I always knew my kid’s babysitter, Shelby, was a diamond in the rough. But when she started showing up with inspired nail art, whoa. I realized she was a girl after my own heart. Her creative handiwork over the last few weeks has been freaking awesome. Here’s my favorite to date: this multi-colored neon diagonal design. And it’s actually pretty easy to do yourself — if you have the patience to let it dry.
Step 1: Apply one layer of basecoat to give your painting some longevity. Try China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat, $6.
Step 2: Pick four of five bright colors to mix and match. Try fun neons like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Nail Color in Vigorous Violet, $5, L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Color in Tweet Me, $6, Sinful Colors Professional Nail Enamel in Innocent, $2, Orly Nail Lacquer in Melt Your Popsicle, $8, and Revlon Nail Enamel in Strawberry Electric, $4.
Step 3: Apply two coats of the base color of your choice. You don’t need one color per nail, but variety looks best. It’s really important to let the base dry completely before you do the top slash — otherwise the colors can blur and look messy.
Step 4: To speed up dry-time, apply a swipe of quick dry topcoat after you finish the base color. This keeps the colors from smearing so they stay crisp and bright. Try Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, $10.
Step 5: Next, carefully paint a contrasting color from the middle of your nail bed to the outer corner of the opposite side. If your hands aren’t steady, put a piece of tape across your nail to create that sharp line. Paint on one or two coats, depending on the saturation of the shade.
Step 6: Finish off your nails with a protective topcoat like Sally Hansen Dries Instantly Top Coat, $5. And seriously folks, let this dry completely. There are a lot of layers of paint and it will take a while before you can move around without destroying your pretty paint.
– Carrie Stern Kleiner