How to guide: Under the Sea cruelty-free

Coral Nails
Image credit: Anna Carruthers

All nail polishes used in this design belong to the Barry M line and have thus not been tested on animals and are fairly affordable.

  1. Start with a clear base coat to prevent any discolouration to the natural nail.
  2. Apply a plain white (Revlon’s White on White, £6.49) over the whole nail. This step is optional as the white will not actually be visible but it will make the overlaying colours more vibrant and save time and effort later on.
  3. Cut up a piece of make-up sponge to roughly the size of your thumbnail. On the sponge, stripe a very light blue or turquoise  (Barry M’s Greenberry £3.99), next to that of a pale blue (Barry M’s Blueberry Ice Cream £2.99) and a bright blue (Barry M’s Cyan Blue £2.99).
  4. Dab this all over the nail in order to create a blue gradient. The change from the bright to light blue will reflect the refraction of light in the ocean.
  5. This step should be repeated several times until the colour becomes opaque and blocks out all the white previously applied.
  6. To create the effect of sand, use a striping tool/paintbrush/lip brush to apply a thin line of gold (Barry M’s Gold Glitter £2.99) along the nail bed. Do not make this line too thick otherwise you will have too little space for the rest of the design.
  7. For the corals, you naturally need to use a coral colour (Barry M’s Coral £2.99). Corals come in a variety of shapes and sizes so make each nail slightly different. This will stop it from looking too stamp-like. Striping tools would be best at this stage as they create a cleaner line; but if, like me, you do not have one, I found that a thin paintbrush works just as well.
  8. Another staple feature of any seabed scene is seaweed. Use a vibrant green (Barry M’s Spring Green £2.99) and the tool you used for the coral. Placing the seaweed up the side of a nail will make it more recognisable and will also allow more space for any fish.
  9. For creating such small fish, I would recommend using a dotting tool. If you do not have one a cocktail stick or straightened out bobby pin will suffice. I chose to create clownfish so opted for a bright orange (Barry M’s Block Orange £2.99), but any bold colour aside from those you have already used will do perfectly.
  10. Apply a clear coat over the top to lock in the design and add an extra shine. Enjoy!


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