First it was the Barbie Doll'd Up Nails Digital Nail Printer that had us squealing like a bunch of little girls. ("Look mom! Barbie nails!")
But now the paint-by-printer nail art trend is going so mainstream that even the boys want in.
We giggled when we found out our tech-savvy friends at Engadget stumbled upon a new ArtPro Nail Printer at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show this past week in Las Vegas, where podcast producer Trent Wolve was immediately volunteered to give the printer a go.
Amid teasing about his cracked and less-than-stellar nail beds -- "I've been so busy blogging" was his self-conscious retort -- Wolbe strapped his finger inside the newfangled contraption, pressed a few buttons to select and customize his design, and then got inked by a Lenovo cartridge that immediately descended upon his finger like a vulture to spray paint Engadget's logo. (How clever.)
According to China-based manufacturer Guangzhou Taiji Electronics, the machine allows you to pick from hundreds of nail art options, customize your own design and even upload photos to be painted onto your nails.
For the best results, the maker suggests you start with a couple layers of white or clear base coat, so that your design stands out in contrast, and then ink your nails with the printer design of your choice. As a final step, a transparent clarifying coat, which you can purchase from ArtPro, lends a glossy finish that also improves the quality and sharpness of the art.
The printer comes with a dizzying array of accessories sure to put any nail art lover in her (or his!) element, from glitter flakes and rhinestones to cuticle softener and a special nail art brush. And the printing calibration card, light bulb and screwdriver really make it feel like you're getting down to serious nail art business.
Natural nails can enjoy the service one finger at a time, while sets of connected press-on nails can be placed inside the machine up to 20 at a time for a one-shot painting that eliminates the need for cleaning away excess paint around the nail bed and cuticle.
There is no stated price for the machine yet -- which made its international debut at the tradeshow -- though we're guessing that given the $179 price tag for Barbie's lower-key version, this is going to cost a pretty penny.
But we just love it when techno gadgets merge with beauty; it makes us feel like a kid playing with our Tinkertoys again.
Want more high-tech beauty? Check out the Nu Natural trend.