The Easiest Way To Make Your Mani More Exciting

A few years ago, I began developing a more princess-y persona, toiling less of body but more of mind. And as I eased into this new character, I started to experiment with more exciting manicures. Princesses always have nice hands, nails, and killer jewelry, which is hard to maintain if you do anything manual like serving cocktails or hairstyling. I still work with my hands, but no longer brutalize them behind a bar or shampoo bowl, so they are now dainty and decorated to the nines. This led me to seek out more and more stickers, gems, rings, and nail enhancements that bring my personality to the only thing more visible than my face.

Nothing looks more blasé than clacking away at your cell phone with bejeweled nails and fingers. As it's becoming more and more accepted to be individual, finding niche embellishments for fingers more widely available has me like a kid in The Disney Store.

Whether you crave one-of-a-kind fine jewelry, reusable nail protection, or instant gratification via drugstore, it’s time to get on my hand level! Here are three of my favorite ways to embellish my tips.

1. Nail Shields

Instagram is always abuzz with evolving nail trends, but one thing is always on the up and up: texture. From pearls, glitter, and crystals to filigree and stickers, there’s nothing people aren’t sticking on nails these days. This is precisely how I found one of my favorite hybrid jewelry designers: Alleycat

The Eva Collection ($22) is named after nail artist Eva Dupir

These nail shields are a great price, one-of-a kind look, and besides being fully reuseable, they protect weak and broken nails!

I’ve been a fan for a year now and my nails have been armored by the Regal Set ($38) to suit my DIY-heavy lifestyle. Place your orders in advance if you have any big events, unless you're based in Canada, the nail jewels need time to get to you!

2. Knuckle Rings

There’s something so potently striking about Bijules Jewelry. I can always see elements and greater ideas when I look at the pieces that Jules Kim designs. She’s a NYC OG, and is feverishly copied, but you can plainly see why it’s worth it to buy from the source: It’s a fountain of cool girl glamour.

Her jewelry is sculptural, architectural, and sometimes appears fluid. I love the variation in design as dipped gold bones mingle with massive custom opal rings that take up a whole finger. Some are understated but still draw the eye like this little Future Baby Knuckle Ring.

Jules herself is an incredibly radiant and obvious artist that it's inspiring just to look at her jewelry, let alone don it IRL.

Left to Right: Future Knuckle Ring, Future Baby Knuckle Ring, Future Baby Knuckle Ring w/ Gemstone, Cent D Ring, Pinkie Nail Ring, Nail Ring

The Pinkie Nail Ring is my absolute favorite. It’s vampy and dangerous without being obvious or corny. I love the attention that Jules pays to knuckles, which before a few years ago were mostly naked, prior to her need to fill in the spaces between fine jewelry and unconventional style.

Left to Right: Pinkie Nail Ring, Future Knuckle Ring, Nail Ring

With celebrity clients and custom order to stay inspired, Bijules takes a real-gem-and-gold approach to unique shape and placement. Instead of something cheap, disposable and ultimately junk, invest in a real artist doing big things for a change!

Left to Right: Nail Ring, Future Knuckle Ring, Pinkie Nail Ring, Future Baby Nail Ring w/ Gemstone, Cent D Ring

3. Stickers

If you either want instant gratification or just don’t want to spend the big bucks on accoutrements (both very reasonable desires) you're in luck: Kiss products is taking the drugstore nail section to new heights. From their Bejeweled Pre-Glued Stones to the amazing Waterless Nail Tattoos, I can’t get enough!

All under five bucks, you’re really talking about accessible nail art here.

These babes will be available in early 2016!

The Waterless Nail Tattoos need to be set with clear nail polish, and like the press on jewels, they are so easy to apply. The hold is only temporary with top coat, but if you use gel, you’ll be set for three weeks. Therefore, I recommend bringing them to the salon or incorporating into your at-home gel routine.

P.S. I LOVE Nails INC's 45 Second Top Coat with Kensington Caviar

While each of these pieces of flair look great on their own, I personally recommend rocking them all at once. It's the easiest way to take a plain old mani and turn it into something amazing.

Photos: Maria Penaloza (10)