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What’s All The Fuss About Nail Dyes?

What’s All The Fuss About Nail Dyes?

If you’ve visited South Korea recently you might have noticed that a lot of women’s nails look like they were dyed with markers or hair dye. This nail technique isn’t a result of not owning a nail polish. It is a practice that has historical roots with long-lasting effects. Nail dyes involve making a paste out of garden balsam’s flowers. The paste leaves a stain on the nail which gives them a vibrant colour. The plant grows during summer so expect to see more of this trend on social media in the upcoming months.

What’s the History Behind Nail Dyes?

In the past, dying one’s nails were done to keep off evil spirits and a cosmetic practice later on. Most recently, it became a trend because it was the only way for school children to bypass a dress code that didn’t allow nail polish. Whilst we’re used to perfect manicures, it does look pretty. It has that retro vibe that’s been making a comeback for a few years now.

This trend owes its popularity to how simple and long-lasting it is. To dye your fingernails, all you have to do is cover them in the paste and wrap them in plastic. You have to leave the paste on for a few hours but overnight gives a better effect. After that, you can enjoy the colour until your nails start growing back. It’s the perfect solution for those who don’t like worrying about redoing their nail polish all the time.


While the plant comes in different shades, you’ll see that most women have their nails dyed orange. It could be because bold colours have been a growing trend recently but there’s more to it than that. It has to do with a tale that says if your nails stay orange until the first snow falls, you’ll marry your true love. As you can imagine, it’s a fun way to fantasize about your future relationships during childhood. Many Koreans continue the tradition because it reminds them of younger years.

How To Dye Your Nails 

Unfortunately, the balsam plant can only be found in Asia. If you ever get a chance to visit, the process is very easy and pretty much free. If you find that you love the idea as much as I do, you can always freeze the plant and use it after the season too.

  1. First, you’ll need to mix the flowers and leaves and then smash them into a paste. Make sure there are no large pieces left as the consistency should be smooth.
  2. Apply enough paste to cover each fingernail. While your fingers will get dyed in the process, the colour will fade within a few days. This is why you need to be careful with the amount used. In other words, don’t put too much of it on!
  3. Wrap your fingernails in plastic and use tape to keep them sealed.
  4. Keep the plastic on for a few hours, ideally overnight if you want to enjoy a brighter shade.
  5. Wash it all off in the morning and voila! You can repeat all the steps if the colour turns out to be faint.

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