The Watercolor Manicure Is This Summer's Coolest Nail Trend

The Watercolor Manicure Is This Summer's Coolest Nail Trend
Joseph Molines
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For more of the season's most sizzling fashion, beauty, and entertaining trends, pick up a copy of InStyle's June issue, on newsstands and available for digital download now.

Summer is no time for fussing, and watercolor-inspired nail art is a cinch to do yourself. We caught up with Selena Gomez's own manicure maven to find out how to master the streaky pastel look at home. According to pro manicurist Karen Gutierrez, "This trend is basically an ombré look that incorporates three colors into one nail." It works best with light shades, especially blues reminiscent of the ocean. "I was thinking about the water when I created this version [above]," she says. "It reminds me a little bit of watching waves crash."

The best part? The only tool you'll need besides polish is a small makeup sponge. Gutierrez recommends the small triangular variety that you can purchase as most drugstores because the corners help achieve the watercolor effect. After cleaning and filing your nails, start by polishing on two coats of a neutral opaque shade, like Essie's Marshmallow ($9; then allow it to dry completely. Once the neutral base has dried, use the corner of a makeup sponge to dab pastel blue polish at the cuticle and pale pink polish at the tip, leaving some space in between so that the base color is visible. To amplify the blended look, Gutierrez suggests once again dipping the makeup sponge in your base shade and dotting it over the borders of each color.

RELATED: 3 Must-Have Manicures

"Top coat is going to make the biggest difference here," she advises. "Dragging the clear polish across each nail is what will make all the colors blend together." Apply topcoat while polish is still wet for an extra-blurry effect.

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