Color Block Nail Art with Sally Hansen #IHeartMyNailArt

What’s this, Laura? Why are you doing a post about nail polish? Isn’t this supposed to be a crafty blog?

Well, for starters, painting my nails does feel crafty, just using smaller brushes and tools! Secondly, this blog is filled with crafts, gardening, personal things – kind of a lifestyle blog at times, although that catchall phrase is a bit overused.

And did you know that I actually had a previous site called Laura Looks, way back in 2003? I did, and I almost forgot about it myself! It was going to be a beauty site – probably a blog, though I didn’t ever even think of it that way. I would review and share my favorite products once a month, and I’d ask readers for their opinions on their favorites.

Here’s a screen shot, which you can still see by going to the internet graveyard (at least that’s what I call it!) called the Way Back Machine on

I only did ran the site for two short months. Why? Um… Let’s just say it was because of some rather sudden major life changes and upheaval, and leave it at that. I’ve been thinking about that site over the weekend, and wondering – more musing really – at what such a site would look like now had I kept at it.

So, back to painting my nails! I wanted to try color blocking, a style trend that I first embraced in the ’80s when it was all over apparel. I remember (fondly, because I loved the ’80s) one particular sweater dress that was color blocked in electric blue-green contrasted with jet black. It was awesome, and I thought I was too whenever I wore it. (Oh it does make me cringe just a tiny bit, thinking how much I thought I knew back then, and knowing how little I actually did know. Hah!) But the nail trends then were bright nails, electric colors. Color blocking didn’t extend to fingernails, although I totally wish it had, now that I’ve tried this technique! For nails, color blocking is taking 2 or more colors and combining them separately yet in the same area in a geometric fashion.

I went to my local Walgreens to purchase what I needed. You can see my complete shopping trip in my Google+ album. Here’s what I purchased:

Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hans Creme, Sally Hansen French Manicure Pen, Sally Hansen Dry & Go Drops, and nail polishes – left to right: Xtreme Wear in Blizzard Blue, Mint Sorbet, Gunmetal, and Perky Pink; and Crackle Overcoat in Coral Collide.
Tip: The Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear (as well as their Salon Effects line) is currently on sale at Walgreens through April 27th. That’s why I bought 4 bottles of the Xtreme Wear! They’re on sale for 2/$5 (a steal!) plus you earn 1,000 points on your Walgreens Balance Rewards card too. Not bad! 
Another little story here: One of the first products I wrote a review about, on Laura Looks, was Sally Hansen Radiant Hands, Nails, & Cuticles Creme. Here’s a screen shot of the actual review! (Remember, nothing ever truly disappears from the interwebs – be warned!)

I’m super pleased to tell you that the current version of this hand creme – Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme – is the same thing, the real deal, and I’m happy as a clam. Although clams don’t have hands, do they? Weird turn of phrase.

I first began painting my nails as a young girl, but wasn’t allowed to go to school with crazy colors on my nails. I even sent away – I remember this so clearly – for a Sally Hansen nail polish sample with a coupon that was in one of the fashion magazines of the day, can’t remember if it was Seventeen or Mademoiselle. So I’ve used Sally Hansen products for a long time. Always has been my go-to choice for at-home manicures and pedicures. (Yes, I once went to salons to get my nails done on a regular basis. But that was then, priorities change, and I’m quite content to do my nails at home.)

So, here goes. Here’s my step-by-step tutorial of how I created my color blocked nails, complete with what worked and what didn’t.
I chose two awesome colors from the selection I brought home: Mint Sorbet and Gunmetal. First I applied two coats of the Mint Sorbet.
I wait about 15 minutes to apply the second coat of Mint Sorbet, then waited 30 minutes for both coats to dry thoroughly. Next, I went to town painting my left hand with all kinds of fun color blocking, without ever stopping to take a picture. I was having that much fun! (Don’t worry, I snapped more action shots below!)
Here’s my hands after the left one was color blocked in fun stripes, blocks, and polka dots! (The polka dots were easy, just touch the very tip of your nail with the nail polish brush wherever you want a dot of color.)
And here’s another shot of the designs that I did. On the left hand, the pointer finger: let’s discuss. I was originally planning on a diagonal color block with the gunmetal. However, I was using an adhesive tape as the mask on each nail to color block sections. (Does this sound familiar? “I read about it on the internet.”) The pointer finger has some slight leaks under the tape, so I decided to swipe another line of polish to cover those leaks. Still looks cool, right?
Here’s the adhesive tape technique – of which I’m not a fan at all. I’m sure there’s many people who have success with this, just as I’m sure if I practiced more I might be better with the tape, but I just didn’t like it.
I took a piece of tape and cut off the jagged edge so I’d have a straight edge instead. I stuck it onto my yoga pants first, to get some of the adhesive off, as I didn’t want it pulling my nail polish off with it. I carefully smoothed the tape down on my thumbnail.
Next, I painted the half of the nail that wasn’t masked by the tape.
I slowly peeled off the tape immediately, so nothing would dry and make it more difficult to remove. I was left with almost a straight line marking off the two colors. But almost isn’t good enough.
Let’s try the pointer finger on my right hand. This time I masked off most of the nail, just leaving the tip to polish. It didn’t work, as you see here.
This time, it was easy to fix, as I decided to just paint my nails like I paint anything else when crafting.
So much better, so much easier. You can also use nail polish pens with very fine tips – also by Sally Hansen – to make intricate designs and lines, but I stuck with the more old-school nail polish approach! I bet making close-to-perfect polka dots is no doubt much easier with the nail polish pens, so I’ll be buying some of those soon.
And here’s what my nails look like all finished!
By the way, I finished off my manicure by using the Dry & Go Drops, which do just what they say: your nails are dry to the touch in 60 seconds, and completely dry in two minutes. What a time saver! And after that, I applied the hand creme, which as I said earlier, is now my new (old?) go-to hand creme!

Have you tried any of the fun nail trends like color blocking?  You can get some color combination ideas on the Walgreens website, for techniques such as Block n’ RollAround the BlockBlock ArtThink Outside the Block, and more.

What do you think? Did I do a good job for my first time out? What color combinations do you think you would try? Let me know in the comments!

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and COTY #cbias #SocialFabric. All opinions are most definitely my own!

Nail Art Inspiration from Sally Hansen


  1. says

    I did my nails for the first time in forever the other night. I’ve been intrigued by all of the nail art fun I’m seeing. And a French manicure tip pen? About time since I cannot do decent FM to save my life. What a fun post and cute nails!

  2. says

    So cool! I love these color blocking ideas for nails! I just bought some new polish – I’ll have to give it a try.

  3. says

    I always do better when I paint free hand vs. using tape too. I LOVE the mint color. I bought it in a different brand before I saw that Sally Hansen had it and I was TICKED because it is $6 a bottle more for a product that doesn’t dry as well. Such a crock.