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How to wear - trendy nail polish designs and colours (with care tips)

Updated on April 19, 2013

It's in the detail

A new nail colour or design can brighten up your outfit and there are so many possibilities in terms of designs. I like to vary colours depending on the season - darker shades in winter and brighter tones in springtime. Matching nail polish can really emphasise the colour in the outfit that you are wearing or provide an interesting contrast. Recently, many varied nail trends have become fashionable: ombre, magnetic and french manicure with a twist are a few designs that produce very different but equally eye-catching results.

Manicure - for healthy hands

What you need:

  • cuticle 'softener/removal' lotion
  • manicure stick
  • bowl of warm water
  • hand towel
  • acetone free nail polish remover - for old nailpolish
  • nail polish, base and top coat

Quick tips: first remove any old nail polish then soak fingertips in warm water. Dry them off and apply a cuticle remover lotion, this will soften the skin and make it easy to push them back gently with a manicure stick. Apply base coat and allow to dry. A base coat is the perfect foundation for your nail polish and will make it last longer. Apply polish - you may need to do this twice for deeper colours and tidy with a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover. When you're done - why not repeat the process for your feet?

Nail trends and designs

Ombre look - all you need is two shades of nail polish and your hard work will really pay off if you have the patience for it. It's a really funky look and is the perfect finish to your party outfit. To find out how to master this look, check out this video tutorial.

Magnetic look - this is quite a new style that started in 2012 - you can create a cool 3D look by purchasing a specific nail polish which changes once you hold a magnet above the nail. I know it sounds weird but it looks really good.

French with a twist - this look is a reverse French manicure with a different coloured tip of the nail. I think gold tips look stunning or experiment with two different shades.

Stick-on designs - perhaps you'd think this is something for those of us who are lazy - and maybe it is but this style unlocks nail designs that I never thought were possible. Animal prints are a big hit!

How to cope with the annoying fact of chipped nails

Chipped nails never look good but it's a fact of life. If you are wearing a strong colour - always carry a bottle of the matching shade in your bag for emergency cover-ups. It is usually easier to add a bit of colour than to remove it. If it's an emergency, try popping in to a chemists and see if they'll let you use one of their testers or samples.

nail ideas and tutorials

How to match nail colour to skin tone

You might find that one shade of blue looks great on you, yet another is terrible. Or you’ll notice that a vibrant pink looks great on someone who appears to have the same complexion as you, but on you the same color looks dull. It all depends on your skin tone.

pale - pale skin tones are considered a cool skin type. Lighter shades with pink or blue undertones are best. Pastel colors look great. Choose pinks or reds to brighten the complexion.

fair - with a warm tone, you tend to have more of a variety of shades to choose from. Cool and warm tones can wear red, but cool undertones look better in blue-based reds.

tan - lighter shades can accentuate tanned skin, like warm pale shades of brown, light blues, pinks and purples.

medium/olive - this skin tone looks good in dark burgundy and wines, vibrant colors like pink, blue, yellow and orange. Silver and metallics (like metallic blue). Medium-dark can wear black, navy blue, dark pinks, burgundy.

dark - Dark complexions can wear rich, deep shades. What looks great are burgundy, vibrant purples, plums, Bright orange and pinks zap the color out of rich dark tones.

Check out my nail design pinboard on Pinterest for more inspiration!

How often do you apply nail polish?

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    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Hi LongTimeMother:) thanks for comenting! I don't think it's ever to late to start having a go at nail design - but I have to admit that I haven't tried these patterns myself yet - although I might try to see how it goes.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 5 years ago from Australia

      Hi Louise Lately. I have a nail nut in my house. My youngest daughter creates the most amazing looking nails with patterns and illustrations. Her older sisters keep sending her colours and textures and all kinds of new nail products.

      I'm just wishing I was a lot younger so I could join in the fun!

    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you StockholmWriter - I'm glad you found it helpful, if you need any more tips just let me know:)

    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Careermommy! I really enjoy applying nail polish and it's always nice when others notice that you're wearing a new colour.Thank you for your comment:)

    • StockholmWriter profile image

      StockholmWriter 5 years ago from Stockholm, Sweden

      Stockholm Writer

      Great tips, my nails often looks neglected. I will try to polish them more often and follow your helpful suggestions.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Nice nail tips, Louise. I've been neglecting my nails lately, but these are helpful suggestions for when I begin polishing them again.


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