Nail Fail: Why Drawing With Sharpies On Your Manicure Actually Doesn't Work

July 10, 2013 by Sara Alderman
shefinds | beauty

I had heard of using Sharpies on your nails, but never really believed it would work. I also thought it might give me a disease or something. But after seeing so called “Sharpie nail art” in Cosmo magazine and on websites like Women’s Day and The Beauty Department, I wanted to give it a try. Why not? The reviews made it sound easy enough, saying things like: “You don’t need to be artistic!” or “All you need is a polish, top coat and a fine-tipped Sharpie and you’re good to go!”. It’s all a lie. I tried Sharpie nail art on myself and let me tell you, it was a complete #nailfail (as if you couldn’t already tell from the pictures above). I even had my mom try to draw on me, thinking it might be easier having someone else do it for you, it’s not.

My Sharpie nail art process seemed pretty full-proof, in that I did what you would expect a person to do who was drawing on their polished nails with Sharpie. Someone please tell me if any of this sounds completely out of left field:

1) Apply nail polish. I even tested out all different colors beforehand to see how well the Sharpie came up and picked the best: light colors, yellow and blue, and a silver metallic.

2) Let them dry for 20 minutes before applying top coat. That’s longer then they wait in salons, amirite?

3) Apply strengthening top coat to all nails. Sit still and let them dry for ANOTHER 30 minutes. So, you think my nails were dry?

4) Start drawing designs like polka dots and stripes on my completely dried nails. And this is where the fail comes in.

The Sharpie would either dry out within two seconds of drawing on my nail, or it would completely chip my polish. I eventually grabbed a pad of paper to keep near by so that when the Sharpie dried out, I could draw on the pad to bring back the ink. I lost patience doing this after 45 minutes. Based on everything I read about Sharpie nail art, it was supposed to be a fun and easy addition to my manicure. I thought if this works, it will totally change how I do my nails. But I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Instead I got a set of busted up nails that I had to explain at work the next day. Also got some weird looks on the subway.

Just wanted to let you all know that this is WAY harder than it looks people.

For more beauty check out: 9 celebrity haircuts that made headlines, MAC by request and Remington i-Light hair removal



beauty, nails


Sara Alderman has covered topics from fashion to beauty and beyond.

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