Blue Morpho Butterfly Nail Art for Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

Hi everyone! I’M BACK! With new content 🙂 The end of my vacation means that I got back to my polish stash and tools, and now can get around to all the nail art I’ve been dreaming about! I decided to begin with this manicure, which was inspired by a very deserving cause.

During my vacation, fellow Instagrammer @citruseyes sent out an invitation to do a nail art collaboration in honor of Thyroid Disease Awarness Month, which is January, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to participate! Thyroid disease is very pervasive in my family, and so this is a cause that is especially important to me personally and that I feel deserves more awareness. My manicure was inspired by some symbols used to represent Thyroid Disease Awareness (TDA) – butterflies and the blue awareness ribbon – and is dedicated to my mom, who is affected by thyroid disease (and also loves butterflies!).

TDAMani_CollageFirst off, I’ll give you readers some info about the thyroid gland, diseases of the thyroid gland, and TDA month so that I can raise awareness for thyroid diseases beyond just having butterflies on my nails. The scientific information is paraphrased from Vander’s Physiology.

What is the thyroid?

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland, which is located in the neck underneath the Adam’s apple, produces two hormones that act upon the body in many different ways: T3 (triiodothyroxine) and T4 (thyroxine/tetraiodothyroxine). When stimulated by the pituitary gland, follicular cells within the numerous follicles (spherical pockets lined with cells) of the thyroid gland generate these two hormones from the mineral iodine and a protein called thyroglobulin. Iodine from the bloodstream gets transported into the thyroid follicles and added to the thyroglobulin, after which two thyroglobulins join together to create either T3 or T4 (T3 has three iodine atoms, and T4 has four). This is why you need iodine in your diet! If enough iodine isn’t consumed, T3 and T4 can’t be made and hypothyroidism can develop (see the next section; this is one of the possible causes of hypothyroidism).

So what do T3 and T4 do once they have been made? They maintain the body’s metabolism at a high level, help to produce a significant amount of body heat, stimulate the heart and nervous system, and are critical to producing growth hormone. Overall, T3 and T4 have wide-ranging and significant effects throughout the body and, therefore, it is critical to keep them in check so as to keep the body running normally.

Thyroid Diseases

There are many diseases that affect the thyroid gland that can be considered “thyroid diseases”. Hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid activity) and hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid activity) are two of the most common conditions that affect the thyroid gland, and both have very serious consequences for the body. Hyperthyroidism leads to excessive amounts of T3 and T4 being produced, which can cause symptoms of heat intolerance, fast heart rate, weight loss, and high appetite. This condition is commonly the result of an autoimmune disease – a condition in which the body mounts an immune response against itself rather than a virus or bacteria – called Graves’ disease. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of factors, including the autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but always results in not enough T3 and T4 being produced by the thyroid gland. Symptoms may include cold intolerance, weight gain, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Cancer can also develop in the thyroid gland and affect its function.

Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

Thyroid Disease Awareness (TDA) month is January, and is symbolized by a blue awareness ribbon adorned with paisleys. Paisleys were chosen to symbolize TDA because cross sections of the thyroid follicles apparently look like paisleys. Butterflies also symbolize TDA since the thyroid gland is butterfly-like in shape. You can learn more about thyroid disease at and


Now that I’ve done a little to educate you readers on thyroid diseases, it’s time to get on to the manicure! Like I said in the introduction, I was inspired by some of the TDA symbols (butterflies, the color blue, and the awareness ribbon) and made a manicure using those elements. I wanted to emphasize the butterflies in particular, since my mom loves butterflies, and so all the nails except my thumb have little blue morpho butterflies all over them. Instead of butterflies, my thumbs got to have the awareness ribbon painted on them since the “awareness” aspect of TDA is kind of the point. Lastly, I decided the background couldn’t just be a single color, so I made a subtle gradient to liven things up without getting too fancy.

Thyroid Disease Awareness Manicure Blue Butterflies Nail Art 2

The polishes I used were:

  • Julep Jet (black creme) – background
  • Milani Pearl-Plexed Sheer (sheer sparkly white topper) – background gradient
  • Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Blue Away! (light sky blue creme) – main butterfly  and ribbon color
  • Wet n Wild Wild Shine French White Creme (white creme) – butterfly and ribbon shading
  • Milani Blue Print (intense medium blue creme) – butterfly and ribbon shading
  • Sally Hansen Triple Shine Make Waves (turquoise blue iridescent sheer) – butterfly shading
  • Julep Marzia (pewter chrome) – butterfly bodies

To begin, I painted my nails with two coats of black, and followed with a very light sponging of the sheer white sparkly polish that was concentrated near my nail tips. It was so gorgeous I took a photo:

Gradient Julep Jet Milani Pearl-Plexed Sheer

So pretty! I really liked the sheer polish on top of black; I highly recommend this combo.

I then freehanded the butterfly wings using the light sky blue and a tiny brush. Once I made the basic shapes, I shaded the butterflies using the white and medium blue cremes and small strokes with the brush, and added a dab of the sheer turquoise in the center of each wing to make the butterflies iridescent. To finish off the butterflies, I gave each a little body with the pewter chrome; in hindsight, this may not have been the best choice since the bodies are kind of hard to see. Once the butterflies were done, I freehanded the awareness ribbon on my thumbs using the light blue, white, and medium blue cremes. I even did a little bit of color mixing for each color transition, which is something I hadn’t done before! And that’s it!

Thyroid Disease Awareness Manicure Blue Butterflies Nail Art 3

Thyroid Disease Awareness Manicure Blue Butterflies Nail Art 4
I’m really happy with how this manicure came out! All the butterflies look really cute, and I love the iridescence. The sparkly gradient in the back is a little overwhelming, but it’s OK and doesn’t detract too much from them. I feel like I did an OK job with the ribbons, which is fine with me since I thought I would mess them up completely! Overall, I’m satisfied.

I hope you’ve liked my post, and learned something about thyroid diseases! I’ll be posting more stuff soon – my SquareHue box arrived, and Julep should be soon (maybe?) – so stay tuned for more! I may even get to doing some of those New Year’s Resolutions… Thanks for reading!

– Emi


3 thoughts on “Blue Morpho Butterfly Nail Art for Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

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