I’m Simcha Whitehill, but I’m better known as Miss Pop, a New York City-based nail artist. Every other week I’ll be breaking down the technique behind a must-have manicure. Some looks will be chic and easy and some may require a practiced hand (or a little patience!). Either way, it’s all about having fun. I do nail art for one reason. Love. 

I wanted to create a nail look that was sexy and bold and who better to draw inspiration from than Cleopatra, a woman with two warriors and an entire nation wrapped around her finger. Inspired by the Queen of the Nile’s style, this ring design is simple to achieve and elegant in any metallic and color combination. If you’re feeling up to a twist, add the snake accent finger by slithering on down to part two of the tutorial. For this manicure, falling in love with a man who wears a toga is totally optional.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:

3 out of 10; 6 out of 10, with the snake’s coil

WHAT YOU NEED:

HOW TO DO IT:

The charmer:

Step 1: Paint on a single layer of base coat and two coats of the metallic nail polish. Here I used a polish that looks just like real metal—Essie’s Good as Gold—to make the nail look like one of the queen’s jewels. Allow your coats to dry before moving onto the next step.

Step 2: The color inlay is essentially a reverse French manicure you carry through to the sides of your nails. The key to creating this is to simply imagine your nail is smaller, about two-thirds its size. Then paint away with the polish brush, using the same strokes you would use to cover your entire nail. You will most likely only need one coat of the color nail polish. If the application is patchy, touch it up to cover the sheer spots. Don’t forget: skip this step on one finger on each hand if you want to work in the snake accent. Tip: Here I used a dark teal color, Essie’s Go Overboard, to up the drama. But you could brighten up this look with an orange or even go festive for the holidays and use a hunter green or wine nail polish.

Step 3: After your color layer dries, add one more layer of your gold nail polish. To create the shape, again imagine your nail is smaller, about one-third the size. Take your metallic and finish off with a stroke or two through the center of the nail.

Step 4: Finish the look with the top coat. Then, if you’re feeling tempted, continue on to complete your look with a snake accent.

The snake:

Step 5: Using the gold nail art striper or a small paintbrush and the gold nail polish, paint the snake. Start by painting the head of the snake at an angle. From the back of the head, extend a line to the side of your nail.

Step 6: Paint a horizontal gold stripe in the middle of your nail.

Step 7: Below the middle stripe, paint the tail in one stroke. As it crosses your nail, you want to make sure to lift your brush up so the end of the line tapers.

Step 8: Using the black nail art striper, outline the snake. Then paint a braid pattern to mimic snakeskin from the neck down. Start with one line in a J shape. The bottom tip of the J should touch the side of the snake, while the top tip should float in the middle. Next draw a backward J below. Keep alternating the J shapes until the body is covered.

Step 9: For the eyes and tail, you will need to dip your small dotter or toothpick into the black nail polish. Apply two dots for the eyes, and three dots at the base of the tail.

Step 10: Polish your work off with the top coat, and you’ve got nails fit to rule!

Photo: Makeup.com