How To: Get This Season’s Hottest Nail Looks – Toxin-Free Hack!

Get *ALL* those trendy nail looks from international catwalks – in just few easy steps and without compromising on clean quality. Let’s rock!

I’m not talking big-3-free, I’m not talking big-5-three, I’m not talking 7-free… I’m talking completely non toxic. I’m talking WATER-BASED NAIL POLISH NAIL ART!

Enjoy! 😉



1. Length-wise: natural short nails are totally du jour!
2. …As well as elongated almond shaped nails (softened stiletto shape). NB: Not good at all on really thin fingers.
3. Matte is back in black, grey, nude, and burgundy red.
4. Anthracite black and metallics are all the craze.
5. Oxblood is the colour of the season, pure or as a clean half-moon mani, shiny or matte. Rock it!
That’s been pretty darn easy, right?

Before we proceed, you might want to check out the Guide To Non-Toxic Nail Polish – it will make you forget about “big-3-free” as THE safe option.


CATWALK NAIL ART TREND #1: One Bling To Rule Them All!

At Jenny Packham and Nicholas K, nail artists created glitter topped nails. At Kate Spade, tiny metallic pyramids were attached to artificial nails in bold colours. And at Libertine, a golden metallic was adorned with multicoloured crystals.

Clean Hack How-to:
Pick the rhinestones, crystals, or studs you like and figure out what look you want to achieve.
Using a 100 % non-toxic water-based nail polish, create a simple canvas and apply the crystals while the second coat is still wet.
Once the polish has dried, apply two coats of top coat.
En vogue are gold, black, olive green, and grey.
Rhinestones & Co. can be multicoloured, black or gold – but it’s important to make them stand out.

Scotch Naturals „Loch Ness Mystery“ and white nail glitter (as they say, „stylist’s own“ – I’ve had it forever and the brand is worn away).
Scotch Naturals „Tartan Black“ with multicoloured rhinestones and one matte metal sequin („stylist’s own“, too)..


Gosh, the Stiletto is back!

I’m talking, of course, of that over-the-top pointed talon shape. Most nail artists though opt for a softer declination: almond-shaped nails (Kate Spade, Nicholas K, Zac Posen, Badgley Mischka, The Blonds).

Clean Hack How-to:
Well, you’re already highly fashionable even sporting bare nails as long as their shape is a pointed almond.
That’s the most toxin-free mani I’ve ever seen 😉
NB: I hate almond shaped on my fingers.
It adds age to my hands and makes them look sad. So judge by the shape of your fingers whether almond is a thing for you.

CATWALK NAIL ART TREND #3: And I’m Off to The Laces…

Catwalk stunners were real lace at Houghton, and painted patterns at Emerson. Some manicurists provided brushed textures and multicoloured freehand swirls looking like tweed fabric.

Clean Hack How-to 1 (easy):
Pick two toxin-free water-based colours, one fair and one intense. Apply them as you wish, whatever you like. Create lace-like patterns with a dotting tool and seal with one or two coats of top coat.

Scotch Naturals „Atholl Brose“, „Balmoral Punch“ and „On The Rocks“ top coat, dotting tool.

Clean Hack How-to 2 (easy):
Select store-bought lace stickers, I used black florals, and stick them to the toxin-free water-based polish of choice.

Scotch Naturals „Tartan Black“, „Balmoral Punch“, „On The Rocks“ top coat, drugstore brand floral stickers.

NB: I found out that the standard stickers look & wear much better with water-based – they don’t curl, you can’t see where the sticker ends… Gorgeous!

Clean Hack How to 3 (messy):
Get a piece of lace, measure and cut according to your nail shape / length. Apply a 100 % non-toxic base (I use Scotch Naturals Fortifying Base), quickly apply precut bits of real lace to the nail, let dry, seal with several coats of non-toxic top coat (I use Scotch Naturals On The Rocks). If you like, throw in a rhinestone or two in between, but that’s optional.

Clean Hack How-to 4 (no-brainer for those Photoshop savvy):
Get a custom-made lace print made for you and simply stick them to your nails! Just create and upload a lace design, for example with Rabbit Designs.

Or print them yourself, using clear waterslide/decal paper and a design completely of your own!

CATWALK NAIL ART TREND #4: Classics – Gone Rogue

La Perla’s moon mani with black half moon; Oscar de la Renta moon mani with bare moon and black nail. Rodarte’s „Thin Metallic French“ – those looks say “I know my nail art 101, but now I’m up to some mischief”. I love it!

Clean Hack How-to:
Pretty easy actually.
Too easy!
If you hear me, you might want to try my „extended half moon mani“ – I applied a thin coat of a pale nude polish and have drawn a metallic „half moon“ on the skin below each nail using a bunch of (certified organic) liquid eye liners in silver, amethyst and emerald green – seal it with a bit of a fixative spray or a hair spray, clean of course 😉
It looks amazing with matching rings, and those metallic eyeliners provide real glimmer, which water-based polishes can’t.

Nail polish: One coat „Atholl Brose“, Scotch Naturals. Eyeliners: Santé Limited Edition.

This could become my favourite…

CATWALK NAIL ART TREND #5: Typographic / Monograms

Betsey Johnson manicurists created black nail with white monograms derived from the show’s motto.
The Blonds rocked the nail art catwalk with custom-made decals and bejewelled artifical talons, but I’m pointing out to their typographic design saying „redrum“ (from Shining).

Clean Hack How-to:
You could simply paint your nails any toxin-free dark colour you like (black, grey, navy, olive, teal…) and paint your initials with a constrasting acrylic paint. I stamped mine using Muji mini alphabet stamps and acrylic colours!

Nail polish: one coat „Atholl Brose“, one coat „Heather Blush“ + bronze and black acrylic paint.
“B” and “C” mini stamps for BeautyCalpyse (stamps by Muji); acrylic paint from art supplies.

Or you could get your personal, custom-made monograms at Inspired Nails. I haven’t tried yet!

CATWALK NAIL ART TREND #6: Oxblood and Black

Oh, the lovely blood reds at Dannijo and Burberry!
Oh the brilliant blacks at Fendi and BCBG Max Azria!

Clean Hack How-to 1:
Water-based polish is the cleanest option. My faves are “Blood and Sand” and “Tartan Black” by – you guessed it – Scotch Naturals.

Nail polish: Scotch Naturals „Blood and Sand“, top coat „On The Rocks“, Swarovski crystals (craft supply store). (*YES*, I’m obsessed with Scotch; *NO*, I’m not paid for any of that; *AND NO*, why change the “winning team” and try other brands if I’m fine with this?)

I couldn’t resist creating an ombré look, using this no-mess ombré hack technique with exactly the tool shown.
A bit of history: “20 colours” was my initial blog’s name ;).

Clean Hack How-to 2:
Make a coloured, home-made decal for a nice matte look (as in 5). This will be completely toxin-free.

That’s been a ride, hu? 😉

I hope you found at least something to try.


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

13 Responses

  1. I am very new to water based polishes. I am a bare nails, slightly almond shape (?) person but that is mostly because I can’t bear the smell of nail polish and nail polish remover. Today I have seen possibilities 🙂

  2. Heather in Arles

    I was just, just thinking that it has been awhile since we had a new episdode of BC and poof! Here we are. My oh my, those are some gorgeous looks! Ok, #4 is a little too wacky for me–am I getting ooold?

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