Lisa Hannam
Lisa Hannam

Check Out My Glass Nails Beauty Hack

Glass nails have shattered my nail art goals. It was the one look I never thought I could do myself. That’s partly why I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time searching #glassnails on Instagram and Pinterest and online stalking the OG of glass nails, Park Eun Kyung, owner of Uni Stella in Seoul, Korea. Whenever I discover a new nail art trend, I find learning the “how’d they do that?” to be part of the fun.

#original ❤️#glassnail

A photo posted by 유니스텔라 네일_박은경 (@nail_unistella) on

Park says women love her glass nails look because it’s clean and eye-catching. She tells Vogue: “The nails I do are uniquely designed, but simple and minimalist.” She originally used candy paper cut into slivers to create the look of an abalone shell, reports, but she’s since created cut-out holographic stickers. She tells Refinery29 to keep the stickers to the centre of the nail so that the perimeter around the nail is clean.

With her tips in mind, and a lack of holographic stickers, I set out to create my own glass nails. Here’s what I did.

In my mani kit:

  • nail colour for the base
  • a topcoat
  • holographic ribbon
  • scissors
  • tweezers

Do as I did:
Full disclosure: I had painted my nails a day earlier with Deborah Lippmann in Blue Orchid, which is why my nails are done when cutting the ribbon in the below pic. But that’s not necessary. You can start with a fresh mani.


1. With nails that aren’t wet (you’re glad I reminded you, aren’t you?), cut the ribbon into angular pieces that are much shorter than the length of your nail bed. (Even a holographic bow would work. The pieces will be cut so small, it doesn’t require a flat ribbon.) Don’t get all obsessed with making them uniform, as part of the fun is puzzling them together on your nail. Lay the pieces out with the shiny sides up. You can group them together so you’re not rushing when your polish is wet.


2. With clean, freshly shaped nails, paint one coat on all your nails. Let it dry, then paint a second coat on just one nail. Using the tweezers, gently lay the ribbon piece matte side down, shiny side up. Because the ribbons are a bit thicker than the stickers that Park uses, don’t lay the pieces across the nail bed. Instead, place it longways. Lightly tap the corners with your tweezers so they don’t lift. Repeat until your nail is no longer tacky or you’ve run out of room for the ribbon. Don’t stress if it’s not symmetrical. This nail is about reflecting light, not the graphic design. So it’s okay if you’re not your usual type-A, detail-oriented self (repeat this to yourself as necessary).


3. For your topcoat, make sure it’s a thick-ish formula that boasts shine. You’ll want it to really envelop the ribbon piece. Now, I’m okay to swiftly move on to the next nail. But if you’re prone to be clumsy, let that nail dry before moving onto the next nail. Use that time to prep which ribbon pieces you’ll use next.


4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each until you’ve done all your nails with the ribbon appliqués.

5. Once your nails are fully dry, run your fingers over to make sure the corners are flat. Although, any ends that did lift for me this time around, I just trimmed with cuticle nippers. Shattered glass has many sharp edges, so it’s NBD if they’re not perfect triangle pieces.


What I would do differently next time
I would cut the ribbon into skinnier pieces, that way they would form better to my nails. I would also run the scissors along the matted side of the ribbon to thin it a bit. (You know the same way you would to make the ribbon curly.) Finally, I would not adhere the ribbon pieces on an angle. Just straight up and down, so that the ends don’t lift. Also, I became so obsessed with my mani that I couldn’t stop touching them – to the point where I literally peeled it off! So know that these glass nails are show nails for a night out, not your basic work nails.

A colleague was in Seoul for work and treated herself to a two-hour mani at Uni Stella (totally worth it, she says). So how did my glass nails stand up to the legit mani? Well, take a look for yourself.



Tweezerman Professional Slant Tweezer Zebra


Deborah Lippmann in Blue Orchid


Tweezerman Professional Slant Tweezer Zebra


Deborah Lippmann in Blue Orchid