Photos of stunning, intricate nail art can make attempting to do it yourself seem overwhelming at first but don’t worry, read on for our guide to beautiful nail art.


The essentials:

  • Nail polish: you need nail polishes in a variety of colours for nail art, especially if you want multicoloured or gradient nails. You should have a white for a blank canvas, a few of your favourite colours and one or two unique polishes for an extra edge, such as holographic or textured polish. You should also have both sheer and opaque nail polishes to create a variety of looks. We would recommend the Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Cotton, Zoya Nail Polish in your favourite colours (over 300 colours to choose from!) and the Nails Inc Dirty Unicorn collection.


  • Basecoat: to protect your nails, apply a base coat such as the Red Carpet Manicure Structure Base Coat.


  • Topcoat: to polish and seal your nail art, apply a topcoat such as the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat


  • Nail art brushes: buy a brush set with big, small, angled and straight brushes so you can draw shapes and patterns as well as smaller details, such as the Romwe Nail Art Brush Set which comes with 15 brushes in a variety of types.


  • Nail glitter: a touch of glitter to any nail will look sparkly and glamorous. Try the MML Nail Glitter Powder or the NYX Professional Makeup Metallic Glitter.


  • Nail art pen: pens make it easier to draw smaller or more detailed designs onto your nails. We would recommend the Barry M Nail Art Pen that comes in black, white, pink and silver. Alternatively, you could use a sharpie.


  • Nail stickers: stickers are an easy way to achieve gorgeous nail art. Try the L’Oreal Color Riche Le Nail Art Polish Strip, Essence Watercolour Nail Stickers or The Face Shop Trendy Nails Art Sticker.


  • Nail embellishments: add crystals or rhinestones, such as the Swarovski Crystal Pixie collection, to your nails for an incredibly glamorous but easy look.


  • Nail art tape: a tape such as the Sensational Nail Art Tape can be used to easily create stripes or a cute border at the tip of your nails.



  • For a simple design, use a nail art pen for polka dots, stripes or a small heart on a blank coloured nail.


  • If a nail art pen or brush is too thick, use a toothpick dipped in nail polish to add dots or small shapes.


  • Use a tweezer or the tip of an eyeliner pencil to add a nail crystal to a nail on each hand for a sophisticated look, or on all nails for a more adventurous glam look.


  • Apply Vaseline around your nails before painting them so you can easily wipe any excess polish off your skin.


  • For marble effect nails, add drops of 2-5 different coloured nail polishes to a cup of water. Add each drop to the centre of the last polish that was added. Stir a toothpick through the colours to create patterns – an easy pattern is to draw outward lines from the centre. For a floral pattern, move the toothpick from the 3rd ring out into the centre. Dip your finger into the water for about 30 seconds then remove it and use a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover to remove the excess polish.


  • For an easy ombre look, brush a glitter of a slightly darker colour than your polish on the top of your nails.