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Manis 2.0: Nail Art, Layering, and More

Get more out of your polishes, and spruce up your style

While we love a simple neutral mani, sometimes we want to mix it up a bit. Lately we’ve been playing around with fashion forward manis — think half moons, nail art, layering — and we’re hooked. Not only are fashion manis a good way to mix up your style, they also help you get more out of your nail polish collection — now, isn’t that responsible?

Don't Forget the Basics

Celeb manicurist Susan Nam of Polished Beauty Bar in New York City says that you can experiment as much as you want — as long as you have a solid foundation. That means base coats, which help the polish “look better, go on smoother, and last longer.” For topcoats, she says to avoid quick dry options, which dry faster than other layers and prevent a manicure from completely setting initially.

Two Tone Manis: Head Back to School

Office supplies are usually the last things on our mind when we’re doing our nails but Nam let us in on a clever trick. Use simple hole punch reinforcements — those small circular stickers, available at office supply stores — to get a perfect curved line on the wildy hot two-tone manicure.. Allow one color coat to set completely before affixing the reinforcement at the base of your nail or near the center and paint a contrasting color for a moon mani or colored French manicure. Click here to watch our video tutorial.

Custom Polish Mixologist

Sometimes, extending the life of your polish is as simple as combining two shades together when they run low. For example, try mixing light shades with brights to get pastel colors directly in the bottle. At Polished Beauty Bar, Nam’s manicurists blend half-used polishes to create custom colors and then allow customers to take home the mixed shades for touchups.


For a less permanent way to create new shades, try layering. Some shades will suit different skin tones better than others — but you can make any color work for you by either warming it up or cooling it down. Nam says to warm up a cool shade like grey by layering a warmer shade like light gold over the top. To cool down a warm shade, choose another color with silver undertones. A couple rules of thumb: Use a bolder color on the bottom, with a slightly sheer color on top, and also make sure your top layer evenly covers the nail for consistent color. Watch our video for pointers.

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