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Rock a Beat Street-Inspired Mani with Maybelline New York’s Color Show Street Art Top Coat Collection

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I’ve been a huge fan of graffiti for as long as I can remember — heck, I co-authored spray painting legend Terrible T-Kid 170’s memoir, The Nasty Terrible T-Kid 170. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to meet many influencers in the graffiti scene — from trailblazers like Mico, Lady Pink, Crash, Blade, Revolt, Quik, Lee, and Coco 144 to ’80s players like Cope 2, Chino, Wane 1, Ket, and several Tats Cru members. I’ve talked to them about their experiences, watched them paint handball courts and storefronts, and been witness to their individual paths in life. Sure, some New York-bred graffiti artists wound up stashing away their Krylon, Montana, and Belton cans forever, but most continue to paint as often as they can — even traveling to Europe to participate in festivals and outdoor shows. Even their professional endeavors have been influences by their need to” get up” and go “all-city,” with some authoring memoirs and photo-heavy art books; others becoming muralists and having their aerosol works commissioned by major corporations; some venturing into the gallery realm, directing their spray paint cans at blank canvases rather than subway cars or city walls; others developing street wear clothing brands; and some expanding their reach and becoming graphic artists, oftentimes using the digital realm to replicate the drippy tags they once scribbled with fat-tipped markers. Given my appreciation for graffiti, then, my eyes widened when, during a recent trip to Rite-Aid, I spotted the newest nail lacquer collection from Maybelline.  

The Maybelline Color Show Street Art collection consists of five top coat shades (each $3.99 at major food and drug retailers) that are designed to make nails look as if they’d been spray painted. In their bottles, they look like nail lacquer shades but don’t get it twisted: if you brush them atop your nails, these will not deliver opaque or full coverage, even if you apply layer upon layer, since they’re designed to be worn atop a base color. Each Color Show Street Art top coat contains a combination of specks — from tiny round glitter bits to chunkier, sequin-like accents and even tinsel-like strips — but the key is that they all have a matte finish as opposed to the traditional shiny metallic one. It’s this matte finish that brings home the urban edge, along with the juxtaposition of stark black (which is essential to any graffiti piece’s outline) and bright shades like red and lime green. As my husband so succinctly put it, “I like that, for one, it’s not a top coat that makes your nails look like you were playing with a five-year-old’s art kit.” Clearly, he’s not keen on the glitter!

The different sizes of matte glitter also create that speckled look that you’d get if you alternated the pressure applied to the spray paint can’s valve, at times dispensing a fine mist and at other times releasing a more solid, robust stream of color. There’s a haphazard quality to the effect — one that graffiti masters wouldn’t tolerate in their painstakingly detailed masterpieces — but the effect does remind one of the more illicit, spontaneous, briskly executed forms of street art, like tags and throw-ups.

The five top coat shades available are: Blue Beats, Wild At Heart, Green Graffiti, Pink Splatter, and Nighttime Noise. During my recent trip to the drugstore, I picked up Wild at Heart and Green Graffiti. Check out what they look like below!

 

WILD AT HEART

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The pictures above show what the top coat looks like on bare nails — even after four coats. As you can see, it would be nearly impossible to attain full coverage with this top coat but applying it onto bare nails does allow you to imagine what base colors would truly make it pop. The Wild At Heart top coat contains tiny specks of glitter, alongside larger hexagonal bits, in a matte black and a matte red. The red really gives the top coat some serious pop, and the shade is perfect in that it doesn’t go too deep into vamp-y, bloody territory, which would make it hard for the texture details to be discernible above a base coat.

Next, check out a look I created using the Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Gunmetal. To get this look, I applied one coat of the Sally Hansen polish, followed by two coats of the Maybelline Color Show Street Art top coat in Wild At Heart. And, of course, I topped the look off with one coat of Seche Vite’s Dry Fast Top Coat.

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GREEN GRAFFITI

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Next, let’s talk about Green Graffiti! This top coat is an absolute killer since the black and key lime green work so well together and convey a dynamic energy, an exuberance and vitality that really echoes that of the city’s beating heart. I also appreciate that this top coat has more stringy bits of glitter and not just round and hexagonal specks since, after all, it’s the contrast of colors, sizes, and shapes that helps to create the slightly chaotic but oh-so-chid effect.

Again, as a point of reference, I made sure to apply the Green Graffiti to bare nails (as seen in the photos above), applying three coats.

Next, I started thinking about how to make the top coat really pop, and I decided on a yellow base polish — in particular, the NARS Amchoor nail lacquer. To create the look shown below, I brushed on two coats of the Amchoor polish, followed by two coats of Maybelline’s Color Show Street Art top coat in Green Graffiti, topping it all off with one coat of Seche Vite’s Dry Fast Top Coat. Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

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So what do you think? Will you be rocking some graffiti-flavored nails this season?

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