Nail art is notorious for being difficult to do at home. Despite having all the right tools and colors, even with the steadiest hand our take at the latest trends often ends up looking less like a masterpiece and more like a middle school art project.
Luckily, recently nail art has taken a turn to more subdued designs that can be DIYed at home even if you aren’t a nail art wizard. Case in point: manicurist Alicia Torello’s, colorful and graphic designs, which she shares on her Instagram, @aliciatnails.
From chic, minimal negative space designs to multicolor stripes, InStyle enlisted Torello to share how to achieve five of our favorite recent designs of hers at home. Any of the following options are the anecdote you need to the stale colors and makeshift patterns you’ve resorted using on your nails one too many times. Now get painting!
1. Awesome Angles
Equal parts elegant and edgy, if you’ve been searching for a new way to wear your favorite polish colors, look no further. “Coming up with inspo for this look, I felt like nail art started to get so crazy that people were beginning to move away from it, I thought the more simple the better. This is like a good old fashioned manicure with a twist!” says Torello.
How to: Lay down a plum base color like Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Nail Couture Nail Lacquer in Violet Baroque ($27; nordstrom.com), and then you can use a striping brush or tape to make perfect lines with a complementary color like Deborah Lipmann Nail Color in Blue Orchid ($18; beauty.com).
2. Seeing Stripes
If you’re looking for a cool, colorful design that isn’t too loud, this striped negative space mani has your name on it. “I took from the commonly used V shape at the base of the nail and switched it up to make it something new and fresh. I just flipped the design and made it a little more complicated while keeping it simple by incorporating negative space and leaving the rest of the nail bare,” says Torello.
How to: Since the blue and deep red color are darker than the gray and pink, start with the pink (Formula X for Sephora in Intensity, $11; sephora.com), and create the triangle shape, then do the same with the gray (OPI Nail Lacquer in Kyoto Pearl, $10; loxabeauty.com). That way you can go back and add the darker colors, (they have more coverage) so you can go over the top of the lighter ones like OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine ($10; macys.com) and CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Mutant ($6; walgreens.com) to make more perfect lines. Torello uses a striping brush but you can always use tape.
3. Trendy Triangles
Alternating between black and white triangles creates a unique and playful spin on monochromatic nails. “Aztec and tribal patterns became popular for a while for nail art. They’re easy to do and look cool and graphic,” says Torello.
How to: If you’re a nail art novice, this look is pretty easy to achieve and all you need is striping tape. Lay down the tape in desired area of the nail. Start with the triangles along the cuticle on both hands then continue on to the triangles at the tips. Alternate using Nars Nail Polish in Back Room ($20; narscosmetics.com) and OPI Nail Lacquer in Alpine Snow ($10; macys.com) along the cuticles and the tips.
4. Chic Cutouts
Pretty and edgy, this fresh, minimal update of the half moon mani is the best of both worlds. “This is kind of a play on the half moon mani. Instead of rounded I went for a nice straight line. I added studs to harden up the light pink polish,” says Torello.
How to: Use striping tape to make a straight line marking off the negative space then paint the top half with Essie’s Romper Room ($9; ulta.com). Once the pink polish is dry, add a topcoat. While it’s still wet, take an orange wood stick with a little topcoat on the end to pick up you appliqués. Once they are added, finish with another layer of topcoat.
5. Over the Moon
Looking for a new take on the half moon? This simple spin on the trend proves that sometimes less is more. “This look was inspired by the simple classic half moon design where the lunula [nail's crescent] is left bare and the rest of the nail is painted. Since we’ve seen that look so much and everyone loves it, I thought maybe doing the reverse would be a cool new take on the classic,” says Torello.
How to: Use a striping brush to follow the moon shape of nail with the black polish like Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Black Satin ($27; macys.com) and simply put striping tape across the nail, you can use cuticle nippers to trim.