How to Float Nail Polish

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

A float manicure is a fun way to get a little more experimental with your nail art, especially if you're a fan of the negative space trend. It allows you to show off a bit of color without obscuring your entire nail, which is great for a special occasion or party.

For this look, you'll need a large container that can hold your nails as well as the polish (preferably non-porous, like a mug or a plastic cup), nail polish, and water. It's best to use a clean, fresh polish that isn't too thick and doesn't dry too quickly. Using old polish will set too fast in the water and will skew your results.

Fill the container about 3/4 full with water. "It's important that the water is warm, but not cold," explains Nguyen. "The temperature is what will control how the polish sets." She also suggests trying filtered water, which can help to reduce yellow stains on your nails.

Once the water is at the right temperature, start to drop in your polish colors. Nguyen recommends starting with the lighter colors, followed by the darker shades, for a cleaner look. "The colors will mix together in the water and will look more muted and refined," she says.

When you're ready to start dipping, pick up a toothpick and swirl it through the polish in the water. Then, carefully lower your nail into the polish. It takes a second or so for the nail to fully stick, but not so long that it starts to dry out in the water.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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