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How to Get Poppin’ People Nails

people nail designs


How to Get Poppin’ People Nails

Ever since Katy Perry wow’d us with a mani featuring the face of then-hubby Russell Brand, people have been making nail art featuring faces. While the marriage didn’t last, the idea of wearing your loved one’s face on your nails is here to stay. Here’s how to get the the look and do it right!

Meet my friend, Paige.

Image showing my friend Paige's face on my nails.

Paige’s skin looks yellow because the picture I used for this NailSnaps design was taken while we were wearing turmeric beauty masks. I chose this pic to make NailSnaps because I knew her fleshy pale skin wouldn’t look great against my skin tone. She totally agrees with me.

Image showing me messaging Paige

Putting peoples faces on NailSnaps can be a bit tricky. Why? Because just like we covered in the guidelines for creating vibrant food nail art the beige, brown, and fleshy colors may not look great against your skin tone. Nude is always in, so if this is what you want, then as always, you do you. However, most people want their nails to stand out. (That’s why red was the most popular nail color for over 50 years!) So if you want nail art featuring people’s faces AND you want your nails to stand out, this post is for you. But first…


If you’ve seen our post on creating pretty pet nail art, we talked about MINDING THE DOTTED LINE. We’re going to talk about it again.

Remember, anything near the dotted line on the hand stencil may be filed off when you apply NailSnaps to your nail. So you should not put anything important near that line. In the image below, the dotted line has been turned into a bold black line for visibility.

Image showing NailSnaps in the stencil and on hand.

You can see here, that anything beyond this line did not make it on to my slightly-longer-than-average nail. So when it comes to faces…

Image of examples of bad placements

Image of examples of good placemet

So the moral of this story is: Stay safe, mind the dotted line.


Apply Filters

Filters will adjust the skin tone of the person’s face in your photo. So from far away, your nails will look bright and colorful, and up close you can clearly see it’s the face you love.

(My boyfriend was “upset” that I put Paige’s face on my nails before his, so the majority of the examples for this post will feature his handsome face.)

Image showing dark purple and pink NailSnaps of my boyfriend's face.

In addition to layering on a ton a filters to this picture, I also put it in a mosaic really easily with the Layout app, which gave me more elements to pull from for making an interesting design.

Zoom Out

Give the face some space!

Choose pictures of your favorite face against a bright background, like the goofy free stock photo lady below. This way the face has a vibran color contrast. If the person is wearing bright colors, even better. Use third party apps like Line Camera or Instagram to pump up the contrast and saturation for even more vibrant nail designs.

Image showing a goofy stock photo lady on a green background.

Zoom out a lot

Silhouettes are a subtle way to add contrast and feature someone you love.

Image showing a design created using a picture of a silhouette.   Another image of NailSnaps made with an image of a silhouette.

Can’t do that? Use stickers or backgrounds

If you’re not near a colorful wall or bright blue sky, another way to achieve the look is by adding colorful stamps and frames to your photos using apps like Line Camera.

Image showing NailSnaps made from an image with a bunch of stickers on it.

Accent finger face

You can also always use your (boy/girl)friend’s face as an accent when the colors still might not contrast well with your skin. This way the face is an accent nail to contrast with the other nails.

Image showing NailSnaps with faces as accent fingers and darker colored nails for the others.

*Please remember to Mind the Dotted Line. My nails are longer than average, which is why I can place his face where it is in these pictures. Put the face ALL THE WAY above the dotted line with extra room to spare if you have shorter nail beds.

Turn people into pop art or comics

Play with filters in the the Imaengine app to turn pics of your faces into cartoons. You can also import the image into other apps to play with the colors further!

We’ve seen NailSnaps of kids and boyfriends, bridesmaids, and squads. Nail art of faces can be fun party favors for birthdays, bridal showers, and sleep overs. Who’s face do want to wear on on your nails?

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