"Before I started this page, I was doing my nails every Friday so I'd have a good manicure for the weekend," Jess explains. "I just made the alias as a joke — it was an anonymous account where I showed my nails but never showed my face."
From the jump, the Nailbetch videos — a mix of simple nail art tutorials and advice, like how to mix polish together and how fix a broken nail — raked up millions of views. The strategy behind each post was simple: "I was doing three hashtags per post, all nail related, of course," Jess explains. "It was basically #naturalnails, #diymanicure, #maniinspo — so now those channels are kind of like an archive of my work."
The Nailbetch aesthetic is consistent because the canvas is always the same: Jess' natural nails. She never uses gel nail polish ("I've done gels once in my life and I felt like it left my nails really thin") or any specialty tools or brushes: "I always just use the paddle brush that comes in the nail polish bottle." So conceivably, any of her designs could be replicated at home.
The best nail shape is the one you like best on your nails, but Jess makes a case for the squ-oval, a slightly square tip but with rounded corners.
"I do a slightly rounded, slightly square nail," she explains. Why? Jess explains that a fully square nail is too angular: "The corners bend when I do a button-fly jean," but an oval nail can quickly turn pointy at the end and end up in the stiletto territory. An easy tip in getting a squ-oval tip is to mirror the shape of your cuticle. "That's a great way to see what nail shape will look best on your hand," Jess recommends. "Look at the shape of your cuticle and match it."
Nail art stickers
Jess predicts that nail stickers are going to become more mainstream as brands are figuring out how to make them look less like a sticker and more like professional nail art. "I love nails stickers," Jess raves. "You just stick them on and put a top coat over them." Here, Jess used a rose-gold polish for a base, butterfly nail stickers from Deco Miami, slicked with top coat. The trend: easy application. Also try Mylee Golden Leaves Nail Art Stickers, £2.
"Skittle" French tips
The multicoloured French tip is Jess' favourite nail design ever — and at the present moment, post-summer and heading into autumn. "It looks good on everyone," says Brush. "I love the 'Skittles' vibe, where it's a bunch of different coloured tips worn together. But I also like white, or a 'baby' French on people who have shorter nails." [A "baby" French is synonymous with a "skinny" or "micro" French, where the stripe on the tip is super fine.]
Jess has a practiced technique for doing your own French tip, no matter how short or long your natural nails are. "I've made a few videos on how to do French tips, but one thing I say is to hold the brush still and move the fingernail that you're painting to the brush instead of trying to paint it," Jess explains. "It's a lot easier, especially when you're using your non-dominant hand."
Coconut milk nails
The same way that the "glazed doughnut" nail trend had its moment, the "milky" manicure is going to take hold even stronger come autumn. Jess considers it the perfect neutral. "I think it's so chic," she says, "although, it's hard hard to find a milky sheer polish that doesn't streak." Looking for the perfect milk white, Jess collaborated with Orly, her go-to polish brand for basic polishes, to create this Coconut Milk shade that checks all her boxes. "This one is non-streaky, it's clean and elegant," she says. It's a neutral polish for when you want that you-nails-but-better look. Also try OPI Coconuts Over OPI, £14.90.
"Dusty" jewel tones
For autumn colours, Jess says she's seeing a lot of "dusty" jewel tones. "It's a jewel tone but more muted," Jess explains. "A stone grey-blue or a mauve-y purple. I would use a few colours interchangeably on each nail."
This example shows a negative-space manicure featuring two "dusty" jewel shades from Chanel's autumn collection. "I love the colour story," says Jess. "Also, Chanel has a unique brush that I haven't seen on other nail polishes. Most nail polishes have either a flat brush or a rounded tip, but Chanel has a mix between the two. It's like a mini rounded brush. It's a small brush that's really easy to use — you can get into the corners or just use it for the tip."
Despite the small and ergonomic brush, at £29 a bottle, Chanel does not make the most affordable nail polishes. But you can find muted jewel tones in most brand collections. You could try Essie Cut The Line (a toned-down amethyst) or Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish 340 Berries And Cream, £3.99.
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