Some nail trends are particularly hard to master — but different colored nails (also called gradient nails) isn’t one of them. It doesn’t require any other skills aside from being able to paint your nails, but the tricky part is color choice. The right color combination will look cool, while the wrong shades will leave something to be desired. To help you pick complementary shades, here are some tips.
Tastes like candy: Candy-colored nails are an easy way to interpret the trend — pick a few of your favorite desaturated poppy hues and paint one on each nail.
A little gray: Hues with similar undertones pair well together, too, like a combo of different variations of a shade of gray.
Primary colors: Primary shades are the base of every color you can think of so it’s no surprise they look great paired together.
Just the tips: If you want to keep it a little more subtle, combine two of the best trends — an updated French manicure and gradient nails — to create a similar nail look. You can pick shades that are reminiscent of spring, or pick colors from a seasonal palette of winter or summer.
How about taking those diagonal French tips to a whole new level with several different neon polishes.
Swipe right (or left): For an extra subtle, minimalist take, try different colored swipes across a clear nail. This is perfect for anyone who struggles to nail a perfect manicure and makes showing off your favorite shades easy.
Patterned nail art: If you want to take it over the top, try different types of patterns on each nail. The key to this look is complementary shades comprised of reds, blues, blacks and whites.
Use your intuition: Sometimes the best method for pairing different colored hues is to trust your intuition and pick your favorite shades. This technique works best for the artistically-inclined. You can even add a jolt of sparkle into the mix by painting a singular nail with a glitter hue. Thanks to the way gold and silver tend to catch light (they take on yellow and purple appearances, respectively) they blend in well with other bright colors.
Keep it in the same (color) family: An easy way to achieve the look is to create an ombré effect with different shades from the same color family. There are a few ways to do this, but the best one is to start with the most vibrant shade on one nail, and dilute the color for the rest with varying amounts of white polish. The more white polish you add, the lighter the color — ensuring a flawless gradient.
Pastel fun: Try painting four out of five nails on one hand different dusty pastel shades and adding in one hue that will add a pop of brightness. The pop hue can either be burnt orange, olive green or plum, but it should still have a deep or less vivid quality to it to ensure the colors look cohesive.
Minimal nail art: For a minimal take on the trend, keep the color mismatched, but pair it with some negative space. Another alternative is to mismatch a few bold hues against a bare nail.