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Top 5 London 2012 Nail Art Looks

Image of the London 2012 Logo

As London 2012 draws to a close, I was keen to blog about the games, perhaps because they took place in my home country, a fact that I am incredibly proud of (I certainly don’t think that I have ever held such an interest for the Olympics, in my entire life, and I really do not know what I’m going to watch on Television, now that it has finished), or maybe it’s just been the immense presence of nail art amongst the various athletes throughout the games.

I’ve read a little criticism about the amount of press that has gone towards the women’s nail art, because some appear to believe that it undermines the talent for sport that these women have, but I couldn’t think that that could be further from the truth. In my opinion, the nail art represents three things: Firstly, the sheer pride that these amazing young women have, to be representing their own country, Secondly, as a form of expression. You have to remember that most of these women, especially the swimmers are not able to wear makeup, so expressing their passion and devotion for what they do through another form of beauty that they are able to do, is really great in my opinion. Finally, you also have to remember that for a lot of these women the sports that they perform are not necessarily considered to be very “feminine“, and I feel that this is an ideal way of allowing them to compete but still feel girlie.

There have been so many Nail Art Looks from women across virtually every sport, across most countries, that it has been a nightmare picking just five, and trust me when I say that it took me a long time to get it down to these ones. I kept changing my mind and changing it back again, but I’m very happy with the five that I have chosen.

Five. Coralie Balmy

Image of French Swimmer Coralie Balmy

Country: France.

Sport: Swimming.

Coralie’s Look:

Coralie’s nails work because they’re so simple and yet still convey the French flag beautifully. Looks like this only really work for country’s with striped flags, such as France, Germany etc, but I love the “slant” approach to the colouring, which is becoming an increasingly popular trend at the moment.

Achieving Coralie’s Look:

This look is actually incredibly simple to achieve at home, using one of two methods:

1. Using Fine Nail Art Brushes. Draw the stripes neatly at a slant across the tips of your nails, starting with the red, followed by the white and finishing off with the blue. This is more suited for those of us with either a very steady hand or confidence doing free-hand nail art. To neaten up the stripes, don’t be afraid to go over the previous colour slightly.

2. Using Sellotape / Scotch Tape. Diagonally placing a strip of tape across your nail, and paint the area across your tips blue. Allow the polish to dry and remove tape quickly. Once polish is completely dry (I recommend leaving it for a good few hours to avoid smudging), apply another piece of tape covering a strip of the blue, and this time paint the tip area white completely covering the blue. An opaque white is advisable for this. Remove the tape, and again give ample time to dry. Take a third piece of tape and cover the blue stripe and part of the white leaving a thin strip at the very tip of your nail. Now paint this last area red. Remove the tape. One your nails have completely dried finish off using a thin layer of a Clear Top Coat.

Four. Lia Neal

Image of American Swimmer Lia Neal

Country:United States of America

Sport: Swimming

Lia’s Look:

Lia’s nails take the trend for accentedring finger” to a whole new level, with her other fingers (and thumbs) represented the stripes of the flag, and the two accent fingers representing the blue and white stars featured on the flag. This look works perfectly for flags that have different features to them, such as the USA flag, or the Australian flag.

Achieving Lia’s Look:

As you might guess, Lia’s nails come in two parts.

The Red and the the White: For the red and white stripes, this can be achieved fairly easily, because all you need to do is apply an opaque white polish as a base to your nails. For the red stripes, you will need a fine nail art brush and you should apply the stripes free-hand, painting them on in long sweeps in order to guarantee a straight line. Lia’s nails appear to have roughly five red stripes per nail, so aim to achieve this.

The Blue: Start out by applying a bright blue shade as a base and allow the polish to dry. You will probably need a couple of coats for this look, as the polish should be as opaque as possible. Now, using a stamping kit (Konad, for example, have stamping plates that feature stars), stamp white stars onto the blue base. The layout of the stars is ultimately up to you, and whichever stamping plate you choose to use.

Three. Rebecca Adlington

Image of Great Britain Swimmer Rebecca Adlington

Country: Great Britain

Sport: Swimming

Rebecca’s Look:

For countries with slightly complex flags, such as Great Britain, I think that it’s hard to find a way of portraying the flag without it looking like other countries, that use the same colour schemes. Ultimately, having the flag as Rebecca wears it makes so much more sense.

Achieving Rebecca’s Look:

It is possible to achieve Rebecca’s look free-hand but probably only if you have complete confidence in your ability to do nail art. The problem, of course, being that her look is so neat and perfect in appearance. Saying that, to achieve a similar look, the stripes don’t have to be absolutely perfect and if you can draw straight lines for nail art, you will probably be able to create a fab alternative to this.

However, if you don’t feel confident enough to achieve such a neat look (I certainly don’t!!), then there is another, much easier, way of achieving this nail look, using Union Jack Foil Nail Wraps that are available in most stores that sell nail products. Nail Wraps are generally considered easy to apply, but can often be quite expensive, so it pays to shop around if you do want to give them a try.

Two. Kristina Vogel

Image of German Cyclist Kristina Vogel

Country: Germany

Sport: Cycling

Kristina’s Look:

The colour scheme of Kristina’s nails tell us that this is definitely Germany, and how these nails are very impressive and really pack some punch. I absolutely love the way that the colours blend together to create quite a fire-based look emphasised by the flames extending across the nails. They kind of make me think of Katniss, as The Girl on Fire, in The Hunger Games and I can imagine her wearing these. They certainly are an amazing piece of nail art, and an amazing piece of art!

Achieving Kristina’s Look:

It’s difficult to see exactly how Kristina’s look was pieced together, but one thing that is definitely certain is that it was done free-hand. To achieve a similar look, start out by applying a yellowy-gold colour across just under half of your nail, covering the tips. Once the gold polish has dried, paint a straight stripe of red across the nail, covering a large portion of the gold, but still leaving enough visible to make an impact. Again allow to dry. Now, paint black across the tips and using either a fine nail art brush or even a cocktail stick draw wiggly line up across the red and the gold to create the flames. If you happen to take some of the colour from the gold and red with you when doing this, don’t worry because that just adds to the overall effect.

One. Celine Goberville

Image of French shooter Celine Goberville

Country: France

Sport: Shooting

Celine’s Look:

For me, Celine’s look is without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite nail art out of every one I’ve seen, and it was the only one that I knew from the moment that I saw it that it would be in my Top Five. It’s interesting, because even though the overall design obviously isn’t a specific flag, I instantly assumed that she was going to be French, and looking at it more closely you can sort of see the flag appearing out of the design as each colour has been used in an equal amount, whereas if the colours had included more blue, for example, I would probably have assumed that it was meant to be the Union Jack.

I love how creative this look is, and it suggests (to me) that Celine likes to be different as it strays away from the basic style of flag that we saw with fellow French athlete Coralie Balmy (See No.5).

Achieve Celine’s Look:

I have real nail envy when it comes to Celine’s nails because out of all of the looks this is probably the only one that I don’t think that I would be able to manage. It was without doubt created free hand, and I can’t think of any cheat methods for this one.

The best method, as always, if you do want to give this one a try, is using very fine nail art brushes but I have to confess that I wouldn’t even know which colour to begin with, but I would start by drawing the blue and white vertical/diagonal lines and work from there, perhaps free-styling sweeping lines and dots alternating colours so that they are always in the order of the French flag.

Which look is your favourite, and have you tried re-creating any of them?
Perhaps you have created your own tribute to your home country?
We’d love to see what you’ve created :)

Kat Musselwhite

Kat Musselwhite

Kat is a freelance writer, who believes that everyone is beautiful, and make up just helps to enhance that natural beauty. She loves playing with make up, watching films, travelling and writing.

Kat Musselwhite

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4 Comments

  1. Valens
    August 14, 2012, 1:00 am

    I miss so much the Olympic games, me too!
    I like your choices and I think my faves are number 1 and the n° 2.
    Could you show us your other Olympic mani you liked… I’m so curious!

    Keep up the great work!!!
    (P.s: amazing article)
    xoxo

    Valens

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    • Kat Musselwhite
      Kat Musselwhite
      August 15, 2012, 10:36 am

      Hi Valens, Thanks for the lovely comment :) I’m glad that you like the post. I worry that if I posted about the other Olympic mani’s I liked I’d be here for a really long time ;) The women really did a fantastic job on their nails!!

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  2. Sue Lin
    Sue Lin
    August 15, 2012, 12:36 pm

    Great nail tips Kat! Love the Union Jack nail look. Is Adlington’s nails custom painted? The motif looks like it was stretched out to fit individual nail lengths. I think I’d better stick to nail wraps.

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    • Kat Musselwhite
      Kat Musselwhite
      August 15, 2012, 1:18 pm

      Thanks Sue, there’s been a lot of debate about how Adlington’s nails were done, so I’m not 100% certain. However I do know that they were done by nail artist Sophy Robson and she says that they were done free hand. Although some bloggers seem to think that they just look too neat to have been done free hand and suspect that they’re nail wraps, but agreed I’d stick with the nail wraps too ;)

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