Nail blogs are a great source of nail art ideas, but sometimes it can be difficult to understand what's what with all the specialized terms used, so we've put together a glossary of nail art terminology to help you get the best of nail art wisdom.

Color blocking
Color blocking means creating a design from solid blocks of color. As a nail art term, it means applying multiple, distinct sections of color to a single nail. This can be done by painting a stripe of a distinct color to one side of the nail, across or down the middle.

Dabbing (longbrush)
A very useful addition to the list of nail art terms, dabbing (a.k.a. longbrushing) refers to a way of applying tricky glitter polishes, using a dabbing motion and the entire length of the brush to leave a stripe of glitter behind.

Longbrushing Technique

Gradient vs. ombre vs. skittle
These are distinct terms, but there is some overlap, mainly between gradient and ombre, which can give rise to confusion.

A gradient manicure achieves a transition from one color to another down the length of the nail. This can be done by applying the two polishes with a cosmetic sponge and manually blending them into each other.

Ombre merges shades of a single color, usually going from a lighter to a darker shade. This can be done as a gradient (blending smoothly down the nail), but is often done from nail to nail.

See also: Ombre Nails- Nail Art Trend and Techniques

Skittle is a nail art slang for a manicure where each nail is painted a different color, in a striking, random mix of colors, like a selection of Skittles candies.

Franken (frankenpolish)
Franken (both a noun and a verb) is a nail art slang that refers to the process, or the product, of blending polishes to create a new shade.

Frankenpolish Technique

As a nail art slang, ruffian refers to a style of manicure which incorporates two (or more) colors. The first shade is applied the normal way. The second shade is laid on over it, starting a bit further away from the base so that a thin portion of the original color remains visible.

You might also be interested in: Ruffian for Birchbox Nail Polish Collection Launch

Saran wrap/cling wrap manicure
Saran wrap is a nail art slang for a manicure technique that requires two or more polishes and a few wads of saran wrap or cling film. It can be done as a reductive or additive process. For a reductive manicure, paint your base shade and wait for your nail polish to dry. Then, working one nail at a time, paint your second shade on top. Before it has time to dry, make some saran wrap into a ball and press it over the wet polish, then pull it away. It will pull away with it bits of the top polish, creating a marbled/textured effect.

Stamping /Konad
As a nail art slang, stamp refers to a technique which uses special stamping plates and polishes, allowing you to stamp pre-designed images on your nails. Konad is the best known creator/distributor of nail stamping kits, providing a generous amount of polishes and plates in a vast array of prints.

Also check out: Fun and Simple Konad Nail Art Ideas

Nail Stamping Technique

Tape manicure
Tape manicure is a nail art slang designating a technique in which Scotch tape is applied to a section of the nail you don't intend to paint on. This technique can be used for color blocking or to create a lightning bolt design. You can also use proper nail art striping tape, which is very narrow, to create thinner stripes and designs.

Water marble
As a nail art slang, water marbling refers to a technique in which you drip two or more shades of polish into water to create a design. You then dip the nail into the water so that the swirled polish clings to the nail, transferring the design.

Watercolor is a nail art technique in which you paint the nails in multiple colors, which fade and blend into each other to resemble a watercolor painting. One of the methods to do this is by applying the first polish in dots, then dipping a brush into acetone to thin and spread the color, repeating the process with several polishes until colors blend across the nail. You can also thin out the polish with a bit of acetone before application to make it easily “blendable”.

Don't miss:
Back to School Nail Art
Cool Colored Nail Art Designs

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