With lockdown restrictions slowly lifting across the U.K., timing couldn’t be more perfect as we dive into a severely missed summer of Pride: glitter, iconic anthems, reuniting with old friends and boldly celebrating queerness as we should, loud and proud. 

Pride is integral to the LGBTQIA+ community when queerness is under constant threat. It’s one of the few times LGBTQIA+ folk can express themselves in their own way: from the tattoos on their body to the clothes on their backs to the nail art on their fingers. It is a time to proudly display all while marching at Pride.

Many festivities are slowly coming back IRL (sadly not all just yet) but if you’re looking to express yourself while you eagerly await festival floats and having a boogie with your pals, nail extraordinaire Sally Hansen has teamed up with Refinery29 and brought an unapologetically queer creator to share his favourite Pride-inspired nail looks using the brand’s limited edition Insta-Dri Pride Collection. 

For Nathan Taylor, founder of Bristol’s LGBTQIA+ nail bar Buff Bar Bristol and cofounder of The Nail Pal Collective, nail art is a valuable mode of self-expression, a personal celebration of their own pride. 

Sally Hansen will be donating 100% of the profits made in the UK from the collection to the LGBTQIA+ organisation GLAAD. Its culture-changing work is helping to accelerate LGBTQIA+ acceptance and create a world in which queer folk are the constant, and not the rarity. 

Click through for Nathan’s selection of bright and bold, Pride-inspired nail art.

For this look I wanted to create something that was fun, bright and more recognisable as a Pride look. Did you know rainbows are actually circular? They are optical illusions that do not exist in one specific spot, it totally depends on where the sun or source of light is and where the viewer is standing!

When I see the streak of colours, a faint spectrum of light in the sky, it always makes me think about this. In lots of ways I connect my identity, sexuality and gender with this idea of something that isn’t fully visible. It’s perceived differently depending on who’s looking and how. What would happen if a rainbow could view itself?

To get this look, prep your nails by pushing back cuticles and using nippers to remove dead skin. Using a thin paintbrush (size 00 or smaller), start by painting red semicircles using a Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish in random places on each nail (one or two per nail). Wait for this to completely dry before painting another semicircle next to the first one in orange. Continue painting semicircles in each colour until you have used every colour. And finally, paint on a layer of non-wipe gel top coat and cure!

We see the rainbow Pride flag every year but do we actually know what these colours stand for? For this look I have created symbols that represent each colour within the progressive Pride flag. Inspired by graphic artists from the 80s who used symbols in their work to create political pieces, I wanted to produce a look that holds meaning instead of just painting a rainbow with no substance. I hope that I have made something simple and universally understood (at least to some point!).

Most of the work that I do as a queer, bi-racial and working class artist is political. I try to construct work that inspires questioning and shares information. Even as a person who has identified as queer and nonconforming for most of my life, it wasn’t until recently that I knew what the colours of the Pride flag stand for. While learning and relearning this information, I questioned, what do these subjects mean to me? I hope you can do the same during this Pride!

Want this look? Prep your nails by pushing back cuticles and using nippers to remove dead skin. Place a blob of your chosen colour Sally Hansen Pride Insta-Dri polish on a piece of aluminium foil (you can use it as your palette!), be sure to work quickly as this polish is fast-drying. Use a thin brush to paint the symbols – try not to apply the polish too thick, you can always apply another layer. Don’t forget to use acetone or alcohol to clean your brush between each symbol and make sure you leave enough time for the polish to dry before applying your top coat. For the thumb I have used the polish brush to apply the colours next to each other (they will mix into each other slightly, which creates a beautiful marble effect). You can use a round, flat brush dipped in acetone, nail polish remover or alcohol to clean up any of the edges.


Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 726 Love Wins, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 727 Yellow Lady!, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 728 Yaaasss Green, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 443 Va-Va Violet, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 729 Along For The, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 730 Lgbtq-Utie, $, available at Superdrug

Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride Edition 573 Black To Black, $, available at Superdrug

This look is all about process! I love to experiment with pushing the limitations of materials in all of my creative practice and there is something magical about having less control of an outcome. I wanted to create this look because it’s super fun and the end result is never the same. The colours meld together in such a beautiful way, creating patterns and textures that are impossible to recreate. This look reminds me of slices of agate crystal or tree rings, which to me represents a passing of time and a process of elements, change, layers and formation. 

As an intersectional person, I often think of my identity in this way, just layers and layers of complex combinations of molecules and energy that come together to create something beautiful, intricate and odd. 

Do you want to try this look out? Prep your nails by pushing back cuticles and using nippers to remove dead skin. Get yourself a glass and fill it with water and a few drops of acetone. You have to work quickly so unscrew all of your Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish bottles before starting. Drop a bit of clear top coat or base coat in the water first, this will make sure the first colour you add does not disperse too much. Add each colour, dropping a small amount into the centre of the last colour until you have used all of your colours. Now, place your finger in the water, lifting your finger up underneath the circle of polish and out of the water and leave to dry. Do this for each finger. Use an acetone-soaked brush, orange wood stick or lint-free wipe to remove excess paint from around the cuticle and skin. If there are any spots that aren’t covered in polish you can use your small brush to fill these parts in with colour. Leave to completely dry before painting on a top coat!

Here’s a simple, quick and effective rainbow look that doesn’t require a steady hand. I’ve created the perfect easy Pride nails that have a hidden meaning. 

Although this set doesn’t pack as much of a punch as my usual work does in terms of going against the grain and creating something that speaks loudly for itself, this look still has some conceptual meaning. I wanted to produce a look that speaks about how the progressive Pride colours merge into each other. They all exist together, supporting and flowing between each other.

I believe that without diversity we cannot have inclusion, without healing we cannot have serenity. I wanted to do this in a way that appeared and felt organic and natural. Like atoms and molecules that vibrate and collide, creating light and life.

Do you want to get this look? Prep your nails by pushing back cuticles and using nippers to remove dead skin. Apply a layer of your Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Pride polish making sure that each layer is completely dry before painting the next (tip: you don’t need to paint right up to the cuticle as you can cover this area with dots!) Using a dotting tool (or a bobby pin if you don’t have one) apply dots of the polish from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Use the next colour in the rainbow! Wait for the polish to completely dry before applying a top coat!

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?