Here’s How to Get Psychedelic Swirl Nails at Home

September 21, 2021
Caitlyn Martyn
By: Caitlyn Martyn | by L'Oréal

Between punchy lipsticks, funky-colored liners and saturated eyeshadows, we’re all for bold hues lately. So when we spotted the psychedelic swirl nail art trend on Instagram, it was our maximalist manicure dream come true. To help you get the groovy look at home, we tapped Gia Pham, a New Jersey-based nail artist. Ahead, find her tips. 

  • STEP 1:

    Prep Your Nails

    Be sure to clean your hands and nails of any dirt, dust or particles. You’ll want to start with a clean canvas. Have your inspo photo ready to reference while you’re working.

  • STEP 2:

    Choose Your Shades

    When choosing nail polish colors, Pham recommends choosing three or more shades, including complementary or monochromatic shades and a neutral. “It’s best that your base color is neutral,” says Pham. “The swirls will pop more.” Feel free to add a glitter polish like Essie Summit of Style for that extra bling. 

  • STEP 3:


    You’ll want to use a thin, striping brush to paint on the swirls in long, curved strokes. Pham says to use your lightest color first. “I use this trick daily for nail art,” she says. “If you make a mistake using your light shade, you can go over it and cover it up with a darker color.” 


    If you’re creating the swirl design on regular polish instead of gel, give the swirls some time to dry before using a top coat. Otherwise, the colors will mix together. 

  • STEP 4:

    Add Top Coat

    Lock in your swirls by applying two layers of top coat, like Essie Good to Go Top Coat, for a gel-like finish. Pham says that she keeps a tiny bristle brush on hand to dip into acetone to clean up any mess-ups around the cuticle area.

Photo Credit: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Nail Art: Gia Pham

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