What is a Nail Art Pen?

Christine Hudson

Nail art is the act of painting nails with decorative and creative designs using nail polish. This can be done simply to add interest to an everyday look or for special occasions. Many intricate designs can be done by a professional, and some are even known to use airbrushes to do so. A nail art pen, however, makes it possible to create nail art at home generally with little or no mess. A nail art pen may contain professional- or non-professional-quality polish, with professional-quality usually lasting much longer.

Artificial fingernails with nail art.
Artificial fingernails with nail art.

The key to using a nail art pen correctly is to begin with pre-shaped and pre-buffed nails. Nails should be filed to about the same length and shaped nicely, and a nail buffer can be used to smooth the tops of the nails. This creates a sort of clean canvas for the nail polish and prevents the natural ridges from ruining the design. Even professionals cannot create beautiful nails out of uneven and unshapely ones.

A nail art pen is usually loaded with nail polish.
A nail art pen is usually loaded with nail polish.

Applying a clear or neutral base coat of polish is generally a better idea than attempting to apply the nail art on bare nails. The base coat further evens out the surface of the nail and helps the art last longer. After the base coat, any color can be applied that is similar to the background, or the art designs can be drawn directly on the base.

Many beginners like to find designs and instructions to follow online or learn from books. Some local beauty schools or nail salons may also offer hands-on classes for creating nail art, which may be helpful. These courses may also be able to show the artist how to maintain the design once it's finished so it will last longer.

While a nail art pen typically uses nail polish, there are some which may use glitter to add more flare to the designs. Many are made as two-way nail art pens, which means the nail brush can be used to brush on the color, or the fine tip can be used to draw designs. This type of nail art pen usually makes it very easy to do any design.

Nail art pens come in many styles and colors and are manufactured by many companies. It may be helpful to look at brands located in professional nail salons and shops and then see if those brands make a nail art pen. This way, the beginner can ensure she is purchasing high-quality products. Speaking with professional nail artists can also give insight on which brands to shop for.

The nails should be shaped using a nail file before applying nail art.
The nails should be shaped using a nail file before applying nail art.

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Discussion Comments


I found some great water base nail art pens from Sheba Nails - Color Gel Nail Art Pens. They come in a bunch of colors for just $2.99 each. You don't need a uv lamp, they flow from the pen like gel for smooth lines. I have had a lot of success with these and really recommend them.

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