Want to spice up an ensemble? Look no further than the tips of your fingers.
Nails have become fashion accessories in their own right, thanks to the scores of do-it-yourself manicure kits and polishes on the market that claim to help women achieve salon-worthy looks at home.
Of course, there are colors in just about every Crayola hue. But beauty brands are pumping up polishes with works-like-magic visual effects for the lady who wants to mix up her mani. As a result, the nail polish market has become like the clothing industry, a revolving door of new styles to try each season.
Here are a handful of nail trends making a splash this spring:
Perfect for those who like a little grit with their glitz, textured polishes give nails a rough, almost sugary feel. The raised granules also douse nails with some sheen by catching the light like teeny tiny diamonds. One or two quick coats (top coat usually not recommended) is all that's needed.
Zoya describes the look of the effect best with the name of its texture collection, PixieDust. Other options include Liquid Sand by OPI and Texture by China Glaze.
Polishes that paint nails with a broken glass design are nothing new. Nevertheless, they continue to populate drugstore beauty aisles in fresh colors by more and more brands.
To achieve the effect, polish nails with a solid color. Let it dry briefly, then apply the special polish to see the first coat appear through the cracks. (Hint: Some advise using the same brand for both the solid and crackle polish for maximum effect.)
Want to get crackling? Try OPI's Shatter, China Glaze's Crackle and Maybelline New York's Shredded polishes.
Channel spring wherever you go with nail polishes in soft pastels peppered with dark specks. They paint on like an ordinary polish, but the look is that of a lightly speckled bird's egg. London-based Illamasqua (www.illamasqua.com) and celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann (lippmanncollection.com) have churned out attractive renditions of this trend.
Cater to your inner artist with polishes specifically made for creating intricate nail art. Normal-sized brushes typically are too big to paint small details, but cosmetic manufacturers such as Revlon have come to the rescue with more slender designs.
The Revlon Nail Art expressionist and neon polish lines feature two-in-one products, with a different color at each end of the cylinder-shaped packaging. Revlon's Moon Candy nail art collection includes a chunky (call it cosmic?) glitter as one of each product's two colors for taking nails from simple to shimmering.
They combine the best of both worlds -- the ease and no hassle of press-on nails and the look and feel of real nail polish. They are pre-polished nail-shaped strips that adhere to nails and last up to 10 days.
To apply, wipe nails with polish remover to get rid of any residue. Pick the strip that is closest in size to each nail and hold it near its middle, carefully pressing it on near the nail bed first and then lowering the rest onto the nail. Use a file or cuticle stick to shave away the excess.
They take some extra time the first couple of tries, but once you get the hang of it they're a great alternative to regular polish, especially for those who lack a steady hand to paint their own nails. They come in a range of colors and patterns, such as polka dots, flowers, cursive script, animal prints and French tips. With some brands, the polish on the strips is UV-cured, so it provides long-lasting wear similar to a gel manicure. Some kinds to try: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips and essie Sleek Sticks.
When it comes to innovative ways to dress up nails, Ciate of London (www.ciate.co.uk) continues to outdo itself. Some of its latest creations include the caviar manicure (covers nails with little colored beads, or micro-perles) and the chalkboard manicure (a black chalkboard base coat with colored chalk pens for doodling nail designs).
One of the more artsy kits is the Very Colourfoil Manicure, which comes with a rainbow of shiny foils. For those with some extra time, get crafty by polishing nails, followed by dabbing on the nail adhesive. Then quickly stick the foils to the nail and pull them away, leaving behind a pastiche of kaleidoscopic shades.
Make your polish pop with 3-D flair, compliments of magnetic polishes. Iron powder in the polish is manipulated when a magnet built into the bottle cap is held directly above it for 10 to 15 seconds. The outcome is a cool two-toned linear design.
The key is to not wait too long to use the magnet; the polish needs to be wet so the magnet can work its wonders. Nails Inc. London and Sally Hansen are a couple of brands that offer this.
Sara Bauknecht: email@example.com or on Twitter @SaraB_PG. First Published April 23, 2013 4:00 AM