8 DIY Manicures That Look More Complex Than They Really Are

Wouldn’t it be nice if a crazy-cool manicure was easy to achieve? You don’t have to drop serious dough on an A-list nail artist or be a DIY extraordinaire. I know this because I love and take pride in doing my nails but don’t go for any DIYs that take serious skill. Here are some images from my Instagram archives for your nail art inspiration.

1. Two-Toned Tips

Two coats of a neutral color pair well with colorful tips. Start with one color and do one stroke going from the outer corner to the center of the nail. Do that for all nails then repeat with a different color going from the opposite direction.

2. Dot of Color

I spotted these nails at a salon press party and loved them so much that I got more info from the party guest sporting them. Turns out, all it takes to achieve this look is nail polish and a nail, the type you use with a hammer. The end of the nail makes the perfect dot and adds instant interest to your digits.

3. Half-Moon Manicure

The trick to a magnificent half-moon manicure is dry time. Do two coats of the color that you’d like the moon to be and paint the whole nail. Let dry. Once dry, use hole reinforcement labels to tape off the moon of the nail, then apply 1-2 coats of the next color. Allow to dry completely before removing stickers and finish with top coat.

4. Polka Dots

Pointed Q-tips easily substitute as a dotting tool. Pour a little puddle of polish on paper then dip Q-tip in, wipe off excess and start dotting. Dot the whole nail or create a pattern.

5. Heart

Starting at the lower center of your nail, do a stroke going up toward the left. Then do the same thing, but toward the right. Do another stroke or two for shaping and smoothing then let dry. Once completely dry, seal with top coat.

6. Gradient Glitter

Layer up the glitter. Coat nails with a thin glitter polish. After that dries, swipe ends of nails with a chunkier glitter.

7. Random Glitter Sightings

Brush glitter where you please. No pattern has to be in play. Do more on some nails and less on others for a creative accent.

8. Stripes

Vertical stripes elongate nails and look nice on all ten nails or simply as an accent used on your thumb or ring finger. Use a thin brush or toothpick to draw lines.