A Super Easy Way to Make Your Nails Look Longer

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No body part has escaped the contouring craze, and now nails are having their moment and getting in on the trend.

That’s right manicures: Even the best of you can look even better. “Nail contouring has been around for a long time, but it’s only recently that it’s become popular,” says celebrity nail expert Michelle Saunders. “It’s about creating the illusion that your nail bed is longer and thinner than it really is.”

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Sarah Bland, Smith & Cult beauty ambassador, agrees and says she first heard about the trend (or as what she refers to as more of a “trick”) six years ago. “Europeans have been toying with this technique for years to create the illusion of a longer, thinner nail. I don’t think it’s necessarily a trend as much as it is a personal preference.”

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But this isn’t some hard-to-follow shading system that involves a ton of products. “The way you create this is by painting the middle of the nail only and the sides a light color or no color,” Saunders says. Or, if you want to mix it up even more, she recommends painting just the middle of the nail a different shape—almond, rectangle or even triangular.

You can also play with specific shades to give the effect. For a DIY version to do at home, Bland recommends applying one coat of the color you want near the cuticle and letting it dry. “Then apply the second color covering 90 percent of the base color. Top it with Smith & Cult’s Above it All, an extremely glossy protective seal.”

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