Nail Art

Bring Back the Accent Nail

Fighting society's decline into monochrome manicure misery, one nail at a time.

By Katherine Gunn July 1, 2015

An accent nail offers just the right amount of sparklemotion.

It seems like only yesterday that accent nails were all the rage. Everywhere you went you’d see hints of sparkle or intricate patterns, and at the nail salon there were fifteen kinds of flowers that you could add to your manicure for a measly five dollars a flower. But I haven’t seen them go by nearly as much recently. When did they die out? How did society collectively make this terrible decision? Where can I file a complaint? I don’t know who to talk to (and Louis Vuitton won’t take my calls), so this is my call to arms (er, hands?) Here are five reasons accent nails are the best idea ever and we need to bring them back.

Accessorize. When you’re getting dressed in the morning, you might think: what does this outfit need? Another bracelet? A fun necklace? A better bag? Well, you’re wrong. What you actually need is an accent nail. An accent nail makes you look way more fun and takes it up a level.

Sparkles. Listen, every girl needs a little glitter in her life, but put sparkles on every nail and you start looking like a five-year-old’s Barbie doll. Whether it’s sparkle or a design, an accent nail lets you add interest to your manicure while still looking sane and work-appropriate.

Trying out an advanced nail technique? Keeping it on a single accent nail means a better chance of success.

Simplicity. With all the different “simple and easy” nail art tutorials and all the fancy nail design products out there, I’m sure most mani-lovers have tried to do something fancy with their nails at some point. I still occasionally try to spice up my life with a new nail design. This tends to take me 3-5 tries at minimum, and if I’m trying to do something special on every nail I’m almost guaranteed to scream and throw polish at the wall after the first attempt. If I just have one nail on each side to focus on, I’m much more likely to come up with a passable result.

Festivity. Christmas (or the Fourth of July, or Shark Week) is coming up, and you want to paint your nails to celebrate. Avoid looking like there's a tacky Christmas sweater/mini Revolutionary war/actual shark on your hands by just sticking to appropriate colors with a festive pattern on one nail. 

Distraction. If you get a perfect French manicure, at a fancy salon, in France, from a manicurist trained in ancient nail arts, you may not need an accent nail. However, if you can’t afford a salon or don’t have time to go to one, never fear. Even if you do your own nails and they look terrible, no one will notice because they’ll be too busy looking at how pretty/glittery/fancy your accent nails are.

Ladies, this is our chance to make a difference. I’ll be out there wearing accent nails, whether they’re in fashion or not, but together, if we all start wearing them, we can bring it back—and when I’m painting my nails instead of doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, I’ll know that it’s a sacrifice I’m making for the greater good. 


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