Nail Art's New Wave: How To Do The Punchy, Delicious "Prep Stripe"

No doubt, nail art is seriously having a moment. But we're already at a point where certain patterns have become passé (accent finger anyone?). To keep your tips covered in fresh, fantastic looks, we've compiled Nail Art's New Wave, a collection of our favorite new patterns inspired by super-talented manicurist Julie Kandalec and Maybelline New York's Color Show Nail Lacquer – plus hints on how to execute them perfectly.
We've studied the best new nail art styles on your behalf, and the versatility of this particular design was a huge turn-on for us. Here, we've broken down the steps you'll need to perfect "The Prep Stripe," in Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced variations – from a simple, two-color format, to a wild, multi-line masterpiece. Have at it, schoolgirls.
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Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Whether you call it a nuevo barber's pole, a lollipop-inspired look, or fashionably colored prep-school tie, this baby starts out simple – then ramps up to spectacular, looking chic all the way. Let's start off with the Beginner's version... naturally.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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The base of this look calls for Maybelline New York's Color Show Nail Lacquer in Fierce N Tangy and Iced Queen — though feel free to create your own contrasting color combo.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Put on two coats of the Fierce N Tangy for your base and let it dry. We wouldn't want your second color smudging into the base, would we?

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Create stripes on opposing corners of the nail using Iced Queen. Ideally, you'll use a thin brush here and make your stripes the width of the brush when it just touches the surface of the nail. Don't bear down hard. Let these babies dry before you give them your clear topcoat and...

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Presto! It's an eye-catching look that's pretty spectacular on its own. That's not to say we don't have other plans in store for it.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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For the Intermediate version of The Prep Stripe, we're really going to bring this into the private-school world, with a third, slimmer accent stripe.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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As before, we're using Maybelline New York's Color Show Nail Lacquer in Fierce N Tangy and Iced Queen, but adding Green With Envy, which plays off the other tones very well. Make sure you have a very, very narrow brush (ideally a No. 2) at the ready.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Again, we're kicking things off with a double coating of Fierce N Tangy, and a few minutes to let it dry.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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This time, however, we're adding on two to four wide stripes of Green With Envy, leaving small gaps for the Fierce N Tangy to shine through beneath. Don't forget to give these accent stripes a few minutes to dry before the next step.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Now, using that narrow brush by your side, apply Iced Queen to one half of the stripe you just painted on. Let dry and apply a protective topcoat.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Amazing, right? Just a few simple steps and you've got a dazzling, complex look. Now that you've mastered that, let's get on to the Advanced level.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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You did great with the Beginner and Intermediate stages of The Prep Stripe, so let's give the Advanced a run through. This might take a little more patience, but the payoff is so, so huge.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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You're still going to need Fierce N Tangy, Iced Queen, and Green With Envy from Maybelline New York's Color Show Nail Lacquer collection. Add in Onyx Rush and keep that No. 2 brush handy.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Complete all the steps from the Intermediate level (you remember those, right?) without adding the protective topcoat.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Now, dip only the tip of your brush into Onyx Rush, and begin drawing short, interconnecting lines. These should be just the width of one of your stripes and go in an up-down-up pattern. Oh, and don't bother trying to paint the corners. This is all about drawing tiny, overlapping hyphens – you dig?

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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Let the final look dry, then add your topcoat. Now get ready to answer the question, "who did your nails," at least 100 times.

Photographed by Mark Iantosca
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