When in the home of everyone's favorite manicurist (read: Jen Brill, Rose Byrne, Sky Ferriera and more), leaving sans new beauty knowledge isn't really an option. Case in point? When we recently swung by the L.A. home of manicurist Madeline Poole and practically came away with a crash course in all things DIY after Poole whipped up a quick mani to mirror the Fleur du Mal jumpsuit she happened to be wearing. Oh, and we obviously got all of the steps to follow along with at home if you're feeling crafty or hit with that special I-have-to-paint-my-nails-right-now breed of 3 A.M. insomnia.
First things first, Poole began with a base coat of Jin Soon's power coat base. "I love it—it dries quickly, doesn't cause clumping and has algae, biotin and diamond powder in it... very luxurious!" Yeah, you could say that. And now for the hard part: "Then, I painted two coats of CHANEL's 'Fracas', which has insane coverage—one coat is nearly enough.
I used RGB's 'Vellum' next. Next, I used the Ciate 'Stiletto' polish to paint the leaves. You can use a soft bristle detailing brush from an art supply. Use the shape of the brush to make a few leaf shapes around the cream flowers. Next, I used Sally Hansen's 'Mellow Yellow' to paint in the center of each cream flower. Keep this shape organic as well—it doesn't need to be a perfect circle. You can add details and highlights if you're feeling extra ambitious with RGB's 'Tropic' and 'Vellum' on the leaves. Let your nails dry for 5-10 minutes, and [add a] top coat."
Easier than it looks, right?! Oh, and you can totally follow your gut: "I used the brush that's in the bottle to paint natural organic floral shapes; you don't need to be careful, just feel it out. It looks best when half of the flower is coming out of the side of the nail... does that make sense? Breaking up the pattern rather than painting all complete flowers in the center. It makes the pattern more continuous." Even for those among us who don't seem to possess the competence to do a DIY mani without covering their cuticles in polish can pull this one off.
As for doing designs in general? Poole advises, "You need to use polishes with high opacity so that your nail doesn't become too thick with layers of paint. These particular colors weren't just chosen for their shade, but also their formula. Clean the detailing brush out with nail polish remover and wipe on a paper towel between each color change or if you notice it drying up." And how can one ensure that they won't be leaving the house with ten fingers of blotchy polish that resemble exactly nothing? "If you're a beginner, I suggest organic patterns like florals, gradients, animal prints... they're easier to recreate using your non-dominant hand. Believe it or not, florals are a great place to start because there's no wrong stroke. You can always cover a mistake up with a leaf!"
We also made sure to quiz Poole on her work because we're only slightly obsessed with her. "My most ambitious project is called 'Sensa-Tips'. It's a sort-of mock infomercial about a nail tip with touch screen sensitivity. I worked with a bunch of friends—Ruth Gruca, Alex Gvojic, Kembra Pfahler, DIS Magazine, DV Caputo, ADR, Rory Mulhere—who are all incredibly talented artists on their own. It was exhausting but it came together and is an internet relic i'll cherish forever!"
Oh, and her Fleur du Mal romper isn't exactly her sartorially-inspired manicure rodeo, either. "I did a replica of a Bottega Veneta floral pattern with burnt orange tips & a Tom Ford purple suede patchwork boot." She also revealed the unlikely places in which she finds inspiration—namely, uh, Cheetos bags. "Of course in fashion, in textile patterns in shoes, bags, jewelry, but literally everywhere else from the packaging of a bag of Cheetos to a rock at the bottom of the ocean."