Far from the Swarovski-coated nail art of years past, crystal manicures, similar to manicurist Taylor Johnson's design above, are a way to fuse the energy of your expansive stone collection in with your beauty regime. If the geode manicure trend is a little aggressive for you, consider its crystal alternative a happy middle ground. Simply searching #crystalnails on Instagram will bring about thousands of results, each with a different technique for mastering the effect, but for Johnson, her method was more along the lines of a happy accident.
"I'm really big on crystals already, and I love that each has its own meaning and its own energy. Once you're into them, it almost becomes its own lifestyle. One of my nail friends and I had a playdate where we were kind of just experimenting with patterns, and it was a crazy accident that turned into my favorite technique ever," she tells InStyle. "Mistakes can turn into something unique and amazing very easily, and for this method in particular, the lines and shapes don't have to be super precise. Honestly, the more organic and less precise it is, the better it ends up looking."
In the salon, Johnson typically creates her designs using gel polish, as it lasts longer for her clients. She'll mix regular gel nail polishes with a clear builder coat, then uses a brush to paint on varying lines and streaks before curing the design with an LED light. "I have a lot of clients that will bring in actual crystals or jewelry as inspiration, so sometimes I'll go off of that," Johnson says. "I love doing that because it takes the manicure to something truly special that your clients can appreciate on a different level."
If you want to try your hand at the effect, Johnson recommends picking a handful of colors, and a generous amount of clear polish. Start with a base color, if applicable, then use a square tile to mix the different tones with the clear lacquer. "The clear nail polish is what will create the depths and textures of a crystal, because the pigmented polish doesn't completely mix into it, so you'll be able to create those cool, transparent lines and streaks," she tells us. Your moment of zen is within arm's reach, whether you opt for a solo statement nail, or to crystallize all ten fingers.