Dry Brush Technique TUTORIAL!

A few weeks back, I did a dry brushing manicure to create a textural look appropriate for fall, and many of you asked to see more about this technique!  You can use dry brush for a variety of manicures, and I'll show you two options here.  Sarah from Chalkboard Nails recently showed how she uses dry brushing to create a Distressed Nail Art look...essentially the same technique, with a different application!  For this type of manicure, you'll want to make sure your base color is completely dry to avoid a messy disaster, so it's a great option to use when you want to add something to your few day old manicure!

Option #1: Use several (3-5) polishes to dry brush your nail, creating a solid, textural look.  See [this post].

Option #2:  Use one polish to dry brush your nail, leaving the base color exposed.  See [this post].

The Lacquerologist's Dry Brush Technique Tutorial

You will need:
  • Base coat and top coat
  • Polish color for your base
  • One or more polishes for your textural dry brushing
  • Clean-up brush and acetone
1.  Manicure your nails and apply base coat.

2.  Polish your nail in your base color.  For Option #1, I would suggest a nude, white or light gray base.  For Option #2, the possibilities are endless.  Here, on the left nail, I am using OPI My Vampire Is Buff and on the right Priti NYC Canterbury Bells.

3.  Once your base color has completely dried, you'll begin applying the dry brush technique.  For Option #1, you may want to think about what order you apply your colors in, if you think it'll make a difference!  You can also experiment with different finishes...creme, holographic, shimmer...these could all create interesting looks!  Using the polish brush from the bottle, remove as much polish as possible from the brush.  You can wipe most of it off on the neck of the bottle, and even wipe it on a paper towel so that the brush is nearly dry (hence "Dry Brush Technique").

4.  Run the dry brush across your nail, barely applying pressure.  Vary the direction/orientation of your brush to make it more interesting.  On the Option #1 nail (left), I used Sweet Heart Polish I am a Librarian! and on the Option #2 nail, I used Milani High Speed Fast Dry Black Swift.  For Option #2, you are done dry brushing.

5.  For Option #1, repeat steps three and four with as many colors as you'd like until the textural design has reached your desired look!  Let each application dry a bit before moving on to the next to avoid mixing and smearing.  Here, I've added Sweet Heart Polish O'Connell!, Sweet Heart Polish Oasis of  Ahm-Shere, and Sweet Heart Polish Scarab Shells.

6.  Clean-up cuticles with acetone and angled clean-up brush.

7.  Apply top coat!  I'm using Out the Door, which is notorious for smearing nail art, but in this case, I think it adds to the finished effect!

If you create a dry brush manicure, please share it with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!! :)


  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I can't believe how fabulous this technique looks! I need to try asap!

  2. LOVE!!!! I love both versions, but see myself leaning toward the first option with multiple colors. Great tutorial!

  3. I love your SHP nail! Looks like an opal!

  4. great tutorial! can't wait to try this!

  5. I love the final effect! Seems simple enough I MAY be able to do it lol

  6. Oohhh so pretty! Have to try this out! :)

  7. my vampire is buff is one of my favorite shades right now

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