Who Let Nail Art Tutorials Happen and How Do We Stop Them?

Problem one: all nail artists are weirdly terrible at nail art.

I cannot, for the life of me, imagine that when Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet he dreamed about millions of people—in bed or on the toilet with phone in hand—watching video after video of very small, very strange, and very inept nail art tutorials. Maybe he could've envisioned Wikipedia. Second Life? Perhaps. But a million views on a video of a nail getting painted like a shit pineapple? I hope not. That's evolution for you though: an absolute clusterfuck. You never know what twisted and fucked up direction human beings will take something in.


For me, Instagram "tutorials" are probably the worst and most upsetting thing we as a population have created online. And yes, that is including the time we turned an internet urban legend/hoax about clown sightings into a real life, worldwide "epidemic" in which people were assaulted, stabbed, stalked, run over, kidnapped and fucking murdered. These 60 second videos are worse than that, and I will not hear another word about it.

But the worst of them all, I promise you, are the nail art tutorials. These things are absolutely infuriating. Why? Because as far as I can tell, 95 percent of the human beings behind these videos are terrible at them. They're bad at every single element. Bad at nail art design, bad at the application, bad at the filming, bad at editing. Bad at captioning, bad at choosing a soundtrack. There's fucking nothing good about these videos. And yet, it would appear that these videos are popular. Some amass upwards of 500k views after less than a fricking week online. This shit is going viral.

I am sick to death of nobody saying anything. I need a release! Can we please, for the love of god, talk about why these videos are the absolute worst, most fucked up, most beautiful thing in the world? Alright. Finally.

The Clag Skin Protector Thing

This has got to be the most confounding thing about this corner of the internet. The gluey substance that these tutorial creators put around the nail so that when they paint it, they don't get paint on the skin. Quick question: how fucking awful are you at painting nails that you can't stay inside the lines? If it's that hard, maybe we shouldn't be attempting to draw a Bob Ross-ass winter wonderland landscape on our pinky if we can't even manage to do the most basic part of painting the nail. Which is, of course, painting the nail. I am baffled that the purveyors and commenters of these videos don't have a problem with this. It's madness.


The Spray Paint

Okay, here is one scenario in which I can see the use of the clag skin-protector thing. If you are in fact spraying the polish or paint onto your nail from a distance, it's probably pretty difficult not to get it around the nail. That being said: Why the everloving fuck would you want to paint your nails this way???? What in God's name made you think this was going to be worth the trouble? It doesn't look any better than regular polish. In fact, it looks fucking worse. A lot worse. It looks like a mistake. It looks like a parody. Like in some not-too-distant future where there's a skit show on IG that parodies all the most famous and shareable content and this is their "comedy" "takedown" of nail art tutorials. In fact, it's very difficult for me to believe that this wasn't initially made as a joke and then somehow got taken seriously and shared by enough accounts that now it just taken as reasonable.

The Many, Many Layers

This one's a doozy. It's a doozy because it's the sum of its parts that makes it evil. In essence, each of these steps or elements aren't particularly baffling: the pattern stamps, the gradient stuff, the stickers and the rhinestones and the stencils. Those things, while being rather hideous, aren't, you know, mental. They're not that fucked up. What's fucked up is that we're doing five layers of this shit in one tutorial. You're going: gradient, top coat, glitter, top coat, stamp, top coat, diamante, top coat, top coat, top coat. I have so many questions: where do you get the time? Does your nail feel very heavy? When did you realise you were a monster?


3D Nail Art!!

Again, 3D nail art in its most basic form is quite a novel idea. It was, of course, never going to stay novel. From its humble beginnings in the Polish Mountain Challenge, it was almost inevitable that it would be taken too seriously, taken too far, changed and transfigured and mutated until one day you're minding your own business on the explore page and you see a video in which numerous people have had 3D breasts fashioned onto their nails and this account is calling it "FAB AF" and you can't help but think to yourself was Matthew McConnaughey right when he said all the extremist nihilistic shit in True Detective season one? And I think you'll find that he was.

Meme-ified Nail Art!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not even going to say anything about this. I'm just going to put this video here and hope that someone out there sees it and has the power to shut down the internet once and for all. I mean it.

The F*cking Muuuusic, Oh My Godddddd

This tutorial has—I am not joking and you will soon realise that—an emo EDM cover of "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid soundtracking it. What? What? How… does that even exist? How does a person stumble across this? Or find it? The only possibly explanation is that the person who made the video is the same person that made the song. That is the only reasonable explanation.



This one fucking video where a person pretends that they have made a lifehack when in actuality what they have made is a Silence of the Lambs spin off in which Buffalo Bill is now collecting and wearing the nails of his victims. I mean. This is truly the last straw. If my life is The Bell Jar (and it sometimes very much is) then this is my rejection letter. This is the thing that sends me into the crawl space. This is the thing that breaks me.

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