When you’re sick of your long layers, you can trim them into a choppy lob. When you wear the same black winged eyeliner every day, you can swap it for a swipe of electric cobalt. And when you want to reinvent your nail game? That’s easy: You pick one of these seven brilliant (but totally DIYable) ways to upgrade your manicure.
If Ballet Slippers is where your nail-polish color spectrum begins and ends, there’s a simple and understated way to pump it up. Manicurist Elle paints on a coat of sheer metallic polish first, then a coat of sheer nude or pink. “It creates depth, like you’re looking through a glass bottle,” she says.
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Party, $6.99, amazon.com.
Dry brushing creates a soft, feathery look on nails, takes seconds to do, and is almost impossible to mess up. First, do a full coat of your favorite base color. Once it’s dry, pick a contrasting shade and use a paper towel to wipe as much polish off the brush as possible. Lightly sweep the dry brush diagonally across each nail. This is all about quick little strokes—two or three per nail. Another option: Skip a base color and dry-brush bare nails for a negative-space effect, says manicurist Deborah Lippmann. White and gold look particularly cool.
An easy way to tweak your manicure is to play up the texture of your nails and skip topcoat so the texture of the polish shows through. (Fair warning: The manicure probably won’t last as long.) You get an especially three-dimensional effect if you’ve painted on dots, stripes, feathers, or any other kind of design.
Think of white nails as mini dry-erase boards to doodle on. Elle’s Sharpie technique turns them into marble. Start with dry white or cream polish and draw veins (think of a leaf) on top with a fine black permanent marker. Wet a small, stiff eye-shadow brush with rubbing alcohol, and then quickly (but lightly) dab it over each line. You want to stop as soon as the design starts bleeding. (Otherwise, you’ll brush the marker right off.) This is one look that 100 percent needs a topcoat, since the alcohol will also dull your nail polish—and the marbling can smudge even after it’s dry.