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DIY Awesomely Realistic Cheetah Print Nails

In the famous words of Liz Lemon, "cat noise".

Beauty tutorials are big on YouTube -- a search for "makeup tutorial" and "hair tutorial" yields more than 5 million videos. In this weekly series, we put a mix of popular and under-the-radar tutorials to the test and show you what's best.

Painting my nails is something I actually enjoy, despite the fact that I hardly ever have time for it. Getting them done at the salon is always a luxurious way to unwind after a long day, but since I moved away from my go-to place in SF, I haven't found one here in NYC that's both affordable and up to my standards (when it comes to cleanliness, I'm so paranoid I need to witness the metal tools come out of the sterilization packet).

Thus, I've really upped my DIY nail game over the last couple years. Having already explored ombre and glitter gradients, I thought it was time to graduate to something a little more advanced, but not too complicated-- striping tapes still seem out of my league-- so cheetah print was the next natural step.

After watching several of the most popular YouTube tutorials on doing your own cheetah print nails, I found this one--which suggests doing the print on an accent nail-- to be the best for achieving a natural-looking result. It was actually easier than I expected. The whole manicure took less than 30 minutes, probably because it's really hard to make a mistake-- there is no "right" cheetah print, so don't worry if you accidentally place the paint in the wrong spot.

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The tutorial calls for a few tools, but you can easily use toothpicks in place of the dotting tool and brush to get the same result. I used a matte topcoat on mine when the paint was still a little wet and the gentle brush strokes through the pattern actually made my nails look like fur. For once, a happy nail art accident.