beauty

Nude manicures will always be classic. But you really ought to try tonal nails instead.

Nude manicures will always be classic.

Since humans have been wandering the earth making fire and foraging for food (OK, maybe not that long), a neat set of nails in blush pink, light beige, nude or the Queen’s personal favourite, Essie Ballet Slippers pink, have been a symbol of pulled togetherness.

But right now, there’s a new ‘neutral nails’ everyone’s wearing and they’re called tonal nails.

Side note – here’s how to safely remove acrylic nails at home, post continues after video.

Video by MMC

What are tonal nails?

Tonal nails are a way of painting your nails using several shades of one colour on each nail, rather than just one colour for every nail.

In simpler terms: they’re rainbow nails, but hold the rainbow.

It’s similar to tonal dressing, which involves choosing a colour (say, forest green or pink) and wearing it head-to toe-in different shades, like a bright pink knit with a blush skirt and berry heels. You can wear it in place of a nude/neutral manicure, or go bright with bold shades.

Overseas, LA-based nail artist Betina Goldstein has been posting variations of tonal nails for months – over 15,000 people liked an image of her tonal nails back in February. Our own Aussie beauty entrepreneur Zoe Foster Blake also wore peach/pinky tonal nails for Mecca’s annual beauty festival Meccaland in May.

These delightful pictures alone should be enough to convince you to give tonal nails a go.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ZOË FOSTER BLAKE (@zotheysay) on

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by London Nail Company (@londonnailco) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by London Nail Company (@londonnailco) on

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Betina R. Goldstein (@betina_goldstein) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Betina R. Goldstein (@betina_goldstein) on

ADVERTISEMENT

How to do tonal nails.

Tonal nails can be done with acrylic nails, SNS nails and gel manicures. You can also use your own handiwork and give yourself a tonal nails manicure at home.

1. Choose your tonal colour palette.

Like tonal dressing, choose a colour palette for your nails with varying shades of the one colour. For example, you could do light to dark berry shades, or a pale blue through to navy blue.

In Goldstein’s original tonal nails post, she used the Dior nail polish shades: 108 Muguet, 155 Tra-la-la121 Lili, 257 Incognito and 403 Palais Royal.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Nudes. @diormakeup Pinky to thumb: #muguet #tralala #lili #incognito #palaisroyal Topped off with #dior Gel Coat

A post shared by Betina R. Goldstein (@betina_goldstein) on

ADVERTISEMENT

2. Apply a base coat.

Yes, applying a base coat of nail polish takes longer because you have to wait until the bottom layer is completely dry before painting with the pretty colours, but it’s worth it.

A base coat will protect your nails and give the nail a smooth canvas to paint on.

3. Paint each nail in a different colour.

Now for the fun bit.

There are four ways you can wear tonal nails:

1. Apply one colour on each nail, going from light to dark, or dark to light. You’ll need five polish colours to create this effect.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by London Nail Company (@londonnailco) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ✨ Elizabeth ✨ (@itselizabethdavis) on

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by OPI Australia (@opiaustralia) on

2. Apply the darkest colour on the thumb nail and pinky finger nail, and then apply a different shade on the remaining three nails. This can be done with neutral/light colours, darker shades or bright colours.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Betina R. Goldstein (@betina_goldstein) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Betina R. Goldstein (@betina_goldstein) on

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Alternate by painting every second nail with one shade, and the others with a similar shade either slightly lighter or slightly darker.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by OPI Australia (@opiaustralia) on

4. Choose two or three colours from the same tonal palette and paint them on each nail in a geometric pattern. (Unless you’ve got the skills, this look is best painted by a professional… or with a lot of patience.)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Michelle Lee (@heymichellelee) on

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alicia Torello (@aliciatnails) on

4. Apply a top coat.

To finish, add a top coat to seal your polish and help your manicure last longer. But a word of warning: WAIT until your colours have fully dried before applying a top coat polish, or risk spoiling all your hard work.

Featured image: London Nail Co.

Would you try tonal nails? What are your best manicure tips? Tell us in the comments!

Want more helpful nails content? Get our explainer on the different types of manicures on the You Beauty podcast in your ears below.


You can also read more nails stories below:

00:00 / ???