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When we heard about the aura glow nail trend, we're not going to lie, we had initial misgivings. The name conjures up images of travelling carnival attractions and gentrified woo-woo spiritualism.
But a quick search on Instagram set the record straight. The aura glow manicure is a nail trend that works on long and short nails alike, and has been embraced by some of our favourite homegrown nail artists — like Sydney-based manicurist Victoria Houllis. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to pick the brains of the genius behind the Sydney nail salon, Mannequin Hands, to find out what the hype is with aura glow nails, once and for all.
Ahead, Houllis dishes on what defines the nail trend, what to ask for at the salon, and (if you're brave enough) how to achieve the same look at home.
What Is The Aura Glow Nail Trend?
Aura glow nails feature a "glow of colour that gradients from a centre point... generally a circle," says Houllis, adding that you can also experiment with aura placement and scatter multiple glowing spots around the bed of the nail.
This effect is created using an airbrush gun, blooming gel polish or pigment, so if you're planning on heading into a salon to get the look, make sure they have access to these tools prior to booking an appointment.
What To You Ask For At The Salon If You Want Aura Glow Nails
Once you've successfully booked in with a salon that has all the tools to pull off a set of aura glow nails, you'll need to find some reference photos.
"[Photos] always help, as everyone has different ways of describing nail art," explains Houllis. "A jumping-off point is always great for making sure you're on the same page as your tech!"
If, like Mannequin Hands, the salon specialises in the technique, you'll probably be able to find some great nail inspiration on their Instagram page. Alternatively, a quick scroll through #auraglownails and #auranails on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok will surface a healthy collection of manicure inspiration. If you have a specific colour palette in mind, don't be shy about sharing your ideas with your nail tech either!
It's important to keep in mind that how your nail tech chooses to execute the technique will also depend on the tools they have available and their skill level. "I personally use an airbrush for a seamless result but I have seen people get a great result from blooming gel or blending with a sponge makeup applicator, or dabbing on pigment with a round brush," Houllis assures us.
How To Achieve The Aura Glow Nails Look At-Home
If you want to take matters into your own hands and you're looking to invest in an airbrush gun, Houllis has a few tips:
1) "Generally, if you're working with a thicker airbrush liquid, I would dilute it with [isopropyl] alcohol to get a super fine blend."
2) "I would use similar colours to the base colour, if you're worried that the blend isn't quite seamless enough."
However, if the idea of handling an airbrush gun terrifies you to your very core, there are always alternatives:
1) Use a sponge applicator
"If you have a matte topcoat and a sponge applicator or round brush, you can always pat on some pigmented eye shadow and then topcoat to seal the look," dishes Houllis. "[Just] be patient, [and] blend or brush on one bit at a time because you can always build the intensity of the colour bit by bit."
2) Press-on nails
We understand that not everyone is confident when it comes to doing their nails, and that some of us are time-poor. Thankfully, Houllis has done the hard yards and created a line of press-on nails, and offers a few aura glow styles — what a legend.