What Is Nail Contouring? Here's What You Need To Know About The Latest Mani Trend — PHOTOS

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: A model prepares backstage at the Vera Wang Collection fashion Show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
Source: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When it comes to contouring, nothing is off limits, not even your hands. If you're wondering what nail contouring is, I've got the scoop on the funky (but kind of logical) trend. Nail contouring sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's actually a term for creating the illusion of longer nails. For chronic nail biters, this is most excellent news for you! You can actually fake long, natural nails with a bit of strategic polish placement.

It works like this: Apply a base coat of nail polish, and then "contour" your nail bed with the application of a dark color down the center of the nail. Leave a little room on either side of the cuticle, and top it all off with a top coat of polish. The end result is a not-quite-fully-painted nail that appears to elongate your nails. It works just like highlighting and contouring does in that the unique balance of light and dark exaggerates certain features. 

The trend first appeared at Vera Wang's show for New York Fashion Week, thanks to professional nail technician (and mani genius) Jin Soon Choi. 

It's such an easy trend to incorporate, especially if you aren't great at painting your own nails. With the single swipe technique, you don't have to worry about getting paint right next to (but not on) your cuticles. 

See that stripe down the middle? Her nails already look longer!

It also looks kind of artsy — like a cool new nail art design. 


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I can't wait to see how people mix it up and personalize this trend. 

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Ready to bust out the polish?


Butter London Lacquer in Mums The Word, $18, Amazon 

Use a nude-like color for your base, and paint the entire nail. 

Deborah Lippmann Roar Collection in Miss Independent, $20, Nordstrom 

Use a darker color for your "contour" shade, and keep the width of its coat to a single swipe of your brush. Top it all off with a shiny or matte top coat! 

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