Nail Polish Ideas: How To Layer Like A Pro

by Stephanie Montes

Do you have an embarrassingly vast collection of nail polishes but still can’t find a color to inspire your next mani? We’ve been there. Although, we love embracing the shades of the season, we refuse to let a good beauty stash go to waste. Breathe new life into your lacquers by layering them for new, unique shades. From transparent pairings to sparkly top coats, we’ll show you how to layer your nail polishes like a pro.

Layer more than your clothes this winter.

Photo: @nailsinc

Mixed Metals

Mixing metallic nail polishes is just as chic as mixing metallic jewelry. Start with a rose gold base and layer a transparent silver or gold polish over it for a dramatic effect.

Photo: @butterlondon

In The Deep

Rich, dark tones are the go-to for the winter months. Give your plain mani some depth by layering an opaque chocolate brown under a transparent burgundy.

Photo: @sparitualist

Festive & Fancy

Dress up your holiday look with a fancy mani. Layer a gold-glitter lacquer over a black hue for a fun, gilded look. For a truly festive paint job, choose polishes that contain sparkles of all sizes.

Photo: @nailsinc

Oil Slick

Not ready to commit to a fully metallic mani? Paint haphazard silver strokes over a iridescent blue-green polish for a fun, multidimensional result.

Photo: @jinsoonchoi

Watercolor Painting

Get a watercolor effect on your nails by painting them with 2 transparent polishes in similar shades. Each nail will end up a different color with varying transparencies, giving you a truly one-of-a-kind mani.

Photo: @jinsoonchoi

Gone Matte

Give each polish in your collection a new look by sealing it with a matte topcoat instead of a glossy one. You can even achieve a textural result by playing with metallics under a matte finish.

Photo: @essiepolish

Gold Finger

Go even more edgy with a black and gold manicure by adding texture. Start with a coat of black polish that dries with a rough surface and then paint a gold-flaked polish on one side of each nail.

Photo: @jinsoonchoi