Nail artist Meghann Rosales of the uber popular Nails Y’all first fell in love with the art form when she was teaching high school history in the South Bronx. “My students had some amazing nails! The girls would come to class with fresh sets that blew my mind. That was the first time nail art struck me as a thing. When I got back to Austin I began to play around with my own designs.” Armed with a BA in Creative Writing from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA. and a Masters in English Education from Fordham University in New York, NY., the Texas native moved back to Austin and enrolled in Baldwin Beauty School’s nail technician program.

She took to painting the tiny lines on nail “canvases” right away, as it wasn’t far from the work she had done as a cartoonist. For her clients, she has created everything on their nails from the swirls of outer space to an ode to Friday Night Lights. “I feel incredibly lucky to go to work and draw every day. I get to meet cool and inspiring women, enjoy creative freedom, experiment with colors and techniques, and have a flexible schedule that allows me to explore nail art opportunities outside of the traditional salon setting,” she says. “It really is a dream job.”

We hooked our resident beauty guru Martha Lynn Kale up for a session with Meghann to find out about the process behind her delightful designs. For MLK’s nail makeover, Meghann wanted to use a “gateway” nail art technique that uses dotting techniques since this is an approach at-home artists can use by turning toothpicks or bobby pins in to dotting tools. “We chose a unifying color scheme so that we could go a little crazy with the art,” she says. Meghann shares a step-by-step for how to try this fun dot ombre look at home:

What’s a dotting tool?
You can certainly find sets of professional dotting tools at your favorite beauty supply store or online, but if you’ve got the DIY spirit just look around your house for dotting inspiration. Anything round will work! A toothpick, sewing pin, or opened-up bobby pin are all great choices.

  1. Start with clean, dry hands, shape your nails and gently push back cuticles. Apply one coat of base coat to prevent staining and encourage the polish to adhere to your nails.
  2. Apply one thin coat of white polish and wait 2-3 minutes. Apply another thin coat of white and allow to dry.
  3. Use the brush from the bottle, drip a small puddle of gold polish onto your foil square. Dip your dotting tool into the puddle — get it nice and wet. Place one dot in the center of your nail. Use a light hand; you can always re-dot to get a better shape or size. Re-dip your tool, if necessary, and create a diagonal line of dots from the center dot to the edges of your nail. Create another row of dots above and below.
  4. Clean your dotting tool. Make another puddle using teal polish and create a row of dots above your gold. Repeat using black, creating a row of dots below the gold. Allow dots to dry completely — you don’t want to smear your hard work! Using a Q-tip dipped in polish remover, carefully remove any polish from your skin. Once your dots are dry, apply a thin coat of top coat to seal in your art.

And a few general helpful tips on nail art from Meghann:

  • Don’t skip a base or top coat! Base coats both protect your nail from staining and create a bond between nail and color. The top coat adds durability and shine.
  • Moisturize! Choose a good cuticle oil or rich hand cream. My favorite is almond oil.
  • Use gloves! Water can really damage your manicure, so protect your hands when doing dishes or yard work.

Austinites can book an appointment with Meghann at Paloma, a salon on Mueller Blvd. She is also available to do nail parties for groups of three or more. Be on the look out for a nail art workshop in May. To book a session, email her at [email protected]

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