How to Rock a Different Color on Each Nail

September 19, 2022
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Hands of a woman with pastel-colored nails, each painted a different color

Some nail trends are particularly hard to master on yourself — think intricate bandana nail art, dreamy aura designs or dainty snowflake nail art. But different colored nails (also called “gradient nails”) isn’t one of those tough DIY nail art trends. It doesn’t require any other skills aside from being able to paint your nails, but the tricky part is color choice. The right color combination will look Insta-girl cool, while the wrong shades will leave something to be desired. To help you choose complementary nail polish shades, we’ve rounded up a few nail inspo images ahead.

Neutral Gradient Nails

You can never go wrong with neutrals, as seen here on Amy Le’s nude gradient nails. Not only is this minimalist manicure a cinch to execute, you’ll never have to worry about it clashing with any of your outfits.

Candy-Colored Nails

An easy way to make multicolor nails look cohesive is to add a French tip in a slightly deeper shade than your base color, as @s.paige.a did with this cute jelly bean mani. Tip: Paint a swatch of each shade next to each other on a paper towel before painting them on your nails to see what the hues will look like together.

DIY French Manicure

We’re living for the pastel tips on these nails by @bb.claws. If you’re unsure how to paint French tips on yourself, try our DIY tutorial using a silicone nail stamper (Hint: This hack works best on longer nails).

Matte Pastel Nails

A fail-safe way to make sure your multicolored mani matches is by sticking with colors in the same color family, such as pale pastels. For a finish similar to @imarninails’ Easter egg-inspired mani, try topping your nails with the Essie Gel Couture Matte Top Coat.

French Ombré Nails

To DIY an ombré French manicure similar to @lightslacquer, dip a sponge in your desired shade, then gently place it onto the tips of your nails. Clean up the edges and seal it in with a topcoat.

Winter Tones

Gather up your favorite wintery hues, from a rich forest green (we love Essie Lucite of Reality) to a classic red to recreate this merry manicure by Queenie Nguyen. For the red nail, we’re eyeing Number 1 by Miniluxe.

Photo: @imarninails

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