that have a bright or contrasting shimmer, and I love really punchy bold colours like jewel tones and neons. Depends on my mood I guess!
Q: Do you have any simple tips for keeping your nails strong and healthy?
Moisturise! Water is your enemy, but moisture is your friend. Having your nails in water for long periods of time makes them prone to weakness, but keeping them moisturised will improve their strength and flexibility. Hand cream and cuticle oil really do make a world of difference.
Find a strengthening base coat that works for you – everyone’s body chemistry is slightly different, so what might work for one person won’t work for another. I personally love Rock On from Pretty Serious and Duri Rejuvacote.
Finally, use a good glass nail file to keep your nails at a manageable length. I have a whole bunch from various indie polish brands but the Manicare brand has one available in most good chemists.
Q: What are some easy ways that can help people (tweens in particular) get started with nail art at home?
The two things I started with were sticky tape and a bobby pin. Sticky tape can help you get nice crisp lines, and bobby pins are great for doing dots! I learned very quickly that you also need a good fast drying top coat so you don’t ruin all your hard work! I personally love Angel Glaze from Grace-full Nail Polish and Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat.
If you’re willing to spend a few dollars, you can grab sets of nail art brushes on eBay fairly cheaply – I highly recommend a striping brush if you’re really looking to up your nail art game!
Q: Any other tips?!
You can’t go past bloggers and YouTubers. If you can think of it, chances are there will be a tutorial for it. Two of my favourite bloggers who do tutorials aren’t super active anymore, but The Nailasaurus and One Nail to Rule Them All have so many great step by step tutorials on their blogs!
Don’t underestimate the value of a clear space and steady table top. I used to try to paint my nails sitting on the couch and would always make a mess. Take some time out and find somewhere to sit like your dining table or desk, put a sheet of paper down (just in case!) and get creative!
Also, acetone is not your enemy. Acetone has a bad reputation for being very drying – because it is! – but if you’re keeping your hands and nails moisturised and applying cuticle oil regularly it won’t actually do much, if any, damage to your nails.
Well, there you have it! Some expert nail care and nail polish tips from a super successful, self-taught nail artist. Be sure to check out Jae’s blog and Instagram, and let us know if you give any of your tips a go by tagging @harperbeeofficial and @procrastinatingpolishr on Instagram.
Happy nail painting!