When Britney Spears, Katy Perry or Miranda Lambert want to make sure their nails stand out as much as their dresses on the red carpet, they let celebrity manicurist Elsbeth Schuetz take their hands and paint her magic on their fingertips.
"Nail art is very hot right now," says Schuetz, who has received numerous beauty industry awards and works with a Los Angeles-based agency using Nailtini and Nails Selection products. "Not only can an inexpensive polish creation brighten our day without breaking the bank, it has also become de rigueur for starlets and musicians to rock attention-getting nails on red carpets and in magazines."
Schuetz, known for her custom nail art and keen eye for color, works at high profile entertainment events including the Oscars, Golden Globes and "Dancing with the Stars." "There are literally thousands of different nail art looks out there," she says. "And there are certainly a few that are not only stylish but also can be created easily whether you're a nail artist or a DIY-er."
One of the nail artist's favorite designs is currently the hand painted "gradient nail" or "ombre" look. To achieve this look at home, Schuetz suggests applying a base color to the entire nail. Then add a different color randomly on the free edge, heavier on the tip and lighter as you go toward the cuticle. While still wet, you can blend with a toothpick or a fine art brush. Finish with a topcoat. "This look can also be done with the many 'gel colors' available to pros and consumers now," she adds.
Schuetz also finds that nail trends currently are sparkling. "Glitter polish with various size glitter speckles applied over a clear base coat is another looks that is hot and easy to achieve," she says. "No longer is it required to use a colored base first and then glitter on top. In fact, you can use different glitter colors and sizes for one manicure to create even more distinct effects."
Another hot trend in nails is the "foiled nail," says the celebrity manicurist. "Buy gold leaf at any art and craft store and place it with your tweezers on the still wet polish." She also suggests another craft-store find to rock on your nails -- large gemstones. "Just glue them on a nail or two -- or 10, before a fun night out."
Schuetz also likes the trend of wearing different colors on different nails. "Do one or two fingers in a completely different color and let folks guess your inspiration," she says. "If you want to do more nails, try to maintain some balance by wearing different shades of the same colors or adding polka dots in the alternate color to resist looking like an Easter basket!"
She also likes classic color combos for nails. "Black and white -- no matter what the design -- is a never-failing nail-art look also. Simply powerful."
Schuetz is enjoying the resurgence of the popularity of nail art. "Nails are getting their due as an important fashion accessory," she says. "After all, if your nails aren't done, you're not done. A martini glass or a gorgeous clutch looks much better held by a fashionably manicured hand!"